Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I don't think I'll be visiting Alabama anytime soon

An 11 year old Alabama boy killed a gigantic wild pig that weighed 1,051 lbs, and was 9 feet 4 inches long, while hunting with his dad.

What is your VisualDNA?

Imagini is a cool site that develops a personality profile based on your answers to a visual image test. Uwe pointed out this site to me. They already have 2.3 million that have answered their quiz and they show you other users who match your profile.

Here is my quick VisualDNA summary:
Mood: Go-Getter
Fun: Escape Artist
Habits: High Time Roller
Love: Love Bug

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Sixteen Candles for Uwe in Joshua Tree You’re invited to Uwe’s birthday celebration
this Memorial Day weekend!

Joshua Tree / Secluded High Desert
2500 sq ft Geodesic Dome Home

Memorial Day Weekend 5/26 - 5/28
(Uwe’s birthday is Monday 5/28)

40 foot indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, exercise room, meditation loft, lounge area, bar, and 360 degree wrap-around second story deck

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost - Season Finale

So it looks like the time line continuum is once again a possible theory. The season finale left more questions unanswered. I was going to say that at least it's not a Gilligan's Island repeat where they can never get off the island. Then I remembered that even the castaways on Gilligan's Island were eventually rescued, but they still somehow ended up back on the island again. The jury is still out if the next season will be worth watching.

The Bachelor - Andy Baldwin & Tessa Horst

Yes, I admit - I watched it. I watched the first and last episode, and nothing in between. It was perfect. I didn't miss a thing.

Initially I refused to watch this season of the The Bachelor called, "An Officer and a Gentleman" featuring a medical Officer in the Navy, Lieutenant Andy Baldwin as the bachelor. It just sounded way too cheesy to stomach. But my husband watches the show - always claiming before each season that he's NOT going to watch it this time - but ends up watching it anyway. I think it's the hopeless romantic in him that wants to see a couple fall in love and live happily ever after together.

It must be contagious, because I found myself smiling when I saw them together, and genuinely happy for them. Don't they look sweet together? They really do look like they're in love. I wish them all the best.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Peace Sign

Photo by: ashfalls.likesnow
Anti-war exhibit on display outside the Westminster Abbey in London.

Hanson - Teach Your Children Well

Check it out - the Hanson brothers are all grown up. (The three brothers are best known for their 1997 hit song "MMMBop".)

In this clip, they sing the famous Crosby, Stills & Nash song, "Teach Your Children Well". They do a nice job.

Tom Jones - She's a Lady (1974)

Tom Jones - It's not unusual (1969)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lost - Saturday Night Live

Lost (Mad Tv)

Funny spoof on Lost.

Lost - Who/What the heck is Jacob?

I was a big fan of Lost in the beginning, tuning in each episode and reading the message boards and blogs for inside scoops and spoilers. I thought the show was well done and fascinating, and I kept tuning in every week, even after the show started to get stale, the characters were turning into caricatures of themselves, and it felt like each episode was a filler. Throw in the prolonged break and then reruns galore, and I was losing interest big time. But I hung in there...UNTIL...Locke blew up the submarine. I mean come on! Destroying the one thing that could get them off the island. Hmm...where have I seen this before? Oh that's right - "Gilligan's Island"! People started calling foul. A lame scheme to keep the plot going, but insulting the audience in the meantime.

But then friends of mine told me I had to start watching again because the show was getting so much better. I said, "Yeah yeah yeah. Really?" Hopeful that what they were saying was really true. I wanted the show to get better in my heart of hearts. I had invested so many evenings watching the show and reading about it, that I wanted it to continue to intrigue me. I hoped for a great ending with all of the questions answered, and mysteries revealed. So when my husband told me that the show was BACK...I gave Lost another chance. I watched the last 4 episodes online at

Boy oh boy I think I got sucked back in. Especially by the episode called, "The Man Behind the Curtain". *rubbing hands* Now I have even more questions. Who or what is Jacob??? A fan who is WAY into the show posted some screenshots of an image sitting in the chair that Locke sees before running out the door. Click on the link below to view. Is that Locke?

And as a side note: What ever happened to Michael and his son Walt? Did I miss an episode that showed what happened to them?

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's Gemini's turn on the Zodiac

Denoted by the sign of Twins, Gemini is the third zodiac sign that lasts from May 21st to June 21st.

Year 2007 Overview
Provided by

Gemini thrives on change, variety and mental stimulation. You will attract these in all areas of your life, making for a very exciting year. Use your talent of looking at your emotions objectively to come to terms with them when you don't understand logically what's going on in your life. Emotions are like events to you, and you have the ability to categorize them well. Your ability to feel connected with people will help keep strong relationships going this year. Treat life's challenges as projects and you will inevitably figure out what's going on.

