All I can say is that if George spoke with half this little one's sense, we might not be in the pickle we find ourselves in.

From the Reader's Digest archives and taking a cue from Ron, who hit a home run with his own funnies today, here are a couple of jokes that made me laugh.

The male population of our office was visibly impressed - and shaken - by the arrival of curvaceous Rita, a new member of the secretarial pool. (Her desk, strategically close to the coffee machine, increased consumption and profits noticeably.) One morning, my office door burst open. There stood Harvey, a middle-aged appreciator of life's finer things. "My gawd Dick!" he exclaimed, his eyes wide. "You should see Rita today. She's wearing a see-bluethrouse!"
Richard N. Whittington (Glendale, Mo.)

We had quite a large wedding, and throughout the preparations I was understandably
nervous. My fiancé, however, was the picture of nonchalance, allowing neither major problems nor minor details to ruffle him. He maintained his calm even during the ceremony. As I met him at the altar, he smiled happily and asked, "New dress?"
Carmen P. Santos (Alexandria, Va.)

While serving in a remote area of Southeast Asia, I wrote my wife of the long evenings, the
shortage of books and music, and the abundance of winsome lasses. I mused that I might fill the lonely hours learning to play a harmonica, if I had one. By return mail came a harmonica. When I finally returned home, I was met at the airport by my wife, who said, "All right, first things first. Let's hear you play that harmonica!"
Capt. Bruce Simnacher (San Antonio, Texas)

Even though I've signed up for the National Do Not Call List say oh... about a billion times, I still get plenty of robot telemarketing calls every evening. Every once in a while though, there is the live, eager-beaver telemarketer at the other end of the line. Depending on my mood, this situation presents me with a golden opportunity to have some payback fun with someone who, almost invariably, butchers my name. Here's one memorable conversation I held with some poor fellow recently:

Telemarketer: May I please speak to Mely... mailen so and so...
Me: Absolutely!
Telemarketer: Am I speaking to Meelena?
Me: Could be...
Telemarketer: Are you Mailena?
Me: Like I said, maybe.

Telemarketer: How about if I can speak to the lady of the house?
Me: Fine! That would be me. But I'm not Mailena, meelena, mailen or Mely.
Telemarketer: That's OK. We want to speak to the lady of the house anyway about our...
Me: Don't you want me to tell you my name then?
Telemarketer: Sure, sure. What's your name?
Me: Silent.
Telemarketer: Ma'am? What's your name?
Me: Can't remember...
Telemarketer: You can't remember your name?Me: Some days I forget things. You mind telling me those names you mentioned before? Please?
Telemarketer: Click.

Oh the pranks I have pulled. Sometimes I write them down so as not to forget them since they amuse me so. Anyway, this guy below wins my telemarketer pranking prize hands down. Don't know why I never thought of this. I'll definitely try it from now on though. I've got a toddler at home and he is all the built in sound effect I need.

How To Annoy A Telemarketer


So I have a new blog love to share. This girl writes with reality grit and keen powers of observation. In her posts, she spares nothing, not even herself when it comes to illuminating her stories with words. And yet, from everything she walks away a queen. Since I started reading her a couple of months ago, I thought that what Badaude has that makes her so charming, can be encapsulated in one word - style.

Anything done can be considered marvelous as long as there is an element of style don't you think? Did I say that she has it in spades already? She is also an accomplished illustrator and she blogs of her life in Paris. Do you really need to know more? Presenting... Badaude.


So who would have thought that I was big in German Star Trek forum circles? And all mind you because I had the one date with the gentleman below:

Our date was in Paris however, there was that. And he was handsomer in person than on tv. And the way I met him is the kind of story that has everything to do with pure chance. Embarrassingly, I nearly jumped him on a public street... almost but not quite. If you wish to read about it go to these: Part I, Part II and Part III of my meeting Robert Beltran. Should you know German, read the unauthorized but quietly sanctioned German translations of my posts.

Well that's it and until my next Found Thursday, I trust your days go the way you will them and not the other way around.


Something I chose to be

Photo by Jasoon

A long time ago, I saw a French movie about a woman who was a whore. She was not into her calling by circumstance mind you, she was a whore by design. She loved men, of all kinds, all looks, all walks of life. She loved sleeping with them, loved having sex with them, obsessed with discovering what they were all about. That final knowledge apparently catapulted her to whatever heights of orgasmic nirvana she constantly reached for. That is why she went into her chosen profession with her eyes wide open, of her own free-will, because to her this was the quickest way to avail herself of what she wanted to savor and explore, to get a lot of what she needed the most.

