Bits and Pieces

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February 2008

a mish-mash of things and a bit of a rant, so if you don’t want to hear it, don’t read.

Good lord.  I just finished doing a couple hours of rewriting and I thought I’d check out the markets for a breather.  Good heavens!  The Dow is down 301 points, even the gold stocks, which doesn’t make sense, because gold is still continuing to rise.  Right now spot price for gold is at $971 (and for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while you know that that is up $97.60 from the quote I gave you of $873.40 on January 8th 2008)  Interesting huh?  Why isn’t gold making front page news?  If you go look at a chart of golds action since, say, 2000, you are going to be astounded by what you see.

Okay, on to something else.  My sofas.  The minute I found out way back in December that my sofas were going to be headed for LA, I forced myself to go shopping, ordered some, and was assured that it would take 7-8 weeks until delivery.  This was on Dec. 22nd.  My sofas and other assorted furniture went out of my front door, via, the moving company on January 9th. 

No big deal.  I told myself.  There are other places to sit in the house.  I’m lucky to even have a house.  So, I don’t have sofas for a few weeks?  So what. 

Well, I still don’t have sofas.  And its been 9 weeks and 5 days.  Not only that.  The beautiful bookcases that I ordered at around the same time were promised to me in 4-6 weeks.  Guess what?  They haven’t arrived as well.  I am tired of chasing the dogs away from that side of the room where all the writing I have ever done in my whole entire life is melding into one big jumbled up mess.  This is taking almost twice as long as they said it was going to be!

Why can’t people do what they promise?  Why do they have to make out like I’m the one who made the mistake, the error, when in fact, I asked them point blank, “How long,” and they told me and I WROTE it down.  Right there, in the store.  Because I needed to know, for my own peace of mind, how long my home would be in disarray.  And then when I call to ask them what is going on?  And why the hold up, they try to make me think I am going crazy.  “Oh we never would have said that.  No, you must have misheard us.”  Excuse me.  Not only did I not mishear you, but when I called LAST week, your husband said that they were going to be delivered this week, and sorry for the delay.

And if they’d told me it was going to be 10 weeks or 12 weeks, then I would know what I was dealing with, and I wouldn’t have been feeling like I was on hold.  Grrrrr…

I’m so glad that I was able to buy most of the other stuff from an second-hand antique store.  Beautiful things, good quality.  I try to go that route as much as possible because it is better for the environment, and thank goodness, because I had arranged to have them delivered that furniture on January 10th so we’ve had a table and chairs, thank god!  Try blowing out birthday candles, on the kitchen floor, with two dogs galloping around.  It wouldn’t have been fun. 

Okay, my furniture rant is done.  Time to go have some candy.

blogging chagrin

Okay, so Wednesday, I wrote that I was going to try to not inundate you with lengthy blogs.  That I was going to try to blog a little shorter.  Thursday morning I kicked off with a blog that wasn’t as long, perhaps, as the two previous days, but, as my husband so kindly pointed out, it wasn’t exactly short either. 

“Never mind,” I said breezily.  “It only seems long, because I inserted those two pieces of those other articles.  I actually didn’t write that much.” 

And then I got the…ahem….Jenny phone call. 

Okay, I have no excuse.  I got carried away with the excitement of the moment.  I blogged a little more than perhaps was necessary.  And I know you will find this hard to believe, but that was me being restrained!  If I had blogged as much as I wanted, while all the poker drama was going on…well, we don’t even want to go there.

So, I’m giving you a breather, a short blog today. 

Unless, of course, something else really exciting happens, and then all bets are off!


somebody made a mistake

I just talked to Jenny on the phone, what I read posted on that website was wrong.  Jenny didn’t break James Woods record today.  She broke it two years ago when she came in 15th at the Borgata Open. 

That’s all folks.  My sister rocks.  Nite.

Jenny’s out

Thanks to everyone who was sending good thoughts Jenny’s way.  She walks away in-the-money (I hope I said that right.  I’m pretty sure it’s a poker term for when you actually make money)  She was taken out by Phil Hellmuth, dumb b______d!  Actually, I’ve never met the man, and dumb probably isn’t the right descriptive phrase, however I’m using it, because he knocked my sister out. 

I’m going to post what they said on

The crowd applauds as Jennifer Tilly is eliminated in 12th place, earning $61,610.
Jennifer Tilly is now the highest-finishing Oscar-nominated actor in an open WPT event. Oscar nominee James Woods finished in 24th place here two years ago.

Way to go, Jenny.  I still can’t believe you played five straight days of poker, beating out scores of other professional poker players.  You played great.  Dad would be real proud.

