April 24, 2005

The Forgotten Genocide

This post stays on top today.

Today, April 24th, is the 90th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.

I have so many things to say, so many emotions, I will say just two:

First, why is it that so many Americans know nothing of a genocide that killed nearly as many as Hitler's reign of terror over the Jews in Europe? Like the Jews, the Christian Armenians were pursued and killed by the Muslim turks for no reason other than their religion. It was wholesale slaughter. Men, and young boys were murdered outright, women, girls, and the elderly were forced to march for miles. Most died along the way. Armenian girls were sold into slavery in turkish homes and were raped by turkish soldiers. Yet almost no one here knows the story...

Second, a personal story. My father's stepmother was already a widow with 7 children at the time of the genocide. Her children were young, but not babies. She knew that they would never survive without some kind of plan. So she disguised herself and her children as turkish arabs, and moved from town to town posing as an arab widow. She made what little living she could scrape together by sewing for wealthy turkish families, all the while hiding her true identity. Over the course of a couple of years she and her children crossed turkey on foot, and eventually came under the protection of some Christian arabs who helped them escape to Lebanon. Eventually, they made their way to France, and some of them, including my father's stepmother, made it to the US.

Their sacrifice deserves to be remembered.
For more on the genocide, go here and here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:42 PM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2005

Don't Piss off my Husband

I love my honey. One of the best things about him is that he is the one who is slow to anger, thinks about what he wants to say, and rarely gets into a huff.

He's working up to a fit right about now. After being busy with school and such, he's finally getting caught up on the news.

I know most people are getting tired of the Sheehan story, but what he's going to have to say will probably be worth reading. Look for it in the next couple of days....

I think this has gotten personal.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 26, 2005

Thank me for sharing...

This post from Contagion reminded me of a story that's made the rounds in our family.

In the early sixties, my dad's best friend was a teacher and coach, and he took a job for a year or two at a college just outside of Portland, OR. A few months after he moved up there, Dad decided to visit.

Now Dad's friend lived in a house that was surrounded by brush and trees, but supposedly there was a lawn in the middle of all that.

When Dad arrived at the house, after driving 15 hours to Portland, he was greeted by this mess.... After a few hours rest, the 2 of them rented a heavy-duty lawn mower and attacked. Everything was going along smoothly until...THUMP. Dad looked up to find a tree in front of him. A somewhat mature tree with at least a couple of years' growth that had been hidden in the high grass. Ok, he thought, I'll just mow around it.... until THUMP.

Yep, you guessed it. Another tree. About the same size. All in all they found 7 actual trees hidden in the grass and took out as many or more that were just starting to root.

Eventually, they took those trees out too, but I never heard that they fought back or died in a pulsating pile......

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 06, 2005

Presented for your Amusement

As many of you are aware, my DH is a 7th and 8th grade teacher. 12 and 13 year olds are little more than raging bags of hormones.

Well, evidently yesterday he took away a note that one of the girls had written to a boy, including the boy's partial response. He left it in the kitchen this morning and all I can say is that I'm glad I wasn't eating or drinking when I read it...

I hope like hell he read it out loud to the class. I present it here for you, spelling and grammar mistakes intact, with only the names changed to protect the innocent.... and not so innocent.

(imagine cute, rounded girly writing, as only 12 and 13 year old girls can do)

Dear [Boy],
I really am sorry. Are you sure your not upset, because you turned all red. I'm sorry for annoying you with all these notes. I am confused on who I like well I'm not confused about you,; but I'm in a situation right now.[emphasis mine-Ed.]

Here's his response, written lower on the same page:

lol Im always red and Im pissed off at Mr. [DH].

I suspect that there would have been more but that the paper was removed at this point.....

I will continue to post such notes as he finds them and brings them home, that is, until he tells me to stop.

I was disappointed though. When we were in 7th and 8th grade, we used to fold the notes up in very complicated ways to make envelopes or flaps, or even into the shape of an arrow. This was only folded in half twice. Kids today have no sense of creativity.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 25, 2005

Eleven years ago today...

..I kissed the only man I'll ever love for the very first time.

To this:

I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take a breath that’s true
I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth
You live your life
You go in shadows
You’ll come apart and you’ll go black
Some kind of night into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what’s not there.

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew

A stranger’s light comes on slowly
A stranger’s heart without a home
You put your hands into your head
And then smiles cover your heart

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew

Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew
I think it’s strange you never knew

--Mazzy Star, "Fade Into You"

I'm the luckiest girl in the world to be able to spend every day with my best friend and my lover, to still look at you in amazement that you and I are still joined at the hip after 3 colleges, 2 graduate schools, and 1 tour in the army. Not to mention two moves across the country, chronic illness, and a crazy allergic puppy.

Thanks for making the last eleven years wonderful, even when everything else was miserable.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:57 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

Doctor's report

For those of you asking for news about my Dad, rather than write this about 18 times, I thought I'd share the details here.

When I got home from work I found an email from LW, asking what happened, and I realized that I should have heard, so I called. Mom answered Dad's cell phone from the examining room (he was delayed in surgery and was running behind), and asked me if I had any questions, and when the doctor heard that I had asked for the details of the pathology report, he actually asked Mom if he could tell me himself (of course her telling him I was a neurobiology professor helped, I'm sure...She did! I heard her). What follows is what he told me himself.

Such a cool doctor!

So here's the deal. The mass is about 2 centimeters across, and about 1.1 millimeters of it is adenocarcinoma, so it is a small lesion, and a very small percentage of it is cancer. The doctor seems to think it's just a polyp that went bad, so to speak. It's located near the junction of the bile duct and the duodenum, although I'm not sure if it is in the ampulla vater or the duodenum itself. It doesn't appear to have spread out of the intestine itself. Here's some great information on ampullary cancer. I especially like that last part about up to 90% 5-year survival rate. I am determined to be optimistic. The doctor seemed to be.

He plans a Whipple operation, which used to be a death sentence, but with laparoscopic surgery and minimally invasive techniques and specialized training, the mortality rate is about the same as other surgeries, so I'm not too worried. The doctor said he thinks it's likely that when he removes it, there won't be anything else to worry about. I'm praying that's the case

He has a PET scan scheduled for tomorrow as there are a couple of other small lesions, but they don't appear to be neoplastic, one on the liver and one on the lung. The doctor told me it's likely the former is a hemangioma and the latter is a TB scar. There's no reason to suspect they're evil. In any case, he's going to take a look while he's got Dad opened up.

Hell, by the time you get to 71 you've got all kinds of funny things going on in your body, right?

Mom will tell me more when they leave the doctor's office.

Moral of the story: Get every intestinal bleed checked out, all the way from your input to your output. Don't let the doctor say, "Oh, it's probably stress or an ulcer, here's some Nexxium". They found this tumor early because it was bleeding and they scanned him from the mouth down.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:31 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

Happy Birthday

It should be noted that this is a big day, being the birthday of "DH," Caltechgirl's hubby, known to some as Grand Moff Trojan.

Posted by Jay at 11:31 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hello World

Just popping in with a quick update. The surgery went well and there were no surprises at all. Doctor is pleased and Dad is resting comfortably in ICU thanks to his trusty epidural :)

True to form, when the anesthesiologist told him how he was going to do the epidural, Dad asked if he was having a boy or a girl.

Thanks to everyone for their continued prayers and good wishes, we're not out of the woods yet.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

Quick Update

Dad continues to improve, and they've removed the nasogastric suction, the arterial line, the epidural, and the Foley. All he's got now is one IV and the central line, which they'll take out when he leaves the hospital. He's up and walking and sitting in the chair pretty much as he likes, and even walking to the bathroom on his own.

His new room has its own DVD player and my Mom and Aunt have been keeping him well supplied with movies and TV shows to watch. His room even has a flat screen and hardwood floors. Nice to have a room in the brand new wing of the hospital, huh?

Looking forward to Thanksgiving. I think we decided against Turkey since it'll be just us and Mom at our house. Dad probably won't be home yet. Although we'll probably get some Turkey with DH's family.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:02 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

We're Baaaack!

Long weekend in Fresburg. Dad is doing better and worse. He's more alert, moves better, eats pretty well (still just broth and jello, though), and has no pain, but he also has pneumonia. The docs seem to have caught it early, and it is responding to treatment.

Also, the drains are still draining, so he can't come home until they're done and the pneumonia is gone. Suck.

But as long as he continues to get better, I could care less.

Any number of forthcoming posts about how hospitals suck, and nurses really suck and bastard selfish doctors who can't be bothered to leave their turkey for 5 minutes to call the doctor who is on call in the hospital to get him to look at Dad and order the appropriate antibiotics for his pneumonia.

Mom had to call the bastard (on call for Dad's dr) at home to get him to do anything!

However, the CNAs are wonderful, arrive promptly, do disgusting things cheerfully, and always make my Dad feel at ease, even though he would otherwise be embarrassed.

Now, I know that nurses and doctors don't all suck, but after the weekend we've had, they might as well.

Other than that, I'm half done with my Christmas shopping (Target + Costco + Black Friday = cha-ching). I also got my birthday present from my hubby. Now I can carry my digicam in my pockety!

It was on sale, too.

Lots of fun with the nieces and nephew today, playing with the dog and on their big trampoline, using my new toy to get some pics.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 06, 2005

Dad's Home!

After a few false starts, strangely unremoved central lines and drains, and an extra day to drain fluid, Dad finally came home around 7:30 tonight!

As I write this, he's probably in his own bed for the first time in 3 weeks. Snoring so loud he's shaking the house :)

He's still taking the pancreatic enzymes and has one drain left, but that was supposed to come out today, and will come out when he sees the doctor next, either the end of this week or beginning of next.

Oh, and because I am built just like my Dad, further proof why I never see diet results: The man has lost about 30 pounds and his pants still fit!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 09, 2005

Home for Christmas

This post by AWTM really got me thinking. She says this is the first Christmas in 5 years where she is at home.

She says:

The last 5 Christmas's have been hard for me.

I won't go into specifics tonight, because honestly. I am too tired for it. Let me say this, the last five years are filled with death, illness, new babies, and deployments.

This year is the first year my tree is up in OUR HOME. I haven't seen any of this stuff for 5 years.
The phone rings, and it is my Dad.

"I miss you, and love you and sure wish you would come home this Christmas."

He doesn't understand I am already home......

I know how she feels, in a way. When DH and I were married, we knew that he'd be leaving soon for Basic, and that we wouldn't spend Christmas together. So I didn't bother to put up any of my Christmas things, didn't get a tree, and made plans to return to CA with the Princess, who was then about 6 months old. Just before Christmas, however, we found out that his basic class (the last of the year) would be released for 2 weeks over the Holidays, and we managed to get him a ticket on the same flight as the last leg of my journey home.

That was the last time all of us were together at home for the Holidays.

For the next 5 years, DH and I decided that the trek to CA was more of a pain than it was worth. Forget flying a dog in cold weather, and we weren't paying a $400 boarding fee on top of flights, gifts, etc.

So we would nest at home. Almost never leaving the house the years he was still in the Army, just enjoying the time we could spend together, sitting in front of the tree, playing with the dog.

But something was missing.

I realized it last weekend as we were choosing our own Christmas Tree. This year we really will have Christmas at home. Yeah, my house is all decorated (although I can't find my Wreaths. Scumbag movers) and we have a lovely tree, but all of that will sit alone for a week as we load the car up with presents and make the trek home. For the first time in 5 years.

I'm sure there will be years when we won't want to make the drive, but not this year. Even if Dad hadn't been sick, we'd still be going. As my mother said the other day, I'm looking forward to opening presents without trying to balance a phone to my ear!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

So I was trying to write this Meme....

...that Margi tagged me with, and I was watching the PC about the miner who went to the hospital, when a woman ran up to Anderson Cooper screaming that all the other miners were dead.  Seems that just when they told us all was well, the worst possible thing happened.  And I'm sobbing.  Just sobbing.

How in God's name did they fuck this up so badly?  We were wondering why we didn't see the miners come out, why the ambulances weren't running, why the hospital only received one patient.

Now we know.  What kind of cruel bastard would let this happen to these poor people who have suffered so much over the last two days?  How could they have been taken from the depths of despair to utter joy, back to horrified pain again?

The president of the mine company is on TV right now, eating a big shit sandwich.  Trying to cover his ass, but frankly the man is going to burn for it.  He says his company never said everyone was alive.  But in reality, they never said that they weren't either.  His company could have avoided this SNAFU by saying that they COULD NOT CONFIRM that there were any survivors.

Now he's spinning like a top.  Your ass is SO toast buddy.  Your company is going down in a blaze of courtroom glory.

Anyway, maybe tomorrow I'll answer that meme and Fight On! for USC, but tonight, I just don't have the heart.

Let your dear ones know you love them everyday.  You never know which day is the one when they won't come back to you.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 09, 2006

It's National De-lurking Week

At least, according to this lovely lady (from whom I stoleborrowed this graphic).

Follow the directions and nobody gets hurt.... 

Come on, you know you've got something to say..... And I'd love to know who you are. 

Don't think I don't see you out there....

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:14 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To my wonderful Mother and my dear friend A.

And to adorable Brandon, too.

Here's to a better year than the last and many many more.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

Boundaries: Online and Off

An open series of questions to any of you with blogs, we'll call this the last audience participation special of National De-Lurking Week:

Do you blog under your real name?
Do your family/ off-line friends know about the blog?
Is that a reason you don't use your real name?
If you blog anonymously, have your off-line friends who know about the blog ever outed you to someone you'd prefer to keep away from your blog?
Doesn't it piss you off when people cross your personal blog boundaries?
How do you go about handling something like that (which is really an invasion of your privacy)?

I ask this because dear Helen just experienced a major betrayal of her boundaries at an incredibly bad time, and I had a similar, though not nearly so devastating experience recently, and I know others who have (or are about to) run screaming from their old blogs because of trolls they knew in real life (you know who you are).

Your thoughts?  Any advice for Helen?  I really am interested to hear what you have to say. Email me if you don't feel all that comfortable leaving a comment....

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:41 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

The state of Health Care today...

As most of you know, my Dad was recently hospitalized for MAJOR surgery to remove a tumor.  Due to some complications (edema and pneumonia), his total hospital stay was 21 days, including 4 in the ICU and 2 more in "telemetry step down", which is similar, but less closely monitored.

In any case, the total bill was (get ready for it) $196,787.63.

Yes, you read that right.

Now, my parents are lucky enough to have fabulous insurance, a PPO plan that includes $0 co-pay for inpatient services and  considers the hospital Dad was treated in as a preferred provider.

The insurance paid $51,975.00.  The hospital considers the bill paid under their PPO agreement.

Imagine if they had no insurance or minimal insurance.  They would have had to sell the house to save Dad's life.

Clearly the hospitals have jacked up the prices so far that they're still breaking even (and probably doing well) taking in just 26.4% of the bill.  And it's no anomaly.  Their insurance plan is one of the major plans in town, as Mom's employer is the largest in the county.  The hospital expects that the majority of their patients will be under a PPO plan.  So why jack up the prices that high?  To screw the poor and uninsured?  To make them choose between saving their life and caring for their family?

No wonder the insurance companies are complaining.  If this wasn't a PPO  provider, and the insurance paid 80% (what my last plan would have paid for a non-PPO inpatient stay), the insurance company would have been out $157,430.104, more than 3 times what they paid....

The system is out of control.   But socialized medicine isn't the answer either.  So what should be done?

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Those darn boys...

I was the only child, you see, and the youngest grandchild on both sides by a minimum of 10 years, so stories like this are foreign to me....

Drink Warning!

This happened at Bou's house tonight:

"Today the boys informed me they were going to have Bones put on his Hulk costume and then shoot nerf stuff at his butt to see if he could feel it. Nice. The crap they come up with amazes me.

So I'm in the kitchen making a salad and I hear, "Let's punch him now and see if he feels it!"

Yeah, that's never a good thing to hear.

I was in that room within fractions of a second to find my youngest standing in the middle of the room, but almost looking bow legged. I shouted, "STOP! There WILL BE NO PUNCHING!"

They know the rules: the Be No's of this home. There will be no punching. There will be no kicking. There will be no spitting. Or typically as I say it, "There will be no punching, kicking, hitting, spitting or beating of each other!"

All three of them looked at me blank faced like, "Are YOU talking TO ME?" Like they were innocent. I heard them. I HEARD THEM!

Finally one of the eldest said, "Mom, we're going to hit him in the weenie; he can't feel it. He's wearing 20 pairs of underwear"

But wait, there's more....  Read the whole thing.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

Mikey Update

From Da Goddess:

"Mikey had surgery tonight to remove the blood clot and stop other bleeding. His intracranial pressure is rising (not a good sign) and he remains in a medically induced coma. His wife is trying her best to be strong, but it's difficult. She's scared and confused."

Da Goddess will update her page as soon as she gets more news. Please keep up the good wishes and prayers for Mikey and his family, as it seems he needs them now more than ever!

You can drop by Mikey's page or Da Goddess's to leave messages of support for Mikey's family.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One more post for Mikey...

Pixy has set up a post on Mikey's blog where you can leave your thoughts and prayers for his wife.

To do so, go here.  And go here for updates as they come in.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Tuesday Mikey Update


from DaGoddess:

"I spoke with Mrs. Mikey a while ago and this is the update I received:

Sedation was lowered and Mikey responded. The nurse was wiping his
face with a cloth, he seemed to like it, and turned toward her. She
told him to turn his head back the other way but he wouldn't do so.
Mrs. Mikey told him to turn his head toward her, and he did!