Hey, it's a French movie, don't look at me like that because I'm not the one who came up with the plot line.

Anyway, that's me to a modified degree. I'm just like that woman in the movie except that, the focus of my passion, what I want and need, the calling that I choose is that of a book lover. In my real life, I feel the same way about my books as she did in the movie about her men. I've chosen to make them my métier.

I love all books, all sizes, all subjects, all kinds. I care little for their provenance, be it a dustbin or a clean bookshelf as long as I get to keep whatever I want. They can be falling apart or spanking new. With colorful or drab covers; by heard of authors or obscure somebodies known only to their mamas. They can be a flavor of lit I understand and love, or a subject I've never delved into before. Best-sellers or no-sellers, it really matters not if I want them. Hunting for books to bring home while in bookstores, garage sales, antique stores or on-line, is one thing that's guaranteed to stop me in my tracks like as if I've been superglued in place. Time can pass by quickly, too quickly when I'm looking to acquire a book.

Years ago, when I lived in DC there was a flea market down by Georgetown every Sunday and there were many book dealers there. They'd go into people's homes and buy up cheap lots of books from proper libraries or the paperback that, until recently, might have called someone's night stand their home. Depending on the type of bookseller who'd acquired them, those books would sit there, lined up neatly but then again, there were many just thrown about. All of them, just begging for someone to single them out, give them another run, show them a reading good time. In short, they were waiting for someone like me to come along. I love being the new conquest if you will.

Have you ever opened up old books? You know the glory then of handling a well-kept tome or one that's beat up around the edges. They smell of something lived, something stained, perhaps musty, perhaps sweet. And then bingo! A name on the first blank page, right there, an inscription to so and so. Better yet, there might be a bookplate - this book belongs to the library of ____. Every so often, there's even the added boon of an actual date. They are not necessary these markings of previous ownership, these clues to their past lives but, I can't deny that they make the experience of owning them all the better for me. I feel that books gain a sense of attractiveness when they've been well used. There is a whole branding factor there that I find impossible to resist. I'm addicted to that feeling of perpetuation, of my being one more notch in the post of its life.

Likewise, there is a reverse psychology at work for me in the virginity of a newly printed book. A hardback (preferable but not necessary), a paper back, crisp and clean, with nothing bent out of shape. They look neat, pressed and proper, ready to initiate someone into the secrets of their pages, the allure of their words. For every copy, that magic, to whatever degree, can only be wrought for the first time on one person alone. After that, they will never again be untouched.

Often, if money is not a consideration, or my need for a particular title is great, I prefer to go for the hardbacks. They're more pleasurable to handle or manhandle. That treatment depends entirely on how pleased I am by a book. If they inspire love and reverence, then I touch them with utmost care. If they end up disappointing me, then I'm less careful, more apt to relegate them to some obscure corner of my bookshelves, a little the worse for wear.

There's one feeling that never changes though, when I walk into bookshops or libraries, I always feel like I've come home. I may approach them armed and prepared. A campaign list in hand, a seduction to accomplish. Other times, I'm there for the potluck sampling. Whatever catches my fancy. Here's yesterday's found haul for example:

1000 Graphic Elements - Details for Distinctive Designs by Wilson Harvey
The Forger's Spell - A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis and the Greatest Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick
Death Angel by Linda Howard
Ex Libris -Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
Fancy Alphabets - A book of fonts put out by Pepin Press
The Magician - The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
Agent ZigZag - A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

They are sitting right here in front of me now as I write this post. My lovelies. If I were Gollum, I'd call them my preciouses. Soon, I will enjoy them however I can, taking away something from the time I've spent in their company, something hopefully good and, when I'm done, I'll put them aside before I go out to search for more. I never tire of seeking out my books. I know they want to be found. I want to be the one finding them. A few will become deep loves but never so permanent that I will stop and be faithful to them alone. I know what this fickleness says about me... as to you, feel free to draw your own conclusions.



Photo by .p a n e.

