HOW many people in this country were aware this was a national holiday. It has been reported that this was National Kazoo Day. And I have never even touched a Kazoo. How deprived have I been. More so when I hear tales from Baird & Arnie that you can make a home-made version using a comb and some paper..............wow. Growing up Mormon had some disadvantages I wasn't even aware of, eh? m
Despite the crazy little-kid mentality of R/Tex John Cronyn and R/OK Tom Coburn, so AFRAID Holder will take away their guns, and afraid he just MIGHT prosecute "some" for TORTURING people, he received the broad support today in the senate! HURRAH! Waterboarding is GONE. Guantanamo will be GONE soon. The entire JUSTICE Department is about to be restored to an independent branch of government as was intended by our founders rather than a sticky political arm of the Republican Party. HURRAY! We have an Attorney General who KNOWS what Torture is and our obligation to uphold established LAW! Once again, my HOPE and thrill of life is renewed. I cried yesterday to learn Obama had TALKED with Arab Media and believes they are EQUALS on this planet. I am thrilled George Mitchell is going to work on peace for the Palestinians............. Whew! It's a good day today. On the down side. It appears the era of the Metrosexuals is about over. It's not that we don't KNOW a few, I do see men getting comfortable enough knowing "gay" people as simply the same as they are, that they can relax. No MORE do they need to worry about understanding what arugula is and what it's for. They can get back to buying Bud Light. That's OKAY! We're moving forward. I too can breathe easier not finding so many straight men who have more knowledge about quality skin care products than I do, and can throw together a vegetarian feast in 30 minutes with ingredients I haven't discovered yet. AH. And. It allows ME the freedom to enjoy my bacon cheeseburger alongside my Chocolate Malt Shake with NEW hope of equality for all. Now if I can JUST find out how to get my IRA money back from the criminals (Bush and Cronies) that was stolen in the name of Capitalism, arrogance, and greed, then I'll have few worries......well at least for today. Here they were these last couple of years, those big CEO's: Ah, LIFE! It has been TOO thrilling NOT hearing even the name of G. W. Bush the last few days in any media. Wahoo!!!! That in itself is life affirming.
**Postscript - - CORRECTION --- The picture below of Rodger and I in "different" clothes than the other two was one from NEW YORK. What was I drinking when I posted this? Hm. I'm not sure. Still.............we had fun......................lots of fun. Chris & Elissa held a fabulous rich inauguration party last Friday night. We were honored to be invited. Elissa is cousin Nancy's daughter, hence, she is my first cousin once removed. There. She and Chris are pretty great people to know period, and we found out that old saying "Likes attract likes".......is true. ALL their friends we met for the first time that night treated us as if we had been part of that wonderful fun group of friends for years. We had a GRAND time. **I don't think Elissa will mind if a borrow a couple of her pictures from her own Facebook page: We even stood next to Mr. Obama during the evening.......................................didn't we? Here we just arrived and I don't think we quit smiling for the next 5 hours: Obviously a tiny bit of beverage became available later, and sometimes that produces this hallucination: But that grew into a duet with Chris............good times. I gotta find the picture of the dishtowel Christa brought.........completely hand sewn without a pattern, a nice likeness of Obama was there....and the text below? "I CAN clean up this mess." One of the games? Instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, it was Pin the SOUL on Dick Cheney. THANKS to the Rusts....................!!!
VERY unexpectedly I watched a Red Robin digging in the edge of the yard for food. We're at or near freezing every night.....but I guess the valley is as well. I'll be surprised to have a second sighting anytime soon. BUT........seeing a Robin rings a bell....changes are coming! We're also seeing a little bird not seen very often, and I suppose it's the cold weather that's the draw. He's here every day: Ruby Crowned Kinglet - A beautiful small shy bird that comes after the suet, hopping from branches onto and out of the feeder very shyly when other birds are around.
