Thursday, September 30, 2004

Cool Brad and Good Happy Fun Times

I want to say that I really like my cousins. They were my best friends when I was a little kid, and we were always pretty close. When I moved to Texas in 1979, my cousin Brad was only about a year old, so I missed a lot of Brad-time growing up. I just got to spend nine days with him during our vacation, and I'd like to say he is a very cool, smart, and insightful person. Brad appreciates things and thinks about things that I think a lot of people miss or take for granted. I was glad to get to hang out with him.

This morning, I told Kev that life at sea is the life for me. While life at sea is great, I might not appreciate it if I was there all the time. The best parts of being at sea are sunrise, sunset, sea birds, sea animals, and fresh clean air. But life with Kev is the life for me, no matter where that is. Being away made me really appreciate my nice husband and my clean comfy house.

Now that I am back home, I am going to try to have some more adventures so it still feels like vacation. Roller skating and going to the bird show are first on my list.

Fun Fact: The elephant is the only mammal besides humans that can stand on its head. (Courtesy KH)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

White Man's Guilt

There is a village in Haiti called Labadee. The beach there is privately owned by the good people of Royal Caribbean International, and on most days, one of their cruise ships pulls up and sets anchor a couple of miles from shore. Then, tendering boats carry loads of tourists back and forth from the beach to the ship. These tourists, who by the way have been eating at all-you-can-eat buffets all week, lie around on the beach, ride wave-runners, go kayaking, snorkelling, and parasailing, and enjoy a big barbeque lunch provided by the cruise line. Then they all leave, fat and happy. Meanwhile the villagers who happen to live on the coast watch. These villagers live in tiny broken-down shacks in a country with 95% unemployment. Some of them are lucky, and can sell their crafts to a few of the tourists who come close enought to their village to meet them. The Hatian people made $25 off of me last Monday. Not far away, on the other side of Haiti, at least 1300 people were killed by tropical storm Jeanne, and the ones who survived are killing each other over the little bit of food there is. I went parasailing while I was there, and it is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. But something is really wrong with the whole situation. I'm glad mindfullness is "in." Maybe other people are thinking about this too. It makes the Ranger's slim chance to make the play-offs seem pretty unimportant.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Greetings to all! I am happy to report that I have returned to my home unharmed from my adventures at sea. And oh, what adventures I had! I parasailed over Haiti, tubed down the White river in the rain forest of Jamaica, hiked the jungles of Mexico, survived the wrath of Hurricane Jeanne, and managed to make it through 9 days in a very very small room with my mom, my aunt, and my great aunt, and without my good nice husband. I take back everything I said about cruises being cheesy. It was absolutely awesome. I recommend it to anyone, and especially via the great Royal Caribbean ship the Navigator of the Seas. There is much to blog about, but I will have to wait, because I have to get caught up at work. Thanks for all the songs that were sent in while I was away!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Brief Blog Break (Say THAT three times fast!)

Well, in the morning, I will be heading to Miami, and the sea. So, there won't be any Tara Blogs for a while, but there are sure to be tales of adventures and sea birds upon my return. I hope you all (all 1 or 2 of you) have a great week.

While I'm gone, do some good stuff for the people and animals around you, and try not to let work or heat or football losses get you down. Hey! Why not write some poems or songs?! I'll put them in my blog!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I just do the best I can

I am afraid of flying on airplanes. When I fly, I have anxiety attacks, which involve increased production of brain chemicals that induce sweating hands, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing and irrational panic. Sometimes, it sucks to be me. It is also not easy to be WITH me during these attacks. Most of the time, this duty falls to Kev, who, to his credit, does his very best to help me through and calm me down. Last year, I decided to try Xanax to get me (and Kev!)through these flights. I take two before getting on the plane. It definitely helps. I still get scared, but the physical symptoms are significantly smaller and the drugs usually knock me out so I can sleep through a lot of the flight. The xanax, however, does nothing to help me with the pre-flying anxiety and stress and sleeplessness.

In two days, I am supposed to be flying to Miami. There are thunderstorms predicted, and Hurricane Jeanne will be pretty close to the Florida coast by then. I am trying not to freak out, but I am kind of freaking out. Many well-meaning people will tell me it will be fine, flying is safe, the plane will fly around the storms, etc, but until those people have a crazy diblitating irrational fear, they won't understand that those well-meaning words don't help much, and often make things worse, as they make me feel like more of a freak for being unable to get over it. I am doing the best I can. At least I DO fly. I don't let my fear completely stop me from doing one of my favorite things, which is travelling. Believe me, I'd change if I could.