At one point, Mrs. Mikey was talking to her friend about him and he
pulled her arm. She asked him if he wanted her to stop talking about
him and he pulled her arm again. She stopped talking about him and he

They've reduced his blood pressure medication because his blood pressure has come down. Yay!

His blood pressure and his ICP are lowest when his daughter is by his side.

This is all good news. Very good news. Still, he's not out of the
woods yet. The doctor has told Mrs. Mikey that there is brain damage,
no doubt about it. How much? They don't know yet. And the stroke
occurred in the part of the brain that controls personality and
cognitive ability. Mikey may not be the same guy he was before."

So, good news and bad, mostly good news, though, and we'll all just have to wait and see....

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

One Peanut, on his way!

Koolaid took Margi to the hospital today.  No baby yet, they just want to watch her closely as the pre-eclampsia signs are starting to ramp up and the little man will probably be asked to make his grand entrance by this weekend.

Keep the Lowrys in your prayers as they wait for their special delivery!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Can you spare a few bucks?

Help out Mikey!

Clicky the button!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Make Mikey's Day!

Smash and Da Goddess have set up a PayPal fund to help out Mikey's family.  Although they have insurance, there's a hefty deductible, and Mikey won't be bringing in a paycheck for a long time.  Mrs. Mikey can't work either, as she is staying by his side.  Every little bit you can drop in the bucket helps.

The button is on the sidebar.  Click early and often!!

Come on folks, you donated almost $100,000 in 11 days to Soldier's Angels, surely we can raise enough to buy gas and groceries for a few weeks!

If you's like to send a card, Smash has generously made his PO Box available.  The address is:

Mad Mikey
PO Box 882353
San Diego, CA 92108-2353

Thanks for all the comments and wishes, I know Mrs. Mikey and their daughter really appreciate everyone's support and prayers!

Latest updates here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Congratualtions are in order!

Margi's Little Peanut made his debut this afternoon weighing in at 4 lbs and 15 oz and is 18
inches long.  Small but feisty.

Little man and Mommy are both doing well!  More to come as soon as Koolaid can tear himself away!

It's a good day for blog babies, today is also Draco Esmay's 1st birthday

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 20, 2006

More Good News!

Smash has a fabulous AAR from his visit in the hospital with Mikey.
Mikey is definitely in there, responding to touch and to words, and fighting hard to get better and come back to us as the Mikey we all know.
Keep praying folks, he's a long way from out of the woods...... And keep hitting the PayPal button (on the sidebar here), almost $1000 donated so far!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Even better!

More encouraging news about Mikey!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Memo to the Moms to be out there...

Specifically those of you close to the finish line (Deb, Dana, Mrs. Phin, etc.)...

Don't let this give you any ideas about bringing another blog-baby into the world this week :)

Welcome to the world, Barrett Elijah (Paladin)!  You must have been in a real hurry, to come out after only 7 hours!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille....

Meet Margi and Koolaid's little Peanut.  Mommy's home, but baby is going to stay in the NICU to bulk up a little. They'll let him go home when he hits his fighting weight :)

Congrats again, you two.  You did good!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006


Peanut's Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2006

Hello, Grandma?

Glenn links to this interesting post at Dr. Helen's site about Grandparents who don't have time to grandparent, based on this article. He asks if these are the same parents who were too busy to be parents, and Dr. Helen wonders if the lack of relationship between children and the extended family keeps them from understanding close human interactions or makes them believe that love is really only about material things. The answer is: well, DUH.

I can just see these women who don't want to be Grandma. Twenty years ago, these were the self-obsessed, career driven mothers of my friends. Trying to be there for the after-school pick up and the PTA, but not worrying overly much if the kids had to walk home or the PTA brownies came from the grocery store. Too busy with their own lives to consider that the "safe" neighborhood the kids walked home through was still dangerous after dark, that the grocery store brownies told all the other kids that you didn't really care, that you were too busy for your kid.

And Hell Yes, we made fun of those kids.

The 80s was all about the Superwoman. Could Mom work outside the home and still have a clean house and take care of the kids? The consensus was that something had to give. For a lot of these women, it was the precious moments with their kids, the small kindnesses that mean so much, and the closeness that the rest of us shared with our moms. Yet they fooled themselves that because the house was clean and the kids were doing well in school that they could have it all.

Somehow it was never important to be there, to make time. And now that their children are parents, these now grown-up children realize what they missed, and they want that for their own children. So they make time, they skip meetings and make brownies, they ask Grandma and Grandpa to spend time with the kids, and they are still disappointed.

But it's more than that. Being Grandma is being old. Hell, most of our grandmothers were at least in their 70s. For the most part, they weren't active, independently wealthy, and still working in their chosen career. Our grandmas were cooks and knitters and nurturers, with their silver hair and never ending fount of kleenex and hard candies. Today's grandmas are tech-saavy, go to work every morning, and command respect outside the home. If you were a balls-to-the-wall coroporate type, would you want to be called ANYTHING that brings to mind a blue haired woman in a rocker?

And being Grandma is an imposition. After all, it wasn't their choice to have babies, toddlers, and children around again. Their kids did this to them. The author of the article even says this in reference to her grandchildren:

Look, I'd love to nip over and whisper secrets into 1-month-old Maggie's ears, or to dress 2-year-old Ryan in the black leather jacket I bought her recently and take her to look for late blackberries in Golden Gate Park on my bike (with its deluxe new kid seat). But I have a job. I'm a reporter, I have two books to write, a husband who wants to go to France, and I just bought an investment property in Portland, Oregon. I love my grandchildren, but being a grandmother got added to my to-do list.
[emphasis mine]

Added to her to-do list. As if she only is Grandma because she has to be. As if she never expected her own children to grow up and have children of their own. Maybe she just doesn't see her own children as self-actualized individuals with lives and loves of their own. Or maybe she didn't want her children to be tied down the way she was. Another Grandma in the article is quoted as saying (paraphrasing here) that while she loves her grandbabies and wants to be a part of their lives, she's not willing to give up her life to deal with them.

If being a grandma is so damn inconvenient, it's a wonder some of the parents of these grandkids were even born so their moms could be grandmas. Hell, Roe has been the law of the land for more than 30 years.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:41 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 02, 2006

In honor of the day...

©2006, King Features Syndicate

Six more weeks of winter is great, as long as it's six more weeks like this :)

Although I do miss the snow.....

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my B-I-L M, as opposed to DH's other brother (in-law) M.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2006

My Hubby ought to appreciate this...

A quick perusal of the referrals to my site shows that I am #1 on Google for "my DH".

Which of course means that he is #1!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh the Irony

Journalist and Blogger Michael Yon has consistently been one of the most strident voices in support of our Troops and the marvelous things they do in Iraq that don't get reported elsewhere.

You know the old saying don't sh*t where you eat?  Well, it looks like the Army is doing just that.

You may remember that Michael took this picture of a US soldier cradling a young Iraqi girl in his arms.  This picture was even nominated as one of Time Magazine's Best Pictures of 2005.  However, the Army released the photo on its own initially, without Michael's permission and under the false attribution "AP/US Army".

Since last fall, Michael has been trying to claim the rights to his own photograph, including any compensation the Army recieved for its publication, and has been denied.

According to the Boston Herald, the Army is denying his claim based on their assertion that the

""hold harmless" waiver that [he signed at the ouset of his trip] absolved the government of responsibility for any "injury" Yon might suffer as an embedded blogger.
    The army also said that Yon uploaded his photo onto government computer servers, creating an "implied license" agreement for the Army to distribute the photo.
     Yon, who’s become something of an online celebrity because of his vivid battle dispatches from Iraq, said the Army's arguments are "preposterous". The injury waiver applies to physical wounds, not copyright infringements, he said.
    He added he gave the Army permission to use the photo for purely internal purposes."
Michael Yon has consistently supported our troops and brought their stories to light out of his own pocket, having recieved no compensation for his time in Iraq, funding his trips to the Middle East on his own.  By denying Michael his due compensation for this photograph, the Army is, ironically enough, shooting themselves in the foot by preventing one of their best weapons in the battle of public opinion from reloading.

If you support Michael and his mission, link this post or these posts, and tell his story.  Write your congresspeople and senators, too.  Especially if you are a Massachussetts resident, like Michael.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To one of the sweetest ladies of the blogosphere!

Funny lady, new mom, and all-around great person: the fabulous Margi!

Millions of hugs and kisses to you and all your boys on your special day!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

Today's the Day

Happy VD everyone!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To the King of Crapblogging, Aciddude!

And many more, my friend.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2006

The Waiting is the Hardest Part...

Jay and Deb were off to the hospital this morning around the time I fell asleep (2:30 am in Cali, 5:30 am in MA), and we should be hearing news any time now...

Yay Valerie!

PS Bonus points to anyone who can tell me where the post title comes from!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

She's here!

Welcome to the world, little one:

Valerie Ruth Ellis

born 2/21/06 8:07 am
8 lbs, 21 inches
dark hair, brown eyes

Congratulations Jay and Deb and big sister Sadie!
Posted by caltechgirl at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And also from the baby department...

Announcing the arrival of:

Lindsey Nicole Gunderloy
born 2/20/06 at 5:36 am
8 lbs, 13.5 oz;  21.5 inches
dark hair, brown eyes

Congrats to Mom Dana, Dad Mike, big brothers Adam and Thomas, and big sister Kayla! 

h/t Lindsey's future MIL ;)

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Speaking of better things to talk about....

Just found out that the reason I haven't seen one of my students in two weeks is because her soon-to-be-Ex took off suddenly, and absconded with the kids....

She knows where he is and is getting together the resources to go after him and get her babies back.  But she's had to take a leave from her job and drop out of school for the semester.

If you're the praying type, put in a good word to whatever benevolent deity you worship for Michelle S. and her babies, will you?  Thanks.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 28, 2006

One for Mikey

Chris Muir Rocks!

Thanks Chris!

Mikey has been moved to a rehab facility, and as usual, he's impatient to go home. To help out Mikey and his family, click the button on the sidebar or go here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 03, 2006

Sad Friday

Two of my favorite bloggers called it quits yesterday.

I can't say I fault them, as both of them want to spend more time with their families, but I will miss them both very much.

Take a moment and drop by and tell Cobb and Margi how much they will be missed.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 04, 2006

Eat this Coach K

Carolina WINS!!!!!


Love those Tar Heels! This pretty much says it all:

Bobby Frasor dominates Duke's Sean Dockery
AP courtesy tarheelblue.com

In honor of our victory, Our Alma Mater:

Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and True
Singing Carolina's praises
Shouting N.C.U.

Hail to the brightest Star of all

Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem,
Receive all praises thine.

I'm a Tar Heel born, I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead.
So it's RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina

'Neath the oaks the sons true hearted
Homage pay to thee
Time worn walls give back their echo
Hail to U.N.C.

Though the storms of life assail us
Still our hearts beat true
Naught can break the friendships formed at
Dear old N.C.U.

Click the link to hear the music and words by the UNC Band and Choir, and sing along!
Don't forget to stomp.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006


The Phinlet is here!

Boy 8lbs 14ozs, born between 1 and 2 am this morning, all other details are classified.

Mom and Babe are fine.  No word yet on the Phishy.

Congrats to all the family!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2006

Huge Fabulous Congratulations are in Order!

The Lintefiniel one caught the Blog Baby Bug!

Precious cargo due in mid-November (the BEST time to be born, IMHO)

Drop in and wish Jen and Beau the best!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to You

You know who you are. I hope with all my heart you aren't reading this. That you haven't found my little corner of the net.

The things you did and the monstrous betrayal of our trust have scarred my life forever, regardless of how you justify these things to yourself.

Despite the past, all I have in my heart for you is pity and concern. I wish that I had been able to solve your problems. I wish that I had made you see the self destructive bent you were pursuing. But I know I never could have on my own.

I have learned in the time since then that I am strong, and you can't take that away from me, no matter how much it made you feel better. I have learned that I can't do everything. I can't be mother, sister, friend, therapist. Especially to someone who can not (for whatever reason) face their demons except through a bottle or the barrel of a gun.

But I still love you. You were my oldest friend, the one who knew me inside out for almost 20 years. We used to joke that we were two halves of the same coin, thinking alike and complementing each other's weaknesses. It's hard to let go of that. Some part of me will always miss that. And you, the real you. The sweet one who fed me pudding from a spoon and talked baby talk to the puppy.

Today is your 30th birthday, and I can't help but wish it finds you better than the last I knew of. I wish you love and health and peace.

And if you are reading this, please don't tell me. And don't come back. I'm not ready for you to be in my life.

But you will always be in my heart.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:24 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 21, 2006

For Joe

The Top 10 Best Alarm Clocks, guaranteed to WAKE YOUR ASS UP!!!

(our roommate senior year, the aforementioned Joe, was and is a notoriously heavy sleeper. Even kicking him didn't work at times....)

h/t McGehee

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 03, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To Blogdad Jay and his Mom!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2006

Keep them in your thoughts....

Fellow Munuvian and all around great guy RP and his Viking Bride are in the process of having their third babe today, after much stress and the preeclampsia carousel.  Sending best wishes and prayers in their direction!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

He's Here!

RP and his Viking Bride have welcomed a new Boy Child into the family. Mom and Babe are both well.


Posted by caltechgirl at 10:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 08, 2006

Happy MuNuversary to me!

One year ago today I hung up the Blogger training wheels and jumped full time to the MuNuvian intergalactic star cruiser.

In honor of that, a new look around here.

Between the blogrolls, buttons and pics, it was just getting too damn long to scroll down, so now we have 3 columns....

At the top, rotating banners are back, so refresh for your favorites.

Also, there's a new random scrolling quote for your amusement. Taking suggestions for new additions!

In the Left sidebar:                                   In the Right sidebar:
About Me                                                      My Blog Family
SuDoku                                                         Bloggers I've met
Hockey Whoopass Jamboree                    My Blogroll
Lots'a buttons                                               BFL Blogroll
(be sure to click the black/red flag)          Tartan Blogs Blogroll
Clock                                                             Code Red Blogroll
Calendar                                                           MedBlogs Blogroll
More info
Recent Entries
More buttons
SiteMeter etc.
Munuvian Blogroll
Cotillion Blogroll
Copyright and Disclaimer

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:44 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

April 18, 2006

A Thought Provoking Read

If you have never read the sometimes insane, always insightful blog of my one and only blog-child, Let The Finder Beware, you could do worse than to start reading it today.

Paul some interesting musings on the decades of our lives, and the moral and cultural changes that define them to us.  Part I is here, and Part II here.  Drop by and share your thoughts!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2006

I missed it yesterday

April 24 is Armenian Martyr's Day.

Read my post from last year.

Millions of people died because of their Christian faith in a well-planned and mercilessly executed attack. Never forget.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2006

For Helen.....

Inspired by Teresa's comment on this post....

The Greatest American Hero(right click and save)

Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else.

Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free-.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me.

It's like a light of a new day-,
It came from out of the blue.
Breaking me out of the spell I was in,
Making all of my wishes come true-.

Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free-.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me.

It's actually somewhat appropriate, no?

Helen could use some encouragement and positive thoughts. Drop by and give her a virtual hug, ok?

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To all-around fabulous chickie, amazing photographer, and kick-ass blogger, and my friend: Joanie!

MWAH! Love Ya!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Blogger Exists! Film at 11.

Well, ok, no film, but I did have a nice breakfast with Dean this morning.

I can report that not only he is he kind and amusing, he is as entertaining in real life as he is in the blogworld.

And thanks for breakfast. The next one's on me!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 26, 2006

Lovely way to spend a Friday afternoon....

Finished up a draft of the grant and sent it off to the PTBs and was waiting for my DH to get home so we can pack it off to the 'Rents for the weekend when I discovered a voice mail on my phone from this lovely and fabulous lady. I called her back and we chatted for about 30 minutes.

Isn't it funny how sometimes you just click with people, and then when you hear their voice it's almost like you know them already?

Looking forward to many more afternoon chats!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 31, 2006

Moving right along

Both grants out.  YAY!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006

Feisty Again!

The lovely Christina has been one of the biggest casualties of the DDoS attack on MuNuvia.  Her blog is still down, but being the resourceful gal that she is, she's opened up shop in her old digs and has resumed her former Feisty-ness.  If you've been looking for her, she'll be there until further notice.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 09, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Exgaucho Ben celebrates his SECOND 30th birthday :)

What are you waiting for?  Head over there, quick!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Who are these Cotillion Gals, anyway?

For this week's Cotillion, some of your favorite conservative ladies will tell you a little about themselves:

1. What time did you get up this morning?  8:30 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls?  Both, dahlink.  Diamond ring and bracelet, pearl necklace and earrings
3. What was the last film you saw at the movie house? The Chronicles of Narnia
4. What is your favorite TV show?
Currently on? House, Ever? The Pretender
5. What did you have for breakfast? Nothing yet.  Probably will have some cold pizza, though.
6. What is your middle name?  Bitch
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Armenian
8. What foods do you dislike? Brussel Sprouts, Olives, Canned Tuna, Sweet Pickles, Anchovies
9. What kind of car do you drive? a Ford Escape
10. Favorite Sandwich? Monte Cristo, no powdered sugar
11. What characteristic do you despise? Arrogance
12. Favorite item of clothing? My jeans!
13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a holiday where would you go? New Zealand
14. What color is your bathroom? White and blue, with Winnie the Pooh accents
15. Favorite brand of clothing? Any brand that fits.
16. Where would you like to retire? California's Central Coast
17. Favorite time of the day? Evening
18. What was your most memorable birthday? My 17th.  My friends threw me a surprise party.
19. Where were you born? Fresno, CA
20. Favorite sport to watch? Hockey and Football
21. What are you wearing right now? Jammies
22. What star sign are you? Scorpio
23. What fabric detergent do you use? Tide with Bleach
24. Pepsi or Coke? Dr. Pepper
25. Are you a morning person or a night owl? NIGHT OWL. What is this morning of which you speak?
26. What is your shoe size? 9.5 wide
27. Do you have any pets? The Princess
28. Any new exciting news you\'d like to share with your readers? I have a cold.
29. What did you want to be when you were little? a Radiologist.
30. What are you meant to be doing today? Working. I took a sick day.

