Monday, February 25, 2008
We arrived at the warming hut, ate pot luck, drank a little vino, then headed out to the woods. I'd bought nifty new headlamps as Valentine's Day presents for us. Guess who got distracted right before we left the house (I believe it had to do with finding a corkscrew to take) and left her hat AND lamp behind? Lucky for me, I'm married to a guy who never wears his hat for long, and who sees well at night. The skiing was pretty in the moonlight, even though the snow wasn't great. Beasts in the night never materialized, except for the damn snowmobiles that roared past. Most were courteous enough (not running us over) but the FUMES! The exhaust definitely taints the experience. Thank goodness we were off the snowmobile trails for most of the trek. I just love nordic skiing. I'll be sorry to see the snow go.
Our other night venture last week was the Lunar Eclipse. With a huge void in our evening calendar, now that we have no kids in local schools and no jobs to go to, it doesn't matter that an eclipse happens on a week night. But we have trees around our house. We had no good place to watch an eclipse. What to do? Call Nick. "Nick, we have a great bottle of Northshore Cellars Cherry Wine (bought during our Valentine's Day dinner excursion) and a box of See's Chocolates. Put on your coat and meet us in your yard to watch the eclipse." Nick, good sport that he is, came out, provided seating and canine friends for Brindle. This is Nick with Trout, who visits him regularly from down the street. We all call Trout "The Mayor of Brislawn Loop". The moon photos were tough to take, but here is the best shot Lloyd came up with: I left the date on intentionally, by the way, since it will be a few years before the next lunar eclipse...It was a stunning night, the cherry wine and chocolates were perfect, and all the stars were out. No red carpet necessary.
This morning's NY Times online had linked an article
Guess who I believe?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
We've had quite the sunny stretch of weather, which is supposed to be coming to an end. My friend Shelley, who didn't go to Mt. Hood to snowboard yesterday because it was getting too icy, called looking for a hiking buddy. Lloyd was in Aleve mode, with his knee still recovering from Saturday's kayak roll practice followed by a moonlight ski adventure (on crusty snow), was happy to pass. SO it was just us girls, Shelley and I plus Brindle and Kenosha, Shelley's dog. We started hiking up the hill behind the hospital, and spent the next 3 plus hours following switchbacks up to 1600 ft, where we hit remnant snow fields, then found our way to a trail back down. Great discussions on a vast range of subjects. We had some great views, which I will share.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
It was in the paper this morning. Talk about a climax!
I was over visiting my friend Susan's place, and found myself almost wishing I was back in Texas, for just a little while. Seems there's gonna be a knock down drag out debate in Austin! I'm happy for her and all my friends (I didn't say OLD FRIENDS this time). If there's any way to get tickets, I know Susan will find some. Susan, we'll expect all the juicy details! Don't leave out a single thing!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we've had a busy week in paradise. First order of business was attending a Gorge Commission hearing on Tuesday morning. This is an emotional issue around here, so we need to get ourselves educated, so we can have an opinion. We like to have opinions. Especially informed opinions. See, there's an old lumber mill/eyesore along State Hwy 14 west of White Salmon that the owners want to turn into a 'destination resort' (translation, condos) called Broughton Landing. The land is in the protected scenic area, next to a state park, fish hatchery, and HUGELY popular windsurfing mecca (The Hatch). Now, they could build a resort with some cabins and RV slots, and be approved. But they want to build condos instead, so need an amendment from the Commission to the zoning rules that everyone else has been following for over 20 years. People don't like that too much. And they all showed up to testify. So many that the hearing was extended to next month's Commission meeting. Stay tuned for more. This one's been brewing for a long time, apparently, and will be on the burner a while longer. Thing is, SOMETHING has to be done with the eyesore.
We escaped halfway through the testifying and headed up to Pineside for an afternoon ski around Big Tree Loop, about 5.2 miles. The snow is old, the trail was rutted, but it was delightful to be out getting some exercise. We planned to christen the hot tub that night, but the wind was so bad, we were afraid the cover would be blown off to Oz. So we waited until LAST night, opened a bottle of Wind River Cellars Port, and had ourselves a nice soak under a clear starry sky. Heaven.
Oh, you thought you were gonna get a picture from last night? It was too darn cold to be setting up cameras !
