Tuesday, January 31, 2006

These Are My Favorite Shoes!

I could walk for miles in these shoes, they are so comfortable. It doesn't matter if I'm at the beach, walking through town, riding my bike, or wandering India. These shoes never let me down. And that's a fact.
I'm not the Manolo Blahnik sort of girl!
Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.

You Know That I Will Follow You.....

Here is one of my favorite Tori Amos songs from her To Venus And Back release of September 1999, which, for those of you that dont know, is a 2 disc set, one live and one studio. And it will not disappoint you, especially if you like Tori at some of her more far out moments. 1000 Oceans is a beautiful song, and I think you all need to hear it....believe me, getting that thing that can play sounds for blogs is getting more and more tempting, I mean, how can I show you Tori completely when you can't even hear her?
UPDATE! Go to THIS link to watch Tori's 1000 Oceans video!

1000 oceans

these tears i've cried
i've cried 1000 oceans
and if it seems i'm.
in the darkness
well, i can't believe that i would keep.
keep you from flying
and i would cry 1000 more if that's
what it takes to sail you home
sail you home sail you home
i'm aware what the rules are
but you know that i will run
you know that i will follow you
over silbury hill through the solar field
you know that i will follow you
and if i find you.
will you.
still remember
playing at trains
or does this little blue ball
just fade away.
over silbury hill through the solar field
you know that i will follow you.
i'm aware what the rules are
but you know that i will run
you know that i will follow you
these tears i've cried
i've cried 1000 oceans
and if i'm.
in the darkness
well, i can't believe that i would keep.
keep you from flying
and i will cry 1000 more if that's
what it takes to sail you home
sail you home sail you home

Monday, January 30, 2006

Help! For the past couple of weeks, my house has had this really funky smell to it. At first I thought it was some stinky sox or something. Nope, laundry is done. We've blamed it in the dog..yeah, the dog is wet, smelly and old...yeah yeah, no wait! It's the cat, there must be some cat pee in this house somehwhere......no wait! It smells more like a dead mouse or something....but where is this smell? Ok, I think it's coming from under the house....Under The House?
Ackk!!! That can only mean one thing.......THERE'S A DEAD RABBITMOUSEGOPHERMOLECATDOGRATDEERHORSEELEPHANT UNDER MY HOUSE!! ewwwww!!! Someone call the exterminator!
OK.....today I will be attempting to remove said offensive matter from under the house, stay tuned, I'll let you know what it is later! (In the meanwhile, any guesses?)
UPDATE! This foul odor seems to be coming from the heater duct......so, I think we can eliminate the elephant, horse, deer, dog, cat and rabbit. I'm going to guess mouse at this point. But, it smells more like 8 or 10 mice! Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Colorful India!

If a picture paints a 1,000 words, here are 3,000

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Happy Mehndi HNT!

"Mehndi is the art of applying Henna on the body. It is a beautiful form of temporary body decoration. Mehndi is a traditional form of decoration for both men and women in countries such as India, Morocco, and Pakistan, and is generally used for special occasions, particularly weddings."

And the part they don't tell you is, that it's really difficult to draw on your skin without ending up with drips and puddles of henna! But, I gave it a try, and you know what? It was really fun, and I felt pampered, and well, those of you that know me, know, that it's also another fun way to pretend like I'm in India!
I also have to admit, I got a little enjoyment out of freaking out the "normals" when I went to pick Little Rita up from school. I'm so bad, I know! Happy HNT!

Mr Ratburn is a freaaakkkkkkkk!!!!

Book Review- Lost In The Taiga

I've just finished reading this book called Lost In The Taiga, a true story of a Russian family that lived in the Siberian Wilderness, without plumbing, electricity, or even simple things such as matches and soap, and endured harsh winters, fires and bear attacks, just to name a few of their difficulties. The family of two grown sons, and two grown daughters, lived with their father and practiced the old and very strict ways of their religion. They believed that the only way to salvation was to live in the wilderness without modern conveniences.
At this time, the only survivor of the family is Agafia Lykov, who is now over 60 years old, and after the passing of her father, refuses to leave the taigan wilderness permanently, but does take some plane and train rides to visit some distant relatives.This is an amazing story of survival!
I first read this book about ten years ago. I liked it so much that I read it twice. Then, when I went to go dig it out to read for a third time, I couldn't find it. I think I loaned it to someone and it never got returned. So, I had to get it from the library this time. If you like adventure and wilderness stories, you will love Lost In The Taiga.

