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We salute the Grammy nomination of the late great Dave Van Ronk's final concert album:
". . . and the tin pan bended and the story ended . . ."
DVR Grammy CD
Watch the 47th Grammy's and look for DVR's Wife and Producer, Andrea Vuocolo Vanronk, and our beloved Christine Lavin [who helped edit it]
February 13, 2005 8PM on CBS.

click here

William Valdez is our Son-in-Law Extrodinaire.
You can support our troops via this site, and support William, personally, if you wish. His TFT ID is 1862195
Thank you!

don't recycle bush


Listen to Hober

US Faces of the Fallen:
•US Fatalities in Iraq

•US Fatalities; "Operation Enduring Freedom"

Civilian casualties update
  Monday   April 30   2007

Something good came to my attention via Reason magazine. I saw the headline:
"Disney Legalizes Same-Sex Unions".

At first it may appear too "kitsch" or "campy", but the truth is, when Disney accepts something like this, certainly it's a message that either Americans are finally getting it, or they will soon follow. What is more "American" than Apple Pie, The Flag, and Walt Disney, eh? Way to be Mickey & Mickey, Minnie and Minnie and Goofy and...?, well, methinks no one is ready for that one...!


Disney Legalizes Same-Sex Unions

Real social change doesn't come from Washington.
Jesse Walker | April 9, 2007

Gay couples are now free to buy a Fairy Tale Wedding package at Disneyland, Disney World, or Disney's cruise ships, with "a ceremony setting befitting the dreams of a princess." The Disney properties have long allowed same-sex couples to tie the knot on the premises, but this is the first time those unions are being given official sanction. The Magic Kingdom has thus proved itself more progressive than the motherland, or as progressive as you can be while throwing around the word "fairy."
Meanwhile, the world we live in now is increasingly willing to embrace homosexual unions, even if many Americans—and most states—haven't gotten there yet. For an extra fee, couples buying the Fairy Tale Wedding can hire Mickey and Minnie Mouse to attend as guests, sitting in the audience in formal wear. If Mickey is cool with gay marriage, the rest of the country can't be that far behind.


 01:26 PM - link -    

  Thursday   April 19   2007

Thank you to Gordy for coming across this wonderful video that expresses, on so many levels, the spirit and the pain of my Mom's experience and her generation of proud, strong people. Mille Grazie Ronni too -- I offer you The Zimmers!

Bravo! Brava!

 11:42 PM - link -    

  Wednesday   April 18   2007

It is just so hard to maintain a positive outlook regarding this country's future, and this "domino effect" that is impacting each piece of the hard fought for aka "controversial" rights and laws that were won with hard work so we, the people, could ALL be treated with respect and with privacy.

I just read that the Supreme Court upheld a ban on an abortion procedure procedure? They are getting a toe-hold to cascade and collapse each person's right to make choices regarding their body. A medical procedure is, at a minimum, the FDA's balliwick. How did this docket come before the Justices I've no clue.


More slight of hand, and worse, the Supreme Court Justices had the gall to rule on this procedure, and make it a law issue. Huh?

This continual push to take away an individual's rights, is demoralizing.
These people have no shame.

Bush took advantage of and capitalized on the recent tragedy, the 31 dead in VA Tech, by starting his speech [isn't it a psychotic who can't empathise?] by stating to the grieving, shocked people that [loosely paraphrashing that] 'we must not lose our "right to bear arms"'... what is this path we've found ourselves on?

This is yet another blow to our rights.

I don't know how the religious right /republicans /big business /monied moralists manage to continue to win all the time.

  • How about taking away our right to free speech, and the right to "know" and access the "behind the close door" depositions of our leaders and their motivation and their chain of command, and where they are in the food chain, and who told them to act certain ways, and who did they tell.
  • What about illegal wire tapping?
  • How about imprisioning people without due process, and in places only a privileged few know about?
  • What about our torturing people, and justifying it under a blanket of 9/11 or terrorism or..? Just when is torturing anyone acceptable?
  • And to take a budget with surplus, and create a debt of horrific numbers.
    Working to take our Social Security and Medicare from us, so that only the well off can plan on life after 65, since they can pay for their health out of pocket. And better still, they can take their surplus monies, and parlay it into more money. Not many people are able to do this, living from check to check, and /or know what to do to work our money.
  • First the Prez' insane bait and switch to get us into an undeclared "war" aka conflict aka create /exacerbation of a civil war in Iraq, where we lose our boys and girls for some "secret handshake" with a "wink-wink /nudge-nudge" under the radar agenda.

