Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Suprised by Waterfalls

I’m ashamed to admit that, although I grew up in So. California, until yesterday I’d never been to Yosemite. As we took in the beauty of it, Kevin’s mom and I talked about what it would have been like to be the first white guy to discover such splendor. How could you ever describe it to your friends back home? I think it would be impossible.

Although I’d seen pictures of Yosemite before, I wasn’t prepared for how awe-inspiring it actually was in person. This time of year, the waterfalls rushed powerfully down the valley to meet us. We hiked to lower Yosemite Falls (if you can call ¼ of a mile of paved sidewalk a “hike”) only to be overwhelmed by the power of the water. We scurried across the bridge at the bottom of the falls as frigid mist sprayed our faces. (I can’t wait to see the pictures we took – I’m sure we’ll all have frozen smiles from the chill and you’ll be able to see the goose bumps from a distance in the photos!) As we continued to drive around the valley and entire area, we would often spot a “new” waterfall. The whole adventure could be summed up as “Surprised by Waterfalls.” We also spotted a lot of wildlife throughout the day. We saw three coyotes. (Actually, there was a dispute over whether they were coyotes or some other type of beast.) As we hiked up to the redwoods, apparently the world’s largest trees, we saw a group of five deer.

After Tahoe last week and going to Yosemite yesterday, I don’t know how much more nature I can take! But I love it.

So, anyway, now it’s back to the grind. My days are somewhat confused after this past week’s weird schedule.

Today I had to sit through a hearing on a bill called the “Safe School Lunch Program.” Don’t you love how people frame debates? “What are YOU? Against safe lunches for kids?” And how are lunches supposed to be safe exactly? You’d think that people were trying to put razor blades in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or something.

Monday, March 29, 2004

All’s Jus’ Swanky

We are such old people. After two days of skiing in Tahoe, our bodies totally gave out on us. It was pathetic. Really.

Kevin’s parents are here for the week and Colin was here for the weekend. We enjoyed going to Alpine Meadows (our new favorite resort) with Colin. The drive was beautiful, the weather was good, and the snow was fantastic. Personally, my favorite part of our ski adventure was watching the guys take the jumps. They even convinced me to take the very last jump - which was the smallest one of them all.

You know . . . when it comes to things like ski jumps, you’ve just gotta DO it. If you think about it too much, you begin to doubt yourself and imagine all sorts of wretched and inopportune things befalling you. So, after surveying the different jumps ahead of me for a few minutes, that’s what I did. I took my brain out of gear (not that it’s usually in gear) and just went for it. And it was great. (I didn’t get any "air" so it probably wasn’t a "real" jump. But it was very fun, nonetheless).

Another memory . . . As the three of us rode up the mountain, we noticed little snow flakes landing on our ski pants. They were beautiful - perfectly formed. It’s so totally amazing how much detail is on every snowflake. What an incredible God we have. He created the gigantic mountains and the tiny snowflakes.

On our second ski day, we stopped at one of the summits and stayed a while to take in the panoramic view of the lake. As we sat in the snow, we decided it would be a good idea to build a snowman. I was in charge of rolling the head. The guys rolled huge snowballs for the lower and middle body sections. I took my time and, when they finally asked me for the head so they could attach it to the body, it was the size of a grapefruit. Sorry, guys! I’m sure they thought I was a pathetic, lazy bum. But I was on "vacation" and was really enjoying being a total sloth.

Ahhh . . . good times. In spite of our uncooperative bodies on the second day . . . I still maintain that there’s not much in life that’s more fun that snow skiing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

What a day . . .

. . . and it’s not even over. At noon I went to a "Support the Pledge of Allegiance" rally at the capitol. I really didn’t have time to do this because my desk was piled high with other projects. But I’m glad I went anyway. It was totally worth it to get to see "Mrs. Sacramento" and "Mrs. North Sacramento" make total fools of themselves. (I was troubled that I didn’t see "Miss Sacramento" at the rally. I can only presume she’s for taking "Under God" out of the Pledge. What’s this world coming to?)

Tom McClintock had the best response to this whole mess: "America is unique because we were founded on the principle that certain rights are absolute and cannot be alienated from the people. The source of these rights is the Creator. To secure those rights, the government was instituted by men. But those rights supersede and predate government. The words "under God" acknowledge our Creator and stand in the way of an all-powerful state." And that is why the liberals are having a cow about those two little words in our Pledge.

Anyway . . . back to "Mrs. Sacramento" and "Mrs. North Sacramento." They were both wearing the largest, most hideous crowns I’ve ever seen, they were both flabby, and they had no fashion sense. One of them was wearing a frumpy-looking teal Hawaiian dress!! Can you believe it? I told Christine and Angela, "I’ve never before thought about entering a beauty contest because I never thought I’d have a chance. After viewing these ladies, I’m highly encouraged." Then we all had a good laugh. Soon, one of them started singing on stage . . . and we laughed some more.

