Saturday, May 29, 2010

It’s a (Possible) Living

May 29, 2010

When I went away for a trip, it was rainy and cool most of the time I was visiting. At home they had sunny weather in the 80’s.

When I returned home, it became rainy and cool, while the place I had just left got the 80’s and sunshine.

I know, you’re saying it happens to everyone. BUT: Has anyone else thought of hiring out as a rainmaker? For years I’ve been joking about asking the State of Texas if they’d like to hire me, because I seem to bring the rain there.

And the way this spring has been going in Boise, maybe they’ll pay me to go away! Double-time!

July 10, 2010

July 10, 2010

I seriously have a bad effect on weather. Last night I decided it would be fun to sleep outdoors. It’s the middle of July, we’re in a hot, dry spell, no rain in the forecast…which means that it didn’t start raining until almost 2 a.m.

Did You Think I was Kidding?

May 29, 2010

Two days ago I wrote about Idaho’s excessive number of elections, and how hard it is for voters to find their polling place at any given time.

There is a tiny blurb in today’s paper about voting on how to use school funds. If voters in Meridian, ID agree to move money from the facility levy to the operations budget, Meridian teachers will only take a 3.6% pay cut; if we don’t, then they’ll take a 6.8% pay cut. If you missed the blurb, you may hear about it on the news; or if you have children in school, they may bring home a flyer. Otherwise, good luck finding out about it.

The election is slated for June 8, 2010—exactly 2 weeks after the statewide elections!


(Or I will, if I can find my polling place, of course.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summertime Blues

May 27, 2010

It's official: Of my five possible routes to work, every last one of them is under construction!

Only in Idaho—I Hope

May 27, 2010

The Powers-that-Be in Idaho may hope for a large voter turnout, but they don’t make it easy. In four years I’ve been to five different polling places—sometimes two on the same day!

Depending on the referendum, you may vote at the library, a church, or a school. I confidently expected to vote on the school referendum (or was it the library referendum?) at the place I did my other local voting, but it was at a different spot (and a lot of people chose not to make a second trip). And they have a gazillion elections in a year! (OK, several.)

They don’t send out those little postcards telling you each time where your polling place is (the way they do in states where you keep your same polling place every year). You have to guess, or call City Hall or (if you’re voting after 5) the library.

(Under this system, the voters in Florida would never have had to worry about their hanging chads, because they wouldn't have been able to get to them!)

Some people have been urging election reform—i.e. give people a regular polling place, and vote for referenda on the same day that you vote for everything else. Naturally, the legislature won’t give in without a fight. Apparently they’re OK with spending money to set up several elections throughout the year. And with nobody being able to vote in them.


Music Terms


After hearing songs by Coldplay and Plain White Tees sneeringly referred to as “derivative” I’ve concluded that, in music terms, “derivative” means “Something you can actually sing to.”

(You think it’s an accident that so many groups are re-making songs from the ’70s and ’80s?)

Unclear on the Concept

May 27, 2010

OK, so I asked the director of my mom’s nursing home if anybody on staff could provide activities that will get Mom up and moving. I mentioned that we play whiffleball and putt with a plastic kid’s putter. Not only is activity good for combating diabetes, but these activities also help with eye-hand coordination. Other residents would be welcome to join in.

The director said that they couldn’t do it, because Mom might hurt herself or somebody else by randomly swinging the bat or the putter, since she couldn’t see.

Of course she can see! Did the woman seriously think I was lobbing whiffleballs at my 80-year-old mother on the off-chance that she might actually connect with one?

Picture it: “OK, Mom, you missed that one. Let’s try again. Ready?...Ooh, that must have hurt!”

And why didn’t she know that my mother can see?

I can see. I can see a nursing home's five-star rating circling the drain…


In defense of my adopted state, I should mention that the nursing home is not in Idaho, but in another state, where most of the family lives. The family does spend time with Mom, but we thought that this sort of physical activity might be helpful, not only to keep people healthy, but to combat depression (more Zoloft, anyone?) and help keep up brain acuity.

It would also add a bright spot to people’s day, in a situation where “caring for the elderly” seems to depend on dosing them with pharmaceuticals and confining them to wheelchairs to make it easier to handle them.

Twice the Misery

May 27, 2010

We’re having a delayed spring in Boise. It’s almost the end of May, and it’s still raining. (When your average rainfall is 12 inches a year, rain on consecutive days is almost a freak of nature.)

In a vain effort to bring some summer-like feeling to the house, I’ve been singing “Beach Baby” at the top of my lungs—thereby giving my family yet another reason to wish summer would hurry up and come!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Saw it on TV

May 19, 2010

Kudos to "The Mentalist" for the episode "Red Letter". The show features a beautiful woman in her forties (Leslie Hope), with a hairstyle and clothes to die for, WEARING FLAT SHOES! Way to go!

I hope the costumer for Juliana Margulies in "The Good Wife" will follow suit. I don't understand how the woman can think, let alone practice law, in those feet-killers she wears.

I also appreciate the fact that the costume designer for "The Mentalist" didn't make a beautiful woman dress like a tart to prove that she's sexy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Green or not to Green

May 9, 2010

Another article last week about a non-grass-landscape person getting in trouble with her homeowners association, which doesn’t like the rocks/cactus style of landscaping.

Why do people move to the desert if they want greenery? I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Either move someplace where it rains more, or adapt to your current environment.

I’m the first one to admit that a lush green lawn is easy on the eyes and good for the soul (and way better for outdoor games). And I don’t think that a bunch of rocks with a cactus or bush stuck in the middle is particularly attractive, either. But, I'm also the one yelling loudest about the water bill.

In any case, I can see a time in the not-too-distant future when people in dry climates are required to have water-saving lawns. Then the homeowners associations will be scrambling to shift the focus of their disapproval to those water-wasting, pesticide-loving, water-table polluting green-lawn aficionados instead of the heartless, soulless, property-value-dropping xeriscapers. So they’d better start practicing for the change.

And I’d better start finding out what will be easy to play croquet on.

Scenic Idaho

April 28, 2010

This past Sunday we went to Bruneau Dunes. They’re funny because, from a pioneer’s point of view, you’re just wandering along through the grasslands, minding your own business, then the grass peters out, and there are these big sand dunes stuck in the middle of nowhere. They’ve been stable over the centuries because the winds blow one way part of the time, and from the opposite direction the other part, so they just stand where they are.

The Bruneau Dunes are the tallest dunes in North America. Sadly, except for showing up unexpectedly in the middle of the plain, they aren’t nearly as interesting as the Indiana Dunes.

Idaho has a few record-breakers: A canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon, the tallest sand dunes, and a waterfall higher than Niagara; but none of them seems to be well-known outside of Idaho. They aren't as impressive as their counterparts, but they're interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing the Malad Gorge this summer. That's not the deepest canyon, but it is in driving distance.

And there’s a lot of beauty that I don’t know about, until I see it on some rescue footage during a newscast. Really gorgeous stuff!

As we were driving to the dunes we went through some grasslands. As I was thinking about what it would be like to be in a covered wagon and not be able to see where they ended (and thanking heaven for the hundredth time that I had NOT been one of the first settlers), my daughter said, “Oh, cool, we’re the only people in the whole world!” And that’s what it seemed like. It was pretty neat, actually.