Sunday, September 28, 2008

Long Long Time

I caught the end of the Kevin Spacey movie about the life of Bobby Darin last evening. Got me to searching YouTube for Bobby Darin tunes and found this very special one with Linda Ronstadt from his 1970 television special. It doesn't get much better than this.

Shorter days

I'm forgetting the sun is with us a shorter time now. I have to get started outside a little later in the morning, and finish up a little sooner at night. After resting up from a wild afternoon with the grandkids, I decided to tackle the front lawn -- if I'd waited much longer I would require a machete instead of a mower. The temps are not supposed to be over 80 after 6 p.m. this time of year, but they are, so I decided to wait until 7, and very nearly didn't have enough daylight to finish. It normally takes me 45 minutes to mow the lawn, but the sun was already sinking behind Antelope Island when I was only a quarter of the way through. I stepped up the pace wondering if I might have to finish in the morning. Got it done with twilight to spare.

It was an exhausting day and I did sleep better. I woke up once as usual, but went back to sleep with no difficulty. Still have a lot of things on the LOTTD for Sept/Oct. So I'll be outside soon.

But shorter days mean more time to do things indoors. Time to make that transition. I can hardly believe summer is over.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not sleeping

I often awaken at 2 or 3 in the morning. Wide awake. Sometimes, like this morning, I am startled awake by a disturbing dream. This is the one where I'm high up on some structure like steel girders and I need to find a way down. And I'm terrified of heights. In the dream I always manage to make some progress along the beam only to find I've reached an impossible place when I can't get down without somehow turning around or making some other impossible maneuver. I awaken with heart racing, palms sweating. There's just no going back to sleep.

There are things I do in the middle of the night. Surf the web, watch TV, play piano or guitar, do a load of laundry, do a crossword puzzle, write in my blog. Sometimes I just sit in the dark and look at the view from my window. It isn't always calming. I turn on the lights.

A friend of mine who is a counselor said this is an indication of depression. In my case I think she's wrong. I know what's disturbing my sleep. It's the many things yet undone in my house (and in my yard, but mostly in my house). I've been divorced a year, yet my garage is still full of junk my ex didn't want and left for me to deal with. There are some thiings I want to keep, like the lawn games for the kids, my golf clubs, a desk I want to sell. But everything got dumped on top of everything and some of the things on top are too heavy for me to move alone. The task of clearing out is so daunting, so overwhelming, I get started but it seems I don't even make a dent. I don't feel depressed about it, but anxious because it's not done, and not sure how to get it done.

But I never have the solutions when I'm awake in the wee hours. Those thought processes work better in the light of day. So I'll do a crossword puzzle, and pretty soon I won't be able to keep my eyes open, and finally sleep will return. I need to remember to turn off my alarm on the weekends. No sense getting up at 5 if I don't have to.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My most-read post ever

Today I posted a little anouncement about on my RedStateBlues page. The very popular game site had mysteriously disappeared overnight. My first indication was when my Scrabulous partner emailed me saying he couldn't get into the site. Upon a little investigation I discovered the problem (explained on RedStateBlue). In looking at my web page stats, I notice I was getting a number of hits on my previous posts about Scrabulous, and I realized people were looking for answers. So I posted under the title "Where is Scrabulous". Boom, the hits started coming! My little web site easily stays within the limits of the free StatCounter, but today, I have exceeded the limit with hits on that one page alone. I cross posted to my book review site to try to pick up some of the traffic there, but got little relief. I googled to see what other sites came up high on a google search. I was in second place. I cross posted my information to Wiki Answers and to Yahoo Answers, and that has eased up some of the hits.

Not that I mind the traffic as I notice some of the visitors stick around and visit some of my other posts while they are here. And it's fascinating getting hits from Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, all over the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. (Add Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, U.S. Armed Forces Pacific, Japan, Taiwan; so far nothing from the state of Alaska. I can't keep up with all the locations. Too many hits.)
But when you consider that an estimated half million people play Scrabulous every day, it's not surprising at all that a lot of people are trying to find out what happened to it.

I suppose this might very well be my 15 minutes of fame.

