Thursday, December 30, 2004

How many in one day?

I just can't get my brain around it, the number of people who died in one day. Today's CNN article says 116,000 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunamis and that number is growing. I'm having a hard time imagining what that number means so I looked up some statistics to help me put this disaster into perspective.

In 1945, the U.S. dropped bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in a cumulative death toll of 237,062. Many of the bombing victims did not die instantly.

Between the years 1939 and 1945, approximately 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators in the holocaust.

- Studies indicate that 24,000 individuals die each day of hunger-related causes, according to The Hunger Project.

- An average of 114 people die each day in car crashes in the U.S.

- Some 700 people die smoking-related deaths in Russia each day.

- More than 1.6 million people die from violence every year: more than 4,400 deaths each day.

- Over 2,600 cardiovascular disease-related deaths in the U.S. each day.

- Cancer will kill more than 1,500 Americans each day this year.

- Estimate of the global daily death rate: 146,000.

So this means that IN ONE DAY the global death rate was nearly doubled.

In one day.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I always knew this

It's now official. Envy me.

What Flavor Are You? I am Chocolate Flavored.I am Chocolate Flavored.

I am sweet and a little bit naughty. I am one of the few clinically proven aphrodisiacs. Sometimes I can seem a little hard, but show warmth and I soon melt.
What Flavor Are You?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Ham is the new turkey

Babycakes wants ham next year. I guess she's tired of eating leftover turkey for four days in a row.

Thanksgiving was wall-to-wall ham, 24-hour-a-day ham, ham-o-rama, a hamfest all day long. Yeah, there was turkey too, but neither of us ate any.

Our relationship began when she was a card-carrying member of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And she was vegan. And jewish. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that she'd eat ham. But she does. It's cute. I haven't told her that ham is the traditional Easter Dinner dish. She only eats peanut butter chocolate eggs at Easter anyway so she wouldn't notice anything that the Christians do.

Remind me to tell you about my brother's funeral. It involves ham and jews and lesbians.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Bah humbug!

Teenagers are absolutely NO FUN on Christmas. They finally woke up around 11 a.m., wandered around in the kitchen where I was cooking the roast beast and then went off to watch TV or get on the computer.

Babycakes and I toasted our Bloody Marys and went back to food preparation. It turns out that not all of the friends who had been invited for the festive meal were able to show up (because of the snow) but we had terrific time anyway, even though it was served earlier in the day than we were used to.

Finally, the kids said, "Let's open presents" so they did. Jack went off immediately to work on wiring issues (tv plus dvd plus cable tv) in his room and Hannah packed up enough leftovers to feed several coworkers at the Baxter Theatres and headed off to sling popcorn for the rest of the day.

Another Bloody Mary anyone?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Snow fantasies

What's more wonderful than waking up to 6-8 inches of fresh snow? The day started with drinking coffee in my duds of cuddle while reading the newspaper (thanks for delivering it in the snow!) and watching the local news report on the weather (It's snowing! Live at 11!).

Babycakes and the children awoke and we all sat down to enjoy our lovely breakfast and to exclaim about the 8-10 inches of snow when the girl-child announced, "If I have to stay inside all day someone WILL BE MURDERED."

"Have some more raspberry jam," I replied.

"I'm going out," she announced, "or I'M NOT KIDDING, someone will die."

"Well, that's nice, dear," I said sweetly, "but you won't be driving a car when you do. In case you haven't noticed, there's 10-12 inches of snow on the ground outside."

She retreated to her room upstairs (the one I haven't stepped foot in for over a year) and didn't come down again for hours. I was relaxing on the couch with Babycakes reading Utne and drinking tea and looking out at the beautiful 12-14 inches of snow when the girl-child entered, fully dressed, carrying a pair of bright orange Doc Marten boots.

"The buses are running," she announced. Then she put on her boots and left.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bringing back the light

Today is Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and snow is expected later.

Winter is not my favorite season. I dislike the short, overcast days and cold weather. Solstice reminds me that the light will come back and the days will begin to get longer now (a minute longer each day).

Happy Solstice friends. Light a candle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Big Apple (bite me!)

I've been in New York for exactly 2 hours and my heart is racing. I LOVE this city. It is my most favoritist city in the world. I can (almost) see the Chrysler Building from my hotel room window and, lucky you, I brought along the digital imaging device so there will be pictures (and words) to post later.

Off to find food and tequila now.

I'm adding to this post ... days later. The NYC trip was delightful, until the last 12 hours. Maybe it was the food and drink the last evening, but I'm telling ya, there ain't nothing worse than throwing up in LaGuardia. I mean it. By the time the cab picked us up to take us to the airport Friday morning I'd been throwing up for hours. And guess what? I got out of the cab and threw up again!


I'm a bad parent. No, really, I'm terrible.

For example, I DID NOT KNOW that when your teenager is sick and stays home from school that GOOD PARENTS not only call the school in the morning to say, "She has a fever and won't be coming in today," but they ALSO dutifully write a HAND-WRITTEN note to the school, sign it, date it (adding some DNA wouldn't hurt) and send it with their child when she's well enough to return to school.

How did I learn this? Because I got a call from the school informing me of all of the UNEXCUSED absences (a total of 3) this semester. "This is a problem," the family resource center coordinator calmly informs me.

