Wednesday, April 30, 2008
1. Spring is fighting its way here. Things are beginning to bloom and my backyard is gorgeous but it is still no fun to be out there pulling weeds or planting. I don't like to get cold.
Taken this morning.
2. My family is outdoing Matt Lauer. I don't know where in the world they all are. Dave has been in Brussels, Belgium mystified about why he was invited to an ultra-exclusive scientific meeting. He sent me this e-mail following a banquet:
Sometimes there are interesting perks to this job. There are 14 invited participants at this meeting. One has a Nobel Prize in Medicine (actually, quite a famous one-- the guy who discovered that bacteria cause both ulcers and stomach cancer-- he was laughed at for years because of his ridiculous theory, until he proved it right). The guy I spent the evening talking to at dinner was Knighted by the Queen of England 20 years ago -- really a nice guy -- we had a lot of fun. The Editor in Chief of Nature (the most prestigious scientific journal in the world) was sitting on the other side of me, and others included the (recently retired) Chair of Chemistry at Oxford (largest Department of Chemistry in the World). Most of the others have equally impressive credentials (except me and Jay). The neat thing is, most of them don't know squat about Toxicology so they all refer to me and Jay.
I get such a kick out of his humility. He has no idea of his "fame" in the scientific world.
3. My son is leaving today to go to the end of the earth--literally. His destination is Tierra del Fuego at the bottom end of South America. He is travelling by himself, I guess. It will be cold and I am not sure he even has a warm coat. Lucas has always had the earth as a giant map in his brain and he will not rest until he has visited every dot on this map. After all, he has been on the Arctic Circle in Barrow, Alaska and straddled the Greenwich Meridian in London so how could he pass up a chance to go to the tip of South America?
4. My daughter has finished a piano recital and is preparing for final exams. But even in the midst of all of this, she drove the 4-5 hour drive to Portland for the weekend. She made it back and forth just fine. It is just that I am a more comfortable human being if my family stays in one place and I like that place to be with me--right here in Mukilteo. I married a man with Gypsy blood and gave birth to babies who seem to have nothing but Roma blood in their veins.
5. Finally, as I drink my strong Seattle coffee and read my three newspapers this morning, I am delighted about the front page headlines. The Wild Sky Wilderness bill finally passed and will be sent to Bush to sign. This has been years and years in the making and I credit my senator, Patty Murray, for being relentless in her efforts to get it through. It was derailed twice by a republican from California and a republican from Oklahoma--two guys who know nothing about wilderness and who know nothing about our state, obviously. The plan was put together in a bipartisan way with tons of support by a majority here. And I guess it finally passed with a good margin in DC. Now 106,000 acres will be protected and added to our wilderness system and the edge of it is only about 40 minutes from my front door. Yes!!
(map from Seatttle PI, 2005, but now it is OFF the table and onto Bush's desk!)
Friday, April 25, 2008
My eyes were squinty today because the sun was shining during my walk. It is still chilly compared to what it should be but I managed with a sweatshirt over a long sleeved t-shirt rather than my usual winter jacket over sweatshirt. My Apolo makes me laugh because I swear I could do my walk blindfolded and he would lead me along the way just fine UNLESS he spotted an unexpected squirrel or cat or something else I will explain below.
1. When I put on my sweats or pick up my shoes, Apolo starts hopping all over the place with excitement. And then I ask him if he wants to go on a walk and the minute he hears the word "walk" he cries and bounces and acts like it is the first walk he has ever taken in his life.
2. We go out the back door and he bounds to the gate waiting for me to leash him. Once I catch up and open the gate, he charges toward the front lawn where he rolls and scratches his face and back.
3. Once he is finished grooming himself, we take off down the sidewalk and I look up in the trees where our resident bald eagles sit and fish. Often they are squawking and I am thankful Apolo is too big for their talons.
4. I try to keep Apolo from "watering" all of the neighbors' bushes. After a few houses, he pulls me across the street to walk on the otherside until he gets to his place to "go" and I reach in my pocket for my handy Seattle Times pink bag.
5. Off we go down Marine View Drive. I peak between the houses to see if I see any whale spouts or interesting boats all the while keeping my eyes open for cats and squirrels. If Apolo sees such a creature first and takes off with me, I could die. Sometimes I jog a little in this stretch.
