$5 Can change the World, or what I really want for Christmas

Last year, I was increasingly dissatisfied with the commercial state of the world around the holidays. The true meaning of Christmas has long left us, replaced with santas and wish lists that remove all cultural and moral significance from what could be a special time. We're left with emptiness even as our shopping bags fill with meaningless gifts, the emptiness only grows.

This year I want that to stop. I am done pretending that giving you a wrapped CD or book means I recognize the gifts of the season, that I stop and take a moment to remember how very much each of you mean to me, that in the commercial buying process I forget who Jesus was (I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole religion thing but will always recognize that Jesus was a great man, as far as I can tell, the kindest of men, the virtue which I hold most dear, so at the very least he's the best role model I can come up with and why do I feel the need to apologize or explain every time I mention him or religion -- is re-discovering religion so uncool that I can't even admit to it? I don't know.), that the world started to change dramatically on this night over two millenia ago.

Giving that gift does none of that for me, it merely fulfills what I perceive to be an obligation. Do you feel the same way?

If you do, read on because you won't be getting that book or CD this year. However, you may get it if I see something later in the year that I think would truly have meaning for you. That to me seems the better deal -- a thoughtfully chosen gift when you least expect it over a forced one, birthdays notwithstanding.

I know times are tough, that those of us (yes, myself included) who were making damn good money a year ago are lucky to be making significantly less this year. So, what I want for Christmas is this -- $5 a week of your money or 1 hour of your time each week between now and Christmas. Skip or pack your lunch one day (most of us spend more than $5 anyway so this is actually a bargain). I don't actually want your money, I want you to do something kind with it. Something easy like putting into a donation can for breast cancer, animal rescue or any cause that you deem worthy. That's the easy thing. If you don't have the money or are unemployed and looking for something to do, spend an hour a week volunteering. Go to a nursing home and talk to some of the residents. They're not picky about entertainment, they're just lonely. Pick up trash along your street. Smile in a non-condescending way at a disabled person, smile like they're just another person. Help coach a kids soccer, hockey, baseball, whatever team. What I'd love the most is for someone to volunteer to help my dear friend Linea drive desperate foster dogs around the bay area for one day. It seems every day she's rushing to drop one off to be neutered, to pick an abandoned one up, to drive one to a new home and she never gets to sit down. Can someone with a little time and some gas money step up and do this for her for one day?

There's someone around you who could really use $5 or an hour of your time. If they're lucky, they'll get both. Even giving a bum looking for booze or a joint is worth it in my book if your act of kindness makes their day. Buy a hungry person a meal, buy a 5 pound bag of store brand dog food and bring it to your local shelter or rescue. Buy toys from the clearance rack at a pet store and donate them, use your club card to get "one free" at Safeway and donate the free one to a food bank, buy discount diapers or powdered milk and donate them to a shelter.

But do something. $5 or an hour is not a significant amount of time or money, but it is most certainly enough to change somone's life, even if for only a day. And when you've done, it, tell me what you've done. I'll compile a list (anonymous or not, it's up to you) and post it here. The best gift I could get this year is a long list of nice things that you folks have done for others. I'm not just some goody two-shoes, I'm still a pain in the ass, I just want the world to be a litte brighter, a little more meanginful this year because last year was my last empty Christmas.

Make it happen. The clock is ticking and I'm waiting for those emails. And yes, I'm doing this too.


Tell me how realistic this is -- Attorney general warns of more terrorist attacks over the next week. We're supposed to be on "highest alert," and this nice man "I trust the American people to be able to understand ... that they can make good judgments and understand this kind of information."

I do appreciate the trust but please tell me what that means -- do I hole up in a bomb shelter, do I stop driving? What?

I wanna be all of these things for Halloween! Thanks Amy!


Woo hoo!! Alice is 12 today.

Clinton sent salmonella vials. Look, I'm not trying to get overly panicked here but there are a ton of bad to really bad things going on in the world and I find it hard to believe that they aren't related.


