Wednesday, March 28, 2007


How to send someone with an anxiety disorder completely around the bend: Tell this person, "The thing you fear most you will create."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Free Parking

The Chronicle has a story today about the rampant cheating that goes on with parking placards in California. Apparently, not everyone with a blue free parking permit has a legitimate disability! IMAGINE! In a city widely known for its lack of parking, people are cheating. One in 16 California residents has a parking placard. What this means is that people with actual disabilities that impair mobility can't get parking when they need it. Further, because everybody in my town knows there are huge numbers of cheaters, we subject people with disabilities to a level of scrutiny (and mistrust) they frankly do not need or deserve. What a mess. From the article:

But last year, the DMV -- after its annual check of state death records -- canceled 25,352 permits after determining that the people to whom they were issued had died. Caregivers or relatives of the deceased are supposed to surrender placards.

"Annual check"?? Supposedly cities in California are stepping up enforcement. Sadly (but predictably) it was the hit to parking meter revenue that got the bureaucrats off their fannies, not concern for people with disabilities.

I think I'd like my next career to be Placard Enforcer. I wonder if they give you a badge. What do you think of a TV show based on this fantasy career? Maybe "CSI: Parking Enforcement" or "Law and Order: Cheater Unit."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vegan Sunday Dinner, March 25

It was misty and cool today. The kind of day that's perfect for staying inside, drinking tea and reading. A day that called for comfort food. I made a veggie pot pie with whole wheat crust. I wish I could give you a recipe, but it was a little-of-this, little-of-that deal. Lots of crimini mushrooms, carrots, potato, onion, garlic, celery, broccoli, gravy (with mushroom broth, tamari, miso, nutritional yeast, a little corn starch, stuff...). It was good. On the side, some roasted fennel. The co-op had some gorgeous fennel AND beautiful spring red onions this week -- who could resist? I roasted them together with a little balsamic, olive oil, brown sugar and salt. Yummy.

For dessert there was an improvised apple-raisin upside-down cake. I used a basic vegan cake recipe on top of thinly sliced apples, raisins, a little vegan margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, with about a tablespoon of maple syrup. It was good but needs a little tinkering to achieve dessert perfection. A mug of ginger tea topped it off nicely on this chilly evening.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Excuse Me?

I've been dreaming lately of moving to Eugene, where houses are still relatively cheap, the political climate suits us and we'd be closer to family (but not TOO close). Most importantly we'd be back in our beloved Northwest. So occasionally I take little breaks during the day to look at house ads and sigh. This one, however? Thanks but no thanks. I like my privacy in the bathroom.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Compassion of the Easy Kind

Today my homeless friend Mr. Shirthead Man (whose nickname gives you a clue about his headgear of choice) stopped me on my way out of the BART tunnel. He told me somebody had stolen his shoes while he was sleeping on the street. He asked me for money. He never asks unless he really needs it -- he knows I'll give him money when I have some to spare. He sells this paper for money and he's one of the hardest working homeless guys I know. He was in his stocking feet. After a brief conversation about the lack of respect shown by young people nowadays, and some reminiscing about kinder, gentler times on the San Francisco streets, I gave him some money and wished him well.

Halfway to my office, it dawned on me I could have asked him his size, walked a few blocks to Goodwill and bought him a new pair of shoes. This is what I would have done for any other friend in such dire need. What, I wondered, stopped me from thinking of this while I was talking to Mr. Shirthead Man? I imagined him walking to Goodwill in his socks.

Do I just go around dispensing compassion in amounts I think are appropriate, like some kind of goody-goody demi-god? Waiting for the gratitude? Am I afraid that giving too much away will leave me without enough for somebody else later? Am I fearful of being taken advantage of? Or do I really do what needs doing? I wish I had acted better. I hope I have another chance.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Template! Oops!