Maybe it was all a joke. Maybe they just made up some banners at home and declared themselves to be beauty queens.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Gutsy Move

As luck would have it, the lobbyist for one of the most staunch pro-aborts, The American Association of University Women, works in the office suite next door to mine. She is an elderly woman. In fact, she looks like my grandma. (No offense, grandma!) She always smiles at me when we meet in the hallway. And I always smile back at her. We speak in the same committee rooms (on different sides of the issue, of course) and we use the same toilet. So, I figure I might as well take time to be extra nice to her. The lobbyist for Planned Parenthood also works somewhere in the building. Her name is Katy and she looks like she’s about the same age as me. I’d love to get to know her better. Maybe have lunch. It’s not that I think I can influence her to work for National Right to Life instead. (I’m pretty dang sure they don’t have the same posh benefits as PP.) It’s just that I don’t really know anyone at a personal level who is that committed to killing babies. It would be interesting to learn more about what kind of person she is and why she is the way she is. You know?

Speaking of which . . . this brings up the topic of Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R, very R). Mountjoy is the epitome of a "loose canon." But he has a lot of guts when it comes to the life issue. (Not a lot of tact. Just a lot of guts.) Yesterday, interestingly enough, I watched him on the assembly floor as he punched a guy in the stomach three times. (It’s not what you think though - the "victim" was a martial arts demonstrator and the punching was mutually consensual. Don’t ask me why the California legislature brings in a bunch of martial arts people on Monday morning. I have no clue.)

Anyway, here is an excerpt from a press release I recently wrote about a 2004 Mountjoy bill: "As technology progresses, and we better understand fetal development, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to mask the horror of abortion. Medical science clearly shows that life begins at conception. By 21 days, the pre-born child’s heart beats regularly. At 56 days, all body systems are present and the pre-born child reacts to pain. In the spirit of this new technology, Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy has introduced AB 2331. This bill will require that doctors performing abortions for women in the third trimester of pregnancy provide them with information and counseling on fetal pain and offer to the pregnant woman anesthesia for the fetus."

Isn’t that great? Mountjoy has such guts! I love it. The California legislature spent a lot of time last year discussing a bill that would ban cat-declawing. Why? Because the de-clawing procedure is painful for cats. And, if we knowingly inflict pain on animals, that is, obviously, cruel and unusual punishment. (See Amy’s duckling story, below.) ;)

If we care that much about mere animals, we can at least extend the same compassion to pre-born children. We can offer them anesthetics to eliminate the bulk of the pain before we kill them.

Of course, it’s California . . . so that means that this worthy bill will die in committee. But at least it forces the issue. The other side will be compelled to come out and argue that the pain felt by the fetus is "irrelevant." They will be forced to go to the capitol and declare that the only germane principle is [the smoke-screen of] "women’s rights."

And I will have the chance to once again smile at "grandma" and say "hi" to Katy.

Monday, March 22, 2004


The past two weeks have been beautiful. Lots of sunshine. Big blue skies. The leaves are back on the trees. The birds are chirping. The flowers are all abloom. This time of year, we are ever grateful for an allergy-free life. So, no sniffles for us, thank heavens.

Saturday was supposed to be a "spring cleaning day" for both Kevin and Amy. Kevin went to get the oil changed and got delayed with other car "problems." Because of this, he didn’t return home until after 2pm. Amy decided to do all the spring cleaning herself. How hard can it be, right? (Note: Amy had never before done Spring Cleaning. Let alone by herself.) There were twenty items on the list. Soon, getting them all done before Kevin came home became the challenge of her LIFE. (Note: Amy likes challenges. Especially BIG ones. Also note: Amy has a very strong will and will die rather than not meet a challenge. These are things the author thinks you should know about Amy.)

Amy looked at the wide array of cleaning chemicals and couldn’t decide which ones to use. So, she decided to use "all-purpose cleaner with bleach" on everything. (Well, practically everything.)

Ten million hours later, Kevin came home from running his errands. He found Amy lying in a heap on the living room floor. Next to her lay a list of twenty items . . . ALL of them crossed out with a pen. Amy was moaning something about being nauseous and faint from chemicals and her head aching and her hands being numb.

After some investigation into the matter, Kevin told Amy that next time she works with bleach she really should wear rubber gloves.

Kevin then made lunch for Amy.

Amy, as in most cases, felt a lot better after being comforted with food.

Amy swears that she is not going to clean anything ever again. Well, at least not for a very long time. And not with bleach.

A Day in the Park

In order to immerse ourselves in the beauty of spring, yesterday afternoon we went to Land Park.

We took a leisurely stroll by the pond. We happened upon a group of cute little fuzzy-yellow ducklings waddling along next to their mother. We stood and watched them for a while. Our happy reverie was rudely interrupted by two little squealing brats, a boy and a girl, who were chasing an ugly goose nearby. That was fine. I didn’t care about the stupid goose anyway. And he was fast enough to escape.

Suddenly, however, the kids turned and started chasing the innocent little ducklings. (Their dad was following them laughing all the way!) The ducklings panicked and started running. But their stubby little legs were not fast enough to carry them away. The mother duck started running toward the kids in order to protect her brood. She soon backed away when she realized it was useless. I was concerned the kids would step on a duckling and crush it to death. I started yelling at the kids - like a maniac - to leave the poor ducks alone. They ignored me and continued to torture the ducklings. I was appalled and disgusted by their blatant disregard for innocent duckling life.