    • Within this is the VP's financial gains via Halburton as we know, but more bashing of the Dems at the cost of lives by Bush's ego and his very special twisting and destruction of words, yet again, regarding getting monies to our troops, or, better still, be a mensch, and get us the heck out of there before we hurt the Iraqi's any more; demoralizing them, fueling their pure hatred of Americans, and risking our young people's lives. That's our William over there. He needs to come home and spoiled and given a hero's parade. Instead 3 more months with what objective? And for those that have to come home wounded, they come back to rat infested, ill-equipped health care? And, the need for so many men and women to be treated emotionally -- the mind-body connection is so important, more and more we learn this.

The bandaids placed on problems, or worse, finger-pointing, and even the "dipping the duck" by repeating things long and loud enough through the media that it becomes "truth" simply deconstructs my country.

So much damage in ~7 years.

UNCLE! Uncle Sam? Methinks that my voice just isn't loud enough.

One of my personal challenges is that I find it hard to be "listened to", taken seriously, aka "HEARD" by people closest to me, and those that are in a place of power.

I have 3 amazing grand-children, innocents, that are counting on me to make the planet safe for them and secure enough for them to mold and manage for the challanges that will face them.

Evan, Mike and Robyn, I'm sorry I've let the ball drop, and I will work harder to give you a good home, with our rights, on terra firma.

PS I'm also just hearing that there were electric cars, running well, which GM literally destroyed, secretly, every single one of them, and they could, as they were leased not privately owned. Also in June '03, just into the Iraq War, during another "bait and switch", Bush all of a sudden got "ecology religion" by now pushing hydrogen fuel, instead of utilizing our existing, ecologically sound, option of working, 40 mpg at home, or anywhere there is the plug....oh my, oh so twisted.

There is a documentary out there called "Who Killed the Electric Car". I gotta find it, watch it, learn from it. I'm so out of it, I didn't know that Reagan took the Solar Panels off of the White House, or that Carter had even put them on. That's just is just a teeny piece of the truth. Man oh Man it goes deep -- the Saudi's [Bush's pals] in OPEC simultaneously lowered the price of oil; hence the scare, the urgency goes away and out of our consciousness and our media. Oh this truly is painful, ain't it?

"On March 15th 2005, the last EV1 was taken away and destroyed" - an electric car that worked, and worked well. Holy crap. [I am seeing a piece of the documentary on "Democracy Now" and dang, it was even attractive to boot!]

Click here to watch this show aired April 13th 2007

 10:07 AM - link -    

  Friday   April 13   2007

"Huff Puff" we're watching The 10th Kingdom" with Mikey. We're having a sleepover! It was slated for last night, but after our visit with Mom, and her crying her heart out, well, it drained both Gordy and myself, so when we hit home, we phoned Katie, and graciously she rescheduled for tonight. We just were too out of it to be fun for Mike. I'll write more later about Mom. But, for this post...

It's great being with Mike. The Coale's just make amazing kids - what can I say? We picked Mike up from Candi and Gary's and met Katie at Mike's Place to eat, and we had a good time. We were all on the same wave length about seeing "Wild Hogs", but by the time we got home, we (Gordy and I) were wasting away, so Mike agreed to watch The 10th Kingdom instead. It's a truly fun flick.

We set up his room, and made his bed, and in anticipation, Mike made special places for a "table" where we could put our grapes, and pillows to rest against Mom's bureau, and it was so sweet. We hunkered down, and watched a long while, but I started to get sleepy, so here I iz, upstairs, pills taken, and a sleeping one as well, so I can maybe get rest of the restorative kind so we can all be awake and up for a play day with Mike. What a honey he is - I adore him so much.

BTW, speaking of honeys...last night while feeding the catties, I found that Robyn left PaPa and me a note on the chalkboard near the cat dishes -- wow, she's a smart cookie and a love too. I couldn't ask for better grandkids.

Now, we need to meet Evan (again) and find out who he's becoming. What fun that will be, yes?

So, later a letter about the visit to Mom's, and I've lots more posts of interest and note to do, but I'm truly pooped. I haven't really shook it and managed to get any sleep yet with the CPAP. Slow and steady...


