Thursday March 25, 2004

Spring is Here

This is Wednesday's prompt from Purple Ink. This was a perfect prompt, coming at a perfect time. I had been out yesterday morning, and when I came home, my African daisies were all open in the front yard, faces to the sun. I just had to take some photos! Then I decided to take the camera out to the back garden and take more photos. The tulips are up, the white lilac is absolutely covered in blossoms (and I can never resist burying my face in them). So I took a bunch of pictures and then I wrote a poem and worked on the page for that, getting it all set up.

And THEN I did this prompt. So everything fits together. Life is but a giant Jigsaw puzzle.

How does Spring make you feel?

Spring is longer days. Spring is warmer weather, no need for a jacket.

Spring is a fervent Goodbye and Good Riddance to Winter, to Winter's short days, long nights, too much dark and not enough light. Spring is enough rain that things are still green for another month or two before they start to become brown and dry in the summer.

Spring starts here on February 1 when the first ornamental plum trees burst into flower. It ends sometime in June when we have the last of the rainfall until Autumn.

Spring is flowers everywhere, in my garden, along the roads, in people's yards. Spring is a profusion of blossoms. Spring is tulips, pink, red, and yellow. Spring is Magnolia and Plum trees blooming. Spring is the white lilac in my yard, exuberant with flowers. Spring is happy plants, waking after hibernation, reaching for the sun.

Spring is all the senses relishing the season. Spring is sights and tastes and sounds and smells. Spring is the feel of the sun on my face.

Spring is a constant, light, almost-evasive perfume on the breeze. Spring is opening the windows for the cats and letting that breeze flow into the house and sweep out the corners.

Spring is light. Spring is color. Spring is poetry. Spring is song.

Spring is new life. Spring is a new year. Spring makes me feel alive and well and happy.

Spring is Here - posted by Vicki at Thu, 25 Mar, 00:02 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 23, 2004

Random Purple Questions

[ These came from Purple Ink this past week. ]

One of the members wrote:
Okay, I really need to find a new job. I'm bored again so here are some more questions:

I'm not bored, but I sympathize. I also enjoy this sort of thing, so here we go.

  • How old are you? (okay, if you don't want to be specific how about a decade)
  • Where do you live? Country? Type of home?
  • What do you do for a living? Or what did you do?
  • What type of education do you have?
  • Who is in your family?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What do you look like?
  • What languages do you speak?
  • What languages would you like to speak?
  • Who are your favorite actors?
  • Who are your favorite actresses?
  • What do you like to watch on tv?
  • Favorite colors?
  • Favorite films?
  • Favorite play?
  • Favorite magazines?
  • Favorite type of cheese?
  • Favorite drink?
  • What was/is your favourite book (or other type of) store? Why? Is it still there?

How old are you? (okay, if you don't want to be specific how about a decade)

What year is it? :-)
I'm 44.

Where do you live? Country? Type of home?

We live in a nice split-level tract house in a pleasant not-too-crowded 40-year-old development on the west side of the San Francisco peninsula. The development is bordered on south and west by Open Space, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and walking trails. On north and east it's bordered by more light residential area. We get raccoons and occasional skunks in our backyard; there are often owls and sometimes deer if they're stupid enough to come down from the ridge. There are coyotes on the ridge (sometimes we hear them) as well as snakes and rabbits; there are lizards on the trail.

We have a terrific great grocery store a mile away and another, almost as good, a bit more than a mile further. The airport is only 15 minutes away, but we're not on the flight path!. The City is just under half an hour north; Silicon Valley is less than an hour to the south. We have multiple walking trails within a few miles, the ocean is nearby, there are several roads that cross the ridge (and go through nice piney woods). Our east-facing windows overlook the Bay, the airport, and the twinkling lights of the East Bay cities. When it's not foggy we have a great view.

Our particular part of the development isn't overcrowded (the houses are set at a reasonable distance from each other). Our across-the-street neighbor is an elementary school and a City park. Our street is nice and wide. We have a large public utilities easement (open space) in the middle of the block.

Our weather is, most of the time, perfect. We have a pleasant, fair-sized, enclosed back garden.

I love where we live. We've discussed it many times and continually return to the thought that we can't really think of any place we'd rather be.

What do you do for a living? Or what did you do?

I'm a combination programmer, technical documentation specialist, and web weaver. I'm still all of those, even though I have been unemployed for three fourths of the past 2 years.

What type of education do you have?

I've got a BS in Microbiology with partial credit toward a BS in Biochemistry (I switched to Micro in my third year) and part of a minor in Computer Science. Then, trying to decide what to _do_ with that degree (I never wanted to "be" a microbiologist), I did 2 semesters of Forensic Science, followed by two years in a Microbiology program, resulting in an MS in Microbiology with a Computer Analysis thesis.

Who is in your family?

My immediate family consists of Spouse (Rich), self, and the furkids. Further out the family circle, I have a Mom & Dad and one sister (3 years younger); Spouse (Rich) has a brother (plus sister-in-law and niece), a brother-in-law (plus niece), and his Dad and stepmother. My parents are still in Pennsylvania; my sister is in Dallas Texas. Rich's Dad and BIL are in SOuthern California; his brother's family lives in Seattle, WA.

Do you have pets?

We have four feline furkids. Three are purebred Maine Coons, two boys and a girl. The fourth (another boy) is our token moggie and MC wannabe.

What do you look like?

I look like a "techie".

I'm 5'6", medium build, overweight (and lowering that!) but well-proportioned so I don't look nearly as overweight as I actually am. I have wavy, red hair, below my shoulders, blue eyes with yellow flecks, and glasses. I tend to dress in jeans (lately black or dark grey rather than blue; I've found a brand that fits well and looks good) and t-shirts or collared "Polo" shirts with black leather velcro sneakers.

What languages do you speak?

I speak English (the central Pennsylvania dialect :-). I can "get by" with American Sign Language (ASL) but I'm rusty. I know a few words in Spanish, mostly menu-Spanish and fewer still in German.

What languages would you like to speak?

I would dearly love to be fluent in ASL. I also wish I had enough Spanish to order in any Mexican restaurant (and to communicate with the waitress!).

Who are your favorite actors?

My favorite actors include Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Fred Astair, Spencer Tracey, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, ...

Another respondent said
Johnny Depp is growing on me.

He does that, doesn't he? :-)

I first saw Johnny Depp in "Nick of Time". Good movie; the character was a nebish.
The next film I saw with Johnny Depp was Chocolat - _definitely_ not a nebish!
And then, there was "Pirates of the Caribbean" and Johnny Depp was placed firmly on my list of People to Watch.

Who are your favorite actresses?

My favorite actresses include Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Sandra Bullock, ...

Another respondent said:
I hate to say it but I like Julia Roberts

I hate to say it but I like her too... However, I do think she could use plastic surgery for the mouth :)

What do you like to watch on tv?

On the rare occasions that I watch television, I prefer documentaries, wildlife and nature programs, BBC programs, Star Trek, and old movies. Most of the time, though, we don't watch TV. We watch movies on DVD and treat our TV as a nice video monitor.

Favorite colors?

When I was a kid, my stated favorite color was red. This has changed (darkened) with age, so that today, my favorite color is more specifically maroon (or burgundy; essntially any dark red or bluish red). I'm also very fond of teal.

Favorite films?

There are so many movies I really like. My favorites include Fantasia,The Great Race, 1776, the (original 3) Star Wars trilogy, most movies starring Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, or Ginger Rogers, many of the musicals from the 30's to the 50's, and many of Alfred Hitchcock's suspense films (but not the thrillers). I also really like the Pixar animated movies and most anything Disney has ever done.

Favorite play?

I grew up in a town that had a summer community theater program along with a major University that staged a lot of plays. Admission wasn't expensive and my parents (especially my mother) love plays so we went to a lot of plays. In addition to what I saw from the audience, I ran props for the High School Thespian club for two years and for the Penn State Thespians for another year. I have seen a LOT of plays. Some of my favorites include 1776 (seen on Broadway in 1972!), Light Up the Sky, You Can't Take it With You, Arsenic and Old Lace, anything by Neil Simon, anything by Ibsen or Shakespeare, or Shaw, ... there are so many.

Another respondent mentioned
The Glass Menagerie

Oooh. One that I forgot to list!

We saw this one done in Sign once. It was really cool. There were two voice interpreters, one male, one female, on a "balcony" above center stage, looking down at the cast. They voiced the lines while the cast signed.

The only weird part was that the director didn't change any of the lines, including the part about Pleurosis / Blue Roses (""I said pleurosis - he thought I said Blue Roses"). Had they modified things just a little to indicate that Jim and Laura were in an oral school, the misunderstanding would have made more sense but signed, the misunderstanding was impossible.

In any case, it's always been a favorite play of mine.

Favorite magazines?

Of the magazines we subscribe to, I guess my favorites are Readers Digest, MacWorld, Scientific American, CatFancy, and Smithsonian. Two favorites that, sadly, no longer exist were Science Digest and Science80 (81, 82, 83...)

Favorite type of cheese?

I prefer soft white cheeses. I especially like Danish Havarti, Jack, Feta, British Huntsman cheese ( a cheddar with an embedded layer of Blue), and Gorgonzola (preferably in salad or melted over something Italian) I probably shouldn't admit to this, but I also like Velveeta :-) I dislike Brie and Swiss.

