Sunday, November 30, 2008

Here Come the Contractors

In September 07 we bought this tub. It is now finally installed in our master bathroom! The plumbers were here last week and we are now rough plumbed. Next step is heating. Installation of our heat pump begins Monday.

Pipes mean that someday I won't have to fill a pan with hot water from the shower so I can do dishes on the table and then dump the pan out in the yard. Today I did the dishes pioneer style because something is wrong with the shower and I can only get warmish water so I had to boil water for my dishes. Someday soon I will have a real kitchen sink! Yay to the tenth power.

And what of the siding? We are still working on it. Here is a shot I took this morning:

Thanksgiving in Toledo

Walker waits.

The family waits.

Our hosts, Tom and Kathy, slaving away.

I did not take any other photos of the day! It was exactly as a Thanksgiving should be: family and friends visiting while lovely aromas drift from the kitchen. This was our first Thanksgiving in Washington. The last 3 we were in Utah. I hope all our Utah families had a wonderful holiday. You were missed and loved.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Audrey & Norah Like to Wrestle (All Day. All Night)

The cats themselves are quiet, just a few meeps here and there as they try to tear each other's ears off or de-fur one another's tails. What is not quiet is the bang-clanking they do as they rip around the house trying to pop their spay stitches. They slam into the basket of cans for recycling. They climb through stacks of magazines sending them splatting down on the floor. They do their level best to tear down the shower curtain. They flip over and inspect every shoe and boot in the hopes of finding a left over mouse or shrew to lord over a rodentless opponent. And on and on and on. They are currently each "sleeping" with one eye open.

Why Independant Book Sellers Sometimes Go Out of Business

I am really not trying to jinx our local bookstore (and by local I mean 20 miles north) with this title. But, c'mon people. With the likes of Barnes and Noble, and, in this neck of the woods at least, Costco's book section breathing down their neck you would think that our local purveyors of the written word would avoid section headings like this. If you can't read the section heading by clicking on the photo, it reads:
I get that it is meant to be funny. Maybe I must be menopausal to get the joke? I will return in 15-20 years and find out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes We Clam!

Freshly rinsed clams trying desperately to escape the bucket.

Clams in my net. I am personally responsible for their untimely deaths.

The mighty huntress. In my left hand I hold the clam gun. Action shot to follow.

Tom shows how it is done. First you must find a little hole in the sand indicating a clam lurks beneath the surface. Then you plunge the clam gun down over the hole as far as you can and pull up a column of sand using suction. Hopefully the clam is in the column of sand. If it is you put it in your net and go after another one. If the clam is not in the sand you go back in the hole and dig down further. If you still don't get it you move to a new location.

Saturday, after the mail route, I went to the beach house with Tom. It was a clam tide weekend and so we loaded up dig supplies (clam gun, nets, lanterns) and drove up the beach to the spot that he swears offers up the best digging. I don't think I am allowed to reveal the location. Ever since we moved up here its been "clam this, clam tide that". As a vegetarian I poo pooed all the clam talk. I wonder if I must surrender my veggie credentials after this weekend. Why did I agree to participate in such a barbaric activity? Peer pressure. Plain and simple. I mean, everyone is doing it. Matt has already been initiated. I was beginning to feel left out.

Before going digging I said if I caught one I would eat a clam. I am backpedaling now. See, I didn't realize that when we dug them up parts of the clams would be wiggling outside of the shell. I thought everything would be all hidden inside the clam, no fuss, no muss. But that is not how it works. This fleshy, squirming thing-a-ma-bob hangs out the end all, "help me! help me!, the Horror!, the Horror!". I am sooo not down with that (tiny screams are ringing in my ears).

We bagged our limit of 15 clams each and clams are on the menu tonight. I will probably take a bite. If I do, it won't be because I am holding to my word. It will be peer pressure all over again.

Update: I put a bite of clam in my mouth and was chewing the rubbery awfulness when Matt said, "ha ha. you are no longer a vegetarian". So I pulled the partially chewed gelatinous mass out of my mouth and put it on his plate. Verdict: I don't like clams. It is not a sacrifice to keep them out of my mouth.

If You Happen to See the Most Beautiful House in the World . . .

Yeah. That is my house. Yep. The really awesome looking one.

The siding is going up. It kills me how beautiful it is going to be. What you see here is the boards, pre-batten. The battens are 3" and will be centered over each seam.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night

Yes We Can!!

Screen grab of the map just after the election was called on CNN but before the night turned into a major mandate for President Elect Obama

The magic moment.

Our little watching party was marked with tears of joy, whoops of excitement and an overwhelming sense that we would be moving back to the United States of America that we feel we were born and raised in. There are many in this election who suggested that Barack Obama was unpatriotic and even anti-American because of his calls for Change. The idea being that America is a perfect nation created by God that is always guided by God and therefore beyond reproach. Here is a quote from
an article in the New York Times that does a better job of making my thoughts clear than I could.
. . .a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm — a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos — saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course.

They say the country that weakened democratic forces abroad through a tireless but often ineffective campaign for democracy — dismissing results it found unsavory, cutting deals with dictators it needed as allies in its other battles — was now shining a transformative beacon with its own democratic exercise.
(a note of context: the article was discussing the views of citizens of other countries but it applies to me as well.)

When I say I want Change and I believe when Barack Obama calls for change what we are aiming for is a return to the beauty of the country as an ideal, as an example to the world. As Bill Clinton put it at the DNC, "The world is more impressed with the power of our example than the example of our power". Ronald Reagan's reference to the Shining City on a Hill from the bible and from John Winthrop has been mentioned frequently in this election season. Far from being that shining beacon, I feel that we have turned into a bully with a club, earplugs and blinders. The election results of November 4th 2008 relit that beacon. It is burning again and I hope that the flame only gets brighter as we all work together to put the economy back on track, ensure that all our citizens can afford health care, search for energy solutions, end wars started by lies, support our allies when the cause is just, mend an ailing educational system, and a host of other issues that will require the leadership of President-Elect Obama and the participation and support of the people of America.

Count me in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

1000(ish) Words Because I Have No Pictures

I have a 3 gallon glass carbouy sitting in the garage that is just over half full of fresh apple cider. The other day I went over to Tom and Kathy's house. Kathy and I filled a bunch of bushels full of apples from their trees. There is a fellow in Toledo called Kendall and he recently acquired an antique cider press and was looking to put it to good use. So we washed up all the apples and got the machine rolling. First all the apples went into the crusher. The crushed pieces fell through to the tray on the bottom of the machine where they were caught in what looked like a bottomless bucket. Once the bucket was full we pushed it forward along the tray so it was positioned underneath the press. Fitting a round wooden disk into the bottomless bucket we pressed all the juice out of the apple bits. I figure that we had about 5 gallons by the time we were done. The whole business smelled good, tasted good and was so freaking quaint that I felt I was a subject in a Norman Rockwell painting. But you will just have to trust me on that because I didn't have my camera on my person and missed photo-documenting the experience.