Monday, December 28, 2009

New Phone

I have a new phone. And I have mixed feelings about it. Apparently I'm still able to make a phone call - which is the main point. And I'm able to do about a thousand other things it never occurred to me were even possible, much less desirable. I've been intimidated by the iPhone. When Maggy said, "I'm glad you chose a smart phone," I answered, "It didn't look that smart." It looks like a phone with a keyboard and pictures. But I fear it's still considerably smarter than I.

Remember my year long non-adventure with the iPod? I've had a Verizon phone for about 10 years. Verizon has the "new every two" concept where they let you have a free or discounted new phone every two years. That's definitely more for their benefit than for mine. I imagine the technology on every phone I choose is outdated long before I learn how to use it. I'm about eight months past the date when I was eligible for a new phone and Verizon's reminders have been getting more frequent and - um - encouraging. Now it's like, "Upgrade the damn phone NOW. Please."

Yesterday, when the phone was brand new, I read the "Read First Poster" and the 64 page "Tips, hints and shortcuts" book. Neither can be called an instruction manual by any stretch of the imagination. But on the "Welcome" page, it says: For more details, refer to the Owner's Manual that came on the Getting Started CD with your wireless device. Today I figured out which disk has the manual on it. Okay. I'm all about paperless. the PDF manual has 102 full size pages instead of the sixty-four 4"x 4" pages of the Tips booklet. The first ten pages are disclaimers and safety warnings.
  • SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR RF EXPOSURE [I know what RF is from months of talking to people about cell phone towers]
  • NONIONIZING RADIATION [I really don't know what nonionizing radiation is]

The warning get a little less dire - which I can tell 'cause they're not all caps.
  • Avoid hot areas
  • Avoid wet areas
  • Avoid using your device after a dramatic change in temperature
  • Avoid applying excessive pressure to the device ... remove the device from your pants’ pocket before sitting down [Excuse me? Excessive pressure!?]
  • Do Not Use the PC Functions of Your Device While Driving or Walking [or chewing gum]
Okay. I'm bored enough with the warnings to stop paying attention to any of them.

I'd go on to page 11 but I'm way beyond what I allotted on my schedule for this task.

And, like the manual, this post has too many words, too few pictures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning at 2:00AM when Maggy and I finished wrapping. We like wrapping paper. In our defense, it's mostly plain white Kraft paper with reuseable fabric ribbons.

Christmas morning about 11:00 AM when we finished unwrapping. We like wrapping paper.

For cats, it's just all about the boxes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the night before...

I don't understand how red-eye works. Murphy has one blue and one gold eye. The red and green is an interesting novelty.

Okay. It's kind of Charlie Brown. It's just the first of many house decorations. It's Maggy's color choice challenge: purple and gray. Not silver, mind you. Gray.

Christmas tree starts out a bit Charlie Brown-ish, too.

I swear, I'll never make fun of Maggy making a mess in the kitchen again. I should remember to stick to making one thing at a time. This is the chocolate pie and the blueberry upside-down cake in progress simultaneously.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Jake reluctantly models the Tigereye necklace I made for B's mom. Seconds later, I was chasing him to retrieve the necklace.

Monday, November 30, 2009


What can I say? We were thankful.

While the turkey cooked, Maggy and I went to the garden for fresh parsley, carrots, onions and Brussels Sprouts.

Travis was there, along with Andy, Joe and Greg. It was great.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

Once again I was invited to judge the Halloween costume contest.

There were clowns and angels.

Pirates and a unique lobster.

Little Sungiva and her tall, beaming daddy, Simon, taking a break from campaigning. Doesn't it look like his head is brushing the ceiling?

One lovely little Dorothy.

I worry a little about the anxious faces waiting for their numbers to be called for a prize. But everyone gets a ribbon and moves on to refreshments and fire truck rides.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Welcome [Unwelcome?] Neighbors

I appreciate skunks for their relentless search for grubs in the lawn. But I'm a bit uncomfortable with seeking one under my deck. There's really no way to warn the curious cats not to investigate.

