Friday, December 4, 2009

Traveling Home from Mexico

Waiting in the Puerto Vallarta airport. The flight will be about 1 1/2 hours late, so far. Spent the last 150 pesos on 2 bits of hand embroidery of a rooster and a wild red bunny. Bought here in the airport at a pretty art shop near where we are sitting. I think I will sew them on 2 small pillows for 2 grandchildren.
Going home with the hair braids. Wm thought I should wear them home. They are growing out a bit. I will have to make a hairdresser appointment to have them taken out as I sure can't.
Sounded like Jasmine was glad to get home. I think she missed her friends a lot. Even with the 2 hours of conversation on the international Skype Richard bought for her phone.
Overall I think the trip was a success. Parties were good and children played nice together. But I agree with Frank that the 10th anniversary should be closer. I am sure he would be agreeable to have it in Redding or Nevada City. That would be 2014. Just before our 50th in 2015. Hopefully a Caribbean cruise with family and friends.
Wondering if Ben is missing me. He was getting into a habit of wanting to see me as soon as he got up. I did enjoy playing with him. He is so eager to learn everything. I hope it will work out for us to show up at Palo Duro in April with the RV to join the children's campout.
Part of my carry on is a painting I bought today. I will group this chicken painting with the 2 prints I already planned to put on the east kitchen wall.
We did get to Vitae for lunch. It was excellent. They even make whatever flavor of agua fresca you want. So since I liked the agua fresca at Maria Gallo's so well I had carrot orange. William had the special grilled tuna sandwich. Thankfully he shared a bit with me. I had the spinach quiche that was also very good. I agree with Robbin about the bread spread. We also had lovely salmon rolls for an appetizer. The people at the next table said they had already been there 4 times this week. They were asking for recipes also.
An airplane has arrived at gate B6. Now for unloading and plane cleaning. Boarding now in 10 minutes. So I will sign off.
Pretty uneventful flight except for the plethora of crying babies. Thanks to Jon for the music and William for the ear buds. Since the plane was late the meal was late. I touched William to ask him when he thought they would serve dinner. He startled and hastily pulled out his earbud and it came detached and the earbud stuck in his ear. He was mad at me and considered it my fault that the earbud got stuck and it took him about 20 minutes he says to get it out and made his ear hurt. I think most of the 20 minutes was spent glaring at me. The real problem was that he had chosen window seats for both of us and I was seated at his request behind him. I told him I was sorry about his ear later, but I did not try to talk to him again on the plane as it was noisy.
Then at immigration we were shuttled to a special area in immigration and waited for about 1/2 hour to be told that there is a William Allen Baker on the watch list--just with a different birthday. When we went in the special room they said “what have we here? Two Americans?” William was very mad about the delay and told the security people off.
Then at CitiGarden they tried to stiff us on the parking. We had stayed one night on the 12th for 14 days of parking and then tonight for 7 days of parking and have only used 19 of the 21 days.
So maybe there were some problems getting home and we are not home yet.
12/4/09 Arrived home and I want these braids out. Took me two days to get them all out and it looks like there is a small gray animal in my bathroom trash can with all the hair I shed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Health Care for Illegals

1. There are ~12 million illegal immigrants in the US.
2. They do require health care at times, so they go to the ER.
3. They can't pay, so hospitals eat the cost, but must treat them anyway.
4. Hospitals pass the costs on to paying customers.
5. Even with a mandate for all to buy insurance, illegals are generally too poor to buy regular insurance.
6. You can't enforce a mandate with illegals as even though they may pay taxes through an employer they could not file a tax form with a bad SS #. So no chance for a penalty.
7. Could a cheap enough insurance be offered so that illegals could buy it without a subsidy?
8. But the cheapest insurance would be a public option and they apparently will not be able to buy this even if a subsidy is not offered. Even though it is supposed to be pay as you go.
What is the answer?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Final touches are starting

The cabinets are in. They soon will have lovely euro bar handles. The tile and granite is going in along with the sinks. The mirrors are ordered. I wanted to take more pictures but William said to wait until the end of next week. By then all will be done on the granite and floors and tile. Sounds like there is little left to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New British Film

"Creation"--too controversial to show in the US where less than 50% believe that evolution is scientific fact. The UK movie fails to find even an independent distributor.

We're # 37

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Buzz around new cyclocross team lots of good stuff here about Jon's new cyclocross tram.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grand Junction Town Hall

A friend who lives in Hotchkiss Colorado was able to get tickets for the President's town hall in Grand Junction. This was his report.
From: imaginerivendell
Subject: Report of the Pres. Visit
To: "imaginerivendell"
Date: Sunday, August 16, 2009, 12:46 PM

We wrote most of you earlier about our good fortune to get tickets for the Grand Junction Town Hall meeting with Obama (completely random selection). You all had great ideas for questions. Unfortunately, with almost 2000 people there and him only taking less than a dozen questions, we had no chance to ask any. We thought we were getting there at a reasonable time, but the gym was already packed by the time we got there. However, we ended up with some of the best seats in the house: slightly behind the podium, but above it and about 75 feet from Obama. We were right above the dignitary section which included the Governor, both Senators, etc.

I wanted to give a feeling of what it was like. And will try and avoid personal opinions or partisan comments, but you know me....