I dropped off my Fly Rental Impala this morning with high hopes that my car would be ready for re-entry into the driving world but it was not meant to be. I drove off up 101, stupidly, even though I'd heard that there was an accident near my exit. Traffic was a long 4 lane parking lot and I got to experience my "new" clutch, which not only makes bad noises, but smells. So it's going back tomorrow and this time whatever Fly Ride the rental place gives me is courtesy of the VW dealer.

My love affair with VW is over. My next car will be a Nissan Xterra (because I'm too cheap for a pathfinder), which I will lease while I'm saving up to buy a more GrownUp car like a Passat Wagon, which I'll hopefully be ready for after a VW hiatus. I just don't love my Passat anymore, I know the things that have gone wrong were not her fault, but just the same, I'd like the opportunity to grow dissatisfied with a different brand for a little while.


Time to bring the crop in...
Wednesday, October 24, 9:30 a.m. CST

Weather permitting, Garst Seed Company ProSellers Jim and Sharon Greif, will be harvesting that FINE looking Garst corn that has been growing all season in front of the world famous CornCam. We will turn the "frequency" of the camera up so visitors will be able to see more of the harvesting action on the Web site. Tell your friends and other corn enthusiasts!

DARES INC. is trying to assist the South County Animal Shelter in San Martin, Ca. (near Gilroy) with donations. This shelter recently, under the new, and wonderful management of Phillip Jewit, has gone NO Kill. They need dog & cat food, blankets, towels, volunteers and foster homes. If you can help, please send your donations to:

South County Animal Shelter
P.O. Box 526
San Martin, Ca. 95046
(408) 683-4186

This is the shelter that provides Animal Control services for my neighborhood since we're in an unincorporated part of San Jose. It's a small, kind of sad little facility, I hope that these changes help it become a more friendly place and more animals are adopted out of there.

Last night we were feeling a bit guilty that Rainie had to spend so much time in her crate so we've been trying to leave her out roaming around as much as possible. The problem is, she's 9 months old and the entire world to her is one big adventure to be chewed on and tasted. Last night she came bounding in from outside with poop hanging out of her mouth. Talk about charming.

We said good night to them and went to bed. She whined outside of our door for a little while and seemed to calm down (after I brought her into our room for a bedtime story). Around 4 am, we awoke to the delightful sound of Rainie howling, then Gus, and finally Alice kicked in (Zeus courteously abstains from such nonsense, he prefers barking). It was a chorus I wasn't ready to hear again. I stormed out there and told them kids to knock it off.

While I was getting ready this morning I saw a little mouth under the door with little teeth gnawing on the linoleum, further proof that she's not quite ready to be loose without supervision and that we need to install a threshold between the kitchen and our room.


I am overcome with emotion.

This weekend, 2 very nice middle aged beagles found their way to a wonderful new home. Generally, not an unusual thing in my world, but Lewis and Clark are different. They were found wandering together in the woods over a year ago and the rescue tried earnestly to keep them together but gave up and placed Lewis by himself -- twice. Both times he came back, insonsolable without his pal Clark. They were not in my rescue, but were across the country in North Carolina, where their foster mom was beginning to give up hope that they'd ever get a home. On a whim and with the most hope I could muster, I had Clark (Lewis was trying out his second home at the time) added to our rescue's website here in CA. Within a week, a wonderful woman had called me and I'd thought for sure that it would be too much effort to get them home, that she'd wait for a dog nearby.

Not so. She was in love with Clark when she called me, that has no wavered since. When she heard that Lewis was coming back and could join them, she was ecstatic. We had tried to send them back from Ohio with me earlier this month but it didn't work out so their new mom just did it. She booked a flight and went to pick them up this weekend. They met Saturday, I hear it was love at first sight for all involved. They all made it home yesterday and the guys were busy checking out their new home. I'm proud to be part of finding their way home.

Yesterday, I had a hockey game and was thrilled to see Nadine and Bob enjoying some fine snack bar food before we hit the ice. When I took out a (much larger than me) guy, I thought the cheering seemed louder than just those two but I didn't think too much of it. Besides I was busy trying to get away from the guy I knocked over. After the game (another disappointing loss for the Cones-- us, 3, Lightning 9), I was stunned to see my brother there. I'd asked him to come but he's been incognito for months and I didn't really think he'd make it. As I was leaving the ice, there he was, waiting for me, I got a huge loopy grin on my face and rushed over to see him. It didn't matter that we lost (though it usually doesn't to me, I celebrate things like not falling down and not losing consciousness) but that he was there. As he says "very cool."