The break I've taken from blogging these past few days was not something I planned. Neither was the semi-withdrawal from the internet that I practiced over the last week. And disconnecting the television? That was an absolute spur of the moment decision my husband and I made three days ago and which somehow, seemed to fit in perfectly with the progression of our electronic abandonment. Why? Can't say really except, that I've now coined a word for the phenomenon that is a blatant rip-off of the staycation everyone seems to be talking about these days. I had a disconnectication. That's right, a vacation from my connected life.

And now? I'm back. It was great while it lasted though. During the respite I worked a bit on my suntan, cooked a little more, played with my child for longer stretches of time, puttered around the house, read a couple of books and cuddled more with the two men in my life. This last had me thinking how enjoyable it is to do nothing but just hold on tightly to what matters most in this world. A jumble of crossed legs and arms with pointy little elbows and knobby little knees in between, spells happiness in my book. I can't imagine why I haven't been making as much time for it as I should.

Today is a day for catching up. My little one is in summer school and I've got some time before I need to go and pick him up. The husband is back at work and now I've come back to the blog. In the future, I've decided that once a week I will shut it all down. No e-mail, no computers, no television. A little disconnectication once in a while does wonders for the spirit. I recommend it highly.


22 things I half believe in

Venn Diagram

1. That the world will be an environmentally healthier place by the time my son is old enough to understand that he has a role to play in its continued preservation.
2. Someday I will be mother to a second child.
3. I will hold a grandchild's hand in my own.
4. That the fortune teller saw true when she said that I would only live up to my mid-sixties. At 20 something I thought there was so much time still. At 39, I'm getting worried.
5. That I'm monstrously clever.
6. In jinxes.
7. That sadly, empathy dies a a million deaths each day. How else can one explain away the hurt one man is capable of inflicting upon another?
8. That the reason I constantly dream of losing the use of my right hand is, in effect, some cosmic and unexplainable way to prepare me for that eventuality.
9. Greed, in whatever form, is a desire we are all capable of halting. I'm just not good at it. Especially with regards to books and shoes.
10. I measure up to my parents in how well I take care of my own child.
11. That beside toddler speak, I WILL learn another language before I die.
12. That there is always a 50/50 chance no matter that I'm a poster girl for fate. I guess that makes me an oxymoronic believer.
13. That I'm capable of great sacrifice. I'm almost kinda sure I am. Exempting the shoes and books of course.
14. My son will continue to poop in his diapers until he is twenty.
15. I'm good to the core. Never seen it mind you but I know it's there. The good core I mean.
16. That one day, I will meet at least one of you, my blogging friends, in the flesh.
17. That I'm braver than I think myself capable especially, when I'm not being a wimp.
18. My kid is a genius. Your kid is too but mine is a genius genius is all I'm saying.
19. Divine retribution.
20. Either because we make it or because it finds us, there IS a purpose to life.
21. Belief is a battle half-won or lost. Depends on how you look at it.
22. That I know who I am. Most of the time anyway.

Now you tell me something you half believe.

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
Henry Louis Mencken


Found Wednesday

Unusual time
I know I'm constantly in awe of inventive talent. For me, the quirkier and more unusual, the better. Just look at this clock by Dutch designer Christiaan Postma and tell me it doesn't make it easier to watch time disappear. Literally. From his website, an explanation on how he made his timekeeper.

"The starting point with this project was a personal study about form & time. I put
together more than 150 individual clockworks and made them work together to become one clock. I show the progress of time by letting the numbers be written in words by the clockworks. Reading clockwise, the time being visible through a word and readable by the completeness of the word, 12 words from one to twelve." Clock is 140 by 140 cm.

Storm Troopers never looked this cute before...
Apparently Waihey started it and then the troopers took on a life of their own. Scene montages to delight any Star Wars-loving soul.

Dinner is Served! Photo by Doctor Beef.

If lousy parking makes you want to say *#%&)!
Certain people think they can just park anywhere, anyhow. Now you can tell them how that makes you feel. Vent your anger by serving them with a custom made parking notice that is bound to stop their annoying habits in their parking tracks. Print these babies at home and keep a couple of them in your glove box for ready use. Hope to God that no one breaks your windshield in retaliation. From the folks at (look below)

Things Raul knows about the night
ve featured Heading East on my blog before. Raul Gutierrez, its author, has to be one of my all-time favorite bloggers. He's a fantastic photographer, spotlights other great artists, writes with such simplicity and beauty that days later, I'm left mulling over the images he paints with his words. I think he is simply fabulous and this recent post titled Things I know About the Night, is wonderful not only because of what he wrote but because the responses were a great second act.