Agafia Lykov

Below I have copied some reviews of the book.

Lost In The Taiga
In 1932, a Russian named Karp Ossipovitch Lykov took his family, who were members of a sect of the Russian Orthodox Church called Old Believers, to live in the Siberian Taiga. The purpose of this self-imposed exile was to purge their souls of the modern world. Over 50 years later, journalist Vassili Peskov came across them still living on what they could harvest, hunt and build themselves, without relying on industrial or technological means
Communicants of the Old Believers persuasion--a Russian Orthodox sect dating from the mid-l7th century--the Lykov family lived so removed from the world in the Siberian taiga that only in 1978, when a party of geologists happened upon them, was their self-imposed isolation, going back to the early days of Stalinism, shattered. By the time Peskov, a Moscow journalist, made their acquaintance in 1982 on the first of what would become annual visits, only 37-year-old Agafia and her 81-year-old father Karp were still alive. Karp's sons, 54-year-old Savin and 38-year-old Dmitry, and his 44-year-old daughter Natalia all died in 1981, his wife in 1961. The story of how the Lykovs had provided for themselves, then accommodated to the incursions of the modern age is an amazing, poignant drama that Peskov reconstructs with delicacy and respect. The gift-bearing world that knocked on their door was welcome company, even as Karp and Agafia resisted efforts to return them to materialistic society. They gratefully accepted presents that eased their taxing self-sufficiency, like goats, chickens and proper footwear, but rejected such products as canned food: "We are not allowed that." The Lykovs expressed their thanks by reciprocating with gifts of pine nuts and potatoes. When Agafia journeys to newfound relatives for a month's visit, readers are perplexed with mixed emotions, at once hoping and fearing that she'll be enticed by the conveniences she's introduced to, like train travel, shops, electricity. And we are even more torn when she determines to stay on alone in her taiga fastness after her 87-year-old father dies.

Tashtagol ( about 30 thousand inhabitants ) is a town located in the very south of Kuzbass in 310km to the south from its capital: city of Kemerovo ( about 560 thousand inhabitants ) located on Tom river in 3482km from Moscow.

There, in those mountains, there are some places where it is still possible to live hiding from the civilization for dozen of years. Thus, the family of Russian peasant Lykov who belonged to Russian Old Believer Orthodox Church hermited in the wilderness just in 150km south from the southernmost Kuzbass town of Tashtagol for more than 50 years ( to be precise, they resided not on the territory of Kuzbass, but on the territory of neighboring region of Khakasia ).
In hermit cabin The hermit Lykov family was uncovered in taiga in the end of 1970's. When uncovered, the hermits know nothing even about the World War II. They explained that they had fled the Communist regime and settled in the primitive mountain cabin almost never venturing outside it. The 60 years old Agafia Lykova, the last surviving member of that hermit family is still residing in her cabin in taiga although accepting some assistance providing by Kuzbass administration as well as leaving from time to time her residence to get the necessary medical help.


In 1978, a team of exploratory geologists in a remote area of Siberia happened upon the existence of the Lykov family: father, 81 at the outset of the story, two sons aged 54 and 38, and two daughters, aged 44 and 37. They lived in complete isolation from civilization in the cold forestland called the taiga.
The subtitle of the book, "One Russian Family's Fifty-year Struggle for Survival and Religious Freedom in the Siberian Wilderness," is a perfect summary. The Lykovs were adherents of the Old Belief, clinging to a strict observance of Christianity predating the eighteenth-century religious schism in Russia. The Lykovs had fled the chaos of Russia - and the world - in the 1920's and had been alone every since. As the historian who met them first recounted to the journalist-author, it was "like something halfway between Peter the Great and the Stone Age!"
They get their fire from a tinderbox. They use a torch for light. They go barefoot in summer and wear birch-bark shoes in winter. They have been living without salt. They don't know bread. ... Recent events are unknown to them. Electricity, radio, and satellites are beyond their imaginations.
Author Peskov offers vivid, often touching, portraits of daily life in his annual visits to the Lykovs over ten years. He chronicles what they grew (potatoes, turnips, carrots) and foraged (acorns and berries), how they clothed themselves in hemp and birch-bark, how they kept their hut in frigid winter, how they related their history in accounts of the past. The details make a fascinating narrative, and the glossy plates of photographs and a couple of maps are very useful.

