Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year in Newark?

OK, so last night after the fabulous football game, the weather reporters finally decided that it will in fact snow starting sometime after midnight tonight. Instead of the initial inch or two predicted earlier, it was 4-6 inches by 9 am Monday. Then it would be time to 'clean up'. So all the morning flights will be backed up, I'm sure. Including the Brandeis Swim Team's 9 am flight to Puerto Rico...

I got up this morning, and the weather report is now for up to 10 inches, starting after midnight and getting heavy (an inch an hour) after 5 am. Right now, I'm hoping they'll be oh so wrong, and the rain line will move up from the Cape to include Boston...Otherwise, I might be camping at an airport for the festivities. Ah, the joys of traveling in winter. Good thing I've been preparing myself mentally for hassles. Half the trip was easy. It's that second half...

I wonder if they'll have Perfection Patriots shirts at Logan...though I wouldn't want to wear it to New Jersey....

Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Last Days of 2007

Greetings from the home of the bean and the cod...and the Red Sox, Pats, Celtics, Bruins, and BC Eagles! It's been a nice week visiting the family, reading the local papers, and watching local sports, including BC's whatchamacallit bowl game win last night. Tonight, bring on Eli Manning, we'll have him for dessert.

The weather is like what I left in the Northwest, snow, rain, snow and rain, sleet, a sunny day here and there. Ventured out to the new and improved Natick Mall (now the Natick Collection) with more shopping than the Houston Galleria. They even have a Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. The kids needed to return something there and we needed to go by the Mass Pike Service center at that same exit. I hate malls. New and improved ones are the worst. Too big. And WHY were all those people there the day after Christmas with their little kids? There are no malls within 60 miles of my new home. I like that.

One big difference here in Boston, there are LOTS of presidential primary political ads, in the run up to the New Hampshire primary. Mostly Clinton, Edwards, Obama, McCain and Rudy G ads. Oh, and Mitt. Lots of Mitt. Mitt's most played ad was about a guy (I don't think he was from MA) who worked for Mitt. Seems his daughter was missing in NYC. Mitt put all his company resources into sucessfully finding the girl. We know he's a good friend, employer and family man. But it seems Mitt isn't that popular locally. What? The former MA guv not popular? Didn't he reign over a governance miracle in the Bay State? Reducing taxes, fixing health care, walking on water? He touts himself as a turnaround, mr fixit, kind of guy. I've been talking with folks here on the ground. Apparently Mitt loves to reduce taxes, and put the power back on the towns and cities to control their destinies- without the funds to do it. The end result: every fee imaginable in the State of Massachusettes has been raised, with more to come. The Mass Pike tolls and the tunnel tolls are going up again in the new year, so get those transponders now, folks. My own daughter wanted a toll tag for Christmas. It's funny that people are quick to complain when these fees go up, but don't connect the dots. There's no free lunch. The Big Dig cost overruns didn't help state finances either. I still need to find out how the new health plan is working. So before you head to your polling place or caucus, or mail in your ballot for your primary, you might want to check and see what the people in MA really think about the Mittster and think about whether that's what you want for the country. I'm sure he's happy all the focus has been on his Mormon faith rather than on the mess he left behind. Though we probably don't have to worry too much. Political candidates post JFK haven't been treated kindly. And Mitt's no JFK...where have I heard that before....

I'll be back in the Gorge for New Year's, unless I get stranded in Newark. Then I start my learning curve for how to caucus. Something new and different- I've never lived in a caucus state before. Now if only I could figure out who I want to vote for...I've got it narrowed down to three...I don't think that's good enough. It's tough being a Gemini...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's Cookin'

Sorry I haven't written for a few days. I've been REALLY busy…baking COOKIES. Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than baking cookies. First, I put on my favorite CD, The Best Christmas Album in the World (Virgin Records), which I bought years ago in the UK. Ask my kids, it isn't Christmas unless we hear this album, ESPECIALLY disc 1, which starts out with John and Yoko's And so this is Christmas/War is Over. What's not to like about that?