[Editor's note: A few people have asked me what happened to the blog. Fact is, I don't know. But when I downloaded my Christmas pictures today, I found 120 pictures from as far back as mid-October. So, I'm going to start catching up today.]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sisyphus v.2

Maggy: "Really? This is how advisor Today chooses to portray corporate women?"

I doubt she'd like the photo on their website any better.

I fear this is just the rock tumbling back down the mountain. I can't see how Maggy can show anyone in her company how inappropriate this is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day?

Holidays seem to fall into two categories: ones we care about and ones for which we get a paid day off from work. I'm surprised how little overlap there is. The ones we care about have special customs for celebration - sometimes far removed from the original reason for the holiday.

New Year's Day is a paid day off. I'm unaware of any common celebration ritual tho' I imagine many people sleep late to recover from New Year's Eve celebrations. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are paid days off with important meals to celebrate. Where do Columbus Day and Washington's birthday fit in this pattern? No traditional meal. No parade (except in NY). No presents.

I don't know how much of my mental image of Columbus sailing for the New World is myth. Still I think setting off in a sailboat on a trip expected to take months is pretty admirable. So, Columbus is somewhere on my list of people about whom we should know enough to have a certain amount of respect. But couldn't we have the day after Thanksgiving off instead? Or Halloween? Or even Spring Equinox?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Overheard On Twitter

From DM at the Farmers' Market:

'swiss chard is beautiful' ... 'twitter is stupid'

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How Many Dial-up Hours Does It Take to Download iTunes?

A year or so ago I wrote about wishing I could download Sound and Spirit programs. I got a little MP3 player and managed to put a few songs on it. But the Sound and Spirit programs are in a format that I never did figure out how to download - even with helpful advice from readers.

So, I got an iPod Nano for Christmas. Remember Christmas? Eight months ago? The friend who gave it to me populated it with a few Sound and Spirit shows and some audiobooks which I've enjoyed. But I wanted... more.

iPod comes with this pathetic little 16 iPod Nano size page, line-drawing pamphlet which passes for instructions. It starts right out, "Download iTunes." Last week I guiltily spend $20 on OReilly's Missing Manual. Simon writes for OReilly. So, I'm thinking it will help. But I feel guilty 'cause I know children figure this out without the $20 help. Maybe if I just applied myself...

The Missing Manual made the iPod sound like so much fun and Saturday was rainy so I confronted the problem head on and visited the iPod website. I followed the Missing Manual suggestion and unchecked the boxes that offered me updates. In the interest of time, I skipped the fine print about hardware and software requirements where, I now know, the eighth bullet point is:
  • A broadband Internet connection to use the iTunes Store

Optimist that I am, I just clicked "Download Now." The little download screen popped up telling me that the download time was unknown but it was working at a whopping 2kps. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, I lost the dialup connection. Oh, well. I started over. An hour later, as it reached 7MB I realized I might be in trouble and started browsing around the iTunes site to figure out more about what I was getting into. Sure enough. It said the download is 72MB. Hmm...

At about 16MB I was disconnected again. Well, I've download things before that, when interrupted, start up where they left off. So I tried again. No such luck. It started over at 0 and chugged along at about 2kps. I didn't want to do anything else online that might slow the download. So I went pessimistically to bed.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up to find it still running. Not that I was surprised by how long it was taking, just surprised that I hadn't lost the connection. Better yet, it said it was at 68MB! I watched for an hour as it reached 72MB, then 73. Even 73.8 before, alas, it was disconnected. Sigh. There are many pleasures of country living. Apparently iPod isn't going to be one of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Another tiny victory in Maggy's ongoing struggle to push the Wall Street world toward the reality based community:

So my boss sent me to Duane Reade to get some things for a care package we're sending to Liz's brother's unit in Iraq. Protein bars, eyedrops, etc. etc. - I got way too much of a kick out of picking out the bars (no chocolate bc it melts, so a little challenge.) I decided to add some Luna bars to the mix because they have the best flavors without chocolate. Apparently they've changed the marketing so now they're "Nutrition for Women". Maybe you see where this is going?

