Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Burrowing Owl And I Stay At The Same Hotel

 I discovered this creature sitting on top of the fence that surrounds the pool at the Holiday Inn Express in Calexico. He's a burrowing owl; yes he burrows in the ground and doesn't live in trees. He's only about 9-11 inches tall, which is pretty short for an owl. They live in lots of places in Calexico including the grounds of the Chamber of Commerce. But the night clerk at the hotel said that he seems to like the bugs that come to the big light over the hotel entrance. She sees him all the time but didn't know his name.

Right now I'm traveling a lot. I flew roundtrip from Sacramento to San Diego twice last week. Tomorrow morning I fly to Phoenix and then drive to Yuma. On Thursday I will fly back from LAX after a morning meeting. Because I'm so prone to respiratory ailments I am taking really good care of myself. Generally I got to bed for a day after one of these trips and drink lots of fluids. I just cannot get sick. This schedule will keep up until mid-December.

As much as the traveling is wearing on my body, I have to say that every time I go to the project area I learn something new about the people with whom I'm working or I find something very interesting like the owl. Strangely, I will miss the people and the area when I'm done with the project.

My client, Henry, and I are busy asking for letters of support for the natural gas pipeline he wants to permit and build. We want letters from city councils, chambers of commerce, the farm bureau, the realtors association, the vegetable growers, the building industry association and anyone else who likes us.

One good part of this is all the books I'm listening to on tape or CD. When you have to drive two hours from an airport to the city where you are working, you need something. The drive from San Diego to El Centro and the drive from Phoenix to Yuma have terrible radio reception so I listen to some of my favorite mystery writers.

I dreamt about Reginald Roomba, my robotic vacuum clearn, last night. First time I've ever dreamt about a machine. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


As I write this I am also vacuuming. Reginald Roomba, my robotic vacuum cleaner, is roaming around the living room and dining room. He is so good at his job; much better than I am. When he gets tired (translation: his batteries are running low) he heads for his docking station to charge up again. You gotta love him. Vacuuming burns a lot of calories. It's second only to ironing, which I rarely do.

Life is hectic right now. I'm traveling for business a lot; sometimes twice a week. I flew to San Diego yesterday and then drove to El Centro; came home today. I do the same on Thursday. Next week I'm in Yuma, then El Centro and then Los Angeles. It's not supposed to be like this in the fall. The consulting business usually starts to taper off in early November and doesn't pick up until mid-January. With all this travel, I have to cast an absentee ballot, which I don't like to do. They get counted last and I'm always worried that my Democratic registration may send my ballot to the dustbin or the shredder. This is a very Republican county. Who knows what shenanigans happen.

But the good news is that I got my Prius. I love it. So far I'm averaging about 49 mpg. Every car needs its first ding. Mine got it within less than 175 miles. I was pulling into the Sacramento Airport parking garage when it happened. I didn't realize that the curb was as high as it was. I made a sharp turn, heard a thump, said "oh fuck" and realized I had my first ding. Sorta takes the pressure off. Nothing big happened. The hubcap looks sort of funny and there is a scrape on the tire. Other than that, all is fine.

We are going to spend Thanksgiving at home. Normally we head for Naples, Florida and my cousin's house where we enjoy a wonderful leisurely holiday complete with pool time, golf and dinner at Tommy Bahamas. This year I have to work that week (fly to San Diego and drive to El Centro; it's like a broken record) so we have asked two couples to join us. Kerry and I have never done Thanksgiving in our own home. I'm looking forward to it. Sometimes things happen for a reason. I was bummed at first that I had to travel that week, but I think it's actually for the best. Mark will be with my brother in Evergreen, CO; that makes me happy.

Well, it's late so I'd better get to bed. Reginald Roomba will tuck himself in when he's ready.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

All Work And No Play....

Well, that describes my life right now. One of my clients is in the final stages of getting regulatory approval for his natural gas pipeline project, so we are working hard to generate letters of support from dozens of people in several counties in southern California. I will be traveling on business at least once a week from now until mid-December.

The big challenge for me is to stay healthy. Planes, crowds at airports, and hotel rooms are all places to find germs. I also have to get a flu shot.