Kevin was more level-headed about it and prevented my homicidal thoughts from being brought to fruition. He tried to reason with me: human life is more important than duck life. To no avail.

We continued to walk around the pond and the little brats continued to wickedly torment the ducklings. Soon I saw the little girl reach for a duckling. She caught it in her chubby hands and squealed loudly. I turned to Kevin and said, "I hope she gets a disease."

Kevin now thinks I am one of those whacked-out animal rights activists. But I have no sympathy for cruel little brats and their rotten parents. (But don’t worry - otherwise I’m really not a judgmental person.) ;)

The girl eventually let the duckling go free. It took him about ten minutes to helplessly wander around the pond to find his family. Poor little guy.

Friday, March 19, 2004

The Christening of Kevin’s Car

Kevin is insulted that I’ve named his car Belinda.
"It’s a boy car," he says.
"Well, then, you give it a boy name," I replied.
"It’s a Honda, so I suppose I should give it a Japanese name, like Aki Hachigoro."
"Whatever floats your boat, dear."

This morning he apparently changed his mind and indicated that he would let me name it "Bertha" after all.
"Belinda," I corrected him. "Get it right."

We can’t risk offending our trusty ol’ car.

"Beast of the East"

The Sacramento Kings are playing the Indiana Pacers next week. Our friends in Indiana will be happy and proud to know that a sports commentator in California has called the Pacers the "Beast of the East" - a team to be feared.

I told Kevin how sorry I was for him and how I knew it would be so difficult for him to decide who to root for at next week’s game, having lived in both Indy and Sac.

You should have seen the look I got after making that comment. "Like there will be any question?"

Once a Hoosier, always a Hoosier. I suppose. My advice to Kevin, though, is that if he wants to live to see his 27th birthday, he should not tell anyone in Sacramento that he’ll be rooting for the Pacers.

Just a friendly suggestion.

Procession of Thoughts

We had a great time visiting with Josh last night. He was in town from Arizona and we met him at P.F. Changs. On our way there, we heard this radio announcement:

Apparently Scott Peterson is receiving masses of love letters from adoring female fans as he awaits his trial for the double murder of his wife and unborn son. Can you believe it? Isn’t that Revolting? Women are such bleeding hearts. And such complete nitwits, too. (In my next life, I think I’ll ask God to make me a man so I don’t have to be associated with such idiotic bimbos.)

Several women "in love" with Peterson were interviewed on the radio yesterday. One of the gals said "Peterson is hot. My heart starts pounding when I see him walk into the courtroom." Another said, "I think I’m in love with him because he’s inaccessible and mysterious." The radio commentator announced that the Menendez brothers were both married in prison. He said: "Women seem to be attracted to these sorts of criminals for a variety of reasons. For some women, it’s because they are commitment shy and these men are ‘safe.’ [I guess they can’t murder the girlfriend because they are safely in prison for murdering the wife.] For other women, these men are celebrities. [Yeah, but, um, they are celebrities for a bad reason. Make a difference at all?]"

Kevin listened patiently to me as I spent a few minutes yelling at the radio. Then we drove on in silence. It was dusk and the sky was breathtakingly beautiful. The sun had woven streaks of light through the clouds as it had set. We started talking about how every sunset throughout time has probably been different from the last. Like thumbprints. Not a single one is the same. Isn’t God the most creative artist of all?

That discussion led us the topic of evolution, naturally. How ridiculous and pompous it is to believe there is no God and things happened by chance! How foolish.

Then I started getting really disgusted with my generation. Considering my previous encounter with the radio and then the whole evolution madness, my patience had been worn. Most people nowadays don’t care to engage their minds and THINK about things. They don’t care to debate issues and discuss things rationally. All they care about is going home after work to sit in front of the almighty Tube. The more I think about it, the more disconcerting it is.

Maybe I’ve said this before, but I think it would be really amazing to live back in the days of the American Revolution. It was a time when people loved God and their Country. When they cared to debate and searched for truth. When they weren’t afraid to speak truth even if it wasn’t popular. When honor, character, and morality meant something. When people put their family’s interests above their individual interests. When they were willing to sacrifice and work hard. When we had leaders and statesmen instead of wussy politicians.

NOTE: I’d even be willing to give up my voting rights, as a woman, and my ability to use modern conveniences like dishwashers and e-mail. [Uh, let’s see here, let me really think about that one . . . Yes, I actually would.] That’s how dead serious I am.


But then I have to imagine that God, being sovereign, had a specific reason for me to live in this particular time in the history of the world. Lord, give me grace to understand why.

Thursday, March 18, 2004


Argh! I loathe HMOs. Who ever thought of the HMO system in the first place? What an idiot he was. Should be hanged. Or, if he’s already dead, they should put a big "I Had a Stupid Idea Once Called HMO" sign on his gravestone - just to make a mockery of him. But not even that would be sufficient punishment.

