Friday, March 28, 2008

Muscles like rocks
If I were a bodybuilder, that comment would be a compliment. But I'm just a wuss with a bad back and that comment is a diagnosis.

Today I had my first session with the physical therapist my acupuncturist recommended. I am hopeful. He's a very nice guy who knows a lot about the ills and pains of an over-stressed body. Everything he said sounded like me. Long-term pain. Muscles so tight you could use them to bang in a nail. Stress that never goes away -- even when there's no reason to be stressed.

I had a 90-minute session where we went over my history and he poked around and found all my sore bits. By the time I left I felt more even (frequently one side feels much tighter than the other) and optimistic about his ability to help. I have another long session scheduled next week.

He has a very common-sense approach to treating this kind of pain. Some hands-on therapy from him, then lessons on how to treat myself at home. Some basic exercises and "homework" on the right way to move, sit, stand, etc., so that I don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I feel really good about this and hope I'm not doomed to disappointment again.

In other news one of my favorite people whose blog I read daily has decided to take a blogging break. Completely understandable with a busy life, two gorgeous children, and a sweet and handsome husband. Not to mention her own interests and responsibilities. I will miss her posts. It's amazing how much we rely on technology to stay up to date with our friends and family. I myself, through this blog, keep my loved ones apprised of what's going on in my world. It's faster than sending out a dozen e-mails every time I end up in the hospital, and it gives me an outlet to just rant when I want. Luckily I will still see her on a regular basis, thanks to our book club, but the daily visits into her life were small gifts in my day that I shall miss.

Oh, and now that we've made reservations for our Grand Tour, I find myself lusting after new luggage. It's the funniest thing. I'm looking online and drooling over super-cool suitcases. Well, I do need 14-days worth of clothes. Wash-and-wear will be my friend since I insist on traveling light.

Have a lovely weekend, dearies. Sunday is Husband's birthday. We're having dinner and going to a concert at the new San Francisco Yoshi's but the day is free. If it's not raining, we may walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, which he's never done and has always wanted to. In case of rain, who knows? The Asian Art Museum, perhaps?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poor little rich man
Larry Elllison must be so proud. According to this story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ellison "has bagged a $3 million tax break after arguing that his flamboyant Japanese-style estate in Woodside is functionally obsolete."

The man is worth $25 billion and he's worried about $3 million? And who really "pays"? The money would "otherwise would have gone to schools, the county general fund and cities, among other things, Deputy Controller Kanchan Charan said. The hit to schools alone will be nearly $1.4 million." Yeah, it's not like our schools could use $1.4 million, is it? As long as Larry's got his $3 million we should all be happy.

The thing that cracks me up (as opposed to pissing me off) is that this estate of his cost $200 million to build because he wanted a 16th century Japanese warlord's country palace. And now he's arguing that his property was over-valued because there is" a finite market for high-end luxury homes, limited appeal for 16th-century Japanese architecture and the "over improvements" and "excessive" landscaping are costly to maintain." A limited appeal for 16th century Japanese architecture? No, I don't believe it.

I absolutely hate these "rich get richer" stories. The many should be giving away at least that on a regular basis to charity but instead he's tying up the courts, haggling over what would be the equivalent of $300 for the rest of us, and smugly going off to buy another ridiculous boat.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Turning the same old pages
What makes a book re-readable? Why are there some books that you can't even get through once and others that you can pick up every few years or so and enjoy every time?

Last night in one of my middle-of-the-night rambles I picked up Dorothy L. Sayers's classic "Have His Carcase," which I've probably read 6 or 7 times -- and started right in. And I'm enjoying it just as much as I always have. Even though it's a mystery and I am completely aware of whodunnit, I'm loving the characters (I'm a sucker for Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane), the setting (a 1930's seaside resort), the crime (body found on a beach) and the wonderful prose. It's incredible how the old familiar favorites can still deliver.

Most of the time I read a book and once is more than enough. But then there are those rare gifts that you can enjoy time and again. Jane Austin. Ms. Sayers. Agatha Christie. Ngaio Marsh. (I know, I'm heavy on the mysteries.) Authors who can get you through even the longest nights (or longest flights) with comfort and joy. Thank heavens for old favorites!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rome, if you want to
Well, it's official. Husband and I have booked our long-planned cruise. Florence,Rome, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Istanbul (not Constantinople), Ephesus, Athens, Athens, back to Rome. We can't wait. Thanks to our fairy godfather for the magic. Now we just countdown to October....which gives me plenty of time to feel guilty about leaving Cipher, the World's Most Amazing Cat Screw You if You Don't Agree (tm) for two weeks. Wahhhh! Whattawegonnado about our kitty?

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's all about hate
Husband and I are long-time supporters of The Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the most under-rated and yet most important organizations in the US. Their cause? Ending hate. Hate in all its forms: racism, Nazism, anti-gay movements -- in short, if it's based in hate due to someone's skin color, religion, politics, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation, or gender -- they're there to fight it.

I urge everyone to read their magazine, The Intelligence Report for a bone-chilling, frequently terrifying reality check. The current issue is entitled "The Year in Hate" and it's a eye-opener for those of us who feel safely cushioned from such things here in the beautifully multi-cultural Bay Area of San Francisco. You'll be stunned at how many klan groups there are (155!) (and yes, even in California. There are 7 in the state.) There are 207 neo-Nazi groups in the country (13 in California). And in the "general hate" category, California has 24 -- including groups that are anti-gay, anti-immigrant, Holocaust deniers, radical traditional Catholic, and others.

Many have seemingly innocent sounding names. One of the Holocaust denier groups is called "the Institute for Historical Review." Sounds harmless enough, doesn't it? One of the anti-immigrant groups goes by the name of "Rescue without Borders," which pisses me off as it steals from the wonderful organization "Doctors Without Borders" and sounds like a relief organization.

Other groups don't even bother to deny their affiliations. In the list of active websites we find such distasteful URLs as "" "" and "" Just typing those leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I think it's important to remember that hate exists. And that organizations like the SPLC also exist, dedicated to making sure that groups like the klan don't win. As part of an interracial couple, I take this kind of hatred personally and refuse to accept it. If you're looking for a great cause to send a check to, you might want to consider the SPLC. In the meantime, teach love.