Life sentence for U.S. embassy bombers is no great shock, I mean they were sentenced in Manhattan, a hearing that was originally scheduled for September 11. That's the best possible outcome because it's awfully hard to be a martyr when your ass is in jail for the rest of your life.


This weekend we were in San Francisco, showing my old friend Chris around the town when my intense fear of driving up those hills reared it's head once again (*this fear started when I tried to drive up the back of Lombard Street with a Jetta full of parents and realized, too late, that my clutch and tires were shot as I almost hit the Range Rover behind me). We got stuck on a trolley track and the car red-lined in first gear but went about 2 miles an hour. After that, there was a strong burning smell and I knew it was time to head to the shop even though I'd just gotten my poor car back not 3 weeks ago after she'd recovered from some serious damage caused by Road Debris.

I reserved a rental car and dropped off my dear friend, George the Passat. Rumor has it that replacing the clutch will cost at least $1400, but I still haven't heard anything for sure. I was issued a fine rental car, the Corolla, the most generic of cars. Driving it's tinny self, I was feeling pretty low so today I called and fenagled the upgrade to a new, pimpin Fly Ride, a 2002 Chevy Impala. Yes, it has bench seats, of course it has wood trim, naturally it bounces as you go over bumps and it's much better than the Corolla. I'm still missing George, but happier now.


Rainie: Now and Then

Two weeks old

Three months old

Almost nine months old

Some days I still can't beleive that we have a puppy, that there's a wonderful dog in our family who we are privledged enough to know where she's been every single day of her life. There's no wondering if anyone ever hurt them or if they wandered the streets, she was raised with love and plenty to eat and is the most confident pup I could ever imagine knowing. Each foster dog who has come into our home is welcomed by Rainie, she's housebroken them and shown them around, becoming submissive when they are scared and playing on their level when they're ready. It's astounding and wonderful, I just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who raised her and fate for bringing her home to us.


Thanks, Gov. Davis, for recognizing that gay people are really no different than other folks. In fact, dare I be somewhat inflammatory and suggest that giving straight people different rights than everybody else is tatamount to special rights for straight people. I would think that any law that gives greater priveledges or accessibility to one group, singling out other groups who cannot receive those services is in fact special rights. But the allegedly good christian people who stand in opposition to compassion and to seeing people for who they are rather than who they love don't see it that way.

I had meant to do a long piece on this but for now, here's the short version. All these right wing Christians who stand up and say that Jesus wouldn't like gays or blacks, or any other group you can think of are full of shit. The whole premise of Christianity means relegating the Old Testament to a bunch of interesting stories making the New Testament, which focuses on the life and times of our savior, Jesus Christ, the defining book of the Bible. Which means that the one passage talking about the atrocities at Saddam and Gomorrah that says "God hates that" referring to men lying with other men as they lie with women is now part of that collection. And for what's it's worth, translations from the original acutally mean that God hates being inhospitable to your visitors, not the gay issue.

And yet, right-wingers, preachers of hate, stand there and say that anyone not like them don't deserve the same rights, the same compassion that Jesus preached. How the hell does that work?? Jesus hung out with lepers, prostitutes and preached that everyone is no better than the lowest among them, that in God's eyes, we all deserve love. So where do they get off hating? NOTHING in Jesus' stories speak of hate being okay, rather he reached out to everyone and preached kindness and compassion, the two values that I hold more and more dear with each passing day.

So I have two messages: 1. BE NICE! Jesus most certainly was and if you're going to hold him up as the messiah you may as well get his message right and 2. get off your high horse. No one person is better or worse than any other. We are all just different and if even if you don't 'accept my alternative lifestyle' it still exists. Just like me not accepting your hatred, your anger (though you don't know me, I'm really very nice and quite harmless, unless telling bad jokes is a crime) doesn't make it go away. But that doesn't stop me from hoping.

