Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Only two more days til BlogACatMas

According to the Accordion Guy blog Friday is BlogACatMas, celebrated by posting the picture of a kitty on your blog. Don't ask me, it was his idea.

What's next?

Kaylee the kitten went into premature heat yesterday, and by last night was crawling around on her elbows and knees, trilling. It was pathetic. Even more pathetic--and somewhat alarming--was her sister Zoe, who was trying to help Kaylee out by performing the male role without the necessary equipment. By this morning both of them seemed exhausted. We're told Kaylee's first heat could last anywhere from two days to two weeks, and she can't be spayed until she's completely out of it. They were scheduled for spaying mid-October, but I immediately called the vet and got them to take Zoe this Friday, hoping she won't follow her precocious sister's example before then.

The phone, which lately seems to be controlled by a cosmic routing system that knows exactly when I'm in the shower or asleep, rang at 7:45 a.m. this morning. By the time I got to it, the caller had hung up, leaving no message. Caller ID showed it was our housecleaner, who then didn't show up for the weekly cleaning gig at 9.

It's probably just as well. By noon a garbage bag had leaked in the kitchen. At 1 p.m., a horrible "hrorrrping" sound had Kaylee and Zoe and me all standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at the bedroom. When it stopped, we crept upstairs to find the walk-through closet, the bathroom, and the bedroom covered with cat barf, and Betaille glaring at all of us. I set about cleaning that up with spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels, with Kaylee and Zoe "helping." That, of course, is when the phone rang again. One of my contractors is coming over to look at the fence posts which are rotting out from under the fence (another reminder of the previous owners and their artsy cosmetic construction techniques).

After the work day (yes, I work full time from home) is over, I have to go down to the basement and have another go-round with the washer. It's objecting to full loads, and making its feelings know by accessing a cache of old dirt and adding that to the rinse water. I'm coddling it with medium loads and planning to buy a Maytag Neptune or a Whirlpool Duet. Recommendations, anyone?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Why Bush is going to stay in office

Bush is going to stay in office for two reasons:

1. Because he'll stop at nothing. Florida 2000 was just a taste of the nasty polling-place antics that will be going on in swing states (face it, the other states were written off months ago) in the final few days of the campaign.

2. Because, in our heart of hearts, most Americans want Bush in power. Even plenty of Americans who will go quietly to the polls and cast a sanctimonious little vote for Kerry will do so because they're secure in the knowledge that Bush's camp will figure out a way to stay out on top.

Bush's foreign policy is our dirty little affair. Here we are, with our ultra-luxurious lifestyles, laying waste to the natural resources of the world. Now we've got a president who's doing everything he can to protect those lifestyles by protecting the big corporations that make them possible. It used to be feasible for the U.S. to purchase other countries' resources by purchasing the regimes that controlled those countries. Now that it's become more difficult to keep those rented regimes in power, Bush has cut out the middle man and simply invaded an oil-rich country with the aim of setting up a structure the U.S. will control from the outset. That other nations and the UN would have no part of these goings-on has made it even easier for the U.S. (and even more terrifying for the people being invaded, but that's another story).

Bush has made it clear to everyone that his foreign policy consists of conquering and controlling the world's oil resources while repeating the words "fighting the war on terror" with all the sincerity of a jerk who, kicking and barging his way through a crowd, mumbles "excuse me."

The really scary part is that lots of people are secretly grateful. And just look around and you'll see plenty of people who are publicly grateful. They were brought up to believe that Americans have the God-given right to live like kings at the expense of the majority of the world's population. In their view, who cares if Bush is a buffoon, a lightweight, a dim bulb, and a hypocrite? He's defending, perpetuating, and glorifying "the American way."

Is it any wonder that skilled politicians like Gore and Kerry and even Dean end up looking like wimps and scolding nannies by comparison? What else is the anti-Bush message except: We're greedy hogs and we need to stop buying SUVs, sucking up power, eating strawberries in January, and swimming in a sea of packaging materials.

Yeah, people really want to hear that.

No wonder Bush has that smirk on his face.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Today in Afghanistan

Well, I'm not blogging much, but everyone else is. On the serious side, check out the new Today in Afghanistan.

On the lighter side, Kaylee and Zoe have started a diary on their Catster page. Look them up on the site and scroll to the bottom of their page to see the world from the perspective of two five-month old kittens.

Monday, September 06, 2004

More from Adlai Stevenson

My husband brought up another Adlai Stevenson quote that's all too appropriate for the current presidential campaign:

"I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them." (from Stevenson's 1952 campaign)

Read more Stevenson quotes, and here's Slate's take on Stevenson's political appeal.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Why I'm campaigning for Kerry

During Adlai Stevenson's 1956 presidential campaign, a woman at a rally called to him, "You have the vote of every thinking person!" Stevenson replied "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

Welcome to 2004. If you want to see the last of Bush and the cronies he fronts for, it's not going to be enough just to vote for John Kerry. You'll need to bring someone else along with you. Maybe it's a well-intentioned neighbor who gets "too busy" to go to the polls, or a newcomer to the state who hasn't registered yet. Get off your butt and get out the vote.

I'm not just voting for Kerry, I'm campaigning. My expectations of Kerry are modest and reasonable: I don't expect him to agree with me on every issue. I don't expect him to end the war, create millions of jobs, rescue social security, institute universal healthcare, legalize gay marriage, or save the environment. I do expect him to turn the ship of state slowly in those directions. Most importantly, I have every confidence that his administration will foster an environment in which we can discuss and work on these issues without the likelihood of being labeled anti-Christian, extreme, or wimpy, or--if we keep sounding off--getting labeled a "terrorist" and swept off to a prison where we will be held indefinitely without access to legal representation.

Whining about Kerry not being liberal enough for you? Get off it. It's not going to be Kerry's job, as president, to change America. It's ours. His job, leadership, is to return us to an environment in which we can do our work as citizens without fear.

Walla Wallas

Cookbook author Maida Heatter writes today in Salon about onion sandwiches. The article includes a recipe from James Beard. Heatter notes "Before Beard became famous for his cooking classes and cookbooks, he ran a catering business that specialized in hors d'oeuvres--and he told me once that onion sandwiches were his most popular item. He'd sold millions of them, he said. That may be, but I later learned that his recipe for them varied from publication to publication."

I have a better recipe, a non-hors d'oeuvres version, than the one she provides. It came from my late uncle Bob Anderson who demonstrated it one summer when he was visiting me in Seattle during Walla Walla season. Here it is:

• Black Russian rye bread (such as Bremner Brothers)
• buttter
• Walla Walla onion, peeled and sliced thinly
• Dijon mustard
• sugar
• lemon juice

Cover the bottom slice of bread with butter and the top slice with Dijon. Place sliced onions on the buttered slice, sprinkle the onions lightly with sugar (about 1/2 tsp. for a small sandwich, and 1 tsp for a large sandwich) and then dampen the sugar with lemon juice (1/2 to 1 tsp.) and top with the Dijon-spread slice.

Caution: It's essential to make this with very fresh, in-season sweet onions. Regular yellow or white onions will taste bitter, and older sweet onions will make you think that Heatter, Beard, Uncle Bob and I are all crazy.