Favorite drink?

I guess my favorite drink is tea (hot or iced, year round), followed by plain old water. I also like (not too sweet) lemonade, hot cocoa, Sunkist Orange soda, and Hansen's natural grapefruit soda..

What was/is your favourite book (or other type of) store?

As mentioned in my "If I ran a small store" entry, we used to patronize a delightful little bookstore called "Future Fantasy". They sold t-shirts, small sculptures and knick knacks (mostly dragons, wizards, griffins, and the like) as well as books, books, books. They carried fantasy and science fiction (duh!) as well as mysteries. They carried a lot of books that weren't part of the standard Barnes & Noble or Borders list - they even imported books from the UK, They also sold magazines, such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine.

We didn't get in as often as we liked (they were about 40 minutes from home, not in an area we go to regularly for anything else) but they were wonderful. Sadly, the proproetor closed the store a few years ago :-(

Another favorite is Chaucer's, an independent bookstore in Santa Barbara CA. Spouse grew up in Santa Barbara and his parents continued to live there. Chaucers doesn't specialize - they carry everything from Science fiction to travel books, non-fiction, mysteries, calendars... they have a room that is 1/3 of the store for children's books. The only problem with Chaucers is they need more space. The shelves go to the ceiling, books are piled on the floor, books are packed so tightly in the shelves it's difficult to remove them. But you can find some gems there that you wouldn't find anywhere else.

Chaucers is still in business, as far as I know. Lately, I haven't been making the excursions down to Santa Barbara. Hubby goes, stays for 3-5 days.

Random Purple Questions - posted by Vicki at Tue, 23 Mar, 16:17 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 16, 2004

Last of the Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)

What is your favorite season? Why?

My favorite season is Spring! Spring! Spring!

The days get LONGER again (the sun won't set today until 6:15 today, with twilight for another half hour after that! . The air is cool to warm, but rarely hot or cold. I can open the windows again for the kitties to smell the air and listen to the sounds outside. The hills are still green from winter (winter is our rainy season here), not yet brown (summer). Ornamental flowering trees are bursting with buds and color. There are some incredible puffy yellow things and the plums are frothy pink. There are daffodils and Cala lilies and even tulips. Years ago, someone planted patches of daffodils along the highway south of here, in an area that's mostly cow pasture; this is a great time to drive through there!.

What is your favorite type of day weather wise? Why?

We've been having it all week - blue sky, "room temperature" warm weather, a few clouds, clear to the horizon. No rain, not too hot, a light breeze. I can walk out of the house without a jacket or sweater. A sparkly, crystalline day!

Describe what your journal looks like.

These days my journal is all online. I've got a neat program called CircusPonies NoteBook (for Mac OS X) I have "lined paper" with 3 "punch holes" (and due to the marvels of Mac OS X, I can actually see through the "holes" and see whatever is underneath on the screen! Isn't that wild?!"

NoteBook provides me with the "magic notebook" I always wanted. No section is ever too small; I can rearrange things at will if I need to. The notebook grows to accommodate what I write. I've settled on sections by Month with one "page" for each day of the month and a page for a generally summary at the end of each month. Next year, I'll be able to come back and do the same dates on the same pages and compare! The summary ("conspectus"; I wanted an unusual word for a page title) is where I can list books I've read, movies I saw, special things I did or places I went for the month).

What is love? How do you know you're in love?

Love is having your pulse rate go up when the loved one walks in the room. Love is a smile that forms by itself when you see the loved one across the room. Love is anticipating when he or she will get home. Love is giving the loved one your last bite of cake, last bit of chicken, last swallow of milk. When you're with the loved one, no one else matters. Love is wanting to be with that person more than anyone else. Love is willing to let the loved one spend some time with other people, without you. Love is hugs and snuggles and shared laughter and eye contact. Love is inside jokes and shared history. Love is little things. Love is unexpected, pleasant surprises. Love is when he or she seems to read your mind. Love is a feeling of peace and contentment in the presence of the loved one.

What type of car do you drive? What does it look like?

We have two: a black 1994 Toyota Camry sedan with about 100,000 miles and a maroon 1989 Toyota Corolla sedan with something over 211,000. Both are in great mechanical condition although the Corolla has some cosmetic problems; we consider the Corolla to be our "beater car" and drive it whenever we go into the City. It's less obtrusive, older, and shorter and narrower for easier parking. Both are 4-door cars; I had a 2-door car _once_ and once was more than enough. I like to be able to easily offer someone a ride in the back seat. We got the Camry because I loved the Corolla; Toyota makes great cars. Both are easy to handle and drive well. The Camry is a better freeway car; it's rock solid and very smooth. I think Hubby and I are set on Toyota sedans for life.

What do you collect?

I used to collect 1/12 scale miniatures, and have a 10-room dollhouse and a 4-room glass-fronted display cabinet for them. I have always (and still) collected stuffed animals (I have a large set of beanie babies, not for value but because I like them!).

I've been collecting colored glass for years, mostly ruby red but also some dark green; I also have a set of vaseline glass in a special display cabinet (it glows under black light). And, last but never least, I collect all things cat-oriented, including calendars, comics, pictures, books, stuffed toys, and a lovely set of various figurines and small statues made of clay, stone, wood...

Last of the Purple Prompts (week of 3/7) - posted by Vicki at Tue, 16 Mar, 00:50 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday March 13, 2004

More Purple prompts (week of 3/7)

What are you currently reading?

The next to last in Barbara D'Amato's Cat Marsala mystery series. Great books,these. Interesting plots, good characterization and excellent writing.

Which room of your house is the messiest and why?

The garage; because it's where everything goes that doesn't have a home anywhere else. We cleared out the storage locker and everything came home to the garage. Hubby keeps working on trying to organize the garage; it's his space.

My office is second but I'm trying really hard to keep it relatively neat.

Have you ever dyed your hair? What colors?

Nope; it's naturally red; why change it? My sister (blond) once got a pink (magenta) rinse put in. She then walked home, 5 blocks. She said in that 5 blocks she saw more people that she knew than she usually would see in a week. She went into the house, straight to the shower, and washed out the color.

What are your favorite musicians?

Anything brass - The Canadian Brass, Winton Marsalis; the Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra; many classical guitarists (Christopher Parkening); a few singers (Enya)

Who are your favorite painters? Why?

Not so much painters as paintings: Van Gogh's Starry Night is my absolute favorite. It just does something for me. Most of the rest of Van Gogh's work I could take or leave (usually leave).

What monument(s) would you like to see? Why?

Might be nice to see Yellowstone. I've heard it's pretty. I've never seen Mount Rushmore in person. I have been to Yosemite and it's stunning. I like the natural stuff better than the man-made, although I would like to see the pyramids and the Acropolis I don't intend to go there...

What nationalities are you?

Very American, as both families have been here since great-greats but back before that, mostly German, German, German, and English or perhaps Welsh.

More Purple prompts (week of 3/7) - posted by Vicki at Sat, 13 Mar, 22:37 Pacific | Comments (0)

Purple Prompts (week of 3/7)

Sunday

If you could live in any other time period, which would you choose? Why?

If I could live in any other time period, I would you choose the future, sometime after interstellar travel (warp/hyper drive, FTL drive, subspace drive; whatever you want to call it) has been discovered and in use for a while and we're colonizing other planets and visiting distant stars.

Many past times in history are of interest to me but as a myopic woman who appreciates indoor plumbing, good roads, germ theory and the associated advances in medicine, and also loves technology and science, I wouldn't fit in back then.

Monday

What is your earliest memory, and why does it stand out in your mind?

I have a memory of the night before my sister was born; we were visiting my grandmother. I remember waking in the night, my parents were going out to the hospital. I was three and a half. I also remember my Dad driving me over the next day to stand in the parking lot and wave to my Mom through the window.

Tuesday

Have you ever had a supernatural experience? If so, describe it. If not, would you like to? Why or why not?

Would I like to? Sure, unless it was one of those "Haunting of Hill House" sorts of things.

If I did, I viewed it as natural. I sometimes "know" things. When my Mom was in the hospital for a bad flu and we visited her, I looked at the old woman in the other bed in the room and just "knew" she'd die in the night... and she did. Hmmm.

My "talent" is finding things. After I stop being annoyed that I've lost whatever it is, I can often just walk to the spot where it is and pick it up. I can also do things with things someone else (say my spouse) can't find.

Wednesday

If you had a secret you positively could not keep to yourself, who would you tell? Why would you tell this person?

Well, my theory on most secrets is to forget them and then they are safe. But most "don't tell anyone (else)" things I share with my spouse. I trust mine implicitly. What I know, he knows, and vice versa.

Thursday

Pick a movie monster that you can identify with. What about the monster makes you empathize with him/her?

I just love Godzilla. I wouldn't say I _identify_ with him, but... In all of the movies but the first he's the champion of Japan and Tokyo. He's a big, unabashedly rubber, movie monster. Those great rubber spines on his back are so neat. And the roar! In one movie, he and the villain monster (is that the one with the robot?) play a sort of volleyball with huge rocks.

Friday

If you could create a TV show, what would the title be and what would it be about? How would the show differ if you were both its creator AND its star?

Gosh; I don't even watch TV; why would I do this? :-)

Perhaps an animal show or a history show. Maybe a show kind of ala Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (anyone else remember that one?). Maybe including episodes about domestic animals - cats, dogs, .... Something educational.

