Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging

When my small Boston Terrier gets stressed out (and it was around 105 degrees here yesterday) she sits by the back door and does yoga.

She likes to play with my granddaughter.

Sometimes she thinks she is an art critic.

She can also be quite dramatic, (I call it hystrionic) especially during a thunderstorm, although she is getting better. She has learned to "talk" about her discomfort and has done quite well in her doggie support group.
When she sleeps, you can hear her snoring though 2 closed doors.

She thinks she looks like a famous movie star.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What do you see?

Back by popular demand!

Is this a person or a chess piece?

Is this a goblet or a face?

Is this a skull or a couple?

Do you see a young woman or an old woman?

Is this a white vase or two side views of Bush?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Angels in the Architecture

Hi, friends!! Come join the Peace Train!!

I was thinking about my maternal grandmother recently. This is a picture of her, standing with her younger sister, Marion, whom we knew as Aunt Teet. Aunt Teet died at 93, but was still walking 2 miles a day right before she died.

Although few people know this, My grandmother was probably responsible for ending World War I.

My grandmother had a steel will, a great laugh and a strong impact on my life. She was a hugger and a kisser. When I was a child she lived about two miles away from us and was a frequent presence. She was a good cook and often brought over desserts or came just to visit and talk. My grandfather, who had planted armies of red amaryllis around the entire house, often went outside to tidy up the flower beds.

Momo, as we called her, loved to sew and made most of my clothes. By the time I was 6, all I had to do was draw a picture and she would whip up a pattern and make whatever I desired, not that I cared much what I wore at that age.

I remember drawing a picture of myself sitting on the bank of a creek with a cane fishing pole. By my side there was a can of worms. I was a tomboy. I loved to go down to the "scramble tracks" as we called it with my brothers to find crawdads in the storm ditch by the woods. We'd spend hours there, playing at being pirates and having adventures. I was allowed to run wild just like my brothers.

I showed her that drawing and asked for a simple dress with that picture on the front. She nearly laughed herself silly. She told me with tears in her eyes that it would be very hard to find fabric with worms printed on it.

She made the dress, but we substituted another fabric, although I cannot remember now what it was. What I do remember was that she took me to J.C. Penney's and let me pick out the fabric I liked, which made me feel very grown-up and tremendously pleased with myself.

This is a picture of me and two of my five brothers when I was in about the 4th grade. She made my coat. It had a brown velvet collar.

Even as an old woman, Momo had a beautiful smile, with deep dimples and blue-gray eyes. Her skin was white as milk and as a young woman, her hair was a rich sable. Her sister, my Aunt Teet, once told me that when Alice was young, she was known as "The Belle of New Orleans" because she was so beautiful and had so many beaus.

My great-aunt Teet was not beautiful in the same way, but she was handsome and original-looking, which I thought was more interesting. She had a clever, frank and generous disposition and her eyes twinkled when she looked at me. Some people barely notice you when you are a child, but I liked it when their eyes looked into mine and saw me.

And I liked to look into grownups eyes and "see" them, which sometimes made them uncomfortable. Sometimes I made a point to look at grownups so they wouldn't underestimate me just because I was a child. I let them know I was watching them. It was my way of feeling that power of the stare and showing them that I knew my own worth, so they'd better not trifle with me.

But I digress. Teet was never jealous of her sister, in fact, she did not care for beaus. Or for being pretty. She was quite intelligent in a thoughtful way, a voracious reader and was hooked on the New York Times crossword puzzle, which she finished every night in bed up into her early 90s.

Aunt Teet and her partner, whom we called Aunt Susie, lived together for 50 years in Tulsa and were devoted to each other. They took trips around the world together and brought back fabulous slideshows for us to see of Hawaii, Paris, Italy, all exotic faraway destinations for a kid growing up in Texas.

My grandmother, Alice Madeline Leleu, was a devout but not overly devout Catholic. She collected angels before angels became acceptable icons among the Protestant sects. Her house, kept meticulously, was full of angels. She had big ones, small ones, paintings, sculptures and angel coffee cups. She even had pink ceramic mother and baby cow angels with wings and shiny gold haloes. In retrospect, she was probably somewhat obsessive-compulsive about all her enthusiasms, but I just thought she was fun.

The walls had special shelves that my grandfather made to hold her collection of over 2,000 angels. We always knew what to get her for her birthday. A trip to the dimestore and we brought her our small offerings. She prized our gifts with all the reverence she gave to the ones her brother brought back from Denmark or Italy, where he lived for a time.

But her angels weren't just for show. She was in relationship with them. She talked to them daily, asked favors and made deals. She saw them. When she needed a parking space, she would start talking to them when we were about a block away from our destination. She would said, "OK, angels, fly your little wingies and find me a parking spot."

She said you had to give them travel time to get the job done. Sure enough, there was always a car pulling out right near the door of the department store. I don't remember her ever not getting what she asked of them.

My grandmother was born in 1898 in New Orleans' French quarter. She lived on Canal Street in a house that was torn down many decades ago. Her father, a Sorbonne-educated artist, grew up in a 16th century chateau in the south of France. Her mother was of Irish descent, the daughter of an engineer who oversaw the building of the New Orleans canal. Alice met my grandfather Joseph when she was 19.

