Saturday, September 15, 2007

Unsafe At Any Speed

"Driving round a bend, and skidding on a mat of toads is very unpleasant for all

-Amanda Hillier

Tell me, do you find yourself looking at other drivers while you are moving along in traffic? I do. Sometimes when I am the driver of the car, but mostly when I am the passenger. I always have my digital camera out, because you never know when you might see something interesting. I didn't always keep it out of the case when the car was moving, but see, Alan and I had a very near miss incident in August of 2006, which scares the pistons out of me to this day. I decided that day, that I would keep the camera out, and turned on, just in case we ever came that close to being hit again. I want to get a photo of the plate number. It scared me, and it was months before I had a lot of confidence about driving on HWY 580, either as a driver or a passenger. Shame on those who deliberately cut you off in traffic! The only thing I knew to do to conquer the fear it had left me with, was to get right back on the freeway as a driver, and keep my trusty camera by my side as a passenger. I thank God for that camera every day.

So, you can probably imagine how I felt last Thursday, when I saw a woman, a rather age mature woman, in the car next to me, working a puzzle in a book, while driving her car, sometimes exceeding 50 MPH. We were on the San Mateo Bridge, heading eastbound, in late afternoon rush hour traffic, and she was doing a puzzle! She had to know better. I got so tired of folks screaming about the evils of cell phone use while driving, while other just as negligent behaviors go unaddressed. Eating, drinking coffee/sodas, smoking, and driving with animals who aren't properly restrained, all play into the possibility of negligence. Why do folks have to multi-task every last moment of their lives? Alan and I lost sight of her in traffic at some point, and I am glad. I didn't really want to be anywhere near her. You know? But I did wrestle with whether or not to call the CHP with her license plate number and location. I am not sure there is a law exactly about this kind of action. I see folks reading maps, while driving, all the time, but this was different. Was it my place to report her?

A part of me says, yes, I should have. I have to learn about second guessing myself on certain things. If I had come home, and heard on the news later that evening, that she got into an accident, would I have been responsible somehow? I probably would have felt responsible for not turning her in. At the same time, a part of me wonders if I was invading her privacy somehow? Didn't she have the right to do whatever she wants in her own car, if she is willing to accept the consequences of her behavior, should something go wrong? Is it up to me to intervene under any circumstances?

Opinions please. Tell me what you think. Would you have turned her in? Would you have shaken your finger at her, in disgust, as you drove by? Would you have just ignored it, and hoped she was paying better attention then it seemed she was? Have you ever been tempted to turn in a fellow motorist, after seeing them engaging in a similar activity? Share your thoughts with me. :)

"Reckless automobile driving arouses the suspicion that much of the horse sense of the good old days was possessed by the horse."


"Shame On You"
HWY 92
Hayward, California
September 13th, 2007
Late Afternoon

Friday, September 14, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #183: Make A Poll

"For every evil under the sun, there is a remedy or there is none. If there be one, seek till you find it. If there be none, then never mind it."

-Mother Goose

Weekend Assignment #183: Make up a poll for people to play with. The poll can be on any subject you want - it can be serious or funny or silly, or whatever (although funny's always, you know. Funny). If you're not on AOL Journals, or for some reasons you don't want to use AOL's poll function, there are other poll options for your blog; here's one, for example.

Extra Credit: Have you ever participated in a political poll?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Last Wednesday, while I was at the Botanic Garden in Tilden Park, I found this amazing spider stretched across two limbs of a blackberry bush. It was too pretty to pass up. The spider was about the size of a half dollar, and paid no attention to me, as I labored over the photo. First trying to decide just how close I wanted to get to it, and then finding the focus and lighting. It took me about 20 minutes or so to finally get things lined up properly, and all the while I had Carly Simon's song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" running through my head. The song, of course, was based on the nursery rhyme, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" so, I thought it might be kind of fun to keep things on a playful note, and ask you in a poll, to vote for your favorite nursery rhyme. :) And oh by the way, there is a new monthly poll on my sidebar, devoted to Autumn, which begins next week! Be sure to click the link below, to see the results of last month's poll.

