Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Office

No, not the tv sitcom. The new cubby created in the old laundry room space during our remodel. A new corner window to lighten things up, a piece of laminate countertop from Home Depot, Pergo flooring, and voila! Lloyd can move his laptop and files out of the already too small and crowded living room.

To totally trick out the space, we hung up some new glass art that was a Christmas present from my sister Annie. At first I thought it was her work, because I still own a lovely candle holder she made for me some 30 years ago...but it couldn't be, because she hasn't done glass work for a long time. The return address on the package should have clued me in...Portland...MAINE. It was made by her long time friend David Cedrone, whose clever work I've admired in her house.

She thought we'd especially like this piece, which incorporates slices of geode and agate with the cut glass and rounded polished stones, since there's a geologist in the house. She was right. It's fantastic, and we love it.

The photos online don't do these stained glass panels justice. They are even more beautiful hanging in a window at home. David also does paintings and sculptures that range from whimsical to dark, which can also be viewed in his online gallery.

Thanks, Annie, for our Cedrone original! And thank you, David, for a lovely creation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pineside Big Tree Loop

While I was off in Olympia being all democratic, Lloyd skied Teacup with the gang again on Saturday. I went to bed at a decent hour and was aching for some exercise on Sunday. It was still a little gray after the light snow, but the sun was trying to crack through. It didn't take much convincing for me to get into my layers and grab my gear.

We kidnapped Fred in Husum, drove up to Pineside Sno Park in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and did the Big Tree Loop. It was a glorious day, perfect couple of inches of snow on top of the old crust. There were a few other skiers with their dogs that we met along the trail. It was packed enough that the dogs didn't have to stop too often to lick the snowballs off their feet.

The sun was shining on the tops of the pines. This picture doesn't look near as good as it all looked in person. After weeks of gray skies, it was wonderful to see some sun.

About half way around the nearly 5 mile loop you get to the cutoff for the Big Tree. It's a huge Ponderosa Pine, the biggest in the state. It gets its own sign and everything telling how big it is. You cannot take one picture of it. Since I'm not terribly skilled in merging photos, here is a shot from the bottom, with Lloyd and Fred, and Brindle relaxing on top of Lloyd's skis. The photo under that is the top way up there. It is a big tree, for sure.

The run back from the Big Tree is great, a long easy downhill that was a little slow because of the fresh snow, so you actually had to work a little to get up any speed. Then at the end you have 0.7 miles of uphill to get to the parking lot. Gets the old heart pumping, and sets your mind for refreshment after the skiing.

We finished up the day at Hooba's for ribs and beans and beer. That hillbilly smoker is working overtime...Thanks to all the people who didn't show up for Saturday night ribs, because there were enough for all of us on Sunday!

As we headed home, the skies were clear, Mt. Hood was visible in all her splendor. Temps were dropping fast with the clear skies, and it was in the teens by the time I went to bed.

Monday morning was spectacular. Underwood Mt was all sunny and frosty look with very chilly temps. You can kind of see it through the trees. If it has to be bone chilling cold to have the sun, I'll take it!

There is way to deal with the cold. I went down to put in the spa chemicals, and couldn't resist a soak, which was very helpful after the skiing Sunday. Posting these today make the rainy day more tolerable. It's warm again. But it's a rainbow rainy day, with an almost constant pot of gold just down the hill from the house. I know you want to come over and relax...Come ON!

Fenway Fran Goes To Olympia

I had to wait for the photos to be posted so I could properly accessorize this entry. Last Friday, Lea, Bob and I went to our state capital for the Washington State Democratic Central Committee meeting. Friday night began with several school busses (aka Big Yellow Taxis) lined up in front of the Red Lion to take us to the Legislative Building for a reception with Governor Gregoire. So many people had rsvp'd that they had to move it from the Gov's Mansion. Too bad. I wanted to see Christine's House. But it was good that no one was left out.

Lea and I had a plan. We weaseled our way to the front of the bus line so we got on the first bus, close to the front. Bob was lagging, still trying to figure out how to get email on his Ipod. He made it onto the first bus, in the back. As soon as we arrived, Lea flew out to get us spaces in the cue for pictures. They were calling for minimum of two people per photo. I waited for Bob, then hurried him along to get in the fast growing photo line with Lea. By the time the governor arrived, the line was out the door, and all around the balcony under the dome.

We had no time for small talk. The organizers were rushing everyone along. I never got to tell her that I was a Gregoire Imposter at the Lyle Candidates' Night. Don't you see the resemblance? Okay, next time I'll wear flatter shoes. We exited to the line for food and what we THOUGHT was going to be WA state wines, but alas, only water and coffee. We watered up, knowing the night would be long and that we'd likely need hydrating.

