Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Merry Christmakkuh

This is too funny to let slide.

Will this administration never end?

Someone in the First Lady's office send this card as the invite to American Jewish leaders for the White House Hanukkah celebration.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be off to McMinnville for a few days. I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day.

Hate to leave the gorge, it's sunny here!

But we'll be back on Saturday to get into the holiday season, and cook my bargain turkey. The town tree was delivered to the Boat Works today and it will need lights. I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon Festival is Dec. 6th.

And to top it all off, Lloyd was called for Jury Duty next Wednesday, lucky guy!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Albatross IV Retirement Party

I got some news the other day that caused much reminiscing. This was one party I wished I'd been able to attend.

Some of my faithful readers know that in an earlier life, I was a fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Narragansett, RI and Galveston, TX. I spent a lot of time in Woods Hole, MA as well, where we'd meet the ships that took us out to Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine and the Scotian Shelf for surveys, and where I worked on my master's thesis one summer. Woods Hole was also the home port of the Albatross IV.

I made my first trip on the Alb IV in 1973, while I was a Northeastern University coop student working at the Narragansett Lab. It was a groundfish survey, so we'd sort, weigh and measure the fish that came up in the trawls, and take various samples like gonads, otoliths, and stomachs. It was great fun, exhausting, and exciting at times, especially when the weather turned bad. I loved doing 'surgery' on the fish. We worked 6 hour shifts. I loved the 'dog watch', 12-6, because I loved watching the sun come up. I loved the cameraderie of the crew, and our trips of 2-3 weeks bonded us in a way that is hard to explain. Did I use the word 'love' too much here? I must have moved on before I stopped loving it!!!!

On this first trip, I met another young woman named Linda, who worked at Woods Hole in the Groundfish Survey Unit. I worked in the plankton group at Narragansett, but I dreamed about working in Groundfish Survey. Linda and I had some great adventures in our younger days. We both loved working on the RV Wieczno when she came for herring surveys twice a year from Gdynia, Poland. We even went on vacation to Poland in 1977 and visited many of our shipmates. We had some memorable times, Linda and I. Some have no details in print. Oral history only! Here's Linda being interviewed by CapeCast:

Linda eventually became Chief Scientist on the Alb IV, and was Chief on the last cruise this month. It was wonderful to see this video and my old friend. I haven't seen her in many years. The NMFS website also has some history on the seafaring women aboard the Albatross, including the first woman from Woods Hole Lab, Ruth Stoddard, in 1964. Ruth was my supervisor when I was a student coop in the plankton lab. She'd started as a clerk, but became a technician and paved the way for all of us women to follow. I never truly appreciated Ruth and all she accomplished at the time. Such is youth!

Another interesting fact, Linda owns the record for days spent on the ship- 972 over 34 years. In my 8 years there I amassed a mere 109 days. I did not know that. The program includes the names of 178 people who sailed over 100 days, so I just made it. I'm so proud to have made that list after being gone so long! Thank you Linda for putting together such a great program and posting a link for it. And for listing all the old crew members. I've had quite the trip down memory lane today.

Now I must confess, I stole a piece of the ship. The Albatross went in to the shipyard in Boston for a face lift back in the late 70's. She got new labs, new communications, new gear...and I went to the shipyard with a few coworkers to do a test run. In a bucket of trash I found a small wall plate from the old 'Sci Chart Rm' with the thirteen phone numbers for the ship's important areas. I kept it all these years. I don't have a lot of 'stuff' from my past lives, because I've moved too much. But I still have my bit of the Albatross IV. It's on a blank electrical plate cover in my kitchen. I recently put it back up after painting, so I was thinking about the Albatross about the time of this event. ESP.

The decommissioning of the Albatross IV killed one plan. My friend Robin will be retiring from the lab in RI in 2009. We'd talked about one last reunion cruise. Robin still works offshore several times a year after nearly 40 years in NMFS. We mused that those of us who are no longer around would volunteer to work on that last cruise of hers. We mused too long. Now Albatross IV is gone. I wish her well in her next life. Robin meanwhile is preparing to go out on the Oleander. It's November. I don't envy her. But I would have volunteered for the Albatross one last time...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Project Update

Today we put down the bathroom floors. It's a nifty vinyl tile called Allure you can get at Home Depot. We did both the master bath and the hall bath/laundry room with the same style. Pass thru cabinets will go where the wall is open between the two. Hopefully in a few more weeks.

It's supposed to be easy to do. Well, it was, once we got around strange corners, toilet cut outs and not quite square walls. Unfortunately, the 10 percent overage estimate was not quite enough. We need a couple more pieces to finish, so ordered those today. Hope they get in to the store before the cabinets arrive.