What's Your Favorite Nursery Rhyme?
Thirty Days Hath September
I'm A Little Teapot
Jack Be Nimble
Little Miss Muffet
Monday's Child
Star Light Star Bright
The Man In The Moon
Muffin Man
There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe
Little Bunny Foo Foo
Free polls from

Extra Credit: Yes, I participate in political polls all the time! :)

What Is Your Main Complaint About Other Drivers?

"Miss Spider"
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
September 12th, 2007
Late Afternoon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Continuing Adventures With Diabetes: Week #1 "Choices"

"My own prescription for health is less paperwork, and more running barefoot through the grass."

-Leslie Grimutter

The title of this entry is a bit misleading, actually it was 7 weeks ago today, that I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but I want to start writing about my adventures with diabetes because I am learning new things every day, about myself, and about my condition. I hope by sharing I can help and inspire others with it to feel a little less alone, so, I have made a decision to update my blog with an entry devoted to what I learn, as I continue on, looking for knowledge and skills for living well with diabetes.

IHOP Garden Scramble Under 600 calories and 15g Fat

A dear friend asked me the other day, "How have you been doing... with your diabetes?" I had to think for a moment, and consider, what to respond. It was a perfectly legitimate question, and it felt good to have my friend ask about me, but the thing is, I am really, really OK most of the time. If it wasn't for checking my glucose readings several times a day, I wouldn't know anything was amiss. There are NO symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, especially early on in the disease. I was even told, by my health education leader, that she once worked at a health fair, in a booth devoted to educating the public on diabetes. One of the ways they did this, was to offer free finger tip testing.

On one of the days she worked the booth, a gentleman approached the booth to learn more about the disease. It seemed a friend at work had been recently diagnosed and he was interesting in finding out some statistics. She gave him some pamphlets and then offered to check his blood. Well, the man scoffed, "I am in my late 30's," he said, "and I am not overweight, and I feel fine." "Then why not see, what your random reading is?" said the health educator. He laughed, but finally said, "sure, okay." His reading was 410 mg/dl. Sigh. He found out that day, that he was also, a diabetic, and had more then likely been for quite sometime.

There are a lot of myths about diabetes that are mistaken for truths. Diabetes is an equal opportunity intruder. Skinny people get diabetes, fat people get diabetes, elderly people get diabetes, children get diabetes, and people who feel just fine, get diabetes. There are high risk lifestyles that may increase your chances, but it doesn't guarantee you will be afflicted. I am not sure why more isn't being done to educated the public about diabetes, but I know one thing, I didn't bother to educate myself on it, until I was diagnosed with it. Sigh. Why would I? I felt fine. Sigh. Truth is, even if I would have done extensive research into risk factors, and statistics, I wouldn't have been able to have stopped myself for contracting diabetes. It's just a fact. What I could have accomplished, however, was that I would have known right away that blaming myself, or trying to figure out just exactly how I had failed, would have been a waste of time, energy and emotion.

Mixed Fruit Approx 250 Calories, 0 Fat, 14 Carbs

I have good days, and some not so good days. I feel good when I get to tell someone, that the old myth about sugar being evil, simply isn't true. I don't have to give up anything, with diabetes, I just have to account for what I put into my body, and plan for certain things. I am eating pretty much what I always did, only in more reasonable. I haven't give up my love of fast food, I simply figure it into my daily intake for maintaining my weight maintenance.

So far, I am finding it to be challenging at times, but far from impossible. I am more hungry for knowledge, then a taco. LOL. It's OK, if I blow it once in a while. I keep track of what foods to do my blood, and act accordingly. As an example, if I want to go and have a meal, which might not be so good for my readings, I have it at lunch, and then take a long, moderately paced walk to help regulate my glucose numbers. Exercising after meals is good for bringing those numbers down. So far, the highest number I have had, 2 hours after a meal is 148 mg/dl. My before meal average is 117 mg/dl, After Meal is, 128 and Overall is, 121. My doctor says I am off to a good start, but there is always room to improve. I try to keep my stress level down, so Alan no longer allows me to watch the news during dinner. LOL. Yep, we are a George Bush free house during meal times. LOL. What can I say, he brings me stress. Sheesh. :)