6. We then reach the "Character's" (my name for him) house. A goofy St. Bernard bounds out to the edge of the invisible fenced yard to greet us with aggressive barking. Sometimes Apolo decides to charge him pulling me into the street; Apolo gets in big trouble if he does this and is required to heel without freedom at my side for a number of blocks while I call him naughty. It used to be that "Character" had a friend and I would talk to both "Characters." St. Bernard's buddy was a smaller old black dog whose hind legs were wobbly. Even so, that dog was clearly in charge of the big goofy guy. He would herd him and snip at him and bark in his ear. A couple of weeks ago, the old dog couldn't run to the edge of the yard any longer and would bark at us from his pillow in the driveway. He hasn't been there at all lately so I can only guess.....! Just one Character now.
7. Across the street from Character's house, I noticed a little brown bunny the other day. Oh my, Apolo had never seen such an animal in his life and wanted a closer look. I do believe I saved the bunny's life by tugging with all of my strength on the leash. Today, in the exact same spot was a white rabbit with brown spots. I was a tad confused but Apolo was just as interested and the rabbit did not seem frightened of my 90 lb. dog. "Apolo, LEAVE IT!" Eventually, Apolo minds but not without significant pulling on my part. Whew. Weird.
8. The next marker on our walk is the new mansion. They have a golden retriever and often the woman is pulling out of the gated driveway as I walk by. Today, the car window was open and oh my, he woofed and woofed at Apolo. Up a hill we go and through a woodsy cut off over a gulch and into another neighborhood.
9. This part of the walk contains a long hill with good views from the top. Lots of workers from a local business walk in this area and always someone comments about what a happy dog I have. Brand new view houses are being quickly built. The other day a man in a truck stopped to ask me if this was a nice area. "Excuse me? What do you mean?" He then explained he had lost a lot of money in the housing market on the east coast and was planning to move here. He thought he would rent for a year and then figure out where to buy. He was asking me about housing prices. I detected a strong New York accent. Evidently, he had spotted me about a mile and a half back.
10. We turn around and go back through the cut off and look at the creek. I get mad when I see people have dumped yard clippings in a spot that could be so pretty. Salmon could be in this creek if people cared. We head for the final steep hill where they have torn down an entire house. A church friend lives across the street and I know he did not like the fact the house was vacant and dilapidated. I think it had been infested with raccoons. We saw one on the roof the other day before the tear down and Apolo goes nuts in this spot smelling in the drainage pipes. Today, I saw two people I assumed were architects looking at the site. Nice view.
11. Almost home again and Apolo teases a little white dog who watches us everyday from their glass front door. Apolo sneaks into their driveway and then woofs at the dog to get a reaction. We trudge through a wooded area at the top of Big Gulch. This is a dead end to two streets and is home to two more barking puppies. Mapquest and every single vehicle navigation system tell people to drive through this walking path to get to our street. Whenever we have a delivery or an event at our house, people call us from the foot path at the top of the hill, "mapquest took us to this dead end," or "my car gps told me to drive on a gravel path barricaded with posts!"
12. Finally, we walk down the steep part of my street which has turned into a skateboarder's luge. I am finding this situation to be frightening because teenage boys zoom past my house going 30 mph without helmets. Around a curve they skid at the bottom and it is only a matter of time before they smash into a car, truck, or the mailboxes. When this happens, it will be me who has to call 911 and then run out with rags to stop the bleeding.
Skateboard Luge in front of my house.
Unfortunately, two days in a row this week, the Seattle area has had two separate skateboard accidents. One boy, age 15, had to be airlifted to Harborview, Seattle's trauma center and the other young man, a 19 year old UW student, lost his life. Please---I do not want this to happen on my street.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Unofficial Earth Day flag, by John McConnell: the Blue Marble on a blue background.
I remember the very first Earth Day in 1970. Dave was a senior in high school and I was a junior. We took it upon ourselves along with a friend of mine from my church to take on the lead smelter in East Helena. We managed to have a forum at the junior high where we confronted the manager of the smelter. His wife was there and I will never forget her telling the audience that there was nothing wrong with anything that came out of their smokestack. After all, they lived right underneath and she had the most beautiful flowers in town.
So, what am I doing about our earth all of these years later? First of all, I do feel guilty about expanding our house and buying new toilets, tile, and everything--not exactly low consumption. Many of the projects we have undertaken are updating and preserving an older house. On my daily walk this past week, I have watched a house that was built in the 1970's be totally torn down for a new view home. They did not even save the foundation. Our plan is that this house, built in 1989, will not be torn down but will last for many years into the future. How are we attempting to be green?