For what it's worth, I remain undecided on the religious issue but am clear that hatred is not something that Jesus preached. So if you're going to use religion as a platform for hate, you've just got it all wrong. Gov. Davis Signs Gay Rights Bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation Sunday providing about a dozen rights enjoyed by married couples to more than 16,000 registered gay, lesbian and domestic partners in California.

The bill lets partners who register with the secretary of state's office make medical decisions for incapacitated partners, sue for wrongful death, adopt a partner's child and will property to a partner.

``This bill is about responsibility, respect, and most of all about family - and it's about time,'' Davis said.

Supporters called Davis' decision the biggest expansion of domestic partner rights in the country, putting the state alongside Vermont and Hawaii for acceptance of same-sex couples.

``This bill marks a stellar advance for lesbians and gays in California,'' said Democratic Assemblywoman Carole Migden, the bill's author.

Opponents label it an assault on traditional marriage and family values. In March 2000, more than 60 percent of California voters said that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

``In one fell swoop, Gray Davis has cheapened every marriage in the state, undermined the vote of the people, pandered to the special interests, frivolously spent taxpayer money and broken his written promise to the citizens of California,'' said Randy Thomasson, director of the Campaign for California Families.

The group rallied in six California cities last week, asking Davis to veto the bill.

The bill, which goes into effect, Jan. 1, also allows an individual to relocate with a domestic partner without losing unemployment benefits, use sick leave to care for a family member and administer a partner's estate.

The governor spent Sunday considering more than 200 bills, racing toward a midnight deadline. Most take effect Jan. 1.

Davis signed 13 crime bills, including one to fine adults who leave young children alone in cars. He also signed a bill to make registered sex offenders provide yearly fingerprints, photo and vehicle information.

Legislators sent the governor 1,000 bills when they adjourned their 2001 session Sept. 15.

Snow Cones: 1, Ice Men, 8
This weekend marked the debut of my new hockey jersey as well as my new skates (I swear my feet are still cramping). Andrea and my friend Chris who was in town for the weekend were at last night's game and shouted DOW-TAY! each time I came on the ice. I was giggling the whole time and probably will continue to giggle for some time. This was also the first game where I got really scrappy, throwing myself between the other guy and the puck more than once and shoving when necessary to get the guy out of the way. It worked, 3 seperate times I was able to hold the guy back while my teammate came over and snagged the puck. Woo hoo.

My next two games are this Sunday and the following Sunday at 6 pm, at the San Jose Ice Centre, feel free to bring some warm clothing and come on out to cheer the Cones to victory!


I still have a few seats left to the team USA/team Canada women's hockey game on Oct. 23. If you're a women's hockey fan, a hockey fan or just a fan of women in general, you'll enjoy these fabulous row 2 seats. Just email me if you'd like to join us.

My mom and dad are going to the Ohio State Wisconsin football game tomorrow, attendance is expected to be 104,000. Unlike the world before Sept. 11, it didn't seem all that weird when Mom said that she realized that nobody in town had a key to her house. She's put that key in an envelope and written both Melinda (who found Buddy and Ben for her and takes care of them when they're out of town) and my phone numbers on it in case something happens, something meaning what? A bomb, a plane, confetti made of Anthrax? I don't know but it sickens me that it doesn't seem weird at all that Mom should take that precaution, that I should now have instructions for how to handle their estate and most importantly the dogs (fly out, sell the house, pay off everything I can, take what I want and drive mom's Passat back with the dogs in it.). I reminded her of how much I love her and that I would take care of everything.

Is this what the terrorists have done to us? Yes, yes it is.

In some ways it's good, eye-opening. Let each day serve as a reminder that we should not live in fear, that kindness is our longest lasting legacy and that each day matters. We may never let a day go by where we don't tell our loved ones that we do love them and remind them of how important they are. I can only hope I don't and that whatever the terrorist's plan B was, it doesn't happen.


"Of course, the other explanation might be that Bert has finally ditched Ernie, canceled his account at Mr. Hooper's shop and taken his Kalashnikov to the other side of the war." Bert is Evil, and so is bin Motherfucker.


