Monday, October 31, 2005

Golf as a lesson in patience

Our Life In The Country

Finally played golf yesterday after a half-year hiatus. Because I'm so competitive, I was very nervous and worried that I would play terribly. Well I didn't play great but I also didn't play terribly. It was a hard course that I had never played before. The one thing I haven't lost during the six month hiatus was my ability to hit straight. I just marched down the middle of the fairway. Felt great. I had one great putt that was from the edge of the green to the cup about 30 feet away. Most of the front nine I two-putted. Back nine was a little more irregular but still had a lot of two putts. And I got par on a par three hole when everyone else didn't. All in all a good day. On the same day I golfed my brother Richard skied. See his blog for more details. I prefer my sport to his. I'll never be on the pro circuit but I have a good time when I'm out there.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Knit One, Purl Two....

I'm really in a knitting mode right now. It's a peaceful activity that's also creative. I'm just finishing a really cute hat for Max. I'm also knitting socks for me. I used to tackle these really huge projects, but now I like to do the smaller, more difficult things. Besides it's easier to knit something small on an airplane especially if you are in the middle seat. Here is one of the socks I've knit. I'm working on the other one.

Isn't He the Cutest Little Boy Ever!

This wonderful little boy is Max. He will be seven months old tomorrow, October 30th. Max is my sister Vicky's grand baby. The proud Grandpa is her husband Neil. That makes me his great aunt and he's my grand nephew. Mom and Dad are Mike and Minna. Great parents. I'm knitting a special winter hat for Max to keep him warm this winter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Harriet Miers: Fawning Sycophant or victim of Bush's Ineptitude

It has taken me a while to decide how I feel about Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. I've gone from outrage to indignation to actually feeling sorry for the woman. Don't get me wrong, I don't for one minute think she is a good candidate. But I do think she will end up another victim of Bush's ineptitude. Choosing her as his nominee casts a pall over all women. It brings back all those jokes about women that I had hoped were long gone. I even read one article that said she might be the first "virgin" on the Supreme Court, because she isn't married. No one made that comment about David Souter.

There are two very bright women on the Supreme Court right now. It is unfair for Bush to put someone like Miers in the same spotlight that those two women occupy. She is not of the same caliber and never will be. When she goes down in flames during her confirmation hearing, she will be another woman sacrificed to the male establishment.

For God's sake, Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment and he still won appointment to the court. I guess it's inevitable that there will always be different standards applied to men and women. If Thomas had turned out to be a brilliant justice who brought great thinking to the court it might excuse his earlier behavior (although I doubt it), but he falls into the same legal category as Miers; underqualified for the job. All in all, it's a sad day for women everywhere.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Here we are at one of the wineries with our friends Margo and Rick Glendenning. They are the wonderful people who found our house in Lincoln for us. If you ever need great real estate people, these two are it. And of course, the handsome man on the left is Kerry. A most wonderful man. Posted by Picasa

We spent Saturday wine tasting in El Dorado County, a new area for us. Most of the vineyards we visited are above 1500 feet which means the glassy winged sharpshooter can't live there. That little pest is destroying vineyards at lower levels. We had some incredible wines plus it was a beautiful sunny day. The photo is from Granite Springs Vineyard. The grapes were heavy on the vines and the leaves turn color just as the tree leaves do. Wonderful day with our friends Rick and Margo. If you like Zinfandels, this is a good area in which to taste them. Plus tasting is free and the people are a whole lot friendlier than in the Napa Valley. We joined the Wine Club at the WindWalker Winery. We also tasted ports. All the wineries served chocolate with the port. One even had a cup made of chocolate. You drink the port and then eat the cup. Chocolate makes every day better. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 21, 2005

How much longer will this man keep smiling? I hope it's not long. The Republicans staged a number of witchhunts during the Clinton administration so why shouldn't the Democrats do the same. Now that he's been charged with a felony, maybe he will have to relinquish the speaker's seat. That would be nice. Not sure "W" would like that background noise. I won't rant on any further. Although I may have to write about Harriet Meirs this weekend.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005

Denver Airport's Secret Place

Saturday I flew home to Sacramento from Minneapolis via Denver. I had a 90 minute layover so decided to get some exercise by walking the length and back of the United Terminal. I did that and still had time so went up to the mezzanine where they had some more shops. Tucked away not far from Wolfgang Puck's is a place for a massage. You can do the chair thing or the whole table thing. I picked the 20 minutes in the chair for $24. Great massage. I fell asleep so I guess I relaxed. The trip home was ever so much better now that I could move my neck again. I do tend to carry some stress there. So next time you're at DIA check out the massage place near Wolfgang Puck on the Mezzanine.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My son Mark, on the left, and his friend Dan went hiking in the northwest corner of the Grand Canyon with two other friends. This photo was taken the last day when they were getting ready to head for home. Mark has a web site where you can see more of this wonderful natural wonder. Paste the link below in your browser or click on it.

