global war on weather

When the news out of the Gulf Coast gets to be too much, have a laugh.

Giblets has heard a whole lotta whining this week about “oh the government screwed up the hurricane rescue” and “oh they did not evacuate the city for days and days” and “oh they should have spent money to build up the dams and levees and kept FEMA funded and sent in military and national guard people with food and water right away so thousands of people would not starve to death.” Well that just sounds like a great idea – for a bunch of namby-pamby hurricane-lovers! Oh, let’s cower behind our great big levees and hope the rescue crews save us from the big mean storm – instead of taking the fight to very clouds of terror themselves!

This is a Global War on Weather and like any successful war it can’t be won on the defensive. If we spend all our time reacting to hurricanes instead of attacking them where they live, we will only embolden further hurricanes! The only language hurricanes understand is force – and possibly hurricanese, which is difficult to learn and involves the use of many glottal stops. We must fight nature where it lives so it can’t fight us at home!

nasig part one

Last year’s planes, trains, and automobiles route to the NASIG conference was a fun experience, but the schedule was such that I arrived right before the beginning and left immediately after the closing session. This meant that I missed the social networking aspect of the conference at the beginning and that I didn’t have time to do a bit of sight-seeing and decompress at the end. This year I decided to arrive a bit early and stay a bit longer, and I’m glad I did.

I landed in Minneapolis on Tuesday evening, and my college friends Becky & Michelle picked me up. We stayed up late catching up on the years gone by, and then I caught some sleep on their rather comfortable couch. The next morning, Michelle and I went out and found a few geocaches hidden in the neighborhood. One more notch on my GPSr for a new geocaching convert. We went to a Panera for lunch, and I was able to make use of the free Wi-Fi to log our finds.

Afterwards, Michelle introduced me to one of her hobbies — Half Price Books. I found a nifty Wonder Woman doll and colorful book on the history of Wonder Woman, as well as several sci-fi novels that I have had on my wish list. I would have shopped for more, but I couldn’t remember the titles and authors of everything I’m looking for. It’s probably good that I didn’t, since my suitcase was busting at the seams by the time I left Minneapolis.

Later in the evening, we met up with other college friends now living in Minneapolis at Psycho Suzie’s Motor Lounge for a dinner filled with good food (beer battered cheese curds

KY to WA – day four

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over.

I woke up feeling somewhat depressed and ready for this trip to be over. Part of my depression was in knowing that we would not be in Ellensburg that night, having decided to get a motel room in Yakima instead (all of the rooms in the Super 8 in Ellensburg were booked, and I didn’t know of any other motels that would allow a cat). The other part was that this was the morning of yet another long day of driving.

We stopped at a bagel bakery for breakfast, and then a quick visit to the next door Barnes & Noble cafe for a picture with the Starbucks travel bug and my mocha frappucino. Then it was on to the scenic overlook on the edge of town. It was breathtaking and surreal. I took many pictures.

The landscape of Idaho and Oregon and Washington was stunning, of course, but most of the rest of the day the miles flew by without my hardly noticing the world around me. I was numb to the beauty of the earth, and there is only so much stunning and beautiful landscape one can see before the brain stops assimilating it.

Around two in the afternoon, we stopped in Baker City to find some lunch. We ended up in the downtown area purely by accident, but it was a fortunate accident. The historic downtown is a vibrant commercial area; a throwback to twenty or thirty years ago. We had several lunch options and settled on the historic Geyser Grand Hotel. The food was quite good and inexpensive. The decor was as grand as the name implied. I felt a bit like a character in an Agatha Christie novel, staying at a 1930’s hotel on holiday.

On our way down a mountain near Pendleton, we pulled over for a scenic overlook. It was a little hazy, so we couldn’t see much, but what we could see was quite beautiful. Again, I took several pictures. I wish I had taken more pictures in the early part of the trip. Not too long after that we crossed over into Washington.

Yakima was probably the dullest stop on the journey. The motel was definitely the dingiest, and the food options weren’t particularly enticing. We were both so exhausted we could hardly move enough to explore the town, but we did stop at a Starbucks for another picture with the travel bug. The barristas gave us the sympathy we craved after we told them how far and how long we had been traveling.

KY to WA – day one

I’m uploading the following entries several days after having written them, and they will be “published” on the dates they were written. Hope no one minds. It took me a couple of days to find a wi-fi hotspot in town and to get the pictures ready.

I’m uploading the following entries several days after having written them, and they will be “published” on the dates they were written. Hope no one minds. It took me a couple of days to find a wi-fi hotspot in town and to get the pictures ready.