You will make long strides in your career this year -- as long as you keep faith in yourself. The energy you put into your work will allow you to experience many material blessings in your home environment. Pay close attention to your own creative ideas. Many new inspirational ideas are coming your way and you will benefit by putting your ideas into action in your career. It's important for you to be recognized and feel appreciated for your efforts.

You attract a variety of people with your great charm, and you have a natural ability to gain admiration. For most of the year, communication will be top priority, and you'll be asked to articulate your inspirational ideas in some kind of writing project. Friends and family are key in helping you manifest your desires, especially in the latter part of the year, and the chance to deepen your relationships with them makes you very happy!

Famous Geminis
My partner in crime
Bob Dylan
Stevie Nicks
Annette Bening
John F. Kennedy
Marilyn Monroe
Clint Eastwood
Allen Ginsberg
Paul McCartney
Nicole Kidman

My Tree Hugger

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Belated Mother's Day Post

Uwe sent me this touching article about a couple who went to China to adopt a little girl. It was written by Elizabeth Fitzsimons, (the adopting mother), who is also a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Young Al & Tipper Gore

Photo by: Chazz871

See Al Gore in LA

On Tuesday May 22nd, Al Gore will be in Los Angeles to sign his new book, "The Assault on Reason".

The event will take place at the Wilshire Theater.

8440 Wilshire Blvd

Beverly Hills, CA

Date: 5/22/07

Time: 7:30 PM

Price: $20

For more information & to purchase tickets go to or call 310-335-0917.

Note: tickets are no longer available through ticketweb.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rick Springfield - "Jesse's Girl" - Original Music Video

Last I heard of Rick Springfield was in an interview about "Jesse's Girl" being featured on the movie soundtrack for "Boogie Nights." He said he was surprised to find his teenage son listening to the song in his room. Apparently the soundtrack exposed a whole new generation to the song.

Watch the video. It's still a great song and fun to watch Rick Springfield in all his 80's heart throb glory.

Dancing with the Stars - Apolo & Julianne dancing the Tango

Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough are so much fun to watch. In this clip they're dancing the Tango (a contemporary version) to the song, "Jesse's Girl."

Click here to watch the YouTube video clip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street

There's nothing like listening to Dylan on a drive home. It hits the spot.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day 2007

My First Lesson in Motherhood

I saw the scar the first time I changed Natalie's diaper, just an hour after the orphanage director handed her to me in a hotel banquet room in Nanchang, a provincial capital in southeastern China.

Despite the high heat and humidity, her caretakers had dressed her in two layers, and when I peeled back her sweaty clothes I found the worst diaper rash I'd ever seen, and a two-inch scar at the base of her spine cutting through the red bumps and peeling skin.

The next day, when the Chinese government would complete the adoption, also was Natalie's first birthday. We had a party for her that night, attended by families we'd met and representatives of the adoption agency, and Natalie licked cake frosting from my finger. But we worried about a rattle in her chest, and there was the scar, so afterward my husband, Matt, asked our adoption agency to send the doctor.

We had other concerns, too. Natalie was thin and pale and couldn't sit up or hold a bottle. She had only two teeth, barely any hair and wouldn't smile. But I had anticipated such things. My sister and two brothers were adopted from Nicaragua, the boys as infants, and when they came home they were smelly, scabies-covered diarrhea machines who could barely hold their heads up. Yet those problems soon disappeared.

I believed Natalie would be fine, too. There was clearly a light on behind those big dark eyes. She rested her head against my chest in the baby carrier and would stare up at my face, her lips parting as she leaned back, as if she knew she was now safe.

She would be our first child. We had set our hearts on adopting a baby girl from China years before, when I was reporting a newspaper story about a local mayor's return home with her new Chinese daughter. Adopting would come later, we thought. After I became pregnant.
But I didn't become pregnant. And after two years of trying, I was tired of feeling hopeless, of trudging down this path not knowing how it would end. I did know, however, how adopting would end: with a baby.

So we'd go to China first and then try to have a biological child. We embarked on a process, lasting months, of preparing our application and opening our life to scrutiny until one day we had a picture of our daughter on our refrigerator. Fourteen months after deciding to adopt, we were in China.

And now we were in a hotel room with a Chinese doctor, an older man who spoke broken English. After listening to Natalie's chest, he said she had bronchitis. Then he turned her over and looked at her scar.