1. Our roof is made from more than 1000 recycled rubber tires and has a 50 year warranty. This will save at least three replacements of cedar shakes from old growth trees.
2. Our front and back decks were rotting and we replaced the cedar with Trex. Trex is a composite made from recycled plastic materials. Again, it should last for years and we no longer have to use chemical stains each year for upkeep.
3. The stained glass window in our new shower was re-used from the powder room.
4. All of our new toilets are high flush but low water usage.
5. Our family has way too many vehicles. But, Dave takes the bus everyday into the U district. I try not to drive if I do not need to make a trip and when I do, I do several errands at the same time. Lucas is always out of the country so he is not driving at all at the moment.
6. We have replaced many if not most of our light bulbs with the squiggles.
7. I try not to use the furnace. We turn it off completely every night even if it snows outside. Poor Kaley freezes every time she comes home. Of course, we have no air conditioning and do not plan on ever having it installed.
8. The dishwasher is only run if it is overflowing with dirty dishes. I never do laundry unless I have large loads as well. Actually, to be honest, I never do laundry.
9. Recycling is a normal part of Puget Sound culture. Our blue bin in the garage takes glass, plastic, cans, newspapers, junk mail and pretty much everything. Lucas has come back from Montana with a car load of stuff that cannot be recycled there to put in our bin. I have noticed our garbage is mostly dog poop and dirty kleenex which is sometimes the same thing. Our green bin is yard waste and this is recycled for us as well. We are now able to put food scraps in there. To be honest, I haven't done much of that because I have to worry about raccoons and rats.
10. When I shop, I avoid heavily packaged items if at all possible. Obviously, buying local and fresh produce helps. Also, buying local cuts down on transportation and fuel usage. Luckily we live in a place where we have good choices available to us.
11. We rarely use pesticides in our yard. Our grass is more clovery and dandiliony than everybody else's but I don't care. Along our street, people keep the weeds out of the sidewalk cracks. Most people use Round up but I am out there several times a summer sitting on my rear and digging them out by hand. I cannot bear to use a bunch of chemicals when I can see the water 75 feet below me. And I shovel up the slugs along with the dog poop.
12. And finally, we probably are single handedly because of our current projects keeping Home Depot, Lowe's, and Bed Bath & Beyond afloat in this economy. (I noticed Linens and Things declared bankruptcy--because I don't shop there) BUT and Kaley can vouch for this: Dave and I spend very little on clothing and shoes. We actually wear rags. My underwear and sweats are in tatters and I do not care. I noticed Dave's sweats have holes everywhere. Dave goes to work in shoes with the sole coming off. We get attached to comfortable things and we hate to buy new things. Luckily, this is the way most Seattleites are so we fit in.
Could we do better? Absolutely. I have got to remember to take my canvas bags to the grocery store--I keep forgetting. I have taken those online quizzes about our carbon footprint and we do not do so well. Our travels by airplane and the cars we drive kill our score. All we can do is be aware and be sensitive about our personal impact on the earth. The statistics are shockingly optimistic that if every family does something--even something as small as replacing a couple of bulbs---we can make a huge difference together.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Bathroom number 3, the master bath, is done and now bathroom number 4 is ripped up. I just this minute realized I did not take "before" pictures of bathroom number 4. Oh well. It was ugly and my foot went through the rotted floor. Luckily, there was not much of a mold problem nor too much damage so the retiling and painting SHOULD not take too long. Famous last words.
Other than a single door knob, our master bath and bedroom are finished. I guess they now call these rooms the "owner's suite." Our bedroom isn't much different other than the crown moulding was replaced and all of the woodwork was changed from natural wood to white. So here are the "after" and "before" pics:
New entry from bedroom to bath.
Looking to the left--old pink bathtub and grubby shower.
Looking to the left--new bathtub with view.
New shower without glass to clean and with river pebble drain area.
Looking to the right. Old pink sinks and crumbling tile. (toilet behind partition)
Looking right--new cabinets (from local cabinet maker)
Shower and bathtub overview together--looking left into bump out. (toilet enclosed and hidden to left.)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Last Saturday, we had a lovely warm day. As you can see from my post below, we were even able to eat our dinner outside. But last night.....ah yes, last night. Montana is subject to extremes in weather with 80 degrees one day and snow the next but we are not. Our seasons change so gradually under normal circumstances from 30's and 40's with chance of rain in the winter to 60's with chance of rain in the summer, that you hardly notice.