For more about me, see my Eleventy-One things about me page here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:23 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To the coolest dude I know:

The one who taught me to swing a hammer, drive, hit a baseball, barbecue,  properly prune a rosebush, mow the lawn, diagnose a troublesome noise in the car, always use Yellow Power Bait, and vote Republican.

And also the one who taught me to be considerate of others, gracious in accepting gifts, respectful of my elders, to love my God and my country, see the best in other people, love my family and friends fiercely, and always do my best.

Not to mention to have fun, be careful and ALWAYS hold on tight.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:39 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

June 24, 2006

They grow up so fast!

My darling blog-child celebrates (real life) birthday number 50 today!

Happy Birthday, Paul, and many many more!

Drop by and leave him a note, would you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2006

Babies and more babies...

Since she announced it, I can post it, I guess.

Jen (and Beau) are pregnant! YAY! Due date some time near Valentine's Day.

Congratulations are also in order for Brandon of Brandon's Puppy. His mom Amanda is going to give him a baby brother or sister sometime towards the end of February!

What is this with bloggers and winter babies?  Drake, Babylove, and Valerie are all snowflake babies.  Huh.  In fact, the boys even have the same birthday, just a year apart.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sad News

My evil Fairy blogfather, Rob Smith, also known as Acidman of Gut Rumbles, passed away this morning.

Not many details are available.

My thoughts and prayers are with his daughter Sam and son Quinton, who I know will miss him very much.

I'll miss you, you lousy cracker son-of-a-bitch.  And I regret that I never was able to meet you and buy you a drink (back in the day when you actually partook).

If Rob was a part of your life, let Sam know, and leave her a comment here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

The perfect sendoff

"Dear Lord, we give you Acidman. Try not to piss him off."--JD

Thanks, Chris.  He would have been so pleased.  Of course, he would have made fun of it the whole time.

It's amazing how someone you've never met can mean so much to your life.  Especially someone as f'ed up as Rob.  But he made me laugh everyday, he sent biting little emails designed to knock me out of my happy place, and he MEANT it when he called me darlin'.

One of the finest compliments I've received in blogging was being asked to cover for him while he was in Willingway, and so many of the blogfriends I've made, I've made through Rob.  He touched a lot of people.

Sam and Quinton, your daddy was a lot of things, many of them not great, but he was a gifted writer and musician, and his unique perspective meant a lot to a lot of people.  I hope that in time you'll be blessed by this and you'll come to value the gift that he leaves behind in his archives.  Most kids don't get to look into their parent's thoughts, but you have a treasure trove of pieces of your Dad's life.  I hope that his writings show you how much he loved you and your uncle and your grandmother and great-grandmother, because family was clearly the best thing in his life.

I will miss him more than I should, I think, and when next I lift a glass, it will be in his memory.  Godspeed, Aciddude.

And Rob would have loved this, too.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

One more for Rob

Rob's memorial will be Thursday afternoon in Savannah.  More details can be found here.

If you'd like to leave the family a note of condolence, there's an obituary here, with links to a guestbook where you can leave the family a message.

: Rob's Obit from the Savannah Morning News is here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

It's pronounced "Jeff"

Happy Birthday to former CA blogger Xrlq!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gut Rumbles

Maybe this is TMI, but the King of Crap Blogging is laughing his ass off somewhere.  You see, I missed his online memorial because I was stuck to a toilet.  Yeah, we have wireless internet, but at the time, I was a little too screwed up to care....

Anyway, here's my contribution, late as it is.

I will never forget Rob's shifty cracker sense of humor, his delight in all things foul, his hatred of cats, and the pathological fear of snakes that we both shared.  I never had a chance to tell him how much in awe I was of his being able to actually kill the damn things, where I would have run screaming for 911.

I will remember how he called me his "favorite rocket scientist" and coopted me into his red-toenail brigade.

But most of all I will never forget two things about Rob:  His honesty and his abiding love for his family.  Yeah, he saw things from his own, sometimes twisted, point of view, but he wouldn't bullshit you about something important.  And, for all of his BS, the love he had for his family was never in doubt.

The world is a lot poorer without him.  I hope God appreciates the company.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Last One for Rob

My favorite of today's tributes to Acidman.  Mostly because of their honesty.  Rob would have enjoyed them.




Posted by caltechgirl at 07:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 30, 2006

We're off to see the wizard

Out and about over the long holiday weekend, so if you're bored with the lack of interesting posts, check out the blogrolls!

Or better yet, go wish the Feisty One a Happy Birthday!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

More Bad News

My dear friend Christina, her husband Dash, and the Wee and Sweet Ones (along with assorted pets) are all alright after losing their home to a lightning strike last night.

As always, my thoughts and prayers are with them as they rebuild both their house and their sense of security.

My door is always open to the whole bunch of you, doggies and all, if you should feel a trip to the west coast is in order.  Just give me a couple of hours notice to blow up the air matress for the girls.  And if there's anything else I can do, you know the number, my dear friend.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

If anybody talks to Chrissy....

Tell her I feel like I'm spinning on my thumb because there's nothing I can do to help, and she needs to call me and tell me what I can do for her.  Anything at all.  The post office is down the street from my house, after all.

She doesn't know it, but her cheerfulness and her friendship really got me through when Dad was in the hospital.  And now it's my turn to do something for her.  I'm just waiting for orders.

UPDATE: I spoke to Christina this afternoon. She's ok, but (I suspect) beginning to be a little overwhelmed by the enormity of what was lost, and how many little things we take for granted everyday. The good news is that everyone and the pets are ok, and the insurance is covering whatever they need. Thank God.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 10, 2006

Pet Peeve Rant!

Inspired by this thread at Dean's World.

One of my bigger pet peeves is how everyone in the world has an opinion about whether, or how, a young lady should change her name after marriage.

My own take?  Every marriage is different, everyone's circumstances are different, and that's no reason to judge the fidelity or commitment of a relationship.  Whatever the two people affected (the husband and wife) think is really all that matters.

I have known many people who got married in many different circumstances, from the new wife who immediately changes to her husband's name, to the couple who both change to a new last name.  This doesn't mean that they are any less committed, that their relationship is any less intimate, or that their family is any less spiritual.

In fact, the couple I know who both changed their last name to an amalgam of the two original names were both pastors.

A professional woman is presented with a dilemma on her marriage.  Should she continue to use the name that her friends and coworkers are accustmed to, that is written on her professional credentials and represents her body of work?  Or should she start over with a new name?  What will that mean to her career, especially in a field where name recognition is important?

If the marriage is successful, then no problem, she can build the majority of her career under her married name.  But what if it is not?  Many marriages end because of the stress of an early professional career.  Take the case of Professor M, someone I studied with.  Her maiden name was F, but she married and changed her name in graduate school.  A few years later, she and Mr. M divorced, but she continued to use his name, because her degree and publications used that name.  In fact, she is still known as Dr. M, although that hasn't legally been her name in almost 30 years.  In fact, her legal name is Mrs. T, as she remarried a few years ago.

As for myself, I have chosen to use both.  At work, I am Dr. CTG, and to the rest of the world,  I am Mrs. CTGT  (Hubby, of course, being Mr. GMT).  And honestly, it would be easier to take hubby's name.  Those of you who know my own name are nodding your heads in agreement, as his name is both shorter and easier to spell for other people, but it is as important to me to be one as it is to be the other, so I use both. And it works for both of us.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:14 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

Happy, Happy!

Happy Birthday to AWTM and Rave!

I would have gotten you presents, but I think you've already got your hands full.....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

More Happy!

Happy Birthday to Dean Esmay of Dean's World!

And many more, my friend!

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2006

Elisson Rules

The Debonair one has done an amazing thing for those of us still missing the Acidic One.

Here's Rob's interview with WAGA about blogging and losing his job.

Thanks, dude.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2006

Happy Happy!

It's the Big 3-0 for sarahk, and she's not having the best day, despite some awesome presents!

Go give her some love!

And Happy Belated 31 to my favorite NC phishy!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 20, 2006

El mundo es un pañuelo

Linda recounts the amazing true story of two old friends who, separated for 20 years, became friends again through The Cotillion, and then realized they had been friends before.

I was witness to this exchange, and it was pretty neat to see Linda and Jane fill in the 20 years between then and now.

It's really amazing.

Bonus points if you know what the title means, I'll take literal or figurative meaning :) (hint: think Disney)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 23, 2006

Hangin' with Bloggers

The BFL'ers of SoCal got together at Little Miss Attila's house last night for some fun, food, and a lot of laughs.  Present were Flap and Mrs. Flap, Baldilocks, Darleen Click and hubby, Portia, The Pirate, and Dr. Rusty Shackelford.

I can publish an actual picture of the good doctor for the first time on the nets:

Dr. Rusty Shackelford (L) and GMT (R) pose with the recognition of their mad blogging skillz.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:23 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006

Seven Year Itch

As most of you probably don't know, today is my wedding anniversary.  Seven years of legal entanglement with the sweetest man on the face of the planet.

It seems funny to say "seven years" because really, it's been more and less.  Really, we've been together almost a dozen years, since just before my 18th birthday.  And realistically, you could say we've been married less because just after our wedding he went off to do his bit for Uncle Sam in armpit of Texas for three years.  And honestly, we're only now FINALLY getting used to each other again.

Some days I adore him
Some days I downright hate him

But at the end of the day we can still work it out and be together, and that's what counts.

Happy Anniversary to my my best friend and lover.  I love you!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 28, 2006

Happy Birthday Tammi!

And many many more!  Not to mention maybe one of these showing up in real life!

(Oddy gets the best presents, I can't top her!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 03, 2006

Finally, the MSM tells a good story

The Palm Beach Post recognizes Val Prieto of Babalu, and his wonderful family.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2006

Sunny Birthdays!

Happy Happy to two of my favorite Florida ladies:  VW Bug and Pam!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

I am SO done with Michelle Malkin

She called out one of my friends today.  Called her a "sad moonbat" without even reading her post because like we have all been doing, she lamented the new airline restrictions in the UK and the need for them.

Some of you know Helen, and you know she is neither sad nor a moonbat. She may be a self-described "crunchy granola vegetarian", but if anything, my dear friend is almost entirely apolitical.

I too am appalled by the idea that I would have to trust my cellphone, ipod, and laptop to the honesty of baggage handlers; that my nieces and nephew wouldn't be allowed crayons or snacks on a long, boring flight; that I can have my contact lenses, but not the solution I need to put them in my eyeballs; that racial profiling is a cheap shortcut in the battle against terror.

That Malkin calls such honest sadness "whining" and "moonbattery" is beyond me.

I think we should ALL be sad.  I think it should strengthen our resolve to tear these motherfuckers a new asshole.  I think it should make us more focused on using ALL the resources we can to identify the dickwads who would do this and find out what they intend before they do it.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:20 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

A Blight has come upon the world....

The Blight baby is here!  Evidently mom and baby boy are happy and healthy!


Posted by caltechgirl at 04:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

More Map Coolness and a Guessing Game

Have you checked out Wikimapia yet?

I found it this morning and spent 20 minutes adding the places from my childhood.  And, what a treat, the pictures are several years old, so I was able to find this:

This is the place where my darling husband proposed to me.  It's a Costco and a Home Depot now.  Anyone wanna guess what it was?  (hint: the left side is already being demolished, the right side is still intact...)  Anyone who ACTUALLY knows the answer (BN, SS, etc.) isn't allowed to play!

h/t Cobb, who put in a lot of cool places, too.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:39 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

First Pictures of Blight Baby!

The Lady Key has 'em. 

Cute little Blighter!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006


To Xrlq and the lovely Mrs. X on the birth of their second son, Xrlq 3.0!  And also to big brother Xrlq 2.0

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2006


Worst news I can think of.  I think I'll go have a little sympathy cry for my friend now.

Why is it that crackwhores can pop out 85 healthy kids just by sneezing but someone who desperately wants to have their own child and will care for it better than most can not?

I love you, hon and if you need ANYTHING, let me know, ok?

Oh, and Twosday Fun will return next week. I'm just not in the mood today.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:59 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Here's a tip:  If you have important news you want to share with your friends, make sure that you either tell ALL of them or don't.

It's really not fucking nice to feel left out just because you don't have a myspace and you find out third hand from inferences in the comments of others.

That is all.

Never Mind.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To adopted Blogmom Boudicca.  And again, I just can't compete with everyone else's presents!  Damn Harvey!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To BlogSis Mrs_Who!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 29, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To Sadie, daughter of my bloggyparents, Jay and Deb!

The original blog baby turns TWO today!

Time sure flies.  I hope she enjoys the present which should arrive Monday or Tuesday (damn slow Amazon.com.....)

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Happy....

It's also Happy Happy Birthday for blog-bro Contagion and the lovely Mrs. Smash.  Do drop by and wish them your best!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 03, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Happy 3-0 to fabulous blogger and Cotillion sister RightGirl!

Even if she is one of those damn Canadians!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 19, 2006

I'm baaaaack

Didja miss me?

I've written this post in my head 200 times (at least) since Sunday....  Which of course makes it harder to write.

Where to begin?

So Friday I was supposed to get up at 3am to be at LAX in time for a 6am flight.  But DH turned off the alarm in his sleep and we woke up at 5.  YEEOUCH!

Flew to the airport, only to be told that I had missed the bag check cutoff by 10 minutes.... So I called using the little phone and changed to a flight laving at 7am.  And they only charged me a $25 same-day confirmation fee, rather than like $100 for changing my ticket.  Thank God for Travelocity travel insurance.  I usually never get it, but I did this time because I was making other stops (more about that later).  Good thing.

So I left at 7am, and arrived in Atlanta about 2:30.  I got a taxi to the hotel and transferred a few things to a smaller bag.

At 4 pm the Mulleted one arrived and whisked me away.  Well, whisked is probably a strong term considering that it took us two hours to get out of Atlanta.  Damn Friday rush hour traffic.  And we only had to turn around twice! :-)

He even took me to Chick Fil A!  What a nice guy.

So eventually we get to the hotel in Tennessee, and finally on to our destination, the Straight White House.  I walked into the house, and instantly got swallowed up in a sea of bloggers and blog buddies:  Sissy, Bou, Bou's sister Morrigan, Jimbo and his bodyguard Kenny, Denny, T1G, Redneck, Johnny-Oh, RSM, Yabu, Recondo32 and Georgia, Eric's buddy J, and of course the SWG and the SW Missus.

I felt comfortable immediately, and let me tell you, this is a good bunch of folks.  Fun AND funny.  And it was awesome to put faces with names and to get to give my Adopted Blog Mom and Sis hugs!

On Saturday morning we all went to breakfast.  I didn't realize it was still possible to get more food than you can eat for $4!  As we pulled up to the cafe, Teresa arrived, too.

While I'm on the subject of breakfast, Boudicca can really put away the food.  She may be little, but there's a lumberjack in that little body!

After breakfast we returned to Eric's, with only a few people getting lost, and soon there were more folks to meet:  Ellison and SWMBO arrived right after breakfast, and then Velociman, Dax Montana, and Big Stupid Tommy joined the party.

Did I miss anyone?

Saturday's highlights included breaking shot glasses (hot glass + cold Vodka = crack!), a rocket attack, and Dax et al ACTUALLY sleeping out by the fire.  No.  Really.  When they actually slept.

Saturday also featured a yummy dinner of barbecued ribs, beans, and biscuits, followed by birthday cake.  It seems that SWG, Ellison, Zonker, Jimbo, and Denny all have birthdays in the last 10 days.  So we had two cakes, and a singalong.  Seems the Debonair One is also quite the songwriter, and he wrote a great song commemorating the event and the Straight White Birthday.

And then Ellison and Jimbo made up a song about getting older and slamming your dick in the door.

Yep.  You read that right.  Zonker has the video.

Sunday featured breakfast cooked by the Ellisons and Yabu ducking out of doing the dishes. Velociman left early because he had a long drive.  Except that he forgot his laptop, and had to return for it.  But the sneaky bastard thought he could grab it and go.  He didn't reckon on the alarm, though.  The rest of us were in the kitchen when he sneaked in, and I heard the alarm and saw him sneaking out the door.  The only words I could get out were "There he goes!" and the rest of the crew took off out the door and made him pay for trying to pull a fast one.

 Then we left and drove down the back roads back to Atlanta, where I got back into the swing of things at the meeting I actually came to town for.

But that's another post entirely.

More on everyone and pictures and more stories later.  It's just too much to remember.  Check everyone else's stories, especially Ellison's latest.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:23 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

October 25, 2006

Since she posted it.....

Super Duper congratulations to the lovely Carmen of I'll do what I wanna do....

It's been a hell of week for her.  First she got married.  Then she got some really good news and some even better news!  Drop by her blog for the big news!