She’s still playing

Dumb ol’ Theo Tran had a stupid full house!  But never mind, Jenny’s still in the game.  She’s gone all in several times and has been steadily rebuilding her chip pile.  Everybody concentrate, because it would be so awesome if she got to the final table!

Tilly takes the pot!

There are 14 players left.  The players came back after break to Increased blinds of 12 - 24,000 (gulp) with a 4,000 ante.  Jenny takes hand 28 and hand 33.  She now has 841,000.  Wheeeee!

Yay!  It’s working…keep up the good thoughts!

Jenny came into today with 450,000 in chips and now she’s at 710,000.  Keep the supportive good thoughts flowing her way.  GO JENNY GO!  xo

another one bites the dust

Another person is eliminated from Jenny’s table.  There are two tables playing.  Jenny is the only woman left standing.  She is short stacked.  Here’s me, sending her good thoughts.  Go, Jenny, go!

Oh Yikes!

I just clicked on all those links and Jenny’s still in.  Brian Taylor is out and gets a $48,840.  Phew, I thought.  She’s still in.  But then I saw “The blinds have jumped up to 10,000-20,000 with a 3,000 ante,” and my stomach lurched.  I could never do what Jenny does.  I’m not even there.  I’m not even playing and my nerves are all tied up in knots! 

I try to think of Jenny playing with pretty colored chips, not money.  I think that must be why they do the whole chip thing rather than having to set down actual bills.  I could never do it.  I suck at poker. 

Good luck, Jenny!  I’ve got everything crossed, fingers, toes, legs.  xo

Poker Good Thoughts are needed!

I just got off the phone with my sister Jenny.  She is driving, as I type to The LA Poker Classic.  She has done very well, but is short-stacked and going into the final day.  732 players have been knocked out and she is one of the final 18!  This thing starts at 12:30 p.m.  In half an hour and she needs our help.  So, everybody if you have a couple spare minutes on your hands, if you could send good wishes and good energy her way it would be greatly appreciated.  She’d really like to make it to the final table and was hoping if we all help, that maybe things will go her way. 

She gave me the information in case anyone wants to follow the play. 

Go to:
click on Tournaments
click on LA Poker Classic
click on Live Updates

GO JENNIFER!!!! xxoo


This is a quote from an article I read this morning.  It was written by Jennifer Aversa,( AP Economics Writer,) about the Fed, Ben Bernanke latest statement and the possible/probable interest rate cut expected March 18th. 

“The Fed forecasts that inflation will moderate this year compared with last year. But the Fed’s recently revised inflation projection of an increase between 2.1 percent and 2.4 percent is higher than its old forecast from the fall.

Bernanke said there are “slightly greater upside risks” that inflation could turn out to be higher than the Fed currently anticipates, given the recent run-up in energy and food prices.”

I read this article and I thought, yeah…they’ve increased the inflation projection all the way up to 2.1% and 2.4%.  So, the Fed is copping to the fact that inflation is increasing, but I think they are off a little bit with the numbers. 

Let me share with you some numbers that Richard Russell, of the Dow Theory Letters, put out last Thursday in his Daily Remarks.

“With the big stock averages milling around above their January lows and with the cost of living surging, the word now is “stagflation”—the economy going nowhere while prices are rising. This is one of the worst situations for the poor consumer.

As for rising prices, below is a list of a few key items and their appreciation so far in 2008.

Heating oil up 4.2%.
Natural gas up 19.9%.
Unleaded gas up 4.4%.

Aluminum up 10.6%.
Copper up 22.4%.
Gold up 11.9%.
Silver up 10.9%.
Platinum up 29.9%.

Coffee up 14.0%
Corn up 14.9%
Wheat up 15.3%
Soy Beans up 16.6%.

Ben S. Bernanke and the Feds will have to decide—should they save the dollar and fight inflation? Or should they save the big banks and try to save the economy—and forget about the dollar. Gold and silver have already decided—it will be save the banks and the economy.

But what about inflation? Oh well, hope for the best—and continue feeding the public those phony “core inflation” figures”

Moderate?  Ben Bernanke and the Feds think inflation will moderate?  Doesn’t look that way to me.  Not to mention, gold and silver have gone crazy since last Thursday when Richard Russell posted these remarks.  And the increases that Richard Russell is talking about is just the increases that have occurred in the last two months.  I don’t want to even contemplate how much more the cost of a cup of coffee, a loaf of bread, a tank of gas is going to cost us by the time we finish out this year. 


