Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a sad example of the changing times . . .

The final roll of Kodachrome film was developed in Kansas today. Kodak announced it was discontinuing the iconic film in 2009, after competition from digital cameras caused a large sales decline.  Kodachrome is not easy to process and requires expert handlers.  Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas is the sole remaining commercial developer.  The last film to be developed was shot by the owner, Dwayne Steinle.  Dwayne's Photo has been inundated with requests for developing, many from photographers who had been hoarding the coveted film for years.

Kodachrome film is renowned for its exceptional rendering of color, vivid images and archival longevity. For many years, it was the preferred brand for print media.Created in 1935, it was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in color. Kodachrome was also used for motion pictures. 

Happy Birthday, Dad !

Today would have been my Dad's 73rd birthday.   
Hope someone made angel food cake with caramel frosting for you !  

Monday, December 27, 2010

a display that would make Clark Griswold proud . . .

People living in our neck of the woods are familiar with the Menashe family's yearly Christmas lights display.  This is their 19th year creating the illuminated winter wonderland.  We drove by late Christmas night to take a few photos.  This year's preparations and display were featured on the TLC's show "Invasion of the Christmas Lights".    

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

cocoa and dog cookies . . .

I made cocoa mix this year to give away for holiday gifts.  (thank you, Lisa and  It's a combination of cocoa powder, instant coffee creamer, powdered sugar and instant milk.  Speaking of which, has anyone purchased a box of powdered milk lately ??  I haven't and had no idea it would be $8.00   And the only choice was lowfat.  Blech.  But enough on that sidetrack.....  I had all intentions of making my own marshmallows as well, but time got away from me.  I wanted to dip them in chocolate and some candy cane sprinkles.  I used big store-bought marshmallows instead.  They worked just fine. 

I make ("dip" may actually be a better term) these dog cookies every year.  My guys expect them now. So do their friends.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

thank god the days will start getting longer

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.
On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

How special that this year's winter solstice coincided with a lunar eclipse. 


Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, James !

Our nephew turns 5 today.  He's a little rock star.  (that's a chicken satay in his hand)  
Happy Birthday, James !!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

it's that time of year again . . .

... when I feel like I'm going to implode because I don't have all the Christmas stuff done yet.  It happens every year and I have yet to actually implode.  It's just hard to believe that we are one week away.  Where does the time go ?

My friend came over today and we got a couple different cookies made - gingerbread and cut-outs.  We had fun and it's always nice to double up the efforts.  There's one project to cross off the list ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10th is Human Rights Day

Today marks the 60th annual Human Rights Day, celebrating the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted between January 1947 and December 1948. It aimed to form a basis for human rights all over the world and represented a significant change of direction from events during World War II and the continuing colonialism that was rife in the world at the time. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered as the most translated document in modern history. It is available in more than 360 languages and new translations are still being added.

The UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France, on the December 10, 1948. All states and interested organizations were invited to mark December 10 as Human Rights Day at a UN meeting on December 4, 1950. It was first observed on December 10 that year and has been observed each year on the same date.

From, here are just a few of the most encouraging human rights stories of 2010:

Treaty Outlawing Forced Disappearance: After years of work by human rights activists, a landmark treaty aimed at abolishing forced disappearances will take effect. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, will enter into force on December 23 following its ratification by Iraq. Citing the convention, Amnesty International has called on all countries to end disappearances.

Repeal of Argentina's Dirty War Law: Argentina took a major step toward bringing to justice those responsible for its infamous "Dirty War" of the 1970s, repealing laws that protected military officials from prosecution for crimes committed during this period. Hundreds of perpetrators including ex-General Videla and ex-General Menendez are now imprisoned.

Arrest Warrant for Sudan President: In July, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a second arrest warrant for Sudan's president Omar Al-Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide. Bashir has presided over the genocide in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been murdered, raped and driven from their homes.

British Settlement With Guantanamo Detainees: In November, the British government announced that it had reached a settlement to pay compensation to 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees for the abuses they suffered in U.S. custody. This landmark agreement sent a strong signal that, at least in Great Britain, there will be accountability for the extra-legal measures that flourished at the notorious prison camp.