Some reviewers have wondered what has happened so many years later. Peskov saw the deterioration of the elder Lykov, who died within a season of his last visit; only the elder daughter Agafia was alive at the 1991 publication of the Russian edition of this book. At forty-nine, she had refused to leave. "I shall live as we have always lived," are her departing words to Peskov - and the rest of us. "This," remarks the author, "may be the greatest solitude on the earth today."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tori Tuesday

This morning I was thinking, that I had no idea what to feature for this weeks Tori Tuesday. I decided to go for a walk, which I never do without my c/d player. This morning, I chose to play Tori's 2002 release, Scarlet's Walk.

I turn on the c/d and begin my walk. The sounds of Tori singing A Sorta Fairytale fill my ears, and suddenly my mind races to the sounds of hectic, noisy Bangalore. I listen to Scarlet's Walk, and I am happily transported. I can almost see the men sitting at the stalls drinking chai, the old lady on the corner with her tobacco and bananas for sale. I hear the sounds of traffic and horns blaring. I can almost smell the curry and chapatis cooking. Children dressed in their school uniforms play cricket in the street while they wait for school to start.
How is it that while wandering the quiet, neat and tidy suburban neighborhoods of my town, that I am instantly carried away to the noisy, chaotic streets of India? This is because, every year that I have gone to India, I have had with me, at least 3 or 4 of my Tori c/ds. But the one I am always sure to have, is Scarlet's Walk.
It reminds me so much of India, that I play it when I have that, "I wish I was there now" feeling.

Here are some excerpts from a
review of Scarlets Walk by Patrick Schabe PopMatters Associate Music Editor:

Scarlet's Walk is alternately delicate, lush, soft, gritty, beautiful, painful, wistful and joyous -- in short, all the things that devotees of Tori have come to expect. However, with Scarlet's Walk, Amos doesn't deliver in spots, she delivers in spades, maintaining a consistent strength throughout the album that supports, or is supported by, the core story at the heart of the album. There's also a palpable sense of maturity in this disc, which translates to an expansive but commanding songcraft ability. The brash and confrontational Tori of Little Earthquakes seems to have become an introspective and confident woman here, yet another reflection of the Scarlet persona's growth throughout the album.
Musically, Scarlet's Walk may actually be the most complete and approachable Amos album yet released. The piano remains front and center, sometimes replaced with organs but essentially the heart of Amos's sound, and her claim to mastery of the instrument is only reinforced by this album.

Amber Waves
A Sorta Fairytale

Wampum Prayer

Don't Make Me Come To Vegas
Sweet Sangria
Your Cloud
I Can't See New York
Mrs Jesus
Taxi Ride
Another Girl's Paradise
Scarlet's Walk
Gold Dust

If you are looking for a place to start on your journey to Tori-land, Scarlet's Walk is a great place to start.

It's All About Me, So Deal With It!!

My husband is a teacher. Here we have my husband in his classroom. Look who's behind him! Is that Albert Einstein? I'm so blind I can't be sure....Mr Ratburn, as he is affectionately known, is a very strict teacher. I bet you can't tell from that happy smile there. And what is with that orange shirt? The picture was taken on Halloween, so Ratburn is wearing his Halloween shirt, complete with plastic spider buttons.

But some of you must be wondering...why do we call him Mr Ratburn? I'm sure that if you are a parent, you know exactly why. Mr Ratburn is the name of Arthur's (the aardvark) very strict but well meaning teacher. Mr Ratburn sings this song that goes a little like this:
"Chart the journey that Balboa took, do the first 100 pages in your new math book, just a little homework tonight, just a little homework, homework......"
And my very own Mr Ratburn told me, "Mr Ratburn is my hero, I want to be just like him."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Friday, January 20, 2006

If you're looking for , it's below this post!

