Better Half

Better Half
(whom I am currently arguing with over where we will grocery shop this week)
sends you his greeting.

Bemused Muse - the One-Year Anniversary

This is the one-year anniversary of the Bemused Muse blog. My primary posts were lackluster mush. My intent was to open up a public exchange of ideas regarding the schism between science and religion (my first entry was a discussion forum in relation to the Big Bang Theory.) Unsurprisingly, it was a flop.

April and May saw the genesis of my blogging my immediate world.

What I have discovered is that I have built a small time capsule of memories. I was never a Diary Person. I found that keeping those damned things required more effort on my part than I was willing to give. Blogging, hover, allows me to combine my fancy for technology with my love of writing (it is a meditative process for me) and the Bemused Muse became a chronicle of events that strike my fancy.

Do I blog for others? Although I do design blogs for others and trouble shoot for them, the Bemused Muse is nothing more than my whims for the day. I blog for myself and for family across the miles. I do it for the hell of it and let the devil take those who do not agree.

Having said that, I am not a “controversial blogger”. I could care less about spouting my political views, doctrinal views, or social views with the sole purpose of attracting readership.

The Bemused Muse may evolve in the future or it may continue just as it is. I am pleased, no matter the outcome.

Sister Eva-Maria and the Snowball Fight

Sister Eva-Maria, FSGM (Starting Afresh from Christ) has been chronicling her snow ball fight progression, which had me seriously laughing this morning. I thought I would share her blog link here (you might have to scroll down a few posts to find the three entries.)

The Muse's Muses: those who inspire!

AnnieElf has embarked on a new journey into her personal spiritual growth. You can read about her quest at Interior Dialogues. Anne is a delightful friend who, I must confess, has been completely neglected by me over the past few months due to my own real life burdens. Rest assured, dear Annie: I have not forgotten you! Please stop by her other blogs as well.

TFMM turned me on to his best friend's blog, Ron Oliver's Fabulous Life! This talented filmmaker has been blogging his ordeals while filming the new "Dennis the Menace" movie, replete with copious doses of uproarious wit. I have come to thoroughly enjoy his methods of dealing with the dumb shit in life. Indeed, part of me is a tad envious of his knack of bringing sarcasm to new heights ~ I am not nearly brave enough to publish my "true thoughts on matters" least I offend the hell out of my dear Readers. Perhaps I shall take a page out of his book in the near future and tell you exactly how I feel!

Autrice, could you have promoted two blogs which are more dynamically dissimilar?

My own life is as complexly contradictory as the “flavours” of these two blogs. I am Catholic and I do explore the dogma of my chosen doctrine with much relish. I am also quirky and was raised in a “Theatre Family” (my own father having worked at Paramount, and both parents forming a theatrical team while engaged in stage productions.) I have moments of fervent contemplation, much like dear Annie. During my “healthy years”, I also once incorporated the same “Life is a banquet, and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death” philosophy as Ron. Had I not been born with the physical predisposition of a runt pup, I would perhaps still exist in a fundamentally Bohemian parody of Mame Dennis.

I consciously chose to refrain from being “outgoing and wild” as a young teen. It seemed to me that everyone in my peer group was trying far too hard to be “hip” while wearing this costume. My acquaintances struggled with being the most “zany” and “socially brilliant”, competing with one another in order to go one better than each other. These acquaintances were also a bizarre jumble of science nerds and theatre junkies; very straight, socially stunted geeks to not often mix well with impetuous, rainbow clad lesb…. Thespians. Let me be serious: the geeks matured into healthy adults and now lead tedious lives while working in their boring fields and driving expensive SUVs into the 3-car garages whilst the theatre throng is spread across the globe (Octavia lives in San Fran with her lover, Andrea romps the highlands of Scotland, Fopbert gives lap dances to wealthy men in Ottawa, and the rest have either passed on due to AIDS or else settled down with their same-sex partners to raise families and organize gay pride events.) I know of only one friend from my teen peer group who managed to combine his love of science (botany) and his orientation into a neat little package: Walter (Tony) Morosco. Regrettably, he “disowned” me once he heard about Amendment #2 in Colorado in the late 1980’s; his unexpected brush-off left me with the impression that he assumed that I was personally liable for it in view of the fact that I lived in Colorado at the time. Absurd.