Cambodian War Crimes Conviction: More than three decades after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the first conviction was handed down for atrocities committed in one of the 20th Century's worst genocides. Comrade Duch, who ran a prison where thousands were tortured and killed, was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Removal of Nuremberg Clause: The American Psychological Association (APA) finally removed the so-called "Nuremberg Defense" from its code of conduct. This clause, which was added in 2002 at the height of the Bush administration's influence, allowed mental health professionals to dispense with professional ethics when they conflicted with "law, regulations, and other governing legal authority."

US Supreme Court Landmark Ruling Against Human Rights Abuses: For the first time, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Samantar v. Yousuf that foreign government officials, who commit atrocities and then avail themselves of the benefits of living in the U.S., are not immune for torture, rape and other war crimes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby Girl has a new home

Baby Girl lived on our porch for the past several months - on a padded chair, under an umbrella.  She had a pretty good cat life there, staying dry and warm while getting fed several times a day.  Along with two other neighborhood cats who show up daily to the Dlubac Soup Kitchen.  When Arctic Blast 2010 hit the Monday before Thanksgiving, I knew she wouldn't survive outside with temps in the upper teens.  So we brought her inside and put her in the laundry room.  To our surprise, she settled in very quickly and used her litter box immediately.  After staying in the room for the week, we felt bad kicking her back out.  She is a sweet kitty and seemed very happy to be inside.  We took her to the vet - tests, shots and a check-up later - she checked out in good health.  And was already fixed.  Even better.  

My cousin and her partner lost their cat of 16 years a few weeks ago and had been thinking about getting another to be a companion for their other cat.  What perfect timing for Baby Girl.  I took her over to their place on Monday and all seems to be going well.  We await a new name as she settles in.  

This is our cat, Brenda.  Her latest obsession is our TV.  She mostly watches the news, particularly the weather and traffic reports.  But this commercial this morning seemed to really peek her interest. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

29 years ago today . . .

. . . I turned 13.  Ahhhhhhhhh - the salad days.  And what a great time it was to be a teenager; 1983.  

Who else shares my birthday ?

Wink Martindale, game show host
Chris Hillman, musician from The Byrds
Marissa Tomei, actress
Jay-Z, rapper
Crazy Horse, Lakota Indian Chief
Lillian Russel, singer and actress
Wassily Kandinsky, Russian abstract painter
Fung Yu-lan, Chinese Philosopher

and one of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges

All December babies born at the hospital where I was delivered came home in one of these:

Friday, December 3, 2010

it's a sad day for Cubs fans . . .

William DeShazer, Chicago Tribune / December 3, 2010 

Ron Santo, a star third baseman of the Chicago Cubs and their longtime broadcaster who became a revered figure for his exploits on the field and his battle against juvenile diabetes, died Thursday in a hospital in Arizona.  He was 70.

Playing for the Cubs from 1960 to 1973, then for a final season with the Chicago White Sox, Santo hit 342 career home runs. He won five Gold Glove awards for fielding every season from 1964 to 1968 and was named an All-Star nine times. Although repeatedly passed over for the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was the leading vote-getter in balloting by a veterans committee in 2008.

The Cubs retired his No. 10 at Wrigley Field in September 2003, and he stood and waved from the radio booth as the crowd cheered.  When the Cubs had first announced they would fly Santo’s number from the left-field foul pole, he told The Associated Press: “There’s nothing more important to me in my life than this happening to me. I’m a Cubbie. I’ll always be a Cubbie.”      (NY Times)

Here's a tidbit of info about Ron that I didn't know: before he became one of the greatest Cubs of all time playing alongside Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins, Santo was a star at Seattle's own Franklin High School.  He was born born Ronald Edward Santo in Seattle on Feb. 25, 1940.  He left Seattle in 1960 to join the Cubs and rarely returned.
Ron Santo in 1958 when he traveled to New York 
for a high school baseball all-star game. ( file)

Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez / September 28, 2003

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1st is World AIDS Day

On December 1st, the global community observes World AIDS Day, to raise awareness of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.  According to a new report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, almost 63 million people have been infected with the HIV since 1981.  And at the end of 2009, some 33.3 million people were living with HIV, including 2.5 million children.