Under the HMO system, rather than seeing one doctor and getting your problem taken care of, you have to see many doctors, who endlessly refer you on to the next guy. It’s such a senseless waste of energy and co-payments. I should be used to HMOs by now because that’s what I had as a kid. But now I’m back . . . once more a victim of the system.

The next guy I have to see, believe it or not, is an opthamologist and a plastic surgeon. His office recently sent me a brochure. I gazed at his picture and told Kevin: "It’s obvious he’s had plastic surgery himself."
"How do you know that?"
"Three reasons: He looks old, his face is tight, and he’s a plastic surgeon! He probably did his own face lift."
"Amy, that’s really gross."

So far I’m not really impressed with this doctor. I don’t like his brochure, he’s wearing an ugly tie in his picture, and his name is hard to pronounce. But I shall try my best to withhold forming any more bad impressions until I’ve actually met him. The only reason I’m seeing him, after all, is because I got a referral from my last doctor. But that’s definitely not how I normally like to pick my doctors.

Oh, I forgot to tell you. Last Sunday we went to a playground designed for adults at U.C. Davis. It was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it before. All the swings, slides and monkey bars were engineered for people our size! As we stood in the sand and gazed up at the tall ladder leading up to a loft with different kinds of monstrous slides, I felt like such a kid again. It was awesome.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

St. Patty's Day

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I trust that all of you guys are wearing green today. This morning Kevin told our friend Angela that it’s more appropriate to wear orange (after William of Orange) on March 17th because we are Protestant, not Catholic. So, I suppose, if you’re wearing orange, that’s okay too. I won’t reach out and give you a cyber pinch because of it! This morning I picked out a green tie for Kevin to wear to work. His least favorite color, as far as ties are concerned, is green. He’s more of a red and yellow tie kind of guy. But he wore it for me. (Probably because he doesn’t have any orange ties!) This morning I put on a sea-foam colored top. Kevin challenged the validity of it. "That’s not green!" To which I replied: "But green material had to be used to make it. So it counts!" Kevin said that my argument was a bunch of bunk. I replied, "Yeah, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it." Oh, and I’m very proud of myself. In order to be a good, festive, little wife, I got up early enough to throw corned beef into the crock pot. Last year, I made a green-colored mint-flavored cake. Don’t think I’ll have time for that this year. But at least I did the traditional St. Patrick’s meal. So, I’ve done my part to maintain the spirit of the holiday.

Karen gave me another good idea this morning - make scrambled eggs for breakfast and dye them green. I think I’ll try that next year! Sounds fun. Yay for happy food!!

Shopping and Frolicking

Last night we went suit shopping for Kevin. Poor guy has to wear suits every day for work (his boss is really old-school) and his wardrobe has been lacking for way too long. So, we made a trip to Men’s Wearhouse and loaded him up. Kev really hesitated at spending so much money. I told him that’s why God had him get married - so his wife could make him spend the money! We left his suits at the store to be tailored. Next we went to Old Navy and I bought some flip-flops. Across from Old Navy was one of those gigantic Krispy Kreme doughnut stores with huge glass windows so you can see the doughnuts being made. Kevin had never had the experience of watching them, from dough, to oven, to conveyor belt, to frying in grease, to riding through a waterfall of frosting, to conveyor belt, to box. After spending so much money on suits, he was averse to spending any more money - even on doughnuts. I told him, "You’re not going to fret about $2 for doughnuts after you just spent $$$$$$ on suits, are you?!" He said he was afraid I was going to say that. So, we went and had our Krispy Kreme adventure anyway.

Yum. There’s hardly anything better than fresh, hot Krispy Kremes.

So I bought these shoes. They are brown open-toed w/ a silver buckle. Very cute. I showed them to Kevin when I arrived home. He liked them too. And then I put them on and realized that I was almost as tall as he is. Seriously! But they are really cute. So I’ve decided to ignore the five-inch heel (which I apparently ignored when buying them) and keep them anyway. I’ll just be a really tall chick when I wear them.

You know, that brings up another point. I have to be really careful to not gain weight as I get older - because I’m tall. You see, if you’re short and pudgy that’s okay. If you’re tall and gain weight, you’re not just "tall" anymore. You’re BIG in general. And I don’t think I really want to be a "big woman."

Ugh. No more Krispy Kremes for me. ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

And I was so cocky . . .

Again, Kevin proves to be a much more astute person than I. He writes:

"You might recognize this word [flibbertigibbet] from the Maria song in the Sound of

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!"

Art of Apologizing

How do you say "I’m sorry"? The popular method is to say: "I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to do what I did." This is how I, personally, have always apologized. "Kevin, I’m really sorry that I made fun of your hat. I didn’t mean to offend you. Will you forgive me?"

Kevin has challenged my art of apologizing. And, you know what? I think he’s right. (Kevin - please note - I am acknowledging that you are right.) My method, and the common method, of apologizing is generally inadequate to address wrongdoing.