After everyone was photographed, we all sat on the marble steps under the dome (Bob still worked on that Ipod) for a few words from a very happy governor. She was reelected after a nasty campaign. The last election went to a recount (same opponent) so she was ecstatic to be able to celebrate on election night this time. But Washington, as all the rest of the states, is in dire financial straits. She talked about the difficult cuts that were coming. I think everyone recognizes that, no matter where you live.

The big yellow taxis took us back to the hotel for the Hospitality Suites sponsored by the candidates for Party Chair and Vice Chair, also some of the caucuses. Bob was still fiddling with his ipod. He SAID he was going to the progressive caucus...maybe he was looking for a techy to help him...Lea and I made the rounds, met lots of people, and ate and drank our way around the hotel. When the official schmoozing was done at 11, we headed to the bar where Barock Karaoke had been going on for a couple of hours already. Fueled by all the free liquid courage we'd imbibed, we switched back to water and sang and danced Friday night into Saturday morning. This was as good as any fisheries conference I ever went to back my 'first life'.

Saturday we got up at 8 and made it to the Rural and Agriculture Caucus before it was over...then I hit the Technology Committee meeting while Lea went to have some breakfast. Lea headed to the Chairs Meeting, and I had some breakfast. We both skipped the lunch/speaker in favor of a power nap after arranging a late check out, so were refreshed for the Committee Meeting and elections. We left Olympia around 4 and got back to a rather white White Salmon. It was snowing. A car had slid off the road into an orchard 10 feet or so below near Lea's house. Bob drove very carefully, much to our relief and we all got home safely.

So that was my big out of town adventure this past weekend. Coming up? Saturday is the annual Chili Contest at Wind River Cellars. Competition should be stiffer this year, I hear there are about 10 entries...unless it snows and only the brave and 4 wheel drivers show up. And of course, Super Bowl Sunday...which we will watch at a local hangout...if you are a regular, you know where that is!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes, Pecan!

Okay all you Ben and Jerry's lovers, get on over to your local scoop shop (if you have one) and order up some Yes, Pecan! in honor of our new President. Proceeds from this special January flavor go to the Common Cause Education Fund.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Hike

We celebrated this historic day with an early morning drive to Lyle for an Inauguration Breakfast at Bob's house, with fellow Klickitat Dems. A rock slide has cut off the road that's the short way to Bob's, so we had to go around the long way. It was worth getting up early for. What a feast! Waffles, eggs benedict, blackberry breakfast casserole, coffee, oj (with or without champagne) and of course, I brought the bloody marys.

Since we were already in Lyle, we stopped by the Klickitat Trail for a hike afterwards. Brindle had waited patiently in the car for us to finish watching the goings on in DC, and deserved a treat. We got one, too.

The Klickitat Trail is a Rails to Trails project. We are fortunate to have it in our back yard. Today we were treated to two eagle sightings. The picture to the right shows a tiny eagle up in the sky there in the center, but he was close to us when he took off from the tree by the trail. I just couldn't get the camera out fast enough. Gotta practice my quick draw! Trust me, it was an eagle. Bald. Big. And beautiful.

On the way back to the car, we climbed down a treacherous cliff to a place by the river where we have fished before. There's an easier way down, but we needed our waders to get to the gravel bar. The steep way put you right at some stepping stones. Here we found dozens of spawning coho salmon. A group of about 6 almost made it through the shallows to deeper water upstream, but panicked right near the end and went back to the beginning. I hope it wasn't us that spooked them. We were trying to be quiet. And keep the dog from romping in the water, or eating the dead salmon that obviously didn't make it to deeper water. I'll spare you that photo.

We waited and watched for a while, but started getting cold. It was about 30 degrees today, and overcast. So we headed back out, stopping at the north edge of the bar. There were a few big ones that were jumping around in the water. We had to stop and watch some more. Yes, we are easily entertained.

I tried taking some video, this one's passable. Watch at the end, I shifted to the left to catch some thrashing fish. You had to be there. What a day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

We Are One

Last night I watched the late airing of the We Are One concert on the Mall. I missed the beginning, James Taylor and The Boss. I came in with Sheryl Crow and Herbie Hancock with's Bob Marley "One Love". I'll go back later today and watch the whole thing here. Thank you HBO for the link.