Alright then, are you done looking? Cork up the bottle and put it back where you found it for someone else to come along and discover. Next week at this same time, another Found Wednesday.


On becoming a citizen of the United States of America

Photo by a2gemma

Two days ago there were one thousand nine hundred and eleven of us at the ceremony. We represented 110 of the 195 established countries of this world. We were all ages, all stages of life between the young and the old, all conditions of living between the healthy and the infirm, all the mirrored disparity of the affluent and the poor.

Our skins reflected the gamut of our racial spectrum. Our attire reflected the respect which we'd thought to bring to this day. We came in the company of our families, by the hands of our husbands, holding on to our wives, flanked by our children, supported by our close friends. It was a day marked by an atmosphere of expectancy and of relief. It was grounded in the sensation of imminent completion, in the anticipation of an awaited final step in the road to naturalization.

There were flags painted on the walls, anchored ceremonially in the stands that stood on the auditorium floor, there were representations in plastic and balsa of the most conspicuous symbol of Americanism, held in our waving hands. In lapels I saw small metallic likenesses of the bald eagle, a dollar bill, red and blue stars; someone sported an I am an American pin, God Save the USA even read the ink of one man's tattooed arm.

For the long hours of wait until the ceremony of oath-taking took place, a musical potpourri of John Philip Sousa marches and Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World had been put together before the rousing impulse of Anchors Aweigh gave way to yet another repeat of the moving America the Beautiful. I have no idea what the cheesy theme song from the movie Dirty Dancing was doing in the play roster but what it lacked in patriotic credentials was more than compensated by the mental distraction of its sing-along charm.

Concession stands sold the most American of food fares: hot dogs, hamburgers, fries with ketchup, sodas and, because this is Texas, there were breakfast burritos; and because this is the US, the little girl said, "they don't taste as good as McDonalds mommy," and because I have yet to taste a McDonalds burrito, I could neither confirm nor deny the veracity of her discerning taste.

When the judge officiating this ritualistic induction into the privileges of US citizenship walked into the room, we all rose except for those too frail or too sick to stand. Amongst them, Lorenzo Medina, aged 95, who sat in a wheelchair while his granddaughter held a home-made sign with the words Congratulations! and Finally! stenciled in black for all to understand the longed for arrival of this day in her grandfather's life.

An honor guard of four boy scouts, the youngest of which had a brother and a father becoming citizens in this particular ceremony, marched to the center of the floor from where they saluted the judge and then the sole INS lawyer who was there to represent our collective interests before finally turning to us, the audience of applicants. This courtesy they gave felt symbolic, fraught with the intangibleness of a moment that never banked on its power, nor the emotion it did not know it could engender. Many teared up at this small token of pomp. It felt cosmic in the way that cosmic happenings seem to have no reason because they just simply are.

Afterwards, we all sang the National Anthem. All together we pledged allegiance to the Flag. As one voice we renounced our previous nationalities and promised to protect, honor, defend and obey the Constitution of the United States. We swore we would bear arms for our adoptive country. We said it would be our privilege to do so and just like that, after all the swearing and pledging, it was suddenly done.

Invisibly, we were now citizens who were readying to empty a large stadium, citizens who were receiving an official document to confirm the validity of our changed state. Citizens who climbed into their cars to go home to the routine of those same days we lived in before we were made - citizens. Citizens because the judge said so and because his word is the law.

In my car seat, I sat staring at my shiny certificate. It told me nothing new, I felt nearly the same even as I understood that this proof of my citizenship proved something to others, rather than to me. That's because, for many a year, I have been a non-official citizen of this country as much as I will always be an official citizen of the Panama that saw me born.

I do not need a paper to remind me of those truths the way I do not need a sworn oath to make me be faithful to the honorable freedoms and ideals I uphold because, I believe in them so. And yet, like Mr. Medina, I mentally tacked on a finally to this moment. After 23 years of living here as the daughter of a diplomat, as an international worker and a married resident, I am now finally, a citizen in my own right rather than a sanctioned dweller. There is a resolution of sorts within that journey if only because it marks the official end of my being considered a foreigner in this land I call my home. I celebrate that important shift in perception on this Fourth of July day. I hope it was a good one for you also. A safe Independence Day to all of you, no matter in what country you may be.