Yep, someone said "Wait, these are for WOMEN! We can't send these."

To their credit, after my "Oh, really?" and a blank stare, they were like "Oh. Right."

Not to mention, if I were a man in the middle of the desert with MREs as the main food source, I probably would not turn down a delicious toasted nut and cranberry protein bar because it said it was for women.

I love it that she keeps trying.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Free Range Chicks

The gawky, adolescent chicks are coming out into the gardens with their mom these days. She still has that incredible cluck that says, "Come here this instant. Your life depends on it." And they still obey. I've always envied that cluck.

This week they started spending the night on the roost with the big chickens instead of in the old nest on the floor. It was confusing for them the first night as they tried to figure out how to get as close to the mom as they were accustomed to on the floor. After a couple of nights practice, now they're content being near her, but not actually touching.

The vegetable garden is thriving thanks to endless days of rain and Bill's diligent weeding. This 4'x24' raised bed contains chard, lettuce, cucumbers, beans, dill and carrots. Only the tomatoes have not thrived in the rainy weather.

I'm pretty proud of the onions. I started them from seed indoors and transplanted the seedlings when the soil was dry enough to cultivate. They do much better this way than sowing seed directly into the bed. And I don't have to think about thinning. I think the resulting bulbs store better than onions grown from sets.

And the flower beds near the vegetables are a riot of color. These beds have had virtually no care at all this year. They're hopelessly overgrown and weedy. But the visual impact is terrific.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mary Ann's 60

Following closely on the heels of Leslie, Henry and Mahlon, last week I completed my sixtieth year. Life is good.
I remember my life in phases related to where I lived and what I was learning. Preschool years in the central Adirondacks, school years in far northern NY on Lake Champlain, college in Albany, grad school here at Cornell, arguably the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes.

Okay, so 36 of those 60 years have been spent here in Ithaca. But the learning really spiked after grad school. I started learning about plants, birds and evolution from Bill. I married and spent a year in Germany. I built a house and started raising kids. Along the way I raised chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits, sheep and a horse. I learned to spin and weave and to handle a camera with confidence. I took an accounting class and returned to an office environment where I re-learned the ins and outs of copiers, multiline phones and office politics.

A few things from pre-Ithaca days have affected my live in big ways. All my formal training in music and religion were from those years near Lake Champlain. And my foundation in computer use is from a post college year in Albany.

Life goes on. Now as an elected local official I've learned more about my town in four years than in the first thirty-two years I lived here. When I built the house, I learned about wells and septic systems. Now I'm well versed in municipal water and wastewater treatment. I've learned about road maintenance, dog control, cell towers, stormwater runoff mitigation, riparian buffer zones and volunteer emergency services (not necessarily in that order.)

I say again, life is good.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Broody Hen

This hen has been sitting exactly like this for 21 days. I suppose she gets out to eat and drink when I'm not looking. But when I'm there, she's like a statue - a statue with sound effects when I poke under her warm, damp bare breast to assess the eggs she's sitting on. She takes a quick peck at my hand and emits a long raspy complaint at the disturbance.

The first chick hatched Friday. More on Saturday. Sunday she was still waiting for the rest.

I usually try to keep my hands off on the theory that she knows better than I do. But by 4:00 Sunday I couldn't stand it anymore. It seemed like that Friday hatchling must need a drink of water. So I eased the five little guys and a few unhatched eggs into a box. The hen grumpily followed as I set the box on its side on the floor. She deposited the biggest, smelliest chicken poop I've ever seen, suggesting she'd been stuck in the next for quite a while.

The chicks merrily tumbled out into the straw as she chirped instructions to them. She demonstrated drinking from the waterer and showed them where to peck for food. She had no interest at all in the remaining eggs. She periodically called the babies back under her wings and purred to them 'til they ventured out again.