Or perhaps something along the lines of Masterpiece Theatre but with older movies; I'd be the host and introduce the movie from my handsomely appointed library ala Alistair Cooke.

Saturday

Pick one of your favorite movies and tell us why you enjoyed it so much.

My favoritist (tm :-) movie is Fantasia. I love the idea of the creators illustrating the music that way. When I hear The Nutcrasker Suite, I don't even have to close my eyes to "see" dancing mushrooms. I saw this movie when it first came out, fell in love with it then, and have seen it again and again.

I love "The Great Race"; I think it's my all-time favorite comedy. My parents both love it and we'd watch it every time it was on the Sunday Afternoon TV matinee. I had to teach my spouse the meaning of "Push the button, Max" because that's something everyone in my family says!

I'm also a great fan of 1776 because I saw the stage play in 1972; I know most of the lines :-)

Purple Prompts (week of 3/7) - posted by Vicki at Sat, 13 Mar, 22:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday March 06, 2004

Purple Prompts for this week

[ This week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. ]

Sunday

Keep a record of what money you spend this week.

Mostly I spend money on books and groceries and meals. We eat a lot of meals out (although tonight we will be eating at home). I track our expenses because Hubby and I share the financial responsibility but I pay for almost everything up front.

But I'm not going to tell anyone how much that is :-)

Monday

What is the ideal peaceful place for you?

Home is my peaceful place; I have four loving kitties I adore. I like to be here; I have my cats, my projects, books to read. I'm happiest at home, less happy wwhen I get farther away. I don't travel well.

Tuesday

If you could rid the earth of one thing what would it be?

If I could rid the earth of one thing, I would choose intolerance. If I could pick two, the second would be blind prejudice.

Wednesday

Name the best music/musical performance you have attended.

I went to a Neil Diamond live concert in 1982. It was electric.

Hmmm. Ah. In 1972, my Aunt and Uncle went to New York City for the weekend because my Uncle (head of the University History Dept) had some sort of meetings to attend at the U.N. They invited me and my cousin (their son who is my age) to come along. AMong other things, we went to see the musical play, 1776, on stage. It was delightful. It's one of my favorite plays (or movies) and I can quote many lines from it.

Thursday

What fictional world would you like to inhabit?

I mostly read fantasy; most fantasy worlds have a lot of magic but a dearth of technology and simple comforts (such as indoor plumbing, good roads, reliable and comfortable transportation, etc). I like to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

But then, fictional doesn't have to refer to literature (and besides, there are novelizations), so I think I'd pick San Francisco on Earth (in the what is it, 24th? century) - the period between Classic (Kirk) Start Trek and ST:TNG (Picard).

Friday

List the contents of your closet.

My closet mostly contains clothing (not all of it by any means. Hanging, I have a few dresses at the far left, then a large number of long-sleeved button front shirts in chamois (Eddie Bauer, yum), Oxford cloth, and denim; about half of these have embroidered designs; a good third are Winnie the Pooh and Friends. The rest of the rack is collared "Polo" style shirts, color-sorted. Down below are two plastic bins with socks and underwear (unopened, unworn) to get out when the stuff I've been wearing gets too holey, and my sweatshirt collection. On the shelves above are my seasonal shirts (Halloween and Christmas) waiting for the appropriate season, more sweatshirts and some nice sweaters that I never remember to wear because they're on the top shelf of my closet.

Saturday

If you could start an orphanage for children anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I can't imagine; there are so many places that need one. Most of those have one, I should think. Hmmmm... no idea.

Bonus Prompt

If you where to have 3 new baby daughters what would you name them? Sons?

Spouse and self have no interest in having Human children. Kitties are fine with us. But as for favorite names? I've always liked Bronwyn and Gwynyth, though whether I would burden a child with one of those I don't know. I've always liked Michael too.

Now, if you were to ask me about suggestions for names for pussycats... :-)

Many, many years ago (when we were both kids ourselves) my sister (who also has no human kids) announced that if she were to have kids someday she'd name a daughter, September and a son, Thor. Perhaps it's best if she sticks to dogs...

Purple Prompts for this week - posted by Vicki at Sat, 06 Mar, 12:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday February 22, 2004

A Little Bit Crazy

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy.
    -- Janet Long

List the ways you are just a little bit crazy.

Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.
    - attr. to an Old Irish proverb

I'm a programmer. We're all a little bit crazy. (Spouse and self prefer the word "skew ;-)

I do a lot of things my own way.

I talk to myself. I also answer. Is this crazy? I thought this was "normal"?

One of my personal "mottos" is

Ooit'n Normaal Mens Ontmoet? En..., Beviel't?

Translated into English from the original Dutch, this means:

Ever met a normal person? So..., did you like it?
A Little Bit Crazy - posted by Vicki at Sun, 22 Feb, 18:32 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday February 21, 2004

Breaking the Rules

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

List 20 rules you've broken.

What sort of rules? Who makes them? Written or unwritten? (I'm probably breaking a rule by asking ;-)

Generally, I follow many rules - but not blindly nor just because they are rules. I am more likely to follow rules I agree with in principle, rules that have the force of law (I have an aversion to being stopped, detained, fined, or (gack!) arrested), rules for which the breaking could cause damage to my person or property, and rules for which the breaking would simply cause me too much hassle.

In any case, my following of rules should not be misconstrued to indicate that I prefer to conform. :-) The first and most frequent "rule" I break is "Just do what you're told". :-)

Here are 20 rules I break with some regularity:

  1. I don't "Just do what I'm told" — I question the rules

  2. I question authority (including its right to call itself "authority"), especially in the workplace

  3. I don't watch prime time television and I don't care who got voted off the island

  4. I don't finish everything I start

  5. I am perfectly willing to end a sentence with a preposition

  6. I don't own at least one suit or item of "proper business attire"; I have never worn high heeled shoes.

  7. I send Thank You notes by email

  8. I bring the condiments to the table in their bottles and tubs

  9. I look up the answers to trick questions and riddles

  10. I read ahead; I read the end of mystery novels first

  11. I don't do most of the exercises in "self-help" and "tutorial" books; I look at the answers.

  12. I live in the SF Bay Area and I don't root for the San Francisco 49'ers _or_ the Oakland Raiders (or the Giants, or the A's, or the Sharks, or the...)

  13. I don't use my credit card only for purchases that will last beyond the next billing period

  14. I don't keep my credit card receipts

  15. I don't balance my checkbook

  16. I don't make sure to get 8 hours of sleep every night

  17. I don't answer the phone every time it rings

  18. I don't send Christmas cards

  19. I don't do things the way other people expect

  20. I don't really care what other people think.
Breaking the Rules - posted by Vicki at Sat, 21 Feb, 15:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday February 20, 2004

The Magnificent Truth

[ Today's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Every night at bedtime, say this prayer:
God, help me accept the truth about myself, no matter how magnificent it is.
    — Rhonda Hull, Ph.D.

What is the magnificent truth about yourself?

I'm intelligent and I am good at what I do.

I am not necessarily particularly good at what other people want me to do, and that is NOT a problem with me. It's not something I need to "work on" or change.

I won't bend over backwards for anyone else, but when I am allowed to be in control of my life and my direction, I'm confident, careful, consistent, capable, competent, critical, creative, and clever. (Not to mention alliterative :-)

The Magnificent Truth - posted by Vicki at Fri, 20 Feb, 11:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

On a Perfect Day...

[ Yesterday's writing prompt from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

How would your day go if it went perfectly?

On a perfect day, I would wake naturally, not to an alarm clock. I will have slept well and dreamlessly and I will not feel exhausted. There will be cats in the bed when I wake up. It will be before 10 am. Neither of us will have to go to work (or anywhere else in particular).

We'd go to our favorite diner for breakfast and I would have Eggs Florentine, cooked perfectly. We'd come home and noodle around the house, doing small projects. I'd take a nap in the afternoon, joined by all four cats.

We'd have a pleasant dinner with a friend, followed by a quiet evening spent reading with cats, a long soak in the hot tub and then bed with a feeling of contentment and accomplishment.

A perfect day would, of course, present no annoyances, no disagreements, no arguments, no idiots on the road, no meetings or appointments, no bills to pay, no phone calls, nothing urgent to be attended to. The weather would be in the low seventies with a light breeze. And a pleasant time is had by all.

On a Perfect Day... - posted by Vicki at Fri, 20 Feb, 11:35 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 19, 2004

Three More Questions

[ My responses to the other half of last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Cartoon Characters
List your favorite cartoon characters.

Personality Trait
Name the personality trait you have tried hardest to change in yourself.

Childhood Books
Name your favorite book from childhood.


Cartoon Characters

When I was little, I watched Speed Racer and The Thuderbirds (the latter isn't actually a cartoon). I enjoyed the Hana Barbera cartoons a lot - Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Booboo, Snaglepuss (Exit! Stage Left!), Quick Draw McGraw, and the rest. I had a pair of toy mice I named Pixie and Dixie.

Spouse and self prefer the Disney Toon family to those of Warner Bros. We've discussed this often and have come to the conclusion that most of the Warner Bros. Toons are.. naughty. I may enjoy watching Bugs tweak Daffy on TV but I would never invite either of them into my house! (Just look at what they did to Michael Jordan's house in Space Jam ;-). Most of the Disney troupe, I think, would be polite house guests (even Donald Duck).