Two steps forward, and . . .

Tired again. Had to be up early yesterday to take Jenn to the airport. Then worked all day and socialized with Reel Women in the evening, followed by catching up on political news. Stayed up too late. Woke up at 3:30 thinking I heard my alarm go off, and had the coffee made by the time I actually noticed the time. So now drinking coffee and watching political news. This does not help my efforts at trying to get more sleep. Oh well, TGIF and the weekend is here. I'll take a nap this afternoon.

And off to a bad start, posted this by mistake to my Reel Women page first. Hmm, maybe I'd better take the day off. Not too sharp.

Vicky Christina Barcelona

Vicky and Christina are best friends, according to our narrator at the start of the movie, and while they agree on almost everything, they couldn't be more different in their views of love. Vicki knows what she wants, a safe, secure, dependable relationship., and is, in fact, engaged to just such a man. Christina is coming off the end of yet another relationship, seeking something, she's not sure what. The friends are on their way to Barcelona where they will stay with Vicki's relative, Judy (aunt I think), while Vicky plans to study Catalan culture for a couple of months and Christina is along just for the change of scenery. And beautiful scenery it was.

This movie, written and directed byWoody Allen, is all about love. The beautiful people and scenes from Spain enhanced the story. The movie provided a lot of passion, some romance, a little eroticism, and inevitable examination of feelings as you would expect from a Woody Allen movie. The story held few surprises, and yet was quite satisfying. We Reel Women liked this movie and give it our recommendation.

***Spoilers ahead***

Attending an art opening, Christina spots a young handsome artist. Later at a restaurant, Vicky and Christina see him again. He approaches them, asks them to go with him in a hour to a Spanish village to spend a couple of days to see some sculpture and make love. Vicky is indignant, Christina intrigued. They go. After a day of seeing the beautiful sights, followed by good food and wine, Vicky returns to her hotel room, Christina goes to Antonio's room. But the lovemaking does not proceed as Christina is suddenly taken ill.

The next two days Christina is confined to bed and Vicki and Antonio after spending much time together and growing to like one another, fall into a passionate encounter, but it is to be just a one-night stand.

Returning to Barcelona, Vicky throws herself into her work and Christina and Antonio take up a relationship. Antonio's ex-wife, the exotic and fiery Maria Elena, enters the story when he takes her in following her suicide attempt. Christina is not jealous and the relationship of the three becomes first friendly and then erotic with encounters among all combinations of the three.

Vicki meantime is questioning whether she really wants the man and life she has chosen. But he surprises her with a suggestion that he join her in Barcelona where they will have a Spanish wedding. They do marry and he remains in Barcelona while she continues her research, but Vicky is melancholy.

Inevitably, Christina tires of the relationship and decides to leave. Since she was the "glue" of the group, Antonio and Maria Elena return to fighting and subsequently part as well. A few days before returning to America, Vicky encounters Antionio by chance and realizes she wants to be with him. He calls her to meet him for lunch the following day. She declines, but ends up meeting him, lying to her husband about where she is going.

At Antonio's home they are about to fall again into lovemaking when Maria Elena appears with a gun. The ensuing tussle includes some firing of the gun and Vicki receives a graze on her hand. She suddenly comes to her senses and realizes Antonio is not who she wants after all. She and her husband and Christina return to America.

The story unfolds at a comfortable, unhurried pace, though I wouldn't say it ever dragged. The dialog is distinctly Woody Allen. You can almost hear Diane Keaton speaking some of the lines. And yet it had a different flavor that felt like a fresh Woody Allen. If you like Woody Allen, this is a good bet for you.

We began the evening with a repeat visit to Stoneground Pizza for some of that very special pasta. All of the group was together for dinner, but a couple were unable to stay for the movie. As I looked around at this eclectic group of women, I was struck with what a smart, savvy, talented group of women they are. No wonder I so look forward to our monthly get-together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


At last I have started walking again. This time it's the hills. I decided to walk up as far as I could stand it and then take a route home that was all downhill. Worked quite well and I was surprised at my own stamina on the uphill leg. It felt great to be walking again and saved a lot of time over driving down into Bountiful as I was doing last year. Tonight I'll go a little farther. The walk followed an hour of transplanting Russian Sage and Jupiter's Beard plants that had volunteered. So cross that project off the LOTTD.