Monday morning the chicks were exploring the entire floor of the hen house. I had placed a board across the outside door so that the hens can get out but not the chicks. I want to be sure she doesn't take them outside somewhere that I won't be able to find them when it's time to close the door in the evening. They'll be safer in the hen house for now.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Too Many Words

I'm getting pretty tired of white men whining about racism. The real problem is that Sotomayor, like so many of us, uses too many words per sentence. You know me. I'm a grammar nut and when you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Check it out. It's 32 words. MS Word grades it as readable just above a 12th grade level. Still, I can see how a listener may try to cut out a few words in the effort to get his head around the concept. The most important word cut in most of the quotes I've seen and heard is "wise."

The quote is near the end of her 4,000 word speech to a law school audience describing the effect of personal experience on judgement. If it had been addressed to the popular media, no doubt she would have phrased it differently. Try this:

A wise Latina woman might reach a better conclusion than a white man without her experience.
Fifteen words readable on a seventh grade level. Still I fear people would drop the pesky prepositional phrase at the end. One of my best friends has the annoying habit of jumping to conclusions in the middle of my sentences. I often warn him: "The point's going to come at the end of the sentence. Wait for it!"

My advice to speakers: Use only the words you want listeners to hear.

My advice to listeners: Trust that the speaker needed all the words. If you don't remember them all, don't try to draw your own conclusions.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Good Grief!

If it's not one thing, it's another. Magda brought this bunny in. He's got a small puncture behind his neck, but he seems okay. I think there's more blood on my hand from taking him away from the cat than there is on the bunny.

I don't know why Magda insists on bringing me her catches. I'm upstairs minding my own business. But if she brings them to me, she should know by now that I'll take them away. Except, maybe, for mice. They're fair game.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


For all the things I may have neglected or screwed up this week, I saved this hummingbird's life today.

I can't take much credit. I was in the right place at the right time and I was paying attention. I'd seen the hummingbirds courting where I was gardening this afternoon. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when I barely heard the thump that always gets the cats' attention.

It's easy enough to distract the cats for a second and I was able to pick up the limp little bird. She closed her eyes in my hand and I wasn't very hopeful, but she still seemed able to move. As I held her and tried to decide what to do, she flicked her tongue out. I feel incredibly blessed that now I have this mental image of a hummingbird's tongue.

I had hummingbird food in the fridge. When I held it near her beak, she took a few laps at it. I watched the male at the feeder and hoped for the best. In a few minutes she got her balance in my hand but she was pretty ruffled. Aha! I guessed she must be cold and held her closer. Her eyes opened and her feathers started to smooth down.

By then I was really starting to wish for a picture. I was able to pick up the camera and I'm grateful for this slightly out of focus photo. Just after the shutter clicked she took wing in that abrupt way only hummingbirds can manage and landed above the roof in the walnut tree.

I'll be watching their nest this summer and feeling a special kinship with their offspring.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Yet Another New Year's Day

May Day, six months from Halloween, marks the end of winter and the beginning of the growing season. It's a great day for a celebration: a bonfire to celebrate the strengthening sun (and to clean up the yard); treehugging and decorating a tree with streamers as a Maypole; a bouquet, perhaps violets, to celebrate returning flowers;

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unintended Consequences

One of the unintended consequences of my job in town government is increased exposure to the moon. Late meetings keep me out after dark about three nights a week. On my drive home I continue to be frustrated by my inability to understand my actual and metaphorical place in the universe.

The past few nights there's been a lovely waxing crescent moon in the western sky. I know this "toenail" will grow fatter each evening 'til it's a half-moon overhead. And fatter still 'til it's full and rising in the east just after sunset. I know where I am on earth and I know what the moon's going to look like in the sky over time. It's nice and orderly, like this chart.

In my imagination the sky is curved overhead. The sun is somewhere beneath my flat earth casting the earth's shadow on the moon. I can set this image in motion and see the crescent moon setting at midnight. With some effort I can even imagine the moon "under" the earth in the morning and I guess if I search in the eastern sky at midday I should be able to find the moon.

I try to visualize this from somewhere in space - on the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun for simplicity's sake. I block out the stars and other planets and see a flat western hemisphere. There I am at 42 degrees latitude with my feet pointed toward the center of the earth. The moon is setting to the left of the flat earth. The sun is behind my dark, flat western hemisphere and I'm moving toward the right. East? Counter clockwise?