 11:07 PM - link -    

  Sunday   April 8   2007

I don't know if I mentioned that I am now a proud owner of a Treadmill?!? Well, I am, and this is so I can maintain exercise, walking at least, no matter the landscape or weather. Gordy and I have been pretty good about using it. This is goodness.

Last night I even "jogged" a bit, and it's kewl, but I will try to stay with the low impact aerobic walking.
Anywho, I decided today to look for that formula for the target heart rate, as I know I'm over it and prolly getting into an aneroebic state -- so I found a very neat website that does the calculating for you. There is also another calculation that determinees a range for your target heart rate which I outlined below:

220 minus times 60% = Lower range of your Target Heart Rate

220 minus times 80% = Upper range of your Target Heart Rate

Just a Service for y'all.

 03:26 PM - link -    

  Thursday   April 5   2007

Photo du jour is from Robyn's visit from CO.

Mike apparently has been growing veggies at home. He dug into the garden and pulled out a carrot for Robyn. [Awwwwwwwww...]

As we were in the car, waiting for Gordy to come out, Mike decided to take a bite -- Horrors! I did not ask them to "mug" at all, but as you can see, Robyn and Mike are great actors and natural camera hams. Thus the drama is captured sans thousand words, but in 1/60th of a second, to be enjoyed by all!

24 caret?!?
I love these kids SO amazingly much!!!


 12:01 AM - link -    

  Wednesday   April 4   2007

While looking up for data on Zelnorm recall two things of note appeared on my screen.

1. The majority of sites that came up on the first page of the "google" search were, ahem, attorney /lawsuit pages. ARGH!!!

2. I linked to this site and found another article of note from US Recall News:

Friday, March 23, 2007
DISTURBING - Does Splenda Know Something You Don't Know?
Splenda, the sugar substitute made from dextrose, maltodextrin, and sucralose, is owned by Johnson and Johnson and marketed / distributed by McNeil Nutritionals. A recent review of some of their domain names reveals some disturbing trends.

A word of advice: If you are going to protect your reputation online by buying up negative brand-related domains (which makes good business sense) at least register them under some obscure DBA or something. Don't use your primary business name, becase it just looks... bad.

Just a few of the domain names owned by Johnson & Johnson, Splenda's parent company:

And hundreds more, according to Daily Domainer. Not being one to regurgitate news without checking it out ourselves, US Recall News did a quick fact check on this and found that, indeed, Johnson and Johnson does own domains like:

Registrant:Johnson & JohnsonOne Johnson & Johnson PlazaNew Brunswick, NJ 08933US
Administrative Contact:Johnson & Johnson One Johnson & Johnson PlazaNew Brunswick, NJ 08933US+001.7325243245 fax: +001.7325246341
Technical Contact:Johnson & Johnson NCS 1003 US Hway. 202 NRaritan, NJ 08869US1 800 900 2555 fax: 1 908 655 4126
Record expires on 01-Mar-2008.Record created on 01-Mar-2005.Database last updated on 23-Mar-2007 11:23:50 EDT.
Domain servers in listed order:
Tate & Lyle is a corn-starch / sugar refinery / "renewable ingredients" company, whatever that means these days. They supply one of the main ingredients (Sucralose) that you find in that little yellow packet. Here are some of the domains THEY own:


J&J, T&L - Are you guys trying to hide something? Do you know something your consumers don't know? Or is this just a form of reputation management? Either way, it looks pretty bad.

The following "logo" came courtesy of, and ironically from Daily Domineer

dawg v splenda

FWIW, I did post a comment on US Recall suggesting that the "Pollyanna" in me might believe that it was merely a pre-emptive strike on J&J's part to kill competitor's potential mud slinging and mis-direction, since that is what the Political folk engage in, not big businesses ...er, hey [gestalt] <*thwacks" self upside the head> I get it! Politicians, and lobbying, and funds, and Big Business and Republicans and power and money and corruption ad nauseum ...hmmm curiouser and curiouser <*wink wink nudge nudge*>.

 02:38 PM - link -    

Kim came over today and we worked on Mom and my taxes. It's amazing just how non-responsive some people are re: getting a statement of accounts. I hope that if I get it outta here and to Jane's, then maybe I can still get it done in time.

I have gobs to do, letter to HLCC [they really did a borderline unethical thang that I want to address, and since I am bad with words, the written word may do the trick to convey my disappointment], letter to WSH [Mom has been very very depressed of late, and I wonder if it's the med change(s)], bills bills bills (pay), and, as ever, I need to still shovel out the room(s), and get me some rest and perchance sleep with the CPAP mask take II doing the trick.