I'm not entirely sure I love the new look. Feel free to comment. Also, did you know that when Blogger tells you "Your old template will be completely lost when you click the button below" they actually MEAN it? And that means you'll lose all your LINKS? And you'll have to spend about an hour reassembling them and then doing it all over again because you don't like their placement?? Did you? Well, now you do.

If I forgot to link you and you want to be linked, or if I never linked you before and you've been wondering why, let me know and I'll put you over there on that list.

No Sunday Dinner feature this week. We're going out (after a trip to Costco! WOOHOO!). Dinner will therefore look something like this:

Followed by something with vegetables.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Joy of Joys! Liz Returns!

I've been missing (and worrying about) a favorite blogger of mine for months and months, ever since she got cancer and quit her blog at Granny Vibe. Turns out, she's been blogging since November! And nobody told me! You can find Liz's new home here. She rocks.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Bush Administration Cares About Aging (Laughter)

The Summit on Global Aging (which I realize sounds like the aging of the planet but in fact has to do with the aging of people on the planet) convened today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made brief remarks which you can read here. Here's my favorite part:

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you at today’s Summit on Global Aging. The event has served to sharpen two key points in all of our minds. First, despite our best efforts to ignore it, none of us are getting any younger and I want to thank everybody for reminding me of that. (Laughter.)

In other words, "HA! HA HA! I'm at a big important conference on aging! Telling funny funny jokes about getting older! While representing an administration that is working day and night to decimate medical and economic safety nets for aging Americans and those with disabilities! I slay me!"

Yeah. Haha.


Thanks to Em for this fun! My first try (with another picture) netted too many men (including Elton John and Elvis Costello). I like this one better.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Netflix Queue Doesn't Look So Bad After All

When compared to The Worst of the Worst, in fact, it looks pretty darned good!

Okay, I might have seen a couple of the worst 100. Maybe even three. Thing is, they were awful. I can't really be expected to remember them all.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday Dinner Again

Yeah, yeah, I know. But we were supposed to have this dinner last night. Instead, we went to the movies and then had dinner at one of my favorite Chinese places. I had General Tso's (faux) Chicken. And veggie potstickers. So good.

Anyhow, I had these ingredients on hand and the bean sprouts weren't getting any younger, so I figured I'd just switch days. Big mistake. I made "Brooklyn Pad Thai" from the recipe of a friend's secret girlfriend. Very complicated and time-consuming for a weeknight dinner. Also? Too may pots and pans and dishes. Which makes The Dishmeister a teeny bit cranky. The meal was okay, not great. Too much vinegar and red pepper for my taste. Maybe in Brooklyn they make their Pad Thai differently? What do New Yorkers know from Thai food, anyway? It's probably not something I'll make again -- at least not without some tinkering.

Looks pretty though, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

What I Did Last Week

I knew somebody was going to be sorry once I learned how to download photos to the blog. Looks like "somebody" is, well, you. Avert your eyes if you're squeamish. Or if unshaven legs give you the heebie jeebies.

Here's my leg all bandaged up:

Here's my leg two days later after the bandages came off (shortly before I waited an hour and a half at the surgeon's office for my follow-up appointment!):

Moral: Stop crossing your legs, get plenty of exercise, keep a healthy weight and if you have a family history of varicose veins, watch those legs and find a good vascular surgeon. Just in case none of that other stuff works.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Since some people refuse to food-blog, I see it's up to me to pick up the slack. Tonight's dinner emphasized the comfort food. (Because I'm having a teensy "procedure" tomorrow, about which you should not worry. Seriously.) There was honey-mustard tempeh (Deborah Madison) and braised collard greens (ditto), together with mashed mixed root vegetables, the idea for which was planted as a seed by the lovely Bomboniera! Weeks ago! Germinating away in my brain until tonight. I used Yukon Gold taters, turnips, celery root and parsnips, with a little garlic and onion for flavor. And of course some non-dairy "milk" and "butter," salt and pepper. So, so delish.