Then I start to lose my grip on these inter-related concepts in four dimensions and I remember Flatland. Not only can I not visualize time as a fourth dimension. I'm absorbed in a two dimensional world in which I can't imagine the third dimension.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Bless Maggy for regularly sending me fun things to think about. Not that I don't already have enough to think about - but I'm pretty burned out on cell tower technology and alkaline hydrolysis. So this week's ideas from Maggy (which I saved for today) are Taking Up a Hobby and the love/hate topic of Personal Organizing.

I was a bit put off by Slatella's introduction of the hobby as a distraction from tough economic times. (Keep in mind this article is in the Fashion section of the Times.)

"I’ve been spending my time, like everyone else I know, obsessing over bigger problems — how will I pay for two kids in college and still be able to buy white wine ($9 a day)."

As I read on, I realized I'm not like the obsessed writer. I'm the friend who drags her into the hobby:

"She’s my competent friend, the one who has all kinds of practical skills. She knows how to make pies and how to cut fabric on the bias. She even knows what a “bias” is. What does she have to worry about? If a giant meteor hit the earth and debris from the impact blocked the sun, she’d survive just fine in some homespun coat she made out of super-warm wool. And the coat would be cute, too."
Maggy knows I've recently started making jewelry. I haven't worn jewelry for years. It turns out my new-found interest is more about the look and feel of beads and wire.

But a decade or two ago I did wear beads on a regular basis and people gave me many lovely necklaces. Now every single one of those looks to me like a source of beads to remake into new jewelry.

Beads aren't just ornamentation for the body. They're equally decorative on the wall. Ideas are beginning to form in the back of my mind for spectacular beaded embroidery artwork.

Which brings us to Personal Organizing. The only empty desktop space you see in this photo is the spot where my camera was before I picked it up to take the picture. Maggy and I share an ADD type organizing challenge. We both need to be able to see our stuff. And we share a sense that "She who dies with the most organizing books wins."

Rimer's organizer thinks the key to organizing is the label maker. I have a label maker. I'm not exactly sure where it is, but I'm pretty sure it's still in the package. B gave it to me a year or two ago for my birthday or Christmas or some such. Apparently owning a tool isn't really the answer. There always seems to be actual work involved.

The real thread these two articles have in common is the need for distraction.

Ms. Whited came to the label maker a few years ago, when she had a major health scare, and one of her first worries was about her husband and three small children: “How is Pete going to know where everything is?”

She began labeling everything she thought her husband might need to find in her absence: children's medicine, cat treats, paint thinner, bread... Bread? Doesn't bread come with its own label? The fact is, the labels may have helped her husband, but they really helped her endure the time while she waited for her medical test results. Happily the results were negative. By the time she got the news, the label maker was her new best friend. I think I'll go find mine now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Irish Heritage

I think President Obama is right. On St Patrick's day everyone searches for a trace of Irish heritage to celebrate. Mine's pretty direct. My grandmother, Agnes Bannon, was Irish. But that's as far as I can trace it. As I recall from my mother's stories, my grandmother was an orphan.

My mother was born in 1923 and her sister was 13 years older. There was an older sister who died of tuberculosis in her teens. So, perhaps it was 1906 when my grandmother married Edwin Crowther. In my mother's stories, he was a house painter. He died when my mother was very young, so she never knew him.

My grandmother worked as a seamstress in a laundry. Young though my mother was during prohibition, she remembered my grandmother and friends enjoying beer in the back room of a neighborhood ... um ... establishment.

I liked my grandmother. She laughed a lot. I don't remember her ever being angry. And once, when she was staying with us while my parents were travelling, she let me go to school with my hair down.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Turkeys Are The New Deer

This is sort of what I meant about turkeys looking better when they appear shyly at the edge of the woods.

The Toms, of course, not so shy, but still good looking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I have several pictures of Winter Aconites covered with snow. But I still feel they're a sign of spring. This year, even more so because most of the flowers have bees in them.