One time I made fun of my friend Rob for being afraid of snakes. I am very very sorry for that.

Anyway, I try to be a good person, and try to be unselfish and appreciate what I have and all. But right now, I am deeply disappointed that many of the things I was looking forward to on my cruise are most likely not going to happen due to all these hurricanes. I'm sure the cruise people will do their best to make it up to us, and maybe it will be better than I think, but I can't help but be upset about the situation. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person. It certainly doesn't mean I have no sympathy for hurricane victims. In an attempt to have a better attitude, here are some good things about the cruise: I will not have to drive my car, cook, or breathe pollution for a week. I will be at sea, which I love. I can read some books. I will get to see my aunts and cousins. My mom will be getting a break. They have yoga and ice skating. There could be sea-birds to see. I can pretend to be a Pirate on Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I hope everyone still likes me anyway, even though I am kind of a mess.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Just wanted to let everyone know that September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day, so go to

I will actually be at sea that day, so you can bet I'll be practicing my pirate lingo.

Thanks to Kev for the head's up!

September Morn

If there's one thing I like better than September, it's October. And September brings the promise that October is nigh upon us. This is what is helping me through this hot and hazy week. Last week, we had nice cool crisp mornings, but today's walk was like moving through soup.
Some good things about October include pumpkin carving and the State Fair, which means the great Texas Star ferris wheel, corn dogs, and the BIRD SHOW! It will be cool out and start to smell and look like fall. I can't wait.

Thanks to Neil Diamond for today's blog title.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Happy Mondays

The Saturday Dallas Morning News told me that Mindfulness is "in." That's good. Maybe that means people who throw trash on my street will become mindful that they are making my neighborhood dirty and smelly. Maybe people on Central Expressway will be mindful that talking on their cell phones whilst whizzing through the high-five is not the best idea.
It is not easy to be mindful. I try to do it during my walks. I am mindful of the trees and birds and cats and dogs in my neighborhood, and today I was mindful that I HAVE a neighborhood, as many people in Florida and the Caribbean do not. Then I saw some garbage, and big ugly new cookie cutter brick houses and heard lots of noisy construction trucks, and really had to force continued mindfulness. It was hard. I could feel Cortisol-Head coming on.
My favorite thing to do that facilitates mindfulness is my weekly Monday morning trip to Central Market. It is the best grocery store ever. First I get a cup of coffee from the info desk, and get a cart, which has a handy coffee cup holding area, and I hit the produce section. It is very colorful and it smells good and makes me want to eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. Since I am very fortunate to have Monday mornings off, I get to go when the store is not crowded and I can meander around smelling things and listening to the great music (today: Stan Getz and Miles Davis) and choosing the most perfect mushrooms and strawberries I can find. Usually there is a sample at the bakery (today: chocolate raspberry truffle) and the cheese cart (Swiss something) and the tortilla counter. The staff is friendly and seem to enjoy their jobs. I always feel super good happy when I am there.
It is a totally different experience on a crowded weekend. A real beating.
It seems that Hurrican Ivan is taking almost the exact route that my cruise ship is due to follow next week. I hope they re-route us, maybe to St. Lucia or somewhere. I guess there is still a chance we'll go to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I was really looking forward to swimming with sting-rays. Time will tell.
Bird of the Day will return soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Part of the Solution

Today during our walk, there was a bunch of trash in the street including a whataburger bag (from the "Hammer", no doubt), so we started picking it up and threw it in a trash bin in the alley. I can not understand why anyone would litter. Also, I joined the Sierra Club and signed a petition to try to get the Bush Administration to rethink its proposal to go ahead and start commercial logging in the Great Sequoya National Forest. I feel really helpless most of the time, so I figured even these small things were better than doing nothing. It would be a real drag if our kids and grandkids missed out on the wild-life and National Parks that we seem to be in the process of destroying.

Also on our walk, we saw a red-bellied woodpecker, which was nice because I hadn't seen one in a while.

And we got to play with the cool boxer up the street. (I don't know his name, but I call him Arturo).

We just finished dinner. Kev grilled some steaks, and I made some mashed potatoes and broccoli. I felt like a grown-up eating such things. Then, I had meat-guilt. But I got over it. I'd never make it as a vegetarian.

Tomorrow begins a very busy week. When will I find the time to roller-skate???

