Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We escaped unscathed

Since all the trees fell down last summer during the derecho our neighborhood emerged unscathed from Hurricane Sandy.  Power flickered but never went out, wind blew, rain came down, we slept in basement and woke this morning to a normal rainy day. 

I can't even imagine the devastation in New York City where you could be high in the sky with no power, no water, and no hope.  It really would be like the end of the world.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I just started putting food back into the freezer

After last summer's derecho wind storm when I had to throw out EVERYTHING from my refrigerator and upright freezer, I decided to delay restocking anything until the end of hurricane season.  Although we generally don't get hit by hurricanes we did have one in August 2011 and I decided not to tempt fate for the remainder of this summer.  So only recently I started slowly restocking the freezer.  Safeway had a great sale on shrimp, another sale on steak....  So  the freezer is not too full but it has some high cost items in it.  And now, Hurricane Sandy!   I've moved all the lawn furniture and plants into the porch, put batteries in all theflashlights, checked the oil supply for the oil lamps, pulled out the box of candles, and stocked up on wine.  Now we are eating our way through the freezer before we lose power.   Saturday was steak, last night was shrimp, tonight it will depend on if we have electricity or not. 

And my father!  He refuses to leave his home and stay with us.  So I've put batteries in his radio and flashlights, bought cans of soup in case he loses power and just have to hope for the best.   His basement may flood and there is nothing we can do about that and I hope the 300 year old tree in the yard doesn't fall on the house.

My hope is that since so many trees fell in our neighborhood during the derecho the ones still standing are strong and sturdy and that the power lines that came down and were replaced are also sturdy.  But I know that no power line can hold back a falling tree and in my heavily wooded neighborhood I think we are sunk.

Friday, October 26, 2012

my hope for this election

My hope for this election is that it will re-energize the women's movement.   Hopefully the generations of young women who have benefited from what was accomplished in the 1960's and 70's, will now see how precious these changes are and how quickly they could be taken away.  Many young women today, with some exceptions like Sandra Fluke, have seemed complacent about the short history of the women's movement and the tenuous hold we have on Roe v Wade, contraception, workplace rights, credit rights, etc.  They have never lived under the restrictions both legal and cultural that we faced pre-1970's and so have no context for life without those protections.

A friend sent me this YouTube vide and it made me want to sing along.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Amongst some of my friends I've gotten the reputation of being a picky eater.  This is amusing since 1) I'll eat almost any kind of foodstuff, and 2) it is coming primarily from a friend who has declared herself gluten free and is always on some kind of bizarre diet which generally restricts her food choices to ice cream and Fritos.

What I am picky about is where I eat my food and with whom.  I do not eat at buffets unless it is my only choice and I am quite literally starving to death.  The idea of all the hands on the serving utensils, the utensils falling into the pans, people breathing, coughing, smelling, ....... you get the picture.  We recently went to a 170 item buffet as part of a conference "fun night".  Take it from me, you should never go to a restaurant where you are greeted by a pirate, "Ahoy, matey!   Arggg!"  It met all my expectations and more.  I drank iced tea and ate three fried shrimp taken from the way back of the pan.

Another of my eating issues is going in large groups and having people try to split the check.  Just order modestly along with the rest of the group, restrict your drink order to a glass of wine (and if you have more throw in extra money), and prepare to divide the check equally.  Do not get pissy over not having a cup of coffee at the end of the meal, do not insist that the tip be no more than 15, or 18 or whatever measly percent you allow the server, do not start exclaiming over that outrageous tax rate in whatever city you are in.  Just pay your share of the damn bill.  These large group dinners were common when I was traveling for work and I dreaded them to the point where I once told one of the offenders, when the group was going to a very nice restaurant that I often frequented, that I wasn't going with them because I didn't want to be associated with the group since I wanted to be welcome back to the restaurant when I went there the next time.  They thought it was a joke.  It wasn't.

I also have an issue with restaurants that are so loud you literally cannot hear yourself talk, much less the other guests at the table.  I never thought restaurant reviews would come with decibel ratings but here in DC they do.  It the decibel rating is too high I just don't go there.