Arghhhh I have such trouble concentrating and remembering things and speaking. It's truly messing me up emotionally, tres frustration.

I miss Miz Robyn, there is a definitive gap in the house. No noise, no extra special Robyn energy to fill the environment up with life. On the plus side, next week Mikey has spring break, so he's doing an over-nighter, and that's a good thing!!!

My Aunt Joan phoned today, and it was wonderful to chat with her. She mentioned that Terri phoned Mom, and Mom was crying. Poor Mom. It's so nasty having her so far away. When I spoke to Marilyn yesterday, she said I need to go more slowly and give myself a break, and a chance to get better in a more realistically slow way. She also said that if I can't see Mom as soon as I want to, then to accept it. Truth be known, it will take a long while to get my body back in "shape", coupled with the much needed rest to be able to be truly alert and "there" for Mom. I'll try to keep telling myself this.

I am so behind in "life" and it's tough to play catch up. I keep moving stuff around, and today I had a bad reaction -- I felt my back sieze up, twice, but it's still mobile [knock wood]. I also can't find the "sacral pad" to do that exercise. I need to really amp up the exercises, but I truly just want restorative sleep, methinks it would go a loooonnnng way to getting me healthy in mind and body.

I'm still amazed at the fact that I do manage to recuperate. Uneffing believable. I'm truly still hopeful, and a Clear Passage believer. WOW. I thank the folks in FL for getting me to this point. I wrote them yesterday, and asked about the CTS and maybe tweaking my body at CP au California.

I worked with a snap I took, I pushed and pulled it and just reworked it in Photoshop and so that will be the Photo of the day. It was fun to do the virtual darkroom thing. I think it's OK. Feedback is always welcome.

robyn photo ps-play
Robyn with the "Bluebird of happiness" on her shoulder

Egads, GMG is almost married!!! A mere 24 days to go. I am leaning towards a reality check that the trip is prolly not a possibility, but I'm holding out before I give an answer in case I can go. A few more days to do body scans, and money /budget checking. There has been a helluva lot of cash out-going of late, so it's tight, really tight.

Oh well, this seems like a quasi pity-party, but it isn't, it's just me trying to put things to "paper" to make it more manageable. It usually helps. So, ignore the copy, and just check out the photo, ok? Deal?

 12:24 AM - link -    

  Monday   April 2   2007

Today, April 2nd, in 1999 my Dad died. That year it fell on "Good Friday". I have stopped trying to find the "right" hebrew calendar date to light the Yertzeit, the candle to remember and honor his life. I'm now sticking with the easier, "western" calendar.

I miss and love you Dad.
[be safe, come home soon]

Sunday Ray
Typical scene on Sunday mornings when we lived on Iroquois Rd. Dad would get up earlier, run to Hartford, Bienstien's bakery, get some poppy seed "kaiser rolls" still warm when he reached home, and fresh bagels. He'd have the rolls broiled, with butter melted all over it, and a crispy top where the butter hadn't melted to, and /or a bagel and cream cheese, or bagel, lox and cream cheese with his cuppa joe as he read the sunday paper.
[and Mom would be working the NYT double-crosstic - in pen!]

Summer typically found him working in the yard, and /or working on the car(s), and in winter he'd build a fire, and maybe put on Stan Getz and try to rest some on a pillow tossed on the floor, music surrounding him, and the fire warming him ...I love him so.

Often family would take this day to stop by and visit, because this was Dad's "day of rest" . Sometimes he'd get encouraged to get on his Suzuki and ride with "the boys". Methinks there should have been more fun days for him on sunday.

 01:35 AM - link -    

Well, for our grande finale, on Friday night, both Mikey and Robyn did a sleep-over!
Good News and Bad News.

The charm of their first meeting had worn off, and they fought like, well, cats and dogs? Sharing ended up on the back burner, and Zoe finally got "stern"! I used a low register "shame on you, I mean business sp you should pay attention" voice. I am not sure either of them had heard that before and it got their attention .

But, it was a lot of fun too. Amidst the packing and arranging to find /get a way to send the extra things as carry-on baggage, phew, I had a big, honkin' blue thang w/wheels even to help Jenny out, and it fit the kite and other goodies she had to bring home, and trying to get the kids to eat "real" food so we could make brownies later on, and coordinate breakies at Mike's for folks to say bon voyage, and get Robyn to write in her journal now that we got it back, and ... well, as any parent or grand-parent knows, it was chaos.