Friday, September 10, 2004

Nightmare Theory

I have a lot of bad dreams / nightmares. Most of them involve scary transportation or natural disasters, like plane crashes, earthquakes, falling elevators, etc. I guess I am just trying to work out some of my fears and stresses in my sleep, but it's kind of a drag. Then, last night, for the first time in a long time, I had a very nice non-stressful dream. There were puppies and babies all around, and I was very happy. Then I woke up. No puppies, no babies. And I'll admit, I felt a little bit of a let-down. So, my theory is maybe nightmares are better, because then when you wake up, you feel relieved that it wasn't real, instead of disappointed.

Other news:

  • We upgraded our satellite from Top 50 to Top 120, so now we get cool Sirius music channels, BBC, and Animal Planet. I have already learned new stuff about black bears and alligators.
  • My car is all fixed, and I got my admission of screw-up and apology from the turkeys, so all is good there.
  • I am supposed to go to Jamaica next week. Not sure if that's going to happen now. Those poor people. Hurricanes are scary.
  • Our weather, on the other hand, is FABULOUS!
  • My friend Damon gets to come home from Iraq for two weeks starting tomorrow. That is very good news.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Groove: 1 Derailers: 0

Well, after the last two days of dealing with major car problems and mechanic turkeys, I am happy to report that my groove hasn't been derailed. I won't go into detail about the car, but I will say that people should do the job that they are trained to do, do it right, and do it the first time. And they should be big enough to admit when they screw up, and apologize rather than getting defensive and making up excuses.

Anyway, I think it has been a case of mind over brain chemicals that has saved my groove. There has been a lot of talk about brain chemicals from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Larry Feathers, some scientists, and people on TV, regarding how they (the chemicals) can affect mood and behavior. I believe this is true. And I believe that I experienced a huge increase in Cortisol yesterday during my anger spell, which made me all tense and made me want to yell and hit things. According to TV, Cortisol is especially bad if you are female, over 30, and stressed, as it leads to unwanted belly fat. So I decided that I had a choice. I could be angry and create more Cortisol, or I could just accept the situation and try to make good chemicals instead. I have found that I can get good chemicals by taking walks, watching birds, listening to good music, playing with dogs, and some other stuff. So, maybe it is possible for us to have some control over our brain chemicals without Prozak or Xanax or Ridilin. The implications of this could be astounding! This discovery is potentially going to get me some kind of Nobel Prize for science or medicine, so don't tell anybody about it until I can write something up in a professional journal.

Or maybe it's just the great weather we are having.

Either way, Groove On!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Majestic Guillemot

This is a guillemot. The picture was taken by a guy named Steve Bird. I think that's funny. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Groove Threatened!

Few things can throw off a groove faster than car trouble. At the moment, both Kevin's and my cars are in the shop requiring repairs, and I have to admit, a few curse words crossed my mind (but not my lips!) today. But I refuse to let this get in the way of my new-found groove. No time for blogging...much work to do. Hope everyone had a good long weekend.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Sign O' the Groove

I am very groove-driven. If I am not in my groove, nothing gets done. There are a lot of factors that contribute to my groove, like weather and stress and such. My groove cycle is pretty predictable. It generally is completely non-existent in the summer, due to extreme heat and lethargy. It kicks in as the weather cools down, and sticks around until my annual post-holiday-season let-down. There might be a mini-groove if it snows. Then when it starts getting into spring, and there is gardening and the birds start to come back, groove-on. But then summer hits, groove over, and the cycle starts all over again.
After a difficult summer, I feel a new groove coming on. Here are the signs:

  • I haven't skipped a walk in over a week, except for the day we had house-guests.
  • I ordered salad at a restaurant.
  • I feel like cooking new things.
  • I like to go outside.
  • For the first time in a long time, I feel like playing music (much to Kev's happiness, the PPHPHB practiced last night).
  • I caught myself smiling in my car for no reason.

So, it's good to be getting my groove. I have to be careful though. Any little thing can throw off the groove.

Happy Labor Day to All!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Why are we fighting?

