Saturday, April 17, 2010

Navajo Code Talkers

We took this photo at Window Rock, the capital of the Navajo Nation.

The image is of a young Navajo Code Talker who served in the Marine Corps during World War II. One of my husband Alex's grand-uncles was one of the original 29 Code Talkers.

After the Japanese attack on the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, young Navajo farmers and shepherds flooded off the Reservation and went to enlist in the Military. Some of them were as young as 15, and very few of them had birth certificates. Many of them carried their own rifles just in case they would be needed.

Philip Johnston, the son of a Protestant missionary had grown up on the Navajo Reservation and was fluent in the language. Since the Navajo language had no alphabet, it was almost impossible to master unless you had learned it at a very young age as Johnston had. He proposed to Military commanders that a program be developed using the language as the base for a code that would be impossible to break. The military was skeptical, but agreed to give it a try.

The Japanese had made significant strides in the War partly because of their ability to break every code the Americans had been able to devise to that point.

The candidates for the code talkers were generally recruited from the Indian Schools where the young Navajos had become fluent in both Navajo and English, plus they could read and write. An added benefit was that most of the boys in Indian School were very much involved in athletics, and in good shape which also made them prime candidates for the Marines.

The severe rigors of basic training and military service in the Marines were a walk in the park for these guys who grew up hard in the Southwest desert. The elite Code Talker Unit was formed in 1942 and was top secret. In fact, the existence of Code Talkers was not even acknowledged until 1968.

The original 29 Code Talkers devised a code that could not be broken. Their contributions saved countless American lives and hurried the end of the war in the Pacific.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Confessional

I want to thank Glamazon Mormon Mom for this chance to unload my sins! It has been two weeks since my last confession. These are my sins:

1. I spoil my grand children rotten. It annoys the shit out of my kids. Too friggin bad!

2. I am not religious. I am more or less a pagan. I dislike organized religions. They are more about exclusion than inclusion.

3. I say I'm on a diet and then I eat 2 horribly fattening cookies promising myself that's all I will have for lunch. Then I go ahead and have lunch anyway.

4. When bored, I sometimes call random numbers on the phone just to brighten up my day. What do I say? Well, it depends on who answers. (Yeah, my phone is blocked so they can't ring me back.)

5. I have self control issues. If I want it, I want it.

6. I hate gossips. Really hate them.

7. I like scaring magazine sales people with my dogs. I let them go through their spiel and then when they try to hand me the sign up sheet, I say, "Oh, you MUST NOT reach toward me! The dog will attack if you do. It's how she's trained." I love the expression on their face. And I hate magazines. I have to order them from my grand kids and I never even read them.

8. When I was in high school, I made my girlfriends all jealous because all the guys looked at me when we walked by. I always got a little ahead of the others and crossed my eyes and let my tongue hang out the side of my mouth! Everybody looked. I was the cutest, huh?

9. I love firemen and Puerto Rican cabdrivers.

10. I tell lies for fun. I told my daughter in law that my mink coat was made from my black labrador retriever and that he would have wanted it that way. She told all her relatives about her fiancee's goofy Mom. I don't know why I tell lies, but I do like to!

Smile or Smirk - Real News?

I love

Christiane Amanpour.

I have been watching her for years. I trust this woman. When she speaks, I believe her.

I've seen her smile. There are times she finds situations amusing. I have never seen her smirk.

It seems that the real news people sometimes smile. I even remember Walter Cronkite smiling on occasion. I don't ever recall him smirking. Katie Couric smiles as does Diane Sawyer. They are not smirking women.

When I see people on Fox News, MSNBC, and even CNN, I see a lot of smirking. It kind of makes me discount what they are saying. What is it about what they are saying that makes them feel like they have an inside joke?

Sarah Palin and Glen Beck smirk. So do Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow. I can find all of them fairly engaging as performers, but certainly not as news presenters. They are not people I can go to for "facts".

When I smirk it's because I'm being sarcastic. Actually, sarcasm is not my favorite thing. I don't like smirks to tell me how ridiculous the other side is in any argument. It can be fine as entertainment. It just doesn't work for information as far as I'm concerned.

The truth is, there are only a few journalists that I feel any amount of trust in. And those people may smile once in a while, but they never "smirk".

Thursday, April 15, 2010


If there is anything I enjoy more than bidding on EBAY, I'm not sure what it is! The problem is, I think I am now a platinum member (if they have such a thing). I know for sure I am an EBAY Queen.

I know how to slip in at the last minute and grab something right out from under somebody's nose! Hah! It gives me pleasure to do something so rotten. I sit with my sweaty hands clasped in joy when the auction closes and I am the winner!