Congrats also to soon-to-be-Great Aunt Tammi!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Big 6-0

Denny of Grouchy Old Cripple hits the sextagenarian mark today.

Happy Birthday!  and many more, at least as many as there are bottles left to drink!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An even dozen... definitely not cheap!

Happy Anniversary to the most darling man in the world.

I love you.

Everything I said last year?  Still true, and more than ever.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 01, 2006

Happy Birthday!

It's MVRWC Beth's birthday! So I thought I'd get her a guy jumping out of a cake, and boy was I surprised to find someone I know she likes to do the job....

He's below the fold, BTW....

Read More "Happy Birthday!" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Weekend Happy!

While I was busy retreating (work retreat, yecccch) and then recuperating (read: tackling the laundry pile and watching football...) a bunch of people went and had birthdays!

So Happy Happy (late) to

Dana of Frankensoul (11/2)
Beth of YeahRightWhatever (11/3)
Kat of CatHouseChat (11/4)
Stacy of Still Stacy (11/5)
and last but certainly not least, blogmom Deb of Dispatches from Blogblivion (11/5)

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 09, 2006

Happy Birthday!

To one of my favorite sailors, who was a day past his 16th bithday when I arrived myself.

I found a special cake for ya, Lex. Enjoy!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

A Great idea for Christmas

As some of you who have participated in the Soldier's Angels online auctions know well, Holly Aho is a fabulous artist.  Well, Holly has just opened an online store featuring her art, including her paintings and handcrafted jewelery.

There are lots of beautiful things on display, and some great ideas for holiday gifts.

She's also having a referral contest to win gift certificates for the store:

Here's how it works. Use your blog (or website) to refer visitors to the SAHA Store, and win a $5 gift certificate per 250 visitors you refered.

Sound good? It gets better. Each time a visitor you refered to the store makes a purchase you get an additional $5 gift certificate.

Lastly....After 2 weeks the blog/website with the most referals will win a $50 gift certificate to the store!

I don't usually do blog ads, as you know, but I love Holly's work and she's been a tireless supporter of our troops and their families.  So a button linking to the store is up on the left sidebar.  If you'd like to link Holly's store and maybe win some gift certificates  of your own, the instructions for getting the button are here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday!

 To Richmond!

Here's hoping you have a wonderful day, and a year full of everything you could wish for, my friend!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Prayers and thoughts needed

If you have a moment, please take some time to ask the deity of your choice to intervene and send peace and healing to RP's family, as his mother undergoes surgery today to remove what was originally thought to be a pre-cancerous lump in her breast, but which turned out to be stage 2 breast cancer.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

Bwah-ha-ha! CTG gave me a key to her place

I'm not certain she should trust someone like me with her blog while she's working hard at a workshop.

What to post, what to post...?

Posted by writersblock at 07:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

Did somebody say Thirty????

I told you you were next, chica!

Go wish Amanda a happy birthday!

There's a present for you below the jump, sweetie....

Read More "Did somebody say Thirty????" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

Happy Birthday!

It's the big 4-0 for Jenna!

Go wish her the best!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

Happy Happy!

Happy Birthday to Beth of Blue Star Chronicles, an all around classy chick!

Her mom and sisters have posted some incriminating photos of the birthday girl.....

As for me, I'll just wish her the nicest of days and a big piece of birthday cake!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Spare a happy thought or two

In the direction of Jen and Beau and Baby Jesse.

A second incidence of bleeding has Jen in the hospital for the rest of her pregnancy.  While I know it's terribly boring and tedious for her, especially being stuck in the hospital over the holidays, at the same time I hope her bedrest is longer rather than shorter, and ends with a healthy little boy and healthy Mom, too.

Any good thoughts and/or prayers would be much appreciated.

Drop Jen a note and let her know you're thinking of her.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 31, 2006

And a veddy nice time was had by all

Sharp-eyed readers will notice two things:
1. This post was actually written after the post at the top(but time-shifted)
2. New "Bloggers that Actually Exist" in the blogroll on the right sidebar.

This morning several of the SoCal Bear Flaggers got together for brunch and I finally met the very interesting Gay Patriot West (Dan) and the lovely and generous Tammy Bruce, who picked up the check.

It was lovely to see everyone, and thanks, Tammy!

PS: Noticably missing? One Dr. Rusty Shackleford, whose sojourn in SoCal for the holidays was the impetus for today's get together. Tsk, Tsk.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 03, 2007

Best News of the Year

yeah, I know it's only been 3 days, but still....

One Two of my favorite people in the whole world is are getting married!

Congratulations Helen and Angus!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Big Birthday Day!

And a very special day it is, as three wonderful people all share this day!

Happy Birthday to my Mom, my friend A and Brandon!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2007

Happy Birth-day

Jesse "Speaks" arrived safely into the world via C-section at 3 am Tuesday January 16, 2007

7lbs 5oz, 20 1/4 in long, dark brown hair

Mom, Dad, and Baby are all doing well!

Jesse is really adorable.  Drop by Jen's page to see baby's first photos and leave them your best!

And many thanks to Aunt Jaynee for springing the news!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 19, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To two very special little men:

Draco Esmay, who turns 2 today


BabyLove, who celebrates his very first!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 22, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Happy Birthday to the Proprietor of ManCamp!

42 is the answer, Val.  Just remember that.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2007

Waiting for Matthew.....

I got a text about 10 minutes ago saying the following:

Im in labor 6cm, contractions R 2 to 3 min  apart

Looks like Matthew is determined to be a January Baby too!

UPDATE: He's Here!

Matthew Dylan Dufau

Janury 30, 2007, 1:27 pm

Congratulations to Mom Mandy, Dad Eric, and Big Brother Brandon!

More details as they come in!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

For Matthew

Dear Matthew,

I know you won't be able to read this on your own for a while yet, but maybe Mommy or Daddy or Brandon will read it to you. See, I have a story to tell you, and it will be a GOOD story, not one of those boring ones that go on and on without a point. This story is about YOU!

So here goes.

One afternoon in the summer I was minding my own business. Driving home from work, actually, and my phone rang. I couldn't get to it because I was driving, so when I stopped I checked and the call was from your mommy. So I called her back.

And that's when she told me you were coming! Your mommy was so excited. She had just found out that she was pregnant with you, and she was trying to tell as many people as she could! Your whole family and all of your Mommy and Daddy's friends were excited to meet you, too! We didn't know then if you would be a a boy or a girl, but we knew you would be special.

After all, you picked an extra special Mommy and Daddy.

Some time later we found out that you were going to be Matthew, and that you looked a lot like your big brother (who is a handsome dude), but after that you were pretty shy and didn't want to show anyone your face.

Your Mommy and Daddy and Brandon have been very busy waiting for you. They put your room together, and made sure everything you need was all ready for you to come home.

One thing we learned about you is that you are an impatient dude. You decided that you wanted to get out and meet everyone, so you came more than three weeks early! I suspect you'll always do things in your own time, but we will love you all the more for it.

Today your Mommy sent me another message. This time to tell me you were well on your way. And about 3 hours later, your Tio Val let everyone know you were here, born at 1:27 pm.

Everyone was very excited to finally meet you, and I know that as you get older and get to know them you will appreciate how special and wonderful your family is, and just how much they love you.

All my love,

Your other Tia

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Something in the water in MA....

Congratulations, Jay and Deb on the impending arrival of Rugrat #3 in late summer!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

more dirty thirty....

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Welcome to the 3-0 club!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's a Boy!

Welcome to the world,

Cole (Pilot) Blogger, Jr.

March 7, 2007, 8:02pm

7lb 14 Oz, 22 in long

Congrats to Dad Aaron and Mom Kelly!  He's cute as a button!  Pics here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To one of the sweetest ladies in the blogosphere!

Happy Birthday Beth D!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

Another big day!

Happy Birthday, Oddy!

and Happy Blogiversary, Tammi!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

Big Double Birthday Happy!

Happy Birthday to my very good friend S, who sometimes comments here as ZTZCheese....

And also Happy Birthday to HooahWife Greta,the Cotillion's little Big Sister!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Brother, can you spare a moment?

The internets are a funny thing, they bring us so close to people and places we would never have otherwise known.  That can be a wonderful thing.  The real shit of it, though, is when the people you care for are so far away, there is little you can do except offer a virtual hug and some words of comfort.  But what makes it better is the ability to reach out to others and let them help you give those hugs and words.

A couple of my friends are going through some really rough times right now, and  I'd really love it if you could click through and offer whatever support you can.

My dear Vanessa is 8 weeks pregnant with twins after 5 cycles of IVF, and she's alone today and having signs of a possible miscarriage despite a very encouraging report and scan last week.  Drop by and offer her some encouragement, love, and prayers if you are so inclined.

And our Dana, who you may remember from her former blogs The Origin of Soul and Frankensoul as well as her most recent incarnation, The Juggler's Mistress, is starting the process of an emotionally difficult and financially draining divorce.  Her blogdaddy Jim has all the details.  Please click over to Jim's place for more.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Lintefiniel Birthday

It's happy happy birthday to Lintefiniel Jen!

Here's hoping you have a wonderful day that includes some YUMMY cake, even though your party was this weekend!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jay and Deb are having a...

... healthy younger sibling for Sadie and Valerie! Cute, too.

(for the REAL answer you were looking for, look below the fold)

Read More "Jay and Deb are having a..." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 02:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 12, 2007

Happy Freakin' Birthday, Sneaky

Yesterday was the V-Man's big 5-0.

All the best, you skinny bastid.

What Ellison said.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 22, 2007

F*cking Turkish Pigs

No Armenian genocide, huh?

Tell that to my grandparents.  Tell that to my Dad's stepmother, who saved her seven children by WALKING from the mountains of Turkey all the way to Beirut, dressed as an Arab widow.  WALKING.  With seven children.  Hundreds of miles on dirt roads with no shoes, cutting across country to avoid the soldiers.  Stopping and doing sewing jobs for money whenever they could.

You pigs say that 4 million Turks died?  Could that be because you're counting the Armenians born in Turkey?

Whole villages, rousted from their beds in the middle of the night. All of the men and boys made to line up in the town square, and then SHOT one by one.  The women and girls raped by turkish soldiers.  The survivors starved to death slowly.

I'll have more on this on April 24, Armenian Martyr's day.  Until then I leave you with the words Adolf Hitler used to justify the holocaust:

"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
h/t Kyle

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:48 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 24, 2007

Armenian Martyrs' Day

April 24th is the day we remember the victims of a forgotten genocide.

On April 24, 1915, turkish soldiers arrested 250 Armenians in the first of hundreds of raids designed to wipe out the Armenian population of turkey.

Armenian villages were rousted one by one, and the men ordered to leave at once and serve the turkish army.  Boys as young as 9 or 10, and men as old as 70.  Many never made that far, as turkish soldiers often took these "new recruits" not to the army camps but out to the woods, where they were summarily executed.  The women and girls, thus undefended, were easy prey for the turkish soldiers.

Those who remained behind were forced from their lands, homes, and belongings, and force-marched to "settlement camps" in remote areas.  Many died along the way from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure to the elements.  According to French scholars Joel Kotek and Pierre Rigoulot, there were up to 25 such camps.

But the Armenian's plight was nowhere near as unknown, even in that day, as it is now.  Despite the lack of internet, video cameras, and TV screens, in 1915 the plight of the Armenians was a worldwide topic of discussion.  US Consular officials, as early as July of 1915, were concerned enough to beg the US government to step in. 

(click to enlarge)

No less than Winston Churchill, then Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty noted, "the clearance of race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act could be...There is no reason to doubt that that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions."  And he was then in the midst of the "war to end all wars" against Germany!

During 1915, the New York Times paper published 145 articles about the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the massacre as "systematic, "authorized" and "organized by the government." In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt called it "the greatest crime of the war."

But today, no one even knows it happened

Denialists of all stripes, from US and EU officials who find turkey's past "annoying", to the turks themselves who believe such raids were justified to "pick up deserters" (yeah, little old men, deserters.  right.) have managed to decrease the general public's awareness of these atrocities.  But they happened.  There was no Photoshop in 1915.  All of the horrible pictures you see here are real.

Despite missions from the US and UK, Austria, France, and others, the plight of the Armenians faded off the radar screen as war in Europe intensified.

Looks a lot like Germany around 1942, huh? 

In fact,  Adolf Hitler said of the Armenian Genocide: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"as his justification for the atrocities carried out on the Jews and others during the Nazi's reign over Germany.

We did not forget.  We do not forget.  We will always remember.

My previous remembrances here.  This stays on top all day.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 25, 2007

Keeping up with the Memers

Velocidude recently posted a cartoon short that was one of his favorites as a kid.

So I tried to find mine, but alas, it is NOT available on the web.  Ugh.

You see, I was always a Merrie Melodies gal.  Not so big on the Bugs Bunny and pals, but I loved the Mel Blanc shorts.  My all time favorite is a bit from 1953 called "A Sheep in the Deep" starring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, who many of you will recognize a an early version of Foghorn Leghorn's nemesis George P. Dog and Wile E. Coyote.

If you have never seen any of the series, the premise is that Sam and Ralph are buddies, except at work, where the sheepdog's job is to keep the wolf away from the sheep, and the wolf's job is to catch them.  Sam and Ralph clock in and clock out every day.

"Mornin' Sam.  Oh, Good Morning Ralph."

And to appease those of you who MUST have a video, my favorite of the modern Warner Bros. cartoons. Pinky and the Brain present "The Parts of the Brain:"

For the curious, this little ditty was actually part of my PhD thesis talk. No, really.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:38 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 30, 2007

I've been keeping a secret.....

It's not MY secret, so I don't feel so bad.  And in fact, in some ways it may be among the worst-kept secrets in blogdom.... 

Even so I feel pretty honored to have been trusted with it for so long, but now the proverbial cat's officially out of the bag, and I can share it with y'all.

My darling girl Helen is up the duff!  (that's p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t for you yanks!)

After many ups and downs, failed rounds of IVF, and many other difficulties, it seems Helen and her man Angus are about to become parents.  To twins!

I wish you both (publicly for the first time!!!) all the joy and happiness in the world over the next few months and the double blessing of two healthy babies in October!

These two little angels couldn't have picked a better mum and dad, who are thoughtful, and caring, and deeply committed to each other, and of course, already completely besotted with their very-much-wanted pair of babies.

If you're so inclined, drop by and share in their joy!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 05, 2007

Shout Out to the Milbloggers!

The second annual Milblog conference was held today in Washington, DC.

I participated via web feed and the live chat room, and it was a privilege to interact with many of the leading voices of the Military Blog community.  The folks who participated in the chat are here.  I enjoyed speaking with all of you!

One of the highlights of today's conference was the opening address, presented via video by President George W. Bush:

Kudos to Andi for putting the whole thing together so brilliantly. Thanks to all the panel participants and speakers for sharing your thoughts. And last but not least, thanks to BloodSpite and Mrs. Greyhawk for running the live chat and streaming video!

RG has pictures of the Tiara Gals who were present for today's festivities.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2007

The Turning of the Tassel

Congratulations to Amanda on graduating from the University of Miami today!

Big bear hugs for the graduate!

I am so proud of you.  It took a lot of persistence, some bumps in the road, and long nights studying, but I know you have accomplished so much, and I couldn't be happier for you!  Wish I could be there too!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 13, 2007

Lessons from Mom

I've learned a lot of lessons from my Mom over the years. So many, in fact, that if I tried to list them, it would take me right through to Tuesday. All the little things, like sit up straight, be polite, don't chew with your mouth open. And big things too, like A$$holes usually bite themselves in the behind, and that each of us has enough strength to handle what life sends our way, no matter whether we like it or not.

But as I look over my life, I realize that I have learned many valuable lessons from some of the women in my life who are Moms, too. Each of their lives impacts mine by reminding me of the things we so often forget.

From Bou, to be aware of the quiet moments, the small incidents of everyday life, because it is those times which have the most meaning and are the most endearing.

From Christina, that Feistyness and Grace and co-exist. It's tough to balance being a lady AND a first-class smart ass, but some how she manages everyday. Also that persevering through the last 5% of the task is worth all the rewards that wait at the end.

From VW, to stop and smell the roses, and take a picture or two along the way. Those pictures and our memories are all we keep from our past.

From Beth, and the other Blue Star Moms, that courage is as important on the homefront as it is on the field of battle, and the courage at home is the mainstay of the men and women at war.

From Margi and Elizabeth, that the unlooked-for blessing is often the MOST fulfilling. Most of us would never plan to have a baby at 40, more than a decade after the last one, or walk out on a high power, high dollar job that affords us a comfortable lifestyle and professional fulfillment, but each of them has found untold wonder in the unexpected places that their lives have taken them.

And from Helen, who is not a mother yet (give her a few more months), I've learned not to judge. The girl has had an interesting life. She's done things that make people scratch their heads and cluck their tongues, but I've never known anyone who consistently makes such good choices for HERSELF. It wasn't always that way, I suppose, but it seems she has learned herself and knows herself maybe better than anyone I have ever known. I admire that, and from it I have learned that each of us has our own way, and no one else has a right to question what we know in our hearts are the right choices for ourselves.

For them and for so many more who put themselves out there every day, sharing their wit and wisdom with an unsuspecting world, thanks for everything that you do.

Happy Mothers' Day, everyone!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

Moms and Sons

Today was a good day for mother-son blogging:

Oddy shares some pie with her little man.

Bou and Bones discuss girls

Seaturtle just doesn't understand where they get it from.