The most unpleasant part was driving through the protestors to get to the parking area. I favor discussion and debate about differing opinions, but seeing signs depicting Obama dressed like Hitler is way beyond anything resembling good taste and civilized behavior. There were lots of pro Reform pickets as well, but maybe I am getting at that age where all this to me is a waste of time. These people and these signs dont persuade anyone but if it makes them feel good....

The gym was packed and the behavior was very civil. We spoke politely with our seat neighbors, with only some indication they were strongly anti Obama. Stay away from politics and you can get along with most people.

We were at the very end of the bleachers (K was thankful for the pillow that security let her bring in!) and we spent much of the two hour wait watching the Secret Service milling around behind the curtains. Not hard to tell who SS is: black suits, grim demeanor, no smiles, no joking around or chit chat. You could tell when Obama entered the building. Two black suits calmly walked to the sides of the stage and took their statue positions, not moving, staring ahead. Then the dignitaries came in, walking in just ten feet below us. When the crowd realized it, the gym erupted in applause. This was the first indication that probably 80-90% was either pro Obama or at least genuinely polite and non partisan. Nice to know there may still be respect for elected officials.

Obama was introduced by a citizen picked to speak first because he had a compelling story: driven nearly to bankruptcy to due health insurance costs and hassles. What an honor this person had to introduce the President.

This was my first exposure to a sitting president and I was very impressed by his presence. He was confident but not at all arrogant or condescending. The thing that impressed me was his self assured dignity. I felt honestly I was in the presence of a great man, but a common man. He seemed just like the guy next door whom you would really like to know. His in- depth grasp of the issue and the details was amazing. He responded immediately to every question and was able to go into details in a way I certainly could understand. I felt like he avoided the talking point style of one liners and party line. He seemed open and honest and frank. Something I dont feel from most politicians whom you hear talking about issues. I came away feeling that if everyone could sit down with him and talk, we could avoid all the harshness, the divisiveness and rancor now going on. Listening to his reasons for the need for health reform, I could not see how anyone could disagree with him. He admitted there could legitimately be disagreement over details and stated he felt his solutions were the best answer, but that there could be other answers as well.

One person asked a question I wanted to ask and that dealt with the hatred and misinformation being thrown about. His answer was very good and did not throw blame (as I would have done). He said it came down to hope versus fear. He said people were simply being dishonest (Republicans who supported the idea of end of life counseling two years ago but are now using the pull the plug on Granny and death panel hyperbole). When asked about the issue of government taking over health care and making personal decisions, he drew big applause when he briskly replied that big insurance companies are making those decisions now-- do you trust them?

The tone from the audience was very civil, thankfully. I was very interested in watching the Secret service during his talk. One agent just below us was fixed on the audience in front of him. No facial expressions, almost no movement at all, just a stare that made me think he was counting every molecule on every person. The stare I see in my dog when she spots a chipmunk. Kinda spooky, but these guys are very very professional. I guess that is what I want. Strange to think how dozens if not hundreds of people are like a protective shell around this one person, allowing him to do anything in the world he wants.

When he left the stage, no one was allowed to move until he left the building. It's like our lives were put on hold for about 15 minutes until he was out of the way. I guess that is standard, but strange to me.

Overall, my impression was one of power, yet a benevolent, intelligent and calming power. He exuded a sense of hope and reassuring. This was at odds with what I see surrounding me in everyday life. I watched Meet the Press this morning since it was on health care. Listening to the business as usual rancor and name calling and 'talking without listening' type debate, I couldnt stand it and turned off the TV. Back to the real world. My thoughts once again----if only people, pro and con in this issue, could sit down and actually discuss issues and listen to each other and get past this hate and fear. I do believe the Fourth Turning will be about civil war----I dont know how we can get past the hate that exists between the two sides of this or any debate.

I do feel there is hope, but its going to take a lot of patience from all of us. And a very good Secret Service.

P.S. from K: As Sharyl said---It was all "Way cool!"
P.P.S. from K: Obama really does have a nice butt!

Joe and Katherine Colwell
Rivendell Retreat, LLC
30048 North Road, Hotchkiss CO 81419

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What do I believe?

I believe that those people who are being manipulated by corporate interests to protest as tea-baggers and as disruptors of town hall meetings had their origins in the nasty lovers of Palin--the ones who reveled in the calling of Obama a lover of terrorists--the ones who liked Obama monkey dolls. These people are being manipulated to be the brown shirts of our time. We are headed toward a combo theocracy/corporatocracy. Lip service will be given to religious interests. Abortion will be banned. Gays will be outlaws. Women will have few rights. Blacks and browns will have fewer. Poor people will have none. In the interest of saving money, Social Security and Medicare will be done away with as will all services for the less fortunate. The only rights will be what is in the interests of corporations and the rich who will control the police state that was formerly called the United States of America. Of course if you cannot pay for health services, you will have the right to die. The new name of this country will be the Sovereign States of America. But the central government police state will rule with an iron hand. Democracy will be in name only and we will effectively devolve into a fascist state with privileges for a few and equality for none.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Born in Kenya

Ha Ha Make your own fake Kenyan Birth Certificate.

