Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Show me the Bunny!

Saturday, we discovered a little bunny nest in our yard. M. almost hoed it by accident, inspiring my friend C. to say, "Hoe me the bunny!" Sunday morning she was gone, but then she was back on Monday. I took a picture...

Cute, right? Monday night before I went to bed, I looked out the window (I like to pretend I'm a queen, looking at all that I survey) and I saw the neighbor's cat sitting in our yard. "Hey!" I said, "What are you doing?"

She just looked at me.

"What are you doing down there?"

She took off running in circles all over the yard, and I could see a small shadow, running in front of her. I tore out of the bedroom as fast as I could, running down the stairs, out the back door, screaming, "M_! The Bunny! The BUNNY!" In my bare feet and pajamas, I confronted the cat, "Don't you eat my rabbit! Don't eat that bunny, Obi!" (Is it Obi One? I don't know.) Suddenly the tiny bunny made a break for it, running right over my toes and between my legs. I screamed again, like a maniac. I clapped at Obi and waited 'til she jumped over the fence to her own yard. Then I went back to bed.

So, I'm laying in bed, and, I hate to tell you what I heard... a ... meep! and then nothing. Maybe it was... anything but my sweet little rabbit. "Kaya," I said, "What was that?" She just looked at me. We haven't seen the bunny since, but maybe she'll be back.


McCain on Daily Show

Ha! As if to prove my point from yesterday, John McCain went on the Daily Show, and in response to Stewart's direct questions about how the administration accusing any questioning of the president as not supporting the troops, he went ahead pulled the "we must support the troops" angle. Outrageous! (Also he oddly channelled Rumsfeld with the "Is Iraq safe? No. Is the war almost over? No. Am I a douche bag? Yes.") Flip-flopper McCain came off like a massive blow hard, and I'm relieved his numbers are dropping, he doesn't seem to have a chance of making it to the final two. (Hey, you can make a difference by calling 1-800-idol-Obama). All McCain did was show that he's got no ideas, and even admitted that the so-called surge might not work but was at least "a" strategy.

Miss it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Support the Troops

I have long been disgusted with the rhetoric from the Right that if you're against the war, you don't support the troops. It's my contention that the only people who really support the troops are those who actively question the reasoning for this war and continue to call out the administration for their lies. Today, as Jessica Lynch and the family of Pat Tillman took the stand to expose the deliberate misrepresentation of these soldiers experiences, the administrations lies are becoming more and more public, and I find it hard to believe that there's anyone out there who's solidly for the war.

But just in case such a person's out there, the VideoVets Project allows soldiers to tell their stories, and to express their misgivings about the war and their place in it. Most speak of the confusion of their missions, the unknown and unclear enemy. Backed by, the project's goal is as follows:
The administration tries to call anyone who criticizes their policy in Iraq 'anti-troop,' but the interviews below show that 'supporting the troops' does NOT mean supporting an endless war. The voices of these veterans and military families are missing from the debate in Washington. Together we can make sure they become a vital part of the national dialogue around ending the war.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Support Freedom of Choice!

I am, of course, incensed over last week's Supreme Court decision to uphold the federal abortion ban. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the dissenters, wrote, "The Court's opinion tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception protecting a woman's health. ... and the Court's defense of it [the ban] cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court -- and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives. A decision of the character the Court makes today should not have staying power."

If you don't understand what a so-called "partial-birth abortion" (the medical term is dilation and extraction) is, educate yourself. It's a rare type of abortion (less than 1% of all abortions), usually performed on wanted pregnancies because the fetus has abnormalities incompatible with life, is already dead or dying, or because the pregnancy is threatening the life of the woman. Thanks to the Supreme Court's ruling, the difficult decision that should be made only between the woman and her doctor is no longer even an option.

If you're as upset about this issue as I am, urge your members of Congress to support the Freedom of Choice Act, "To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes." And if you're anti-choice, frankly, your opinion is not welcome here. You've got no right to impose yourself on a personal, private decision - no more than these jackasses
(architects of the federal abortion ban)

or these jackasses
(the 5 wealthy men who made a medical decision for 150 million women)

The Rise of Bile

Last night we watched Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj. Normally I wouldn't watch a National Lampoon movie, but it features my crush, Kal Penn. It's full of sophisticated jokes about dog's testicles and girls flashing their boobs. Halfway through, M. said, "How do you like your Kal Penn now?" Not as much, I must admit. I've read some interviews where he said he hates being in the position of putting on an Indian accent - I guess he makes up for it here by doing the worst one imaginable.

We had a fun weekend, mucking about in our yard, making two trips to the H'Depot, M. grilled a killer Thai thing, and we hung out with friends a lot.

Love this short video:

Friday, April 20, 2007

Green Pastures

Here's M. mowing our yard for the first time. I gave it a short whirl too, probably the first time I've mowed in at least 15 years. The only other time I gave it a crack, my lawn-obsessed father followed behind me pointing out all the ways I had mis-mowed. I left the mower in the middle of the yard, proclaiming I'd Never Mow Again! Wouldn't you know a certain husband had the nerve to criticize one's mowing, as I began running around in circles with the mower. Ba! Ba! Bah! I said. We create our OWN traditions!
Check out our motorless mower! I'm so proud of it! Luckily, our yard's not so huge, so it's very easy to mow with this little guy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Our Kitchen, before and after

Here's our kitchen before:

and here's an after!