VW shares pictures from PreK graduation fun

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May 31, 2007

By Request....

A little Photoshopping for the Zonkmeister:

Darth Zeejus

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June 01, 2007

It's Friday. More Cuteness headed your way

First up, AWTM's precocious 3 year old, the Pink Ninja, echoes my own sentiments during a tour of the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning, GA.  Hubby was 1st. Cav.  'Nuff said.

Second, VW shares more toilet humor from Tot.... (drink warning!)


Posted by caltechgirl at 09:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 05, 2007

My very first post EVER... from guest blogger ZTZCheese

Hi there. Some of you may recognize me from various and sundry comments, but in general, I'm a big fat lurker. This is my very first blog entry ever. Yes, I know. Frankly, I'm just not a writer. Sit me down over diet Coke or coffee or something, and I will talk your freaking ear off. Ask me to write, however, and it's either a novel or a sentence no halfway from me.

A few weeks ago, during my fairly usual rant to CTG about my day at work, she suggested I take blog keys and post about it. The particular story in question was going to be a lot of work to type up and make coherent, though, and I didn't have the time to write a freaking essay. But I have another story for today that isn't so complicated. Its definitely something smallish to mark that first tentative toe-dip into blogging.

I am a middle school math teacher (ah, that explains a lot, doesn't it?). I teach in a district where the primary student populations are Armenian and Hispanic. I have a student named Greg who really needs to be in Special Education, but his parents refuse to allow the placement. Greg is Armenian. Greg's mom is adamant that he just needs more patience and tutoring.

Now, my take on Special Education is that too many kids are lumped there for stupid reasons. I have a lot of students who have phantom "auditory processing disorders" who I suspect are just 12-year-olds who are too distracted to pay attention. Yes, I know that makes me a bad person who is going straight to hell.

Greg will avoid reading whenever possible. He will come up to my desk and ask me to tell him what to do rather than read the instructions. Ask him to read out loud, and he will clumsily sound out words. I'm not convinced he understands what he's reading, either. He doesn't often follow directions, at least. Clearly, information has trouble getting into his little head.

I am currently working with my students on a project requiring the definitions of acute, right, and obtuse triangles. I have done this project every year since I started teaching 4 years ago, and I know that every time, I get many definitions for acute, right, and obtuse angles. This year, I was convinced I would keep them on the straight and narrow. No more glossary definitions. Students scanning the glossary for "acute" will find the definition of "acute angle" above "acute triangle". It's depressing how many of them will just seize on the first similar-sounding item. Bless them for thinking to look in the glossary, but not today.

I gave a loooong, way over the top talk about how they could avoid the fate their predecessors had not. We were going to copy (gasp!) the definitions straight out of the text. I instructed my students to copy them onto a lined paper for homework. I interrupted those kids AT LEAST six times to make sure they were tracking on the correct page. What are we NOT going to do? Use the glossary. What page are the instructions on? Page 404

The next morning, Greg came up to my desk with a gigantic grin on his face. Mrs. Cheese, I finished my homework! I was suitably enthusiastic and congratulatory. He then proceeds to shove the paper in my face and ask, Did I do it right?

Sigh. I hate that. But its Greg. Greg needs that kind of affirmation.

So I look for acute, as that will tell me all I need to know. As I feared, I saw a picture of an angle. Then I looked at the text. Did I do it right? he asked again. Sighing, I looked up at his hopeful face.

Well, Greg, aside from the fact that its in Spanish

What? gasped a Hispanic student at Gregs group, Lemme see! A very confused Greg handed the paper limply to his group mate. Oh my God, its in SPANISH! pronounced Carlos. Carlos then proceeds to show the paper around to his Spanish-speaking friends. A ripple spreads over the kids.

Now, a good teacher would have put a stop to this. A good teacher would have taken one look at Gregs face, which was just now starting to register that, the ruckus? It might not be a good thing. That's what a good, compassionate teacher would have done. What was I doing? Laughing so hard that I had to turn my chair towards the wall.

Mystery solved below:

Read More "My very first post EVER... from guest blogger ZTZCheese" »
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June 11, 2007

I am not worthy to call myself your friend

I couldn't do what you have just done.  But I am so much more than proud.  Godspeed.

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

For Eric

Run and Hide, my good man.  Today of all days.  And take your trusty irons with you.

It's Zombie Uprising day!

h/t Ith

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

The wonderful and amazing Caltech Dad turns 73 today.  Those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting him know that "wonderful and amazing" is pretty much an understatement.

I love you Daddy. Have a wonderful day!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:23 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

June 21, 2007

It's a....

As if I'd tell you. 

Helen and Angus found out what flavor(s) of twins they're getting. 

I'll let her tell you, though.

Now that I know, however, it's off to the yarn store for appropriate baby-colored yarn.  I already have a pattern in mind.

I wish all you people would just quit having babies, already!  I'm already behind with their presents! (j/k)

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 26, 2007

An update, I suppose

It's time for a brain dump.  I have been posting like crap over the last few weeks.  Going through the house buying process will do that to you , I suppose.  Not to mention that I have to go to work and get that paycheck for the mortgage.....

Anyway, we are mostly settled.  Oh yeah, the house still looks like a box tornado hit it.  Boxes in every room.  But everyday the number of boxes decreases, and every day we get a little closer to "settled".

This weekend we focused on the backyard. We planted tomatoes and peppers and flowers.  We ripped out a bunch of trash (dying annuals) that the previous owners planted to make the house pretty.  Oh, and we mowed the lawn.  Yep, we bought a lawnmower. We also attacked the honeysuckle bush that grows over the top of our patio's arbor.  It was far to heavy for it's own good, and the growth underneath is dying from lack of sun, so we cut it way back. 

We're also trying out different types of squirrel repellent.  I hate the little bastards.  They ate ALL of our apricots, and are currently trying to duplicate that feat with the plums. DH says he's like Ralphie, and he wants a BB gun for Christmas.

I don't think he'll shoot his eye out, do you?

The list of things we want to do to the house keeps getting longer, as we get settled.  However, it's also getting pushed back by the list of things we NEED to do in the house.... like when the hot water in the shower mysteriously stops working all of a sudden...Needless to say, DH is now known far and wide as MASTER PLUMBER.  It was a $25 repair, the plumber would have charged me AT LEAST 10X as much.

Things at work are settling down, too.  My book chapter is in.  Not quite on time, but certainly not the last one, either.  I have been busy doing the part of my job that I refer to as "the other stuff": student business, community outreach, etc.  I sure as hell like this stuff better than being in the lab.

I know I haven't blogged about it much, but I have been keeping up with the news.  This Jessie Davis case has made me sick.  What the hell kind of asshole kills the mother of his child, and his unborn child when his wife already knows about them?  He had nothing to gain from killing Jessie and Chloe.  Not a damn thing.  And now his little boy will grow up without either of his parents.

And I must tell you, I am so glad this whole Paris Hilton crap is over. I STG I now know why people in other countries hate us and think we're weak.  We watch a billionaire's daughter get chauffered to and from jail.  And this is SUPPOSEWDLY IMPORTANT.  Never mind that people are fighting and dying in places most Americans can't find on a map, a rich blonde is going to jail!  Stop the presses!

Give me a friggin' break.

I'm still on the Fred bandwagon.  The more I hear from Fred, the more I like.  And the thing is, Fred and I may disagree on some issues, but he has the cojones to get the job done.  I really believe it.  Like Reagan, there's something about Fred that tells me he's got an agenda, and nothing is going to stop him from making it happen.  The comparison to Reagan, is especially apt, I think.  Not even because Fred is also an actor.  But maybe that gives him an edge, too.  He has ties outside of Washington, he's in touch with the rest of the world. I mean, heck, he has a BLOG!  He actually blogs (sometimes, the majority of the posts are excerpts from his daily commentaries).  And he's already spoken out on a number of very touchy issues that others won't touch: Cuba, Israel, National Health Care.

I suppose that's about it for now. I'm sure I'll think of something else later....

Oh, and it's been one year since we lost Acidman.  I still have him on the blogroll, listed as the "Evil Fairy Godfather"  which, in many ways, he was to me.  At least in the blogworld.  Rob was always good for a laugh, and he always spoke his mind, a rare enough trait in this world.  Rob introduced me to many many folks I am proud to call friends, and made me feel welcome when I was just a noob.

Rob wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but he was always a gentleman to me, and I loved him for it.

Why, Rob, did you have to drink so much? And leave the party so early?  We loved you just as well sober.  And I know you wanted to spend more time with Sam and Quinton and Mommie.

I wish I could have met you.  I tried, you know.  God damn food poisoning.  I thought we'd have more time, and more chances.

In my mind's eye there's a beach and a bar out there somewhere, and a guitar with soft strings, and wimmin with red toenails aplenty.... rest in peace.  Or not.  I suppose raising hell is more your style.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:55 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Here's some good news for a change

The Shackleford clan has increased by one.  Mrs. Rusty gave birth via C-section to a healthy daughter earlier today.  Drop by the Jawas and give Rusty and family some love.

I sure hope she takes after her mom.  Dad is on the left, below:

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

For wRitErsbLock and sarahk

Here's the perfect cat for you both!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 30, 2007

Happy, Happy!

A little bird tells me that today is a very special day for a very special person!

Chrissie turns the big 4-0 today! Drop by and wish her all the best, as I do.

Happy Birthday my friend, and may the next year bring immeasurable blessings... in straightforward and entirely pleasant ways!

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Don't f*cking ask

Profanity alert!

My dear friend wRitErsbLock wrote something this morning that struck a nerve with me. She writes:

Do not ask people "when are you going to start having children?"

It might just be a very, very sore subject for the couple.

Maybe one wants children while the other does not. Maybe you asking that question will cause the couple to have yet another fight about it later on.

Maybe the couple is unable to conceive and has been trying without success for quite some time. If so, you just helped plunge them back into despair.

Maybe the couple hates children and never plan to have any.

No matter where the couple is at, you are stepping into dangerous water when you ask the question. It's none of your business. And you are running a risk of either angering the couple or upsetting them. So just don't ask.

Very succinct. About the only thing she didn't mention is maybe the couple has medical issues that must be resolved first.....

People really fuck me off when they ask this kind of shit. It may take a village to raise a child, but does the entire village need to know the details of the conception and whether or not the child was wanted, planned, or a complete surprise? Does the whole village need to know why?

It's amazing to me how the most private and significant moments in our lives, and their accordant choices seem to be public fodder: who we marry (or not, as the case may be), whether we parent, and how we parent. People pop out of the woodwork with advice and questions better for weddings and babies than any other event I've ever seen. Every new mom or mom-to-be that I know has been made to feel pathetic for one choice or another with regard to her baby.

And you know what else fucks me over? A lot of these nosy nellies are the same bitches who go around screaming, 'My Body, My Choice" but then they want to censor your right to do the SAME FUCKING THING if your choices don't agree with their holy-anointed-best-for-the-child-best-for-the-world-happy-shiny BS.

AUUUGH. Get over yourselves, people

With regard to WB's post, the real answer is this: You shouldn't have to ask. If you know me well enough to PRESUME to ask such questions, you should already know the answer. So if you're even considering asking those kinds of questions, that should serve as your notice that I don't want you to know.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 16, 2007

Big Super Triple Happy!

First, two Happy Birthdays:
Ith and Ktreva both have their special day today!

And also, Happy 41st wedding anniversary to CaltechMom and CaltechDad. I love you.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

Needing good vibes

As many of you know, from my occasional posts about the subject, my dear friend Helen is 26 weeks pregnant with twins after a series of failed bouts of IVF.

Last night brought word that our girl was in the hospital, with hydronephrosis and a terrible kidney infection.  She's being treated for the infection and the twins (her Lemonheads) are being monitored for any signs that they want to jump ship early.

So far so good, as there's no sign yet of early labor and the antibiotics seem to be helping the infection.  However, the doctors don't know whether or how they'll treat the hydronephrosis.

Which is all a long way of saying that our girl needs love and good wishes and prayers, which I am sure she and Angus can feel and do appreciate, even in the UK.

Please drop by and give her some love and encouragement.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

This internet is a funny thing

I cried like a baby this morning, y'all. Seriously. Helen writes:

There's a song I heard by chance when this IVF round started. I heard it and I listened to it constantly, as it's a sweet, calming, pure song that goes in one ear and right out the top of your toe, massaging every nerve in comfort on its way out. I listened to this song through the shots, the surgeries, the positives, the scans, the scares. This song has been with the Lemonheads since before their existence. I got the headphones and placed one beside one baby, one beside the other.

I hit play.

I heard the song myself as I watched the slide move, indicating the song was playing.

I waited.

And waited.

Then I felt it - a flutter from the left. A kick from the right. Mama, we're sleepy.

I smiled as the song ended, then plugged the iPod into my own ears and fell back asleep listening to the song.

Mama, we're sleepy. That was it. Big ol' sobs. I can't wait for the Lemonheads to be here. But I'll wait as long as it takes for them to be healthy!

All this is a long winded way of saying that Helen is home from the hospital, and feeling a bit better after a hell of a scare, although she and the Lemonheads will be closely watched for the next 10-12 weeks (hopefully!)

Do drop by and give her your love, as she is worn out, sore, and scared, and I'm pretty sure your well wishes are more than welcome right now.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

I suppose this belongs on this week's FFO thread*, but what the hell...

The universe is conspiring against me.

It's the small pathetic things that rankle so much.  Like your husband
being called into jury duty on FRIDAY after being told to go about his
business all week and basically being told that he will be sitting on
his ass from 7:30 am until 4pm, thank you very much, on THE day you
made plans to go out of town early, and for which you took the day off
of work.... and since you are sitting at home, the cable decides to go
out,and of course the internet with it.  And when the son-of-a-bitch
finally comes back up, the fucking router refuses to do its job, so I'm
now within 6 inches of no internet and the TV is fuzzy on and off.

Not to mention that he got lost driving into downtown, ended
up in East LA and I had to talk him in to where he was going after
figuring out where he was.  FROM 10 MILES AWAY.

Big things I can handle.  I can deal.  I have a gameplan.  This piddly little shit?  I could murder someone today.

*FFO = Friday Fuck Off.  Here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 20, 2007

It's a Boy!

Congratulations Jay and Deb on the arrival of baby #3!!!

From the super happy proud Papa:
7:57 AM
B lbs 4 oz
18 inches
Sooo cute. All boy. Looks like me and Sadie.
Drop by and give them your best! Pictures as soon as Daddy gets to download them from the camera!
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It's official

August 2007 is officially Fucking Asshole Ex-Spouse month. I know of at least 6 separate incidents (both online and in RL) where my friends and their children have been having issues with psycho evil exes, for seemingly no reason.

Is there something in the water?

Y'all have my love and my sympathy, and the fucking bitches/ dickless assholes on the other side of the equation can just FOAD. Eternally. If there's anything I can do, you know where to find me. I just hope this sentiment isn't contagious.

Don't you stupid fuckers know that the ONLY ones who get hurt in these scenarios are your KIDS?

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

For Richmond

So, how bad IS your attitude today?

You Are 82% Bitchy

While you may not think of yourself as the ice queen, admit it, you're often in a bad mood.

And it's those around you who often bear the brunt of your annoyance, even if they haven't done anything wrong!

How Bitchy Are You?

Love ya, babe!

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 10, 2007

Truer words and all that....

I think a person's politics are defined mainly by which nutjobs piss them off the most.

   - Exgaucho Ben

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To our Fearless Leader, Pixy Misa!

Thanks, Pix, for keeping the MuNu ship afloat.  You're the bestest!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 02, 2007

Waiting for Nick and Nora....

It's been a long 7 months since Helen and Angus first found out about the impending arrival of the twins, and now they're almost here.

Helen has been admitted to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect $200, with a C-section scheduled for Monday.  Assuming there's no reason to yank the bebes before then.

Think happy thoughts in her direction, and pray to the benevolent deity of your choice for a safe delivery and a happy, healthy new family.

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007


UPDATE: The official word is now posted, here. Sniff.

I hope I'm not stealing the proud parents' thunder as they both have a lot on their minds, but they didn't say I couldn't post it.  I received an email this afternoon informing me that the Lemonheads are now offcially Nick and Nora, having been born today, 10/3/07 at 4:00pm local time.  Mom, Dad, and babies are all well.

Congratulations, Helen and Angus.  I am so happy for you both, and so glad your long journey has reached its happy ending.  You'll never know how much it has meant to the rest of us that you allowed us to join you every step of the way.  Big tears of joy and relief are running down my face, knowing that your dreams have come true and there's new and bigger dreams in store for all of you. 

And, little baby Nick and Nora, I wish you love beyond measure, a life full of beautiful moments, and above all, peace.  You are loved more than you will ever know, by your Mum and Dad who wanted you so much, and your family: your brother and sister, your grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins; your amazing silly dog and grande dame kitty; and by hundreds of people you'll probably never meet.  People who waited with your mum and dad, who prayed and watched and laughed and cryed and hugged and high-fived across the internets everyday, as if willing you to be perfect and healthy and sweet, just as I'm certain you are.

Congratulations, sweetie!  I knew you could do it.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 11, 2007

Dear Turkey,

Fuck off and Die. And that Honorary Turk, George Bush, can FOAD too.

That is all.


The Armenians

P.S. Remember who said "...Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"  It was some German dude named Adolf.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

San Diego Fire News

Joanie is almost literally liveblogging the fires from Northern San Diego County.  Lots of pictures, information, and links on her site.