Out of House Forever

Seems like forever that we have been out of the house. William has set up a full house out here in the back yard. We have a kitchen sink, choice of cooking areas (camp stove and grill), laundry area (washing machine and clothes line), bedroom (RV), dining table and living room. The refrigerator and food prep area is up in the garage along with the 2 old recliners, coffee table and large TV. Right now the dry wall crew is here and the regular crew is working on William's special side patio and arbor.
Me relaxing in the living room on a hot evening.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Almost out

The rest of the kitchen is in boxes. Eating up what remains around so that there will be little to get out of the frig before it is moved into the garage. It's nice out here at the end of the yard. Cool in the shade and if it does get too hot I can just get in the pool. William is in the only cool room in the house--Jon's old room--the computer room in it's most recent incarnation. He is throwing out most of the stuff he had brought home from work. Realizing if he had not looked at it in years it was not worth keeping. People ask if we are having a garage sale with all the furniture in the driveway. But until Bill is done with the clear coat over the color epoxy coat on the floor we can't move anything in. We have ordered the tub and kitchen sink and many faucets so the plumber will have all the rough in stuff. Also ordering ceiling fans. Have to get busy on a few light fixtures. Things are probably going to move fast now. The roof is fully done. But the gutters were trash and will need all new. We'll pay for this somehow.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Out Tonight

Went out to the Nevada Theatre to watch "Sin Nombre." Gritty movie about the stream of migrants who come from Central America.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Home Alone-Just the Two of us

The Boulder Baker's took off this afternoon. That is I hope Cyndi has flown off. Her flight was long delayed. Dad and I have started really moving stuff out. Our driveway looks like a yard sale/bedroom. The contractors will be back in the AM and the helper will be available to us to help with move out chores. One is that Bill will be painting an epoxy type surface onto the garage floor before we move things into it. Dale will help with that.
One of the last things I was doing today was putting together banker's boxes and lids. I remember when Robert was a baby and he was just amazed that I was making boxes out of flat cardboard. Magic.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jonathan Baker Second in Truckee

Jon and Chad Gerlach were in the process of lapping the field at the end of the race in Truckee. In the pack Gerlach took the win and Jon got second. Jon got all the points during the race so he leads in the Omnium. He is spending the night in Reno to race the Reno Crit Saturday evening.
It is just the start of a big bike racing weekend as he will do the road race in Northstar on Saturday and then the Nevada City Classic on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back to Work (Volunteer work)

I will be filling in about once a month at Preschool Story time at the library. Since I actually have not done this in 30 years, I hope Axel will help whip me into shape. I have picked out these 8 books and 2 sing along songs.
Also I just got an email about working as a coach for a computer class at the Senior Center. I will have to study for that also as the class is on Vista and I will be filling in on session #3.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


The 1907 Singer Treadle is out the door.
Just sold my biggest item and because this is such a small town, I sold it to someone I know.
Between Craigslist and the Hospice Gift and Thrift store around the corner, I am clearing out this house of extra items prior to our remodel move out date after Father's Day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Private Insurance vs Private Insurance

Mich McConnell states that the reason that we should not have a public option in health care reform is that "The private insurance people would not be able to compete with a government option."
Twist your head around that one. On one hand the right tells us that "government" involvement in health insurance would be bad because it would be badly run and cost us too much. No one would want that. But on the other hand they are saying that we can't have a public option because that would put private insurers out of business. Because everyone would want it. WTF?????
Here is a classic cartoon to remind us of the health care industry. You see, the Private Insurance companies just can't be satisfied with profit. They've got to have more and more and more and MORE, they've got to have it all, all of our money, all of our health, all of it. Not just the meat, they've got to have The Gravy. All of it:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Basis for Meltdown

The Office of Thrift Supervision, created in 1989, was supposed to help with regulation of institutions. Trouble was it was also given responsibility for unregulated derivatives, given little power and was poorly staffed. It's only source of income was from the institutions it supervised such as AIG, IndyMac, WaMu, etc.
Also the credit rating agencies such as Standard and Poor's had been given too much power. Their funds also came from the institutions whose instruments they rated. Rate us high or we go to the rating agency down the block and you do not get paid.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Making a Driveway Puzzle

William decided that the cracked driveway needed safety markings before it is torn up later this summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Aerial views of the construction

William took these yesterday from the top of the tree fort. This was before they knocked down the chimney and pulled off the old sky light.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Food Jazz

So I was explaining to William how the meatless tamale pie I fixed tonight was a riff on my usual version. Food Jazz. I served it with a cole slaw made with cabbage and shredded apple. He said I needed to write it down and save it. So from my Recipe File:

Meatless Tamale Pie

1 cup chopped celery
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
sauté in 3 T EVO
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chilies
1 can kidney beans drained
1 can black olives drained
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp garlic salt
1 T chili powder
Mix 1 T masa flour in water and add to above

Mix together dry then add wet
1 cup corn meal
1 cup flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Put vegetable mixture in a large covered casserole. Top with cornbread mixture. Top with about ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Cover with glass lid and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Probably serves 6 certainly more than 2. We will have this as leftovers tomorrow.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Last night we went out to a LeGacy production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
With the belly-up failure of Foothill Theatre Company, our only professional theater company, we were left with 2 tickets that we were able to trade out for this very good amateur production. I hope some professional productions can come back. I really hope for the late summer Shakespeare we used to have.
Video snippet of another production of Picasso. Comedy is set in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in 1904. Picasso and Einstein meet in a bar just before each becomes well known. We did a lot of walking around in the Montmartre when we were in Paris.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shut my Mouth

So the Democrats joined Republicans to vote 90-6 in the Senate to refuse funds needed to close Gitmo. With friends like these Obama does not need enemies.

