Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Hot Was It?

It was SO hot...

...we didn't have to heat the hot tub....

Well, summer finally got here. Our deck thermometer hit 113 yesterday. It was still 102 when we drove past the bank readout on the way home from dinner. Today wasn't quite as hot out there today, a measly 109. We sat outside for coffee and the Sunday paper, but by 9:30 it was time to go inside. Gotta be the early bird these days...

And we are having a rare thunderstorm. With mega lightning bolts. Just like Texas. The dog is not pleased, but I'm enjoying it.

Speaking of Texas, kudos to the 'stros for hanging in there against my home boys. Jilly Bean was at the game Saturday night, and reports that the crowd got their money's worth. How about that Mark Loretta...a 3 run homer! I still wear my Loretta Sox shirt, after all, how often does your name show up on a MLB shirt?

When it's hot, we watch movies. If you haven't seen it, rent The Bucket List. Morgan Freeman is always terrific, and Jack Nicholson was perfectly cast. Thank God I didn't have to watch him paired up with a too young female lead (a la Helen Hunt). Yuk! He was great in this. See it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Have Some TaTa's with Your Latte

I'd better put the gang in Fort Bend on notice, just in case there's an available storefront at the strip mall next to Nooky's. Who knows, this might catch on like Hooter's. Someone alert Andy!

There's a new coffee shop coming to Portland.
The Bikini Coffee Company, which has already established a loyal- and nearly all male- clientele in Salem, has set its sights on Portland. The company, known for its bikini-top-wearing baristas, plans to open an espresso bar ...for coffee drinkers looking to order a tall nonfat with extra whip.
The writer of this piece, Helen Jung, has a great sense of humor. The extra whip line just about made me spit out my morning homebrew. Her lead in, "Just what Portland needed. Another coffee place to order a cup. Or two." kept me reading.

Obviously, the beach attire theme works. Business at the Salem shop quadrupled after baristas donned bikinis and shorts last year. I feel so much better about all this because the owners' mom comes and visits and 'keeps us in check'. They do have their standards, and when the help started showing up in outfits that were 'over the top', the boss had uniforms made up: aqua or white bikini tops with the logo and blue or white shorts, and white shoes. What a relief.

I'm also happy to note that there are hiring standards.
The baristas, who are hired under modeling contracts, can't have just good looks, he said. "The girls have to have some sort of personality...Personality is a huge part."
Yeah, HUGE.
You've come a long way, baby.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Celtics Totally ROCK!

I'm enjoying the heck out of the game tonight. I am old enough to remember the tense days of the Lakers-Celts rivalries. Tonight, the Celtics have the Boston Fever. It's HOT there in the Gahden. One more qwa-tah to go. Don't stop guys. It's not in the bag yet. (Boston fan attitude).

So, I apologize to my handful of fans. I haven't been posting too much lately. My excuses are many. I am a grand master(mistress?) of excuses.

10. I've had a LOT of company. Lee and Wayne left. Mary and Syd came, Karen came, Mary and Syd left, Lloyd invited the Australians from a river trip, Karen is leaving tomorrow, Jeanne and her gang are coming in Friday. I love it.
9. It's been GORGEouse out here. The weather has finally gotten into the 70's, clear and sunny. Time to be outside.
8. My dandy new Vista equipped computer has been giving me fits. I am a big fan of those Mac/PC commercials. Since the last major Vista update, my cursor has been freezing. Any suggestions?
7. The dog is shedding like crazy. Thank God for the 'furminator'. To my friends with dogs, get one of these. You won't regret it.
6. The lettuce needs harvesting. It's growing like mad. I thought the chard would do better, but something is eating it. Perhaps all the bunnies in the neighborhood. We had to cage the tomatoes, not for the plants themselves but to keep the animals off them. Perhaps the deer. Two nights ago there were two young bucks grazing in our plot. We were driving past them, and they didn't even blink. I yelled out the window, Lloyd honked the horn. What, you want something? They finally ran over to the neighbor's yard and stood there looking at us as we drove by. Too much testosterone, I say.
5. Kris had a date with the girls, Joel had a meeting, I got the call to cover the WRC tasting room. It was a blast. I even sold some wine! I'm ready for Gorge Games duty!
4. Lloyd and Karen had to go rafting, and SOMEONE had to take pictures. So I braved poison oak, briars, and boulders to get pics of them on their rafting trip. I passed on the trip. My neck is FINALLY feeling better after the winter's xc skiing crashes. Not willing to risk a relapse.
3. I'm having too much fun reading about my old 'hood on KMBBB.
2. Did I tell you the weather's been great?
1. Did I mention I live in Paradise?