So, does this make me a picky eater?  I think not.  I prefer to call it discerning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DIY project list

Today I happened to glance at the list on my sidebar of the DIY projects that I posted last spring:
  • Frame sailing picture
  • Frame Sedona poster
  • Plant flowers front yard
  • Plant shrubs, etc around deck
  • Herb garden - where to place?
  • Wash windows - after yellow pollen season
  • Paint bedroom
  • Tile backsplash mudroom - learn to tile project
  • Tile backsplash - kitchen
I have only  completed two of the projects - plant flowers in front yard and the herb garden - and even they weren't very successfully completed. For the flowers in the front I was planting perennials as I hate planting things and only wanted to have to do this once but the combination of a drought and heat killed most of what I planted so I'll have to do this again next year.  The herb garden, although in the proper location, was also not a success as the drought and some teeny tiny bugs got into the plants.  Since these were herbs and I didn't want to use any pesticide, the plants were pretty well munched on before I got to use much.

Maybe I can claim that I made progress on the two framing projects as I did get a super catalog from an artist friend where I can get the pre-cut materials for the huge frames I need that will be far cheaper than using a frame shop, and easier than a total frame-it-yourself project.   Now I need to get around to ordering the materials.  The painting/washing/tiling projects are still waiting for some action.  I've found the tile I want and now need the courage to try to put it on the wall.

I should probably revisit my to-do list a little more often if I want to make any progress.

I. am. so. tired.

I am so tired of this election.  I am so tired of lies coming from Mitt Romney.  I am so tired of the hateful rhetoric from the Republicans, and some of the Democrats, too.  Can"t we all act like grown-ups and 1) tell the truth, and 2) avoid the "gotcha" mentality, and 3) be polite and follow the rules.  These are lessons that we supposedly learned in kindergarten. 

I live in Virginia where almost all the TV ads are political.  Sometimes they show the same one two or three times in succession without a break.  And our senatorial race is very contentious also so we have those ads, too. Kaine, a reasonable very middle-of-the road Democrat vs Allen, a bigot and blow-hard of the first order.  Both were former governor's of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The seat they are seeking is currently held by Jim Webb, a Democrat, who narrowly defeated Allen, the then incumbent, in 2006.   So for Allen this is really a grudge match and his thugishness shows.  He also has the smugface of Romney.  The two of them just have a face I want to slap.

I have been reduced to watching only shows available through Netfix, Hulu, and on-demand in order to avoid the political ads. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

busy busy

It's very nice to be busy having a good time.  We just returned from a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC where husband had a conference.  I loved being in a beautiful beachfront hotel and not having to do presentations or attend meetings.  It was a totally new experience!  We had fabulous weather - 80's and sunny - and I met some very interesting people.  From there we drove to my sister-in-law's home to celebrate her birthday weekend and had a good time visiting family.  Foxnews on the TV 24/7 was a bit off-putting but she didn't comment on our bumper sticker and we didn't comment on her yard sign.  The amazing thing is that she and her husband are living strictly on social security and have no savings to fall back on and she just doesn't see that they are the ones that will be losers should Romney win. 

Back home to a nice lunch with a friend and my bookclub meeting.  Next up getting ready for a trip to Peaks of Otter with friends this weekend.  I have purchased a mexican train dominos game to pass the time while we are there since it is pretty isolated with no TV, internet access, or phones.  It's kind of like camping in a hotel.  Before we leave I'll make a trip to Trader Joe's for wine and snacks and we will have the makings of a good party.  The mexican train dominos are a fun game although I really can't remember the rules or strategies.  When I played last I was both exhausted and drunk and didn't grasp the nuances of the game.  In fact, I abandoned my team and went to sleep on the sofa. 

The next trip is another conference at the beach!  YES!  and this one is in Fort Lauderdale so we can combine it with another visit to see family.  How lucky is that!  and I'm planning to stay at our beach place for some extra days to visit with a friend who is dealing with a critically ill husband.  She has lots of friends in Florida but I think she needs a friend from 'home' for a little while.   

And finally, Thanksgiving in Ann Arbor.  Plane tickets are bought and I've booked a studio apartment through VRBO.  Never tried Vacation Rentals by Owner but figured this was a good first trip to try it.  If we get there and it is a scam we can always sleep on KT and G's blow-up bed and I'm not out much of a deposit.  If it is good then I'll have discovered a great place for our future trips to Ann Arbor.  I really like finding funky little places to stay - I have  favorites in San Jose, Los Angeles and Portland, OR that are small little places that have funky charm, good locations, and cheap.

My next few weeks are pretty packed which will help keep me from being depressed at the coming winter.  Today I had to put on the slipper socks that I crocheted a couple of weeks ago and my feet are glad I was pro-active in getting ready for the cold.