I heard the response of Harry Reid about how we did not want terrorists released onto our streets. As if a transfer from Gitmo would entail our first releasing the prisoners then chasing them down to re-imprison them. He was even called on this inane statement by a reporter and he repeated it. The Democrats are falling for the right wing line that you have to fear terrorists in prison, as if we do not already hold terrorists in prison, such as the blind sheik, the shoe bomber and the unibomber.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remember When

Remember when we used to play Trivial Pursuit with the Bordens and Frank always answered Idi Amin (and he was usually right). Well now my Christmas Cactus has started blooming. It has never bloomed in May. It blooms in November and December. William says "global warming." Could he be right like Frank used to be with his stock answer?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Best New Kitchen Tool

A Lime Squeezer. Everything is better with lime juice. So buy a bag of key limes and a squeezer and start squeezing. Bill thinks it is great fun, too.

Latest Plans of the Party of No

The Republicans latest plans to block the efficient running of an Obama Presidency goes beyond just voting no on legislation. They plan to block and hold on nominees. And then complain that not much can get done without deputies or heads of agencies in place. David Hayes, nominee for deputy head of Interior, was voted down by a block Republican vote today. Also Dawn Johnson as head of the Office of Legal Council will probably not be confirmed. No good reasons. Just obstructionism. Without 60 votes in the Senate to avoid filibusters, aka just shut down all business, the Democrats seem powerless against the obstructionist Republicans.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Diego's and House of Floyd

Out to dinner for Chilean food at Diegos, then to see House of Floyd a Pink Floyd cover band at the Grass Valley Center for the Arts. The restaurant was full and the food was excellent. I had the spiced Talipa with fun sauces. The concert was sold out and the band was great with video and light show. The crickets were bad after the show. In fact the crickets are still here in my ears in the living room. I hope my ears settle down soon. I should have brought ear plugs. William says his cilia are acting up too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Destruction

The top of the "former porch" hangs down over the top of the door prior to falling off.
Taking a break from jack-hammering off the porch.
There used to be a deck here.
And here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Filibuster a Supreme Court nominee?

The talking heads talk about the "Alito Filibuster" as if there was one. Yes, there was talk, but the first vote for confirmation passed with enough Democratic votes to confirm Justice Alito. But because there are enough "blue dog" Democrats who can be counted on to often vote with the Republicans, the Republicans may be able to filibuster a nominee. The Republicans have often made an issue of their contention that the senate should only advise and consent on judicial nominees. But this is only true when the Republicans are in power.

Also there was talk during the Specter interview of no votes for Obama's health care plan because it included a public choice, as if someone who already had employer provided health care would suddenly switch to a public plan. Let me list the reasons why they would not. 1. You still have to pay for a public plan. 2. A public plan such as Medicare is fairly bare bones with a fairly high copay for procedures.
Someone has gotten the idea that a public health care plan is free. Also if you do not offer a public choice which might be fairly low cost for low income people who are uninsured and possibly uninsurable because of preexisting conditions, what are you going to offer them? What choices are you going to offer the 40 million uninsured? A high pay no coverage ripoff plan? Or are you just going to say that they have a choice. The choice to pay for bad coverage they cannot afford or not pay for bad coverage. The choice to have insurance or not. That is what many Republicans say right now. That these 40 million people have just chosen not to have insurance. I am sure that is true of some, but most would rather have insurance they could afford, which would also leave them with food on the table.
I also heard a comment that health insurance premiums should be based on life style choices. Essentially that a thin person who followed a healthy diet, exercised and presumably had no other bad habits would pay less for insurance. Gee this sounds like "Big Brother Government." Also that people would be counseled to make better end of life decisions so that less money would be spent on futile expensive medical decisions prior to death. OMG! You mean Republicans were wrong in their decision on Terry Schiavo?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ozone Season is coming

Western Nevada County
Ozone Grade: F
Orange Ozone Days: 130
Red Ozone Days: 11
Purple Ozone Days: 1

The western portion of Nevada County, including the Cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City, has failed to meet reasonable health based standards for air quality and have been designated "non-attainment" zones for ozone pollution by the federal government. Ozone pollution is increasing in Western Nevada County and exceeded national standards in
2008 on 142 days.

Western Nevada County is the 1st most ozone polluted rural county in the United States. Ozone pollution in Nevada County is significantly worse than in areas commonly associated with air pollution, including New York City; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Las Vegas, Nevada; and many other US cities.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Lung Association, ozone is a powerful respiratory irritant that can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, coughing, and premature death. Repeated exposure to high levels of ozone also leads to reductions in lung function, inflammation of the lung lining and increased respiratory discomfort, and irreversible damage in developing lungs. The U.S. EPA estimates that one out of three residents of Nevada County is at risk of experiencing health problems from ground level ozone.

The majority of Nevada County’s ozone is transported by wind from the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Areas, and nearly half of all ozone is the result of on-road motor vehicle exhaust.

Quotes from an 06 petition to State Senator.
America's most polluted cities includes us in the Sacramento Area.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to have for dinner?

What to have for dinner is usually driven by what is left partly used from a previous dinner.
So tonight there was 1/2 a very dry baguette and most of a bag of spinach that was still good but at its use by date.
So we had Italian Bread Soup and Wilted Spinach Salad.