Of the Disney group, I love the Pooh Family best of all. I have large numbers of Pooh Family embroidered apparel. Within the Pooh Family, my all-time favorite is Tigger. Many years ago (at least 10), Spouse and self visited Southern CA with my parents in tow; they'd never been to Disneyland. (Note that I was at least 30 at this time :-) There was Tigger, walking about, shaking hands, getting his picture taken. I walked over but he was so surrounded by small children. I walked back to my folks, disappointed. "I can't even get close enough to say Hello", I began when... a furry mitten landed on my shoulder and there was Tigger. We got a photo and I had a good day.

Personality Trait

Name the personality trait you have tried hardest to change in yourself. The personality trait I've been working most diligently to expunge is my tendency to react emotionally to everything. I get upset; I cry. I get annoyed; I get angry. I argue; I blow up. Calm, cool, think it through, lower the stress, nothing is that important. Steady. Better.

Childhood Books

Name my favorite book from childhood... Impossible! You're asking a Reader. I spent hours in the library; I always brought home the maximum allowable number of books.

I remember my delight on the days that the Scholastic Books flyer would be handed out at school; I'd rush home to go through it with my parents, deciding which books to order. I recall my anticipation a few weeks later when the box of books would arrive and the teacher would call my name. All those wonderful new books to read!

There are too many favorites to list. Here are a very few that bubble to the top of my mind:
"My Father's Dragon", "A Wrinkle in Time", The Moffats, Elizabeth Enright ("The Four-story Mistake", "Gone-Away Lake",...), The Boxcar Children, Edward Eager ("Half Magic", "Magic by the Lake",..."The Ghost of Opalina", "Winnie The Pooh", Beverley Cleary (I read about Homer and beezus; my sister read about Ramona), "Rocket Mouse", the Uncle Wiggly tales, "Honey Bear (a book from my _mother's_ childhood), "Samantha's Secret Room", "The Phantom Tollbooth", "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", "Junior Jamboree for Boys"...

I had a wonderful set of hardcover books we called simply "the Red books"; each volume was filled with stories, or poetry; each volume had a theme. I wish I had these with me, but my mother insists on keeping them (and using them!)

Three More Questions - posted by Vicki at Thu, 19 Feb, 10:33 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 18, 2004

Three Questions

[ My responses to three writing prompts from this week on Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Name Five Things...
Name five things in your refrigerator/freezer.
Name five things in your pantry.
Name five things under your kitchen sink.
Name five things around your computer.
Name five things in your medicine cabinet.

Handling Change
Sometimes we spend a lot of time and energy resisting change in our lives. Many of us don't like change...we prefer to keep things comfortable. But change is necessary for personal growth. How well do you deal with change? Do you try to keep things simple and routine in your life or do you love the challenge of new things?

Bad Ideas
What are three things you wish were never invented?


Name Five Things...

Five things in/under/around my...
    ...fridge - peanut butter, celery, milk, yougurt, eggs

    ...freezer - ice cubes, ice cream, frozen peaches, frozen sausages, edamame

    ...pantry - a lot of canned soup, unopened jar of mayonnaise, canned tuna, canned asparagus, unopened jars of peanut butter

    ...sink - dishwasher soap, dishpans, disposal (takes up most of the space), a bucket (for leaks), a few scrubbers of various sorts (mostly used for the grill)

    ...computer - cats, pens, small toys, papers, cat brush

    ...medicine cabinet - Advil, Excedrin, Actifed, toothpaste, Titrilac

Handling Change

As someone we know once said, "Better isn't always better, but better is always different". Another quote I love is "Things were all so different before everything changed..."

I don't like large changes. I don't like most "new and improved" products (that labeling usually makes me wonder how they broke it). I especially don't like change to be foist upon me! For example, I'm happy to learn a new computer language when I need it for a project, but not because my manager says "I want you to learn X so you can become our X pert".

I need to control the changes around me. Like cats, I appreciate routine and stability in my life. And, also like cats, I get used to small changes, but I prefer to supervise and approve the large ones.

Bad Ideas

What are three things you wish were never invented?
  1. Baggy pants :-)

  2. I could say I wish the telephone or television had never been invented -- or guns, or gunpowder or nuclear fission or any of that sort of thing -- but just because an invention is misused doesn't mean the invention should have stayed (or could have stayed!) un-thought-of. That said, I wish no one had managed to invent things like crack cocaine, or crystal meth, or any of the designer drugs, and that no one had discovered/invented the ephedrin diet drugs. These are all too nasty.

  3. With all the silliness of the past few years, I sincerely wish that the ideas of patents, copyright, trademarks, and the offices that assign those had never been invented. The patent office is willynilly assigning patents for discoveries (NOT inventions), for natural phenomena, for things that have been in use by a lot of people for years! I've heard it said that the Patent Office is so naive it would be possible to patent aspirin. I'm almost waiting for someone to try that!
Three Questions - posted by Vicki at Wed, 18 Feb, 21:19 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 16, 2004

Four Questions

[ My responses to four writing prompts from last week on Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Unrequited
If you could have returned the love of someone you rejected in the past, who would it be?

Cityscape
If you were to pick a city which best represents your personality, which would you choose?

Hobbies
List your hobbies.

Word Use
If you could prevent someone you know from overusing one word, what would the word be?


Unrequited

I don't recall ever rejecting anyone (knowingly). Although once, at a party, a casual (VERY casual) acquaintance mentioned to me that it was "too bad" I was taken or he'd be "after" me. Yech! I immediately went to find Spouse and gave him a big hug and told him how very glad I was that he was in my life! I wouldn't go back and pick up with anyone in my past. I'm quite content with Spouse and life as it is.

Cityscape

San Francisco fits both Spouse and self well. Seattle has good vibes but poor weather. Vancouver might be nice, but again, the weather give it lower marks. We both like the "live and let live" attitude of San Francisco and the SF Bay Area in general. That said, I'm not a City person; I don't like the noise, the congestion, the smells, the parking. So the _region_ that best suits my personality is... the SF Bay Area, the Peninsula in particular. And what ho! That's where we live.

Hobbies

My hobbies include reading, playing with the cats, programming, snuggling with the cats, reading, creating web pages, chasing the cats, going for walks with Spouse, hugging the cats, writing for my Journal or one of my weblogs, creating weblog entries for the cats, reading, sending email, taking photos of the cats, and reading (with the cats).

Word Use

I'm not a fan of either sh*t or f*ck. I don't use either; I don't like hearing them. I'd be happy to prevent anyone within my circle of friends and acquaintances from uttering those two "words" in casual conversation. If you need an expletive, there are many more interesting choices. If you simply need a filler word... you really don't need a filler word.
Four Questions - posted by Vicki at Mon, 16 Feb, 20:58 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday February 12, 2004

Sweet Happy Life

[ The fourth and last of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Sweet Happy Life

Sort of a continuation of yesterday's prompt:
There is a lot of drudgery, tediousness, and repetition in daily life. There are plenty of things that all of us have to do in the course of a day or week that are absolutely no fun at all. Life shouldn‚t necessarily be one big barrel of laughs, but at the same time, it‚s important that we not get weighed down by the endlessness of it all.

How do you rise above the dailiness? What techniques do you use to help yourself face down that hypothetical tower of dirty dishes? How do you diffuse the unpleasantness of certain things that you have to deal with in your life? Share some of the things that you do to make daily life a little sweeter.

I mostly ignore or avoid any sense of repetition (unless the things that are repeating are something I really enjoy).

We're not manic housekeepers. We're not exactly slovenly, but... housework isn't something we do on a schedule. It's something we do when it needs to be done. The small jobs we do a little at a time, in a constant manner. Pick up the living room, fold the lap blanket, toss the recycelables, wipe down the counter immediately after using it. Bigger jobs get done when something reaches the "do point". Laundry gets done when the basket is full; dishes are washed when the dishwasher is full. Laundry and dishes go into the basket/machine as they need it, keeping the floor and counters clear. Little by little, a bit at a time, nothing ever really jumps us from a dark corner.

Since we never know when anything major is coming, exactly, we don't have anything to look "forward to", There's no "Oh, Saturday, vacuuming day. Just once I don't want to vacuum on Saturday." for us.

I once had a roommate... she believed in vacuuming every Saturday morning. This was an apartment with three young adult women - two grad students and one senior undergrad - who were rarely home; no kids, no pets, no parties. At 8:30 am, every Saturday morning, vazooORM outside my bedroom door. She kept trying to insist I should take a turn. I kept reminding her that it was I who owned the vacuum cleaner. (I sold it to her when I moved out).

Occasionally, as I am sorting whites from darks and tossing them into the wash, I'll think "Too bad we have to keep doing laundry over and over again". But then I think, "Well, I like my clothes. I don't want to wear disposable clothing and use paper plates. A little bit of work here and there for maintenance isn't so bad". And then, with the thought, the sorting is over (two people simply don't generate _that_ much laundry, the lid is down on the machine, and I'm out of the laundry room.

And next, while the washing machine runs (consider daily life in the 1800s without all these delightful labor saving devices!), while the laundry goes 'round, I go engage in one of the repeating daily "tasks" I really enjoy - chasing the cats, catching them, and petting their furry tummies!