It was incredible, seeing the huge crowd, the performers dwarfed by Abraham Lincoln, and all the performances carried the unifying theme. NPR has some great photos posted here. The President-elect and his family enjoying everything about the event. Stevie Wonder, with Shakira and Usher, rocked his "Higher Ground". Bono could barely contain himself as he introduced U2's "Pride". Missouri City Girl Makes Good Beyonce with a heartfelt "America the Beautiful". But the one that got me was Pete Seegar, now 90 years old, tapping his foot, strumming his banjo and helping everyone with the words to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land", a song I admit almost always moves me to tears. It was a two hankie moment, someone kindly posted on Youtube. Enjoy.

Tomorrow I'll be getting up early to head up to Lyle for an Inauguation Breakfast with my fellow Klickitat Dems. And looking for my sister Mary's happy face in the crowd (Matt, I'm not so sure will be as enthralled with the masses). Sure makes this MLK Day very special.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Great Weekend

Yesterday was gloomy and temps continue to hover around 30. Freezing fog frosts the trees at elevations slightly higher than we are. The Nordic Club was having a learn to ski day, and we were signed up to help, so off we went to meet the gang at Pocket Creek. It was so icy we went higher to brave the crowds at Tea Cup, which has groomed trails. It was still icy, but as the sun warmed up the snow, it became tolerable. The sky was SO blue and clear. Mt. Hood was in our faces all day. What a gorgeous day above the fog zone.

My new back country skis and boots were all that I hoped they'd be. The only time I fell was when I was standing on the side of the trail, waiting for people to go ahead of me so I could 'sweep' the group. It was icy and the skis decided they didn't want to stay put. We did did some skills practice on the flats, had a snack then a photo session. Jan and I took some of the more confident skiers on a loop ski while Skip and Lloyd worked on more skills with the others. We headed off trail a bit and found some rabbit tracks in the sparkly snow.

The freezing fog created huge ice crystals, it was like skiing on tiny broken shards of glass when we went off the groomed trail. The picture doesn't do it justice, but you can see how big the pieces are. That's my ski at the top of the picture, for scale of some sort.

We managed to lose Fred, but found him again by the end of the afternoon, none the worse for wear. A nice cold draft at Elliot Glacier Public House rounded out the day. Fred forgot all about being left behind.

Today I poured at Wind River Cellars tasting room. It was just me, the cats and Newman (the black lab) until about 3 pm, when it got constantly busy until quitting time (5). I put the football game on in the back room but it was as cold as Pittsburg back there, so I only went to check the score...Another wonderful weekend in Paradise.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Confused About Digital Conversion?

Just in time, here's a great 'how to' video to deal with the big switch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Number One Daughter

Exactly 23 years ago today, my life improved a gazillion percent, when this little sweetie came into my life. OK, I know it's not the newborn pic, I don't have that one scanned. This couple months old one will have to do. Thanks for turning me into Mom. It's been (and continues to be) a great gig.

A couple of my favorite Keara pictures. I've got a gazillion of them. These were the easiest to access. Keara with the Bertha, or is it Lois?, in CA.

Keara with Zack, our beloved, cute, notsobright cocker spaniel. He'd allow her to do anything with him, except be near his food bowl (he was an adopted stray).

Tinkerbell for Halloween, Lloyd was Peter Pan. I made their costumes. Call me crazy. Lloyd is grateful that I didn't post her first Halloween with matching devil costumes. His was a red leotard...

Tonight she's out with her friends at an Irish pub singing karaoke. Prophetic or what? Must be the Sully in her.

To celebrate today, we're getting new carpet. Big Whoop! You will notice in the photo to the right that it is a nice 'dirt' color. I love that in a carpet.

We have our dining area full of living room, and the office nook is full of bedroom, including king size bedrails, head and footboards, two dressers, mirror, bookcase, oh, and the piano and a small cabinet.

Yesterday was a fun (and antihistimine) filled day, ripping up the old carpet, padding, nails, staples, and assorted pieces of metal and dirt and dust and animal fibers. Good bye, white berber. Have fun disintegrating at the dump. Say hello to Big Blue for me. We saved ourselves $500 by doing it ourselves. That should help with K's birthday shopping spree for new 'work clothes'.

I decided to take a self portrait with my mask on. I did not consider background on my first attempt, and ended up with this fine effort which includes a perfectly centered helicopter beanie (ceiling fan). Yeah, I thought you'd like that. It made me laugh, too. A hand drawn mouth would have been an improvement, though. Next time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back to (ab)Normal

It was a glorious predawn drive through the Gorge to PDX this morning. We left at 4:45 am to deliver Alina for her flight to Boston. The moon was full, and the occasional fog was Twilight eerie. Made us all appreciate something we would otherwise be sleeping through! Dawn broke as we headed east towards home. Not the spectacular sunrise we got to see last March when we did this run with Alina, but the shades of gray were awesome. Sorry, I do not have any photo evidence. Take my word for it, it was incredible.