My own teenage and young adult years were spent socially typecast as the “meditative one”. I saw no need to vie with the other wild people. My manner of dress may have been outlandish, yet I was always able to clean up nice and present myself as a normal human being when required. I saw no need to engage in unbridled sex, drugs or drinking (and kept myself entertained by laughing at the idiots around me who made asses of themselves whilst under the stimulus of recreational pharmaceuticals.) I detested the infantile behavior of my peer group. My bona fide friends were all older than myself and I resolutely believe that I circumvented the typical pitfalls of my age group primarily because of their wisdom in imparting their own hard-learned lessons to me.

This propensity to gravitate towards more emotionally mature individuals has lasted to this very day. I often run into people in their mid-thirties who are besieged with the most ridiculous of issues - predicaments that I dealt with and prevailed over in my early twenties. My friends are in their forties. Even Better Half (my aging-yet-arousing ex-Navy SEAL and Marine Biologist mate) is 44. (I don’t often throw compliments about him into my blog, hence he at least deserves one line in acknowledgement of his sex appeal!)

Emotional maturity does not mean that we leave behind a youthful sense of humor (as Ron Oliver so delightfully exemplifies.) Emotional maturity is the state of being able to cope with overwhelming odds while preserving one’s zeal for life. Annie has shown us the struggles of “real issues” (those things that are genuinely devastating!) and provided us an insider’s perspective of how one can reach rock bottom emotionally before growing new wings and taking flight once again. I present both these individual’s outlooks to you via the links posted above.

(The photograph, sent via email courtesy of a friend, has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of this post. No hidden puns or messages this time round.)


Winter's Crush Pigeon Picture #2

Someone had asked if I had any other pigeon shots.
The followup to my last post: pigeon picture 2.

Winter's Crush

This week’s Sunday Scribblings topic is “crush”. They are looking for short posts concerning its application to “First crush, current crush, illicit crush, painful soul-crushing crush.” I see the word differently, in light of the weather we have had this past week.


The gentle tinkling of crystal, accompanied by the groan of laden wood, lent music to the air as the branches of the trees swayed in the wind under their heavy cocoon of ice. The morning sun peaked between gray buildings, and the ice upon the limbs captured its fire in a dazzling display of prismatic beauty. On the ground below the branches, heavy layers of snow and ice blanketed the streets and lawns, encasing shrubbery and cars alike.

A small pigeon fluttered down from the hospital rooftop, drawn to the warm exhaust of a small shuttle bus. Veterans lined up to board the vehicle, yet the bird offered them no more regard than they gave it.

The pigeon squatted upon the icy pavement, one leg tucked towards its body. Its feathers were ruffled in an attempt to conserve body heat. Humanity walked around it, stepping over it with little regard for the tiny creature struggling to maintain its life in these cold, cruel elements.

The pigeon cocked its head and stared at me from a single auburn eye. The meager sunlight glinted upon the iridescent purples and greens of its plumage as the pigeon offered a soft “coo” to me. It was all too familiar with the press of humanity.

It seemed unperturbed by the harsh chemical poisons from the shuttle bus exhaust as it basked in the heat from the tailpipe. Unmoving, uncaring, it stood its ground and found comfort in this deadly form of survival.

How often do we go about our day, complaining of our brief struggles with the elements during the travels between work and home? We should stop to consider our blessing and fortune, for there are many lives upon this planet who struggle greatly from the crushing oppression of winter.


Michael Rowe's "Other Men's Sons" - Preorder your copy today.

Michael has completed his book, Other Men’s Sons, and it is in the final editing stage with his publisher. It promises to be his best work yet.