One of the nice things about taking a long walk after a meal, is that you can discover the most amazing things. For instance, yesterday, I discovered autumn, sneaking into the woods of Tilden Park. :) I will speak more about my visit to the Botanic Garden up here in the hills of Berkeley, this weekend, for now enjoy the lovely leaves I found yesterday, and just think, we are only about a week away from autumn, the most beautiful time of the year, the season that brings every part of me to life. I would rather have a bouquet of autumn leaves, then roses any day, and yesterday, I was treated to just that, and diabetes didn't stop me, one little bit. :)

Website of the Week: Diabetes Mine

"Autumn Prelude"
Botanic Garden
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
September 12, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get Mugged

"Don't laugh at coffee. Some day you, too, may be old and weak."


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of one or more interesting coffee mugs you might have. Because it's my experience that people have coffee mugs with interesting stories behind them. At least I do.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Coffee mugs. Tee Hee. Why am I laughing at coffee mugs? Well, see, coffee mugs, and I, have had quite a past! I am sure you remember the story of how, at one time, I had a deathly fear of ceramic coffee mugs. LOL. True story. It was so bad, that my heart would pound, my skin would become hot, and I would feel dizzy, if I even saw someone drinking from one. Sheesh. LOL. I can laugh at it now, but at the time, it was high drama! :)

That was back in the mid 90's, and I have since been cured of that fear. Thank goodness, because I have come to know the joys of a good, solid coffee mug. I am not a coffee drinker, I much more prefer Hot Chocolate, Herbal Teas, or my very favorite hot beverage, Caramel Apple Cider, but I also enjoy having soup in a big mug, like the one in the above photo. I got this Friends, "Central Perk," mug, when the show was in it's 6th season.

It was a gift from Alan, for having successfully completed the "Unreasonable Fears And How To Overcome Them" workshop/support group. LOL. True story. Now, I consider that mug among my favorite things. Oh, if the house were on fire I probably wouldn't go running back into the burning building to retrieve it, but I would sure miss my mug. It's a friend. :)

"Got Hot Beverage?"
Berkeley, California
September 11th, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Missing John Ritter (9/17/48 - 9/11/03)

"It's hard enough to write a good drama, it's much harder to write a good comedy, and it's hardest of all to write a drama with comedy, which is what life is."

-Jack Lemmon

Sometimes I wonder if a certain day on the calendar can actually be cursed. John Ritter passed away on September 11th, 2003, and I still miss him terribly. I mourn his loss, but I also think of him fondly for some very personal reasons, but most importantly for the gift of humor that he shared so freely. I love the YouTube montage above, it is Ritter at his comedic best. Watch the video and laugh, it is good for the soul, and it is a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted. Humor is the gift that heals us. Thanks again, John. :)


September 11th, 2001

"September 11 began like many Tuesday mornings in Washington, D.C., as the notorious D.C. rush hour traffic slowed lawmakers and their staff making their way to Capitol Hill, the worst of their thoughts was surely centered on Congress's always partisan budget battles. The day was the end, however, in a national nightmare as all came to grips with the worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history."

-Terry Everett

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama Bin Laden. It is our number one priority, and we will not rest until we find him."

-George W. Bush 9/13/2001

Can you believe it has been six years since that horrible day? Can you believe it has been six years, and Osama Bin Laden is still out there somewhere, still taunting us, and still free to continue with his plan of hatred and terror toward the United States? George Bush, as our president, has been worse than a complete failure, he has let all of us down, and indeed future generations as well. There is no excuse, there is no reason, and there is no justification for the fact that Bin Laden has not been brought to justice. It escapes me why President Bush hasn't been impeached for his many transgressions,including his blatant disregard for American lives.