I skimmed back, my dear bloggers over the last few days and I realized that my latest blogs have been inordinately long.  This is what happens when one is procrastinating, and dragging ones heels with the re-write.  LONG BLOGS.  I appreciate you slogging through all my meanderings.  And I promise, I shall try to contain myself better.  Corral my mind in.  Blog a little shorter.  Work on my manuscript for a little longer.  Be more like a proper blogger/writer.

We shall see how long these good intentions last.  We shall see. 


I know I said I’d blog about music, but I don’t feel like it.  I’m not sure why I even thought it would be a good idea yesterday.  Recipes?  Yes.  My children?  Yes.  Writing?  Sort of/sometimes.  My excellent husband?  Yes.

Music?  Are you kidding me!  I don’t know ANYTHING about modern day music.  All I know is if I like it, or if I want to turn it off. 

So what is music to me? 

We had all the Beatles records when we were little. We had the black and white pictures from the white album stuck on the wall over the arched doorway in the Hayfork house.  Jenny was going to marry Paul,(even though he was walking barefoot on the crosswalk and EVERYBODY knew that that meant he was dead.)  Suzanne was going to marry John, I was going to marry George and Becky was going to marry Ringo.  We had it all worked out.  We knew all the words to all the songs and when ever we got a new record we’d play it over and over and over singing our heads off and dancing until we had no more breath in our lungs.  I remember this crazy (and what I thought was an incredibly risque) dance I made up for Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.  I thought he was talking about being on a long road trip and needing to go to the bathroom and there aren’t any bathrooms about so he trying to talk his companion into doing the practical thing. 

As an adult, I realize that perhaps my interpretation was a little flawed.  I remember one old boyfriend being in fits of laughter, because I thought that the words to this one particular Beatles song was, “And Elaine is in my ears and in my eyes…” I thought it was a love song.  Apparently not.  It was quite a crushing blow as “Elaine” was one of my very favorite love songs the Beatles ever did.  And then to find out at the sorry age of 28 that it is just a dumb old street they are singing so soft and soulfully about.  Embarrassing.

Mama taught us quite a few songs from the Gilbert & Sullivan operas.  That was fun.  I liked singing the part of The Lord High Executioner.  I felt proud that I could sing so low and fearsome.  “And I GNASHED my teeth and I DREW from my sheath, my-hi…snickersneeee.  My snickerseee.” (A loud wicked rolling laugh here.)  “Ohho, never shall I forget the cry or the shriek that shrieked he.  As I gnashed my teeth and from my sheath I drew my snickersnee.”  Then I’d leap in to help with the harmonies of the girls parts, singing about “This naughty youth, he speaks the truth…” etc.  Fun, fun fun!  Every family should have the chance to partake in a little Gilbert & Sullivan every now and then.

Many of my music memories are all tied up with people.  My little sister, Becky for instance.  When Becky would fall in love with a band or a new record (or in the later years a CD)  She would play it over and over and over until it would permeate the walls and the clothes and all the memories of that time.  And when I hear certain songs, all these memories of her and me and my children when they were young come flooding back.

Obviously, I listened to a lot of classical music as a ballet crazed teenager. 

I was in one relationship where there was music all the time.  Beautiful lyrical music, classical music, the Smiths, the Proclaimers, Tom Waites, Irish men who howled out songs with enormous vigor and enthusiasm that sometimes bordered on sounding perhaps a tad like a howling drunken brawl, there was Leonard Cohen (although Becky was the one who first introduced me to Leonard,)  And Van Morrison, and a million more.  And then, that relationship was over.  The music lingered for a while, until the tapes got snarled and the CD’s went astray and my house was left quiet more often than not. 

And just when it was starting to seem too quiet, Emily stepped into the gap.  Her music filling the house like an exotic perfume, this sharing of the sounds that spoke to her.  And that is one of the things I miss so much with her being grown and gone.  Not hearing the day to day music that surrounds her.  I don’t like this IPod invention.  Everybody walking around with these things stuck in their ears. 

I miss the sharing of strangers music, on the street corners, the bus stops, the subways.  It used to be that as I walked, different neighbourhoods would have different flavors, beats, pumping, undulating out of gigantic boomboxes.  People’s arms, legs, feet, moving, shuffling, keeping the beat.  I miss that now.  Cities seem to have lost some of their flavor.  I don’t know what anybody is listening to.