If you would like to preorder your copy, either one of these wonderful bookseller's websites can be of assistance: Books: Other Men's Sons - or - Other Men's Sons: Books: Michael Rowe


Blue Twig Encased in Winter Ice Phase

This is my Valentine's Day "Blue Twig Encased in Winter Ice" phase. Steubenville, OH, received a healthy coating of winter white over the last 24 hours.

The snow is absolutely stunning, despite the amount of danger on the roadways. Our trees are encased in ice, literally. I wish I could capture sound bites for you, dear Readers, for the crystalline tinkling as the branches groan under their heavy load is rather musical on the ears.

We have not lost any branches yet, although our mail box was frozen shut. I have already advised Better Half that he will not be attending his PT today; his legs are not worth the risk of tickets or accidents.

I shall attempt to keep you updated as the day progresses.


Steubenville - Severe Weather Update

Emergency Shelter Set Up – Level 3 Emergency Remains In Effect For Jefferson County

POSTED: 4:55 am EST February 14, 2007
UPDATED: 6:40 am EST February 14, 2007
6 a.m. Update From The NEWS9 Newsroom

The winter storm that arrived late Monday night and into Tuesday morning is having a major impact on the Ohio Valley. Freezing rain continued Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, making the morning commute tricky for drivers.

Jefferson County remains under a Level 3 emergency and only emergency vehicles should be on the roads. Sheriff Fred Abdalla said you can be arrested if you drive on local roads. Wednesday morning, the sheriff's department said employees are allowed to travel to work if they need to. The Level 3 emergency was issued around 5 p.m. Monday, because of the road conditions throughout the county.

Belmont and Carroll counties remain under a Level 2 emergency, meaning roadways are hazardous and people should only drive if they feel it is necessary.

Find Out What The Different Emergency Levels Mean

Hundreds of power outages have been reported throughout the valley. American Electric Power has crews out working to get the power restored. An estimated time for restoration is unknown.
Many of the power outages are in Brooke County. AEP reports about 1,500 customers without power. The county emergency operations center has actived an emergency shelter in Follansbee Field house. If you need emergency assistance you can contact the sheriff’s office at (304)737-3660.

More than 100 schools have canceled class for Wednesday, because of the weather.

Find Out If Your School Is Closed

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through 1 p.m. Wednesday for areas in the Ohio Valley north of Interstate 70. A Winter Storm Warning scheduled until 6 p.m. Wednesday has been canceled.

From WTOV news, for family update purposes only.

Frank Katzfey

My cousin Frank Katzfey passed away this afternoon following a excruciating battle with bone cancer. Our prayers go out to My Aunt Pauline and Uncle Ed, as well as to my cousins Michael and Danny, and their families.

We will not be able to send flowers until we are know which funeral home they have selected. Mum has opted to add our name to the card and make it a “family” offering.

I was not close to my cousin, however my Aunt Paul is a compassionate and benevolent woman, and my heart grieves for her and my Uncle in their time of sorrow.

Daylight Saving Time 2007

Daylight Saving Time Extended by Four
Weeks in U.S. Starting in 2007

Extended Daylight Saving Time in the
United States will begin in March 2007. See below for the new "spring forward,
fall back" dates for the next few years.

Every spring we move our clocks
one hour ahead and "lose" an hour during the night and each fall we move our
clocks back one hour and "gain" an extra hour. But Daylight Saving Time (and not
Daylight Savings Time with an "s") wasn't just created to confuse our schedules.

The phrase "Spring forward, fall back" helps people remember how
Daylight Saving Time affects their clocks. At 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks forward one hour ahead of standard time ("spring forward"). We "fall back" at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November by setting our clock back one hour and thus returning to standard time.

The change to Daylight Saving Time allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes by taking advantage of the longer and later daylight hours. During the six-and-a-half-month period of Daylight Saving Time, the names of time in each of the
time zones in the U.S. change as well. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time, Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time
(CDT), Mountain Standard Time (MST) becomes Mountain Daylight Tiome (MDT), Pacific Standard Time becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), and so forth.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during
World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time. This choice does make sense for the areas closer to the equator because the days are more consistent in length throughout the year.