Italian bread soup

1 can chicken broth
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can water
½ very dry baguette broken up
¼ tsp Italian herbs
sprinkles of garlic salt
2 T olive oil

Heat slowly and mix well

Wilted spinach salad with bacon

Wash 16 oz spinach. Drain and dry with paper towels. Set aside.
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
~4 slices bacon chopped
In wok, cook chopped bacon until crisp.
Add green onions. Sauté.
Add 3 T wine vinegar 2 tbsp. lemon juice 2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper ¼ tsp. dry mustard to wok
Bring to a boil. Place spinach in large salad bowl. Pour hot mixture over spinach and mix until wilted. Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something to do with Mystery Meat

So I have 1/2 lb of unidentified meat in the freezer. Is it pork? Is it Turkey? What is it? This recipe will work with any meat. Just chop it up before it is fully defrosted.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sauté ½ lb pork bits
With 1 onion chopped and
5 cloves garlic chopped in
3 T olive oil

Add 1 green or 1 green and 1 red pepper chopped or celery or mushrooms
Continue to sauté

Mix together pineapple juice from small pineapple chunks can
¼ c water
2 T tomato sauce or instead of water and sauce use ½ c tomato or vegetable juice
1 T vinegar
1 T cornstarch
½ t chili powder
½ t garlic salt

add pineapple chunks and sauce and simmer to thicken

serve with rice

Swine Flu

1. There are hundreds of thousands more cases of swine flu out there than have been documented as most cases are mild and do not take people to the doctor. Also people who went to the doctor's a week or so ago were not even being checked. (I am still coughing.)
2. The reason so many people died in 1918 was that there were no antibiotics to treat bacterial complications. General living conditions in cities were much more unhygienic. Many of the people who died were suspected of having mild cases of TB, common at the time, which weakened their lungs. (I lost a grandmother and an uncle.)
3. The media infused panic is going to cost a lot more than the flu itself as people hole up and the economy slows even further. This may be the swine bristle that breaks the back of Mexico.
4. The putrid Smithfield hog farm in Mexico that is supposedly at the center of the outbreak is due to be sold to a Chinese firm that is looking to get into hog farms in a big way. Pigs are mostly grown in China in small numbers on family farms. But Chinese are starting to eat more meat, so hog farms are on the way. Why do I not feel good about this prospect?
5. Pork is dropping in price. Now is the time to stock up for slow cooked pulled pork.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carrot Soup

What's for dinner?

Curried Carrot Soup
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 pounds chunked up peeled carrots
• 6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or bouillon + water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• Coarse salt
• 1 cup plain non fat yogurt or sour cream
• 6 blades fresh chives or green part of green onion chopped
Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and sauté 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock, curry and cayenne to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on med-low until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. Using food processor or blender process soup in 2 or 3 small batches until soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed. Transfer processed soup into a large bowl as you work to make room for more soup in the food processor. Return completed soup to the soup pot and place back over low heat. Add remaining 2 cups of stock. Adjust seasonings adding about ½ tsp salt if needed. Bring back to a simmer. Serve and garnish with yogurt and chives.

Serve with a nice bread.

This is like a Rachel Ray recipe with modifications.

Update: I changed the amount of curry powder I used when I made this from Tablespoons to teaspoons as I wanted a mild curry flavor. Not too strong.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bad Dates

We went out to see the play "Bad Dates" tonight. A really funny one woman show staged over at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley.

Let's face it girls, sometimes marriages don't work out. And then you have a choice: sit at home with your sullen, judgmental teenage daughter - or put on a fabulous outfit and the perfect pair of shoes and get back in the game! A sassy one-woman show playing to sellout crowds nationwide!

As I am still in recovery from acute bronchitis, I took a purse full of cough lozenges, but still wound up standing at the back aisle for more than 1/2 of the play so I could step out if I had to cough. Still glad we went as it was a good show.

Destruction before Reconstruction

Dad is getting close to done with the dismantling of the deck. He says that a demolition team would have made short work of the job by cutting the deck up with chain saws and throwing all the wood away. But dad is taking out all the deck screws and saving the redwood. It can be reused for something.

The cats are having a lot of new climbing opportunities, although Sierra fell through the deck when she missed a leap up to the food table yesterday. Probably she is still not 100%, though she looks OK.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Box Cat

Because life must have laughter.


Went to see this movie at the Magic Theatre last night. Although it had a lot of bloody moments it was a better film than "The Wrestler". Nothing was gratuitous, it was just real. This was not the Naples we walked through as tourists, although we were on some slightly gritty, dirty side streets. This Naples is the home of a lot of the underclass, the 15% of disposable people.
But look at the scary part to us is that these are white people. We have the same thing in the US in our inner cities, but we don't care as much because these are brown people.
David Simon of The Wire was on Bill Moyer's Journal last Friday and spoke about the same thing this movie is about.
DAVID SIMON: Again, we would have to ask ourselves a lot of hard questions. The people most affected by this are black and brown and poor. It's the abandoned inner cores of our urban areas. And we don't, as we said before, economically, we don't need those people. The American economy doesn't need them. So, as long as they stay in their ghettos, and they only kill each other, we're willing to pay a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is. I don't think-- since we basically have become a market-based culture and it's what we know, and it's what's led us to this sad denouement, I think we're going to follow market-based logic, right to the bitter end.
full transcript of 4/17/09 show here.
So some say leave them to rot, they only kill themselves, but as we have contempt for others we have contempt for ourselves and we ultimately destroy ourselves.
The Naples Italy Garbage Mafia does affect us also.
The next step from putting toxic waste in old quarries and destroying the water, health and farm products of their own country was to find another dump. So toxic waste was dumped off the coast of Somalia, destroying the ocean, coastline and local fisheries. So now the waste produced by nuclear plants that keep the air of France clean has gone to the Italian mafia to dispose of in the water off Somalia to destroy that country and drive its young to piracy.
more here
It's a small world after all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rat Whisperer