Sweet Happy Life - posted by Vicki at Thu, 12 Feb, 13:22 Pacific | Comments (0)

Ignorance is Bliss

[ The third of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Ignorance is Bliss

...if a woman was to see all the dishes that she had to wash before she died, piled up before her in one pile, she'd lie down and die right then and there.
- Aunt Jane of Kentucky, "Anonymous Was a Woman"

What knowledge are you glad you didn't have at the time?
What part of your future are you thankful that you couldn't envision as a child?
What aspects of daily life would have made you "lie down and die right then and there" had you but known?

Of course, if one were to see all of the laundry to be done and folded... all of the bowls of dog food to serve... all of the litter boxes to be scooped... the toys to be picked up... all of the time "spent" waiting for red lights ... time in the dentist's chair... time driving the kids to school (and after-school activities)... time pumping gas... gallons of gasoline pumped! Hours shopping for groceries... gallons of milk purchased... eggs boiled...bread sliced... The pile of bills to be paid... mail to be sifted... trash to be taken out... bottles and cans to be recycled.

A lifetime of events piled into one moment would be insuperable for most people!

It would be best, instead to envision flowers smelled, hugs given and received, books read; to consider hours spent reading to the kids, holding the cat, walking the dog. Think of flowers planted, flowers smelled, letters written, letters read, friends made, conversations enjoyed, good meals eaten in the company of friends and loved ones, Look ahead and see the good memories to be made and stored.

The future's not ours to see... that's a Good Thing!
No matter how long it is, life is too short to spend time dwelling on things like dishes.
Concentrate on the positive. Leave the rest behind.

Ignorance is Bliss - posted by Vicki at Thu, 12 Feb, 13:21 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday February 10, 2004

Finding Your Own Style

[ The second of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Finding Your Own Style

I received the latest issue of WireWoman's "Lurpl" zine this weekend. Plenty of great ideas in there, as usual, but there was one thing in particular that I‚ve been thinking about since I read it. With any kind of creative venture, most of us have a tendency to seek out every book, website, magazine, and other resource we can find on the subject. We like examples and full color photographs. We try some or all of the techniques we come across. The problem is (at least, for me), that it becomes very easy to get wrapped up in these other people's styles.

How do you keep the scale tipped on the side of Inspiration instead of Imitation? What is your take on what WW calls "Buying The Book"? Whether you keep "art journals" or regular journals, do you like to read up on the subject or do you prefer to keep outside influence to a minimum? If the former, how do you stretch beyond the how-to books and come up with something that is truly yours (describe or show us some examples if you can)? If the latter, why?

Does anyone else suffer from inspiration overload? When it comes to diaries and journals of any kind, I tend to keep the how-to books to a minimum and avoid the magazines altogether. I just can't take it. My brain completely absorbs the stuff from the "experts"and the "real" artists, and I end up in one or both of the above two situations.

I've always been a great admirer of other people's work. As you say, I love to look at the magazine; I love pretty pictures. I like to walk through craft fairs admiring everything. I occasionally think "I could do that" (and not just about paintings that contain three amorphous splotches of primary color :-)

In my primary craft (programming and web weaving) I often take advantage of the programmer's virtues: Laziness, Hubris, and Impatience. ( http://www.io.com/~shiva/ninevirtues.html ). The virtue of Laziness includes never writing from scratch what you can borrow from somewhere else and build upon. Besides, which, I work best when I'm working from models and templates and examples. I work least well when all I have is instructions, theory, or requirements to go on.

My crafts have always followed a similar approach.

I've never felt particularly intimidated, however, nor have I tried to copy anyone else's work too exactly. And if I don't like a craft, or a particular project (or a programming language), I move on to something else.

I would credit my parents for why other peoples work serves as inspiration and example but not as (excessive) influence or deterrent to my own style. My parents are the truly creative people in my family. My mother (who wanted to be a dress designer) taught High School Art until I was born. She's run the crafts program for the Park & Recreation Department for at least 45 (OMG!) years. She's been a Brownie leader since I was entering 3rd grade (and my troop needed a leader). She made posters for a local clothing shop. She is CRAFTY.

I've been following examples, paging through crafts magazines, trying various techniques and simply playing around under an excellent teacher since I was 4 years old. I think, after a while, I just got really used to seeing more examples than I could ever begin to consider trying. For example, every summer, my Mom plans the craft program for Park & Rec. When I was a kid, that meant 10 weeks of crafts for 3 different age groups, thus 30 separate models per summer. It adds up.

My Dad is an architect, a fair hand with a caligraphy pen, quite good at sketching when he bothers. My Dad designed (from my ideas) and drew my book covers through Junior High and High School. He made tiny architectural scale models that I yearned to play with as a child. "Gift certificates" in our house were always handmade.

My parents can both draw. I'm crafty but not artistic and I can neither draw nor paint anything recognizable... maybe something that contained three amorphous splotches of primary color :-)

So I grew up surrounded by models and samples and examples and how-tos. Going beyond those has just never been an issue for me. The delineation between "model" and "my work" was ingrained from a very early age. Also, I'm a VERY independent person, so that, as well, makes me form a strong distinction in my mind between what I see and what I do myself.

My only "problem" has been to try to achieve some semblance of my results being anywhere near as good as some of the models I'm looking at! Once in a while (as with a delightful 1:12 miniature poinsettia I did once), I've succeeded.

Finding Your Own Style - posted by Vicki at Tue, 10 Feb, 20:37 Pacific | Comments (0)

Desire

[ The first of my responses to last week's writing prompts from Purple Ink, an eList for Journallers. If you keep an online (or offline) journal, consider joining Purple Ink. ]

Desire

Even though the holidays are over, what's on your wish list? What material things are you drooling over right now? Why?

Speaking of material things, what is your gratification policy? Do you try to get what you want as soon as possible or do you prefer to take your time before acquiring new things? Why? What cultural, environmental, spiritual, and/or familial elements shape your policy?

What material things am I drooling over right now?

Books. Always books. More books!

Why? You have to ask? Because, well, because they're books! Books books beautiful books. One can NEVER have too many books. (Actually, one can, because one runs out of shelf space, but I digress).

Prying my thoughts away from More Books!, I'm drooling for a version 2 iPod. Not because I need one, you understand, because I surely don't. Given that I am, at present, jobless (again or still, take your pick), I don't even use the iPod I already have (a 10GB version 1 that is nowhere near to being full). I only drool for the version 2 because Hubby got one and it's sooo spiffy with that cool dock and all those wonderful attachments (that I don't need either) that only attach to the version 2 machines. Sigh.

I'm drooling for a PowerMac G5, too. As with the iPod, it's not like I need one. My blue&white G3 does everything I need. It has never let me down. But the G5 is so FAST. Hubby is similarly drooling. He came into my office the other day and said "I simply can't rationalize a G5. I spend 10 hours a day at work and I'm not going to buy myself a G5 to take to work. I'm hardly in my office at home except on weekends, 'cause when I get home I crash. So it makes no sense to buy one for home. It makes no sense to buy one, period, but I sure wish it did." I sympathize. I'm home all day and even if I had the money (which I don't) I can't begin to rationalize a "need".

But then, both the iPod and the G5 have very high Toy Value. Does one really need to justify a desire for things of high Toy Value?

My gratification policy is fairly simple - if I see something and I think I can afford it, I buy it. My standards for "can afford" tend to follow this line of reasoning: under $20 is a no-brainer, under $50 takes thought, under $100 takes Serious thought, over $100 requires Discussion, over $500 requires Serious Discussion and (hopefully) buy-in (literally) from Hubby.

My gratification policy needs adjustment.

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this policy. Problem number 1 is, when you don't have a job, you don't have an income; when you don't have an income, even $20 should require at least Serious Thought. Sigh.

Problem number 2 is, even when I do have money, all those "no-brainers" can add up to a number in the "Serious Discussion" category fairly quickly (as I learned back when I had a job and simultaneously discovered DVDs at half.com. Yowza! (but I did have fun) ).

My family has always been of the "if it makes sense and we can afford it we will buy it" mentality. I wasn't brought up on budgets or allowances or working chores for money. My first "real" big ticket item purchase was the year after I graduated High School. I decided I wanted a camera, a 35mm SLR Pentax K-1000 to be precise. At that time, that camera cost $500. That summer, I took my first summer job (that was the first summer that my family didn't go on our usual summer vacation. In retrospect, I'm never quite sure how I feel about that. But I did love the camera.) I hardly spent a dime until I had the money for the camera. All money I got for anything went into the bank. Everything I spent went into a book. When I had enough money my Dad and I went to the store and bought my camera.

Looking back, I'm both proud and astonished at how disciplined I was in saving and not spending. I have never been that disciplined before or since.

In Grad School, I was essentially a pauper (redundant, huh?) so I didn't spend much. When I got my first job, I was, suddenly, relatively wealthy. Also, I had met Hubby shortly after I started Grad school, and it wasn't just me anymore when I got that first post-grad school job. Hubby was a well-paid independent computer consultant. So... thus began my (no longer feasible but deeply ingrained) purchasing strategy. The only thing that has changed much in the past 20 years is the monetary values attached to the levels. $20 used to require thought back when ATM units weren't so... disposable.

Desire - posted by Vicki at Tue, 10 Feb, 20:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Sunday February 01, 2004

Birthday Memories

[ I was the Writing Prompter for this week on Purple Ink. Here are the last two prompts for this week. ]

Saturday: It's your day to celebrate
When you were growing up, were birthdays treated specially? What made them special?