All day yesterday, it snowed and rained on and off. At one point, everything was covered with ice pellets. Between squalls, I took Apolo for his walk but by the end of it, Apolo's furry curly head was covered with snow flakes but nothing was sticking to my grass or my street. My house is at sea level so it is difficult for me to know what is going on 500 feet up at my grocery store.
Often it will be raining down here and blizzarding up there which is exactly what happened at 5 PM. We had a wine tasting get together scheduled in Seattle for later in the evening and I decided to putter up to the store to buy an appetizer to take along. Normally, the entire trip would take me maybe 10 minutes. As I reached the top of the hill, there was a blizzard and the roads were beginning to slush up and get slippery. My car thermometer said 31 degrees. My snow anxiety kicked in but I kept going. I mean, seriously, how bad could it be in the middle of April?
Within one minute, I left green grass, rhodie blooms, cherry blossoms and tulips to a world of white giant snowflakes. Was this the twilight zone? Was I going to see Christmas lights? I inched slowly to the store. Mukilteo Speedway was clogged up. The QFC parking lot was covered in snow and people were rushing in as if it was last minute shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. My ten minute errand took me 50 minutes.
When I got home, Dave called me from his bus and wanted to know what the hell was going on. Seattle was sunny when he left the University but as they approached Lynnwood, he too felt like he had traveled through a time warp. The real name for it is CONVERGENCE ZONE. He had driven Lukie's jeep to the bus stop and it took him two or three scrapings to clear it off in order to drive down the hill home.
Needless to say, rather than attempt a hazardous and slow drive back into the city, we stayed home and watched the snow flakes. I had nothing on hand for dinner since we usually snack at the wine tasting. Our friends up the hill who we were planning to car pool with into Seattle called and they came down here with a pot of soup---their light pre-wine tasting supper. I found some scruffy looking lettuce and tomatoes for a salad and we ate our olives, hummus, and crackers purchased at QFC an hour previously.
And we watched it snow......on April 18. Unbelievable.
Near Kamiak High School at the top of the hill taken this morning.
Snow still on Lukie's Jeep this morning (with no snow at our house).
Tulips in somebody's yard up the hill this morning.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I goofed big time. The tickets for these events went long ago and I wasn't paying attention. You know? Sometimes we need to pay attention. So I wasn't there but I have been trying to follow the visit of the Dalai Lama to Seattle by reading my papers and checking websites. His visit has generated discussions--even with friends on the street when we walk dogs. The theme of the event has been "Seeds of Compassion" and many young people and children have had the opportunity to be involved and to gain some insight on what it means to love one another. Today was a panel discussion including religious leaders of many faiths, Christianity, Buddhism, Judism and Islam, all together in one room. Some pictures and quotes of what stupid me missed taken from the King5 website:
Two Nobel Peace Prize winners laughing together--The Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu.
"The Dalai Lama and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined other spiritual leaders at the UW for a discussion on inspiring compassion in youth.
They were asked what happened when they were children to open their hearts to the world. Archbishop Tutu recognized an Anglican priest in his South African hometown.
"(He) made a ghetto urchin like me feel so important and special," said Archbishop Tutu. "I was in hospitals 20 months with tuberculosis and this white man, this important white man, used to come and visit me in the hospital at least once a week."
The Dalai Lama said his mother taught him compassion by being very kind to her own children and others.
The two appeared comfortable and at ease, laughing and even joking with one another during the session.
Tutu said of His Holiness, "We see here an incarnation of goodness. How can you, 50 years into exile, maintain this bubbling joyousness? And I've said actually, he's quite mischievous too, and I've said to him 'Shhh… the cameras are on us. Try to behave like a holy man.'"
Try to behave like a holy man??!! LOL!
UPDATE: Here is another wonderful gem from Tutu in Wednesday morning's Seattle Times.
The young people asked — and took part in answering — questions about overcoming anger, not being hard on yourself if you make a mistake and keeping a loving heart in the face of destruction.
Tutu said anger was not necessarily a bad thing. "It'd be awful if we didn't get angry when you see someone, for instance, violating a child. ... If you were to be indifferent if you heard children are being killed in Darfur, I would get worried about you."