In between all those flights we have lots of fun things to do. That's another reason to stay healthy. Tonight we are going to a party to celebrate the opening of the new Target in Lincoln. I'm bringing sliced homegrown tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, basil and balsamic on them. We have so many tomatoes, I'm going to be doing this dish a lot. For the folks in Lincoln Hills (retirement community) it's just another reason to have a party.

Tomorrow we go wine tasting in El Dorado County with some other friends. El Dorado is not as hip a place to taste wine as Napa. That means the wines flow liberally, the wine staff is a lot more fun, there is also free food and there is no charge to taste. Wine tasting there is always lots of fun. We are going to picnic at one of the wineries. Guess what I'm bringing...right sliced tomatoes, etc.

Monday morning I fly to Phoenix to spend the day with my friend Cathy. Tuesday morning I make the two hour drive from Phoenix to Blythe, CA for business. It's west of Phoenix on the Arizona/California border. I drive back that same day. Wednesday morning I fly out of Phoenix back to Sacramento just in time for our friends Steve and Janet along with their golden lab Abby to arrive for a couple of days. They leave on Friday and my brother arrives for another visit. Hardly time to change the sheets and turn on Reginald to clean the floors.

So think about sending me energy and good thoughts about staying healthy. I'm taking my "airborne" regularly.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

When Will Both Of These Men Be Gone...Soon....

 Found this in Google's Images and couldn't resist it. The first sign that any politician is going to resign is when they say they won't resign. Those higher than thou, christian right wing, value-driven elected officials may not be any of those things. To ignore what Foley did is tantamount to saying it's okay to be a child predator. I just hope Hastert is the next resignation. All of Bush's Bible thumping about ethics, values and morals seem pretty disingenuous right now. We'll see. Delay said he wouldn't resign and look where he is now. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Brother: Chef, Husband, Father, Poet, Brother, Attorney And Much More

 Kerry took this picture Saturday night while we were dining on the three-way Ahi Tuna. This is his imperious look. I bought him a crown so he could wear it when he's feeling imperious. The other reason he feels imperious is his height. At 6'5" he towers over most everyone including me. I love him dearly. He's a gentle soul. Don't know what I would do without him and his wonderful wife, Charlotte. Sigh. Posted by Picasa

Ahi Tuna Prepared Three Different Ways...Delicious

 My brother Richard visited us this weekend. He was out here on business so came by and spent three days with us. It is always great to have him visit. He has his cochlear implant, which seems to be functioning very well. His comprehension of words spoken by his audiologist where he could not read her lips is 57% in the ear with the implant. It was 0% before the surgery. Besides being a lawyer, poet, blogger, husband, brother and father, he is a great cook. I found a place in Roseville that sells sushi-grade Ahi Tuna. He fixed it three ways: sashimi with diced radishes on top, coated with coarsely ground pepper and barbecued, and simmered in olive oil. Three pieces, three very different tastes. He also barbecued asparagus and sliced zucchini. Last but not least, he roasted two red pepper on the grill until the skin was blackened. Then he ran them under water to remove the skin. What was left was incredibly sweet. Great dinner, not many calories and very healthy. Posted by Picasa

Meet Reginald Roomba, My Personal Robot

 Reginald is the latest member of our little country family. He loves to vacuum and will work for three hours at a time before he scurries back to his docking station to recharge for the next job. Our cat isn't too sure what to make of him. I turned Reginald lose in our bedroom where Comet spends lots of time. Next time I checked she was trying to escape but Reginald just kept finding her. He can go under beds, sofas, chairs and dressers without a problem. He doesn't, however like fringe on rugs, but then my other vacuum doesn't like it either. He comes with virtual walls which send a beam across a specific area to keep Reginald out. The company that made Reginald also makes robots for police work and war. The direction book is rather sparse in design. My favorite part is the page that says "Roomba will stop for three reasons: mission accomplished, mission aborted, needs recharging. Also, when you hit the power button he plays a charge sound like the cavalry going out to meet the enemy. Reginald's enemy is dust, dirt and cat hair. Want to see more go to I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Posted by Picasa