Peace out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One Lousey Recession Proof Job

While I was back in Boston last month, I was helping my school nurse sister clean up the kitchen and deal with a mountain of junk mail. One flyer caught my eye. It was from The Nit Picker. I asked my sister, is this for real? Yep. There's a woman in suburban Boston who will deal with your child's head lice for $100 an hour. She'll come to your school and check your classes. A visit to my sister's private school to inspect the heads of all K-3 students cost a mere $700. You can also book her to give a seminar on lice at your school, should there be an outbreak to distress parents. That will be $150 an hour for a two hour seminar, plus travel expenses.

I checked the business website, and the most important job skills needed are patience attention to detail. Oh, and you can't be turned off by the sight of the little buggers (above, shown with hair shaft and attached egg). So gear up this summer with a training program and you could be ready for the fall rush. I was amazed to find other similar companies, like Lice Fighters (NJ,NY,CT) and Lousey Nitpickers in CA, serving the needs of LA, San Diego and Orange County. So if you're looking for a new business opportunity, use your head: find a 'nitche' and fill it!

Mt Hood In June

Weather report this morning at Timberline Lodge:
Tuesday, June 10
23 degrees, 1-23 mph winds, and SNOWING

It's windy as heck here. Has been all night. Hope Lee and Wayne didn't get blown off the road along the coast. Maybe it's nicer there!

Back to far this season they have gotten 855 inches (that's over 71 feet, folks) of snow. In the last 72 hours, they've gotten 9 inches. The current base at the lodge is a mere 149 inches (just over 12 feet!).

So while all my family and friends back in the northeast and south are sweating their brains out, we're sitting here still wearing fleece, and it's SNOWING in the passes. Crazy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

From NOLA on Two Wheels

We had COMPANY!!!! YIPPEE!!!! Friday night Lee and Wayne Barrios arrived on their Goldwing, all the way from New Orleans. They dodged tornadoes, drove through a snowstorm near Butte, MT, and found their way to the Gorge. Lee teaches Gifted English at Mandeville Jr High, and both my girls earned their stripes in her class. They like to brag that she taught them all the English grammar they'd need to succeed in college. So Lee rates high on the 'best teachers' list in our house. We're hoping to hear from retired awesome fourth grade teacher Doris V. soon (Doris, we know you're in the northwest this summer! CALL!)

We had a great weekend, giving them the 50 cent tour Friday evening (to the Bridge of the Gods, Cascade Locks for pizza and brews, following the old highway to Multinomah Falls, and the postcard gorge view from Vista House), the dollar tour on Saturday (to Trout Lake, Husum Falls, Hooba's for lunch- where we tried the new pulled pork sandwich hot off the hillbilly smoker, Wind River Cellars for tasting, and to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood). Timberline, by the way, still has snow piled up to the top of the second story windows. I skipped that leg of the journey to work on dinner prep. The weather was a bit chilly, cloudy, and socked in at Mt. Hood. But Mt. Adams peeked through the clouds while we were in Trout Lake, and Mt. Hood gave them a slightly clothed view by evening. Sunday was a postcard day, so they took off on the bike to explore the fish hatchery and Bonneville Dam, lunch at our fave Horsefeathers, and checking out the shops in Hood River.

My big accomplishment for the weekend was preparing the First Annual Curry Night in White Salmon. When we lived in Nigeria, we got hooked on Indian food. East Indian, not Native American. We have to specify here. Unlike the LAST place I lived... Anyway, we moved to Louisiana, and there was a woeful lack of said cuisine, so I started the Annual Curry Night for all our friends (mostly Brits) who were suffering from Indian food withdrawal. I'd cook for days. Even made my own naan. Then we moved to Sugar Land. Indian Food Heaven! So Annual Curry Night went on hiatus. Well, it's back. The nearest Indian Buffet is in Portland. The test run was a success, with appreciative diners, so I can expand next year.

I should have taken pictures of the food. What was I thinking? Thanks to my mentor in Nigeria, Nina Ahluwalia, wherever you are. She taught small groups of us expats how to make the goods. We started with vegetarian samosas and coriander chutney. I cheated and used egg roll wrappers cut in half instead of painstakingly making my own wrappers. Because I could. The main buffet included bengan bharta (spiced eggplant-Keara's and my fave), keema (minced lamb balls) in curry sauce, lentils with spinach and ginger, tandoori chicken, jasmine rice, garlic naan, raita (yogurt with cukes and mint), and traditional onion pickle. Roz brought a yummy potato and soy bean dish, and an incredible dessert made with ricotta cheese, almonds, coconut, topped with fresh mango. We served Pimms cups before dinner (a tradition from the original curry nights) and Joel, the WRC 2007 Riesling (we helped harvest) was perfect with dinner. It just might become the official wine of curry night, and earn you and Kris an invite next year. And now I get to eat leftovers tonight!!!!!