Here’s why. If Amy intentionally made fun of Kevin’s hat, it really means nothing that she is trying to save-face, pretend like she was always a sweet and wonderful person, and says she didn’t MEAN to make fun of his hat. When, in reality, she darn well meant to make fun of it.

Here is the proper way to apologize: "I’m sorry. When I made fun of your hat, I meant what I said. But now I realize that was wrong of me. I shouldn’t have harassed you like that. Would you forgive me?"

This method of apologizing assumes personal responsibility and displays true remorse.

When a persons says they didn’t "mean" something - this is a cop-out. They are trying to save-face after regretting what they’ve done because 1) they’ve got caught or 2) they still want to be considered a nice and decent person. (Note: This is the Justin Timberlake method of apologizing.)

Real men/women face-up to what they’ve done, acknowledge their intentional errors, and then ask forgiveness.

Advice You Didn’t Need: What You Should Wear this Spring

Pink. Pastel pink. Hot pink. Any shade of pink in-between. Pink is definitely the color of the 2004 Spring fashion season. (Just in case you live somewhere where it’s still snowing outside and the malls have not begun to stock their shelves with spring clothes yet, I thought I’d give you a heads-up!) :-)

This is the conclusion I’ve come to after spending two plus hours in the mall yesterday - after surveying a great variety of stores and viewing a large array of manequins and models on posters. It’s all about pink. Definitely. Trust me on this one. Oh, and a lot of it was pink and black. You know . . . polka dots, stripes, whatever. So, if you want to look hip this Spring, you definitely need to invest in a few good pink outfits.

Honestly, though, after being in the mall for over two hours I was almost starting to get sick of staring at pink for so long. I couldn’t escape it. It was everywhere! So, on second thought, I take back the advice I just gave you.

Be BOLD. Be different. Be unique.

Wear anything this Spring but . . . pink.

Flibbertigibbet: A silly, flighty, or scatterbrained person, especially a pert young woman with such qualities.

Isn’t that a cool word? And I’m sure I’ll be able to apply it to my life on a semi-regular basis, too. That’s what happens when you sign up for’s word of the day. You learn all sorts of new, fun, practical words. Then you can post them on your blog to impress all your friends.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Family Medical History

It's mom's birthday today. I dedicate this blog to her. ;)

Before I got married, because I thought it a wise and prudent thing to do, I had my mom e-mail me our family medical history. You simply never know when something like that could come in handy.

The other day we were digging through our files at home and I found the medical history e-mail from my mom. Kevin and I had a good laugh over it. My mom wasn’t even trying to be funny but it came across as very amusing. I told my mom that I only needed info as far back as MY great-grandparents. She started the e-mail like this: "My dad’s paternal great-grandmother (Susan Shoopman Wormley, wife of George Washington Wormley) was French Cajun." Only my mom knows the maiden name of her great-great-grandmother. (Bless her heart.) And what's with the French Cajun tidbit? Kevin always teases me that, in conversation, I give out way too much information. Especially to strangers. Now I know who I get it from. It’s genetic.

The e-mail went on: "Frederick Babbs dropped dead of a heart attack." "Bessie Scoville dropped dead of a stroke." "Eldon’s brother dropped dead of . . ." You’d think my whole family died like flies, dropping dead everywhere!! Very funny.

Here is another blurb: "Mary Irwin Baker and Chester Baker both died of kidney failure in their late 80’s. I think it is because of the heavy mineral content in their well water. Just my opinion." (Dr. Mom!!)

She ended the e-mail with this: "I hope this information doesn’t put fear in your heart . . . Love you, Mom."

And she was serious about that last part.

Thanks, mom, for providing us with some laughs. We love you!

Friday, March 12, 2004

Sesame Seed Resolution

WHEREAS Amy Koons previously had no idea the value and expense of sesame seeds.
WHEREAS Amy Koons was compelled to buy sesame seeds yesterday for a new recipe.
WHEREAS Amy Koons presently knows, and her pocketbook has felt the pain, of the value and expense of sesame seeds (having paid four bucks for one ounce).
RESOLVED, Amy Koons will hereinafter cherish, esteem, and respect every single sesame seed she ingests on every single bagel she eats forevermore. In this life and the next.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

I Kill Plants

All of us have dreams. We all have little secret desires tucked away in the back of our minds. Things we sometimes reveal to others. And things we never reveal.

One little bitty dream I’ve had is to someday have a house plant that lasts for more than two hours in my house without dying. Well, okay, I’ll be really honest with you. Actually, what I really want is to have a full-blown flower garden in my backyard. Here is my vision: A quiet, serene, shady getaway place with lots of green plants and colorful flowers all around. Maybe a little fountain to provide the soothing and consoling sounds of rushing water in the backdrop. Maybe a hammock to rest my weary body in the cool of the shade. It would be my own little spot o’ heaven. Paradise.

But here is the minor problem: I kill plants.

And it’s not a new phenomenon. I have a very long history of killing plants. My first plant was an engagement gift from a friend. I guess people assume that, if you’re engaged, you will make a home, and all homes need houseplants. It was a very logical sort of gift. When my friend gave it to me, I was apprehensive about providing it the attention and care necessary. She told me not to worry. She said it was a "hardy" sort of plant and it would be impossible for me to kill it. It died two weeks later.

