January 30, 2008
Brian's downstairs watching "The Unforgiven". It's not really my cuppa tea, so I thought I'd write a blog entry. Let's face it, I like my cowboys minty-fresh and these historically accurate period pieces make my stomach churn. I absolutely cannot watch "Deadwood" because of the filth.
I'm still going to the gym a couple of days a week, except for this week because of the snow. I usually try to go on Mondays and Wednesdays, for about 40 minutes. Because I've been doing the thorough cleaning of my house, that substitutes as my weekend workout for now, since I'm up and down the stairs and step ladder, washing walls, pulling furniture out, etc. Once the cleaning is done, I'll increase my gym visits to include a weekend day.
And speaking of cleaning, I'm still meeting those goals as well, and the back room, den, downstairs bathroom, laundry room and hall are sparkling. We had a snow day on Monday so I got those last 3 rooms done. Next, I will work my way upstairs. I can't believe how icky the walls are. I'm saving the worst room for last: the family room. We spend all our time down there, as do Beanie and Teacup, so it's pretty grody.
It didn't snow much on Monday, but it was enough to make early morning driving very treacherous. Usually when it snows at my house, it doesn't snow down below, but this time the snow was at sea level so it was bad all over. When I heard that Hwy. 410 in Bonney Lake was closed b/c of the compact snow and ice, I called work and said "see ya tomorrow". It's the first time since I've lived here that 410 was closed for the weather, although "old timers" tell me that was the case many years ago when it was still just a small 2 lane road. Yeah, I could have gone in to work at lunch b/c everything was melted, but screw it. I-90, one of the main east/west routes through the Cascades, was closed all day Tuesday because crews couldn't keep up with the snow removal and avalanche control. Traffic ground to a halt; trucks were lined up for 3-4 miles waiting for the pass to reopen today, crippling an already fragile local economy. They just get Snoqualmie Pass open today only to have another avalanche come across the roadway, and cover 2 occupied and moving vehicles. Fortunately no one was hurt. So the pass is closed again because they are expecting about 2 FEET of snow, per day, through the weekend.
Here's a WSDOT camera picture of I-90 today....see the cars buried in the avalanche? "MP50" means "Mile Post 50", and I-90 starts in Seattle with Mile 1, so this location is 50 miles east of Seattle.
This economy situation has me pretty concerned. I cannot believe the rate of foreclosures on all those bogus loans that were made a few years ago. I read a wicked sad story in the paper tonight that people are just abandoning their homes when they can't pay.....and leaving the family pet behind. Starving animals are found inside the houses or found dumped along the roadsides. People make me sick. How can you do that to an animal? Soulless bastards. At least new building & development has sort of ground to a halt, but not before the damage has been done. Have you noticed how expensive groceries are? I can't get out of Safeway under $100 a week anymore, and we do not buy that much food. But all the staple items like cereal, cheese, bread, butter, peanut butter, etc. are so expensive! The price of meat is insane. No wonder Americans are getting fat. The only thing many people can afford are the 10 boxes of Mac-n-Cheese for $1. Gasoline is fluctuating between $3.19 down to $2.99 a gallon; I heard it could reach $4 by summer, although Brian doesn't think that'll happen in an election year.
I'd like to say thanks to all of you who listened to Brian's show on Sunday, either live or on the archives. As of tonite, he has 1556 archive listeners, which are huge numbers. It was a pretty crazy show! I was proud of him for keeping his cool for as long as he did. I was listening downstairs on the laptop, horrified at the psychotic ramblings of Shirley Phelps Roper. We're talkin', Wack Job City, USA.
Work's been pretty insane, but we're getting by. I'm trying desperately to talk Steve out of having this attorney friend of his come to work in our office. At first, I was kind of on board, like this time last year, when I was terrified I was going to lose my job if we didn't get a second attorney to come into the office when Robyn left. But I've never liked this particular person, despite his being a good friend of my boss. I find him obnoxious, arrogant, inappropriate and abusive. Deb and I have been discussing what a mistake we think this will be, but despite her working for him over 30 years, she can't or won't speak up and tell him how she feels. So, being the big mouth that I am, it's fallen to me to work on Steve every chance I get, telling him to trust me.
He's told me so many times in the past that he'd wished he'd listened to me when I tried to warn him about clients, so I reminded him of that. Then he admits that he's been getting cold feet too and needs to call the guy and tell him no. But Steve hates confrontation. He's the kind of person who will stick his head in the sand, and when things finally do implode, he gets upset and says he should have listened to his gut, his wife, me, Deb, whoever! Well DUH. I told him, never go into business with friends. I told him I have a bad feeling about it and that the guy won't be a good fit. I already don't like the man, I don't respect him and if he does come to work there, I will not take his shit either. I just don't see the point of adding to our collective stress and emotional fragility by bringing this person into our office.
