Friday, February 29, 2008

Slow Progress

Here is the pump used to pour the foundation. I had to go to work before the cement truck arrived so I don't have pics of the actual pour.

Behold - a foundation!

and a good omen for smooth sailing ahead - here's hoping!

Flying predator

An eagle just flew over our property, screaming as it went! So beautiful. Tom tells me that they can cart away cats, lambs and small dogs. I just did a headcount and all the cats are accounted for.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Oscars

I watched the Oscars on Sunday as I do every year. I only had one horse in the race so to speak. The only nomination I felt strongly about was Best Actor Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises. He didn't stand a chance of winning (and he didn't win) so the excitement level was low for me. I was completely underwhelmed by No Country for Old Men and was disappointed that it got the top honors. Also, Into the Wild was robbed. Not a single nod. Not for Emile Hirsh who was in nearly every scene, not for cinematography, not for Michael Brook's soundtrack. Not for best song. How is it that Enchanted got 3 best song nominations but there wasn't enough love for Eddie Vedder's original work on Into the Wild? Understand that I have never had any love for Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam but he really brought something special to the movie and deserved a nod. Seriously? 3 noms for Enchanted and not a single nom for Into the Wild? Please. The only song that deserved a nom for Enchanted is Happy Working Song and only because Giselle is dancing and singing with rats, cockroaches and pigeons. That scene was almost worth the cost of admission and my 90 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stolen from blogs I shouldn't be reading

I have this really bad habit of reading blogs written by my half sibs on my birth mother's side. I will never meet her or them and I am sure it is creepy to be "spying" on them like this. On the other hand, if a person writes a blog they must know that it's out there for anyone to read, not just friends and family so by not password protecting their blogs it's almost like an invitation, right? I ripped off the following questionnaire from one of their blogs and put in my own answers. I never kept a journal or diary of any of this stuff so feel free to question the authenticity of my replies. Oh, and if anyone is willing to play along, I tag Jenny, Sarah, Tairah & Ashlee.

How long have you been together?
21 ½ years with holes. See the next answer.

How long did you date:
Tricky. We met in October 1986 (also the month I turned 16). Matt was the first boy I was allowed to go on a solo (non-double) date with. We dated maybe 6 months that school year and then drifted apart. We reconnected in 1989 and dated almost a year before we had a messy breakup. We got back together in early 1991 and married in Sep 1992.

How old is he?

Who eats more?
I think I do. I know I eat more sugar and crap by far.

Who said I love you first:
Matt. Back in ’89 we were going to a play in SLC w/ my parents. Matt and I were sitting in the back seat communicating by writing w/ our fingers on each others palms. He said he wrote “I love you” on my palm and I didn’t respond in kind which is why he drifted off and stopped calling. I say I wrote “I love you” right back and he freaked out that we crossed the "I love you" line and that is why he drifted off.

Who is taller?
Matt by 1 ¼”

Who is smarter?
Matt is the book smarty pants. He reads slowly and retains what he reads. I read quickly and forget what I read by the time I close the book. On the plus side for me, I am the logical thinker. He may or may not agree with that.

Who does the laundry?
Matt did the laundry for most of our married life. I am doing it up here in WA

Who does the dishes?
Again, up until we moved to WA it was mostly Matt. Now it is mostly me.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
Is that stage right? If so it is me.

Who mows the lawn?
Matt. We have only had a lawn twice. Once at our house in San Diego and now here in Washington – if you want to call it a lawn. I think he really enjoys it and goes to the happy place in his brain when he is mowing.

Who cooks dinner?
Nobody is cooking now as we don’t currently have a kitchen. We both like to cook. I think Matt is better at it. He really has a knack for spices and seasonings. Now if you are including baking, I win hands down.

Who is more stubborn?
I could be wrong but I think it is me.

Who kissed who first?
I can’t remember who kissed who first but I know at the very least I was a happy participant. And I have fond memories of a Halloween party at Matt’s house in Huntsville where there was lots of kissing going on.

Who asked who out?
We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend. Matt’s junior high and my junior high fed into the same high school but Matt went to a private high school instead. A friend of his from junior high who I met in high school set us up.