He didn't listen to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report, or the Iraq Study Group. We are not safer from terrorism then we were on 9/11, and we still have a liar, and dare I say, traitor, in the White House. Sigh. It hurts. I hurt for all of us here in America, and I hurt for what we have done to the Iraqi people. I hurt for the men and women of our armed services, who went to war, and died for a war based on lies. I hurt for those brave soldiers who made it back home, and found themselves without proper medical care at Walter Reed Hospital. I hurt for the people who lost their lives on 9/11, like David and Lynn Angell. Last year I wrote a tribute to the Angell's, for the 2996 Project, but I had written about David and Lynn Angell before, the first time was in 2005, on my AOL blog Ellipsis. You can find that entry here.

The Angell's were a wonderful, loving couple. They loved each other, and they loved their work. They had a charity that was close to their hearts called the Hillsides Home For Children. Less than a month before their deaths on 9/11/2001, they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They were together on the morning of 9/11/2001 as they boarded American Airlines Flight#11, at Boston's Logan airport, bound for Los Angeles, but they didn't make it home that day, because of pure evil. Their plane was hijacked and crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 A.M. EDT.

When the Angell's died, the world lost two magnificent human beings. Two people who were the complete opposite of the evil that ran rampant that day. I never got the chance to meet David and Lynn Angell, but through my research of them I have come to know them, and respect them as people. I mourn their deaths... deeply. It angers me that nothing has been done to bring Bin Laden to justice. It angers me that we have wasted human lives and resources on an unnecessary war in Iraq, but I have become resolved to the fact that until George Bush is impeached, and congress, both democrat and republican grows a backbone and stops George Bush, we will have to live with the true terror of Osama Bin Laden, and the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. We are not safe anywhere, at anytime, indeed it is just a matter of time before we face another day like 9/11. I am deeply,deeply sad right now. We must email the White House, and our elected officials and demand that we stop this unnecessary war in Iraq, and concentrate our efforts on finding Bin Laden.

Please take a moment to read my entry from last year. It was a non-political tribute to the lives of David and Lynn Angell. It gives you a glimpse into the lives of this loving and generous couple. They shouldn't be forgotten. I know I will never forget them, not ever. Shame on you George Bush!

The 2996 Project: I Am Honoring The Life Of David Angell

"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him... to be honest."

-George W. Bush 3/13/2002 (Less than a year later).


Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Picks For The 2007 Fall TV Season

"Friends are like television. Some are like PBS and always asking for money. Others are like the news, with sad tales to tell everyday, some are like that one station with the foreign language you don't understand a word of it but you listen and watch."


I was thumbing through the new issue TV guide, which begins today, and has all the low down on the new fall schedule. The ins, the outs. I don't know, I guess I have to wonder, is television even trying anymore? It seems as if they have reached way down to hit new lows in "Reality TV." Do you think Kid Nation is really a good idea? Yeah, yeah I know, I am a "reality show" snob. I do have to admit that there has been the occasional "reality" show that has pulled me in. I really enjoyed the summer replacement series, America's Got Talent. Surprised? Well, so was I, but it focused on the talent and not the week to week egos of the contestants, but still came through with good old fashioned back stabbing and infighting by way of the judges, Sharon Osbourne, David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan. Now THAT was laugh out loud funny! Sheesh.

It's frustrating to me that one network (NBC) plans to show the "Drama Series Encore" as filler for some of their time slots. Huh? Have the networks run out of ideas? Repeats, rather new new shows, or even old shows? And what's up with ABC? I finally found myself interested in what happens to the survivors of Oceanic Airways Flight #815, of LOST. It's all very nice to know that the series has a few more seasons coming, but why did they scale it back to just 16 episodes for each of the remaining seasons, and also make us wait until the spring of 2008 to see a new episode? Who will really care by then? I am not really looking forward to it seeing it anymore. Sigh. And damn... just when I thought it was getting interesting.

Still, as I thumbed through the guide, I did see a number of new shows that I think are at least worth a look see. Cavemen looks funny, but how long can the show survive with such a limited focus? I am intrigued by the remake of the 1970's hit, The Bionic Woman, but I am a purist, I liked the show as it was when saw it the first time around. What if the new Jamie Summers is a nut job or something? I am not sure I am ready for a neurotic Bionic Woman.Tee Hee. But like I said, there are a few shows that have caught my eye. I might even set the DVR for a couple shows, but I am not too sure there is anything that will make me look forward to watching prime-time network TV this season. There are a few open spots, I guess I will watch whatever I decide to put on DVR in those spots.