Be sure to scroll down through the posts over the last few days!

Stay safe, Darlin'!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2007

My Wii Story

How do you market a revolutionary product that crosses generational boundaries and reaches beyond its traditional audience successfully and efficiently? You simply let people tell their own stories. Nintendo is doing that at MyWiiStory.com. Possibly the smartest advertising campaign for a video game EVER.

It's easy to see why you might want a Wii in your home if you can read the stories of dozens of families and how the Wii has become an integral part of their family time, and even how it is a positive influence on their lives.

Yep. I said positive influence. From a video game.

Here's my favorite Wii Story (posted by Chris Whitaker):

My son brought his new Wii to Easter Dinner. My mother in law, Dorothy, was so impressed she wanted to buy one for each of nine grandchildren. She called and traveled East Tennessee and KY buying them where she could find one. She had purchased seven and needed two to complete her task. It was a stormy night in April, a tornado touched down in our neighborhood, two miles from Walmart. Dorothy, knowing the local Walmart was expecting some Wii's on this date, called to see if they had arrived. The sales associate said they had and she could get them tomorrow. Dorothy stated she would come now. The sales associate said, "maam we are having a tornado". Dorothy said, "I know but I'll be there anyway". She drove to Walmart during the tornado just to purchase your product. The tornado did over 1 million dollars damage across the street from Walmart, but no damage to my 71 year old mother in law as she walked out of the Walmart carrying her three Wii purchases (1 for herself).
Can you imagine?

And because I can't resist, one more (posted by Carol Toy):

My son found his Wii when we were in Oregon on vacation. That was the start of our awesome Wii story. Although the whole family and all our friends enjoy playing, the most amazing players are "Grandpa Bill" and "Grandma Bert". Both are in their 80's. Grandpa has Parkinson's disease, Grandma has difficulty walking without a cane. Both can be found staying up late swing a golf club with Tiger Woods or bowling with the Mii family my son has created. Grandpa has, since the Wii came into our life, returned to hitting real golf balls at the driving range and uses his "skills" from bowling in is real-life senior bowling league. The sequencing, use of controls, etc. is helping to keep us all more alert. The friendly competition, laughter and time spent together are priceless. Thank you Wii for getting us out of our chairs to enjoy each other while keeping minds and bodies active. Wii should be prescribed by physicians for the increased well-being of all types of patients!
I love it! I am just DYING to get my parents to play with us! Both of them were hella good bowlers back in the day (Dad even has a few 300 games to his credit) but with arthritis and knee replacements and everything else, they haven't bowled in years! I can't wait to bowl with them.

Here's my Wii story:

I'm a member of Generation X, or so they tell me. The video game generation, right? But not me. My parents refused to buy me a game console, and it turns out that was ok, because I am PATHETIC at traditional games. Oh, I can run the maps and mazes, and strategize with the best of them, but I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I can't use the traditional controllers. I can't run the joystick and hit the buttons and shoot and duck and everything else all at the same time. I used to be the backseat driver in Nintendo land. I would call the shots and point out the bad guys and bonuses to get and where to move, and someone else would work the controller. Wii changed all that. Yeah, there are traditional elements to the controller, and many games require you to do many things at once, but the way you hold and use the Wii remote and nunchuck controller makes it easier for me to play the games myself. And games like Wii Sports don't require all that coordination, just holding the remote.

My husband is amazed. His wife, who could never play a game harder than Yoshi, Kirby, or some other game designed for a 5 year old, is kicking his ass at real video games. And I don't bitch when he plays, because I get to play, too. I can't even tell you how much fun we have together playing Wii.

Wii is also the star at every get together. Even our least outgoing friends can't resist an evening of Wii. And let me say, for the record, that since half of the games are apparently designed simply to make the player look like an idiot using the Wii remote, Wii and alcohol go pretty well together (I suggest Wario Ware: Smooth Moves and Rayman's Raving Rabbids for drunk Wii-ing) just be sure to wear the wrist strap and drink responsibly! We've laughed harder (even sober!) at the Wii, and the person playing at the moment, than we have in a long time.

It's amazing how a small change in the hardware can make such a difference in way we use and appreciate the game console... Thanks, Nintendo, for making a game I can play, too!

Oh, and for the record, this is a personal, unpaid endorsement. LOVE my Wii, and I think the ad campaign is just SMART.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2007

For the love of my life...

I hope your birthday turns out better than Palpatine's did!

I love you so much, Happy Birthday, darling!

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:56 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

I Still Believe

This gets better every year.  Santa Claus IS real.  And if you are patient enough, and believe enough, he brings the presents our hearts desire most.

From one of my favorite writers (and favorite people):

After spending an entire day either in a hot and stuffy conference room full of angry, yelling, exasperated voices, or on London transport, I took a very long journey home and finally made it home at 8:30 at night. Which meant, at the end of the day, that I had spent a whopping 6 hours in transit and 7 hours straight in meetings, stopping only to exercise my bladder's rights and to scarf down a thoroughly unsatisfactory baked potato, and that I got home a shattered shell of a human being.

But all that time in transit allowed for something that I needed-a little thinking time. I needed some time to sit down and think about why it is that I was missing the holidays so badly, why it was that the baubles and bangles weren't getting into my heart, why the lights reflected in disjointed pools from my disbelieving eyes. This (for me) has nothing to do with religion and I don't want to get into that aspect with this post, I'm simply talking about the spirit of hope and laughter that the holidays imbue you with. I thought about why it was that I was unable to project myself into my favorite Christmas activities-watching Scrooged, A Miracle on 34th Street, and the old Burl Ives' steadies Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Why couldn't I listen to the whole John Denver and the Muppets Christmas CD? What was happening?

And then it hit me as fast as it hit Susan in A Miracle on 34th Street (not the old one, the newer one with the doe-eyes Elizabeth Perkins and the new lisping Susan who is so damn cute it made my ovaries throb). I realized with a slight smile and a shake of the head why it was that I no longer felt so light and joyous about Christmas. In one moment, a smile spread on my face and I started to laugh (which I was on a crowded train at the time, so at least the guy moved away from me, lest I have something contagious).

The reason I felt so lost was that I didn't believe in Santa Claus anymore.

I had outgrown him and joined the race of jaded adults too afraid to let themselves confess that there might be something just a little bit bigger to life than they would be willing to admit.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, the Hannukah Armadillo. Why had we forgotten them? Why have they become symbols that are reserved only for the kids, for the young, for the little people that are still chock-full of innocence, of hope, that the world really will reward you if you've been good and kind to Mommy and Daddy, that there is someone looking out for you and checking a list to make sure that you are going to get what it is that your little heart so badly needs?

I need to feel like there is a fat man in a red suit who is out there who exists purely to make the hearts of other people lighter. I need to know that the dreams that the children go to bed with on Christmas Eve are not wasted dreams, that the candy cane visions and sugarplum dreams go into a melting pot of something bigger, something that will bind and wrap up the children in little invisible force-fields of optimism as they grow up. I need to feel like there's someone who cares so much about what it is that will make us happy that he's keeping a list, checking it twice, giving me a reason to not be naughty, just nice.
Read the rest, and take the spirit of the season back into your life, just like Santa reminds us to. Or maybe the Hanukkah Armadillo.

What are you asking for for Christmas this year?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Among the drunks....

I'm guessing this ranking has everything to do with a certain blogger moving to Fresno......

The list below ranks the cities from most dangerously drunk to least dangerously drunk.

Most Dangerously Drunk

100. Denver, CO F

99. Anchorage, AK F

98. Colorado Springs, CO F

97. Omaha, NE F

96. Fargo, ND F

95. San Antonio, TX F

94. Austin, TX F

93. Fresno, CA F

92. Lubbock, TX F

91. Milwaukee, WI F

90. El Paso, TX F

In other highlights, Washington DC comes in at 88, Los Angeles at 65, Las Vegas surprisingly near the middle at 47, and the LEAST dangerously drunk cities are (below the jump!)

Read More "Among the drunks...." »
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December 14, 2007

Good News!

I just talked to my Dad and everything with Mom's surgery went well. She is now officially the Bionic Woman, with two titanium knees. The Dr. was very pleased and last I heard Mom was in recovery and Dad was waiting to be able to go see her.

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December 18, 2007

Busy like the bee

Quick update:

Mom is doing great! Really great! The therapist was really impressed with her today!

Mom came home Sunday afternoon, and ever since it's been a whirlwind of therapy, continuous passive motion machine, walker exercises, and puppies.

I did manage to pay my bills and get all of the Christmas cards done.  If I have your address, you should be getting one....

On tap for this afternoon, Round 2 of puppy booster shots at the Vet and sorting all the Christmas presents that need to be wrapped. And then maybe some Christmas decorating, I hope.

In other news, it's pouring like the proverbial SOB here in Fresburg, which I love, especially at the holidays.  There should be a TON of snow in the mountains.  YAY!

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December 26, 2007

So WTF have I been up to?

I haven't been ignoring y'all on purpose. Really. I've just been super busy. Mom is doing very well, walking around on short excursions with just her cane and doing therapy twice a week. Staples SHOULD come out at her DR appointment tomorrow, which is a HUGE milestone because that means she can shower without wrapping her leg in plastic and tape....

Santa Claus was DAMN good to me this year. I didn't think I was THAT good a girl.... I got a Kitchenaid mixer. It's PURPLE! and n AWESOME digital photo keychain. Hubby got a telescope (for school, actually) and PS2 games. And a bad case of the Flu. Dad had it first, then me, then hub. Ugh.

Puppies also scored. New leashes and food dishes and beds. Princess got lots of dog treats, too.

More later, as it appears to be dinner time!

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January 08, 2008

well, it started out as a good day...

I went to work, the traffic wasn't bad, I came home, took the dogs to the vet, and everything was fine.  That was clearly BEFORE noon.

Then I whacked my forehead on a tree chasing the puppy, scared her (no big deal, I just put a little pressure on her shot site when I picked her up and it hurt) and then spent the afternoon trying to get her to calm down.

i quit.

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January 14, 2008

Drowning in work, but I needed to pop in and ramble and be political and stuff

- First of all, I want to start out by saying tonight's Golden Globes were the BEST AWARDS SHOW EVAH.  I'm certain that I am not the first to say so, but it was delightfully refreshing to not have to listen to blather about designer dresses and celebrity dates and political bullshit speeches from idiots who, for the most part, are merely talking out their asses.  Not to mention 3 hours of bad comedy and rotten stage numbers.  Thirty minutes.  No bullshit.  I loved it.

Thanks Writer's Guild.  I wish we could have you picket ALL the awards shows.

On the other hand, I think you writers are a bunch of selfish bastards.  See, LA really is a company town.  And all the NON-writers are really suffering.  One of the news stations reported that if the parties accompanying the awards shows are cancelled, just the parties, that's $80 MILLION out of the area economy.  $80,000,000.00.  That's a hell of a lot of crews and waiters and caterers and delivery guys and lots of others who are barely hanging on in the best of times, and who are facing a serious crisis because a bunch of writers want 2 more cents per DVD.  The actors say they're in solidarity with you, but they can afford to.  Strangely enough, it's the richest among them who are calling for your selfishness to end.  George Clooney and others have begged the parties to come back to the bargaining table, someplace they haven't met in WELL over a month.

In the meantime, crew members, caterers, security guards, and all the other "little people" are struggling.  Not to mention the store owners, construction firms, barbers, restaurants, and other businesses that aren't getting business because Hollywood is essentially shut down.

Get your shit together and grow up.  That is all.  But do skip the awards shows.

-Top Gun is an ass-kicking movie.  I think more people should watch the first half-hour and the last half-hour, and think about the implications of what's going on for TODAY.  We came to the conclusion that if more people actually THINK about what's going on in the world, you'd hear a HELL of a lot less whining about the war.

-Psych is the best show on TV.  If you don't watch it you should.  Especially as NBC will be running episodes starting in February. 

-We watched a lot of TV tonight.  I needed the mental break.  On a whim we flipped it to "Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant" on VH1.  It was actually funny.  And it had a damn good soundtrack (incl. Depeche Mode and The Cure).  We also watched Home Makeover.  Damn if that show doesn't make me cry every time I see it.

-The Puppies are beginning to get along.  I even have photographic evidence.  They were in the same chair.  I was so shocked I jumped up to get the camera before they could figure out I was going to take pictures.  I'll post them tomorrow when the camera and I are in the same room.

-Who turned on Fred's Espresso machine?  Seriously.  WooHoooooo!

-My mind must be on another planet.  I usually have a mind like a steel trap, but I have forgotten a ton of things this weekend.  Stress, and a working subconscious.  First, Attila Girl asked me to guestblog for her for a few days.  And I forgot.  I was supposed to begin calling for jury duty this weekend, and guess when I remembered to do that?  11:05 PM, when the news dude started talking about Brit-Brit going to court tomorrow.... yeah.  Go me.  And I forgot a bunch of work stuff I need to get done before tomorrow.

And what am I doing?  Blogging and procrastinating.  Because I can.

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January 15, 2008

Puppy Cuteness

On Flickr:

And lots more, including photographic evidence that big sister is learning to tolerate Puppy.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 10, 2008

For Ken, wherever I may find him (and Emily, too of course, as originally intended...)

UPDATE: Leave your answers here :-)

Ken loves to do these Rock N Roll Trivia posts, and often I end up scratching my head and feeling somewhat less than inadequate because, well, I usually suck at them.

So here's one of my own, for Ken and the crew:  The Paul Simon/ Simon and Garfunkel Edition (Now with Bonus Questions!)

1.  If I was a Kellogg's corn flake I'd be floating in my bowl doing what exactly?  And to whom would I be talking?

2. Someone told me it's all happening where?

3. Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly? How Terribly strange to be (how old???)...

4.People say she's crazy, why?

5.If you take two bodies and you twirl them into one, what won't come undone?

6.How far away is the Mother and Child reunion?

7. The sign said the words of the prophets are written where?

8.Where are you going with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme?

9. What do Rene and Georgette Magritte have hidden away in the cabinet cold of their hearts?

10.  The Mississippi Delta shines like what on the way to Graceland?

My father was a fisherman, my mama was a fisherman's friend.  What's my name?

How many ways are there to leave your lover? (Just ask Jack, Stan, Roy, Gus, Lee.....)

The fog's rolling in off the East River Bank.  It covers which street?

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Granny

wB turns 31 today! Isn't she lovely?

Welcome to the over the hill gang,my friend!

That box'll get there as soon as it gets over its gout.....

Update: link fixed. Must be my OLD ARTHRITIC FINGERS.

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May 01, 2008

i owe you people something like an update

It has been a crazy week since I last posted.

Tuesday night we cleaned the house in preparation for an out-of-town guest. After we finished putting things away, vacuuming, and changing the sheets on the guest bed, we decided a shower was in order. Usually, since it's just the 2 of us, I turn on the shower, jump in and wash and step out, then DH jumps in and turns off the shower. Except the goddamned thing wouldn't turn off all the way. So hubby hauled out the tools and stripped the hot water handle back to the stem, then used pliers to get the stem turned off.

For those of you keeping score, this is the THIRD problem with the shower/tub handles since we bought the house. THIRD. By this time, however, it's well after midnight, and there's little that can be done except to get the water turned off and go to bed.

Wednesday, I got up and went to work, and then picked up my friend from the airport. We went straight from LAX to the beach, as she'd never put her tootsies in the Pacific. We had lunch at the Kettle (my favorite MB comfort food place) and then walked down to the waves. After goofing around for about 15 minutes and introducing her to the joys of squishing kelp bobbers, we walked back up to the car and made our way back to the casa. We got her gear stowed, watched some TV and went to choir rehearsal.

Thursday I dragged her to school with me, and she got to sit in for the final fetal pig lab of the year. Of course her patience was rewarded with a trip out to Melrose to shop at Fluevog and Kidrobot and lunch at Johnny Rocket's.

Friday we went to the Dodger game (Joe Torre Bobblehead night!).

Saturday was plumbing day 1. We took the access panel off the wall to see how difficult it would be to replace the diverter/valve/handle thingy. As usual, it wasn't that simple. As with the dishwasher, one plumbing job quickly became three, as we discovered that the water shutoff valves for the shower were broken OPEN. So we had to turn all of the house water off to replace those. AND we discovered that the shower would take a hell of a lot more work to replace... so we decided to cap the leaking valves and put the rest off, as we were having people over for a BBQ so that our friends could meet our guest. Much meat and wine took the edge off of the plumbing mess.

Sunday we went to see the Big Fat Rat. It turns out that was an excellent day to go. Not terribly hot, and not terribly crowded either. We rode all the big rides, and most of the smaller ones, too. The longest line we stood in was 45 minutes, for the Nemo submarines. Everything else was 20 minutes or less, including Indy! We had "linner" at the Blue Bayou (yum!) and went to Downtown Disney to the Lego Store via Monorail. We left at 9 because Monday is a work day, but everyone was exhausted by then anyway.

Monday was plumbing day 2. We fixed the valves and tackled the shower/diverter replacement. It quickly became evident that the geometry of the house made it IMPOSSIBLE to remove the pipes via the access panel. So we cut a hole in the side of the house! Extreme, but it was either that or rip out the fiberglass shower surround. And anyway, our house is covered in flat wood panels (1x 12's) with wood shingle siding attached, so what we cut out came out in one single piece (which we screwed back on when we were done). Once we could actually REACH the plumbing, the shower replacement was a piece of cake. And now it works great. YAY Hubby!