We started off about a half and hour later than planned, which was indicative of our timing for the rest of the day. Shortly after we got on the interstate, Dad realized he’d forgotten his cell phone in Mom’s car, and she realized the same thing and called me to let me know. We pulled off at the next exit and she met us there. After another goodbye, we were on our way west.

Earlier, Alex had his first experience with being given a pill since he was too young to remember, and by then he was pretty well drugged out, although still conscious enough to complain when we had some sudden braking around high traffic metro areas. The poor thing was also so distraught that he had peed in his carrier. Thankfully, I had an old towel in there which absorbed it, and the smell was restricted to his corner of the back seat. I tried coaxing him out a couple of times when we’d stop, but he wasn’t having anything to do with budging from where he was.

Around noon (local time), we stopped for lunch in St. Louis at an Indian restaurant with a NASIG friend of mine who works at a library nearby. The food was yummy and it was a nice oasis in the middle of a long stretch of driving. On the way in and out of the city, Dad and I reminisced about our many family vacation trips to St. Louis. It’s been twelve years since the last one, I think. I wondered what it would be like to explore the city as an adult without my parents.

We had taken much longer for lunch than we planned, and it was nearly two in the afternoon (local) before we got on the road again. Many pit stops later, we arrived weary and road-worn in Newton, Kansas, around nine-thirty in the evening. Old family friends live there, and it was our only night of the trip not spent at a Motel 6. We stayed up for another hour or so catching up with each other, by which point I was about to collapse with exhaustion.

Alex had recovered from the car trip, and after exploring the house and making use of the litter box, he relaxed into his adorable self and made friends with everyone. I was surprised by how little he ate and drank, considering he hadn’t had anything all day, but it’s probably a good thing. He can survive for several days with a small diet, and not having food in his stomach will help with the motion sickness.

I took him upstairs with me so he’d know where I was sleeping and went to bed. I slept quite soundly and got up sometime in the middle of the night in a haze and stumbled to the bathroom. There is a down side to drinking over a gallon of water in one day.

“Yech….. can I have another?”

Writing about my mother for Mother’s Day.

My Mom is a wonderful mother, but she definitely has some quirks. She’s gotten better about some of these, but we still tease her about them.

For instance, she used to not order a drink when we went out to dinner somewhere (restaurant, fast food, anywhere), but then she’d take a “sip” of your drink and drain about half the glass. Dad learned early on to order a size large enough for both of them. She also would try whatever food or candy you happened to be eating, and if it was an unusual flavor and she wasn’t sure she liked it, she would express a dislike for that item. However, she’d usually want another bite or piece of it several minutes later.

For a long time, Mom wouldn’t buy new things for herself. My family of four gets money every Christmas from my Dad’s parents (my grandparents) to buy our Christmas gifts. Mom always has the most boxes out of all of us because she doesn’t think she deserves something full price and gets great pleasure out of finding clothes she likes on sale. Sometimes I wonder if she bought whatever she bought just because it was on sale. She used to let new stuff hang in her closet for years with the tags on. Now she’s resolved not to buy herself new clothes unless she promises herself that she will wear them.

My mother is a people person. She is very good at going into a place and finding the fringe people and bringing them together. She’s not much of a romantic matchmaker, but she is good at matching people’s gifts with those who need them and plugging people into roles in an organization that fit them best.

Mom doesn’t believe in reincarnation, so she’s done all of the lives she would have lived in this life. Growing up, it seemed like every other week she had a new hobby. At one time, she had nearly four jobs, and not entirely because we needed the extra income. She likes variety in her life and gets bored with the same old same old. Ironically, she usually tells me “nothing much” or “you know, my same old stuff” when I ask her about what she’s been doing lately. Dad is the one that updates me on Mom’s latest projects.

Well, I should stop now. Thankfully, my Mom has no patience for the Internet, so I know she won’t be reading this.


Anna writes about food stuff.

I just heard Ruth Reichl [ram] on The Splendid Table. I don’t know if it was a repeat or not, but it was cool to hear her speak. She’s one of my favorite food writers.

Last week, Jamie Oliver [ram] was on the show. I never quite got into his Food Network show, Oliver’s Twist (or The Naked Chef), but the other week I got hooked on back-to-back episodes of Jamie’s Kitchen.

Last night I tried a new recipe that required lots of chopping of vegetables. It was very satisfying. First time I’ve cut up a mushroom and actually cooked it, too. Also, I’ve decided that there’s nothing like fresh basil and oregano to revive a dish.

I’ve been craving really good food. I think I’m tired of the same old stuff that I always make, and the junk I eat at fast food places. The problem is that really good food takes more prep time than I usually have. Also, the food costs money that I don’t always have. Last night’s dinner was a nice change. I think I should start treating myself to a meal that makes me feel like I’m really cooking at least once a week.