Unfortunately, getting up at 4 am to make coffee for the road makes for a short night of sleep and a rather slow day. Good thing there was a football game on this afternoon. I was ready for the couch. The cold that Lloyd and Alina had finally made its way to me. I was prematurely celebrating my escape. It took advantage of my weakened immune system. I will fight anyone for the box of Kleenex right now.

It's so quiet around here with the girls gone. That and the tower that broadcasts OPB has been out since the windstorms last week, so no radio. The silence is deafening, so Lloyd links into the computer broadcasts of our favorite shows.

Last night, while Lloyd went to the Nordic Club's dinner and GPS program at China Gorge, Alina and I were on our own for a girl's night. We toyed with the idea of going over to Hood River for sushi, but decided to rent a chick flick (The Women), make low fat chicken Sloppy Joe's (Alina's choice), drink a bottle of Maryhill Sauvignon Blanc that was on sale at the local Thriftway, and share a pint of Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide (two spoons, right out of the carton) while we watched the terrific dvd. The film was done, the evidence (empty bottle and empty pint) disposed of by the time Lloyd got home. It was a great last supper. I do miss having a partner in chick crime.

I've started clearing out the bedroom and living room in preparation for carpet removal and installation of the new stuff. Another piece of the remodel puzzle will be complete on Wednesday, which is Keara's 23rd birthday. I will celebrate.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Little Bit Of Bosox for the New Year

Remember that May 19th No Hitter we witnessed in Boston?

Congrats to Jon Lester, This Year In Baseball's winner of Best Single game performance. He deserves it!

Now, memo to Theo: Will you guys PLEASE sign Varitek?

And memo to Scott Boras: What are you waiting for? Give your client some good advice for a change and take the offer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Time to catch up on my posting!

It was a busy New Year holiday. After watching BC lose to Vanderbilt, we hit the grocery store. For our New Year's Eve feast we fixed ourselves lots of munchy food (cheeses, pate, dips, New Braunfels Smokehouse sausages)-see Keara with the fine spread. BTW, you haven't lived until you've eaten these sausages...

We drank the most excellent bottle of Lange Three Hills Cuvee Pinot Noir the girls sent us for our anniversary, followed up with some house chardonnay, then toasted each time zone's new year with some Freixinet Brut. By our new year, we were toasted, too. The girls also showed me how to gang text, so if you got a text from me on New Year's, it's because I was testing out my new skill successfully. If you are in my cell phone directory and didn't get one, it's because I was toasted.

It was a DVD watching holiday, with our lovely weather, starting with 3:10 to Yuma. If you haven't seen Wall-E, don't be shy about renting it just because you have no little kids at home. This is one clever Disney-Pixar flick! None of the good films are playing around here yet, so DVDs and HBO ruled. We watched one of my all time faves, The Committments, which I bought for Keara (she loves music films and Irish films, score two). Keara got me Mamma Mia, which was great fun! Meryl Streep was fantastic as always, and seemed to have a blast making this one. But the best reason to watch was the painful singing of Pierce Brosnan...we howled! Then we rented Prince Caspian, the second of the Narnia films, also quite good. And watched The Bucket List again last night. I love that film.

Brindle got in some quality snuggle time with Alina.

We had part of a sunny day on Friday, so we headed up to Mt. Adams and Atkinson Sno Park for a little cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Lloyd and Keara took the skis, Alina and I the snow shoes, knowing how much she loves cross country skiing. Finally, some exercise after a week of rain, snow, back to to rain, etc! This was a pretty frosted tree along the trail.

Saturday we drove into Portland for some shopping before Keara headed back to Boston Sunday morning. Another night at the Hampton Inn. Good thing we stayed, it was very icy at dawn, which would have made for a risky drive in from White Salmon. I think she'll come in the summer next time...

This morning there were another 4 inches of slush on the deck, the car, the road, the hot tub. I caught Lloyd out there was in the 40's. Yes, he's wearing shorts, tshirt and snow boots.

Today we took down the town Christmas Tree. Sorry, no photos, I forgot my camera. Alina and I collected all the strands of lights, while Lloyd, with his trusty chain saw, and Tim, with his trusty pick up, loaded chunks of tree into the truck. It was today or Friday. It's supposed to pour rain the next few days. Sigh.