Leah has a new pet rat. Petco was selling only male rats and they did not have any really small/young ones. Medium was the smallest. Leah had wanted a small female rat but now a medium male was fine. So far this is reminding me of how Jon got his first cat--the only scraggly little cat in front of Kmart and that was the one.
Since the rat is not as young as it should have been, it needs more socializing. So I am working with the rat and Leah so that she will be able to easily play with it when I go home.
Obi Wan is very cute with a blond hood and black eyes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter etc

On Saturday morning Axel and I went to an Easter egg hunt just down the street at the Methodist church. Leah had gone earlier to tennis at the rec center just beyond the church. Axel hunted in the toddler area and did very well. Leah came in for the raffle after the hunt, but we did not win anything even though they must have given out >25 prizes. Axel shared all his hunt gatherings with Leah after we got home. Which was just as mom and dad got home from snowboarding.
Axel woke up from his nap burning with fever. He had had a loose cough that had hung on for a week and a half and it had finally turned into pneumonia. Cyndi rushed him to the ER and told them baby can't breath. She was rushed in front of many others and his O2 sat did measure in the 80's. She had given him some ibuprofen which kicked in as they waited for the prescriptions and he started running around.
So Cyndi was back from the ER quite quickly and the ladies, Cyndi, Leah and I, went to a Seder at Laura and Dara's.
On Easter we had other egg hunts and basket hunts. Axel even found 3 eggs at the big girl hunt, Dara was here. Axel is making a good recovery.
We had an Easter dinner party/Paree Roubaix watching party with pulled pork and salads. A bunch of people from a bike shop came and it was a great success.
Today Jon built a new gate for the side of the house and Axel and Cyndi planted seeds, Jupiter's beard, sunflowers, cherry tomatoes and parsley.

The Jupiter's beard is planned to cover the front. Not a good place for grass as it slopes to the street.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Axel the computer whiz

Axel has learned how to use his Sesame Street dvd very well. He even does the parent commands and chooses what part of the program he wants to work on as it is all interactive.
See other pictures of Axel bathing and measuring on Facebook.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting ready to fly off again

Running through the list of chores before I fly off to Colorado. Today I made a batch of granola for dad and have made and frozen some dinners. Trying to get through a list of chores to do as we will break ground on the remodel soon after I return.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

I agree with Red State?

In the grand tradition of Grandpa Al who worked for Al Capone as a delivery truck driver.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nice Weather in Texas

Sunny and mid 70's with a light breeze. Ben and I made what Val called a trailer park kite out of a plastic grocery bag, some floss and a ribbon we found. We had fun with it even if it did not fly too high, as the breeze was too soft.
Ben is really sleeping hard as I also walked him about a mile in a park. He ran out of energy on the way back and all I had to give him was lifesavers. He sat on a house step and then wondered at the dogs in the house barking at him. I said they were saying go away we do not know you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We went to the theater tonight to see Sylvia. A very well produced comedy. We had seen it when it was produced here 8 years ago when the play was newly written.
Kate and Greg have a rock-solid marriage, until Greg brings home a girl he picked up in the park. The new girl is tough competition, even though she sheds, drools, chews shoes, sniffs crotches, and has fleas! This outrageous comedy about a dog and her man is one of our most popular shows ever!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Out to Tea

The Top Floor Tea Room went out of business in September, so I found a tea room in Grass Valley. Ugly location across from Kragen Auto Supply, but cute tea room and very nice food. William had a regular lunch of quiche and soup and I had a creme tea.

We discussed the fact that we actually had an afternoon tea in the fancy dining room at the old Roman baths in Bath England. But this was so early in our journey that while we enjoyed it and remember it, we did not fully appreciate the experience.

We will have to go back to The Cup of Tea and order the light afternoon tea sometime. As William says it is a lot of food and would require having only coffee and a banana for breakfast and soup for dinner.

William enjoyed his southwest quiche with salsa and sour cream and his mushroom soup. My creme tea included 2 delicious scones with cream, lemon curd, a lovely strawberry jam and a pot of tea.
The Cup Of Tea tea room in Grass Valley
Picture us at the table for two under the window.
The Pump House in Bath September 2007.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why did Iceland go bankrupt?

An excellent and funny article in Vanity Fair explains it all.
Although there will soon be no need for a Central Bank in Iceland as the country will convert to the euro,
inside the place stews David Oddsson, the architect of Iceland’s rise and fall. Back in the 1980s, Oddsson had fallen under the spell of Milton Friedman, the brilliant economist who was able to persuade even those who spent their lives working for the government that government was a waste of life. So Oddsson went on a quest to give Icelandic people their freedom—by which he meant freedom from government controls of any sort. As prime minister he lowered taxes, privatized industry, freed up trade, and, finally, in 2002, privatized the banks. At length, weary of prime-ministering, he got himself appointed governor of the Central Bank—even though he was a poet without banking experience.