No kidding. My kid's mother is STUPID. That's the problem.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Far out

Now that the Christmas tree is up I get to play with my new favorite toy. Thanks Mary, for sending these way cool glasses.

When you look at Christmas lights through them it's like, well, like, the lights get all freaky, man. You remember that acid we dropped at the Grateful Dead concert in 1972, man? Well, it's like that, only this time it happens ONLY WHEN YOU PUT THE GLASSES ON, man.

Mary sent us four pairs so come on over and let's trip.

Potato latkes and Christmas trees

When our clergy friend called yesterday I told her we were putting up the Christmas tree and making potato latkes. She said, "Latkes ... sounds very Minnesotan."

"Er, not quite," I said. "It's Hanukkah so we're having latkes and decorating the tree."

About that time I noticed the cat up on her hind feet licking (yes, licking) a plastic icicle. She kept this up for about a minute. "You won't believe this," I tell the episcopal priest/chaplain on the phone (as if she could provide pastoral counseling on the spot) "The cat is licking a plastic icicle. She can't tell that is isn't real. What could be wrong with her?"

"Hmm, okay ... " says she. "Tell me more about those latkes."

The latke recipe:

Potatoes (grated - I use the Cuisinart to do this)
Onions (ditto)
1 egg (optional - some recipes call for an egg but it's not needed)
Matzo Meal (enough to help the potatoes stick together, a little flour would work as well)
Salt and Pepper (lots! more than you think you need)

Put about a 1/2" of oil in your favorite skillet. Get it very hot.

Drop a forkful of potato into the hot oil (you want a latke to be palm-sized), flip it once, remove when it's golden brown, drain on paper towel (or if you're traditional, a brown paper bag).

Serve immediately with apple sauce and/or sour cream.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Number of years spent mothering: 18

My daughter turned 18 this week. While she is healthy and funny and is a joy to be around (most of the time), these numbers might help tell the whole story.

The number of:

emergency room visits: 30
times dramatically transported to the ER in an ambulance: 2

musical or theatrical performances: 150
rehearsals for those performances: 500
performances in which her "costume" involved push-up bras: 20

times she changed her hair color: 35
hair colors I liked: 1 (the original)

times she climbed out of her second floor bedroom window in the middle of the night: 1 (I think)
times she broke a window because she forgot her key: 2
times she blamed the broken window on "some bad kids" and called the police: 1

times she blew her curfew: 1,000
visits to the police station: 1

things I've learned from her in 18 years: countless

Sunday, December 5, 2004

The Dott Comments Guide to Holiday Gift Giving

Welcome to the 2004 edition of the Dott Comments Guide to Holiday Gift Giving. So sorry we couldn't mail out the annual color catalog this year, babycakes has been too busy keeping crazy people off the streets and I've been doing ... well, um ... this.

In our house we try to give "experiences" rather than "stuff," especially now that the children are too old for visits to that store with the stupid giraffe mascot. Food, travel and items that enhance our entertainment are usually high on the list.

This year I've decided to be radical and say MONEY MAKES THE BEST GIFT EVER. No, no, no ... I'm not asking you to give it to me. I want you to give it to one of these cool non-profits or businesses owned or managed by someone I actually know. A small ($5 or $10) donation or gift card would go a long way.

Everything on this list is near and dear to my heart and I promise that I personally know everyone I've listed here. But don't you have your own list?

Appalshop (where I spent my formative years)
Bridgehaven (Arti and Tyler the therapy dog will appreciate your support)
Hospice (ask Clare and Cathy about their "golden coffins")
Just Solutions (for Janet and the best of boards)
Louisville Youth Group (I could list lots of GLBT groups, but Quartez just inspires me)
Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression (Anne Braden is my hero)
Kentucky Foundation for Women (for the many days I've spent at Hopscotch House)
Pleiades Theatre Company (Hannah was a lighting intern there)
Wellspring House (where babycakes cut her therapy teeth)
Walden Theatre (Hannah acted there)

(buy gift certificates)
Baxter Theatres (don't ask Hannah for passes, buy gift cards)
Butterfly Cuisine (Laura, our chef, is wonderful. Try her yourself)
Just Creations (Becky, Mike and Barbara, this one's for you)
Knit Nook (Keep Louisville Weird, ok Dennis?)
Yoga Studio Louisville (Alex and Jessica, I promise I'll come back to class soon)

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

A person of means finds treasure in rare books emporium ...

William Wallace Cook's 1927 book Plotto, first published in 1928, is back on my bookshelf. It had disappeared during the haze of "I don't give a fuck what you take, just get out of the house" divorce drama. I've talked about it ever since.

Becky, one of my oldest and dearest friends (who has patiently listened to me whine for over 20 years) tracked down Plotto for my birthday. She now apparently owes many favors to a rare book dealer friend of hers but that's okay with me because ... well I'm really grateful and happy.

Plotto is a writer's manual. The author's theory is that "there's nothing new under the sun" and that every story, book or screenplay boils down to this: “Purpose, opposed by Obstacle, yields Conflict.” His book provides a formula for "Master" plots and lists 1,462 conflict situations and 150 character combinations from which to choose.

Let's see ... I think I'll choose "a person influenced by an obligation"+"committing a grievious mistake and seeking in secret to live down its evil results" + "achieves a spiritual victory".

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