Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thank You Ellen

It's nice to be home again. It was a great trip back East, but as always, the homecoming is sweet. Things sure have changed around here, from the overwhelming green of fully leafed out trees to multicolored patches of irises exploded all along the driveway. For those of you who don't move much, there's nothing like the first spring in a new place, when you get to see all the surprises (bulbs) that the previous owner(s) have left for you. We always try to add to every landscape so that the next owners will feel the same joy.

I also felt hope and joy at last night's Klickitat Dem meeting. Two brave souls have decided to run for County Commissioner! We had our monthly pot luck, and got to know them better. Lea brought strawberry shortcake, with real whipped cream and the shortcake still warm from the oven. Got my vote, easy! It will be an uphill climb, but if there's ever a time for success, it will be this November. More on the candidates later.

Then this morning, as I read the paper with my mug of coffee in hand, I was feeling a bit aggravated with OPB announcing another superdelegate for Obama. It wasn't that the super went with Obama, it was that the news was at least 2 days old, being reported as new. That's happened a lot around here. Then the negative editorial cartoon, as usual, about Hillary. Pat Schroeder's sadness began creeping in. Thank Goddess for Ellen Goodman, right there next to the cartoon. I have been a lifelong Ellen Goodman fan. Today she gave me hope in a way you might not expect. She channeled Barack Obama in a piece entitled Courting Clinton's Supporters: What Obama Should Say to Women Voters. To my fellow Hillary supporters, especially the angry and sad ones, please read this. It's a very healing piece that Obama would be wise to note. Maybe he can channel Ellen Goodman! It's too long to properly summarize. I couldn't do it justice. There's another column I read while in Boston, about Obama's mother, that's also worth reading. So thanks, Ellen. No matter what happens, I'm encouraged that we'll all stand together in November.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On the Road in Beantown

Time for a quick update from Boston, now that I've got a computer to play with for a little while! It's been crazzzy. Last week was eaten up by moving BC girl out of her 4th floor dorm, doing a little makeover on my sister's yard and deck, and shopping for graduation party food. Meanwhile, Lloyd decided to start a home improvement project on my parents' place, installing a sprinkler system, so my mother doesn't have to stand outside with the hose keeping the grass seed patches watered...

The graduation Sunday morning was, um, EARLY. The diplomas were given out during department ceremonies that began at 8 am. Yes, 8 am. Brandeis girl, being a European Cultural Studies and German double major (magna cum laude, I'm proud to say) joined the large Humanities ceremony. She was one of 3 ECS majors and the only German major. The speeches were mixed. The undergrad speaker gave a rather annoying sing songy cutesy talk seeking empathy from her fellow grads about misery in high school because apparently she was such a geek she had no friends and got stuck in lockers, and how she found a happier life among fellow geeks at Brandeis. My daughter and her friends were more insulted than empathetic, never having been stuck in a locker or friendless in high school. The PhD student speaker was much better, an Indian immigrant who was a popular TA in the English dept. The faculty speaker was OK. But the gym we were in was warm and crowded, and we were ready to get out of there.

The main graduation began at 10:30. The Branches Pan Groove Steel Orchestra provided the processional and recessional tunes. It was AWESOME! Branches has performed for audiences in New England over the past 25 years, and is made up primarily of youths under the age of 18. Very festive atmosphere, for sure! It took almost half an hour to get all the trustees, faculty, PhD's, MS's and BA's seated, but they all danced their way in. Bill Schneider, CNN political analyst and Brandeis '66 alum gave an excellent address to the Class of 2008. A big net full of balloons was loosed on the grads. Then they danced their way out (you haven't lived until you've heard 'Dancing Queen' played by a steel drum band) and we were free to gather the clan at my sister's house.

And what a gathering it was. The weather was a bit cool and cloudy, so people pretty much stayed inside, so they didn't get to appreciate all our yard work and deck makeover...but now she's set for the summer parties.

All seven of us kids were present and accounted for, the first time in YEARS we have all been in one place simultaneously.
Here is the evidence: In order, top row, me, Linda, Mark, Annie, Mary. Next row has Janet, mom and dad, then Carol. I'll have to dig up the pix of the last time or two this convergence happened, for a historical posting. The next photo is of the grandkids with my parents. We were missing Janet's Faye (who is in NM) and Annie's Layla (in Portland, OR). The one shot I found with Annie's Liam in there was blurry and he had his arm across his face. I'll have to see if anyone has a better shot of the cousins and repost. I hope some day soon we'll have all of THEM in one place at one time for a group photo!!!! The top row has Linda's sons Patrick (who graduated last week from Maine College of Art), Ryan, Kevin, and Janet's son Paul. Alina, Mary's Sydney and Keara flank Grandma and Grandpa.