I could go on and on I imagine.  But I ought to do a bit more on the edit of Try And Stop Me, so I’d better sign off.  I just wanted to say that the reason this whole music thing came up was I was planning on talking about the slight panic that I feel when someone asks what kind of music I like.  (That happened at the Northern Voice Conference as well)  I feel like there is a wrong answer and a right one.  A geeky-know-nothing answer and a cool one.  And honestly, I don’t know much about music.  I know people who do.  I know I like listening to the music they like to listen to, and I love it when they mix CD’s for me.  Because not only do I get to listen to good music, but I also get the added pleasure of feeling close to them, knowing that these are songs that bring memories and feelings to them as well. 

Although…I have to say, I love my husband and although he is everything that is perfect and kind…I don’t really like the same music as him.  His music taste is very testosterone driven with guitars doing tricky rifts.  At first it startled me, but now I’m used to it. 

Anyway, the whole reason I was going to talk about music yesterday, was because I got an email from my sister Suzanne and she said she was sending me a mixed CD and it made me feel really happy, because we’ve been separated for so long and I have no idea what kind of music fills her heart and she is sending me some.  How lovely is that.

music…(okay, I’ve just finished the blog and this has nothing to do with music.)

Yesterday, after the panel, a few of us were walking to the pub to get a bite to eat as the caterer had momentarily run out of food and was waiting for more supplies to arrive.  We could have been patient, but there was something about the feeling of grabbing the fate of our own hungry bellies into our hands I suppose.  Whatever it was, we set off. 

One really interesting thing I found out on the walk, that had me lying in bed last night musing, was the fact that some people walk down the same streets as I do and are offered drugs.  ALL the time.  The very same streets as me.  It’s not like you have to go to some other foreign far off land. 

Now, to be fair, apparently one of the code words is smoke.  So, maybe somebody has said that word to me and it didn’t registrar as someone offering me drugs because I would have figured that they were asking me if I could spare a cigarette and since I don’t smoke I’d have nothing to give them.  Who knows.  Maybe people have offered me drugs on the street and I just didn’t realize it.

“Karen,” I asked K.C. do people on the streets offer you drugs?” 

“No,” she said, to my relief, because I don’t want to be the only person in the world who is not offered drugs.  Not that I want them, mind you.  It’s just this was after the whole goody-two shoes drawing childhood incident and I felt like maybe there was some sort of mark tattooed on my forehead and I was the only person who didn’t know it was there.  “They just ask me for directions.  Once I was totally lost, standing in the middle of London and some guy came up and asked me how to get some where.” K.C sighed.  “I guess I just have one of those faces.”

I was offered drugs once when I was a nineteen year old ballet dancer and living in New York.  My girlfriend, Kathy G and I had gone to a disco (this was in the late 70’s.)  I’d just finished dancing with some guy and he said, “Would you like some Coke?”

“Oh, I don’t drink Coke, but a 7’up would be great,”  I said.

He blinked a few times and then went to get it, while my friend almost killed herself laughing. 

“You’re so naive, Meg!” Kathy guffawed.  “He was offering you drugs.”  I didn’t believe her, but later that evening when he pulled out his little silver spoon that he was wearing around a chain on his neck and a packet of white powder I realized Kathy was right.

So, lying in bed, I was thinking about this.  How some people walk down the street and are offered the opportunity to buy drugs all the time and the rest of us have been sallying down these very same streets oblivious.  I bet my kids are offered drugs all the time.  I always wondered how people knew where to go.  But how do the people on the street know who to offer it to?  I guess it’s the same as me being able to spot a good ballet dancer from a mile off.  It’s something in the way they move, the shape of the muscles, the lift of the head. 

“Don,” I said.  “Do people offer you drugs when you walk down the street?” 

“No,” he said. 

“Did they used to?”

“Only in New York,” Don replied. 

So, this morning, my son Will comes into the kitchen.  “Um..yum…” he says, because I’m taking a nice fresh batch of delicious sticky pecan cinnamon buns out of the oven. 

“Will, when you walk down the street, do people offer you drugs?”  He gets that slightly trapped look in his eyes, like, where is this conversation leading?  Because anyone who has lived with me for a while knows that my conversations can and do go anywhere. 

I tell him about yesterday, walking to the pub.  I tell him about my late night musings.  I tell him I’ve already asked a bunch of other people.  He looks relieved, that it’s just overall curiosity and I’m not targeting him specifically.  “Yeah,” he says.  “In London.”  He notices the shocked look I’ve tried to cover, and smiles.  “They aren’t aggressive or anything, Mom.  They just say, smoke.  It no big deal.”

David’s sleeping over with a friend.  They are going to go mountain biking today.  I’m going to ask him if this kind of thing happens to him when he wakes up.