Who proposed?
There wasn’t really a proposal. By the time we got back together in 1991 we knew there was no point in going the rounds again unless we were willing to get onboard the train to forever. We bought ourselves matching silver rings to mark our decision.

Who is more sensitive?
Probably me. My skin is slowly getting thicker over the years but I still cry too often and the littlest things can make me furious.

Who has more friends?
I do. Matt is quite a loner. If he didn’t meet you in high school or college odds are he hasn’t taken the time to build a relationship with you.

Who has more siblings?
I do and I don’t and it’s a tie. Matt has 2 brothers (John & Mark) and 1 sister (Kate). I have one brother w/ whom I was raised (Kim) and 2 brothers (Ben & Andy) I have recently come to know after meeting my birth father. But if you really want to get technical you could add the children of my birth mother - 6 siblings I will never meet.

Who wears the pants in the relationship?
Kind of a stupid question in this day and age. Am I right?

Lunar Eclipse

OK. I am back in love with Washington. Last night was crystal clear, stars forever. The moon rose in the east just above the tall trees and our sad little house. One of the first things we noticed when we moved here was the night sky. We have lived so many years in areas of severe light pollution we forgot what it was like to look up and see layer after layer of heavenly bodies. The lunar eclipse was beautiful. We were able to see it very clearly because there are no city lights around to muddy up the view. My glass seems to be returning to half full.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We have a foundation!!!

that is all. proceed with celebrations as you see fit.

Los Angeles

I guess watching Waitress left me a little vulnerable. I just saw this post on (a site I continue to visit regularly to read about things that no longer really concern me) and it made me cry to read about the old neighborhood and see pics of Los Angeles. Consider this a weak moment brought on by a lack of a true home. I am wondering if this move was the best idea.


I just watched Waitress. It made me miss my girlfriends. Here is a shoutout to Xochitl, Audrey, Jenny, Sarah and Nadine. Scattered across the 4 corners but always on my mind and in my heart. Sorry I am frequently a silent friend. You are loved.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Caucus

So this is how it went. I arrived at Toledo H.S. at about ten to one. Tom joined me. I am guessing there were over 300 people there split up into about 12 precincts. There was some confusion with me because we live right on the line between 2 precincts. I ended up getting claimed by the Veness precinct.

We had 27 people in attendance for Veness. The first vote was: 18 Obama, 8 Clinton, 1 Undecided. After that vote we were all allowed to speak if we chose to. I spoke 2nd and said many of the things I put forth in my last post. Obama supporter after Obama supporter spoke. Only two Clinton supporters gave their views. After an hour of opinions we took another vote. This vote came out: 19 Obama, 7 Clinton, 1 Undecided. I find it interesting that a Clinton supporter went over to the Obama side but the Undecided remained the same. I tell you what, there were some pretty impassioned speeches given for Obama. Very moving. It was all very civil. No barbs were thrown.

The end results for our precinct were this: We had 5 delegates to parcel out. Based on the votes and the delegate division guide we are sending on 4 delegates for Obama and 1 for Clinton. I really wanted to be a delegate for the next step but the county vote is on a Saturday and I will be goin' postal.

Caucus Away

Today Washington State is holding Caucus' for both the Democratic and Republican parties. We also have a primary election on Feb 19th. The Republicans assign half of their delegates based on the caucus and half based on the primary. The Democrats assign all of their delegates based solely on the outcome of the caucus. For them the primary election is just a beauty pageant. In case you were unaware, I identify myself as a Democrat. So, if i want my vote to count I must participate in today's caucus. I have never lived in a state that caucused before so this will be an entirely new experience. I don't know what to expect. I will let you know how it all shakes down. Matt will miss all the excitement because he is in L.A. and there is no provision for absentee caucus' except for religion or military duties.

Because my roots are deep in conservative Utah Mormon territory, many of my readers identify as Republicans. You guys can stop reading this post now if you want. I am going to lay out the hows and whys of what I plan to voice at the caucus today.