EBAY always makes such a big deal out of it too! They send you emails immediately that say "YOU WON THIS ITEM!" Even if you just use the "Buy it now" option, you still get the email that congratulates you for winning! I love being a winner! I love it! It makes me jump around saying "Happy Happy Joy Joy!"

There are a couple of things that are not that great about EBAY. In the first place, I will pay more than makes any sense for something just to WIN. (Yeah, I could get the item at Cost Plus for less.) But when I go to Cost Plus, I'm not going to be called a winner, now am I? In fact, I never remember anybody congratulating me at any store where I buy something.

I was bidding on a set of antique napkins and the bidding was fast and furious! I wasn't even sure I really liked them all that much, but still! I wanted to WIN. Yeah, I paid over $100 for 6 antique napkins. I'm sorry, but that was ridiculous! I paid a high price to win on that one.

I love antique linens, but I hate washing and ironing them. You can't send them out, because they are fragile. So why buy them if you don't want to take care of them. It would be like getting a cat and saying that you hate fooling with kitty litter. (Okay, I have a cat and I frigging hate cleaning kitty litter.)

Still, EBAY charms me. You can find anything and everything on EBAY! (And you can win it, whether you really want to or not!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Harry's Way - Mom's Way

Hump Day With Harry

This is my lips toy! I play with it sometimes but if Honey sees me with it, she always growls at me and chases me till I drop it. She thinks it's her toy.

Dad went on another trip. He went to Palmdale. I went to Palmdale one time with Mom and Honey. We stayed in a motel. It was boring.

I don't like to travel except to my park. My park is at Coast Guard Island. It has cats in trees and lots and lots of ducks or geese or some kind of big birds. It takes a few minutes to get there in the car. I think it's 15 minutes. When you get there, you don't have to have leashes and you can run as fast as you want. And, if you want to, you can jump in the Bay and swim. It's a fun place. And there's nobody there but Coast Guards and they pretty much leave me alone since they probably know it's my park.

Palmdale takes hours and hours and hours and then all you get to do is stay in a motel. And at Palmdale, if you go outside, you have to have on a leash at all times. The only good part about Palmdale is scaring people called maids. Mom says maids clean up stuff.

Okay, it's kind of like Mom. She cleans up stuff too. For example, my apartment. She wants it to look nice and so she does all these things for me.

The thing is, I like a bed to look different. I like to pull back the covers and get comfortable. Mom walks in and says "Oh Harry! Get down!" and makes it look her way again. Wait a minute! It's my apartment!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Approachable Woman

It was February and freezing in London. At the tail end of our three-week European vacation. I was hunched over, sweating and sick, parked in a chair outside of an exclusive men’s shop at Heathrow Airport. Alex was off trying to find a place to make a telephone call to arrange for a limo to meet us in San Francisco. The shape I was in, I kind of wished he was arranging for an air ambulance for the ride home. Hell, the way I was feeling, even a air hearse would have been acceptable to me.

This was at the end of the worst twelve-hour period I can remember experiencing. Alex and I went to dinner the previous evening at our hotel in London. By the time I got back to the room, food poisoning had set in. It was truly dreadful. I won’t go into details, (you’re welcome) but it was bad. By 8:00 a.m., I told Alex that there was no way I could be ready to fly out at 2:00 p.m. as scheduled. We were both at a loss about what to do, but one thing was for certain, I could not get ready to leave in the state I was in.

I finally told Alex, get the hotel to send for a doctor to see me. I truly was beginning to think I was going to die. (Had I been in Paris, I might have said “Forget the doctor. Dying in Paris is something I can live with.”) Alex called down and the hotel concierge said she would get right on it. Within minutes, the phone rang and we were told that the doctor would be up to see me within the hour.

A very nice young Doctor showed up as promised. He said it looked like food poisoning and told me that I was very seriously dehydrated. He gave me three shots, (I don’t know exactly what they were, except one was to hydrate me) and some pills, including pain medication because I could barely move from the pain caused from the severe dehydration. By the time the doctor left, a wonderful feeling of peace was overtaking me and I was falling asleep. The doctor also told my husband and me that I could not fly for at least 3 days. I nodded (and nodded off) as he was leaving.

When I awoke about 3 hours later, maybe about noon, I felt great! In fact, I felt so great that I said, “Alex, let’s go home!” He quickly agreed and we started throwing our things in suitcases getting ready to leave. It would be a miracle if we made our flight so I didn’t bother with bathing or putting on make up. I pulled a fur hat on my matted hair, washed some of the smeared eye make up off my face, and put on some lipstick and sunglasses. I didn’t realize the injections I received were giving me a false sense of “I’m fine” until we arrived at the airport.