For all you Tofutti fans, who knew that such a fine product is Kosher? Shalom!


Today is not my day for appliances. First I dropped some Eggo waffles into the toaster (tell me why the assumption is that only kids want the chocolate chip ones so it's okay to have cartoon characters on them? I may be eating chocolate chip waffles but I am not a member of today's youth!) and cleaned out the guinea pig cage, thinking what a great plan it was, how the guinea pig would be all clean and happy and then I'd be happy eating my chocolate chip waffles.

But no. I got Bennie's cage all done and headed to the kitchen for his food. When I opened the kitchen door, the room was filled with smoke from my fucking waffles, which were starting to catch on fire because our shit-ass toaster didn't do the one thing toasters are supposed to do -- push the goddamned food up when it's done.

Alice was just sitting there in her bed (the other punks were outside watching Andrea set up her power tools) and I panicked, throwing the lever up and expelling the now-charred waffles. In the process, I burned my arm on the metal toaster rack that goes with our much-aligned microwave/slow ass toaster.

We got some fans going thanks to Andrea's quick thinking (at this point, all I could do was say Fuck and try not to panic thinking about Alice sitting there as a fire started) and the room is starting to clear out. Alice, of course, is still sitting there because it's the room from which all food comes.

So I put the toaster tray thing in the microwave/slow ass toaster and wait once again for my fucking waffles. At the end there's a spark. It's only when Andrea points it out that I realize I'd left it on Microwave, essentially leaving a big metal object in the microwave.

What can I say, I'm brilliant today.


After an entire summer of chuckling about JeffEx, how could I not have checked for JeffEx.com?

Tell me why these photos of the Hijackers are so damn chilling. I think it's because they went to the ATM, Wal-Mart, stayed at a Comfort Inn and bought gas the night before they committed mass murder and forever changed the world. Until the moment they took control of the plane, they really weren't so different from us.

What's both a little scary and a little comforting is how damn many cameras there are at places we all go to in our everyday life, enough to fill a page like this one with photos of every transaction. Of course I'm glad they have them to see what these guys were up to in their final hours but it makes me wonder how far we'd gone in invading privacy in the name of safety even before the attacks.

Today, we say we don't care, take our picture, but it's creepy that they have all these shots of them.

I'm off to Ohio tomorrow and will be back online Wednesday so don't look for gargantuan entries in the next few days. I was supposed to go a few weeks ago but then the bombings happened and I got this job so I rescheduled (okay, I rescheduled twice because the airline did it for free and that made me kinda giddy). So I'm off and will write more sporadically throughout the weekend.


Our lovely new hockey jerseys have arrived. The best part is that mine says DOW-TAY!. Pictures of me modeling said jersey will be forthcoming.


Yet another fun thing you can do with corn: Corn Husk VooDoo dolls. Thanks Mary. I think.


Looking for a strong guy? Strong Man Phil is here to save the day!

Snow Cones 3, Gang Green 4
Remember the guy who had the heart attack at the ice rink last week? He died. He was 29 years old and just scored a goal. He was sitting on the bench celebrating when he had the heart attack. He was buried yesterday, a lot of folks on Gang Green knew him and I think we were all freaked out by it. One would think that would inspire a clean game but no. Gang Green was super-agressive, I almost had a fight with this guy (who, admittedly, I don't really like anyway), he was pushing, shoving, poking with his stick so much that I asked him to back off. He wouldn't so I slashed him with my stick and got a warning. Me, pacifist girl. I knew it was time to cool off, that even though I suck, I had to be stronger than that and just play so well that his weak-ass tricks wouldn't stop me. So I did. I out-skated him and out-passed him, he couldn't even get close as the game went on.

A lot of folks on that team were like that, shoving too hard, poking too much and arguing with the refs over almost every call. Clearly, they were distraught over losing their friend and I have to admit that it freaked me out too but that's no excuse for playing like assholes. In the wise words of my team captain, you can't let your moods define you.

If you have everything already, here's the one thing you need: eBay item 1641798199 (Ends Sep-30-01 14:06:38 PDT ) - I will kick your ass. Props to my homies Pam and Brad for this priceless item.