A Northern Flicker (pictured here) flew in our front door this morning. We always leave the door open in nice weather. It banged into a window. They are about 13 inches head to tail and it's got a big, pointed beak so it's not a bird you pick up easily. I finally caught it and got it outside but not before it pooped on everything. Poor guy was really scared. Northern Flickers are beautiful birds that hang around here during the winter. They are another sign that the season has changed. Actually you find them just about everywhere in the Lower 48, but probably not when it's snowy. They love to eat ants, wasps and other bugs.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Just got back from Minneapolis where I attended a funeral for the father of my brother-in-law, Neil, who is shown here eating broccoli. This is a momentous moment in Neil's life and my sister's, his wife. Her name is Vicky. Neil is working hard to eat healthfully and to get more exercise. This photo was taken at lunch after the burial of his father at Ft. Snelling Cemetery in Minneapolis. Apparently he hasn't eaten much of this green stuff before so his sister, Cindi Christie, took the photo. Cindi is the photo editor of the Contra Costa Times and someone I want to get to know better.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gone to Minneapolis

I'm getting ready to head for the airport to fly to Minneapolis. My sister's father-in-law, Ken Christie, died at the age of 82 last Sunday. The funeral is Thursday so I'll be away until Sunday. The temperature is going to be a bit colder. I'm wearing long pants and socks for the first time in months. Feels sort of weird, but I guess I'll get used to it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Time and Temperature the Natural Way

You don't need a clock, thermometer or a calendar in the country to tell the time, the season or the temperature. We have the birds, the light and the mist on the ponds.

Red-shouldered hawks begin calling to each other when the sun is just about to come up. The sound is loud enough to wake up just about anyone. That's your cue to get up. Then mid-morning the Canada Geese return from their migration to the local wastewater treatment plant to the west. They go there at sunset and loudly return east around 10 each morning. As far as I can tell that's about as far as these geese migrate. The last group to make it to Canada were on a flight paid for by the City of Fremont in the Bay Area. The city council decided to get rid of the geese that were pooping all over the local golf courses. So they flew them to Canada. Many of these geese were tagged. You guessed it. They came right back. I have this image of a Southwest Airlines flight with all the geese strapped in receiving little bags of peanuts. But I digress.

Light tells us the season too. Fall light is yellow and spring light is pink. As soon as you see the change in color you know where you are on the calendar.

Back to birds. In the fall we await the Northern Flickers who just arrived. They love to hang on to the stucco on our house up near the eaves. Unfornately they love to poop while clinging to the house. Then the migrant ducks begin to arrive. The white-crowned sparrows are back as well. And the Western Bluebirds come down from higher altitudes to spend the winter in warmer territory. The Meadlowlarks go somewhere, I'm just not sure where.

Spring is heralded by the arrive of two mallards we call Sir Lawrence and Dame Olivia. They arrive just as spring does and take up residence on our property. They bathe in the sprinklers, eat dropped bird seed, poop everywhere and swim in the irrigation ditch. They do their duck sex thing and then Olivia, or Livie for short, searches for a nesting spot. She's either not very bright or got bad instructions from mom, because she always seems to find a nest that says to the racoons and possums, I'm over here. Come on down and eat my eggs. Sir Lawrence, or Larry for short, hangs around for some of this, but the minute she starts sitting on eggs he's gone to some bachelor pad where other drakes hang out. She has never successfully hatched eggs that we know of.

And finally you know that fall is arriving when the pond is covered with a light mist as soon as the sun gets high enough to hit the water.

So who needs all those gadgets to know what's happening in the neighborhood.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ann Lamott and Body Parts

The other thing I like about Ann Lamott is the way she talks about women and aging. She just turned 50 so she's really very young still, but she notes some of the things happening to her body. In fact she has names for the parts that are aging less gracefully. You know that skin that hangs under your arms and the reason some of us have stopped wearing sleeveless blouses or clapping vigorously at concerts, well she refers to them as her "Aunties." I always liked my Aunts when I was growing up. I mean my real Aunts. My relationship with my own "Aunties" isn't quite as glorious.