Sunday: I remember one year...
Do any of your birthdays stand out in your mind as being particularly memorable? What made them memorable?

Saturday

When I was growing up, birthdays were special. My sister and I each had our own special day. We didn't have big parties with school friends, but small family affairs with perhaps one or two family friends.

We got to choose the menu and we always had theme birthdays. Our Mom and Dad are both very talented, crafty, and artistic. Our Mom always created and decorated our cakes herself.

My sister always had an animal theme. She got to choose the animal but she never saw the cake until it came out after dinner. I never knew what the theme would be until the cake appeared. After dinner, we'd always be asked to leave the dining room and not watch as out parents (with the help of the other sister) changed the table cloth, brought out the matching napkins and paper plates and the presents. Then we'd get to return and sit down and (I, at least) would have a few minutes to guess the theme before the cake was brought in, candles lit.

For each of us, the 21st birthday was the last "party" birthday. For my 21st, my sister ordained that the theme would be a classic Birthday-party theme, with streamers, balloons, confetti, and pink and white icing. In return, I declared a tradition to be made and we did the same for her three years later.

Sunday

My twelfth birthday had a dinosaur theme. The cake was a chocolate sheet cake with a volcano at one end (another cake baked in the smallest mixing bowl and upended). The cake was iced in chocolate (mud) and red, yellow, and orange lava (icing) flowed down the sides of the volcano (along with wax lava from the 12 candles all stuck together at the crater). A dozen plastic dinosaurs walked across the top of the cake, having left footprints in the mud. It was a most impressive cake.

One year I had a Snoopy theme. The cake was a three-dimensional doghouse / Sopwith Camel (with chocolate chip "bullet holes") and a plastic Snoopy "World War Flying Ace" rode on top shooting down an imaginary red Baron.

One year I had an elegant gazebo in a garden with a sugar-icing Southern Belle i the gazebo. I kept her in a glass jar until she eventually disintegrated.

Birthday Memories - posted by Vicki at Sun, 01 Feb, 08:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Friday January 30, 2004

Purple Birthday Prompt (2004.01.26/F)

[ I'm the Writing Prompter this week on Purple Ink. Here is today's prompt. ]

Friday: Another place and time...
If you could choose to have been born at another place or time in history, would you? Where or when would you choose?


I'm happy with when I was born. I like this time; I'm heavily "into" technology. Also, as a woman, I'm acutely aware that women didn't have many rights or privileges throughout much of history. I'm happy with where, as well. I was born in central Pennsylvania and grew up in a "statistical; metropolis" , a College town, with a high emphasis on education and a lot of perks (off-Broadway show tours, the Army/Navy band, the 4th of July carnival and fireworks display, a good Park&Rec system in the summers, decent public schools...)

Purple Birthday Prompt (2004.01.26/F) - posted by Vicki at Fri, 30 Jan, 11:01 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday January 29, 2004

Happy Birthday!

[ I'm the Writing Prompter this week on Purple Ink. Here is today's prompt. ]

Thursday: Happy Birthday!
What does your birthday mean to you?
How do you celebrate your birthday? Quietly alone? With a friend or two? With a big party?


hbday_balloons

Happy Birthday to Me

And it is, too (thus the theme of this week's prompts :-)

My birthday is a special day to me. When I'm employed, I often take that day off as a vacation day if it falls during the week. I celebrate with Spouse and sometimes a friend or two. On occasion, I've bought myself a cake, taken it in to work, and invited friends to join me.

Tonight we're meeting three friends at the Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We drive down to Cupertino (35 miles) because that Outback is the best (although it's not the closest) and because two of our friends work across the street (making it convenient to join them there for dinner!). Two of our friends also live very near the Outback; the other lives 35 miles away in a different direction.

We'll have a lovely dinner of steak, shrimp, and salad; we'll splurge on a "Sinful Sundae" (shared) with extra toasted coconut; then we'll come home and play with the cats and read till bedtime.

And that will be a lovely birthday celebration.

Happy Birthday! - posted by Vicki at Thu, 29 Jan, 07:29 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 28, 2004

Purple Birthday Prompts

[ Three of this week's writing prompts, suggested by me, from Purple Ink. If you like journal writing, join Purple Ink! ]

This week has a theme.

Monday: Seasons
What time of year is your birthday?
If you could have chosen to be born at any time of year, what would you choose and why?

Tuesday: Surprise! Make a wish!
How do you feel about your cultures' celebration of birthdays?
Should a birthday be treated specially? Like a holiday? Do people spend too much energy on on birthdays?

Wednesday: You don't look a day over...
How do you feel about getting older?
Have your feelings changed over time?


Monday

My birthday is in mid-winter (late winter using the old calendar that says mid-winter is Dec 22 :-) I like it when it is; that's just long enough after Xmas. As a child, I used to ask for special gifts "for Christmasormybirthday". A birthday at the end of January (in that long greywhite winter period with few holidays) was a nice respite from day-to-day

Tuesday

I like the special treatment of birthdays, although I stop short at surprise parties. I think the choice of how to celebrate should be up to the person whose birthday it is. If they want a party, don't wonder about the etiquette of that request! If they don't want a party, accept their wishes gracefully.

I prefer to celebrate people's birthdays (and give birthday gifts) rather than Xmas.

Wednesday

I've never paid much attention to my age. I can't remember ever caring. In fact, when I need to tell someone my age, I have a tendency to need to stop and think (and subtract my birth year from the current year). It helps to have been born early in the year.

I don't pay much attention to other people's ages either. Friends are contemporaries, whatever their chronological age.

Purple Birthday Prompts - posted by Vicki at Wed, 28 Jan, 16:00 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 25, 2004

Purple Prompts #8-#10

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I've been posting a few at a time over more than one day. I posted three on Wednesday, four on .Friday and the rest are here.
Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

    8. List the dishes your mother or grandmother made that you would love to have the recipe for
    9. Name all of the books you have in your possession that you've never read.
    10. What is your most prized possession?

8. List the dishes your mother or grandmother made that you would love to have the recipe for

Ah... but I do have those recipes! I made sure to get them, years ago!

My Nana's cobbler recipe. My Mom's Pork & Sauerkraut. Burger bundles (though I never make them). Lemon sponge pie. Gram's salad dressing. Mom's fried chicken and potato salad (which, sadly, Hubby doesn't care for). Fashnachts. Sand Tarts. Cranberry fruit salad (with or without the Jello). Corn fritters (which Hubby doesn't like either). Mom's fruitcake (say what you will about fruitcake, go ahead and make jokes - this one is GOOD). Everything is there (including recipes from my Junior High Home Ec class) in my personal cookery book.

9. Name all of the books you have in your possession that you've never read.

Surely you're joking. I don't have enough time (or enough space) to list them all. I have stacks. We have our own library. (I really do plan to read everything eventually, even if I may not succeed. I don't "just" collect books. Although sometimes it seems that way!

Rich reads faster than I do. We have similar tastes. He's read a lot more of what's on the shelves than I have. Ricght now, he's zipping through Barbara D'Amato's "Cat Marsala" series (of which I had read two before he passed me and left me in the dust.)

I have the full set of Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" novels in hard cover (I've read three to date). I have the full set of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" novels (I've read 5 of those). I have the full set of Harry Potter but haven't read the 5th one yet. I have the full set of Baudelaire Orphans "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and have read the first 4.

I have stacks and stacks of mystery and fantasy fiction, often full sets of a series (e.g. I recently purchased all of Barbara D'Amato's Cat Marsala novels and have read the first two). I have pretty much every Charles de lint book I can find (that I can afford ;-) and have read a bit over half.

With the shelves full of books of Rich's and my choices, we have oodles I've never read and may never read, but I do try to get to each and every one of them. Eventually.

10. What is your most prized possession?

My Hubby and my cats! Although I don't really 'possess them" any more than they possess me.

I have a dollhouse I painted, decorated, and filled ( http://cantaforda.com/~vlb/Elmwood/ ). I don't work with miniatures anymore, but I'll never give it up. It's carefully stored in a back room where the cats never go.

I don't do needlework anymore, but I prize each of the pieces I have done ( http://cantaforda.com/~vlb/Needle ).

I have a large and lovely collection of ruby red glass - along with some green - that I prize highly ( http://www.cfcl.com/vlb/h/redglass.html ). I also prize my collection of Vaseline glass - stored in a display cabinet fitted with blacklights by my ever so creative spouse! (Vaseline glass glows under blacklight - http://www.vaselineglass.org ).

Finally, and by no means least, I have a beautiful fire agate ring and stickpin, gifts from that same creative spouse over twenty years ago and prized above anything I have bought for myself, before or since.

Purple Prompts #8-#10 - posted by Vicki at Sun, 25 Jan, 19:29 Pacific | Comments (1)

Friday January 23, 2004

Purple Prompts #4-#7

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I'm posting a few at a time over more than one day. I posted #1, #2, #3 on Wednesday.
Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

    4. If you won a million dollars, what would you do?
    5. List your favorite subjects or topics. (The ones you're always reading about)
    6. List all of the ways you've simplified or streamlined your life.
    7. List all of the things you wanted to be "when you grew up".


#4. If you won a million dollars, what would you do?

If I won a million dollars I would pay off the mortgage that afternoon. I would then (most likely) quit my job (if I happened to have one) and do personal projects till the money ran out.