But, let's not forget, I am neither, only by the heart, not in deed or history, so it was all brand new to me. I hope I didn't disappoint.

I had some nice "tuck in" time with both kids. Robyn still had her bed, and Mike was on the couch. I had purchased two similar, but different colored blankets for them a bit ago, and before I knew I wanted them to have their OWN blankets, not to be used by ANYONE ELSE. It turned out to be a good thing, because Mike wanted a "real bed" like the convertible couch in "Gerry's room", and I could offer him a sheeted couch, a sheeted pillow, and his own blanket, and a furry teal "blanket" and a "stained glass" night light.

He was nervous. That surprised me, but I locked the doors, and let him know that we were in the loft w/out a full wall and he could just call us and we'd be there. I also met his "toy" Ed. That was HUGE! Gordy and I later both spoke with him and reassured him, and we also said we'd talk to his Mom, Katie, at breakfast about a sleepover during his spring break.

Then in Robyn's room, we three just hung out (Gordy, me and Robyn) and chatted, and watched the "lit tree" that could "suck you in" [Robyn's words] and Zach, the hero du jour, came in and actually made love to Robyn and that was absolute icing on the cake.

We hoped Eliott would make it tomorrow, and "little" Hannah, as they are two folks Robyn loves a lot.
Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Bummer. But Candi, Gary, Colby, Katie, [big] Hannah [i.e. Robby's lady-love], Mike, Gordy and moi were there. It was quite kewl when Gary wrote a note in the "journal". Years from now, it will mean a lot when she reads it.

Candi looked super, I felt so grungy in comparison. The rest o' the group were men or younger folk, so I took my cue from that comparison. I was beat and exhausted. But, looks aside, it was a warm time with Robyn as the center of attention, as it should be. It's sort of a hoot, as the visit ended up in book-ends.

Our first group meeting was supper at Mikes, and bon voyage was at Breakfast at Mikes.
I had trouble at the TSA in SEATAC when she arrived, and worse, and so much more sad, I was not allowed into the gates to get my last kiss and hug and eek out every moment of time with her. But, OTOH, the good part was she didn't see me "break down" and cry. I may be wrong, but I think she knew I was getting sad and feeling "it" as she amped up the "clowning around". She's a sensitive little girl, that's good, but I hope she builds up some good callous and a discerning radar so she isn't taken advantage of.

Gordy and I were just talking about how blue we both are. The house is empty. Robyn is magic and life and joy and emotions unchecked, or over-checked. She's a hoot and a love. I'm lonely without her. And we didn't even have her the entire week, we let her visit others 'cuz Gordy and I are on the same wavelength in this; the trip is about Robyn and her happiness. It isn't about us and our needs.

We wanted Robyn to be with those she loves. So we made sure we could make it happen as much as doable, and still get some Robyn time.

Without betraying a trust, she loves Robby Coale in such an amazing way. I'm so proud that she remembers the connection they had when he was "nanny-man". They are great together, as noted when we visited where he now works, Mukilteo Coffee Company.

Oh, I have so much to write about this visit still. I hope I can get it in.

BTW, during this time I still managed to get a new CPAP mask, Opus, I've yet to really use it yet, no naps with kids around, and I went to an appt. off-island with my rheumatologist, and he's excited about Clear Passage as I was in the telling, at the change, and I had my weekly Marilyn Appointment, and lastly, one piece o' problems with my laptop was fixed with a new battery [now to try to pinpoint what creates my lcd to go blank, black or wonky in general]. I also have to see if I can get my hands injected one more time, and then go to CA Clear Passage to fix my CTS, sans surgery, and "touch up" my body and get me on a better track.

We also did manage to make it to lunch with Doris, but I dropped the ball with visiting Mom this week. I hope I can this week. It's my intention to. I also have taxes, and Mom's and my bills, and other sin to catch up on. Yikes stripes. I need good vibes and energy.

Oh yeah, and trauma alert, I'll be 54 [that's how old Gordy was when we met methinks]. OLD! What a world, what a world.

I need a Roybn fix.
Thank you so very very much Jenny for trusting us enough to have her visit us. Big ol' virtual bear hug goes out to you.

Sleep Tight all.

 01:04 AM - link -    

"walk this way..." Igor [prnounced Eye-gore] from "Young Frankenstien" [pronounced Steen] -- there's more!