On a positive note, this weekend is the Antique Show at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. I go each winter and I have such a great time looking at all the old stuff. It's like being in a museum without having to pay admission. Sometimes I spend a lot, sometimes I don't. But with 450 vendors in the huge Showplex Building, there's something for everyone. Nice clean restrooms, a snack bar, and sometimes they'll even sell the delicious Fisher Scones, which is something you can usually only get at the Puyallup Fair in the fall. They're predicting snow at sea level possibly, but I don't care. If I have to hitch Beans and Teacup to a sled and mush them down to Puyallup, I will!! I'll be sure to do a blog post when I get back from the show.
January 28, 2008
However, once we got there, and realized just exactly what those poor pioneers endured that winter, suddenly those bumperstickers didn't seem so amusing. If you can find the book called "Ordeal By Hunger", I highly recommend it. Did the Donner Party turn to cannabalism? Yes. But extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. They were dying. It became all about the basic human instinct of survival. That's Donner Lake, where some of the party camped.
This is a massive memorial; as you can see 6'4" Brian is dwarfed by it. The winter that the Donner Party was trapped, I think 1847 or 1848, the snow was as high as the platform on which the statues are placed. They'd stripped all the trees that were sticking up through the snow, so some of the tree tops still look a bit odd.
I took him to Twin Peaks so that I could give him the lay of the land. That wide strip of green in the middle which tapers to a thinner strip of green is the eastern end of Golden Gate Park and the tree lined Panhandle. The neighborhood between Golden Gate Park and that other patch of hilly green is the Richmond District, which is where we ended up living.
It took us less than 2 days to find a place to live. The first full day in town, we started calling and visiting places. By 5 pm we both had splitting headaches and were exhausted and frustrated. We'd copied down another phone number on a "for rent" sign we saw in the Sunset District and Brian called, and found out that the apartment was in the Richmond District, so we went over.
We wanted this place, BAD. The rent was reasonable for a 2 bedroom - $800, including water, off street parking and washer/dryer in the building. We didn't have jobs yet and that was a huge stumbling block. However, Brian schmoozed the landlord, Bruce, who was a really nice guy. He took a chance that Bruce was into the 49ers, and since the Niners had just won the Superbowl, Brian said, "How about those Niners?!" After about a half hour of chit chatting, we left and went back to the hotel. Brian stayed in the room and I went to get some take out. When I pulled into the parking lot, Brian was waiting for me outside. Bruce called, the apartment was ours. To this day we still exchange holiday cards with our former landlords!!
And that's how we ended up in San Francisco. We were both working within 2 months and we were well on our way to our new lives on the west coast. Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!!
Thanks for indulging me with my trip down memory lane, of that fantastic odyssey nearly 19 years ago. Someday, we will take another cross country trip, but this time it will be on old Route 66.
January 27, 2008
January 25, 2008
"In the spring of 1868 when the Union Pacific was being constructed west of Cheyenne, the surveyors came across this struggling small tree growing out of a solid boulder of 1.43 billion year old pink Sherman granite. The railroad was relocated so as to preserve the tree. Locomotive engineers would stop to water the tree. In 1902, the railroad was relocated so as to avoid the steep grade at Sherman Hill and the necessity of double-heading the locomotives up the grade from Laramie. The old rail grade continued to be used as a wagon road. With the opening of the Lincon Highway, the old grade continued along the same location. Today, I-80 continues along the same route with the tree in a wayside park located in the median."
Of all the states we passed through, I would very much like to go back to Wyoming and spend some time traveling in the western part of the state. The buttes and mountains are unreal. If I had known how amazing Wyoming was, I would have planned to stay a day extra and explored.
The next day, we were on the road and had planned to stop in Salt Lake City. But first we had to slog up the east side of the Wasatch Mountains and that was reallllllly slow going in the truck. I don't think Brian was able to get the truck past 35 mph. It was a beautiful area though.
I am not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. It ain't no Lake Tahoe, that's for sure. And lemme sum up the Great Salt Lake for you: P-U. Stinky. Smelly. Briney. It just reeks of sulphur. We met up with a VW bus of Deadheads at that rest stop. We were comparing '89 Summer Tour notes and set lists, when the girl surprised all of us and waded in to the lake to dunk her head. Her travel mates, Brian and I were like, "ewwwww!" But she laughed and said that she had to do it to say that she'd done it.
What I found far more interesting was the Great Salt Desert. Just this flat, bright white plain of salt on both sides of the highway for about 80 miles. The other thing that was cool, was that other travelers had stopped and made designs or wrote stuff with rocks placed on the hard salt plain. There were peace signs, hearts, initials, the occasional swear word, etc. At least it gave me something to look at because it was pretty monotonous. The famous Bonneville Salt Flats are located in this area and a lot of car commercials film there as well.
January 24, 2008
First thing we did was find our way to the Pike's Peak Auto Road and start heading up. I was driving. Remember, we were able to offload the car so of course we didn't take the UHaul up the mountain!!!