The next plant I owned had great sentimental value to me. You see, a co-worker, who attended our wedding, picked up some ivy sitting at our wedding table and planted it. He stuck a heart shaped wire in the center of the pot and the ivy began crawling up the wire to make a heart shape. Is that cool or what? To my horror, I soon noticed that it was dying!! (Hey, at least I recognize what a dying plant looks like!) I gave it to grandma Cazzell to see if she could do anything to resuscitate it. (She’s really good with plants.) Even SHE couldn’t work her magical powers to save its life. Bummer.

And then I got a hydrangea bush as a housewarming gift when we moved to Sac. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers. And it was even a BLUE hydrangea bush - the most beautiful of them all. It was special to me and I even gave it a name. (Suddenly I can’t remember what I named it - but it was special. I promise.) Soon, my beloved hydrangea bush passed on to Plant Heaven. I actually cried when I killed that one.

That’s why, when for a birthday gift someone gave me a bucket of azaleas, I was very critical and apprehensive about it all. I turned over the tag on the azalea plant to see how to give it proper care. Why even try? Why not just throw it in the trash right now? The tag said to "keep moist." Yeah, I thought, skeptically, that means I’ll probably flood it.

Well, it’s now been almost three weeks since my birthday. And I’m most happy to report that my azaleas are still alive. I’m still not holding my breath. But, I think there’s hope for my azaleas. You know why? I FINALLY figured this much out. (Don’t ask me why no one ever told me this before. Or why I didn’t personally figure it out until now?) If the plant is turning brown, that means you probably should water it. If the plant is starting to wilt, that means it probably needs more sunshine. Duh!

So there it is, my beloved blog readers . . . the only two things that I know about plant care. It’s been a long and difficult process for me to learn even this much. Just thought I’d share this so I can, hopefully, spare someone out there the same pain, remorse and agony that I have felt.

But my azalea experience has instilled within me a renewed hope. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . someday I can have that garden of my dreams.

I think I’ll take it one step at a time.

Nothing is Sure in Life but . . . Taxes

It’s that time of year! Last night there were two chores to tackle: 1) a mound of dishes and 2) income taxes. I looked over at the pile of dirty dishes on the counter. It was pretty bad. The worst kinds of dirty dishes were there. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Those large pots and pans that have brown food goo semi-permanently stuck to the sides. Not being too thrilled about the intense manual labor that would be required to clean those dishes, I made this suggestion to Kevin: "How ‘bout you do the dishes and I’ll do the taxes?"
"Okay," he said.
"How do you do taxes, again?" I asked.

Seriously. I’m grateful that God has always supplied me a person to do my taxes for me. When I was single, he gave me someone who was a real sucker. Then, he gave me a husband. Ahhh. Life is good. Kevin tells me that I really should learn how to do my own taxes someday. I always tell him that "next year" will be the year that I learn. So far he’s accepted that answer. Heh, heh.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sunshiny Day

Took a stroll over lunch break. Couldn’t resist - it’s such a sunshiny day. Happened to notice three black SUVs with many black-suited individuals standing nearby. Then I saw a young girl with a video camera. Turns out that Arnold was dining at the Esquire Grill. When I got back to the office, I met Karen and told her how amused I was by the SUVs and the secret service dudes. She said, "Hurry, let’s go order drinks!" Before I knew it, we were back at the Grill. From our table, we could see Arnold and his party. After a while, he and Maria came and spoke for a few minutes with a reporter seated at the table across from ours. Karen asked me if we should go say something to him. "NO!" was my emphatic answer. (Remember my speech on this topic? See below.) Before he left, he gave Maria a kiss and they parted in different directions. I think the waitress knew exactly why we were there. Karen remarked that it was the most expensive diet coke she's ever ordered (and, might I add, she only took three sips). It was fun but I don’t think I’ll do it again.

Because it’s SPRING and because, in a rare fit of . . . ?? (something) ??, I feel like posting it . . . poetry.

Excerpts of a poem by Savannah Skye

Oh Spring
Who waits so patiently behind Winter's white curtain of cold
Do come into us and wrap your warm tendrils of love and beauty
around us, replacing this bare, stark world that enwraps
us presently with your beautiful world of warmth and
colors a plenty
. . .
Oh Sun
Who hath been hiding from us for so long
Come out and shine upon us with your infinite source
of warmth that will bring to us an abundance of
joy and happiness
Gazing upon us with your seemingly endless source of heat
that emanates from your rays of light that dance upon
our skin and bring us luminous sight
. . .
Oh Flowers
Who patiently wait to come alive with many kisses of colors
Bloom, bloom, bloom and do open up for us, so our eyes can
behold the true beauty that you do offer to us so unselfishly
. . .
Oh Spring, do come into us
For we have been waiting far too long for you to
free us from this dark, cold, cavernous cave of
Winter and deliver us out onto your wide open spaces
of warmth and beauty that you do bring to us in your
Seasonal call