8:00 - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
8:30 - Aliens In America (The CW)*
9:00 - Two In A Half Men (CBS)
9:30 - Samantha Who? (ABC)*
10:00 - Journeyman (NBC)*

8:00 - Cavemen (ABC)*
8:30 - Carpooler's (ABC)*
9:00 - Reaper (The CW)*
10:00 - Boston Legal

8:00 - Pushing Daisies (ABC)*
9:00 - Private Practice (ABC)*
10:00 - Life (NBC)*

8:00 - My Name Is Earl (NBC)
8:00 - 30 Rock (NBC)
9:00 - Gray's Anatomy (ABC)
10:00 - Big Shots (ABC)*

8:00 - Deal Or No Deal (NBC)
9:00 - Moonlight (CBS)*
10:00 - Men In Trees (ABC)

8:00 - Dateline NBC (NBC)
9:00 -

7:00 - 60 Minutes (CBS)
8:00 - King Of The Hill (FOX)
8:30 - The Simpsons (FOX)
9:00 - Desperate Housewives
10:00 -

Setting the DVR for...

The Bionic Woman (NBC)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Back To You (FOX)
Women's Murder Club (ABC)

So, tell me what you think? Agree? Disagree? Is there any show in particular you are looking forward to? Which one will crash and burn? Which one will still be on ten years from now? Which one will be the biggest surprise, and which one will be the biggest disappointment? Personally, I think Private Practice will do very well, and so will Journeyman and Pushing Daisies. Cavemen will probably last maybe one season, and I don't hold much hope for the new Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton series, Back To You. It's all about a guy and girl who work together, while fighting the sexual attraction between them. Been there done that! Seen it on TV. YAWN!

"It's What's On TV"
Berkeley, California
September 9th, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #182: You're an Animal

"With the qualities of cleanliness, affection, patience, dignity, and courage that cats have, how many of us, I ask you, would be capable of becoming cats?"

-Fernand Mery

Weekend Assignment #182: Compare yourself to the animal whose best-known traits are most like your own personality. Note this isn't "what animal would you like to be?" but is instead "what animal is most like you?" Also, don't be too worried if your identification is not totally biologically exact; listing your similarities based on the general cultural impression of the animal is fine, too. We're not doing science here, after all, we're doing end of the month diversions.

Extra Credit: Would you want to own the animal you identify with?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

I am experiencing a slight case of deja vu with this entry. We did a very similar Weekend Assignment last April. The assignment back then, had to do with being reincarnated and what animal we might come back as. This time, the spirit of the assignment is to describe the type of animal we feel we are most like. I am afraid I am going to have to go with pretty much the same answer I gave back then... the common house cat. :) And it's pretty much for the same reason. All my life I have been described as a cat, especially by the men in my life. Friends, boyfriends, even my husband, all ended up comparing me to a house cat. :) Alan even tells me that I sometimes sleep with my hand tucked under my chin, like our cat Elvis does with his paw. It's true, I do. LOL. I have picked up some of my cat's habits, but in all fairness, he has picked up some of mine as well. But that happens even with humans, we all pick up each other's habits and routines. Right? LOL.

Anyway, cats can be aloof, so can I. Cats can be persuasive, so can I. Cats like to nap, oh boy, so do I. LOL. Cats are somewhat finicky about what they eat, and so am I. Cats enjoy cuddling with the human they love, and so do I. So, while I tease a bit about being a mermaid in a former life, to the point I actually chose ONDINE as part of my screen name, I know I could never really be one, because, well, they aren't real. So, it's the common house cat for me. By the way, the kitty in the above photo is a friend of Elvis's. His name is Cinnamon. Doesn't he have the most gorgeous eyes? They are green... just like mine. :)

Extra Credit: Yes, I would, and do. I suppose Alan and I will always own cats. :)

Berkeley, California
September 8, 2007