Lloyd, meanwhile, not to be outdone with a weekend project, completed The Great Wall of Lloyd, as Wayne dubbed it. He's been moving earth by wheelbarrow. Crazy man. But it looks great, and he's made a nice little parking area at the top of the hill for Goldwings that don't like our gravel driveway, and for winter parking of a vehicle so we don't have shovel it all out to escape.

So that's life in the gorge for now. More to come!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Grands

As promised, I found a good picture of my folks with 'The Grands Minus Two'. Unfortunately we were missing Faye (in Albuquerque) and Layla (in Portland, OR). It's hard to get all 10 of them in one place, especially when we're spread across the country!

So for those of you who know us, Mom and Dad are center front with Mary's Sydney, my Alina and Keara are flanking them. The Back Row Boys are Annie's Liam, Linda's Patrick (who also graduated in May, from Maine College of Art), Ryan and Kevin, and Janet's Paul. Quite a crew!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Celtics, Manny, and the DNC

PAY NO ATTENTION to the man behind that curtain....
UPDATE: Hillary will NOT be conceding tonight. That is directly from the campaign. Methinks she just might like to enjoy one if not two victories tonight as well as her incredible surge in the backstretch, still pressuring the fading frontrunner. I'd party too. In fact, I just might do that.

It's not over until the lady in the pantsuit says it is.

Why do I care? I keep asking myself.

It was a good weekend. The Celtics won and will now face the Lakers, just like the good old days, Manny hit his 500th home run (501 now), I finished painting the bedroom 'relaxing green', and the Spring Fest was better than I expected. I womanned the Dem Booth on Sunday, and was in a great spot to hear the music tent. Who knew the White Salmon Jazz Band was so dang good? People were shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED to see a Dem Booth at Spring Fest. There had never been one before. Best thing was, no GOP booth at all!

On the not so good side, the first man who came to the booth had to tell me about the editorial cartoon with Hillary on Mars. Yep, the one next to Ellen Goodman's column I spoke of earlier. Believe it or not, I was kind when I told him I didn't find it particularly funny. Then the next man came by and made a comment about getting rid of Hillary. I just stared at him. When the next guy came by and asked if we were pushing Obama, I told him we weren't pushing anyone just yet, wait til the voting is done. And by the way, how about signing the petitions for our local candidates? Thank you very much.

So that brings me to the DNC, which has decided that it's over. Reliable sources tell me Hillary will endorse Obama tomorrow night from New York. Of course, if a miracle happens and she wins Montana as well as S. Dakota, she may rethink that and prove them all wrong. I won't count that out. I believed in the 2004 Red Sox down 3-0 to the Yankees in the playoffs. But the DNC, those wise folk who brought us the MI FL debacle, have decided to annoint He Who They've Wanted From the Start. They are tired of hearing that he can't carry the important states in the general election. They think he can. They don't like seeing a 60 yr old woman charging like it's day one when it's just steps from the finish line. Makes him look bad. They don't find his inexperience a problem. As I heard Obama say himself, 'I've been running for president for 15 months now'. Yep. A huge proportion of your first term in the Senate. Apparently the DNC is okay with that. And if he loses, it will be all Hillary's fault. I can see it all now. There had better be a pony under all this for Hillary. It won't be veep. She's too valuable elsewhere. I'm thinking Senate Majority Leader. Harry Reid can find a new gig. Or Secretary of State. Something good.

So Howard, Nancy, Harry, Ted, just so's you know...even though I told you a long time ago that I wasn't sending you money for the DNC, the DCCC or the DSCC because you don't know what to do with it...that I'd send it to candidates directly...I'm working on some strategies for you. I'll send them back in your post paid envelopes, no cash, just valuable advice. You can start by telling us all who the key players will be in an Obama administration. I'll send you a few names.

If I like what I see, I may do more than just send in my ballot in November. But I'm worried about this election. I hope I'm wrong, and that everything will be as audaciously hopeful as Obama promises. People I know, love and respect all say it will. But I've heard the uniter thing before and I'll need to see it before I believe it. The DNC hasn't had a very good track record lately with their presidential candidates....I'd say it's past time for a change on that...oh, yeah.

And that's ALL I'm going to say on this stuff for a good long while. I've got a stack of ideas and pictures that will be a hella lot more fun than talking about elections. I know, you're all really happy about that. Thank you for indulging me my therapy. I'm gonna be okay (I live in wine country). We barely survived two terms of Bush. At least this time there's an IQ in there.