Monday, February 11, 2008
On a less frustrating note, today we got the new hot tub hooked up. It's full. It's running. It's still freakin' cold, but maybe by tomorrow night it will be toasty. It certainly will be ready for me on Saturday night after the full moon ski at Atkinson Sno-park!
And just for all of you who don't know what to do on a gray day in February in the Gorge, GO SKIING ANYWAY! You just might see this! Yep, a rainbow!
Let's go back to
Which of these does NOT belong?
San Marino, Switzerland, Ireland, Liberia, Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia, Burundi, Chile, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia , Israel, Latvia, Malta, Mongolia, Mozambique, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peoples Republic of China, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, USA.
I woke up early Sunday morning, my brain still full of caucusing and elections. A question crossed my mind and I thought, I'll have to look that up today. I think it was in my mind because of the misogynous comments I've been noticing in the media and among the populace. Well, PARADE had the same question, so there it was, already answered for me when I opened my paper. I rephrased and edited Parade's just a bit after a little googling. The answer is the
The answer is the
I'd say it's about time we gave it a try. That would count as CHANGE, wouldn't it?
Saturday, February 9, 2008
We had our first tally of votes. Then the 'discussions' began. Lively. Yes. Mind changing? Not generally. But it was fun. People sitting and standing with their neighbors, publicly supporting their candidates. Nothing secret. Telling your neighbors why you are voting the way you are. People were nice to your face, even if they didn't agree with you. As it should be. Then came the final tally and the election of delegates. I get to go to the next level for my gal Hill. Thank God we got enough votes to send a couple of delegates from our precinct, which went 3 for the O man, 2 for Hill. Overall the O man won in our county. Incredibly, one of our precinct members said she was voting for Obama because Oprah told her to. I kid you not.
Our county dems were the big winners. We got lots of people participating in the process. AND enough donations to cover our expenses, and then some.
We had fun cleaning up and working on the final tallies. Except for having too many people, it went very smoothly. That's a downside we can live with. Now if we can just convince the State to use the primary votes (mail in) instead of the caucus votes next time. SO many people had family members who had to work, or knew someone who couldn't be there from 1-3 on Saturday afternoon. Many people did not know that their primary vote would not count for anything. Let's be fair next time, folks. I want to see that data comparing the primary split with the caucus split.
Friday, February 8, 2008
I'm 55 years old. I'm not stupid. Been lied to. Been schmoozed. Been there done that. Tomorrow I'm going to my caucus. I have hefty mistrust of politicians. They all fudge the truth. They all take money from special interests. All of them. Even the ones who say they don't. You don't get millions and millions of bucks for your campaign from mom and pop emptying the cookie jar. And let's face it, there are lobbyists for GOOD things. SO it's not ALL bad. It's not illegal, and until we change how our elections are funded, this is not a deal breaker for me.
I am especially cynical when it comes to smooth talking men. Sorry. Just a personal bias. We all have them. Biases, that is, not smooth talking men. I've done a lot of research. I've thought long and hard about what a leader is. I've had a little help from some friends who can clarify things easier than I can. I've thought about situations in my own life that taught me that women have to do things ten times better to get half as far.
SO tonight I've been making my list of hot button points that I might get hit with when I support Hillary Clinton tomorrow at my caucus. I started with the things I heard from people who support Obama, when they find out I'm haven't drunk the Koolaid. For me, it comes down to intelligence, experience, confidence, empathy, resilience, and GUTS. Testicles are not involved, though if any female had them, it would be Hillary.
On PAC's. While claiming to be pure of funding from PACs/Lobbyists, Barak has taken money from 10 bundlers who have registered as federal lobbyists. He's also taken money from former lobbyists, people who HIRE lobbyists, spouses of lobbyists, and state lobbyists. Until he started running, he took money from federal lobbyists and as a state senator, directly from corporations. No ad there either.
On Energy, he fails to mention he supported Cheney's energy policy, voting FOR it in 2005. On Gulf Coast Restoration, all of his proposals were similar to Hillary's, and touted 3 months AFTER she presented hers.
On who can beat John McCain, the independents who support Obama are generally Dem leaning independents who are likely to back the eventual nominee. There will be no advantage with Republican leaning independents. Both Clinton and Obama are progressives who will have to deal with a divided electorate. Neither one will have a free pass.