The second lower area of fat on her belly she has dubbed the "sub-continent." I guess the upper part is Europe.

Just two more reasons to like her writing.

Here's Katie (on the right). She's another one of my favorite dogs. Incredibly bright, well-behaved and lovable dog. Her owner, Doug, (on the left) is all those things too. I love them both. Katie stays with us when Doug goes off to that wickedly evil Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 07, 2005

Now We Have a "Water Witch"

Our "water witch" has done his job and found the spot for our new well. He used welding rods, held firmly, one in each hand. They were pointed straight out perpendicular to the front of his body. He walked along and all of a sudden the two rods crossed. He kept doing this over and over until he had found the center where he wants to drill the well. It's 2005 and the old way of finding water still prevails. Sort of comforting that some things don't need to be high tech. Of course the test will be when he drills on the site and finds or doesn't find water. Stay tuned.


Ann Lamott, my favorite writer

If I was going to be stranded on a desert island, I would want to have the books of Ann Lamott with me. Well maybe not her fiction, I think it's lame but the other stuff is wonderful. Her most recent book is "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith." Don't let the word "faith" fool you. This is not some slick evangelical, bible-toting woman. She is a Presbyterian, but she also is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, a single mother of a boy named Sam, a blonde with dred-locks and a very funny person. Here's the first two sentences of her latest book. You be the judge.

"On my forty ninth birthday, I decided that all of life was hopeless and I would eat myself to death. Better to go out your own way than to endure slow death by scolding at the hands of the Bush Administration."

That got my attention. Hope it got yours too. My other favorite book of hers is "Operating Instructions." Basically she recalls the first year of her son's life and how helpless she felt dealing with all this new stuff. It is hilariously funny.

Reading is really important to me and discussing what I've read is important too. I started a book club when I first moved to Lincoln. Two years later we are still together eating, drinking wine, talking about books and laughing a lot. Wonderful women.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

We Have a Water Angel Named Einar

Last night's water problem was solved in time for me to cook dinner. Our friends, Einar and Susan, arrived to hear that we didn't have water. Einar, being the party animal that he is said, "we've got wine and dessert, not much more is needed." But he's an engineer and when he heard about the problem he and Kerry went out to see what they could do. The relay switch needed to be filed a bit, which was accomplished with the small file on a pair of nail clippers. Magically we had water. Our well man is coming out today to replace the switch. We've also put in calls to several well drillers to have them come out and give us an idea of how much the drilling with cost. I wonder if they will use a "water witch." I'll have to take pictures if they do. Later when we were cleaning up after dinner Einar said he didn't have to help because he'd fixed the well. We all agreed. You don't realize how important it is until you don't have any.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Our Life In The Country


Right now Kerry and I don't have any. I was going to wash the potatoes for dinner (we are having guests), turned on the kitchen faucet, and nothing came out. Kerry checked everything outside to make sure a hose had not been left on. This is about the fourth time in two weeks that this has happened. The water in the well is below the pump so the pump can't get at it.

I think this means we will be investing in a new well. That's roughly $6,000. Our well guy, Steve, said he thinks we can get a really good well down behind the house. He's going to recommend someone to do the drilling.

I told Kerry Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday. What a romantic gift to give to each other.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

This is our friends' dog, Abby, a golden lab who's close to 10. She knew Emily and my other other Golden Retriever Molly. It seemed right to give her some of Emily's things when she visited this weekend. The giraffe she is sleeping on was Emily's. I also gave her Emily's teddy bear and her handicap ramp. Janet and Steve, Abby's owners, live in a very large RV. Abby is having more and more trouble getting up to the door. The ramp will make it easy on her bones and easier on Steve's back.  Posted by Picasa

Here are the folks I was talking about in the caption below. Posted by Picasa
Our friends Steve and Janet Snyder visited us this weekend from their ranch near Booneville, CA We journed to Nevada City for lunch, found a leather store and they bought one each. I don't think they counted on spending that much money this weekend but they certainly look spiffy in their new jackets. Their dog, Abby, got in the picture in the background doing what dogs do naturally. That's our upper pond in the background. Posted by Picasa

With summer ended, we finally have clouds again. That means great sunsets like the one pictured here. Our friend Steve Snyder took the photo with my new camera. Posted by Picasa