Frowning, he asked for a cotton swab and soap. He coated an end in soap and probed her sphincter, which he then said was "loose." He suspected she'd had a tumor removed and wondered aloud if she had spina bifida before finally saying that she would need to be seen at the hospital.

Two taxis took us all there, and as we waited to hear news, I tried to think positive thoughts: of the room we had painted for Natalie in light yellow and the crib with Winnie the Pooh sheets. But my mind shifted when I saw one of the women from the agency in a heated exchange in Chinese with the doctors, then with someone on her cellphone. We pleaded with her for information.

"It's not good," she said.

A CT scan confirmed that there had been a tumor that someone, somewhere, had removed. It had been a sloppy job; nerves were damaged, and as Natalie grew her condition would worsen, eventually leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Control over her bladder and bowels would go, too; this had already begun, as indicated by her loose sphincter. Yes, she had a form of spina bifida, as well as a cyst on her spine.

I looked at my husband in shock, waiting for him to tell me that I had misunderstood everything. But he only shook his head.

I held on to him and cried into his chest, angry that creating a family seemed so impossible for us, and that life had already been so difficult for Natalie.

Back at the hotel, we hounded the women from the agency: Why wasn't this in her medical report? How could a scar that size not be noticed? It was two inches long, for God's sake.

They shook their heads. Shrugged. Apologized. And then they offered a way to make it better.
"In cases like these, we can make a rematch with another baby," the one in charge said. The rest of the process would be expedited, and we would go home on schedule. We would simply leave with a different girl.

Months before, we had been presented with forms asking which disabilities would be acceptable in a prospective adoptee — what, in other words, did we think we could handle: H.I.V., hepatitis, blindness? We checked off a few mild problems that we knew could be swiftly corrected with proper medical care. As Matt had written on our application: "This will be our first child, and we feel we would need more experience to handle anything more serious."

Now we faced surgeries, wheelchairs, colostomy bags. I envisioned our home in San Diego with ramps leading to the doors. I saw our lives as being utterly devoted to her care. How would we ever manage?

Yet how could we leave her? Had I given birth to a child with these conditions, I wouldn't have left her in the hospital. Though a friend would later say, "Well, that's different," it wasn't to me.
I pictured myself boarding the plane with some faceless replacement child and then explaining to friends and family that she wasn't Natalie, that we had left Natalie in China because she was too damaged, that the deal had been a healthy baby and she wasn't.

How would I face myself? How would I ever forget? I would always wonder what happened to Natalie.

I knew this was my test, my life's worth distilled into a moment. I was shaking my head "No" before they finished explaining. We didn't want another baby, I told them. We wanted our baby, the one sleeping right over there. "She's our daughter," I said. "We love her."

Matt, who had been sitting on the bed, lifted his glasses, and, wiping the tears from his eyes, nodded in agreement.

Yet we had a long, fraught night ahead, wondering how we would possibly cope. I called my mother in tears and told her the news.

There was a long pause. "Oh, honey."

I sobbed.

She waited until I'd caught my breath. "It would be O.K. if you came home without her."

"Why are you saying that?"

"I just wanted to absolve you. What do you want to do?"

"I want to take my baby and get out of here," I said.

"Good," my mother said. "Then that's what you should do."

In the morning, bleary-eyed and aching, we decided we would be happy with our decision. And we did feel happy. We told ourselves that excellent medical care might mitigate some of her worst afflictions. It was the best we could hope for.

But within two days of returning to San Diego — before we had even been able to take her to the pediatrician — things took yet another alarming turn.

While eating dinner in her highchair, Natalie had a seizure — her head fell forward then snapped back, her eyes rolled and her legs and arms shot out ramrod straight. I pulled her from the highchair, handed her to Matt and called 911.

When the paramedics arrived, Natalie was alert and stable, but then she suffered a second seizure in the emergency room. We told the doctors what we had learned in China, and they ordered a CT scan of her brain.

Hours later, one of the emergency room doctors pulled up a chair and said gravely, "You must know something is wrong with her brain, right?"

We stared at her. Something was wrong with her brain, too, in addition to everything else?
"Well," she told us, "Natalie's brain is atrophic."

I fished into my purse for a pen as she compared Natalie's condition to Down syndrome, saying that a loving home can make all the difference. It was clear, she added, that we had that kind of home.

She left us, and I cradled Natalie, who was knocked out from seizure medicine. Her mouth was open, and I leaned down, breathing in her sweet breath that smelled like soy formula.

Would we ever be able to speak to each other? Would she tell me her secrets? Laugh with me?
Whatever the case, I would love her and she would know it. And that would have to be enough. I thanked God we hadn't left her.