I sat in my chair and felt like I was drooling. I wasn’t, but I was sweating up a storm under the fur hat and drops were running down my face. I could not remove the hat—remember the hair! Charming. My head and body throbbed with pain. We had missed our flight (no duh!) and had another four hours to wait for the next one. As I sat there alone, I saw a good-looking man in the window of the shop I was sitting in front of. He was arranging clothing on the manikins in the window and he looked out at me for a moment. I gestured to move the umbrella a touch to the right and he smiled and complied. Within minutes, this man was at my side. He wanted to know where I was going and when I told him, he said that he had always wanted to visit San Francisco! In fact, could he have my phone number, and he would visit me in San Francisco.

I spent the 11 or so hours on the airplane being semi-comatose, I thought about my experience with the young salesman. I came to realize something I’ve probably known for a long time. While I felt and looked horrid, I also looked “approachable.” (She looks like she would never be in a position to say “No.”) I think I may have looked like a sick and tired prostitute who might just have one good romp left in her before she died.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Husbands 101

I selected this photo because it gives me authority. See, I'm getting ready to lecture!

Okay, now this is going to be kind of short but sweet! What I'm going to tell you is to throw out every bit of advise you've ever heard about what to look for in a husband.

Mama always told me it was just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man. I thought she knew what she was talking about, (but wondered if she though my policeman dad was rich)? I have had wealthy husbands. Yeah, the money is always nice. But the husbands, not so much. Oh I'm sure they could be fine if you found the right one, but I didn't.

The first time I got married it was to a man 3 years older than me. I was a few months shy of turning 19. He was a hard worker, didn't beat me or drink, but I was very unhappy with him. See, I married him because when I turned 18, my mother decided that she was selling our house and moving to an apartment and there would not be room for me when that happened. Along came husband just in the nick of time! Why on earth I married him, I have no idea. I just didn't want to go live in an apartment by myself! Sounds pretty stupid when I write it, but hell, it is what it is! Six miserable years later, I had two kids and an ex-husband. (I liked him even less as an ex-husband than I had as a husband.)

Husband #2 was 20 years my senior and fairly well off. He was fine except when he was drinking. Unfortunately, there weren't too many times he wasn't drinking. He was physically abusive to me as well.

Husband #3 was a very successful lawyer who helped me out of my bad situation with husband #2. We were together for 7 years, and then he turned my ass in for a newer (younger) model. Yup! He left me for a 25 year old paralegal. I had done the worst thing a trophy wife could do! I had aged. Now I was 40 and kind of over the hill! LOL!

I met a cute young Navy airman when I was 42. His name was Alex and I think he was 24 or 25 at the time. Alex left on a six month cruise the day after we met, but I had given him my card and over the next two years, we were pen pals and became the best of friends. The rest, my dears, is history. Alex left the Navy after his enlistment was up, (but stayed in the Reserves). He worked as an aircraft mechanic while he went to college nights. He got his degree in Computer Science after several years. We have been married for 20 years as of last November. And I've never been happier.

So throw out everything you've ever heard about husbands and just find the one that's right for you. Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief! (Did I mention that Alex is Navajo?)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waiting For Summer

Today it rained cats and dogs in sunny Cali. Say what? It's mid-April! Bad enough it was even raining on Easter Sunday.

I've had enough. I want to go out in the yard and enjoy the flowers and the sunshine. I want the dogs and the cat to take sunbaths! I want to drink iced sun tea and gin and tonics!

We have a big yard. I do a lot of gardening and I enjoy it. To me it's a very physical sport! I generally buy a ton of new flowers to plant every Spring. I love doing that and absolutely have no use for manicures because I hate rubber gloves. I love sticking my hands right in the soil. I usually end up with bites from spiders and bugs and such but who cares!

My pets watch me toil and think I'm crazy. They are a lazy bunch and find my efforts amusing. Harry gets a little peeved because I fill in the holes he digs trying to get to the dogs in the neighboring yard.

My favorite thing is to throw some corn on the cob on the grill, along with nice salmon steaks, and then do a peach, toasted almond, and spinach salad along with crusty french bread, great cheeses, and wonderful wines! Invite friends! Set the table with china and silver! The patio in summer can be so beautiful.

I love the long long days! I feel renewed with the warmth of the season. It's so fun to put away the heavy sweaters and sweat pants and pull out the linen capris and shorts and open toe shoes! Hurry up, damn it!