Monday, March 08, 2004

Weekend Confessions

Before I left town for the weekend, we hosted two small boys, along with their parents, for dinner at our house. They were visiting from Portland. It was the first time we’d had small kids over for dinner. We were somewhat apprehensive about how we would be able to entertain them. The only "kid friendly" thing we have in our house is a single Veggie Tales video - someone gave it to us as a wedding gift, if you can believe it! It didn’t take long, however, for us to realize that we would not have to entertain anybody! They would entertain us! Within 3.5 seconds of entering our apartment, they had legos, miniature race cars, and train tracks set up all over the living room, dinning room, and kitchen. It was wild. After saying a blessing for the dinner, I looked up to find little Will, unbeknownst to all others in the room, dipping his fork in the feta cheese bowl, licking it, and stabbing it back. He looked up to see me gawking at him and a mischievous smile crept on his face. It took all my strength to hold back the laughter.

San Diego was as beautiful as ever. It’s such a colorful city. Everything from the skyscrapers to the little houses scattered on the nearby hills that are painted brightly in many different hues. The conference was at a hotel on Coronado Island. More precisely, it was on a peninsula that stretched out from the island, with panoramic views of the water all around. Very lovely.

Thursday night I went to a "youth" meeting for the under-30 crowd. I was late because I went to the wrong hotel and then drove around the entire Island after missing the off-ramp for the right hotel. Upon arriving at the right place, no one was there. I asked the clerk at the front desk if I had the right meeting room. He looked in his little book and told me that, oops, I’d just missed my cruise! Um, no, I told him. "I’m not a part of the ‘inner circle’ donor group. I’m just here for a youth meeting!" I went back upstairs to the empty meeting room, sat down, and ate a few chips with salsa. Hey, I rationalized, just because I was the only one there didn’t mean good food had to go to waste! Eventually I found a few kids wandering around upstairs looking for the right place. We bonded after laughing over my escapades. Their dad offered to treat me to dinner. I hopped in their rental car and went to a nice seafood restaurant on the water. Making new friends and having adventures. That’s what life is all about. ;-)

The best part of the trip . . . I got to meet Phyllis Schlafly (a personal hero of mine) and Ed Meese. I talked with Phyllis about CEDAW and I talked with Ed because a mutual friend introduced us. You know how famous people are always flocked by admiring fans who have nothing significant to say to them but just want to "meet" them so they can tell their friends? Gag. I hate that. Let me tell you . . . there were many other famous people that I did not say "hi" to (even when I rode the elevator with them) because I didn’t want to be one of those annoying people.

In the end, I came home with a slight sunburn and a great desire to see Kevin again. I flew in just in time to see his concert. It was very moving. Every time I go to one of his concerts, I appreciate classical music more and more. And that’s sayin’ a lot! It was absolutely beautiful. The combination of orchestra and voice was heavenly.

Sunday afternoon, we walked to a park and Kevin and I had contests to see how far we could hock spit wads into the river. He won, of course. He then taught me how to do it properly so I’ll have a better chance next time.

It’s good to be home again.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


I plan to be AWOL from the blogging world for the next few days as I leave (at some ungodly hour) tomorrow morning for a business trip in San Diego. Kevin will be manning the fort (the apartment, whatever) without me. And I'm sure he will do a fabulous job. I'm looking forward to going to S.D., but will miss Kevin, of course. Karen and I will be staying on Coronodo Island. Our hotel is right on the beach. We will attend a conference with a bunch of upper class folk. The beach will be fun - but I'm not so sure about the rich people. Rich/famous people have never really phased me. In fact, I think most of them are boring. Especially people who are famous because of business or politics. Usually they aren't very good conversationalists. My life experience has revealed that these sorts of people are good at talking about their "issue" or type of business, but they, generally, aren't very good at small talk. But that's my personal, and very humble, opinion. Maybe I'll change my mind after the conference. (Here's hopin'!) Karen is going to get her nails done right now. My nails currently look like I scrub washer boards for a living. But that's okay. Again, I don't really care. As long as I get a chance to run barefoot in the sand and slpash in the water, and see a sunset on the ocean, the trip will be very worthwhile. Very. San Diego, here I come.


Several months ago I bought a frozen food item called "Cheemo." Cheemo, from what I can tell by the picture on the front, is a pasta, potato and cheese dish. Sounds exciting huh? Well . . . Cheemo is still sitting in our freezer right now because every time I look at it, it turns me off. I’ll pick it up and ask myself, "Why would I want to eat something called Cheemo?" The better question is: "Why did I BUY something called Cheemo?!!"

I’ll tell you why.

Because I am just like the average American Joe Blow consumer out there, a sheep being led to the slaughter, in the merciless hands of the marketing executives.

It has been said that Americans "save" money by spending it. I believe this to be the truth. I am a prime example of this. If something is on sale, I am more likely to buy it - even if I wasn’t planning on buying it to begin with. Thus, the money I could have put in my savings account is squandered on something I didn’t need (or even want!) because it was a "bargain." And, you know what? I’m going to learn my lesson from Cheemo. I’m not gonna do that anymore. I have a good mind to take that blasted Cheemo wrapper and frame it, and put it in the closet, or somewhere else conspicuous, so it can be a perpetual example to me. Forever and ever.