Tonight, of course, I have to do my civic penance and attend traffic school so as not to have points applied to my driver's license. It's only an hour and it's at 5 p.m., so I'll still have time to do another small yard project and a walk, too. My friend formerly in law enforcement advised me "don't talk" at traffic school. I wonder why he would advise me that -- perhaps knows me too well. I assured him I would keep my lips zipped.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The end of summer

It's the first day of fall. Cooler definitely. Light rain today. As they say, all good things must end. But ever hopeful, good things must also start.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

You really got a hold on me

If for no other reason than for the amazing choreography of the Miracles backing up Smokey. There are better recordings of this, but the visual is so classic.

And. of course, the cover by the Beatles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Got pulled over for speeding in SLC yesterday. Got a ticket for 5 mph over. I deserved more. I couldn't argue with it. The officer thanked me for being so nice about it. What could I do? I was guilty and then some. It's painful to have to pay the fine. But maybe I'll be more responsible in the future. I tend to go a little too fast on the city streets. It's not a smart thing to do.

A friend introduced me to a term "cognitive dissonance". It's been bugging me ever since. Here's a good example, I like to think of myself as a "nice" and "law-abiding" person. Yet I exceed speed limits which not only breaks the law, but also possibly puts others in danger - not at all nice. That's cognitive dissonance.

So now either I need to change how I behave or change how I think of myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

About a million phalaropes, and two nice drives

My friend told me there are thousands of migrating phalaropes to be seen along the Antelope Island causeway. I had to see for myself. Took a drive out there yesterday hoping to see them. See them!? Can't miss them! Hundreds of thousands of them, maybe a million. The water is dotted with them as far as the eye can see. A couple of groups performed some aerial acrobatics for me, flying in formation low across the water and then on cue the whole group flying straight upward, and turning with a flash of first white and turning again with a sweep of black, great fun to watch. That was about 5 p.m. When I returned from the island near sunset, there was no more flying, all seemed settled down for the night. But a thrilling sight to see.

While I was there, I went all the way out to the island and drove the shoreline to Garr Ranch. Saw several hundred bison along the way, most in one large herd that happened to be crossing the road. I forgot my camera and so have no pics of those mammoth beasts. They seem so tame, and a few people got out of there cars to get photos. Not advisable. I also saw actual antelope, the first time I've seen them on Antelope Island (and that includes numerous visits there). I had stated to think the island had been misnamed.

On the way home I took my second drive on Legacy Parkway. I blogged about it on my RedStateBlues blog today, so won't repeat it here except to say it's very nice, the state did a good job meeting the goals of the parkway.

So take my advice, get out to the causeway and see those phalaropes before they move on south. And drive the Legacy. Two very nice drives I recommend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I know it's blurry, but somehow it was the best I could get this morning, to my eye it was so big and bright, but to my camera so small and distant. Perspective makes such a difference.

The full moon reflecting on the lake shone directly into my west window as I sat in the dark with my coffee. You can't really see the moon moving except in relation to the horizon. But as it imperceptively sank in the sky, it grew larger becoming first pale yellow and finally full orange, the first hints of a harvest moon, before the final sliver melted into the mountaintop of Antelope Island. By then its brightness that had illuminated my neighborhood was rapidly being replaced by the first light of the approaching sunrise.

I am already dressed and coffee'd up waiting for enough light before hitting the myrtle patch. That's today's project. I am looking forward to the physical work of it. I have so many things on my mind today and this will give me a chance to think through them all.

I know changes are coming. I'm prepared for that. Some of it is within my control. But so much is yet unknown. It's not ominous. It will ultimately be good. I'm a person who likes predictability, but since we cannot see the future, we have to wait and allow things to unfold on their own. I am also an intuitive person. Sometimes that can be unsettling. Still I listen, pay attention, but do not act. Just wait, let things take their own course.