Joe, my grandfather, was in the army, the youngest of eleven children who grew up on a hardscrabble farm in Severy, Kansas. He was playing the trombone in the Army band when they met at a military ball. He was 32 and shockingly Protestant, but she was not deterred. World War I was in progress and my grandfather was about to get sent to the front.

It was love at first sight, she told me. They knew each other only 5 days when he proposed. He had met his match in my grandmother. They got a dispensation from the priest and were married immediately.

Her family scraped some money together as a wedding gift to pay the hotel for their wedding night. It was hurried because my grandfather was scheduled to leave the next day for the European front, to fight in the war. I remember my grandmother telling me that she talked to all the saints and to her special angels to spare my grandfather from the war. Her 5 French male cousins were all dead, killed early in the war, as was an entire generation of young Frenchmen and she didn’t want him to go.

She said that when she woke up the morning after her wedding, they heard a great clamor down in the street. There was yelling and singing and strangers were kissing. When they opened their hotel window to ask what was happening, strangers yelled up that the Armistice had been signed and the war was over. We used to joke that she made a deal with her angels to end the war so that her Joe would not be sent away, and maybe we were right. She loved her Joe until the day he died, some 50 years later.

And that's how my grandmother, perhaps with the help of her angels, personally ended World War I.

How To Eat A Jalapeno

I realize that many of you are not blessed to live in a place where nature provides one of God's great gifts, the jalapeno plant. Many of you from northern climes and other parts of the world may be wary of these potent peppers, and may have realized that the secret to Bush's rise to power is directly related to his intake of this lowly pepper. Well, that and stealing the election.

But I am here to tell you peacemongerers that the lowly jalapeno can give you the srength of giants and we must begin strengthening ourselves for the upcoming elections!

This small but potent pepper can fortify against the draconian influences of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and others.

Jalapenos have the power to keep vampires like Condi away, as well as Hannity and Colmes.

However, they must be prepared correctly to get maximum effect.
The first thing, grow your own if possible and pick them fresh! One small bush will provide a lot of peppers! Here's mine in the garden.

Here's one way I like to eat them.

After washing the pepper, cut of the tops and slice longways. Some people wear plastic gloves, because the pepper seeds are hot enough to dissolve nail polish.

The seeds are quite small. Remove them unless you like that much heat.

Next, sautee in a pan with some butter, garlic, fresh parsley and some carmellized onions.

Put the cooked jalapeno mixure on top of a sliced, seeded avocado. Add cold tomatoes, chopped pecans, pinapple slices, even grated cheese for a salsa topping! Get a spoon and dig in! Bon appetit!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Iraq- Plans in Case of a Civil War

Adapted From Newsweek
Exclusive: Iraq-Plans in Case of a Civil War
Aug. 14, 2006 issue- The Bushco insists Iraq is a long way from civil war, but the contingency planning has begun inside the White House and the Pentagon. President Bush will move U.S. troops out of Iraq if the country disintegrates into civil war, according to one senior Bush aide who declined to be named.

Bush's position on a pullout of U.S. troops emerged in response to Newsweek's questions about Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Warner warned last week that the president might require a new vote from Congress to allow troops to stay in Iraq in what he called "all-out civil war." But the senior Bush aide said the White House would need no prompting from Congress to get troops out "if the Iraqi government broke down completely along sectarian lines." (And how would they know?? What would be different?)

In sad response to this new contingency plan, Bush and Rummy joined Cher in an all-out show in Baghdad to win back the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people in a rousing rendition of "If I Could Turn Back Time."

If I could turn back time
If I could find a way I'd take back the war that hurt you and you'd stay

I don't know why I did the things I did I don't know why I said the things I said
Pride's like a knife it can cut deep inside
Words are like weapons they wound sometimes.

I didn't really mean to hurt you It wasn’t my fault, I know I made you cry, but baby

If I could turn back time
If I could find a way
I'd take back those bullets and bombs that hurt you…

The Book List

Well, I was tagged by changeseeker to answer these questions!

(1) One book that changed your life? To Kill A Mockingbird, which I read when I was 12. It opened my mind as a southerner to facets and realities of racial injustice/inequity while I was still young.

(2) One book you have read more than once? The Hobbit by Tolkien

(3) One book you would want on a desert island? A survival book, perhaps The Black Stallion by Walter Farley because in the beginning it describes how to survive on an island.

(4) One book that made you laugh? I really must list oldies. The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi or The Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek.

(5) One book that made you cry? Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud

(6) One book you wish you had written? Well, it will eventually have to be about the remarkable women in my family, my suffragette grandmother who attend Baylor University in 1917, (an unusual thing for a woman in Texas from a small town to do), the story of my French/Irish grandmother, who had 2,000 angels in her home and talked to them, and loved us fiercely, and my own mother, who graduated from college at 18, and became a translator, speaking 5 languages and danced in the ballet folklorico for several decades.

(7) One book you wish had never been written? Well, I am not one to censor books, as I think the reading public should vote with their pocketbook.

(8) One book you are currently reading? The Pulitzer-prize winning biography of Andrew Jackson, called the Age of Jackson by Arthur Schlesinger.

(9) One book you've been meaning to read? The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant

(10) And tag five bloggers to do this, too. This thing has gotten pretty wide, so I'm not sure if my five have already been tagged, but they are: Earl Bockenfield, The Fat Lady Sings, ThePoetryman, JuBlue, and Tnkrbell