She was admitted to the hospital, where we spent a fitful night at her bedside. In the morning, the chief of neurosurgery came in. When we asked him for news, he said, "It's easier if I show you."

In the radiology department screening room, pointing at the CT scan, he told us the emergency room doctor had erred; Natalie's brain wasn't atrophic. She was weak and had fallen behind developmentally, but she had hand-eye coordination and had watched him intently as he examined her. He'd need an M.R.I. for a better diagnosis. We asked him to take images of Natalie's spine, too.

He returned with more remarkable news. The M.R.I. ruled out the brain syndromes he was worried about. And nothing was wrong with Natalie's spine. She did not have spina bifida. She would not become paralyzed. He couldn't believe anyone could make such a diagnosis from the poor quality of the Chinese CT film. He conceded there probably had been a tumor, and that would need to be monitored, but she might be fine. The next year would tell.

There would be other scares, more seizures and much physical therapy to teach her to sit, crawl and walk. She took her first steps one day on the beach at 21 months, her belly full of fish tacos.

NOW she is nearly 3, with thick brown hair, gleaming teeth and twinkling eyes. She takes swimming lessons, goes to day care and insists on wearing flowered sandals to dance. I say to her, "Ohhhh, Natalie," and she answers, "Ohhhh, Mama." And I blink back happy tears.

Sometimes when I'm rocking her to sleep, I lean down and breathe in her breath, which now smells of bubble-gum toothpaste and the dinner I cooked for her while she sat in her highchair singing to the dog. And I am amazed that this little girl is mine.

It's tempting to think that our decision was validated by the fact that everything turned out O.K. But for me that's not the point. Our decision was right because she was our daughter and we loved her. We would not have chosen the burdens we anticipated, and in fact we declared upfront our inability to handle such burdens. But we are stronger than we thought.

Elizabeth Fitzsimons, who lives in San Diego, is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

U.S. divorce rate lowest since 1970

Something positive in the news recently...

Despite the common notion that America remains plagued by a divorce epidemic, the national per capita divorce rate has declined steadily since its peak in 1981 and is now at its lowest level since 1970.
Yes, that's me and the hubby on our wedding day.
I remember before we got married, Uwe and I went to a French restaurant for dinner and discussed what marriage meant to us. It was an important step (before the leap), and looking back the beginning of our marriage becoming something more than just the two of us.
When they ask couples who've been married for 40-50 years, what their secret is to a happy marriage, they typically say variations of the following:
Photo by: Doxieone
"We don't always see eye to eye but we always love and support each other."Photo by: fooldesk
"We never go to bed angry."
"Having a sense of humor is important."
"Being sweet to one another." (Includes being thoughtful, kind, loving, and respecting and appreciating one another.)
Of all the things I've done and accomplished in my life, I'm most proud of my marriage. It's developed and grown and flexed over the years and is constantly evolving (as we are!).

Inferno in Griffith Park

A wildfire rages behind the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park north of downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 8, 2007.(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

I first noticed the fire last Friday sometime after 2 PM, during a meeting in our conference room on the 5th floor in Glendale. At first we could just see smoke. Then an hour later we could see flames.Photo by: optionthis

Then in the evening as I was walking down the street with my daughter, we saw a crowd of people with their cameras taking photos and video. This was the view from our street. We could see the flames covering the hillside and literally saw Griffith Park burning.

We were just in Griffith Park the weekend previous to take my daughter to Travel Town to ride the miniature train. They still don't know what caused the fire in the first place. But it's such a shame. According to the news coverage, over 600 acres have already burned.

Hippy Gourmet makes Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms!

I discovered the Hippy Gourmet on YouTube. He makes healthy dishes that I would actually eat & attempt to make.

I haven't tried this mushroom recipe yet, but it looks very easy to make and yummy.

Click here to watch the video clip on YouTube.

Photo by: tofu666

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel" documentary

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Gram Parsons #87 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He died of a drug overdose in 1973, at the age of 26, in Joshua Tree, California. I haven't seen it yet, but per the reviews - the documentary provides a revealing account of Gram Parsons' life and features interviews by family and friends.

Make Your Own Kind of Music - Cass Elliot

Click here to listen to the song

It's only 1 minute 40 seconds long, and worth a listen.

The first part of the video (from youtube which won't post, which is why I have it as a link) plays the original 1969 version sung by Cass Elliot (of the Mamas and Papas).

It's a great classic song which resurfaced in an episode of the TV series "Lost" (when they discover Desmond living down in the hatch).

The second part of the video (as the vintage record melts) plays the 2006 remix by Mathieu Bouthier & Muttonheads.

Saturday, May 05, 2007