Today, cities around the world will light their most distinctive landmarks (RED). From the Sydney Opera House, to Paris' City Hall & Fountains, from the London Eye, to Cape Town’s Table Mountain, from Niagara Falls, to the Seattle Space Needle - the world will turn red to highlight the day.  A list of those landmarks, including our own Space Needle, participating can be found here.   


Saturday, November 27, 2010

what a great week

We had good friends visit this week for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Despite the arctic blast that crippled this town Monday night and through the week, we had a really great time.  We made it to Pike's Place Market, the Pacific Science Center and even IKEA.  But most of all, we got to spend time with friends we don't get to see very often.  And for that, we were most grateful.  

I think Jake has found himself a new best buddy.  He loves Jack.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Congratulations Felix !

The Seattle Mariner's Felix Hernandez captured the Cy Young Award today, receiving 21 first-place votes and 167 ballot points.  It's the bright light that the team needed, after a dismal season and the recent death of Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Niehaus.  Well deserved, in my opinion.  

"It is a very emotional day for me," said Hernandez in a statement released by the Mariners. "I'm very proud that I was able to accomplish this not only for myself, but for my family, my country and my team. I don't have the words to describe the way I feel."

Way to go, Felix !

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings . . .

We saw Sharon and her band perform in early October at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.  She has a strong, amazing voice and had the crowd on their feet the whole time she was on stage.  I missed her on Conan O'Brien last night, but the video was up on the Team Coco site this morning.  You just have to suffer through the commercial first ...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

35 years ago today . . .

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald freighter in Lake Superior.  

From  The legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald remains the most mysterious and controversial of all shipwreck tales heard around the Great Lakes. Her story is surpassed in books, film and media only by that of the Titanic. Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot inspired popular interest in this vessel with his 1976 ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. Whitefish Point is the site of the Whitefish Point Light Station and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) has conducted three underwater expeditions to the wreck, 1989, 1994, and 1995.

At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society on July 4, 1995. This expedition was conducted jointly with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum as a memorial to her lost crew.

Thanks to my friend Ted for bringing this anniversary to my attention.  I remember playing my mom's Gordon Lightfoot album over and over because of this song.  I would feel remiss if I didn't include it in this post.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

newest collection addition . . .

My mom sent another fantastic addition for my Polaroid camera collection.  

The Electric Eye 900 was Polaroid's first completely automatic exposure controlled shutter with speeds 1/12 sec - 1/600 sec.  In production from 1960 to 1963, its all metal body was covered with dark imitation leather.  It came in a beautiful tan leather case with a flash and a light meter.   What a great score, Mom.  Thanks so much !!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rest in peace, Uncle Mike

Dan's uncle passed away early this morning at his place in Connecticut.  Dan was very close to Uncle Mike and talked to him almost every day.  Most of those conversations were based on whether the Yankees sucked or not (Uncle Mike was a Yankees fan, Dan is NOT). They would joke and laugh and razz each other.  

Uncle Mike was a wonderful man with an extremely generous heart.  We will miss him greatly.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the porch is aglow . . .

I've been scooping and cutting for hours.  Dan wanted no part of my jack o' lantern fest.  It's one of my favorite things about Halloween season.  So I present to you, MY creations.    

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy 20th Anniversary Pearl Jam

It was 20 years ago today that a group of five ambitious, mis-matched artists played their first show at the Off Ramp in Seattle.  And the rest is history. Thanks for 20 years of great music !

Thursday, October 21, 2010

seriously ? ! ?

When I see stupid Hollywood news like this, I become ill.  Really ??  A birthday cake that cost over $1 million ??  Here's the nauseating story:

per     Recession? Not On Kim’s Watch!: Kim Kardashian is reportedly celebrating her 30th birthday with a diamond encrusted cake, estimated to be worth over $1 million dollars! According to Radar Online, the reality star will celebrate her big day at Glo Nightclub in Westbury, New York, on Saturday. The cake, conceived by restaurateur Nino Selimaj, is aiming to break the $1.65 million dollar cake record. No word if the nightclub will have a paramedic on hand in the event that Kim swallows a couple hundred thousand in bling.