A hedge fund manager explained Icelandic banking
this way: You have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that they are each worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners, but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets. “They created fake capital by trading assets amongst themselves at inflated values,” says a London hedge-fund manager. “This was how the banks and investment companies grew and grew. But they were lightweights in the international markets.”

William tells me that Belgian banks are so over leveraged that Belgium will soon follow Iceland. What will be the consequences for Belgium?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Boulder Beer

Found this at Grocery Outlet and could not resist bringing it home.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Nightmares for me tonight

Dad rented "No Country for Old Men". Good movie but too violent and gruesome for me.

Friday, February 27, 2009

New Garage Doors

The two Russians are done installing the two new garage doors and I think they look great. They are almond color and have an automatic opener. Step one on the house remodel. We got the doors from Sears and thought since we have a Sears in Grass Valley the door installation would be through them, but the installers and the doors came from Sacramento.
There is a huge Russian community in Sacramento. These two came from north of Moscow. So Bill told them that he had been to Moscow before and to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. They were very interested in the rest of the remodeling, but we have enough local contractors that we do not have to import Russians from Sacramento.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Data, Data so much data to digest

Just what does this all mean?? At least it is good for a laugh.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Smell Fish

Great safety information I had never heard of: I knew that if you smelled an ozone like smell and if you saw sparks flashing from an outlet, that meant that you had a fire hazard. But I had never heard, that if you had an elusive smell of fish, you could have a potential fire.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fight over stimulus money

Cities and States fight over the infrastructure money in the stimulus bill. Read more.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Children of the Mountains

Watched a special on 20/20 last night. The people of Appalachia have been neglected since Bobby Kennedy was killed. He was a champion of helping them and there has been no coordinated effort since. They have been preyed and prayed upon. They are afflicted with Mountain Dew mouth. Even babies drink it and it is one of the reasons the adults have no teeth. Doctors in the area have been encouraged by Pharmaceutical Companies to prescribe addictive narcotic pain relievers for everything. Leading to a huge prescription drug addiction problem. Coal mining is the best paying job. But even if the company looks out for basic worker safety, there is the issue of black lung. These people off the beaten path live short miserable lives. They are only encouraged by their faith in salvation. Isn't this what gives all downtrodden some hope, but little everyday help. Schools are so poor that even if you manage to graduate from High School (and few do), you are going to have trouble with college. Look at the faces of the children and you see that they could be anyone's children. Look at the faces of the adults and you see the effects of poor nutrition, poor schooling and drugs. We need a new war on poverty to save the children.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I am the parent who joined Facebook

Most of my friends are children and grandchildren. This is one reaction.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Something interesting about China

Why all the problems with adulteration and poisons from China?
Chinese society follows a very different set of rules, ones partly derived from Confucius, in which ideology counts for nothing and results count for everything. In this system, the end justifies the means all the time; “truth” is not a matter of great concern. In the Confucian scheme of things, the “truth” is merely contextual–you just say what is appropriate in the circumstances, not what actually is the case. This is what, from a Western point of view, would be called amoral, but the Chinese see it as simply pragmatic.

Maybe Peanut Corporation of America has also been following this philosophy?


Sierra is in the Hospital. After a lot of blood work it has been determined that she has some sort of unknown infection. So they are giving her IV fluids and antibiotics and trying to see if she will eat. If all goes well, she should come home on Monday.
The doc says she must have been sick for a while, though according to dad she seemed quite ordinary until about Wednesday. I took her to the vet on Friday as she did look thin and scruffy and would not even sniff a can of Fancy Feast. She just curled up and looked like she planned to die. She made no fuss when dad put her in the cat cage and only gave 3 soft meows on the way to the vet's. I told them to watch out for her if she got to feeling better as she will try to bite a stranger.

Filibuster not possible

Few people know that on the stimulus bill a filibuster is not possible. Because of rules that require a 3/5 majority for a bill that would require this amount of deficit spending the passage of the bill requires a vote of 60 senators. So the vast amount of blogging about bringing on a filibuster is uninformed whistling in the wind. But few know about the arcane senate rules. I don't know why we are kept so misinformed. All the Speaker would have to say is that because of this rule we have to have a super majority of 60 votes. End of story. We are told 60 votes are needed, but not why. So the assumption is that it is the same old same old 60 votes to avoid a filibuster. No explanation because they think we are too stupid to understand? More information at Congress Matters.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

$15,000 housing credit

Too bad it is too hard to multiply. The $15,000 tax credit (or 10% of the value whichever is lower) that has been added to the stimulus bill is purported to cost 19 billion. Wrong. Multiply 15 thousand by the expected 5 million houses that are expected to be sold anyway this year and you get 75 billion. Think about the additional houses that would be bought and sold just to get the credit and you might double this to 150 billion! Great way to reinflate the stupid housing bubble.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Exploding cell phones kill

Man killed in China just the latest to be killed by faulty counterfeit cell phone battery. The advise is not to carry a cell phone in a chest pocket. But would you be any safer with the phone in your pants pocket?