#5. List your favorite subjects or topics. (The ones you're always reading about)

In school, my favorite subjects were Science: Biology, Chemistry, Computers, Biochemistry. These days I am more interested in the Web and Social software, weblogs, journals, and books. Always books. I've been buying books about books and reading :-) I also devour fantasy and mystery fiction.

#6. List all of the ways you've simplified or streamlined your life.

We're not nearly done yet. But we've been making progress. Lately we managed to clear out the storage locker, giving away (or throwing away) an inordinate quantity of "stuff". We gave 15 copy-paper boxes full of paperback books to a local used book store. We've cleared out some cabinets, rearranged some furniture, put up new shelves. It's helping.

I've been learning how to clean up more immediately after myself - when a pot is emptied, wash it then. Wipe off the counter immediately. Keep the stove top clean. Maintenance is easier than major cleanup efforts. Although vacuuming still waits till I see a need... then again, with four cats, that's often enough!

With no job at present, my life is very pleasantly streamlined, but, sadly, that can't last forever.

#7. List all of the things you wanted to be "when you grew up".

At one point I wanted to be a model-maker for a museum. I still have fond memories of that idea. Eventually I wanted to be a scientist; then that morphed into a scientist with a strong sideline in computers. Eventually I settled on programmer.

When one is unemployed, a frequent question is, "Should I consider a career change?" I've thought about this a lot in the past few years (and, even when I was employed, when a job wasn't going well).

I'm a programmer and technical writer with a passion for process, quality, and documentation. I specialize in tools and data filters and the use of "little languages" (aka high-level languages) such as Perl. That's me. I have some flexibility within that realm but I won't be moving outside of it.

When I look at lists of careers (such as the one published by the IRS for choosing one's job area for a Schedule C) I think "My goodness there are a lot of fields I've never heard of and have no interest in pursuing!"

Although the model-maker was left behind long ago, I've pretty much fullfilled my "what do I want to be when I grow up" dreams.

Purple Prompts #4-#7 - posted by Vicki at Fri, 23 Jan, 16:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 21, 2004

Purple Prompts #1-#3

There were 10 writing prompts this week on Purple Ink, so I'll be posting a few at a time over more than one day. Remember: if you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!

  1. List the contents of your purse or carryall.
  2. List all the jobs you've ever had.
  3. List everything you have accomplished today, no matter how small.


#1. List the contents of your purse or carryall.

I use a medium-large leather "belt pack" purchased at a craft fair years ago and still holding up. It has several compartments. I went through it recently and removed everything I hadn't used in recorded history ;-)

In the "forward bay" I have:

  • A wallet with Barnes&Noble "Preferred reader" card, Target card, AAA card, healthplan card, and a spare $20 bill.
  • A rectangular metal "Wallace and Gromit" tin which originally contained a watch (a co-worker got the watch; I got the tin) containing my emergency meds: Excedrin, Advil, Actifed, Sudafed, a nail clipper, antacid and Tylenol Sinus caps (the last for hubby).
  • Tissues (specifically Puffs Extra Strength which can be carried around and don't self-destruct)
  • A very small pepper grinder.
  • A spare set of car keys for whenever we take the car in for servicing.

In the "middle bay" I have:

  • a small notebook and mechanical pencil
  • a velcro-closure "pouch" that I use if I need to carry checks to the bank
  • a pair of chopsticks
  • two sets of high-DB foam earplugs in plastic screwtop cases

In the "rear bay" I have:

  • A small cloth sun visor that fastens onto my glasses
  • A velcro-closure "pouch" containing pens
  • A screwtop plastic bottle of spare peppercorns
  • A hair scrunchi (just in case)
  • My card case - license, credit card, ATM card; if I have to grab and go, this is all I need.
  • An 8-ft measuring tape

In the "top bay" I have my Handspring Visor PDA.

In the side bays (one on each side) I have a mini maglight (in one) and a mini leatherman tool (in the other)

#2. List all the jobs you've ever had.

The summer after High School I worked as a cashier at the community swimming pool - lots of small wet children running around. Yipes.

The next summer I had a work-study job in the Bio department stockroom at the university in the morning, alternating with a temporary secretarial job for the Park and Rec department in the afternoon. It always took a while to decide how to answer the phone ("Park Forest Pool, no, Stockroom, no , Park and Rec")

No other part-time College/Summer jobs loom in my memory.

In Grad school I had an assistantship (I taught labs in return for a small stipend and a reduction in tuition).

My first job out of College (Grad school) was as a "Clinical Data Specialist" (next step up from Data Entry clerk) which I parlayed into Unix Specialist (i.e. programmer-to-order) within a month. After two years of that, I had a stepping stone to a Unix programmer job at Apple which I held for 6 years. Then through Quality Lead, Project Manager, Technical Support and Webmaster, Scientific programmer (for two companies in a row), Technical Writer, Programmer again for a few contract jobs... at the moment, I'm unemployed.

#3. List everything you have accomplished today, no matter how small.

(entry written yesterday)
I got out of bed. I fed the cats. I wrote a couple of weblog entries, read and answered email. I looked at a software bug (which I still haven't solved) but maybe I have a better idea for a direction to take. I went to the grocery store, bought groceries, brought them home. I took a short late-afternoon nap. I got the charcoal started for dinner (now that's an accomplishment. In One Try yet!). I grilled the salmon (and it came out exquisite - another major accomplishment!). Ate; cleaned up; did some more email; sat in the hot tub; went to bed.
Purple Prompts #1-#3 - posted by Vicki at Wed, 21 Jan, 13:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Sunday January 18, 2004

Purple Miscellany

[ This (past) week's writing prompts from Purple Ink , If you like journal writing, join Purple Ink!]

Monday : Pick your favorite color and write about it: why you like it, how it makes you feel, what 'pictures' come to mind when you think of that color.

Tuesday : Spray your favorite air freshner then write what you think about.

Wednesday : Look at yourself in the mirror for a few minutes. Describe the you that you see physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Thursday : Describe what it is like when you wake up in the morning.

Friday : What is your favorite time of day? Describe it.

Saturday : Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a walk around your neighborhood. Imagine all the things you see, hear, and smell. Describe your walk.

Sunday : Decide what is your favorite word. Think about it for a while and write why you like that particular word.


Monday :

My favorite color... see Color Me Maroon.

Tuesday:

We don't use air freshener (or perfumes, or scented candles, or...).

I love the smell of real vanilla. I love the smells of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg (especially fresh nutmeg), ginger. I even like cloves (in smaller quantities). When we drive down US Hwy 101 to Santa Barbara, the road goes past the McCormick/Schilling plant in Salinas, CA. We always roll down the windows to catch the aroma of whatever is "cooking". Often it smells of poultry seasoning; in November/December the smell is pumpkin pie spice. Ahhhhh. Ummmmmm. It's just... really... nice!

I love the smell of pine - it reminds me of walking through a piney woods. I can close my eyes and see the woods, feel moss and pine needles under my feet. The same goes for eucalyptus (although I hate the taste, I like the smell; we often walk through areas under eucalyptus trees). I love the smell of menthol. Vick's mentholatum spray and balms make me feel comfortable, relaxed, and sleepy (possibly because I can breathe better).

Wednesday

When I look in the mirror...

...I see someone I've known forever :-)

...I see a familiar face, familiar hair and eyes. I haven't changed much since College. I wear my hair only slightly differently (across the forehead now; same length). My glasses frames are lighter. I weigh more (too much more!) but I don't notice that unless it's a full-length mirror and even then I may not notice right away. Although, intellectually, I know I'm overweight, (and I'm working on that - seeing steady downward progress since September!), I have always had a good body image. This is both a blessing and a nuisance (in terms of losing weight).

...I see my mother. It's a good thing I like my mother (and how my mother looks) because aside from the hair, my face is slowly becoming my mother's face. (Mom says she sees my grandmother in the mirror now).

...I see someone who's doing fairly well for herself. Happy with spouse, cats, and home. Living in a place she likes. Satisfied with her choice of career (if jobless at present). Someone who has had more than her share of downs, some ups, is still holding in there. No grey hairs yet. Not too many wrinkles. A bit too much dark under the eyes at times. A pleasant smile, even teeth (slightly tea stained but whatchagonnado?). Not gorgeous, not bad looking. Nice.

...I see a friend. I get along pretty well with myself. I've always been able to look myself in the eye (in the mirror :-)

...I see me.

Thursday

First thoughts upon waking up: "I don't want to get up. I'm sleepy. I want to go back to sleep". (this is regardless of whether an alarm clock woke me or not. I tend to wake up slowly and sleepily, as opposed to Rich who normally wakes up and is, then, pretty much awake). If I've been dreaming, it's especially difficult for me to wake up.

Next thoughts: cats. Are there cats in bed with me? This makes a difference in how quickly I get out of bed. Am I under a cat, next to a cat, snuggled with a cat? Then out of bed. I stagger to the bathroom, ruffling kitty heads on the way. I do all I need to do. Then back to the bedroom; more ruffling of heads.

About now I usually hear Squirrel calling from somewhere in the hall, the living room, or the kitchen. Squirrel is very much attuned to Vickimom waking up because that process heralds breakfast.

If this is a weekday and I awoke to an alarm clock, I usually rouse Rich at about this time (unless he's already awake). Then I may take the opportunity to sleep for another hour, as I don't "have to" get up quite so early (not having a commute ahead of me).

