Happy Leap Year

A dense deposit of snow shrouds Steubenville this evening. Our temperatures fluctuate; our snow becomes rain then freezes back into snow. I can’t think of a more delightful way to spend a leap year day.

Somewhere beyond the boundary of our yard is a frozen strip of asphalt. I have contemplated searching for an old cardboard box; sliding down our street would be thrilling.

The snow is determined to remain in place. It clings to even the warm light bulb.

Indoors, my African violets are blooming. These beautiful flowers once heralded every Christmas and Easter in Colorado. I have been fretting over this plant since our move. Finally, after all this time, it has started to cycle again. I am ecstatic.

Our home is paradise for nature lovers. The trees outside the dining room treat us to spectacular displays each season. The rigid snow and frost covered branches serve as a perfect contrast to the delicate, downy flakes waltzing through the air.

Nutmeg (who seems incapable of playing without bellowing out shepherd sounds and loud barks) enjoyed chasing snowballs. Most of dogs really do take pleasure in romping in the snow.

Mattie also came out for a quick frolic. She almost died last week; the fLabrador has a new appreciation of life and has been quite cheerful during her recovery from the emergency surgery.

Even the thin-skinned fat-free (Skim Cow) greyhound Sami decided to run around for a few moments.

Leap years should be packed with fun. We don’t often have an extra day in our year. I hope that each of you spent it doing something that you love.

Britney Spears' Guide to Publicity


Hillarity Clinton


An Early Spring Clean

We are experiencing the deepest (and best) snow that we’ve had all season yet I find myself irked at Nature. Why snow now? Why not at Christmas or in January. It is almost March and I simply do not approve of the timing.

I think that my mind and body are craving spring. It is not enough to change my blog around. I must now make subtle changes in the house as well. We can not afford major renovations (or even so much as a can of paint at this time) but that does not thwart me from daydreaming about color schemes and furniture placement.

The other downside of my Spring Lust is the intense drive to Spring Clean. Better Half set it off today by straightening up the living room (which had its SC last week.) Of course, we can’t straighten up without dusting. We can’t dust and not vacuum. We can’t do the living room and neglect the dining room. Both these rooms looks fabulous now.

My office was the next to receive a bit of TLC. It too had already received its SC and thus we only had to dust and vacuum. The stumbling block at this point would be the two other bedrooms and the bathroom. All are in need of their SC.

I started with the bathroom this afternoon. Life handed me lemons when we bought this house: the bathroom is ghastly. The previous owner covered the wall tile with some sort of wallboard (one would usually find in a mobile home) and the flooring is industrial vinyl tile. The bathtub is ancient and perfectly suited for a Smurf. The shower walls are some type of prefab material. The plumping is encased in a large cabinet, and that juts into the narrow space, leaving a tiny strip of air to squeeze through to get to the toilet. It is the only working bathroom in the house (I refuse to use the one in the basement; I am not fond of spiders crawling on my ass.)

The shower occupied most of today’s cleaning time. I scoured out every last bit of mildew. I have a bit more floor to wash and cabinet doors to wipe down, however everything else is ship shape. The tile wall shines, the cabinets are sorted out and organized, the sink sparkles, windows and mirror are sans any smudges, built-in shelves are dust free. I sent Better Half to Kmart to buy the cheapest clear plastic shower curtain possible (we have a more lavish outer curtain made out of a heavy tapestry print.) You might think that we have a huge bathroom – in fact, the room is smaller than most modern walk-in closets. It certainly is narrower.

There are only the two bedrooms and the kitchen remaining. I don’t foresee these taking very long. I would dearly love to paint the upstairs rooms for spring, but I just don’t see it being in our budget. I am hoping to get the Dungeon cleaned before May. Again, this is a wait and see project.

Ahhh Almost Done!

Fatigue has set in. I have spent most of the evening adding all the bells and whistles back into the template. My hands ache, my back throbs and my eyes can no longer stand to look at anything with a white background.

Enjoy! If your blog or website does not have a link on my page, chew on me in the comments section and I will get you squared away here.

Passion Renewed: The New Anniversary Template

Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly. ~Francis Bacon

In honor of yet another blogging anniversary, I have altered my format once again. Change can be a welcomed phenomenon. The completed project can aspire one to greater achievement. The fires of my passion begin to burn again and thus change is indicated.