Other parts of the world observe Daylight Saving Time as well. While European nations have been taking advantage of the time change for decades, in 1996 the European Union (EU) standardized a EU-wide European Summer Time. This EU version of Daylight Saving Time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October.

In the southern hemisphere where summer comes in December, Daylight Saving Time is observed from October to March. Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) don't observe Daylight Saving Time since the daylight hours are similar during every season, so there's no advantage to moving clocks forward during the summer.

~ From Matt

The Muse offers this as her public service announcement for the month. She is much too busy contemplating the Levitron and hovering frogs (diamagnetism) to pay much attention to the world around her today.

Technology, Dentists and Moissanite

There are days when I do speculate that technology is plotting against me! I have been unable to load pictures easily onto my blog (which, dear Readers, means that the picture you see here is attributable to my own hoop-jumping, alternate source hosting, and HTML code insertion by hand.) This is a matter of absolute vexation for me, as I do enjoy capturing my day via photographs. Apparently Blogger is having problems loading images – or perhaps their heads are too firmly entrenched up their own arses as far as “upgrades” are concerned?

Am I the only one experiencing technical difficulties?

The sample picture above is of myself. I felt like being a girl today, complete with curled hair and makeup. It was not until I actually looked outside the bathroom window and saw the bitter winter weather wrecking havoc in my yard that I decided to downplay the cute outfit and throw on a men’s Steelers hoodie. (I should add that all traces of femininity were promptly removed upon my return home this evening! My face is now squeaky clean, and I am content to schlep about the house in warm sweat pants and a Chicago Cubs shirt.)

Better Half and I enjoyed a lovely day in Pittsburgh. He had his molar worked on (and an impression for a crown made), and we have scheduled him for his periodontal crown lengthening. Exciting stuff, yup. I shall attempt to jump through another hoop in order to treat you to an in-operatory photo of him and his dentist (whom we simply adore!)

I have been getting back on my feet physically (hence the long break after my trip to Colorado) and Better Half treated me with an early Valentine’s Day gift yesterday – a pair of Moissanite studs shaped in a traditional round brilliant.

“Moist what?”

Moissanite, dear Readers. I do not fancy diamonds. I do find geology and astrophysics irresistible. Rather than have some bland diamond in my engagement ring, I have an exquisite Moissanite. I am much too tired to go into great detail, so I shall take the information directly from Charles and Colvard:

“More than 50,000 years ago, a shimmering mineral of uncommon brilliance came to earth in a meteorite.

"In 1893, Dr. Ferdinand Frederick Henri Moissan—an eminent French scientist who would later win the Nobel Prize for chemistry—was examining geological samples brought to him from the meteor crater located in Canyon Diablo, Arizona when he observed brilliant sparkling crystals.

"Dr. Moissan's research showed these sparkling crystals were not "diamonds from space," but rather a new mineral—silicon carbide (chemical composition: SiC).”

With more fire than any popular gemstone (including diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald) no other gemstone or jewel compares to Moissanite. In fact, fire can be measured scientifically; with a dispersion of 0.104, moissanite has nearly 2½ times more fire than diamond. A diamond’s brilliance (reflective index) sits at 2.42, whereas a Moissanite registers between 2.65 – 2.69. The luster of a diamon averages 17.2%; a Moissanite hits 20.4%. The diamond Mohs (hardness) is 10; Moissanite is 9 1/4. For those who do not understand any of these things: “it looks purdy.”

Just Google it already.

Ohio Snow

A few snapshots of our snow when it first rolled in a few days ago. It was -24 (windchill) yesterday morning.


Winter pictures?????

Winter has arrived in OH. I can not seem to get Blogger to upload for me today. Damn them.

More political spoofs!

I would hate to be considered biased! A smattering of political cartoons for both sides:


Another fine morning!

Good morning World!

My friends send me the weirdest schmuck in email. I thought that I would share a few highlights from this morning (the picture above is one such example!) While I have always refrained from stating political views on this blog, the two pictures were a tad too silly to pass up.

Isn't it about time someone made pun of Bush and Cheney's names?