Here's a close up of the pattern, and the space that will soon be the pass thru cabinets. And a hole for the toilet, of course. It looks pretty good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

English Language Buffs Rejoice!

Thanks to Mary for sending this link my way. I really enjoyed the 60 Minutes interview of the Obamas last Sunday. This is one reason why.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

English teachers across the country must be feeling the love. Of course, sometimes it's useful to have bad grammar to correct. I remember Mrs. Libby, our 6th grade teacher at the Jonathan Bright School in Waltham, sending us home to watch TV ads and listen to radio to try and catch grammatical errors for homework. "Winston tastes good AS as cigarette should" she'd say.

Yes, I'm old. I remember cigarette ads on TV. Why not LIKE a cigarette should, you ask? Because LIKE is used for metaphors, AS is used for similes. Because Winstons ARE cigarettes, it is not a metaphor. See? Lessons like that stick! Think what she could have done with Sarah Palin: "Watch the debate tonight for homework, kids. Choose a sentence and diagram it". Mrs. Libby was big on diagramming sentences.

Anyway, great sense of humor, Andy Borowitz!

Take THAT, Blackberries

I made a bit of a mess, but it's done. The first vintage of blackberry wine is bottled, corked and stored. The big five gallon jug yielded 22 bottles plus a couple of glasses, which Lloyd and I drank last night. Yes, it was actually drinkable! Local winemakers need not fear, however.

The guy at the wine making/brewing store said I'd get about 2 cases. So while the yeast and sugar did their thing on the mashed blackberries, we set about drinking red wine and saving the bottles, to save money and recycle the glass of course. Thrifty and Green.

I easily spilled a bottle's worth siphoning from the big jug. I am NOT going to figure out how much this little adventure cost me. I've got the set up now, and there will be more blackberries. And next time I probably won't spill as much, what with all my 'experience'.

So when you come visit, I'll pour you a glass and you can tell me what you think!

I need to work on a label now. And a clever name.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Look Down

For those who don't know it, my husband is insane.

You saw the second story work pictures of window installation a few weeks ago.

Well, the other day while we were painting I heard he call me to take a photo.

He was in charge of living room and stairway. I had to point the camera and shoot. I couldn't look.

I guess all that yoga pays off, though no amount of good balance and harmony would get me on that creative contraption.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our New Road Trip Hotel

New to us, anyway.

Here it is, the 1998 Coleman Fleetwood pop up camper we purchased off Craig's List from a lovely lady in Portlandlast month. It's in great shape, with two propane tanks, heater, comfy beds and blue curtains all around.

We picked it up just as we were beginning our remodel, and then it rained for two weeks straight, so it wasn't until yesterday that we had a chance to open it up and see exactly what we bought.

No buyers remorse here.

As you can see, the upholstery is in great shape. There is a queen bed on one side, and the table and benches you see here collapse into another bed if needed.

There is a double on the other side, and you can see the propane stove and the sink. There's a cooler fridge under the stove area. And the stove comes out to hook onto the outside for cooking al fresco.

It's a definite improvement over the 1984 Skamp we had in Louisiana (1998-2002). We took that baby across country, LA to CA, from LA to ME, from LA to the Outer Banks of NC, and from LA along the Natchez Trace to TN and KY. Oh, and a trip to Appalachicola, FL. I think we got our money's worth. It even had a functioning air conditioner (though we did have to put a pail under it to collect condensation).

This one has a heater. When you buy pop ups in the NW, they all have heaters. No one has AC. No need. This one does have a sweet awning, though.

I'm looking forward to some road trips in the future. But I think we'll have to head south at this point. It's already getting pretty chilly in these parts.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

I really hate getting angry first thing in the morning. I hadn't even finished cup one of coffee when I read this. Talk about our country going in the wrong direction. I'm appalled at the incompetence of the issuer of this order, and his head should roll. I'm contacting my congress people today. You should, too.

Our forces in Iraq depend heavily on Iraqi interpreters, obviously, since we Americans aren't exactly fluent in this foreign land. These interpreters work under tremendous threat to their lives, not only from hazards of war but from death threats for working with the US. Some 300 have been killed since 2003, many targeted for execution because of their traitorous cooperation with American troops. So they have taken to wearing masks to keep their identities secret and improve their chances of staying alive.

Some bureaucratic genius has decided it is no longer acceptable for the interpreters to wear masks. In an email to the Washington Post, Army Spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Stover gave this rationale, if you can call it that:
We are a professional Army and professional units don't conceal their identity by wearing masks.
He went on to suggest that if interpreters don't like it, they can "seek alternative employment".

News flash to Lt. Col. Stover: Until your professional Army and professional units become fluent speakers of the language in the country you are fighting, you need interpreters from the outside.