My office is one such example of a sense of renewed spirit. I repainted it, thanks to a Lowe’s gift card from my parents. A warm chocolate/tan mixture has replaced the deep green walls. Better Half and I dragged book cases to the near wall, arranged my desk to allow for more floor space and a view out of both windows, and set my chair up in the corner to serve as a comfortable reading nook. Nothing pleases me more than curling up in that chair in the evening and diving into an adventure between the covers of a good book. My “French daydream” prints are displayed on the wall, as are my credentials and a picture from my parents’ wedding. (My desk is currently a little messy.)

The colours in my blog reflect the colors in my new office. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. I will be adding to the sidebar over the next few days.

May your own passion for blogging continue to grow!






Clinton Interrupted: the Steubenville Rally Scandal

There are days when I wonder why I bother to get out of bed. Today is one such day:

My cousin called because her boyfriend managed to get himself “escorted out with style” from a rally by the Secret Service…

HELLO?????? Did you pay attention? No. You didn’t. You simply MUST take this seriously! Once more now, with zeal:

My cousin called because her boyfriend managed to get himself REMOVED from a rally by the SECRET SERVICE. Never assume that my family is even remotely close to blasé.

YES, dear readers, WE KNOW THAT MAN AND HE IS TIED TO OUR FAMILY (in the second video clip, he is the one shouting and grabbing the anti-abortion sign as the Hygienically polished gents with close-cropped hair, flesh coloured earpieces and loaded weapons quickly move forward to flank D cordially before they radio their friends to come help them beat him into submission. D, do turn around and smile at the unsmiling gents, won’t you?)

I despise Clinton so of course D receives some accolades from me for his part in making the President’s face turn so many lovely shades of puce and red. Only D (name protected because the Secret Service were not amused, nor were the Democrats!) could faze Clinton that badly. My God, the president’s little head looked as if it were about to explode like a large zit. Of course, had that happened, he would have resembled his wife.

On the other hand, D’s zeal for pro-life issues is a bit extreme and his behavior (or lack of etiquette or tact) was rather embarrassing.

I give you a few YouTube clips. In the first one, towards the end, the camera zooms in on a scruffy looking fellow. No, dear Readers, this is not a reincarnation of John the Baptist fresh out of the desert and shopping for honey and locusts. This is D. I heard that he made national news. Well bully for him! (PS for local coverage, see http://www.wtov9.com/news/15328503/detail.html!)


Lunar Eclipse

When Better Half and I were younger and bolder, we would load up the dogs into our old Jeep Grand Wagoneer and drive out to the far eastern areas of Colorado Springs (as in the boonies or open high prairie.) We’d bring our telescope and perhaps some beer and a lawn chair and we would relax under the starry sky. I recall a Perseid meteor shower spent on some unsuspecting farmer’s road. We had brought friends with us and our dogs.

I can’t recall much about that night. I remember that I was in my early twenties and that Better Half wrapped his strong arms around me to keep me warm. I remember laughter and how astonishingly bright each racing streak of light was as the earth moved through the meteor stream that night.

Better Half and I are much older now. I would dearly have loved to drive out to a remote spot to view tonight’s lunar eclipse; we are nursing a now-ancient Mattie back into good health. I can, however, appreciate that it is happening even as I write this. (I’ve also provided a link to NASA for those who would like to learn more about these beautiful events.)

The moon is now almost completely in shadow. I peer out the bedroom window and chide the dragon to give our Luna back soon.

NASA - Total Lunar Eclipse: February 20, 2008

BBC NEWS Science/Nature When solar fears eclipse reason

The Bemused Muse (prior eclipse post)


Ren and Stimpy "Stimpy's Invention"

Ren and Stimpy Scripts by Mike Bunker

Stimpy's Invention

Ren on couch reading newspaper, Stimpy walks in with box.
Stimpy: "Hey, Re-en!"
Ren: "What?"
Stimpy: "Will you help me try out my new inventions?"
Ren: "Go away, I'm busy!"
Stimpy: "Come on, Ren! I need your help! Oh PLEASE!"
Ren: "Huh? Uh, all right, all right, sure."
Stimpy perks up.

