Thursday, September 27, 2007

Be Sweet

Two little words that have a big message bundled up in them: Be Sweet.

It means be kind, gentle, and considerate. Use the manners you've been taught and be thoughtful. Be gracious. It's a little message that's been passed down for generations, but it carries more weight than the entire dictionary.


Trying to be still and wait while counting down days is a challenge. We easily fall into the habit of planning for what's coming up and miss out on what's going on right now.
If you be still and listen, you'll hear rustling leaves and splashing water. If you look......really look, you'll notice the sun is at a different angle today. If you take a deep breath you'll catch the fragrance released by leaves you brush against. All subtle notes to our senses, but when examined and appreciated.....miracles of our world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Movie Night

Five stars to Miss Potter , a film directed by Chris Noonan and starring Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, and Emily Watson.

This enchanting film follows the life of Beatrix Potter from precocious childhood to philanthropic adulthood. She was born into an upper middle class family in Victorian London, but did not take the usual path expected of girls at the time. Her "bunny book" became the best selling children's book of all time and the other stories and merchandise that bear her name are a remarkable success story.

Miss Potter was filmed in the Lake District, Isle Of Man, and near Glasgow, Scotland with tenderness and grace. The excellent acting goes beyond the Academy Award winners to every supporting artist and extra on screen. The set dressing is not garish and vulgar as some Victorian rooms are portrayed, but comfortable and warm. This is a movie for families to enjoy over and over again.......a joy.

At The Sea-side

When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.

In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.

RLS 1913

Monday, September 24, 2007

Which Is It?

On the one hand we read in the London Telegraph of Iran's threats to the US here. Then 60 minutes interviews Ahnadinejad and he talks as if he's a man of peace and all this missile talk is nonsense.

Which is it? I think I know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Braves Win!

An exciting finish to the last home game of the 2007 season is the best way to go out for the year. A comeback win against the Brewers also made the Cubs happy in the Central division. Braves 7 Brewers4.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It's happening.......the crisp fall air is happening. The calendar says it's time. The weatherman reports it everyday. The wind is changing direction. Seasons are changing. It's very subtle here in the Sunshine State, but it happens. People here admire more dramatic change and make trips to go visit it in other states. They flock to North Carolina, Virginia, even as far away as Vermont just to catch a glimpse of maples wearing red and gold leaves.

And the chance to wear wool and boots for more than just fashion reasons. That clear, crisp autumn air calls like a siren. We're envious of all those who get a spectacular fall. The trade off is of course January, February, and March. That's when they are envious of us. But for now, the glory goes to the picture postcard towns of the northeast.

Friday, September 21, 2007

National Health Care: All it's cracked up to be?

Have you heard about how wonderful the "free" National Health Service is in England? Apparently, proponents of a nationalized health care system in the US often site Great Britain's system as a role model. I say be careful what you wish for. The NHS in Britain is beset by the very problems you would expect a giant government bureaucracy to have: inefficiency, incompetence, and, irrelativity. This is an article from the September 19 London Telegraph by Liz Hunt. It sounds like the NHS might be less than wonderful.

Bring back the men in white coats

A world-renowned cancer expert is turning to Pizza Express to help him deliver the care he believes British patients are entitled to expect.

Decades of experience have led Professor Karol Sikora to despair of the varying standards in the NHS, and he has long been thwarted in his efforts to change the system internally.

Hence the alliance with Luke Johnson, entrepreneur and restauranteur, to run a chain of cancer clinics providing a service that is cheap, reliable and high quality - the hallmark of Johnson’s pizzas - to NHS patients.

At the same time, a former Government adviser, Sir Derek Wanless, warns that the long-term future of the NHS is in doubt, and the world class healthcare, endlessly promised by politicians, continues to elude us despite record levels of funding.

But doom-mongering reports and evidence of their failure will not distract the legion of health service bureaucrats from what really matters; a ludicrous ban on knitting needles at a Cheshire hospital for reasons of health and safety, and an end to the tradition of doctors wearing white coats.

Does anyone seriously believe that this latter initiative will have any significant impact when hospitals are routinely filthy and lacking basics such as soap and towels?