Can your troops protect themselves? Yes. They wear armor and carry weapons.

Aren't we supposed to be protecting civilians and winning them over to our goodness as part of the counterinsurgency strategy?

Clue: these interpreters you are putting at risk are saving your butts every day.
They work alongside our soldiers, they are kidnapped, killed, threatened until they quit or die, move away from their families so they are not put at risk, keep irregular schedules to reduce the chances of being picked off on the way to work.

My Dad used to tell us, "Use you head for something besides a hat rack." Let the 'terps wear their damn masks.

Yes, heads should roll. Start with LC Smart Mouth and work your way up.

Way to Go, Dusty!

Congrats to Dustin Pedroia, who just added the AL-MVP award to his Golden Glove and Silver Slugger. Youk came in third in the voting. These guys are awesome ball players both offensively and defensively, and are a joy to watch. The Red Sox Nation is very proud.

Good bye and good luck to Coco Crisp, who was traded to Kansas City for reliever Ramon Ramirez. It won't be Fenway, but he'll play every day. That's good news for KC fans. And you've gotta love that name.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Survivor Cactus

Cacti are my kind of plant. Hard to kill. Yep, they're my kind of plant.

I left my best plant, that I nurtured since Louisiana days and got to bloom every year, with my most plant friendly friend, Jill, when we moved. I was afraid that a week in a hot car driving from Texas to Washington would kill my favorite plant. So I had to put it up for adoption. I kept a little Kroger clearance plant that I had no serious attachment to. If it made the trek, fine. If it didn't, fine.
I knew my best plant would live on at Jill's.

I did keep a few cuttings of the best plant, and hoped they'd 'take' in the new location. When I got here, I bought it a nice pot, and transplanted it after the trauma of moving, along with the cuttings.

This is my Christmas Cactus today. It bloomed last Christmas, and again in the spring. Now it's going at it again, only this time, the little sprigs of my Sugar Land plant that I stuck in the dirt are blooming, too! Now I have red blooms mixed with the salmon blooms. I'm so proud.

UPDATE: Jill just sent a picture of "Orphan Franny". She's doing well, and is more one schedule for holiday blooming. Must be that Central Time Zone thing. And lower latitude.

Tilly Jane Guard Station

A couple of weeks ago, we went up to Tilly Jane with the Nordic Club folks for a work day. Our club is responsible for maintaining the cabin for the Forest Service, and collecting rental fees for use by other groups. The Cloud Cap/Tilly Jane area is designated a historic district, and escaped total destruction by this summer/fall's Gnarl Ridge Fire. The Oregonian did an excellent piece on the fire today which reminded me to download my pictures and WRITE!

The Cloud Cap Inn was built in 1889 for summer use, but it immediately became a destination for hardy winter adventurers. It's on the National Register as the oldest alpine lodge and for its architecture. Thanks to fire retardant drops during the Gnarl Ridge fire, it's still standing. The fire surrounded the area, but left the buildings unharmed except for maybe a few ember burns in the siding. The Tilly Jane Guard Station was built in 1934 for back country access and fire protection.

The road was officially closed on our work day, but the forest service gave us special day permits to go up. The fire devastation was startling. A greater power was looking out for the Tilly Jane, as that area was 'in the green' after driving through acres of burned timber.

Also part of the historic area are the amphitheater and Cook Shed, built in the 1920's and used by American Legion climbing groups, and the Tilly Jane Ski Cabin, or A-frame, built by the CCC in 1939. They are the oldest structures on Mt. Hood. These pictures show us hiking over to the Aframe with logs in hand, and hiking by the amphitheater on the way back to the Guard House.

We had something like 8 or 9 cords of wood delivered and it had to be stacked and stored. The club stays a year ahead with their wood needs. The groups that maintain the Aframe and the Cook Shed were also there storing their portion of the wood. They needed carts to haul the wood to their buildings, but we were able to form 'fire brigade' style lines to pass the wood along to its storage area.

First we filled the available space in the Guard Station back room/latrine. An avalanche of wood trapped stackers Lloyd and Randy for a while, but by passing wood back out to me and Jude through a window, they were able to reopen the door and restack the wood safely. They would have had a long winter in that latrine if the 'woodslide' had happened during the ski season!

After a wonderful lunch of Tilly Chili by Jan, we restocked the storage shed with the rest of the wood, then helped the poor folks who had to cart their wood some distance. We had about three times the number of volunteers, so our work was done more quickly. They paid us in brownies. Yum.

Brindle had a blast running with a few other club dogs, despite her 'Queen Brinnie' collar and her healing leg (from a benign tumor removal).