I think all of us democrats suspected that it would come down to a Obama v. Clinton race. While I admired Richardson and Edwards I just couldn't see them reaching the buzz level of the biggies. They were mostly ignored by the media and didn't get very much face time in the debates. So, here are my (greatly abbreviated) thoughts on Obama and Clinton.

My gut feeling all along has been to lean away from Clinton. Why? This business of Presidential dynasties has got to stop. We are not a banana republic. In the last debate she was asked about that and she said in this country we are all judged by our own merits and that is what she was running on, not those of her husband. Whatever. That is like asking a jury to strike a remark from the record. Doesn't mean they never heard it. That said, I still wanted to give her a shot based on what she had to say. I do think that she has something to offer in the way of experience. I feel that the policies she puts forward are well thought out and take into account what she has learned over the years. Take healthcare for example. She failed spectacularly when she put forward her plan as first lady but she tweaked and learned and moved forward with a revised plan. I also agree with her thoughts on the economy and immigration. In the last debate where the candidates were allowed to speak w/out time limits her carefully thought out ideas moved beyond sound bites into plans I could really get behind. That said, I am having trouble with her inability to own up to her votes to give W carte blanche on the war. And she also wasted a bunch of time in video game legislation when, to my eye, the walls were falling down all around in regards to all the big issues.

And Obama?
Well, the reality is that he and Clinton are not so different in policy. It's all in the minutia. His plans seem more like "elect me" soundbites rather than Clinton's more thought out road maps. Does that matter? I don't know. We all know that when presidents, senators, representatives, etc, get elected things never go as they promise in elections. It's not usually due to lies during the campaign. It is simply that the system is divided, complicated and fraught with lobbyists that it seems impossible to make any forward progress. He is less experienced that Clinton but I believe that he is smart enough to learn on the fly. (please, please, please, let us have a smart president on this next go around - I just can't deal with this "aw shucks" good, ol country boy shtick anymore.) But when he speaks - Oh when he speaks! He makes me want to be a better citizen. He makes me want to help others. Over the last 7 years I have wondered what happened to the country I love. Why have we become mean? To those who are different, to those who need help? To those who are living in different cultures? I know, we were attacked but our response has been black and white and this world and our country are painted in every shade of grey and the rainbow. When Obama speaks I believe that we can be better. I believe that we can lift up those who are struggling and reach out to the world with a broader mindset. I believe that we can attempt diplomacy before bombs.

So what does it mean to me? Clinton has experience and carefully thought out plans but she also comes with baggage and she is a divisive character in U.S. politics. Can she really help stitch this country back together and repair the damage done to our position on the international stage? And Obama, he is smart as a whip but I am not sure he is ready for what lies ahead if he is elected. In the end I have decided to vote for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton lacks the ability to inspire and unite. With the baggage she will bring to the White House I don't think she will be able to help us return to the country I miss. Barack Obama may not be as experienced as Clinton but I believe his learning curve will be short. In the face of all the problems in the world and at home, the power to inspire seems more important than the minute details of policy. If he inspires a move toward unity in our fractured blue/red country and inspires a renewed respect from the other countries of the world then we can all begin to work together as we move into future.

I want to BELIEVE again.

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what can you do for your country."

"My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

President John F. Kennedy

Make way for some Fe-mail

When I was in Junior High my Dad had a Star Route (he was an independent contract carrier for the Post Office). He would drive me and my friends to school in the morning in his mail jeep. The back door only opened from the outside so we had to sit in mortified view of the entire student body unloading from the buses while he hopped out of the front and strode around to the back hollering "Special Delivery! I've got some Fe-Mail". The reality might not have been that bad but you know how things are when you are low on the totem pole in Junior High (maybe you don't - lucky you). The point of this little opening story is to announce that I have finally (almost) completed training and am re-entering the world of mail delivery.