Electra Gets A Boyfriend!!

Ever since I landed on Earth, I've been looking for a man that will keep me company, take me out to dinner, walk hand in hand with me at the park. It's tough, believe me, because, well, let's face it, it's not easy being green, you know. Just look at some of the unsavory men i've dated since I got here.

Nope, too serious! This man was not for me!

Quit looking at me like that. Just because you have alien eyes doesn't mean that I want you!

Please! Put some clothes on! I am just not interested!

Waitaminit! Waitaminit! Who is that stunning creature over there on that fence looking at the city? Oh, I have to know this man!

Oh, at last I've found him! His name is Kermit, and, he's perfect for me. I know we are going to be happy together! I think I'll stay here on Earth forever!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Playin' Dress-Ups HNT!

Over Christmas vacation, we visited some friends near Yosemite, and Little Rita and their daughter, Maggie, had a great time playing dress ups. Well, shoot! I wanted to play too! So, I went into the bedroom and let the girls dress me all up. This might be your only opportunity to see me in actual shoes with a heel! Not sure if you can tell, but I let them put makeup on me, too! I may not be half-nekkid, but my ankles are!
Whaddya think? Ain't I super stylee?
Happy HNT everyone!

Be sure to check out what the wacky Mr Ratburn is up to this week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

. . o 0 O (Um, erm, isn't that MY doggie bed?)

Someone sure looks comfortable!

Totally Tori Tuesday

One of my favorite things to do with my love of Tori's music is to share it with other friends. A few months ago, I sent some Tori C/D's to Logo, and have just asked her, now that she's been listening to Tori for awhile, which song stands out as her favorite so far.
And so, here is Logo's choice, Putting The Damage On, which is a lovely tune complete with an orchestra accompanying Tori, and you can hear it on Boys For Pele, which is my all time favorite Tori release. I wish you could hear it right now! I have to say, you do have excellent taste, Miss Logo!

stuck to my shoes
does anyone know why you

play with an orange rind
you say you packed my things
and divided what was mine
you're off to the mountain top
i say her skinny legs could use sun
but now i'm wishing
for my best impression
of my best angie dickinson
but now i've got to worry
cause boy you still look pretty
when you're putting the damage on
don't make me scratch on you door
i never left you for a banjo
i only just turned around for a poodle
and a corvette
and my impression
of my best angie dickinson
but now i've got to worry
'cause boy you still look pretty
when you're putting the damage on
i'm trying not to move
it's just your ghost
passing through
i said i'm trying not to move
it's just your ghost passing through
it's just your ghost passing through
and now
i'm quite sure
there's a light in your platoon
i never seen a light move
like yours can do to me
so now i'm wishing
for my best impression
of my best angie dickinson
but now i've got to worry
'cause boy you still look pretty
to me
but i've got a place to go
i've got a ticket to your late show
and i'm worrying cause even still
you sure are pretty
when you're putting the damage on
when you're putting the damage on
you're just so pretty

when you're putting the damage on

"And of course Damage speaks for itself. The song, being herself damaged, it's trying to teach myself about graciousness, and I have such a hard time with that. I have a very hard time. Damage was so essential for me to sing, it's one of the most difficult ones for me. I can look and have love and feelings for some of these people but... "-- Tori; B Side, 05/96

Monday, January 16, 2006

Me Me Monday

It's all about me, so deal with it!

I love the beach! I have always lived near the ocean. Mostly the Pacific Ocean, but I have also lived on an Island in the Gulf of Alaska, near the Red Sea, and the North Atlantic Ocean.
Growing up near the beach in Southern California, I spent thousands of hours roasting in the sun, yes, with baby oil and iodine! Thank goodness I am not the burning type. Every summer, my sister, friends and I would ride our bikes to the beach. I loved to splash in the waves, play frisbee, and just hang out with my friends.
When I moved to Northern California, I soon learned that the beaches here are an entirely different thing. No bikinis involved here! Oh no, a day at the beach here usually involves a warm jacket. You don't want to go swimming here either, it's freezing, the waves and riptide are entirely too dangerous, and besides, the biggest deterrent of all, SHARKS! Yes, sharks!