Here's a related article about rationing heart surgery and one on rationing cancer drugs.I don't like the sound of that.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just Another Day In Paradise

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. Day after day of sunshine, blue skys, and gentle breezes can wear on a person after a while. The sight of palms swaying and waves rolling in becomes old hat. Just as a steady diet of steak and lobster becomes ho hum, so does incredibly beautiful weather.
Folks in San Diego, Hawaii, and Palm Beach can actually suffer from depression from a relentless number of fine days. The cure is an occasional cloudy, drizzly day. Of course, there's very little sympathy for the depressed people living in paradise. Nine weeks or less of summer weather a year isn't enough to curry compassion from winter hardened northerners. When they are knee deep in snow and slush with winds howling, it's Florida they're longing for. Meanwhile, Floridians are thinking a few weeks in Canada might be fun. It's just another case of the grass is always greener.........or in this case, the snow is always whiter on the other side of the fence.

Slow News Day

A student who did nothing wrong, a bear falls out of a tree, the TV show that won't be shown.......these are the big stories of the day. On the Today show this morning they were teaching us how to make a wedding cake. CNN reported the oldest man in the world turned 112. The biggest scandal anyone can come up with is Barry Manilow not appearing on The View because he's afraid of Elisabeth Hasselbeck. That could just as easily have been a joke on Jay Leno last night. I wasn't setting my TIVO to record the show anyway. So the real news today is that there's no news.
It's a throwback to the days before the 24 hour news cycle. Don't get me wrong....I love all the alternatives in media available now. It's just nice to have a break from all the hysteria for a day. Let's all take a deep breath and enjoy it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Want and Need

Ice cream-want, spinach-need. Porche-want, minivan-need. Trip to Ireland-want, family visit to Miami-need. One is self indulgent, the other self control. But now there's a new take on the old idiom. My wonderful sister told me about a technique she got from a book she's reading. The purpose is to change your attitude about things in your life that seem like drudgery. It works like this: replace the "I need to/should" things in your life to "I want to things". For instance, I need to weed the garden (back breaking chore) becomes I want to weed the garden(beautiful yard to enjoy). And I need to read to the children more (Green Eggs And Ham again?) becomes I want to read to the children more (enjoy them while you can).
Sister said she's been doing this for a few days and can already see a big difference in her outlook. Isn't it amazing how just changing one little word can turn a negative into a positive? Since it's Monday and that's the perfect day to start something new, lets all give it a try. When you find yourself running through "the list" in your head, make sure it's a "want to" instead of "need to" list. I'd love to hear how it goes. Cheers!

Friday, September 14, 2007


Here's one...........A married couple, both 60 years old, were celebrating their 35th anniversary. During their party, a fairy appeared to congratulate them and grant them each one wish. The wife wanted to travel around the world. The fairy waved her wand and poof - the wife had tickets in her hand for a world cruise. Next, the fairy asked the husband what he wanted. He said; "I wish I had a wife 30 years younger than me." So the the fairy picked up her wand and poof - the husband was 90.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I belong to a group of people who always put things off until the last minute. In our minds we rationalize all kinds of lame excuses for not doing things in an orderly manner which would make our lives a lot easier. Oh sure, we could take our moms' advice and do laundry on Monday, dust and vacuum on Tuesday, bathrooms and floors on Wednesday, cook for the weekend on Thursday, run errands on Friday, but what would be the fun in that? We'd miss out on the panic of digging the cleanest shirt out of the hamper for a forgotten appointment. The embarrassment of having drop-in company notice the elaborate cobwebs hanging between the wall and a light fixture. The stress of trying to make dinner from a potato, a cup of strawberry yogurt, and six frozen shrimp. Sometimes I get fed up with my tendency and make schedules and charts for myself to straighten out the problem.
Eventually they get lost under a pile of mail and forgotten. Good intentions gone astray. I always fall back into the same rut. Maybe I'm an adrenaline junky and need the excitement of rushing around at the last minute. Maybe it's an inherited trait I can blame on a long gone ancestor. Whatever it is, I haven't found the cure. The one thing I do know is that it would take a miracle to change me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Funny Strange Or Funny Ha Ha?

Bill Murray is in this ........nuff said.