I don't remember exactly how many years my Dad delivered. It seems like forever but that can't be right because he also fit careers as a school teacher and bus driver into his life. When he delivered I would sometimes go along and help. I got a taste for the life of a carrier in rural America. After high school, marriage and a number of years floundering in retail I bid on a Star Route of my own in Park City, UT. I was stupid and young and I was the low bid by thousands. I got the route. Do two stupids make a smart? Matt joined me in the mail world. He partnered up with another carrier who only wanted to work part-time and we also took on a 3rd route that we split. Star Route carriers provide their own vehicles. If there is a breakdown we must have a back-up to make sure the route is delivered. At one time we had 7 vehicles (3 ancient mail jeeps, 1 suv, 1 sedan, Friq, and a right hand drive Scout) to ensure that we would have at least 2 vehicles running at any give time. There were some hideously awful days of delivery. Christmas season + 4 feet of snow + a vehicle breakdown + garbage day + bronchitis morphing into pneumonia = a 13+ hour day of pure, unfiltered misery. But there were also days of pure, contented satisfaction. Summer + light mail volume + a working right hand drive jeep + wildlife sightings + happy customers + some good tunes = a 5 hour day and the satisfaction of a job well done. We lasted 3 years before we had had just about enough of 6 day work weeks and vehicle maintenance. I am fond of saying "It was the best of jobs. It was the worst of jobs."

I know time can soften memory, filtering and diluting the worst experiences and putting a fuzzy, warm glow on the good times. Perhaps that is why I am so excited to get back to delivering. I am remembering all the ways that job is so right for me and putting a dimmer on the memories of all the hardship. I am convinced that this time around the good can still be really good and the bad can't possible reach the levels of the Star Route. Why? This time around I am an honest to goodness Postal Employee. I will be starting out as a sub so there is zero chance of year after year of 6 day a week employment. I also live in a different place. Yes, we have nasty weather but we will never (uh, never say never?) have snow piled up so high it buries all mailboxes. I am still responsible for providing and maintaining my own vehicle but I am in a better place financially now so that isn't the gnawing worry it once was. If I get knocked down with pneumonia I am not the only person running the route so I can hack up my lungs in the privacy of my own home rather than on the route. There will still be Christmas mail volume and garbage day but I can totally deal with that. What hasn't changed is the freedom of driving out of the office for a day of lone accountability, the wildlife (I saw an elk herd on my first day of partial delivery yesterday), that sing-song feeling of driving a route in spring with a breeze that feels like it is blowing right into my soul and clearing things out, that satisfaction of knowing I am giving the patrons the best service possible and the complete feeling I get when my car is empty at the end of the route. I dig all of that.

Russel v. Crow

Rock 'n Bowl

A little late with this post. Last Saturday (? I can't even remember anymore) we went bowling w/ Bailee, Jolaina, Lisa, Tyler, Bill, Emily & Becca. It was a Rock 'n Bowl evening. What does that mean? The local rock station is cranked up, the fluorescent lights are switched off in favor of black lights and there is a disco ball. Awesome. The kids had fun calling into the all request show on the radio. Tyler even got the station to give a shout out to all the Rock 'n Bowlers with his request of "I wanna Rock and Roll all Night". Matt and I have never bowled so poorly in all our lives. Don't let that statement confuse you into thinking we are bowlers of note. We are not. That is Bill on the right. The man bowled something like 8 straight strikes. We caved under the pressure. My high score might have been 54. I stopped looking.

Nothing like North Ogden but. . . .

While my parents, family and friends got (and are still getting) pounded with feet upon feet of snow in Northern Utah we enjoyed this lovely vision. The locals here are freaking out because this is a ton of snow compared to other years + the deep freeze and the buckets of rain far beyond the usual. What do we know? It's our first winter here and so everything seems normal to us. Anyway, I hope all you Utahns are keeping warm and finding places to put all the snow. What does a person do when the snow they shovel off the groaning roof piles so high it reaches the eaves? Start tunneling like moles?

Herculean task

If I had been instructed to climb Mt. Olympus and get the signature of Zeus it would probably have been easier than obtaining this signature. Yes. We are finally cleared to pour the foundation. The "mud" will be poured on Monday and then it is just a matter of weather determining how long it needs to cure before we can drop the house onto the foundation. I must have retreated too far into my Zen place because I don't even feel excited anymore. My reaction: oh. that's nice.