I've lived here for almost 14 years, and I have never, will never go into the Pacific Ocean up here!

Anyway, here I am at the beach yesterday! (Click on the pic for the giant version so you can see how darned cute I am!) Have a great Monday everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Spikey Wig Envy

Electra greedily envies the orange spikey wig. "I just have to have it," she said, "One day it will be mine!"

Friday, January 13, 2006

Favorite Photo of the Weekend.....

I'm reposting this today because I have "met" Pansi, one of Logos blogging pals, and well, I think Electra would like Pansi, Emrald, Aubvey and the rest over at their blog, The Pansi Files. Check her out if you haven't already!


BTW, it's Friday the 13th. Don't be scared, the number 13 can be lucky if you let it!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Happy HNT everyone!

This picture was taken by the wonderful
Mr Ratburn for last years Boobiethon. Hope you like it! ; )

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Lime has requested more words: more words more words more words more words more words
more words more words more words more words more words more words more words!!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tori Tuesday

Today on Tori Tuesday, I feature Tori Amos' 2002 release, Strange Little Girls.

This is Toris 2002 release which is an all cover album.

One of my favorite treats on Strange Little Girls is that we get to see Tori take on the personnas from her songs. Tori as a brunette? Uh huh. How about a blonde? Yes, please!

It's a strange beast, the covers album. Many talented artists, and Duran Duran, have attempted to fill an entire album with cover versions and the vast majority have come seriously unstuck. Even Elvis Costello and David Bowie didn't come away completely unscathed. So, it's with apprehension that one approaches the new album by Tori Amos, an album of songs "written by men about women and delivered from a female perspective". It comes as quite a shock therefore to discover on listening that this is Amos' best work since her landmark debut Little Earthquakes.
No stranger to the idiosyncratic cover version (a radical restructuring of Smells Like Teen Spirit was an early B-side), Amos has chosen a variety of artists to cover from the predictable (Tom Waits, Neil Young) to the frankly bizarre (Eminem, Slayer). For anybody who is familiar with her music, it comes as no surprise to learn that the vast majority of these songs are stripped down versions, with Amos' piano and voice dominating. What is truly impressive however, is how she has taken these twelve songs and made them truly her own.
Lou Reed's New Age kicks off proceedings and rolls along nicely, but nothing prepares you for the next track, a version of Eminem's notorious 97 Bonnie And Clyde. With just a piano and Amos' breathy vocals, she sings the song from the perspective of the doomed mother locked in the trunk, listening to her husband talking to the child. The result is utterly chilling, and surpasses the original by some distance. Another eerie experience is listening to Slayer's Raining Blood, especially in the light of the recent tragic events in America. Intense piano chords strike, while Amos sings of "awaiting reprisals.....raining blood from the lacerated sky". It's disturbingly prophetic, and sadly renders her remarkable version almost unlistenable.
Other triumphs include a starkly beautiful version of Tom Waits' classic Time, and a pretty faithful retelling of Joe Jackson's often overlooked Real Men. This isn't to say that every track on here is an unqualified success. Amos makes a real hash of Neil Young's Heart Of Gold, replacing the original's frail beauty with a cod-metallic backing that does the song no favours at all. Even worse, she completely ruins Happiness Is A Warm Gun. The Beatles' original had a real sense of menace and sardonic humour. Amos punctuates her version with well meaning, but clumsy, samples of news reports about John Lennon's shooting and apologists from the National Rifle Association. This may have been tolerated, but she manages to stretch it out for ten minutes. Enough already.
In general though, this is a real return to form from Tori Amos. Recent albums have seen her lose her way somewhat, with her increasingly bizarre lyrics failing to be tied to many memorable songs. This covers album was an inspired move, and in one move she seems to have got her career back on track. Maybe Simon Le Bon should have a word?
- John Murphy