Towse: views from the hill

September 10, 2004

Read Martha Mendoza’s story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:39 pm

Between a Woman and Her Doctor

A Story About Abortion You Will Never Forget

by Martha Mendoza

I could see my baby’s amazing and perfect spine, a precise, pebbled curl of vertebrae. His little round skull. The curve of his nose. I could even see his small leg floating slowly through my uterus.

My doctor came in a moment later, slid the ultrasound sensor around my growing, round belly and put her hand on my shoulder. “It’s not alive,” she said.

She turned her back to me and started taking notes. I looked at the wall, breathing deeply, trying not to cry.

I can make it through this, I thought. I can handle this.

I didn’t know I was about to become a pariah.

I was 19 weeks pregnant, strong, fit and happy, imagining our fourth child, the newest member of our family. He would have dark hair and bright eyes. He’d be intelligent and strong — really strong, judging by his early kicks.

And now this. Not alive?

I didn’t realize that pressures well beyond my uterus, beyond the too bright, too-loud, too-small ultrasound room, extending all the way to boardrooms of hospitals, administrative sessions at medical schools and committee hearings in Congress, were going to deepen and expand my sorrow and pain.


Goose Control for Your Property

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:10 pm

No one’s going to ship this business overseas.

Are you geek enough?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 8:02 pm

Are you up to the challenge?

Registration closes 6 p.m. (PDT) September 14th.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:55 pm

Snitched off Mary Anne Mohanraj’s journal.


The Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) is pleased to announce its first Older Writers Grant of $750. The grant is available to any writer of speculative literature of 50 years or older at the time of application who is just beginning to work professionally in the field. There are no restrictions on the use of the grant money.

The grant will be awarded by a committee of SLF staff members on the basis of interest and merit. Applicants are asked to submit a brief autobiographical statement, a writing sample, and a bibliography. For full details on how to apply for the grant, please see the SLF web site or email olderwriters -at- Applications must be received by December 31st 2004. The successful applicant will be announced on January 15th 2005.

The Older Writers Grant is generously sponsored in its entirety by Centric Advertising.

Don’t know what speculative literature is?

The FAQ says

2. What is speculative literature anyway?

Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element would fall under our aegis, and would potentially be work that we would be interested in supporting.

Missed connections

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 6:26 pm

Folks I’ve never met and keep missing:

piranha’s been and is now gone and we missed connecting. Who knows when zie’ll be back in town.

I’ll be in Toronto for Bouchercon. Debbie was my boss back when she was the brains behind Inkspot/Inklings. She and I’ve missed connecting on several occasions now and drats! she’ll be up at the cabin — it’s the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

Or maybe not! Bouchercon kicks into gear on Thursday. I’ll be flying in late Wednesday afternoon. Maybe we’ll be able to get together before she leaves and before I get sucked into the madness.

What time is it?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 5:42 pm

My favorite stepdaughter sent this last night. (Sure, she’s my only stepdaughter, but of all the stepdaughters I know, she’s my favorite.)

Change the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know INCLUDING the person who sent it to you otherwise it will not be all fair, will it? It should take about 10 minutes. The theory is that you hold a special place in the time that your friends have at their disposal, so that they will be interested enough to enlighten you to their little known facts.

The version A. sent me had some missing questions and being the person I am, I went off searching the Web to see what was missing. Where did those questions go? Turns out the questions have been around long enough that they’re a meme and mutable, so I added some in the missing spaces. Don’t like a question? Change it.

1. What time is it?

The times they are a’changin’

2. Name as it appears on your birth certificate?

Sally Joan Towse

3. Any nick names?


4. Parents’ names?

[elided to protect the innocent]

5. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake?

53 (including the one to grow on)

6. Date that you regularly blow them out?

The Saturday or Sunday closest to August 12th, but this year on August 28th — we delayed the par-tay because my niece was just getting back from a month in Paris and she’d be sooo tired … so we delayed the party for a couple weeks and wouldn’t you know it? she didn’t come.

7. Pets?

The cat with which I share the sofa on an occasional basis, the cat who climbs up on the roof and whines at the window when she gets shut out at night ’cause she won’t come in, the cat who skitters around corners when I walk by has been my son’s since the day we adopted her. I think she knows who saved her.

8. Favorite animal?

Kittens, which are distinct beasts from the cats they grow into.

9. Tattoo? Piercings?

Sedate, Republican ear piercings. One in each.

10. How much do you love your job?

I was told this morning by my boss that my job was to be happy. What’s not to love?

11. Believe in karma?


12. Favorite vacation spot?

Hawaii — you can find lilikoi frozen juice in the grocery stores, fresh lilikoi, lilikoi shave ice.

13. Been to Africa?

Egypt. Tunisia.

14. Stolen any traffic signs?


15. Been in a car crash?

A few. Not really *crashes* but rear-ender type things.

16. Croutons or Bacon Bits?

Roasted pinenuts

17. 2-door or 4-door?

2-door. MINI Cooper.

18. Coffee?

Double espresso.

Grande caramel macchiato. (250cal and worth every one.)

19. Salad dressing?

bleu cheese

20. Color of socks?

Mis-matched. One pink, one green / one blue, one red. Keeps the mind aware and drives real estate agents nuts when they make you take your shoes off before you wander around their open houses.