A little historical trivia: Tilly Jane was the name of the wife of William Ladd of Portland. He and CES Wood bought the Mt. Hood Trail and Wagon Company in 1889, renamed it the Mt. Hood Stage Company, and began improving what would become Wagon Rd, the thrilling stagecoach route to Cloud Cap. This is the road we drove up, and one of two main ski trails to Tilly Jane in winter.

Besides the Wagon Rd, there is a Tilly Jane Trail that winter back country skiers use to get to the cabins. The high door on the side of the Guard Station, at the top of the ladder, is where the winter access is! Yep, the snow is that deep. We haven't been there in winter before. Maybe this year, when we have the proper equipment. Check out the ONC website link above to see some pictures of these adventures.

So many things to do here in heaven, so little time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Update on Gladys

Remember the July post Ghana Calling? Well, I got an email last night from Gladys. She's in Washington DC participating in a State Dept's International Visitor Leadership Program! They will be in DC until Tuesday, then her group will travel to California while the other groups go to Seattle and Salt Lake City. Everyone meets up again in Louisiana, then they spend time in Pittsburg and Atlanta. I'll be calling her this weekend to find out details, and see where in California she will be. I just might need another road trip!

Update on the update: She'll be SFO next week for 3 days. I'm checking out the Amtrak schedule....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

To my favorite veteran!

More Home Depot Please

In case there was any question, I'm still alive. I had a great trip to Beantown and got my fix of Boston, fall foliage, and most importantly, my girls and family. But all good things come to an end, and it's back to remodelsville.

Now that the new windows and walls are all in, it's up to us to get the painting done before cabinets arrive and wood trim goes on. Because of layoffs at the cabinet factory, delivery is delayed until Dec 8. We're making good progress on the painting, and Lloyd got the subflooring in. The vinyl tile we ordered should be here in a week or so. By the time the cabinets arrive, we'll have the floor done, too. I am looking forward to getting my laundry back.

I finished the kitchen and hall painting over the weekend. Today I put the first coat on the laundry/powder room...a nice Butter Yellow. There are no windows in this room, so I wanted yellow. The master bath is the same as the bedroom, Relaxing Green. I got the first coat on that today as well. Lloyd meanwhile did all the priming, ceilings and living room walls. I love the names of paint. The living room is Swiss Coffee. The office will be Swiss Coffee, too. I'll add some photos tomorrow. It's too dark to get good pictures now.

The White Clay painted kitchen is, well, kind of purple. It didn't look anything near purple in the store on the chip. The good news is, it really looks great behind Lloyd's mother's beautiful vineyard cross stitch that I have on the wall. And with the Kona Beige Silestone countertop. So we'll live with it. I'll just accent with blues and purples. Works for me. My compost jar is blue, in honor of the retired formica. And we have tons of lavendar plants to harvest next summer for the powder room. I think there is some African Art that will work in the hall. So there.

Flooring is the big dilemma. Carpet? Wood? Vinyl? Laminate? One thing is for sure, the light colored Berber that has serviced two previous owners and three renters, all with pets and kids, has GOT to GO! I am afraid we'll need HazMat gear to pull up the carpet and pad. We go back and forth on what to do. Stay tuned. Also, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post comments. The kitchen/dining area currently has Pergo in dire need of replacement.

So, my wrists and hands are dead tired right now. Thanks to the rarely used Crock Pot, there is a nice split pea with ham soup for supper. More later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Close to the Pahk

Sorry I've been out of touch for a few days. I'm visiting the fam in Beantown. It's interesting to go to a place with something other than Smith-Merkley ads. It's all sorts of crazy here, with Kerry running for relection, the Sununu-Shaheen race in NH, and of course the headliners. But I am checking my email and received a few gems this week that I must share.

From Jill:
And from Garrison Keillor, a delightful piece shared by my buddy over at KMBBB, where you'll find a treasure trove of goodies in these last frenzied days of Indecision 2008.

Last night I went to the Democracy Center in Harvard Square with #1 daughter to see her housemates' sketch comedy routine. It was great fun watching these clever college grads put their spin on the election. Especially Ben as Sarah Palin, red jacket, black skirt, hairpiece and Keara's red stiletto heels. Ben was told that if he borrowed them, they'd better make their way back to her closet, under penalty of death. When we saw him at the show, he asked "How do you walk in these things?" He did great. I wish I had taken a picture of him, though, so I could have made him 'almost famous' on my blog. Who knew he had such great gams?

I brought my vote vest, complete with all my buttons, to wear home on the plane. I wear it every election day. So if you see a woman in a red vest, with white vote's written all over it, in Logan Airport, or Salt Lake City, during my layover, or at PDX, come up and say HI. And make sure you VOTE!