He said he gets angry with God sometimes. "I mean — mmmmgh," he said, shaking his fists. "How can you? How can you let this, that and the other thing happen?"
But God is incredible, he said, and has given people freedom so they can choose their own way.
When people mess up, God "picks you up, dusts you off and says: 'Try again,' " Tutu said.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
No, I am not talking about some department store sale. We have now had only one day of spring. Yesterday, it was about 75 degrees--maybe a little more and sunny and gorgeous. After pulling weeds and walking the dog, we went to Food Emporium to find crab to eat. They did not have any prepared so we bought two big guys live from the tank and cooked them ourselves. It was still warm enough in the evening to eat outside. Dave took a picture while I was saying, "Come on, hurry up. I am hungry."
But today it is again 50ish with low gray cloud cover and chance of rain. Yuck.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Between yesterday and today's papers, there were three stories about three different people. I found all of them to be fascinating and inspirational. What is it they say? Marching to a different drummer?
1. Only in Seattle is someone able to be simultaneously a Christian leader living his faith and a political activist outspoken and in favor of the legalization of marijuana. That person would be Rick Steves. Rick Steves lives in Edmonds and is a travel book guru, has a travel business, Europe Through the Back Door, and travel shows on PBS. In all of my family's travels, we have relied on Rick Steves' books for guidance as if they were the Gospels. We follow his money saving tips, restaurant and sightseeing recommendations religiously. Some of his accomodations haven't worked well for us so we have found alternatives. I don't think he cares if he has a comfortable bed to sleep in--we do.
Rick Steves was an opponent of the Iraq war before it ever began. He has been a critic of the Bush administration even when Bush's approval numbers were 80% and he has decried the loss of America's credibility throughout the world. Some people would like to call someone like this unpatriotic. I call him a super patriot because he loves our country and he honors the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights by exercising his citizenship to the max.
He and his wife are incredibly generous. They started Trinity Place which provides temporary housing and help to homeless mothers and children. The project started with a purchase of duplexes near his Lutheran church. He also supports Bread for the World:
"Steves likes lending to the visibility of advocacy groups that lobby on important issues often overlooked in government, specifically hunger and homelessness.
He supports Bread for the World, a Christian citizen's movement.
"They've been my No. 1 service," Steves said. "They tell our legislators what I think is important. Our nation can legislate with the needs of homeless and hungry people in mind."
Steves has given Bread for the World free underwriting on his TV show..."
In addition, he has been outspoken about homophobia and our need to take care of our environment. What do I love most about him? Even more than that great little restaurant on a side street in Venice we went to because of him??
He doesn't give a rip if people disagree with him. He lives his values openly and honestly. Not once has he ever thought, "Ooooo. I don't want my position on that risky topic to get out for fear it may hurt the travel business." Nope--doesn't care. And believe me, his business has not suffered.
Rick Steves Betty Udesen/Seattle Times
2. Only in Seattle is a homeless tree house inhabitant given another chance. The man, nick- named Squirrelman, built an elaborate tree house under the freeway. Yes, in Seattle, trees grow everywhere--even under the freeway. In a way, in my view, he is not technically homeless because being resourceful, he came up with a type of home for himself. Nevertheless, he will be homeless as the WSDOT has evicted him and they have not given him much time. The neighbors have come to like the guy. I mean, how can you not love a guy who hugs golden retrievers?
Squirrelman Joshua Trujillo/Seattle PI
What I love about this story is that two twenty-somethings who watched him build the treehouse over two years decided to help the man they had come to know and like. Twenty somethings--gives me hope about the future. They managed to get neighbors together to buy a used RV off of Craig's list for $500. But when the RV seller learned why the RV was purchased, he lowered the price---a lot---like to 1 cents.
They didn't judge! Joshua Trujillo/Seattle PI
Some people would say it is wrong to help someone by giving them a hand out--especially a guy who has some skills that might translate to the workplace. This attitude chaps me. To me, it is wrong to judge or be critical of people in need. Period. We do not know the background or the stories or the whys or wherefores. In my view, it is immoral to require the homeless or the hungry to justify their circumstances before we house or feed them.