21. Favorite Numbers?


22. Favorite Movie?

The original Sabrina.

23. Favorite Color?

Forest green.

24. Favorite Holiday?


25. Favorite Food?

Foie gras chaud

26. Favorite day of the week?


27. Song of the moment?

Whatever is playing on KFOG.

28. Morning person?


29. Toothpaste?


30. Most recently read book?


31. News resource? Newspaper? TV?

Two local papers, Time/Newsweek/USNews/Forbes, but mostly and the places it leads me.

32. Favorite scent?


33. Favorite things?

Family, friends, the Web, books, domestica (cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting), travel, lambskin rugs, prisms, telescopes, cameras, peace.

34. Fast Food place?

Taco Bell

35. When was your last hospital visit?

Earlier this year

36. Favorite drink?

Passion fruit juice

37. How many times did you fail your drivers license?


38. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Writing my fourth best seller between spells of watching the boats on the Bay.

39. Favorite quote?

At this instant? “Make it a rule of life to never regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy: you can’t build on it; it’s good only for wallowing in.” – Katherine Mansfield

40. Furthermost place you sent this message?

Is this question here so I’ll send this as far away as possible? I’m putting it on the Web. It will go as far as it goes.

George Shultz makes the news

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:03 am

and hooray for him.

From the The AP article by Paul Elias, AP Biotechnology Writer.

September 7, 2004, 9:43 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Secretary of State George Shultz on Tuesday became the most prominent Republican to endorse a $3 billion California ballot measure that would fund human embryonic stem cell research in the state.

“I don’t think of it as an ideological or a political matter,” Shultz said. “It’s a matter of scientific research.”

[more article follows]

U.S. Rep. Doug Ose, one of those moderate Californian Republicans you hear so much about, is retiring this year after three terms in the House of Representatives. He and Shultz are the only national Republican “names” to endorse Proposition 71, which will be voted on Nov. 2.

The State GOP, of course, opposes the measure.

Yesterday’s Tribune Media Services crossword

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 3:00 am

39A: Classic TV sitcom

36D: “Biography” channel

Why am I bringing this up?

Yesterday was the first time I’d seen a crossword puzzle solution that incorporated a non-alpha character.

39A: Laverne&Shirley

36D: A&E

Is that cheating?

Batten down the hatches

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 2:15 am

I dropped a note to the editor of what we affectionately call the Snooze, the weekly newspaper for our fair ville, this morning, suggesting he run an article on earthquake preparedness.

A 3.4 quake woke us up at 3:30 a.m. The quake was centered less than 2 miles ENE from here, along the Monta Vista fault. That quake was preceded by a couple microquakes, too small to feel, and followed by four more.

The USGS list of recent earthquakes shows that jolt I felt this morning.

This morning’s jolt was a longer, more rolling quake than the 2.2 quake I felt about 5:30 Saturday morning. This quake made the house creak.

That quake felt like someone had dropped something heavy right next to my bed: a short, sharp jolt that made the windows rattle. I felt that quake, even though it was a small one, because it was less than 2 miles WNW from here, along the San Andreas fault.

We’ve also had about five quakes over 3.0 south of here in Hollister and Pinnacles since mid-August and a smaller one today. All-in-all I’m feeling like the leadup to Loma Prieta back in 1989.

Then too we had a good size rumble in August, good enough to knock a can of spray paint off a shelf in the garage. The child-proof cap came off and the freezer still has a swash of green paint on it.

Back then nothing much was made of the smallish quakes. No news. Then came Loma Prieta and folks realized my paint-toppling quake in August was a precursor quake for the Loma Prieta. Since then the Merc offers a weekly earthquake map and report of earthquake activity.

Deciding ’twas better to yield to my anxieties than wish I had paid attention after the fact, I’m battening down the hatches. Today I took some of the more valuable breakable Asian pots and plates and what-not off the living room shelves and put them on the floor away from the windows in a safer spot. Soon, maybe tomorrow, I’ll wrap them in bubble wrap and take them up to San Francisco and use museum wax to glom them onto the shelves. Next up the other rooms and my office. The stuff was going to move anyway. Might as well move it now.

We’re mostly set for whatever will come. We have water and food and other supplies. The water heater is strapped in. I carry shoes and basic supplies in all the cars, but you never really know if you’re prepared until the house starts creaking, then shaking and you realize this isn’t a measley 3.4 but something much bigger.

Soon, they say. Some time in the next few decades. When they can’t say. Soon.

September 8, 2004

San Francisco sidewalk graffiti

Filed under: Uncategorized — Towse @ 9:22 pm

Walking along the streets of San Francisco, you come across some odd things, in addition to broken glass and cigarette butts, blowing newspapers and the usual detritus.

There are a couple slabs of sidewalk on the north side of Union between Kearny and Montgomery where some wag back when, while the newly-poured concrete was still wet, embedded some game tokens and a die, a few bits of toys — a child’s treasures, captured forever, art on a smaller scale but similar to Fay Young’s wall in Eltham.

A while back the City sued IBM for their Linux penguin sidewalk graffiti advertising, but that hasn’t deterred people. We came across several different examples of advertising graffiti while we were walking around this past weekend.

This one caught my eye.

Graffiti. Sure.

Defacing public property. Sure.

But I liked the message.

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