I hate election season. It makes everyone fight. I am not a Republican, but I know and respect many who are. I am also not a Democrat, but I know and respect many who are. I disagree with many Bush Administration policies, especially on the environment, education reform, and the death penalty. That does not mean I hate George Bush, or the Christians, or anyone who happens to be a Republican. I am not a big fan of John Kerry either. There are things I want from a president that I don't think he can give me. That does not mean I hate John Kerry or minorities or anyone who happens to be a Democrat. I am tired of the arguing. No one is really listening to each other anyway. People just keep on spouting sound bites at each other, and I think it's counter-productive. I haven't decided who I am going to vote for, or even if I'm going to vote at all. But I can tell you that none of this arguing is going to affect my decision either way.

Also, I must say I am shocked and horrified by the display of disgusting human behavior at Monday's Cowboy game when fans boo-ed some Middle Eastern people who were shown on the Jumbo-Tron. What in the hell were they thinking? I am ashamed to be an American Human sometimes.

I am sorry for the negativity of today's blog. I'm just mad. Thanks.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Movie stars, killer waiters, and fun with Rob.

I reckon most people have a friend named Rob. I am lucky because I have TWO. They are both very fun, smart, and interesting people, and good friends. Last night, one of them went to see if the Chiefs could beat the Cowboys in a pre-season game. I can't comment, because I don't know who won, and besides, I am a Jets fan (wearing my Jets shirt right now!). The other one, who we will call "Rob R" attended the 5k against violence, so I got to spend some time with him, and a few other friends that I haven't seen forever. I have known Rob R since the 6th grade. He has a nice wife and two good kids and is one of the funniest people I know. He said that if I paint a giant portrait of him in an Admiral's uniform, he would hang it in his house. I just might do it. And he sang our whole high school alma mater during the walk, with guns up and everything. So, it's good to have friends named Rob.

The 5K was a big success. They told us that 1500 people showed up, so that's $30,000 for the family of the guy who was hurt. I really doubt if 1500 white people parading up and down Swiss Ave is going to make the skinheads think twice about hitting people with beer bottles, but it was good to help with the money part, and it was GREAT to see my friends. Big Movie Star Owen Wilson was there. I think maybe he was supposed to be the official starter. There were also lots of good dogs, including Marmaduke, whose head came up to my shoulder.

After the walk, Kev and I went to Two Rows for dinner. It was a lovely evening so we sat under a tree on the patio. Suddenly a leaf fell out of the tree and landed next to our table, only it wasn't a leaf at all, but a leaf-looking insect of some kind...possibly a katydid. It was cool looking. It crawled up my purse, which was on the ground, and made like it was going to leap toward me, so Kev gently flicked it to the ground. Then (imagine this part in slow motion) the waiter brought us our check, put it on the table, noticed me noticing the bug crawling up my chair, kicked it off my chair, and squashed it into oblivion. Nooooooooooooo! But it was too late. Dead bug, and it was all my fault. I was crushed.

On a happier note, I got some cool Nike roller skates yesterday for $19.97 marked down from $119.00. They are light blue and orange and sparkly white, and I have every intention of using them.

It was a big day for a Thursday.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Thursday Housepants Blues

This morning I discovered a hole in my favorite housepants. Plus I didn't have any coffee. And I forgot to thaw out the meat that I was going to use for tonight's dinner. So, it was a rough start, but things are looking up. I get to spend some time with Albert the dog today at my brother's house before I go to work. At my brother's house, it is fun because he has BBC America, and also lots of Tivo-ed Da Ali G shows, which are entertaining, in small doses anyway. And I only have to work for 1 hour and 15 minutes today.

Tonight when I get home, we are doing a 5K in our neighborhood to help raise money for a nice dad who got attacked by a skinhead in Deep Ellum and is now paralyzed, all because he was being a nice dad by taking his daughters to a show at Gypsy Tea Room. If you are interested in this story, or want to help, go to:

Bird Fun Fact: The loudest nightengale is the same dB as a chainsaw from 3 feet away.

Bird Not-so-Fun Fact: There are only about 300 Whooping Cranes left in the wild.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


At last, it is September. I remember on May 31, I got off a plane at DFW and walked outside into an oven-like world and wondered if I could possibly make it to this moment. Now, I would like to officially welcome September, and thank June, July, and August for not being that horrible this year. I'm sure we'll get another hot spell or two, but those are pshychologically more bearable when you know that October is a mere 29 days away.

I wanted to put a photo of a guillemot on here, but I can't figure out how to post pictures. If you want to see some funny pictures and read interesting blogs, please visit If you want to see a guillemot, look it up on Google. I am hoping Larry can tell me how to put pictures on here, because I think more people would care about the guillemot if they could see one.

I promise I will try not to over-do it on bird talk.