EVERY January it seems you have new books to read because of a certain holiday. I remain amazed at the number of great books I still have NOT read, and will never get through all I'd like to absorb, BUT... I have just finished an amazing writing accomplishment from the author who gave us "The Virgin Suicides", Mr. Jeffrey Eugenides. Cousin Nancy had 4 of us over Christmas and since she belongs to two book clubs, is an avid reader, and always thinks of others, seemed to know exactly WHAT little gift to give each of us. Mine was: The novel MIDDLESEX. The Wikipedia link here can tell you the plot.... This book is over 500 pages of intense writing where the storyteller Cal or Callie as he/she moves throughout this book tells a very layered family story. Eugenides KNOWS his Greek history, geography deeply and also Detroit where the story takes place. This story had completely absorbed my attention, so read it when you have a bit of time to let yourself go. NO matter if you think a story about a Hermaphrodite is not for you.....that's NOT the essence of what's being written. I know now why this won several awards. Waiting in the wings is the second book I'm getting ready to read. It's an insider's telling of just HOW Wall Street works, and the corruption that has caused our financial collapse: LIAR'S POKER by Michael Lewis........Tom Wolfe describes it as, "the funniest book on Wall Street I've ever read. That's to be followed by a book my brother Art called me about, and a story Rodger and I have a personal connection to, having OWNED an African Grey Parrot together for 15 years, and I HAD the bird for a total of 35 years, so believe in this author's WORK, and KNOW exactly what she speaks of regarding the intelligence and beauty of this profound kind of pet, or, rather, companion: ALEX & ME by Irene Pepperberg. You can read part of the first chapter at this NY Times review: ALEX AND ME Review. If you've NEVER seen Alex in a video, I suggest you click here to see Alex in Action (third video down). That video is from 2001....so he had learned much more since then. He fascinated us for years and passed away late in 2007. Pepperberg's new book is a love story about her life with Alex for 30 years. Ah, memories of our own Jocko talking, laughing with us or actually getting down off the cage and walking into the kitchen if he was being left out........ he actually considered Rodger his "mate". There is nothing quite like having a pet talking bird who's intelligent enough to keep you guessing....and don't EVER say "bad" words very often in front of him or else you'll hear him saying that bad word in front of your parents....and yes that happened. The last book I'll mention is one Rodger's reading now: CRAZY FOR GOD by Frank Schaeffer (his own website......or check out a more neutral discussion about him at the entry on Wikipidia . . .Frank Schaefer. In this memoir, Schaeffer recounts his growing up inside of the fundamentalist movement..... and discloses much about them that makes me believe all those TV ministers and their mega-churches should be paying taxes. Oh well............that's enough for today. We continue in our cold temperature inversion days, but rain may begin Friday night. So I am preparing to begin my winter round of fertilization, slow release, the iron nuggets (kills the moss), put Moss-kill on the roof, and put a nice layer of Dolomite Lime on the lawn. Perhaps by Mid-March it will look MUCH more alive than it does today.
What a January! It is one of the rare winters that it is staying sunny and dry. These apples are what I've been working on. See all the stringers going straight up....and lots of little nibs, lots of branches crossing each other, all has to be thinned and cleaned up: I have nearly finished cleanup of the apple trees: and then some tall shrubs like the Butterfly Bushes and Elderberries, so just have the Ornamental Cherries to clean up! Yeah! NOW, before rain returns....it's not forecast yet, I can spray the apples with a dormant spray EASILY in THIS weather. I always used to hate this task in January: soggy, damp.......... NOT this year. Always an encouraging tiny sign that life WILL return someday......new chives are up: AND another BIT of good news. I have done a first run through of taxes, YES! DUG out ALL paperwork, got it in my head, entered numbers, and it looks like we'll have a return this year....will it even everything out and get us started saving for Italy in June? I HOPE so. Okay. Back to the yard. I just put whole wheat bread in the oven............yum tonight.
How you know the holiday buzz is gone................. I am now ready for it, but I always hate to start it: 1) Pruning all the deciduous trees in the yard. 2) Spraying the apple trees with the dormant spray (3 times before spring growth) 3) TAXES - begin the preparation 4) Finish putting away the last of Christmas: Cards, misc, and take down outdoor lights 5) Write up 3-4 recipes requested by friends and send 6) Get passport applications off...........SOON. OR ELSE a "possible" trip to Italy/Spain in June with Elena & Emilio won't happen. 7) all the other houshold regular "stuff" . . . . . . Okay. Got to go get busy.
I cannot resist posting a couple of pictures of my niece Karen's NEW Bull Mastiff Puppy. She introduced him by saying this: = = = = = = = Hi all........... Introducing the newest member of my family, best mate, and partner in crime. His proper name is 'Mystical's Dark Mocha Cappuccino'. However, he's a casual kinda guy and prefers to go by 'Java'. = = = = = = = = I could have THIS puppy spoiled in 3 hours: OR playing with his pet skunk? OR MY favorite picture, hands down: I am SO happy Karen has this new puppy. Java replaces her older beloved Nuala (mastiff) who recently passed away). As an aside..............I wonder how a likely 130 pound adult Bull Mastiff eats a day.................
Yes, I posted the story of the magic Marble Tower structure I made since I was a kid ....................... the last one photoed about 1989 at the old home place in Vale, OR: Once we were snowed in this Christmas , another came to be somehow........ Life happens quick and things change so fast. The bricks aren't all as level as they used to be.........the lean in the tower points to a little aging, a little warping of little wooden bricks. So my bricks have wrinkled a bit? In that picture, I see other changes have occurred. Life moves on ............. They're a fun little diversion even now.............. something only a kid would dream up. Even the dog can't quite figure it out. His eyes move down the little tower when marbles are put in at the top and roll around to the bottom..... That being said, our weather situation has changed. PORTLAND so luckily just missed the monumental rains that came from the pacific....the serious flooding began just about 40 miles north. ALL our snow melted though, and with the melt came a downed tree, several huge branches. That was my afternoon yesterday with the chain saw. Bucking up those branches, cleaning off the lawn, stacking wood. I was a tired guy last night. BUT. We're now moving on and happy that's all that happened for us. Bush leaves the White House in just a FEW days! Ah.................