Movie Night

In 1987 BBC produced a miniseries from Olivia Manning's autobiographical novels Fortunes Of War. The story follows the lives of Guy and Harriet Pringle (Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson): a university professor and his wife. It begins in 1939 Rumania and moves to Greece, Egypt, and Syria as the Pringles try to stay ahead of the Germans during World War II. Interesting characters move in and out of their lives such as Simon Boulderstone, a young army officer played by Rupert Graves; Castlebar, a renown British poet hiding from his wife; and Prince Yakimov, a British expatriate who will do anything for a drink. The diplomats, spies, professors, and soldiers come to terms with their various issues in a surprisingly contemporary tale. The comment made on Islam is especially fresh. The acting performances of all the major characters are first rate and makes the excellent writing come to life. Stunning locations and photography make this film a classic to enjoy again and again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Are We Listening?

General Petraeus is talking about the Iraq War right now.
Are we listening................. or are we too busy spewing our uninformed opinions and closing our minds to truth? Ask yourself on this September the I going to listen to politicians and reporters or soldiers when it comes to the truth about what's happening on the battlefield in Iraq? I think we all know who has the strongest record on honesty. When asked, General Petraeus had no comment on the move on ad in the ny times that called him a betrayer.

Do the folks at move on remember where they were on September 11, 2001? Do they remember seeing this on that beautiful clear fall morning? Did it make them hold their breath and grab the phone and call their children to make sure they were okay? Just wondering.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Day Of Reckoning

Mets vs. Braves. 7:10 tonight. Do or die. Now or never. This will be a steel-cage one gets out until the other is beaten. Mark Teixeira, Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann will provide backbone for the Braves. Tim Hudson gets the chance to redeem himself after last weeks shelling by the Phillies.
Peter Moylan needs some rest, but Hudson needs to go at least seven for that to happen. Edgar Renteria got back into the line up this week and is picking up where he left off with his bat. In his return game Saturday he went two for four and scored a run. Another hot bat has been Matt Diaz. He looks comfortable at the plate and is hitting .344 for the last 30 days. The Mets swept their series against Houston this weekend and the Braves took two of three off the Nationals. So the Braves find themselves eight and a half games out of first and behind four teams in the wildcard race. There are nineteen games left in the season against teams the Braves have made good showings against all year. They've just got to play loose.....have fun out they say, and hope there's a little Braves magic left in the tank.
UPDATE: dead, never, beaten
Sheepish UPDATE 2: Tuesday final score Braves 13 Mets 5

Sunday, September 9, 2007

First Day Of Football - Go Shopping!

Some folks have been anxiously awaiting this day for weeks, others have been dreading it. You know what I mean...those men who live for the NFL and those women who can't stomach any mention of football. For those who fall somewhere in between - congratulations - one less thing to argue about and strain your marriage.
Ladies, what's the problem? The best time to shop is while football games are going on. Get a jump on that Christmas list and it could all be done including the wrapping before Thanksgiving. That leaves four Sundays to get the Christmas cards written and mailed. Why complain about something your man loves when he's giving you uninterrupted time to get important stuff done? Just think.... no whining about chores, no moaning about work, no crying about having to go out. Just peaceful shopping and lunching with friends. Hurray!!! Football season is here!!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A bird in the hand....

There's a list of things in my head that a perfect home should have. It's an informal list and does change from time to time, but one thing that's always been on the list is *Peacocks In The Yard.
I have a vague memory of visiting a great house in Atlanta with peacocks wandering around the garden and thought that was the most grand thing ever. Never mind that they are pretty good size birds and you know what pretty good size birds leave behind. The other drawback is the sound they make. It sounds like a woman screaming. I have a real problem with that....just ask anyone my feelings about Hillary Clinton. Well, anyway, sorry to put that image in your head.....but this morning when I went to let Roxy out there were seven peacocks in the front yard. It looked like they were thinking about coming up on the porch. Roxy would of course bark and run them off so I hesitated to let her out right away, but you can't put off a fifty pound poodle for very long.
So I got a good look at them then opened the door. Roxy pounced and barked and they scattered, honking like geese the whole time. She chased them half-heartedly because she's really a coward and hadn't realized how big these birds are. They reappeared a little while later crossing the street to someone's yard who's more dogs. It's okay though-this isn't the dream home. I won't expect them to stay until I get there.