Tuesday was my class's final, and then another trip to Kidrobot and a tour of Hollywood Boulevard.

Wednesday I dropped my friend back at LAX, and our whirlwind week was over. Back to real life, and fast. I got a hell of a curve ball at work, and then I had to grade exams.

Today I finally got to do my ACTUAL job. Wow.

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May 05, 2008

My Baby turns 9 today

OK, so she's not my baby in the usual sense, but she IS my child. The favorite, the spoiled one, the one who gives me kisses and runs to see me when I come home every afternoon. She watches while I sleep and gets offended when her Daddy and I argue with each other. She loves books and kleenex (to eat) and cheese and chicken and eggs that escape from my breakfast burritos. She's Daddy's girl when he's got trail mix and Mommy's shadow whenever there's a glass of Dr. Pepper poured out. My 35 pound hot water bottle who loves the snow beyond reason and runs from rain drops. My "worth her weight in Molybdenum" hound who has cost me more than a fortune in tests and specialists and pills and special dog food, and finally human anti-rejection meds for an allergy that only took a move home to California to cure.

But for all that, we wouldn't trade a moment with our "border spaniel cocker collie" and all the ways she's spoiled us.

I love you, my Princess.

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May 24, 2008

365 Days and 30 minutes ago....

We walked into our house for the first time as its owners. It was kind of a surreal moment, to say the least. It was a Thursday afternoon, and we had no idea when the title would be recorded, so we gave the previous owners until 5pm to leave.

Of course, they took advantage of that, and the fact that it was memorial day weekend to to have the power and water shut off on us, pettily hoping that that they could screw us over and force us to be uncomfortable until the next Tuesday.

Happily, however, Pasadena Water and Power are AWESOME and everything was back on by Noon, Friday.

It's been a crazy year. Somehow we've managed to rip out two wall heaters, install a ceiling fan, a chandelier, change two more light fixtures, fix another ceiling fan, install a brand new bathroom sink, run a water line to the refrigerator, cap off a number of useless pipes, completely replace the plumbing for the shower and the kitchen sink, and install a dishwasher. Oh, and hang lights on the pergola, rip out three trees, hack away a number of bushes, and plant two rose bushes, azaleas, calla lilies, carnations, lilacs, hydrangea, and two summers' worth of garden.

Not to mention replacing a broken window and installing an alarm system. And bringing home a new puppy.

Wow. That's a hell of a lot more than I realized.

This weekend's project? Why plastering the holes from the plumbing job and repainting the bathroom, of course. And hanging our Anniversary present to ourselves:

Cardinals singing in a magnolia tree above a creek. And it will look fabulous above our bed, so who cares if it's a mass-produced IKEA painting? It makes me happy.

More pictures on Flickr as soon as I have a moment to download from the camera, probably late tomorrow!

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June 06, 2008

Cotillion Sister Makes a Difference

Jane Novak, who some of you know from her own blog, Armies of Liberation, and also from her frequent postings at My Pet Jawa, was on Fox and Friends this morning talking about her efforts to work for regime change in Yemen. Nice Deb beat me to the video editing and posted Jane's interview on YouTube, so check it out (below) and then go sign the petition! Learn more about Yemen and more reformers in the Middle East here. Finally, tell Fox how happy you are that they highlight these issues and talk to bloggers! Leave a comment here for FoxNews' Alisyn Camerota (who Jane tells me is very, very nice!)

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

Yemen Update

Rather than the death sentence that could have been imposed, imprisoned journalist Abdul-Karim al-Khaiwani was sentenced to 6 years hard labor. This "lighter" sentence is 100% due to pressure from the US media coverage of the story. Keep talking about it, keep blogging about it.

Jane has all the details here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 16, 2008

good wishes/prayers/happy thoughts needed UPDATED

My always wonderful Daddy is going in for a total knee replacement at 7 this morning. Predictably, I can't sleep and he's sawing logs.

Although the doctors have all given their blessing, and even say he's in great shape, we can use all the good juju we can get, so if you have a moment I'd appreciate it if you could spare a thought and a prayer in his direction.

Update: Dad is out of surgery and resting comfortably in his room. He's already had a stream of visitors and a tuna sandwich.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:11 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

Summer Reruns

One of my favorite things about summer is that my schedule is less crazy and I have the flexibility to do things I usually can't in the winter: catch up on TV, knit and crochet, read good books, and especially, cook.

Hubby has been working like a fiend in the yard getting all the detritus up from this weekend's festivities and mulching it with the mini chipper of doom. So I thought I would treat him with one of his favorites, Stuffed Peppers. I hate 'em, but I'll totally eat the filling and we had some beautiful green peppers I picked up at the Fresno State farm market last week when we were in town that I needed to use.

My stuffed pepper recipe is the easiest ever (especially when you use pre-cooked rice from Trader Joe's), so it makes a quick summer rerun. And a very happy hubby, too!

Go here to see just how awesomely easy it is!

Posted by caltechgirl at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008

Blogging from the deep end

I haven't really had a chance to brain dump lately. Despite the fact that it is summer, and therefore I am NOT teaching, I have been as busy as ever. Stuff just piles up on my desk and I am trying to get through a thousand small things just to get to see the top of my desk.

In some sense this is my fault. Being the person who is NOT on vacation means a lot of things that wouldn't otherwise come my way get shifted to me. Plus I am adding a new class in the Fall which I have to prep. Although it has been taught before, the focus of the class is changing, and the massive increase in enrollment (5 to 15, yeah I know, but it is TRIPLED) means I have to rethink the way labs and some assignments are done, almost as if it were a new class. I am also taking the opportunity to switch to a more rigorous text and need to make the syllabus reflect that text. With my "old" class, I need to re-arrange some of the units and make the syllabus more reflective of our designated Student Learning Outcomes (yes, we are going through Accreditation, why do you ask?) and combine the lab and lecture syllabi into one with a less formal schedule for the lab, because, as we all know, sh!t happens.

Along with this is the possibility of getting some grant $$ for research, which means I need to write a formal animal protocol which explains exactly what I plan on doing with my animals and how and when and why. This is the last thing I want to do. Boring. And pissy. And I really really really could give 2 shits about doing research anymore. Srsly. And anyway, I research stress hormones. Why on Earth would I want to hurt my animals? It only screws up my data.

I am also deeply embroiled in University politics. So far I have managed to play the naive child role well enough to slide through some serious controversial sh!t, while behind the scenes I plot and maneuver and try to come up with mature solutions. Who ever it was that said that Academic politics are worse because they are meaningless was right.

It doesn't help that I am trying to work from home as much as possible. On days when I can really focus, telecommuting is great. I can work all day on my schedule and get other things (like laundry or a trip to the dentist) done at the same time. I don't have to waste time or $$ on driving in to campus, either. I figure it costs me about $60-70/ week to drive in, just in gas costs. The inconvenience and creepiness of the Public transit makes that a less useful choice. Especially the creepiness. Someone was shot at the stop for my office a few weeks ago, and there have been a number of muggings and other violence.

Outside of work, things keep swimming along. Tomorrow is our 9th Anniversary. I can't believe it's already late July. Classes start again in a month. Also, I've "graduated" from physical therapy, and I continue in the pool, working on my own. So far so good. I like the pool, I like the workout, and I've gotten to know the group of "regulars" at the therapy pool who come every morning (lucky retired gals) to workout. Most of them are also therapy graduates. We switched my class schedule so that I can continue going to the pool in the morning twice a week. YAY.

Oh, and I have a ton of pictures to post. I'll try to do that tonight after I get home. I'm staying late for a student orientation "mixer" on campus. Yecch. But it gets me out of tomorrow's festivities and therefore I can hang out with hubby for our anniversary!

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:54 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 24, 2008

Nine, nine, number nine.

Happy Anniversary to the sweetest husband a girl could ever imagine. Even if you are a complete and utter dork.

I like you that way.

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:44 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

A Rose by any other name...UPDATED

Helen's post yesterday, about names, got me thinking. You see, I can't just say these are the names I would choose for my children without explaining why. There's a whole list of rules that hubby and I came up with many, many years ago. Long before we even started dating.

You know those long, rambling conversations you can have with your closest friends? The rules sprung from one of those. WE were just sitting around, BS'ing one day. I don't even know what started it off, but eventually both of us (and Ben. He was there, too) were tossing out rules for what names you can and can't give your kid. Over the years, we've gone back to them, as friends have had and named their own kids, and had a few laughs, I must admit.

So here's a list of our rules:
1. It must be a classic American name, spelled in the most standard way. Our children's heritage is classic EuroMutt with a dash of Native American and heaping helping of Armenian. The best way to describe them will be American. So we think their names should be, too.

2. It can not be one of certain names. I would list them, but I don't want to piss people off. It's just that, with a few exceptions, in our collective experience, everyone we know with these names is some kind of asshole. To the point that it's like "well his name is (one of those), you expect that".

3. It can't be a family name. Too much animosity. If I name my kids after my side of the family you can bet his family would be pissed. And vice versa. There may be some leeway for dead relatives used as middle names, but in general, it would cause more fuss than I'd care to deal with.

4. Probably best listed as a corollary to 3: There will be no juniors. There's enough confusion in the house with 4 different names now (two of which, I might add, belong to DOGS), I don't need to add on the confusion of calling for DH and getting answered by DH, Jr. Plus, we both think our kids should have their own names.

5. They must be full names. Alexander, Elizabeth, Johnathan, Katharine are all acceptable, for example, while Alex, Beth, Jon, and Kathy are not. Give the kid the whole name, and they can choose from a multitude of nicknames for themselves.

6. The Asswipe (that's Os-Wee-Pay) Rule: No easily made fun of names. Hubby's name is very similar to the quirky title character of a popular song during his childhood, and my last name laid me open to years of taunting comparing me to a comic villain. We'd like to spare our kids as much as possible. So under this rule, no Richard (Dick), Peter, Johnson, etc.

7. No rhyming. Dear God no. Thankfully, neither of our last names rhymes with many first names.

8. No multiples. This is mostly an issue for people with first names as last names, and we'd really have to stretch it to get that to work for us, but seriously. You couldn't think of anything more creative than Thomas Thomas (my mother's orthopedic surgeon) or Martin M. Martin (a teacher at our high school)?

9. No objects. Thing names are for animals. "This is our daughter, Ladybug." "This is my cat, Ladybug." "how nice." NOT. There's a reason some names refer to people. Abstracts are ok, however, such as Faith, Joy, Hope, Honor, etc. Although in my experience such names often turn out to be no more than wishful thinking on the part of the parents....

10. Fictional Characters are sometimes ok, under these conditions: the character must have a real name (Luke is acceptable, Han is not), and the character's reputation won't come back to bite the kid in the ass (again, Luke is acceptable, Homer is not). Naming your kid after a villain is usually a bad idea, as well. Especially if it's a villain in a kid's movie....

11. There should be a reason you're willing to share. Someday your kid will ask you "mom, dad, why did you call me Paris Nooner Lastname" and you have to be willing to explain your quick trip back to the hotel that ended up being more than a bag drop-off....

12. Gender appropriate names are a must. Gender neutral names are ok, but for GAWDS SAKE, don't give a girl a boy's name or vice versa. Even if it is acceptable as a name for the opposite gender. Leslie is a girl's name. As is Stacy. Cameron is a boy's name (see Ferris Bueller). So is Kendall. Trust me, it's hard enough to pronounce the names people give their kids. Don't make me look a fool by calling a "he" a "she" in class.

I'm sure some of our rules go against what you like or even some of your names, but this is what we want for our kids. Because life is hard enough without being known as Chlamydia Vagina.

More on the worst baby names ever compiled here.

So what do you think? What are your rules? Which of these do you agree with? Disagree with? That's what the comments are for, hint, hint.

UPDATE: Check out this poor girl's name. I would like to beat her parents. (h/t Richard Cocking)

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:45 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Wonderful weekend

This weekend was our un-official staycation. We went out and had fun on both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday evening, Hubby's college roomie and his wife joined us for dinner and a movie. Had some terribly overpriced Mexican food at Paseo Cantina and then wandered over to the Paseo theater for a moderately over priced film. $21 just for the tickets. Ouch. Especially considering the last time we went to movies regularly, we'd get in for just $10. For both of us. Of course, this is was Sunday afternoons in Chapel Hill, not Friday night in Pasadena.

In case you're wondering, we saw the X-Files movie. It wasn't terrible. I'd give it 3 stars out of 5. Mostly because there was nary an alien to be found. It was, has our friend described it a "monster-of-the-week" episode, albeit a long one. Mulder-Scully shippers will truly appreciate the film, because (spoiler here, sorry) it pretty much answers the "Are they or Aren't they?" question once and for all, portraying our favorite odd couple in a long term, somewhat committed, and intelllectually intimate relationship. My take: It was a good X-files fanfic. But I appreciate that as a Mulder/Scully fan.

On Sunday we drove out to Simi Valley and took in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We also met Jen and Beau and Jesse "Speaks" there! They are in CA on vacation, and were staying with family in Santa Barbara, so we met in the middle!

Jen and Beau are both as fun and awesome as you would imagine from their blogs, and that little Jesse is a charmer. If a bit shy.... although he seemed to really warm up to DH and even let DH hold him for a bit in the elevator!

The museum itself is really amazing. It was a lot like the Presidential Gallery in the Smithsonian, but more up close and personal. My favorite exhibit, other than Air Force One, which deserves its own post, was the Reagan Diaries display with his personal diary on the desk, laid open to March 30, 1981, the day he was shot. At the top of the right-hand page, he wrote "Getting shot hurts."

DH was also a big fan of the doodads and geegaws and random things that were given to the Reagans as gifts from people around the world. The sheer randomness of some of it was just unbelievable.

A funny story: The former president oversaw much of the construction detail, especially the White House replicas (the South Portico, Colonnade, and the Oval Office), and he was very concerned when the contractor indicated that the Oval Office would be an exact replica of the White House, except for the ceiling, which would have to be 2.5 feet lower in the museum due to the building's engineering. Never one to back down, Mr. Reagan replied, "Well, if you can't raise the ceiling, lower the floor." And indeed, you must go down a ramp to the Oval Office, and then up 4 stairs to the rest of the museum and the gardens.

We took lots of pictures, which are posted at my Flickr page. Most of them are public, so click over!

After the museum we headed over to Marie Callendar's for dinner. Now, I know it's maybe not the nicest place in town, but I knew where exactly 3 restaurants were in Simi, and they have Applebee's and Chili's in Virginia! So Marie's it was. Food was good, company was better, and we had a nice meal. And pie. Until Jesse got tired and his dad had to take him out, so we finished our pie and said goodbye to the Speaks clan, knowing Jesse would conk out in the car on the way back to SB.

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August 04, 2008

It must be Birthday Day in FL!

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite ladies!

Mrs. Who made each of them the perfect birthday card, I canna compete. See here and here.

But I did get y'all some balloons.....

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August 13, 2008

Show some blog love, won't you?

I know if there was any other way, Jay and Deb wouldn't be asking for help, but they need a significant amount of cash to help keep the lights on after August 22. If you can help out, even by tossing them a couple of dollars, it will be more than appreciated.

They're more than my blogparents, they're friends, and they've had a rough year financially trying to raise three kids. After some really rough patches, expensive car problems, sick kids, and ambulance trips, they are about to get back to being financially stable, except for this one large debt the state allowed them to run up. Jay explains what happened, here.

If you would like to pick up some lovely crocheted items, rather than making a simple donation, you can visit Deb's etsy store. Also, if you're looking for a domain name for a software project, Jay has one for sale. See here.

I'd be so happy if I clicked over there tomorrow and saw that the bills were taken care of. I know you all are so generous and wonderful. It would be awesome to see the B-sphere support people who really need the help rather than funding another Andrew Sullivan vacation!

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October 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, LemonheadsNick and Nora!

It's been an amazing first year for you.  I can't believe you're already starting trip #2 around the sun; so big and so independent and such funny little people.  Your Mum and Dad are so proud of you and love more than you can ever imagine.

And seriously? Your Mom has such great taste in music.....

Hope you enjoyed your presents and those awesome super cupcakes!

Auntie CTG

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October 08, 2008

Overheard in my house last night during the debate (R-rated language)

Obama is a tool.
He's really a dick. 
He should go swallow a dick. Wait, he is a dick.
Go swallow yourself, Barry.

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face

(with one finger raised, as a finger puppet; in a cartoon voice) I'm a tool.

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face.  Pain in my guts from the laughing.

Obama (on TV):
blah, blah, vote for me (pauses)

(same finger puppet and voice) Because I'm a tool!

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face, hiccupping, now running for the bathroom...

Perhaps you either have to know my usually mild-mannered unflappable husband to get it.  Or maybe you had to be there.  Either way, I am still giggling 12+ hours later.

I love you, hon!

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October 17, 2008

More unsolicited endorsement

The laptop arrived TODAY.  Ordered yesterday morning.  Huzzah for Newegg and UPS, although, seriously, the driver could have hidden the package a bit better, but no harm no foul.

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November 03, 2008

Head in my hands, Heart on my Sleeve

I've been thinking a lot about Prop 8.  It's the only ballot measure I haven't yet decided on.

My head tells me to vote yes and tell activist liberal judges to get a fucking clue.  That CA's registered Domestic Partnership law provides the same rights to gay couples who register as marriage does to straight couples.  That marriage is a construct not of the state, but of the church, and really the RDP law should apply to gays and straights both as a "civil union," a mere contract.  That "marriage" is solemnized and consecrated by your belief system, whatever that is, and abides by those rules.  God's rules.  Or gods' rules.  Whatever you believe.  Not the state's rules. 