3. And the final story of the day: Only in Seattle does an obscure school girl become famous 13 years after she died. There was this girl who attended middle school and high school in Seattle. Her elementary days were spent in Kansas. Her Mom and Dad lived on Mercer Island where she attended brand new Mercer Island High School in the 1950's. She was not an ordinary girl. An only child, her parents named her Stanley because they had wanted a boy. Her friends and classmates agreed she was brilliant and intellectual. Apparently, she didn't give a rip about what people thought about her. Rejecting the idea of becoming the expected June Cleaver like most girls of that era, she asked questions--even about forbidden topics like communism or atheism.
Stanley Ann Dunham
She didn't date in high school. Education rather than marriage was her goal in life as a teenager. She liked jazz, foreign films and coffee houses qualifying her for what was called a beatnik in those days. Eventually, she received her education and became an anthropologist who traveled and worked in different parts of the world including Indonesia and Pakistan. She struggled through a good share of her education as a single mother--unheard of in the early 1960's. She also did something else considered shocking and courageous in those days. She married her first boy friend, a black African man and then divorced him a couple of years later.
Oh yea, and the baby this rebellious intelligent Seattle school girl had during her brief marriage?
Friday, April 04, 2008
April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King was murdered on this date. I have been looking through my old diaries to find out what my feelings were. I was 15 and in the ninth grade. In Helena, the ninth grade was still a part of junior high. My brother Jim was a senior in high school. To be honest, I do not have a specific memory about my thoughts about this assassination.
When President Kennedy was killed, I remember being devastated and I wrote quite a bit about it as a 10 year old. This horrific piece of history was four and a half years earlier. To a teenager, it was another lifetime.
As a child in Montana, we were isolated from events taking place in the rest of the country. We only had one local TV channel that came in very clearly. Rabbit ears helped with a couple of others. The local newspaper was and still is a bit skimpy. The Civil Rights movement seemed like something on another planet. Helena had about two respected black families but I did not know these kids until high school and after MLK had been killed. I remember a new girl in my PE class in junior high when I was in the 8th grade. She was black and her name was Linda. I suppose I knew from my father, the principal, that she had a difficult life and was poor. I remember being worried that the other kids would be mean to her. But to my surprise, she was made to feel welcome. My friends and I talked to her, sat with her and were nice to her. I do not think she lived in Helena long because she was not in high school with us. Evidently, we were influenced by what was happening in other more southern parts of our nation without even realizing it.
My writings reveal that I kept track of things until March 19, 1968 in some old little notebooks. I then got a brand new blue flowered diary on May 26, 1968. So, the two month time period where MLK was murdered, I was not writing anything. I have spent quite some time reading my 14 and 15 year old self this afternoon and all I can say is, oh my gosh....Kaley is me. Many entries concern all of the boys I liked who had no idea who I was. I was absolutely certain that boys didn't like me because I was hideous, fat and ugly. Naturally, I was the only girl of all of my friends who didn't have a boyfriend. The word ICK was a major part of my vocabulary and I had a lot of terrible days. I volunteered as a candy striper at the hospital and this is where I clearly decided I did not want to be a nurse or a doctor. Everyone else had more clothes than me. I failed my driver's test and it was the end of the world. My school work and grades were of paramount importance along with my friends--who I am still friends with to this day. The news events of the time were certainly on the back burner of my brain.
Here are some entries that gave me pause:
Thursday, June 6, 1968
VERY SAD today because of RFK. I have lost part of my soul. I forgot to write yesterday that R.F. Kennedy was shot and died today. The killer--an Arab. Awards assembly today. I got honor roll and perfect attendance. Janet Duncan got the citizenship award and Mike Wong. Jim graduated tonight and Sam came over.
July 12, 1968
There are three parties I must go to next weekend. It'll be fun. I really do want to be a teacher in Europe. Maybe Switzerland. Maybe France or Germany. I might teach English or something else. I got an 80 on my Driver's ed test. Grrrr. Life is wonderful. I like to stare in the dark with my radio. It's fun.
August 29, 1968
I babysat today...Humphrey and Muskee are the dem. nominations and Nixon and Agnew are the republican noms. ICK! I don't like Anderson or Babcock for governor either. I don't want Wallace either. I wish there was a 4th party or Kennedy was alive!
Monday December 9, 1968
Well! Well! It was a good day. Darn. There are no boys in that entire school that are worth liking. [I married one of them five years later. LOL] Oh yea some but they'd never like me. None of them would for that matter. Sooo many kids drink and a few are on dope like [names deleted]. Oh Oh Oh
Tuesday, December 10, 1968
Today I decided I really wanted to go to Switzerland for a year (plus or minus) and teach English. Then when I get married, I will teach my kids french from the day they are born. I will also have them take piano, tumbling and swimming lessons. I also want to be a student exchange.