Another before, looking right:

and after:

I'm so proud of the way it came out! The cabinets look so great in white with my dream-stainless steel knobs and pulls on the drawers. The green is really bright, and, as usual, doesn't really come out in these photographs like it does in person. It's the kind of color that might incline a person to say "This color really POPS!" just like they do on the design shows, even if such a person is not usually inclined to say such things. Like M.. Eventually we hope to get granite countertops and maybe a new range, but for now we're really happy with the way it is.

Coming soon: Our Living Room!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring, please

I posted on my long-ignored book blog yesterday. It's been a while because I've been reading only one book all year - Middlemarch. I'm loving it, but it's kind of frustrating, because usually I read much more quickly. I've just been really busy lately and haven't had that much time to read.

Relieved to look out the window and see blue sky - snow is melted and it's a balmy 42 degrees or so. Maybe now we can look forward to spring?

Might see the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie tonight. M. had audacity to suggest that we have not seen any movies in the theatre that he wanted to see. HA! I told him he owed me one proverbial Lake House.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I used to live in California, you know.

I suppose all over Chicago this morning, people were looking out their windows and shouting the same thing as me: Holy Shhhhhhhit! Beyond snow - more like sludge pouring down from the heavens. Thick, rainy, cold sludge, the size of marbles. Stuck to my clothes, soaked my pants, blew my hat off. I used to live in California, you know. Ah, I had it made. I used to walk outside in the middle of April, and there was no snow. Sure, it was 60 degrees in July in San Francisco, but we LIKED it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roger and Me

Tonight I watched Michael Moore's Roger and Me. I didn't realize Moore and I had so much in common - born in the Midwest, children of GM employees and UAW members. He even lived in SF for a while too. Of course, I like to think I'm not a ham-handed douche bag... Roger and Me (1989) is amusing for its interviews with with one celebrity or politician after another who refuse to feel pity or provide real solutions for the thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result of the massive layoffs in the 80s. I think, as usual, Moore missed the point, which, as I see it, is the question of how much responsibility corporations should have for their employees, and what obligations corporations should have toward local communities. Sure, the interviews of wealthy people on golf courses heartlessly saying the unemployeed people of Flint should just "get jobs" or "do something" are ridiculous, but why is it their responsibility to come up with answers?

I grew up hearing about GM's expansion to Mexico and the challenges faced by unions. My dad has a refrain that to corporations "you're just a number", which, generally, is pretty true. He's nevertheless fiercely loyal to American car companies, and even told me, after we bought a Toyota, that he questioned whether he had "brought me up right." I was laid off myself, in the tech bust of the late 90s. I guess the difference between San Francisco and Flint, MI is that one corporation didn't dominate the work force in SF like GM did Flint. I think most towns are too easily falling for the promises of corporations - Walmart comes to mind immediately - they're notorious for destroying communities while demanding taxes cuts and environmental concessions. Well, don't get me started on Walmart... But seriously, I think what's needed is a change in perception - large companies and corporations act like they're doing communities a favor when they move in, but they should really have to continually have to prove their worth.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter Crafts

I made this little bunny for my young friend. I was inspired by Martha - she has directions for super-cute felt stuffed animals. So, I had in mind to make a simplified rabbit of my own design - but then I saw some adorable bunnies on a craft site by Betz White and made one of them, with some modifications.

Lo, did I find myself in the Salvation Army, looking for wool sweaters. Threw it in the washer, then the dryer, drew a template, cut everything out, sewed it together - realized I didn't have any stuffing, decided I couldn't wait to finish it and then ripped open a pillow for its fluffy insides.

Seriously, is that the cutest thing you've ever seen?

We had a lovely brunch with a (if I do say so myself) killer menu:
Spinach and sun-dried tomato frittata
Roasted Potatoes
Caramelized Onion tartlets
Mini carrot muffins
Deviled eggs

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter weekend

I was just sitting in my living room when I heard a drum sound outside. I looked out the window and there was a Good Friday processional going down the street, complete with a Jesus, Romans, a very large cross and what looked like about 100 people. Good Friday, is, of course, a very dark holiday that I am not fond of. When I was a kid, my parents used to take us to church and we'd sit through a sermon detailing the more agonizing moments of the crucifiction, then they'd turn off all the lights, and we were instructed to leave the church in silence and spend the rest of the night thinking about what we'd done in a cosmic sort of way. That can be some pretty heavy stuff for a kid.

This weekend we're having an Easter Brunch with some friends. My little one year old friend likes the baby sign for bunny, conveniently, so I'm sure we'll be communicating about that.