A good time was had by all

I forgot to take pictures on Super Bowl Sunday, so I got a few shots on Monday morning. Robbin is working hard on breakfast. William looks like he might have been telling a fish story?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Frank this is for you

MACAFRAMA Trailer from MACAFRAMA on Vimeo.
A whole movie about the joys of riding a single speed bike---although in San Francisco rather than Redding.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As you can see in this preview of the Nature show about the wild animals of Cuba, whenever they show a street scene you see wonderful old US cars of the 50's and 60's. Cuba is a treasure trove of collectible cars.
I think a good thing for Obama to do this week would be to stop the embargo on Cuba. This would be a painless stimulus. Travelers would go to Cuba on US airlines who would rapidly put in flights. Travel agencies would arrange tours. Car collectors would buy cars. And auto makers would find a ready market for the US cars currently sitting unsold in the US. Then we would also export the technology to repair those cars, since the days are long gone when I would lift up the hood of a car and take the air filter apart and bang around on various parts with a hammer and the car would start again. This stroke of a pen could be worth a few billion in stimulus.

Saving money

USPS may end Saturday mail delivery for an annual savings of 2.5 billion. A little less than it lost last year.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup

You knew there was some reason you did not like the High Fructose Corn Syrup that is in everything. It's that nice little hint of metallic flavor, mercury. Plants across the nation still make the caustic soda and acid used to make the corn syrup in electrified vats of mercury. The FDA sat on this since 2005. I am shocked to tears, but in some ways not surprised. It is just the latest episode in the ongoing saga of Still Bushed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time to invest?

We know that money invested in the stock market grows about 6 times better under Democratic presidents----that's if you exclude Hoover. It's really worse if you include Hoover. 10k=11k if invested under only Republican presidents including Hoover. 10k invested under only Democratic presidents = 300K.
So now is the time to invest. But you still have to be careful. Bank stocks are a bad idea. A good idea is tech companies that do hospital/medical information systems. Also some of the companies that sell cheap stuff are still doing well, Walmart and McDonalds. Do Grocery Outlet and SaveMart sell stock? Home security companies may still do well, but companies that sell security to the government will do less well as the government edges away from privatization. Companies that specialize in green energy may do well, but since many will be jumping into this field some will do well and some will fail. New energy technologies are a good bet, if you can find the right ones.
Add health insurance companies as a bad investment. Probably drug companies as well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Glinda vs Elphaba

State Department staffers have a Glinda party for the arrival of Hillary as Secretary of State. Condoleezza was referred to as the Wicked Witch of the West for using the State Department for self glorification.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Figurine

Most collectible kitschy Obama figurine wields two swords. Hiyah!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Light Lane

For areas without a bike lane, you project your own laser lit lane.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally got this to work. Go to Obamicon to make your own.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Born Again American

From Bill Moyers tonight a great challenge to become a Born Again American.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Live it up on the downside

with faux caviar.
Waitrose supermarket chain in Britain is selling something it calls Arenkha MSC with a similar texture and taste to the much-prized sturgeon roe but at a fraction of the price. It says it combines "smoked herring with squid ink, lemon juice and spices."


Amsterdam and Ice

I was thinking about the cold that has settled on Europe and the children in Amsterdam when this icy picture came up on the rolling pictures on my Google sidebar. Think of these icy fingers running down your spine. (from Ice Fantasy in Bruges 07)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Prophetic Re Worlds

Well I hate to say I told you so. But my prediction of the addition of Brian Matter to the USA Worlds Cyclocross team was prophetic. But the switch to Blue Competition Cycles is harsh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Out of Work?

Apply for the best job in the world as a caretaker at Hamilton Island at the Great Barrier Reef. The job is basically as a promoter of tourism at the various islands of the reef by blogging about your adventures and the great time you have on the island, but you get your own island home free of rent and ~$100,000 salary (paid as 70,000 pounds). The house is a
$5m villa perched 80 meters up a ravine, overlooking the narrow azure channel where humpback whales migrate in September.

A Bond villain-esque golf buggy sits idle in the drive, awaiting the arrival of its new owner, who must also become accustomed to travel by powerboat, jet-ski and yacht. Just around the corner, Whitehaven Beach is regularly voted among the top 10 in the world for its 98 per cent pure silica sand.

Candidates have until 22 February to apply at, submitting a 60-second (or less) video clip explaining why they should get the job. They must speak English and have "excellent communication skills", a "desire for adventure" and "passion for the outdoors". There is talk of a cut-off point at 30,000 applications...

So get busy on that video.

This reminds me of when dad and I applied for the job of teacher and island administrator of Pitcairn island in 1976. Except that would have been a lot of work and living conditions would not have been plush.

Herding Cats

Looks like despite his popular mandate with the people, Obama will not have an easy time with the Congress, as objections come up about his choice of appointees and his desired legislation. And not just from Republicans. The Repubs make the expected noises as they are now deficit hawks and are ready to hold appointees feet to the fire. Just like they did with Bush's legislation and appointees---Right. But Democrats are making all kinds of noise also. Didn't we work for a Democratic Senate and House so they could work with a Democratic President? I don't get it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Grand Canyon for Anyone

Just watched a great film on PBS (we had recorded it) Right to Risk. It's about a group of disabled people who took a 15 day float trip down the Grand Canyon.

If they can do it, I can.

Cat Man Do

Naomi Klein Calls for Boycott

Yes, Boycott goods from Israel. Items can be identified with a bar code that begins with 729.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Largest Moon

Tonight is the night that the moon is the largest of the year. It looks pretty small through the branches.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Let the bankruptcies begin

States will be going bankrupt soon. AZ apparently has 6 weeks of funds left. Then CA is headed down a bad road. Apparently NV is close and probably many others. Whoop Te Doo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Stump-Grinder Man

The stump-grinder man is here. Working on some of the stumps that need to be removed, leftovers from the logging operation.