And ever.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


Modern psychologists tell us that typical marriage problems involve things like communication, power struggles, intimacy/sex, money problems, etc. And then I remember a married friend once telling me about her biggest fight with her husband. It all centered on how to make fruit salad. You see, she doesn’t make it like his mom does. I suppose a simple solution to this problem is to make him prepare the fruit salad, or not have it at all. But it is strange how the littlest things can often cause the biggest problems in relationships.

Both of us being lawyers, you’d think that Kevin and I would be constantly splitting hairs over everything. Although we healthfully disagree about certain things on a semi-regular basis, it’s usually all in fun and good sportsmanship. Like last night, for instance. In my zealousness to wash my face every night, I typically leave the bathroom sink looking like a drenched hurricane zone. Kevin, who normally ignores this little irritation, couldn’t help but playfully comment on it last night, "You are the messiest face-washer that I’ve ever seen."
"Well, I had to have something to distinguish me from all the other women who wanted you," I replied.
"You could have been the tidiest face-washer," he quickly responded.
And then we laughed.

Although major irritations and problems must be dealt with in a more serious fashion, I firmly believe that a good sense of humor will solve most problems in relationships.

Super Tuesday

Today is Super Tuesday in California. Typically we always vote first thing in the morning. (I love to proudly wear and display my "I Voted" sticker. I have to make sure I get one before they run out!) Today, though, we are going to the polls at lunch time because I still need to do some research on several of the candidates. Can’t believe how ill prepared I am for this elections cycle! And do you know what I’ve been doing at my job for the last month? Urging people to be informed voters! Ugh. Makes me sick. But I will be an informed voter today - just not an informed morning voter.

You’ve all read about how one vote can make a difference, I’m sure. But here it is again - just as a reminder to us all that voting is a precious privilege and serious duty. We must vote in order to ensure the preservation of our liberties.

Voting Makes a Difference
By One Vote
Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845 by a single vote
By One Vote
Hitler won leadership of the German Nazi Party in 1923
By One Vote
The US House of Representatives, in 1801, elected Thomas Jefferson as President of the United States
By One Vote
In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by a one-vote margin just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked

Monday, March 01, 2004

Mustard Flowers

Meredith has now gone home. We took her to Napa Valley on Saturday to celebrate her completion of the bar. You’d think we’d get a life and go tour something other than Napa. This is our fourth time to go there since we moved to the area, seven months ago. But it’s just such a magnetic sort of place - it keeps pulling us back. And every time we go, we do something different. So, that’s the redeeming factor. (Don’t worry, mom, we did NOT do a three-person mud bath with Meredith.) ;)

This time around, we went to several wineries we hadn’t seen before. Every one of them has its own distinct flavor and ambiance. At the first winery, Merf and I watched Kevin feed some aggressive swans (very aggressive, it's mating season). At the second winery, we decided to actually do a wine tasting. At the wine tasting, the gentleman behind the counter asked me for my ID. Being the spacey ditz that I am, I forgot to bring my ID. Not that I like wine anyway (I actually prefer Pepsi or Sprite), I decided to fight it and insisted that I was "far" above the age mandated by law to consume alcoholic beverages. When I was still refused, I became mildly indignant. "Why can’t they just believe me?!" But I soon overcame my anger and, in fact, became very blithe and conceited when I realized that someone actually thought I was under 21. I’ve never been carded before. But, then again, I’ve never ordered alcohol before, either. Meredith and Kevin let me smell their wine, and that was probably just as good (or better than) tasting it, anyway!

We also went to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA - heh!) in St. Helena. On our way to the CIA, for a cooking demonstration, we spotted a large field full of bright yellow mustard flowers. I begged Kevin to stop the car so we could get a picture. (I do this frequently - he’s used to it.) He pulled over to the side of the road. As soon as we got out of the car, it became obvious that the best picture had to be taken right in the middle of all the flowers. In order to travel to the middle of the field, we had to cross a little flowing river, about three feet wide. Kevin jumped over first. Then, somehow, I made it across. And then Meredith. We tromped through the flowers, our feet sinking deep in mud with every step. But it was worth it. On the way back, I had a bit of trouble with the river and ended up with mud in my socks and all over my shoes.

Although I didn’t exactly arrive in style, we still had fun at the CIA. The cooking demo was incredible. (The chef was a student at CIA and had created the recipe himself.) We also splurged and went to the CIA restaurant. The food was amazing - so many different unique flavors. In spite of some time constraints, we decided to order the chocolate lava cake for dessert - it took a while because they make it from scratch when you order it. Basically, you stab your fork into the cake and a lake of hot chocolate sauce comes pouring out onto your plate. Mmmm. There I go again . . . lusting after food. But I promise you . . . you would lust too if you had this experience.

We ended the evening by watching Dumb and Dumber. Neither Kevin nor I had ever seen it. So, Merf indoctrinated us. ;) I thought it was great!