Hmmm…I was going to blog about music today.  But I suppose that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I’m off to make some scrambled eggs to go with my delicious cinnamon buns.  I’ll give you the very good and simple recipe in the next couple of days.



Northern Voice

I went to my first Blog Conference today.  It was fun.  I felt like I had stepped into an alternate universe.  Everybody was packing portable laptops, and using them.  All over the place, on seats in the hall, during the opening speaker’s lecture, when the speaker paused for breath, K.C. Dyer leaned over to me and whispered, “Listen.”  I listened and I got the biggest smile on my face.  It was the tapping of a million fingers skipping across their keyboards, writing god-knows-what. 

And even though I only understood around 1/4 of the words that came out of the speakers mouth, that 1/4 was sort of fun, and it was a fun feeling.  Like I was a little kid playing dress up and somehow I passed for the real thing.  I mean, I am a blogger, but I’m a blogger by default.  I don’t know ANY of the lingo.  I don’t know what software I’m using.  I don’t know what streaming is or if I’d like to do it.  I DID know enough to laugh at the joke about pooh.  So that’s something. 

After the Keynote speaker it was a coffee break, so K.C. and I went down the street and bought ourselves some hot chocolate and chocolate and caramel covered pretzels because we could.  Then we went to the “Why I slowed down blogging and started drawing on walls”  BIG MISTAKE! 

It wasn’t the speakers fault.  She was quite interesting, an engaging speaker, it was the second part of the session.  The I’m-going-to-throw-something-out-there-and-you-draw-it-be-fearless.  The topic she threw out was ice cream.  How innocuous is that?  A light happy subject right?  Who could have a problem with ice cream?


However, a coward I am not.  I would be fearless, even though my drawing skills royally suck.  I would not censor myself.  I would draw what came to mind.

Unfortunately, what came to mind was not what I’d call a happy memory.  It was a stick drawing of my mother holding out a bowl of ice cream, with a smile and a dialogue bubble coming out of her mouth, “Meg gets ice cream because she’s good.”  Then I drew a little tiny stick figure of me sitting at a stick table and a bubble coming out of my mouth saying “I hate having to eat ice cream.”  And crowding around behind me were the floating heads of my brothers and sisters with a bubble coming out of their collective heads saying “We hate that f___ing goodie two-shoes.”

“Done,” the speaker said, tape your pictures up on the wall.  What?!  I scribble out the “Meg”  I do a thorough job of it.  Then I join the swarms of other people taping their pictures on the wall.  Not only does my scribble feel intensely private, but the skill level of it would make a kindergartner blush.

And I’m not sure what happened next, the speaker said something about, imagining posting these pictures on our blog, I snorted, she heard it, asked who did.  I considered pretending someone else had snorted, but I am a grown-up, so up went my hand, so wouldn’t you know it, she had to know which drawing was mine.  Then she had to read the words, out loud.  Great.  A lot of good it did, scribbling my name off and being anonymous.  She finds something positive to say about it, then moves on, and I’m sitting there, unable to look at anybody.  The minute her back is turned and discussing something else, my childhood floods me and my eyes fill up.  Which is a ridiculous response.  I am 48 years old, I drew a stupid picture, so what.  I had to eat ice cream.  Big deal. 

I will not cry.  I rummage around in coat pocket and unwrap the last of my chocolate pretzel, chew on it.  See Meg, I say.  Life’s good.  You are eating a yummy chocolate pretzel.  How lucky is that.  But the thing is, the chocolate pretzel doesn’t taste good anymore and it’s not helping stop the tears, so I have to make my way around two sets of knees to the get to the aisle and then keep my head down as I sneak out of the room. 

Dammit all!  I’m supposed to be on the From Book to Blog or Blog to Book panel in a couple of minutes.  I sit in the ladies room and blow my nose.  Force my stupid-bad-timing eyes to stop their stupid-soppy-slopping and then use my information sheet to fan the redness from my face.  I can hear the bathroom fill up with the other participants of the workshops.  Damn.  It must be time.  I fan more desperately.  Breathe.  Breathe some more and then flush the toilet, like I was doing real bathroom business in there and exit the stall. 

I take a quick glance in the mirror on the way out.  Not that I could do anything about it, but luckily, other than my slightly red nose, my face isn’t too bad.  And my shakiness is gone.

Our talk is fun.  I actually have a blast.  It’s nice when there are five other people on the panel because you share the load.  Robert Wiersema is VERY funny.

Anyway, that was my day.  Will bought himself a new drum kit, so he is rocking up a storm in the basement.  Dinner was tasty, the dogs are sleepy.  And I have no more public appearances until March 21.  Bliss.

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