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This is NOT why I go on a cruise.

The deck of the Ocean Princess in Vladivostok, Russia.

Princess Cruises posted this to today.

iTunes is currently playing: Snow Is Lightly Falling from the album Winter Solstice On Ice by Nightnoise.


MoveMe / PCmover in Japanese

Isn't it cute? I wonder how many people worldwide have benefited from my husband's genius. :)

Japanese version of PCmover from Laplink (formerly known as MoveMe from Spearit Software).

Japanese version of PCmover from Laplink (formerly known as MoveMe from Spearit Software). Above: front of box. Below: back of box.

Japanese version of PCmover from Laplink (formerly known as MoveMe from Spearit Software).

iTunes is currently playing: Move It On Over from the album 20 of Hank Williams' Greatest Hits by Hank Williams.


Poor little guys!

It's hard to find deer food under a foot and a half of snow!

iTunes is currently playing: Dig Down Deep from the album Marc Cohn by Marc Cohn.

Time to book a cruise.

It started about 5 p.m. yesterday. Still coming down at noon.

This is our back deck. Our estimate: at least 20" on the patio table.

Open the front door and this is what you see.

Looking out the front window. Our poor little cars. But at least we have learned to move our cars up toward the top of the driveway (near the street) when snow is predicted.

iTunes is currently playing: Snow Is Lightly Falling from the album Winter Solstice On Ice by Nightnoise.


The man needs a teleprompter ...

... to speak to a bunch of grade school kids?? OMG ...

Obama and his teleprompter.

iTunes is currently playing: Speak Like A Child from the album The Singular Adventures Of The Style Council by The Style Council.


I love love love ...

... receiving packages from China. Chinese characters are so beautiful. They remind me of snowflakes.

Chinese Export Form

Do you think that the characters circled in pink mean "United States"?

Chinese Characters = US?

I also love Hello Kitty. And I love the bag I got from Hannah in China. Very reasonable. Very well made. Perfect handbag for traveling.

Hello Kitty Bag.

iTunes is currently playing: Visions Of China from the album Live in Tokyo December 1982 by Japan.


What would you expect to learn ...

... from a candy bar hotline? [Thanks, Nan!]

Call the Nestle Crunch Hotline at 800-295-0051. When you are asked if you want to continue in English or Spanish, just wait quietly for about 10 seconds and you will smile. Promise! Keep going and press 4. Listen to the options and then press 7. If you aren't smiling by now, check and make sure you still have a pulse.

iTunes is currently playing: Candy Everybody Wants from the album MTV Unplugged by 10,000 Maniacs.


How to ensure that the travel industry ...

... never recovers from the recession:

How to destroy the travel industry.

Does this make you want to jump on a plane?

iTunes is currently playing: Outbound Plane from the album Aces by Suzy Bogguss.


One of these years ...

... I want to celebrate New Years in Sydney. Imagine watching this from the deck of a cruise ship!

iTunes is currently playing: Let's Dream In The Moonlight from the album Past Perfect, Disc Six by Billie Holiday.


Jack Bauer interrogates Santa

I am SO looking forward to January 17th, when Jack and Chloe return for Season 8.

iTunes is currently playing: Feliz Navidad from the album Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.


The Brits get it.

They understand we've been sold a bill of goods by the global warming folks. When are we going to wise up?

iTunes is currently playing: Prelude To The End Of The Game from the album Brand New Day by Sting.


Disturbing Hoosier News

According to NWI.COM (online version of The [Hammond] Times), Indiana has the second highest smoking rate in the country. It is difficult to believe that in this day and age, more than a quarter of adults in Hoosierville smoke. Even worse, the percentage has gone up in the last couple of years (unlike most other states, where fewer people are smoking).

What's up, Hoosiers? Do you all not get that smoking is bad for your health??

iTunes is currently playing: Save Yourself from the album Aces by Suzy Bogguss.


The number of women who will buy this item:


eat eat tweet tweet Withings, the French company behind the  Wi-Fi Body Scale, the first bathroom scale equipped with a wireless connection to send your weight and body fat information directly to your Web page and iPhone, announced it has added Twitter capability to the scale, enabling the user to automatically tweet the weight/fat info to followers.