I worry about the consequences for churches and ministers who are against marrying gay couples, for whatever reason.  Will they be breaking the law if they refuse?  Will they lose their 501 status? Will anyone be allowed to believe that homosexuality is wrong or state that belief?  It may be bigoted, but in this country, people have a right to believe as they choose.  We call it Freedom of Religion.

And you know, I just am so tired of all the in-your-faceness of the Prop 8 fight.  I just want to vote no to say HA!  Keep your "whether you like it or not" and all your Gay PDA on TV (for the record, all PDA on TV makes me sick, we've just seen a lot of it with this Prop 8 thing).  It makes me want to be perverse and give all the Prop 8 opponents the finger.

But my heart tells me differently.

As I've mentioned many times on this blog, one of my dearest friends is gay, and he married his partner about 5 years ago in one of the most beautiful, heartfelt weddings I have ever seen.  I was proud to be a "bridesmaid" and stand up for them, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I remember feeling so clearly the love between them, and seeing how precious they were to each other.  I could never take away from them the things that DH and I have, the comfort of knowing we are each other's first and last resort, that we make each other's life and death decisions, that we share the rights and responsibilities of our life together for better and for worse.

I received this today, via email.  I hope my friend won't mind me sharing it with you in part, and with the names redacted, of course.

Hi Everyone,

As you know, we're barely a day away from the most historic election of our time. But as you are also probably well aware, there's a lot more at stake than the Presidency.

Here in California, one of the most important -- and one of the closest -- issues you can vote on is Prop 8.

Prop 8 seeks to eliminate fundamental rights for one group of people. If passed, Prop 8 would take away something very close to Nick and me: our marriage. I trust you agree that eliminating fundamental rights -- from anyone -- is unfair and wrong.


If you want to help but don't have much time, here's something simple you can do:

The simplest thing you can do is to call everyone you know when you have a few free minutes on Tuesday and bug them to go vote if they haven't. Even if they say in advance that they'll vote, call them on Election Day to make sure they've voted. Even if it looks like the Presidential contest is over nationally by 5 or 6 pm our time, it's still critical that everyone goes to the polls to vote NO on 8. And even if it's raining, and even if the lines are long ... that shouldn't matter.

Finally, please modify and pass along this e-mail to everyone you know in California.

(And, no, you don't need to call N or me on Election Day -- we have both already voted by absentee ballot.)

Thanks so much for all your support!

A (& N)
I just can't tell them no. As much as I think this whole issue is screwed up and proceeding ass-backwards and I want to vote yes to make a political point, I don't think I can look my friend in the eye and tell him I voted to take away the marriage that means so much to him in favor of a lousy, meaningless contract. Unless you give me one of those lousy, meaningless contracts, too.

So this girl's in an unfamiliar quandry: head or heart?  I can't tell which makes more sense.

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November 10, 2008

Crazy Happy Birthday!

It just goes to show you never know.  I was planning on a really low key birthday full of meetings and rehearsal and maybe squeezing in a trip to the pool this afternoon.

I should have known better.  I woke up to an Instalanche here, and when I walked into my class, I found this:

On the White Board

My students conspired against me!

What's more, they got me a card and TWO cakes.  And they sang Happy Birthday twice.  I was floored.  I hope they don't think this is going to raise their grades....

Here's the Chocolate Oreo Cake:

Oreo Chocolate Cake

and the Fruit Tart:

Fresh Fruit Tart

What a great birthday morning!

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November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Rich!

Happy Birthday, my dear friend.  May you have a wonderful year of love and laughter and happiness!

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November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To my darling sweet wonderful husband!

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November 30, 2008

Emerging from Black Friday

So Black Friday has come and gone, and I am nearly done with the Holiday shoppage once again.  Other than stocking stuffers and a possible gift or two for the parents or the Hub, the only people I have left to shop for are my 9 year old nephew and my 6 year old niece.  Both of whom are super bright and super picky. Any ideas?

I did extremely well, shopping-wise, saving more than I have spent so far by wisely shopping particular sales and comparing the ads on Thursday evening, post-turkey.

By 9 am we had been to 7 stores and it was time to call it a day.  Not bad for a morning's work.

Of course, some of the shopping was done earlier, courtesy of Amazon, Woot, and Etsy.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Etsy.  Handcrafted, unique, everything you can imagine, and I've had nothing but good experiences with all of the sellers I've dealt with.  Many of your favorite bloggers also sell their crafty output at Etsy.  Look them up!

What were you up to post-Turkey day?

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December 30, 2008

Time for Donuts!!

When Tammi was out here interviewing a couple of weeks ago, we decided that since her stay was too short to get together, when (not if!) she got the job we'd have to go out for donuts to celebrate.

Because Tammi loves donuts, see, and the best donut place in the whole world is just down the street (well, in the same town anyway) as her new job.

Looks like I just need to wait for her to get her butt out here.

Congratulations! YAY!

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January 10, 2009

Think Happy Thoughts....

... And sprinkle a little fairy dust....

Tomorrow, January 11, two amazing people are going to follow through with a resolution they made in August and run a marathon in honor of people who have been touched by cancer.

WB and Bou are running the Walt Disney World marathon on Sunday as part of Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Together they've raised just shy of $5300 for cancer research.

I'll be thinking of you both and watching your split times from here, and wishing you fleet feet and much success!

Please take a minute to click over and wish each of them well! And maybe enough of us do it, then maybe just maybe, they can fly!

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January 11, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Bou and WB have each completed the Walt Disney World Marathon.  YAY!

Bou's finish time was 06:05:56, a 13:57 mile average and WB's was 07:00:57, a 16:03 mile average.

I am immensely proud of both of you!

That's a wrap, y'all!  Now get some rest!  You deserve it!

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January 21, 2009

Comfort and Canning

While most of the rest of you either watched or avoided the evening festivities surrounding the adulation of The One, I was busy in the kitchen.

Ooey-Gooey Mac N Cheese with bacon for dinner.  I needed comfort.  That's the very definition of comfort food.  Plus, I had to use up the last of the fancy cheeses from our New Year's Eve party, which were remarkably still mold-free.  I didn't want to press my luck further.  This was real white sauce Mac N Cheese, too.  A first for me.

After dinner it was back to the stove.  I'm like a kid after Christmas with my new toy.  Some of you may recall I got a small-batch canning cookbook for Christmas and I have been waiting for the stars to align to use it ( and by stars I mean time, inclination, and pectin). 

Last night I broke open the book for the first time and made a batch of Blood Orange Red Wine Marmalade.  Sadly, because our blood oranges are tiny, it made only a cup and a half.  Tonight I broke rule #1 and made a double batch.  Which made just over 4 cups.  YAY!

Then I decided to try and use up some of the apricots in the freezer that we got from our tree in the spring.  Batch #2 was a Winter Pear Apricot Jam.  That was tasty cleanup!  That recipe made 5 cups after skimming.  Not bad.

I was ably assisted by my awesome husband who is quickly learning the difference between tongs and jar lifters, and who has always been a dab ahnd at cutting, measuring, and heavy, hot lifting of pots and plates.

Net: 5.5 jars (+ a bowl in the fridge of leftover) Blood Orange Marmalade (two days), 5 jars Pear/ Apricot Jam, and half a casserole dish of leftover MacCheese.


Pictures as soon as I get a chance to download.

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February 10, 2009

Your Moment of Zen

Dark, strangely calming zen.

Metallica, Wherever I May Roam.

Thanks, honey, for leaving the Black Album in the CD player.

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February 14, 2009

Valentines Zen

Valentine's Day together #1: bought each other the SAME valentine stuffed animal.  Entirely without consultation.  Giggles and kisses ensued.

Valentine's Day together #15: walk into Costco, notice motion-detector fixture on good sale, toss it into cart. Look at roses and strawberries on display across from motion detectors and go, "Oh yeah, Valentine's Day."

Somehow, #15 was a hell of a lot better.

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February 27, 2009

Friday night fights

Well, so it didn't turn out terrible. We were taken seriously by some of the lions referenced below.

We'll see where things go from here.

And seriously, I have the awesomest husband in the universe.  I came home to delivery chinese food ordered and an expensive bottle of sparkling pink wine in the fridge.

Egg rolls and pink bubbles really make all the bullshit fade away.  Going to spend this weekend chilling and enjoying my time away from stress-world.  See you on the flip side.  Or at least on Twitter and Facebook.

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March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday!

It's the big 3-0 for my un-related sister ZTZCheese.

Happy Birthday, babe!  I hope you have a wonderful day (even though you have to go to work!) 

I wish we could go out to celebrate with you, but I know you understand why we can't.

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May 21, 2009

Spare a kind thought...

...and a prayer if you're so inclined, for friend and fellow blogger Oddybobo who lost her sister today in a motorcycle accident.

Love you, girl.  Hang in there.

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July 03, 2009

Embracing your Heritage

Ken, formerly of It Comes in Pints? fame, just got some bad news about his genealogy.  Seems he is a distant cousin of one Joseph R. Biden, Jr.  Yeah, that Joe Biden.

I know, I know.  But I think he'd be taking this better if he could get into the family business himself.  So I thought I'd get him a little something to help......

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

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February 20, 2010

I'm not sick but I'm not well...

This was his theme song.

I tried so hard, but you wouldn't listen, you wouldn't reason, you wouldn't leave your dark place. You chose to make ME leave instead. You pushed us all out and built wall upon wall.

And the irony of it is, you took the pussy's way out, not the warrior's death you once envisioned for yourself.

I hope you've finally found some peace. I doubt it, but I hope so. I miss you. We all miss you.

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February 21, 2010

Will Ashton Kutcher please just come out from wherever he's hiding already?

This is my space, I get to grieve how I want. You don't have to read it, but it helps me to externalize. My thoughts below the jump.

Read More "Will Ashton Kutcher please just come out from wherever he's hiding already?" »
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April 12, 2010

Caught up but still catching up

Life is strange. They tell you this and you nod your head. Yes, oh yes. And then one day it happens, and the world falls into place, except the geometry is twisted.

I know that some of the people in my "RL" read this. I want you to understand this is not about you. This is not angry or complaining or confused. If you know about this you're most likely NOT one of the people I'm talking about, and I'd appreciate it if the rest of them didn't find out about this space.

So for the rest of you, a little story. There was once this girl, about 13. Smart, vivacious, outspoken. Sometimes arrogant. But not pretty. Not like the other kids, and very self conscious. Some people preyed on this. A lot of people. Including a girl I'll call K. K and her friends liked to make fun of this girl and her friends. for a number of reasons. Some of which were deserved. The girl also had a friend we'll call M. M and several other people and the girl were very close until one day the friends decided they didn't want to be friends with her either.

To this day, I don't know why. I guess I wasn't cool enough.

Anyway, the girl landed on her feet and found a new group of friends. Friends she still loves to this day (Hi Ben!) and one of whom she married.

Which brings me to the point of the story. Fast Forward 10 years. Turns out K is my husband's sister. Forward ten more years, M is now my husband's brother's new wife, and Saturday I was standing around talking to people who haven't deigned to speak to me in 15 years or more, and from whom I parted on less than amicable terms in some cases. Including my new Sister In Law.

Ain't that the shit? I haven't seen some of these people in two lifetimes, practically, and I'll see them again next week at another wedding. And I'm even FB friends with some of them all of a sudden. Which is ok. I'd rather know what they're up to than not. I mean, I never really stopped caring about them as people.

And I realize that I've spent the best part of the last decade hiding out. Pushing that part of my life away. Some of the reasons I had were good. Some were selfish. Some of them no longer exist. Some of them are gone forever.

I also realized that I feel like a stranger in what used to be my life. It's not like riding a bicycle. I'm just not that person anymore. My world is a different place, both spiritually and physically from what it was when I was that girl. Yes, everyone changes in 20 years, but not everyone needs a shoehorn to put on old shoes. As I stood there chatting about who does what and people's careers and kids and friends, I could feel the old patterns coming back. The old jokes, the snappy answers, the interaction was still the same, just less comfortable. As if trying on old clothes to check the fit. And I wanted to fit in, in spite of myself.

It's funny the hand life deals. I love my husband. But you can keep his family most days. They probably feel the same about me, and yet we are part of the same family. I love him and he loves them, so what choice do I have but to pitch in and be a sister to two people I would otherwise as soon have forgotten? The funniest thing is that my husband and his brother really haven't gotten along in years. For many good reasons. But they have grown closer over the last few months, due in large part to my new SIL and our own attempt at reconciling our problems.

So maybe this is a good thing, then, and my selfish anger and internal sense of righteous justice that burned its way out over the last year was just a waste of time, and the real answer is live and let live and love your family whether you chose them or got stuck with them.

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May 12, 2010

A Blast from the Past

Found this on the old computer tonight, and I'm posting this for Ben.

It was taken while speeding down the 99 in Pixley,CA in August of 2003 (I was both the passenger and the photog. No worries.).  Sadly, some time soon after this the family sold the property and the entertaining signs were taken down.  Previous signs included the gems "The US or the UN, whose country is it?" and my all time favorite, "Pigs and Judges Ain't Bullitproof" (sic)

Hope this gave you a chuckle, dude!

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November 07, 2010

At the Crossroads

As some of you know I am at a decision point in my life.

My current job has gone to hell in a handbasket in more ways than I can count and all I can do right now is try to keep my own head above water and not get fired.  The administration is making what seem to be arbitrary decisions and striking out at vulnerable faculty and programs in the name of doing business better,  but the evidence (and I'll admit I am a bit biased) seems to point out the fact these decisions have been at best short-sighted, and at worst, disastrous.  Day by day it becomes clear that I can not count on having a job much longer, through no fault of my own.

So I have been looking around.

I July I applied for a local job, similar to what I am doing now, teaching the same kinds of classes, working with small groups of students, and being able to have a place where I can keep a small lab and give undergrads a chance to have some lab experience.  As a bonus, it would be a short "reverse" commute.  I didn't hear back right away, and I figured they didn't want me.  We'll call this Job #1.  They did eventually call me for a phone interview 'round about October 1, but I haven't heard from them since.

In August, I applied for another job, this one at a major research university in a VERY SMALL TOWN in another state.  Job #2 is a unique position, non-tenure track, but only because it focuses on teaching and student advising, rather than research.  I think it would be a great opportunity to use the skills and experiences that I have developed over the past 15 years to give students useful help as they navigate their college experience.  So I applied, despite the great potential for upheaval in my life.

Job #2 called me a week after the position solicitation closed and invited me to come for an interview.  Which I evidently nailed, because I am sitting in a hotel room in that same small town today.  Two weeks after my initial interview, they offered me the position, and after some back and forth, they invited BOTH of us up here for a weekend look-see.  We've been here since Friday afternoon, bumming around.  We've visited the campus, toured all of the neighborhoods, found the Co-Op in the next town over and even drove an hour out to the Costco.  Which we totally found by accident, although we were looking for it.

When I was here initially, they asked a realtor to drive me around town, and so I asked her to show us inside a few houses, so we could a real sense of what a house we would WANT to live in would cost, and how we would have to work it.  Because see, if we move here, we would have to rent out our house.  There's no way we could sell it, the market in LA being what it is, and so we needed to know what the numbers would be, and if we could afford to buy a house here, since rent and mortgage payments here are about the same.  Might as well get the benefit of the equity.  Not to mention that I'm not uprooting my life to live in a shack somewhere else when I have a house I love.

So we talked.  And gave her our list of needs, wants, and likes.  And of course, dammit, the first house we walked into we fell in love with.  It's quirky and has a huge yard and more storage space than we can fill right now, and of course, it would be long gone by the time we would be ready to move, should I decide to take the job.

And I stepped out on to the deck, and I saw my dogs running on the lawn, and a swingset and plenty of room for a garden, and all of the things  I would want in my life.  And I felt like I could be happy here.  Snow, small town and all.

It's a million years away from my life. But then again, there are so many things I want to change about my life.  I want to have time to focus on ME.  On getting me healthy again.  On my marriage, which is good, but won't stay that way if I just let it go.  On my puppies.  They need Mommy back.  I want to be able to go walking and work out and be able to cook dinner everynight without being bone-weary from a day from hell followed by a commute from hell.  I want to open my computer at night and not have to worry about discovering yet another pissing contest that I have to mop up.

And let's face it, I ain't getting any younger.... tick tick tick....

My biggest concerns are my husband and my family.  Who knows whether he can even FIND a job here?  There are fewer opportunities, even though most districts look for a science teacher more often than other disciplines.  And our families will be nearly impossible to reach, now.  Disappointing after reaching a detente with my inlaws and beginning to build a relationship with my nieces and nephew now that they're older. And of course my Mom and Dad aren't getting any younger, though they are both in reasonably good health now.

So many things are really positive: There's a heated, indoor therapy pool (!!!!) and an Arby's and a Wendy's and a DQ (none of which I have now).  Super Walmart just opened, and it is nicer than our current Target (at least this week) and you can even find a parking place.

Side item: the house we love faces the Walmart directly, though it is a few blocks away, and because both are on hills, you can see the Walmart from the kitchen window and vice versa.  Amusing as hell.

Traffic is a joke, though some people clearly don't know how to drive, and I shudder to think what most of these people would do with an LA freeway.

I am conflicted and I don't know what to do.  It's hard. Can I give up what has become comfortable and close to home for something entirely different, though not altogether bad? 

Alright y'all, weigh in.  I want to hear your thoughts....

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