Shot of Ren's face.
Ren: "All right, Stimpy. I'm losing my patience! Let's get this over with!"
Stimpy: "Ahem. Ladies and gents, I give you... the Cheese-O-Phone! Now we can talk to cheese, anywhere in the world, regardless of their foreign tongues! Uh, go ahead Ren. Say something in... limburger."
Stimpy gets hit in the face with a piece of cheese, half of phone lands nearby.

Ren standing. Stimpy is rummaging through a box that says 'Invinshins'
Ren: "Will you hurry so I can finish my paper?"
Stimpy: Farts. "Check this out, Ren. It's a remote control shaver. Now you can get a clean, close shave, without even being there! Ob-ser-uv!" Presses a button on a remote control. Buzzing sound is heard.
Ren: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! You-" Ren pauses as part of his belly fur is shaved away. The rest is shaved and then he turns around as his back is shaved. Stimpy plays around with the controls for a bit more, then Ren walks on screen with most of his fur shaved off.
Ren: "Yooooouuuu!"
Stimpy: Holds up a box and says "Here, Ren, for you!"
Ren: "Oh. What is it?"
Stimpy: "Go ahead, open it!"
Ren: Opens box and takes out pair of socks. "What are they?"
Stimpy: "They're my latest invention. Stay put socks, they never fall down."
Ren: "Say, now that's a good idea! Especially for those of us who don't wear clothes!" Ren jumps into socks with a -squish-. "Why, it's amazing! How do they work?"
Stimpy: "They're full of glue!"
Glue bubbles over the edge of the socks. Ren's mouth collapses, then he grimaces and starts sweating and shaking. Stimpy: "I'm so glad you like them, Ren! Wait here, I'll go get the stay put hat and raincoat!"
Ren: Grabs at Stimpy "You filthy swine! I will kill you!" He grunts and strains but only knocks the super-heavy socks over. He grunts and twists on the floor for a bit until Stimpy comes back.
Stimpy: "Say, what's the matter, Ren? Say... you don't suppose... He's unhappy? I know now what I must do. I must use my gift of invention, to save Ren."

The next scene is a collaboration of clips of Stimpy working in his lab. There is no dialogue. They have jokes such as Stimpy working on something with a screwdriver and it turns out he's picking at his fingernail with it, or he drinks his own sweat that has collected in his goggles. Finally, Stimpy perks up and says Eureka!

Ren on the couch again. Stimpy off to side.
Stimpy: "Re-en!"
Ren: "What?"
Stimpy: "Are you feeling any better?"
Ren: "No I'm not feeling any better. Wait! What are you up to?"
Stimpy: Holds something behind his back and says "Oh, no-othing."
Ren: "What have you got behind your back? You're hiding something from me... aren't you? What is it you're hiding? All right let's see it, okay, hand it over!"
Stimpy: Quickly slams the Happy Helmet onto Ren.
Ren: "Hey! What is this thing? Get it off of me!"
Stimpy: "It's the happy helmet, Ren. Now you'll always be happy! And this is the remote control. And I use this dial to control how happy you are!"
Ren: "You sick little monkey! Why I oughta-"
Stimpy pushes a button on the remote control and Ren freezes. His mouth curves into a smile and he tries to fight it.
Stimpy: "Hey, it works!" He pushes the button again. This continues for a few more times.
Ren: "No! Got to fight it! Can't lose control! Will strong.... body weak....."
Finally Ren snaps and becomes insanely happy.
Ren: "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, ha ha ha ha! Stimpy, I'm so - happy! I must - go - do nice - things! Hee hee he hee hee, ha ha ha hahaaaa!"
Ren walks off, doing this weird walking thing where he moves his chest forward then the rest of his body catches up.

Ren is at an ironing board ironing underwear.
Ren: "So - happy - ironing... for STIMPY! Ha ha ha ha ha haaa!" Ren takes the underwear off the board and gives it to Stimpy, who presses it against his body instead of putting it on. It sticks on to him as he walks away.

In bathroom. Stimpy's stinky litterbox is nearby.
Ren: "I - must do - wonderful things - for my best - friend - Stimpy!!!" Ren sees the litterbox and puts his finger on it and says "OH - JOY!!! HA HA HA HA HAHAAAAAA!!!" He picks it up and carries it over to a wastebasket. "See how I love to clean - filthy catboxes!" Ren then cleans out the catbox, laughing insanely all the while.