Raven may show up demanding lap; if he does, we'll sit snuggle. Or Bebop will come for some loving. He usually kneads the back of my neck (and my hair on the pillow).

Finally (possibly an hour or so later, if I went back to sleep), I choose clothing for today; I get dressed. Then we all troop out to the kitchen to get breakfast for the cats and to start the day. Friday :

My favorite time of day is between 7 pm and midnight or a while after. I'm reasonably alert (this is my most alert time of day). If I've been lucky enough to get a nap, I'm awake again. The cats are up; they've had dinner and we often play games between 7 and 10. Rich and I are both home and awake during these hours. Dinner is sometime between 7 and 8 most nights. There are few pressures. It's a good time of day.

Saturday

We go for a walk around the neighborhood fairly often, generally after dinner (after dark). We tend to head out across the street and through the park. Then down the hill on the other side of the park and through a corner of our development. We follow one of the two roads that lead out of the development, through a eucalyptus grove, where the eucalyptus nuts (they look like Hershey's kisses) roll under our feet. If it's foggy, or it's been raining, the trees give off a pleasant, pungent aroma. Both sides of this road are mostly trees for about 1/4 mile (no houses at road level), then it goes uphill a bit into another, newer development, where the houses are large, interesting, expensive, and much too close together. We walk on through to another, older neighborhood, of smaller, mostly one-story houses, around a long block, across the entrance to the nearby community College, and back around the loop, into our development, back up the hill, across the park and home.

Sometimes we come the long way around the hill. That way the houses stop on the west side of the road because that area is all county jail land (first) and then preserve (Golden Gate National Recreation Area). The jail, oddly, doesn't belong to our county, but to San Francisco County. They rent the land for it here because they "don't have enough room" to have their own jail. The jail is always well lit. As we pass from jail land to preserve, we usually hear frogs croaking. I think there's a swamp down there, somewhere.

At some times of year, we can hear coyotes in the ridge, or owls in the park across from our house. We walk back home through the west end of our neighborhood, slightly up hill and back to our house. It's not a flat walk but the way we do it isn't very steep either for most of the distance covered.

Sunday

My favorite word.... do I have a favorite word? I'll go for the first one that popped into my head when I read this prompt: feline.

Feline is a cat. Feline is whiskers swept, eyes bright, ears cocked, tail held high. Feline is sleek, smooth, soft, graceful, athletic, sinuous, limber. Feline is running, jumping, climbing, pouncing, sleeping. Feline is fur, short and smooth or long and silky. Feline is a deep rumbling purr, a musical trill, a soft meow, a full-throated yowl. Feline is a leopard in the jungle, a desert cat on the prowl, a house cat in the sun. Feline is eyes that glow in the dark. Feline is magic.

Purple Miscellany - posted by Vicki at Sun, 18 Jan, 13:40 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 13, 2004

Color me Maroon

[ Today's question comes courtesy of Purple Ink ]

Pick your favorite color and write about it:
why you like it, how it makes you feel, what 'pictures' come to mind when you think of that color...


I prefer bright colors and dark "fall" and "winter" shades. I'm not a fan of most pastels, certainly not for clothing.

When I was little, my stated favorite color was red. Possibly because I have red hair. Any other "reasons" are lost in the mists of time... Does one need a "reason" for a favorite color? or is it just a visceral thing? Some colors one likes, others are so-so, still others hit you with a feeling of yuck.)

Most yellows, many oranges, and browns in the yellowey- orangey- range trip my "yuck" sensors. I've read that "most people" pick blue as their favorite color when asked; personally, I can take blue or leave it.

I've also read that "favorite color" is an "American" thing and that people from other cultures often respond, "favorite color _what_?".

As I've grown older, I've narrowed my description from "red" to (more specifically) the bluer reds. The orangey reds do nothing for me (probably related to my dislike of yellowey- orangey- shades!). I'm a blue-green side of the color wheel person. Depending who asks me, I'm more likely to say my favorite color is "maroon" (aka burgundy, dark red).

My second favorite color is teal; again, I don't know why (although it goes very well with maroon). I just like it. It "feels" good. When I was little, I don't think I even knew teal existed ;-) I like all shades of teal, but I prefer the dark shades of maroon.

Whenever I set up a new computer, I set my system highlight color to a light teal. When I'm required to use Windoze (I use a Mac by choice), I set my desktop and window colors to the Teal theme (with the desktop lightened up a bit).

How do these colors make me feel? Calm, happy, centered, familiar, oriented, comfortable.

What pictures come to mind? Interesting question. Maroon is a fall/winter color. Maroon and Teal are "winter" colors. Oddly, winter is not my favorite season. I'm not overly crazy about fall, either. No real "pictures" come to mind; in my mind, I simply see the colors. I might briefly think of snow, or of a warm maroon sweater.


For two fun essays on color, take a look at The Man's Guide To Color and Singing Those Taupe, Coral, and Ecru Blues

Color me Maroon - posted by Vicki at Tue, 13 Jan, 10:11 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday January 07, 2004

I Scream for Ice Cream

[Today's question is courtesy of purple ink ]
"I doubt the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream".
-- Heywood Broun

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Hard or Soft-Serve? What type of sundae do you usually order?


Oh, yumm, ice cream. And me on a low-carb dieting adventure and not supposed to eat much ice cream anymore. Oh well, after I lose the weight, I can have it back (in small quantities)...

I am much more adventurous than Spouse. He usually sticks to vanilla, Vanilla Swiss Almond (Haden Dazs), coffee, black cherry, and chocolate; occasionally praline and butter pecan. I don't eat chocolate or black cherry but I'll try almost anything else! So we often share a coffee flavor or (at home) it's usually Vanilla S. A. (which goes equally well with strawberries, or bananas and hot fudge, or a Pepperidge Farm peach turnover :-)

If we're out, it depends what's available (and whether I'm sharing). By default, I prefer a vanilla with something in it to a flavored ice cream, but I make exceptions for certain flavors!

I think my standard favorite (starting when I was very young) is Mint Chip (which, growing up, we called Bittersweet Mint). The Gold Standard for this flavor is made by the Penn State University Creamery). When I was growing up we'd often visit the Creamery for ice cream on a warm summer afternoon or evening. I remember the large pretzel sticks you could buy to eat along with the ice cream (a surprisingly good combination). I even remember getting little cups of water from the drinking fountain to fend off ice cream headache!

After Mint Chip, I look for Peanut Butter Cup if it's available (vanilla ice cream with actual peanut butter cups broken into it, or the variation with gobs of peanut butter and chunks of dark chocolate). Double Rainbow makes a perfect Peanut Butter Cup ice cream; sadly, the Double Rainbow stores have mostly disappeared.

Another favorite, growing up, was Teaberry, available in Central and South-Eastern Pennsylvania but, sadly, too exotic for California :-( In the summer, if I can find it, fresh peach ice cream can be heavenly. The Penn State Creamery's fresh peach ice cream is World's Greatest as well. I miss it! (The Creamery will ship ice cream to anywhere in the US, but, sadly, the cost is, well, exorbitant. So far, I've held off; maybe someday... ;-) From November to January, I'm on the lookout for Pumpkin ice cream; a good Pumpkin ice cream tastes like a frozen piece of pumpkin pie, sans crust).

If I'm sharing with Spouse, it's usually a coffee flavor such as Baskin Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge. I don't drink coffee much (and never more than a sip hot) but I love iced coffee and coffee ice cream. Occasionally we'll find a good butter pecan (my mother's favorite). We never share the mint or the peanut butter; (Rich says blech!).

Last week, at a Japanese restaurant, I had the most delightful mango ice cream! Rich thought it was too perfumey, but I thought it was delectable. His choice was banana (turned out to be banana nut) which could have been perfumey but was actually very subtle. The unchosen choice was green tea (which can be nice, but is not a favorite). I've also had sesame ice cream at a Japanese restaurant - very nutty! I was the only one of four people who liked it (but I loved it!).

Hard or soft-serve? Definitely hard; so many more choices (and refreezable of you don't eat it all at once). As to sundaes, we rarely have them, but Rich and I will share a hot sludge fundae on occasion (with or without bananas). Only I like caramel, or butterscotch, or marshmallow sauces; even the plain ol' Hershey chocolate syrup is something Rich can readily do without. Otherwise, is vanilla ice cream smothered in fresh strawberries considered a sundae? I guess it is; we love those in strawberry season (with or without a small slice of angel food cake ;-)

While I was growing up, my parent's church held a "strawberry festival" every June. A church member with a dairy donated the ice cream, the Ladies Guild sliced strawberries, guild members baked all sorts of cakes, and attendees paid a reasonable price for a big bowl of ice cream with stawberries and a slice of cake. It's where I discovered chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (a once-a-year treat I never got at home).

My mother recalls when she was young, her family would visit an Amish family they were friends with. After dinner, the Amish family would serve huge bowls of freshly made (cranked!) ice cream. If I had a chance for a trip back in time, I'd like a chance to attend one of those dinners as a friend of my younger Mom!

Ah... ice cream. I don't know if my first "adventure with ice cream" was a "soul-stirring surprise", but I can't remember a time when I didn't love ice cream. And I have many happy "ice cream memories".

I Scream for Ice Cream - posted by Vicki at Wed, 07 Jan, 11:46 Pacific | Comments (0)