Here's an old Easter pic of (left to right) my brother, me, K.M., little J.T., and my sister. I've been trying to remember why we're all so grouchy, but I can't. (Maybe we're upset about being put through the Lutheran Ringer all weekend! Or, maybe we're just sugar-crashing after eating from our Easter Baskets.) BTW, my mom made that dress for me, and I LOVED it! Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Strange Day in Chicago

I thought the snow was the strangest thing to happen today, but I just checked the Trib, and it turns out there was a coyote in the Loop. Apparently he just wandered into a Quiznos (of all places) and plopped down in a beverage cooler (it's cold outside, so he choose a cold spot inside?) Normally stories like that make me unbelievably sad - animals getting forced out of their natural habitats by urban sprawl - but at least this has a happy ending - the animal was safely captured and transported to the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation refuge. I'm trying to look on the bright side, about how this coyote maneuvered the Loop, hung out with some people in a shop without anyone freaking out (apparently a few people were in there eating lunch and they just kept on eating) and then found a home again. Coyotes are really remarkable creatures. I learned a lot about them in some fiction book I read once. I think it was That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx, but maybe I'm remembering incorrectly (anyone?)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Strange Little Girl

I'm excited about Tori Amos's new album, which is "dropping" on May 1. There's a single on her myspace: Big Wheel, and it's hot. There's also a "message" from Amos, which encourages fans to look for the blogs by her various alter-egos who sing on the new album. It seems fairly clear that she is completely insane. I'll avoid spoilers and let you "hunt" for the "posse" blogs yourself, if you're so inclined.

In other music news, strike me down if I didn't watch an entire American Idol tonight - I'm a fan of one Miss Doolittle. I think I'm going to go back to my old method of youtubing her, rather than suffer through the injustices of the others. I recently found out about this Vote for the Worst business. I can't decide if that's hilarious or what. I mean, what if something happens to Doolittle?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Jagged Little Hump

Yeow! Who knew Alanis Morissette had a great sense of humor? I wonder if this is the first step in the Weird Al Yankovicization of her career. I love how when she sings, "Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?" it's like an existential question.

I feel ya

OMG, this is the most hilarious article I've ever read:
Teen Star Feels Pressure to be Thin

This astute comment and photo was on (BREAKING NEWS!):
Teen star Hilary Duff says she feels pressure to be thin, but has never had a problem with her weight.

Really, Hilary? I feel pressure to be thin too.

1st Installment: What's In My Garden?

I spent my first day mucking about in the garden - the previous owner planted a ton of perennials and the yard is just FULL of ... stuff. I have no idea what half of it is. Crocuses I recognize - and my mom's fave - Hens and Chicks.

I met a few elderly neighbors who were very nice but immediately chastised me for having neither a dog nor a birdbath.

There's a gigantic compost pile, which I tried to move to a less-obtrusive part of the yard. My friend C. had a nightmare that it rose up like the Swamp Thing and tried to attack her. I moved about half of it, and learned a few lessons:

1. Yard work is really hard
2. Crocs aren't good shoes to do yard work in
3. I'm gonna need a wheelbarrow

But, it felt great, getting my hands dirty in my very own yard, and I'm really excited about the good times that lay ahead. Hopefully times that will involve more margaritas and less sweat and dirt.

Without further ado, I give you: What's In My Garden? Seriously, I have no idea.

These are very sweet, I love them. That's a limestone sculpture I made in college.

This one is very scary looking. I almost ripped it out of the ground and stomped on it.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Namesake

Recently saw The Namesake with Kal Penn, who I have a big crush on. I read the book (Jhumpa Lahiri) after it came out. Lahiri is an extremely competent writer, but I find her work kind of forgetable - like, while I was watching the movie, it was all new to me. Penn is billed as the lead, but it's really two fabulous Indian actors that steal the show. Irfan Khan and Tabu play Penn's (Gogol Ganguli) parents, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli - in roles that are outrageously sensitive and demanding. Their connection is nearly indescribable, and I really can't think of the last time I've seen two actors form such an emotional bond. They're basically anyone's dream parents, who tolerate their young, somewhat rebellious children through their awkward phases while creating a new live for themselves in the United States. There's a great scene in the movie (and the book) where Ashima slips on Ashoke's shoes before she meets him (their parents arrange a meeting and he's waiting in the other room). Lahiri writes something like she tries on his shoes like she's trying on his life. Literally standing in his shoes, she discerns his character, and has enough confidence and courage to leave her family in India and move with him to NY. While Gogol's going through this awful teenager-period, Ashoke and Ashima patiently wait for him to stop being an asshole, with complete trust that he'll turn out ok. Penn's character goes through this type of transformation - from dorky teenager to (totally hot) post-collegiate architect. Those who avoided the stoner-flick Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle might be surprised by how admirably he handles this "serious" role, but anyone who has seen it knows that movie is a bit more than that-movie-where-Doogie-Howser-does-blow-off-a-chick's-ass.

The Namesake is beautiful in the same what that Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (one of my fave films) was - both movies share themes of the Indian diaspora as well as relations between multiple generations. I'd really recommend it to just about anyone - it's a really, really beautiful film.