Next, I dust off my folder of cookie recipes, gathered from 6 Christmas Cookie Exchanges in Nigeria (1991-1996). It was nice to live in a place long enough, with people who like to bake. We'd get together for lunch at someone's house, and everyone brought a dozen cookies for each participant. Then you'd take home a dozen different cookies times 8 or 10, or however many friends came for lunch. I have my favorites, which I make every year, and each recipe reminds me of a wonderful woman. Maren is those Hershey Kiss peanut butter blossoms, Jane is Ginger Cookies, Linda and Kim are the chocolate mint cookies with melted Andes chocolates on top. There's also a Rocky Road Bar recipe the kids and I added to the repertoire when we moved to Louisiana in '97. And of course, my Mom's Spritz cookies (I do have a cookie press, gotta have the trees), and Macaroons (off the Baker's Coconut bag) which remind me of Uncle Dick, who made some every Christmas. Some years I add in a not so often made recipe, but the listed ones are the standards. I don't have a cookie exchange these days, so I have to make them all.

I've sent off boxes of cookies to both kids to aid in finals studying. Some will stay here, some will go out as small gifts to neighbors, most of whom I don't know. We always did that in our neighborhood growing up, and I've done it everywhere I've lived, most of the time…

So, Cookies and Tunes. I'm feeling in the spirit!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Further Adventures in Snow

I'm starting to get grief for not posting more regularly from my 4 readers. I'm sorry. But I use the computer downstairs, and it's COLD down here. That's my excuse, or at least the best one I could think of right now.

Been working on some more profound, issues related posts, but they aren't quite ready for prime time. Soon, Susan, I promise.

For now, amuse yourself with this entry about our snow park adventure. See? Another excuse. How can I post when I'm having so much fun outside? Didn't you mothers all tell your kids to get away from the TV/computer and go play OUTSIDE? Just walking the walk here….

Last week we loaded up the new snowshoes, the old XC skiis and boots, and the dog, and drove up the road a piece, past Trout Lake, to the Atkinson Snow Park, which is about as far as the snow plows go. For a mere $31 a season, you can get a parking pass for all the WA snow parks, where you can do any combination of Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dog mushing, or snowmobiling. A bonus for those of us who live on the state line, they're good at OR snow parks as well. AND they're easy peel off passes so you can use it on multiple cars in your ownership. Pretty cool. But back to my story…

We arrived at the empty lot (it was a week day after all) and found latrines, a warming hut (photo right) and the ungroomed trail. We also found out that dogs are verboten, but no one was there to say anything, and we did take care of 'business'. We strapped on snowshoes for the first time, and headed off down the trail. What great exercise! I clomped along behind Lloyd and Brindle, who finally figured out it was easier to follow his packed down trail than to leap through deep snow on her own. (Boy did she sleep well that night!) A few more regular outings like that, and I'll be in size 10's in now time!

The dog was running out of steam, and enjoying burying her head in the snow to reach the soft, more edible stuff rather than trekking, so we headed back to the car. Time to dust off the old Nordic gear, which has been in storage for about 16 years while we lived in warm places.

The good news was, the old skiis worked okay. The bad news? My hardly used Asolo touring boots succumbed to degenerative glue syndrome. At first I thought the old 3 pin binding broke. I looked down and saw the binding intact, with the toe piece firmly secured in the pins. But the rest of the boot? Divorced from its sole. The only thing keeping the boot anywhere near the ski was the gaiter strap under the boot. VERY funny. Fortunately, we weren't too far from the parking lot, so I turned around and tried to slide/walk back on one ski. Bad idea. The disease was contagious, and boot two separated. I was wishing I had my snowshoes back! Bottom line, we need new Nordic gear. A lot has changed since the 80's with regard to ski equipment, so we have some research to do. Meanwhile, we'll try renting some, and do more snowshoeing! Fine with me!