One of my sisters and I took in a chick flick last night, both of us single and without a date on a Saturday night! But a sister can be about the best company a girl can have. The movie was fun. Silly, but fun. And, as always, I came away with a little nugget of something to think about: What do I want? The character in the movie wrote it down and posted it where she would see it, and then added to it.

So that's where I will start this morning as I tackle the myrtle. What do I want? It's a big question.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The good thing about funerals . . .

. . . is seeing people you haven't seen for many years, people you love, who grew up with you, who shared some of the fondest childhood memories with you. Dad, mom and I arrived early and talked with my aunt before the crush of people arrived. I avoided looking long at the coffin, I know that's hard for me and best not to look. Linda was the first of my cousins to walk in the door. She rushed to us with tears starting and that was it for me too. So a little weeping and much hugging later with more and more cousins arriving, we pulled ourselves together and settled down to some wonderful conversations and catching up.

I looked around at this Griffin family - beautiful people, physically beautiful. The younger generations I don't know but recognize as they have those Griffin genes and I see the eyes, the build, the hair, the smile, it's remarkable. The Griffins are a musical bunch -- didn't we all have piano lessons? We sang a couple of hymns during the service and the voices were beautiful. At one point all of my uncle's grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang a medley of songs. I counted over 50 descendants.

Uncle was a renowned singer in the community, and his daughter today played for us a medley of songs he loved to sing -- an emotional moment during the service. I am proud of my five cousins who each gave short speech, a prayer, or music. Everyone remembered, as I did, that uncle was like a big kid, and indeed would rather be outside playing with the kids than inside talking with the adults. Many, many good memories. Not that his life was without problems, but that he offered something special that influenced many people, his children most of all.

The funeral was not the long, sad thing I am used to. The speakers were brief, positive, reflecting on happy times, telling stories about their father. There was almost no preaching nor even much talk of being together in the next life - as though that's a given and we needn't go into that. The bishop did offer something at the end, but I spaced out his words as I admired the old Garland tabernacle with its dark beams and stained glass windows, rare for a Mormon church.

We all then drove the 20 miles to the tiny Newton cemetary for the graveside service. And then much more hugging, reluctant to have to say goodbye to our dear cousins, our aunts who have grown so small and fragile. Dad and mom were tired and we skipped the dinner served in Garland and instead went straight home.

Before parting, Christina and I said we would try next year to organize a family picnic if not a reunion (reunions sound like a lot of work and a picnic sounded easier). We have good intentions to try to see each other more often. I don't know if we'll follow through. But I do know I'm a very fortunate person to be in the middle of such a big loving family. No, it's not a perfect family, but taken as a whole, a very good place to be.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


We lost a favorite uncle this week to cancer. He was 80 and had been ill for several years. The funeral is tomorrow. I'm trying to be the big sister and organize a few things with the family. Ordered the flowers (got teary just trying to tell them what to put on the card), arranged to drive mom and dad to the funeral so they don't try to drive themselves. Deb offered to drive them tonight to the viewing. That's really all that was needed. I emailed everyone about the cost. Email sure makes things easy - saves many phone calls. I know it will be a long day tomorrow. Ogden to Garland, to Newton, back to Garland, back to Ogden, and then home. I don't like funerals as they make me feel so sad and cry too much. This uncle had a sense of humor, never met a practical joke he didn't like, and when we were kids built amazing snow forts at grandma's house. I don't want to cry remembering him. But I will. We all will.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

RedStateBlues is gone for now

If you are here because you couldn't find RedStateBlues, I've taken the site down for now. I don't know at this time what my future plans are for the site.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Only You

I know I had sworn off posting YouTube videos, but listening to oldies on Sirius tonight, I heard The Platters doing "Only You". Here's a group that had one hit after another. YouTube has them all. Give a listen. And if you have someone close by, don't miss this opportunity for a romantic slow dance. The video doesn't always load right off. If you have problems, click through to go directly to YouTube.