On women's issues, who better? She does not want us going backwards. Here Here. On international diplomacy, contrary to what Obama wants everyone to believe, Hillary never said he shouldn't negotiate with our 'enemies', just that it wasn't a good idea to promise to meet one on one with every perceived enemy in the first year of his administration. I've heard speculation from people overseas that Obama will be so eager to 'get along' that he will be perceived as 'weak'. Not out of the realm of possibility.
On who the Republicans want to run, Obama has barely had pebbles thrown at him. Hillary has had the whole arsenal over the last 10 years. There will be no surprises. The laundry is already hanging. Don't doubt that the Republicans will throw all they can dig up on him, including his lack of experience in these 'dangerous times'.
So, do I vote for the first term senator who talks great? Who WILL be great once he gets a little more seasoning? Who truly thinks HOPING will make things HAPPEN? Who has not been tested at ALL by the rabid media? Who has not even finished one term in the senate, never mind stood for and won reelection? And who has a number of 'present' votes that he would not go on record for. I have to ask, do you want the top job? Then you gotta make a stand, man, and take your lumps.
Or will I vote for the woman who was an ambassador for our country as First Lady, who tried to deal with our health care issues in an uphill battle, who learned from her mistakes but was bold enough to TRY in the first place, who ran for Senate, and did such a good job she was reelected handily, taking traditional Republican stronghold districts. She has reached across the aisle to cosponsor legislation with Republicans who lead the charge to impeach her husband. You can't get much more cooperative than that. She has worked hard to support our troops by making sure they get to keep bonuses even if they are injured and can't complete their tours, by bringing the needs of troops with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress to the forefront, by working on improving health care for ALL of our people. I'm going with Hillary. She CAN DO. We need her to get us back on track. It's about damn time we put a woman in charge. We're way behind the curve on that one!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
It was a very snowy day. The road was treacherous for all but 4WD vehicles so our numbers were small. There were four entries, the two aforementioned, plus Andy's southern Mexico recipe complete with banana leaves, good for third. I have to say, I loved Kris' chili verde with the while beans. She and I had the only bean chilis. Say what you will, I LIKE beans in my chili. But then we Boston people do like our beans.
Speaking of Boston, how 'bout Eli Manning? I have to say, that 'shoulda been sack' where he threw that completion, setting up the winning score in the last minute of the game...AWESOME. I knew it was all over but the cryin'. SO, can we all stop hating New England now?
And speaking of hate, I wish some of those Hillary bashers out there would stop reading the papers and listening to the talking heads and take a listen to HER. She held a national town meeting last night, which was partially broadcast on the Hallmark Channel, til they cut it off to show their latest sappy movie. I listened to the rest online. It was brilliant, and inspiring.
So that's it from here on Super Tuesday. Spent the day working on our own caucus coming up Saturday. I heard Obama's people will be there. Hillary should be calling me soon so I can be sure there's room at the table for her stuff...
Friday, February 1, 2008
Back in our Nigeria days, a group of us started the Annual Alamo Day Chili Cookoff, which also included salsa and margarita competitions as well as chili. The feast was followed by a "Run for the Border", the brainchild of the creative teachers at the American International School- we stole it for the cookoff. It was an obstacle course around the pool area that involved tequila checkpoints. Ah, good times, good memories. Anyway, I found my sheet of winning recipes from the 1997 event the other day while cleaning out my recipe box. That year Kim and I sent my driver and her cook to get bush meat for our entries in that category. Jean came back with a gazelle in a cooler (it was a small gazelle, big cooler) for Kim, and Kayode had some cane rat (we called them Nutria in Louisiana) for me. Needless to say, Kim and Jean concocted a winning chili that year. My bush meat special (I wasn't gonna call it cane rat chili) was an also ran. I will say it tasted alot better after the margarita competition. Guaranteed, my Rogue Chipotle Chili will be MUCH better than that. I stuck to beef and pork for my meat ingredients...
Just in time for sister Mary's birthday tomorrow. Even though she was born on Ground Hog Day, she wanted to be a "Baldigle" when she grew up. Happy Birthday, Mary!