Weird. Forty years ago. Weird. Our country lost a huge part of its soul with the deaths of Martin....and Robert....and John. In my opinion, we have an opportunity...right now in 2008...to gather back some of our soul.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
1. More on bear spray. First of all, I must mention the other man in my life, my brother. He is three years my elder and my only sibling. Always, he was bigger, stronger and more athletic than me and he still is. Actually, I wasn't athletic at all. When I'd get mad, he would grab my two hands and hold them together with one of his hands and then he'd laugh at me. Now that we are middle aged, it is comforting to know I could rely on him for anything at all in life.
We ended up with completely different lives. He lives in a small town in the middle of no-where Montana and I live in a large metropolitan area. For example, on the phone he tells me how difficult it is to skin a wolf (seriously) while I read in my new Seattle magazine that "How to Cook a Wolf" is one of our new best upscale Seattle restaurants. Typical.
Anyway, he is retiring after 35 years of teaching. He has been a 4th grade teacher and I know from his wife, my sister in law, what a fabulous teacher he has been because she teaches in the same school. In addition, he has worked in the summers for the Forest Service since high school so he knows a thing or two about bears. I love his stories about stupid tourists in his Montana campgrounds and bears. I figured he might have a response on the bear study and I was right--here is his e-mail to me about bear spray:
I read what you had to say about bear spray and its use. I am checked out in the use of it though the Forest Service and it does work but… there are so many variables that each situation has to be evaluated as to whether or not it is right to deploy the spray. One of my FS friends who is the head of trails and is an avid backpacker went to Alaska to float and hike in a very remote area. The first year they did it they only took spray and no firearm. Well the cans of spray looked very small and useless when a 500-1000 lbs. bear thought he would come and visit them on a gravel bar in the middle of the river. This bear was not even mad just interested and left before any spray had to be use. He got within 30 or so yards of the group but the wind was from the bear to the people and the spray would only really hurt the people in this case. The next year when they took a similar trip, Jonathan asked me how to clean up this new 12ga. Shotgun and how do you use it!! They still took bear spray but had the shotgun for a back-up!! Or the bear biologist friend of mine who went to Alaska to study grizz and one decided that he was going to make a lunch of the biologist well the spray was on his belt and too hard to get out so the shot gun had to be used and the bear slid to a stop about a foot away from “lunch”!!
Also, most people have no idea how to transport the spray and just carry it in the car or cab of their truck well the stuff is under pressure and can explode if it gets too hot or hits something sharp. If it does go off you're as good as dead!! The way to carry it is in an ammo box lined with some sort of packing to make the can safe and put away from the passenger area of the vehicle. One also has to know that bear spray does not last in the can for more than about one season and it starts to lose its potency. Meaning, last years can is now more dangerous than not having a can at all because the person thinks they are safe!
So bear spray is another tool to use but… it is not nice to fool with Mother Nature and or her critters. Remember where you are on the food chain! And always remember that the Grizz is the meanest, toughest, biggest critter out there and if you do not believe me just ask him!
My brother and I may not agree on everything but we definitely feel the same way about bears--especially the Grizz.
2. Pickles. I love pickles. I have always loved pickles. My favorite are Farman's Baby Kosher Dills--yum. During the holidays, when I was trying to buy local products, I did not think pickles would be a problem because I had always known the major brands of Nalley's and Farman's were made from local cucumbers and pickled in the northwest. We hear about outsourcing but I am outraged to discover our pickles are being outsourced to India along with everything else. Yes, India. This absolutely should be a part of the discussion in the presidential campaigns. I think the next time I am on hold about a computer or cable matter and I detect the accent, if they cannot solve my problem, I will ask them to send me some of my pickles back. The explanation was headline news in yesterday's paper. Our own Skagit valley farmers have been told their cukes are no longer needed and the Portland pickling company is being shut down. The jars will now contain the phrase, "Product of India." I refuse to buy them. What will I do? My brother's wife is a serious pickle packer. Maybe she can be my supplier because I can't live without dill pickles. I cannot.
3. Nanomaterials. I do not have an update on the risks. I asked my resident expert, now returned from DC, if this was something more pressing than global climate change. His cryptic response: "You'd be surprised."
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