Not to waste any time, Brandeis required seniors to be out by noon on Monday. Keara was the last of the 4 to leave, which meant we had to clean out the fridge, pantry, cabinets as well as her own room. It was after 1 when we left. But she scored two George Forman grills, a blender, a full set of silverware, Williams Sonoma pot holders, towels, and apron (all coordinated) and a nearly new Kitchen Aide pan. Thank God Annie had Don's truck. We moved K into her new place in Allston, picked up a futon Alina bought on Craigslist from a recent BU grad who was moving out, and moved that into Alina's summer digs in Cleveland Circle. Are we done yet? NO. We then drove back to get Lloyd in Waltham, returned to Keara's, and took the T into FENWAY, where we got to see Jon Lester's NO HITTER!!!!!!!

It was a good thing I had a Dunkin Donuts coffee before the game. It was spectacular and I stayed awake. Thanks to Michael for the tix! Great seats! Then we walked back to Keara's because no trolleys or busses seemed to be moving. We got home around 11:30.

Now, it's Tuesday. Lloyd is out working on the ditches for the sprinkler system. I took the car in for servicing this morning. It needs 2 new tires (already) and an alignment (Boston potholes). Then I'll move Alina into her room in Brighton. A few more up and down stairs with boxes. I'll be happy to fly back to the Gorge on Sunday!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Project

Lloyd has a new project. Seriously.

Home Depot delivered FOURTEEN palettes of retaining wall bricks yesterday. Each block weighs over 60 pounds, and each palette has 45 bricks. You do the math.

These bricks will make up retaining walls along the driveway. That's way too much heavy lifting for my wimpy biceps!

There are a few more at the top of the driveway, too.

Take Me To The River

I got to check off one of the top things on my 'to do' list this week. Ever since I saw A River Runs Through It, I've wanted to learn to fly fish. Monday we spent 4 hours with a fly fishing guide, learning three casting techniques and three fishing methods. It was all I hoped it would be!

We drove an hour to Maupin, Oregon, half way to Bend from where we live. The town sits along the Deschutes River, which is well known as a fly fisher's paradise. Our guide Mary Bischof met us at Henry's Deli, and we headed to the nearby park along the river, where we had a picnic table and a nearby latrine. Perfect! It was a glorious day, and I even caught a fish- a sweet little native trout, which lived to be caught another day since we were using barbless flies.

There's something very cool about wearing waders and standing in a river trying to tempt fish with fake feathery bugs....I'm 'hooked'! So for my birthday I'm shopping for a new rod and reel, and some nifty flies. Lloyd can try windsurfing all he wants. I'm heading to the river...

Exit Poll Data

Looks like St. Jude did his thing. The exit pollster at BC reports that the exam went well. Hey Jude, you're A-OK!

Meanwhile, a text message arrived first thing this morning (PDT) announcing that Brandeis girl is Done With College. Final final was over and done with. I am now the mom of a college grad. Feels great!

It's a pretty good news morning (unless you're Hillary Clinton). The Celts won, Tim Wakefield threw a two hitter in a Sox win, and the pretty grosbeak who's been hanging around the feeder survived a slam into my bedroom window, making it back to the nearby tree to shake off his concussion.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Calling St. Jude

The patron saint of desperate cases.

No, this isn't about Hillary's bid to be president.

Tonight we all need to pray for my daughter at Boston College. She has her theology final tomorrow. She's stressed. I reminded her about St. Jude, who was the namesake of the parish I grew up in. I hope that St. Jude will come through.

The irony of my children (who were brought up as free thinkers by their raised-Catholic mom and agnostic dad) attending colleges that are Jewish and Catholic is not lost on me. While they both do very well in philosophical endeavors, they need to fill their theology requirements with a little broader perspective. Daughter No. 1 found that in "Religion in America". Daughter No. 2, on board with the Jesuits for the next 4 years, has a more rigorous requirement: 2 semesters of theology, and two of philosophy. Straight theology. She squeaked through first semester, and seemed to be holding her own with the Catholic school kids this semester. But this is it. The dreaded FINAL. The midterm was AWFUL. Even the Catholic school kids had trouble with it, she assured me. "You won't have to take theology ever again", I told her. "Thank God for that", she replied.

So St. Jude, do your thing.

Meanwhile, I'm preparing myself to be thrilled with a really good grade in Philosophy II!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Still Hope for the Longshots?

How appropriate this is Derby Day. I just heard the funniest thing on OPB's Weekend America: an outrageous dialog between Bill Radke and John Moe called 'Fighting to Throw the Race'. If you've got a minute, check it out, especially if you're a Paul, Gravel, or Nader fan.