When I think of what that money COULD have been spent on ..... I saw a documentary recently about homeless kids in Orange County, CA.  They attend a public school that caters to their specific needs - regardless of where they spend their nights. Like most states, California's state education funding was cut and one of only two teachers for the whole school was laid off.  The cost of her yearly salary ??  $45,000.  That ridiculous cake could have paid for over 22 years of that educator's salary.  The list of possibilities are truly endless ...

Don't choke on any of those diamonds, Kim.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

thank god they're getting out of there !

I was glued to the TV last night as the first Chilean miner was pulled to the surface - and resumed watching early this morning as the 11th miner was freed.   My heart sunk when the initial projected estimate for rescuing the miners was still months away.  The strength, courage and endurance that each exhibited is beyond imaginable. 

The New York Times has a great interactive report of the miners (including bios) already rescued and those yet awaiting their turn in the capsule.  It's nice to put faces to the stories. 

all photos: (AP Photo/Hugo Infante)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I never win anything . . .

I did school Dan in a game of Wii ping pong last night, but I'm talking about winning something with award-type benefits.  I was never a winner with the too-many-to-count raffle tickets I have purchased at various past events - not real lucky with scratch off lottery things - my name's never pulled from the bowl at staff meetings for some goofy morale boosting prize.  But my luck changed today.  I got an email that a calendar I entered in a weekly contest had been chosen for Week 1's winner.  Even better - I get 10 free copies of the calendar as my prize.  Guess what the relatives are getting for Christmas this year ????

Sunday, October 3, 2010

another great read . . .

I picked up a book at the library last week and I have to admit, I completely judged this book by its cover.  Who wouldn't be intrigued by that photo ?  It reminded me of "it's the new Jan Brady" Brady Bunch episode.  The author recounts her childhood, being a white girl growing up in a predominately black neighborhood of South Seattle.   I didn't realize the local ties until I started reading.  Her stories are funny, compelling and heart breaking all at the same time.  I found myself unable to put the book down until I was finished.  I highly recommend !

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

it's National Coffee Day

I sing praises every day to Kaldi the Ethiopian goat herder, whose accidental discovery of coffee centuries ago makes our pre-dawn hours much more pleasant. Legend has it that sometime late in the first millennium, the Abyssinian goat herder noticed a discerned up-tempo to the frolic in his herd as they grazed on the berries of a certain bush. Not wanting his herd to get away from him, adventurous Kaldi sampled the ruby red berries and soon discovered that he too had added a certain hop to his step. Kaldi soon shared his experience with some monks in his community. They experimented by roasting some of the red berries and realized that they were able to be more alert during their all night prayer sessions after sipping a cup of these brewed red berries. From Ethiopia, the coffee beans made their way north to Yemen and eventually became a staple drink in Arabia. Over time, the love for coffee spread throughout Europe and was eventually exported to various colonies around the world. 

A study was recently conducted by Career Builder to determine which professions had the heaviest coffee drinkers.  It included more than 3,600 workers nationwide. Their findings:

1) Nurses
2) Physicians
3) Hotel workers
4) Designers/Architects
5) Financial/Insurance sales representatives
6) Food preparers
7) Engineers
8) Teachers
9) Marketing/Public Relations professionals
10) Scientists
12) Government workers

Saturday, September 25, 2010

our venture this week . . .

... was to the Japanese Garden within the Washington Park Arboretum. The 200+ acre parks sits just south of the University of Washington's campus.  It is jointly managed by UW and the City of Seattle.  The City owns the land and the University owns all of the trees and plants. As far as maintenance and management, the City takes care of the park-like functions (trails, benches, garbage) and the UW Botanic Gardens takes care of the gardens, trees and plant collections. 

The Japanese Garden is at the very southern end of the park. It is a 3.5 acre formal garden designed and constructed under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juki Iida in 1960.        

The koi were HUGE.  The size of my whole arm.  And beautiful in color.  We bought a bag a feed with our admission to lure them within photo distance.