Ren is in bed with posters of cute, fluffy animals all around him. A crash is heard with some beeping. Ren's eyes crack open. Stimpy pulls up in a yellow car outside their house. He appears at the door and says "Oh Re-en! I've got a surprise for you! Hey... maybe Ren is somewhere being sad! I will make him happy again!" Stimpy then grabs the remote and pushes the button. Ren sits bolt upright in bed. Stimpy says "Re-en, oh Re-en!" Then sees Ren at the bottom of the staircase. Ren appears to be trying to strangle Stimpy, but he's too happy.
Stimpy: "Boy, Ren, if you think you're happy now, wait'll you hear this! It's a record of my favorite song! It's called 'Happy Happy Joy Joy'!" Stimpy puts the record in a record player and the song begins... (An mpeg is available at SegaSonic.Net, at the bottom.

Hello, boys and girls! This is your old pal Stinky Wizzleteats! This is a song about a whale! (Stimpy pushes the button and Ren assumes a dance position) NO! This is a song about being happy! (Stimpy jumps into place, They dance to the song) That's right! It's the happy happy joy joy song!
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy
I don't think you're happy enough! That's right! I'll teach you to be happy! I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs! Now, boys and girls, let's try it again!
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy
(At the last part Ren bounces into the kitchen. He rummages through a drawer and pulls out a hammer and starts to smash the helmet as the last stanza begins) If'n you ain't the granddaddy of all liars! And the little critters of nature, they don't know that they're ugly. That's very funny. A fly marrying a bumblebee... I'd told you I'd shoot, but you didn't believe me, why didn't you believe me???
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy joy joy joooooy!
Ren stomps over to Stimpy and grabs him around the neck just as the songs ends.
Stimpy: "Ren, you're... you're angry?"
Ren: "You're darn tootin' I'm angry! I have never been this angry in my entire life!" Ren starts shaking until he looks like he's about to have a seizure when suddenly he stops.
Ren: "Hey... I feel great! I love being angry! Thank you, Stimpy!"
Stimpy: "Happy to be of service...?"
It irises out on Ren laughing insanely.

The End

Thanks to http://ourworld.cs.com/WeezelX/rs/invention.html

A Friday Night Out

(Doesn’t he look wonderful without those repugnantly tinted glasses?)

Tonight was “Mambo Italiano”, a sampling of Italian wines at our favorite Friday night haunt.

I have never met Chianti that I could have confidence in, however I did offer a polite nod of approval to the 2000 Colle Lungo Chianti Classico. Billed as “a modern style Chianti Classico sith spicy cedar nose and palate” it matured gingerly as it decanted in my glass; a further 45 minutes proved this Chianti to be agreeably ballsy.

A crowd favorite was a scrumptious Cappana Bruenello di Montalcino (2001.) We were told to expect a mixture of anise, cherry cola, balsam notes, bacon fat, sandalwood and mint liquor woven together into a glowing gemtone wine, embodied with interesting spice and carrying enduring if not persistent finish. We each enjoyed trying to pick out the flavors, making a game of it.

What is a wine tasting without a voyage into the sweet and sparkling? I made fast friends with a Bartenura Moscato. This delectable Moscato was a semi-sweet frolic of pears, tangerines, melon and nectar. I swore the first note began with rose; the glass remained crisp yet mellow from start to finish.

The crowd was a different mix than our usual compatriots. Better Half and I met a sweet couple, John and Mira (I’m certain that I have misspelled the dear woman’s name.) They owned a wine shop and deli previously and were a wealth of knowledge. We also met Tom Gentile, the Democratic candidate for Jefferson County Commissioner. He spoke about changing out the “old guard” (most of which are Democrats and have not done a damn thing for this town except allow our beautiful downtown area to degrade into a cesspool of vacant businesses and decrepit buildings.)

It would be grand if I could say, “our evening ended fabulously!” In fact, we came home and let the dogs out, then began to undress. Truffle decided to shit on my favorite blanket. She is now confined to her crate, needless to say, and I am seriously considering a Pomeranian rescue group. I am more than frustrated with her lackluster interest in actually housebreaking. We have trained many dogs over the course of years and I do not think that Truffle’s inability to grasp housebreak is due to our negligence, but rather to her being a “dirty dog”. I feel absolutely terrible over the entire situation.

The only plan for tomorrow is to dismantle the Christmas tree and pack away all the decorations. I have not been able to do much of anything due to my back.