Dessert was this great cake, which is easy-peasy and which makes use of over-ripe bananas. It's vegan, too! You can get the recipe here, but don't be fooled -- that should read "3/4 TEASPOON," not "3/4 CUP," vanilla. And I always use a cup of white and 2/3 cup whole wheat flour. To offset the cup of sugar. Or something. Be sure to serve it warm with a nice cold glass of soy or almond milk. Yum.

I don't claim the label "vegan" because honestly, I haven't earned it. I eat fish once a week, I eat (and love, guiltily) honey, I wear leather. I don't have the patience to research every wine label to see if they are or are not animal-friendly. I am too busy drinking the wine! If a splash of milk makes it into my morning tea, I don't toss it out. I do avoid dairy, however. I stopped eating meat (except for the aforementioned fish) over two years ago and (mostly) quit dairy last summer. I'm down about 20 pounds, my energy and health are amazing, and bonus! The spouse's cholesterol levels are down to a level that finally stopped his family doc from threatening him with meds at his annual check-ups! Woot! Hey. I think he just went into the kitchen for a second piece of that cake...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Know Your Elders

Very interesting set of quizzes, over at Senior Journal. Sixteen of them, actually. So you might want to save the link for a day when you have some time to kill, because you'll want to take them all. Maybe Monday. At work.

One true-false question in particular jumped out at me: "Most old workers cannot work as effectively as younger workers." This reminds me I haven't provided any updates on the spouse's age and disability discrimination case against his very very bad former employers. It's still pending, though a settlement might be close. He's being offered something far less than what is fair, but he's tired and we're both ready to move on. The latest offer structures the pay-out as wages -- meaning all employee withholding, FICA and etc. will be deducted. This is just another example of the ways these guys screw with him. This employer, by the way, is a nonprofit. In the health care field. We have a question in to his attorney regarding my responsibilities vis a vis the "non-disclosure agreement" the spouse is being asked to sign. If I am not bound by it, watch this space for sordid details! (Maybe I'm kidding. Am I kidding? Not really sure.)

If you think age discrimination on the job can't happen to you, think again. After this happened to the spouse, we heard multiple stories of shocking and blatant discrimination of older workers. As we boomers move into the 60+ category, look for this kind of discrimination to be commonplace. Simply put, younger workers are cheaper. It's all about the bottom line, after all.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Very Important Case

Read about it here.

From the story:

Sally Herriot likes where she lives and doesn't want to move.

At 88, Herriot uses a walker, needs help getting dressed and is having problems with her eyes. Still, she knows what she wants. She regularly attends the San Francisco Opera, reads the Economist and says that with the help of her own round-the-clock aides, she has everything she needs in her one-bedroom Palo Alto apartment.

But Channing House, the retirement home where Herriot lives, disagrees, and officials there have told Herriot she must move from her spacious apartment into a much smaller, assisted-living unit at the home where they believe she will be better served by a trained nursing staff.

Herriot is fighting back.


Herriot says she's not planning to go anywhere soon.

"I wish we could sweep it under the rug, but we can't. They would love us to say, 'I give up,' " she said. "It'll be harder than that." Turning to her son, she asks him: "Can you envision me saying, 'I give up?' "

Couple-o' Three Things

1. Dear Bike Rider on Valencia Street: If you are going to ride alongside parked cars, at night, in the rain, having a bike light would be good. Also the wearing of not-black clothes. Calling me the c-word for opening my car door when I couldn't see you? Shows me you have a very unhappy life. You probably always wonder why people treat you so badly. You are unaware of your part in human interactions. (Hint: It's 50% if two of you are involved in the interaction.) Good luck in anger management class. You make me a teeny bit sorry I didn't actually hit you with the car door. Maybe I'll see you in anger management class.

2. Mark Morford can tell you exactly what's been going on at our house. Minus the porn. Good grief. I am in the process of driving every single person I know crazy with my indecision and materialistic ambivalence. Help. Me.

3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROG!!! May it be a year of love, peace and every kind of fulfillment.