By the way, this video has had over 1,600,000 views on YouTube. Not bad for a hit from 1955. I was a pretty little kid then, but to this day I remember all the words to all their songs.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun

A marshy pond outside the Bear River Bird Refuge visitor's center.
Salt Creek Refuge looking southeast. This is at curve in the road that takes you out to Promontory Point and Golden Spike Monument. Click on the picture for a larger view and you will see hundreds of Canada geese which we startled into flight with our loud talking.
A partial view of Salt Creek refuge from the parking lot looking northeasterly. Farming towns of Thatcher and something else in the distance.
More Salt Creek looking east at the mountains that are east and somewhat north of Brigham City. Sorry this is blurry; might be the one with a snowy egret in the distance (click to enlarge)
According to a song by Noel Coward, at least (Mad Dogs, etc., see title of this post). However, add me to that list. I, too, was out in the midday sun today attempting to catch up on yardwork delayed by much playing this weekend. And although the temps were in the mid 80's and I've certainly mown the lawn in that heat before, I usually save it for the evening when the sun is less direct and some of my lawn is shaded. 'Bout did myself in this time. But I did manage to complete it as well as prune the wisteria, cut back a little more of the pfitzers, cut down something that I think might be poison oak, and did some weeding. Oh yes, tried to poison gophers. They have made two hills under the wisteria and one in my lovely flowers. The neighbors who refuse to combat them have hills all around their yard. And my rock wall is riddled with their tunnels. But I am getting serious with that area. I have decided to fill the burrows with cement. It will permanently fill the burrows and it will help strengthen the wall as well. Well, I've spent the last two hours recovering from the heat and I think I am finally feeling nearly normal.

Yesterday a good friend and I took an outing to Bear River Bird Refuge. We had planned to meet up and have lunch in Brigham City, but we encountered Peach Days and what with closed roads and crowds of people, had to change our plans somewhat. Then upon driving to the refuge, we encountered a gate forbidding entry by vehicles or pedestrians. At the visitor's center they explained to us that the drivable dikes are being paved and should be finished around the end of this month. They referred us to Salt Creek refuge northwest of Corinne. We decided to try it and it turned out to be a lovely place to visit. We had the entire place to ourselves. We saw great blue herons, snowy egrets, white-faced ibis (I challenge you to find the white face on this seemingly all black bird), pelicans, double-crested cormorants, something we thought were Phalaropes, but now I think were Western Grebes, hundreds of Canada geese, a variety of ducks, swallows, and hawks which we didn't identify.

A strange sight we encountered was decomposed and half eaten carcasses of sheep. The workers at the refuge told us the sheep did not die there, but died elsewhere and were brought in to attact the coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and other predators that normally feast on eggs and young birds in the nests along the shoreline.

The workers also told us many of the Canada geese had been captured from parks and golf courses in Salt Lake City where they are considered a nuisance, and relocated here. We decided they took the prize yesterday both in population size and in noise.

I think I have fallen in love with this remote and beautiful location. I will visit it again alone sometime in an early morning, with a good supply of coffee and a folding chair, I'll set up a site where I can sit quietly and wait for the birds to come in close. (I so need a good camera.) I could not get good pictures of any birds yesterday, but some nice landscape. With my new field guide and handy quick reference guide, and notebook for jotting notes, I'll spend some serious time observing and logging my sightings. The migration is just starting and the next couple of months will provide some excellent viewing. I wish I had a little canoe for rowing amongst the marshes.

So now, the weekend is all but over. I think I may do another hour of weeding in a shady part of the yard. And then I'll do a little grocery shopping and call it a day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chill in the air

I didn't have a chance to work in the yard yesterday. but just walked around and checked things out. Seems the rainy weekend, including hail, just invigorated everything (including the weeds). Everything seems recharged for the last run up to fall. I'll get out this week and do what will probably be the last weeding of the season. Trim back bushes and trees. It's chilly inside and out but I refuse to turn on the heat yet. Too soon, too soon. Temps will moderate as this week goes on and they are predicting some really beautiful weather. I need to get some pics of the yard.

Filled up the four-day weekend with so much fun. As usual, have to go back to work for a rest from all the fun.

I need to get serious about a few inside projects. I dislike having construction going on in the house - it's so disruptive. But I do need to buckle down and do it.