Poor bees, can't leave the huddle in the hive 'til the temperature is over 50 degrees. They're out in force on the first warm day of the season. Have I mentioned that it's a bad idea to hang out your laundry on that first warm day? The bees have been steadily consuming their stored honey all winter, but they don't poop in the hive. So those first poops in the spring are BIG. Tempting as it may be to hang your sheets outdoors for that fresh air smell, you'll probably have to wash them again before you can use them.

This is one of my favorite bouquets every year. It's practically full size in this picture - about 4" tall including the tiny brandy snifter vase.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On My Nightstand

Hyperion, Dan Simmons

People of The Book, Geraldine Brooks

Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood

Last month I read and loved Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

Last year I thought about quitting my bookclub 'cause we'd chosen a few books I didn't care for. I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like them 'til I found this in an old interview with Ernest Hemmingway:
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you."

Monday, March 09, 2009

In March It Is Mud...

"Housewife's Lament" is the first song I learned to play on the guitar. Well, it's C, F and G7. So, learning to play it wasn't a big deal. But, much to my kids' dismay, I like to sing it.

In March it is mud, it is slush in December.
The midsummer breezes are loaded with dust.
In fall the leaves litter, in muddy September,
The wallpaper rots and the candlesticks rust.

Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble.
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
And nothing is as I would wish it to be.

This was the view last week:

Mourning Doves huddled up in the cold and snow.

And yesterday this was the muddy view: 24 Turkeys on the lawn.

You know, I like wildlife. But I have to say, deer and turkeys in particular are cuter when they peek shyly out from the edge of the woods than when they take over the entire lawn like this.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Punctuation Police

People at work know that the only two times I've nearly lost my temper, the issue was bad writing.

Just so you know I'm not the only crazy person (and that you can find a blog about anything) may I present The Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


This morning, as I shuffled across the kitchen to feed the cats, so they'd get out of the way while I poured my coffee, I unconsciously stepped over a stinkbug. I heard myself saying, "Oh, great. A stinkbug. It must be getting warmer."

Some people get swallows. Or robins. Or crocuses. My harbinger of spring is a stinkbug.

My photo of a stinkbug is on my other computer. So rather than drag myself downstairs again to boot up the other computer or take another picture, I lazily googled stinkbug. Wow. Other people have much prettier stinkbugs than I have. Of course, mine is not the "true" stinkbug. Mine is technically a leaf-footed bug - which happens to have the same delightful ability as stinkbugs, to release a strong scent when disturbed. I don't happen to think it stinks, but most people do.

It turns out that other people have prettier leaf-footed bugs than I do, too. By now the coffee's kicking in, so I went back to take a picture. Okay. Close up he's kind of good-looking. Not colorful, but not bad.

My point, and I do have one, is that if I didn't have this habit of blogging in the morning while I listen to Washington Journal, I wouldn't have paid much attention to the stinkbug. I certainly wouldn't have seen the pictures of other species of stinkbugs or read enough about them to learn that there are only two families of bugs that release this scent when disturbed: Coreidae, like mine and maybe next time I look it up I'll remember the name of the other family.

Will I ever need to know this? Probably not. But I was planning to write about economics and this was more fun.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

I don't mean to make this all-deer-all-the-time. But it's a real soap opera out there.

Remember earlier this month our herd of two became four. And they co-existed peacefully for a couple of weeks.

But recently the mama deer has decided there's not enough spilled birdfeed for four. She's been aggressively chasing off the two that are apparently not related to her.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day

Yet another new beginning.

If I turn my back on the shadows, can I get an early spring, too? It's worth a try.

Thanks, again, to Jack Lambert.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Squandering Time

This is what I've been doing mornings while I listen to Washington Journal. This is what's been keeping me away from blogging. It's All-Star Puzzles, a puzzle, like a jigsaw puzzle but with square or rectangular pieces. And the pictures are nice. I rationalize that I'm exercising my mind, tho' I know I should be doing Pilates.

I missed the opportunity to commemorate Benjamin Franklin's birthday on January 17. My favorite Franklin quote:
"If you love life, then do not squander time. For that is the stuff life is made of."