In a news release, Withings declared the Twitter function would be a great help to users, "further motivating them by sharing their progress with followers."

iTunes is currently playing: We Have No Secrets from the album "The Best of Carly Simon" by Carly Simon.

I remember very clearly ...

... the terror we felt as those news reports broke.  Random shootings at a gas station and a Home Depot.  A bus driver ready to start his route.  A crazy person, we said.  Who else would do something like this.  And then relief when the two men were in custody and the shootings stopped.  Sympathy of sorts for the teen.  Rage toward the other, the ringleader.  So much rage.  Maybe that is why it only took 7 years to execute him, instead of the 20+ it often takes for death penalty cases to wind their way through the justice system.  Relatives of the victims say they feel better now.  Really?  When the government does its eye-for-an-eye thing, does it bring back the dead?  Did it heal your broken heart?

iTunes is currently playing:  nothing.


Makes us ex-pats wanna cry.

From the [Gary] Post-Tribune:

The fiancee of Gary's latest homicide victim said she asked him not to visit the Brunswick neighborhood where he was shot and killed Wednesday. Terry Flournoy Jr., 36, became the fifth person in six days to be killed in Gary when he failed to heed that warning. Witnesses said they heard several gunshots before Flournoy was found dead in a purple Pontiac Sunfire in the 700 block of Hovey Street. "People have been getting killed left and right over here," Mya Gauldin, ... said.

From GoogleMaps:

iTunes is currently playing: Lonesome For A Place I Know from the album "Idlewild" by Everything But The Girl.


A Day in the Country

Yesterday was a beautiful day so we took a drive out to Lancaster (PA). We saw quite a few horse-drawn buggies, as the area is home to some Amish folks. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents, as the buggies travel right alongside the cars on Rt. 30.
Amish buggy.
Does this cow need to be milked or do they always look like that?
Lancaster cow.
As we approached our house at the end of the day, we saw a couple of our local deer watching the cars go by. I never get tired of watching these guys.
Local wildlife.
Local wildlife.

The drive to LAX just won't be the same.

Nude club near LAX to be torn down.

iTunes is currently playing: Don't Stop The Dance from the album Boys And Girls by Bryan Ferry.



Playing with a new lens for my Olympus E-520: a Rokinon 85mm 1.4.

Test image from Rokinon 85mm 1.4.

iTunes is currently playing: Someone's In The Background from the album Hearts And Flowers by Joan Armatrading.


Now where did I put those Rollerblades?

iTunes is currently playing: Keep On Movin' from the album Angels In The Crowd by Wendy Woo.


American Life in Poetry #226 (Travel-themed!)

Occasionally I post an issue of Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry column, when its featured poem particularly hits home with me. The following poem reminds me of the afternoon we spent whale watching with a group of folks who cruised Alaska with us on the Diamond Princess last May. We saw so many whales that afternoon! It was one of the highlights of our cruise, and it was wonderful to share the experience with so many others. If you have ever traveled in a group, the poem may touch a chord with you, too.

American Life in Poetry: Column 226


Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus. Here Ronald Wallace, a Wisconsin poet, gives us a sighting with similar results.


Australia. Phillip Island. The Tasman Sea.
Dusk. The craggy coastline at low tide in fog.
Two thousand tourists milling in the stands
as one by one, and then in groups, the fairy penguins
mass up on the sand like so much sea wrack and
debris. And then, as on command, the improbable
parade begins: all day they've been out fishing
for their chicks, and now, somehow, they find them
squawking in their burrows in the dunes, one by one,
two by two, such comical solemnity, as wobbling by
they catch our eager eyes until we're squawking, too,
in English, French, and Japanese, Yiddish and Swahili,
like some happy wedding party brought to tears
by whatever in the ceremony repairs the rifts
between us. The rain stops. The fog lifts. Stars.
And we go home, less hungry, satisfied, to friends
and family, regurgitating all we've heard and seen.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Sustenance" from "For A Limited Time Only," by Ronald Wallace, (c) 2008. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. The poem first appeared in "Poetry Northwest," Vol. 41, no. 4, 2001. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

iTunes is currently playing: Universal Traveler from the album Talkie Walkie by Air.