Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back Up

The other day I mentioned that one of my Pages documents (living in iWork '09) had suddenly hiccupped, wouldn't open and was sending me an error message: "required index.xml file is missing". I never could get it to open properly, even after scouring the internet for advice - which I found, but it still didn’t work. So Chuck retrieved an earlier copy off our external hard drive, which is dedicated to backing up both of our laptops. It worked just fine and dandy. I did lose some work from the intervening days when I hadn’t backed up. But it was just a small percentage of the document.

We use Time Machine, the software which is associated with our Apple computers. It’s very easy to use and very easy to retrieve files via the program. We back up onto a Western Digital external hard drive. (Ours is an older version of the one I linked to.)

The super elegant solution, which I hope to move to some one of these days is Time Capsule. It is the wireless hard drive from Apple which is designed to work automatically with Time Machine. No more having to remember to go back up the laptops. It will happen automatically, behind the scenes.

The next step is off-site back up. Friends of ours have had very good luck with Carbonite. Until recently, it wasn’t available for Mac users. But now Carbonite offers the same remote, automatic backup for Apple Macs that it has been providing to Microsoft based computers for years. And it costs less than $5.00 a month.

So, what have we learned today?
Yes, we must back up our computers!
Backing up our computers will save us from much wailing and gnashing of teeth. It will keep up from curling up into a fetal position and weeping uncontrollably.
You may go to the head of the class - - - but first, go back up your computer!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Remarkable Life

Sojourner Truth, slave, abolitionist, lecturer and activist (1797 - 1883) was honored today with a statue in Emancipation Hall of the United States Capitol Visitors' Center. Around her statue stood a group of people who appreciated and honored her legacy: First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi among many others.

Born in upstate New York as Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth traveled extensively beginning 1843, the same year she took the name she is known by to this day. She spoke at the first Women's Rights Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts and owned a home in Northampton, Massachusetts. In her 86 years, she worked tirelessly for what could most accurately be described as human rights, whether as an abolitionist or as a suffragist.

I mean no disrespect, no flippancy, when I say she spoke truth to power.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Death & Food

We spent the afternoon down in Rhode Island with my Mom. Mom is 85. Last year she had a series of really rough patches with her health. She was one of my obliquely referenced "Elderly Relatives" or "ERs" here on the blog. Thankfully, she had some really good physical therapy and got herself a new MD who truly cares about her - her health and the whole gestalt of who she is. She is doing much better now, but I think the whole thing frightened her and shook the ground she stands on.

So now, Mom spends a lot of time thinking about and talking about "when I'm gone..." To be fair, Mom has always been comfortable talking about death, dying and ordinary versus extraordinary means. As the primary care giver for my Dad during his illness and death from Alzheimer's she had to face some harsh realities. Dad's condition prompted Mom to be abundantly clear about what she did and did not want her final days on earth to be like. She also took care of her mother-in-law and father-in-law and her own Mom and Dad in their last years. Now, she has her only sibling, a younger sister, in troubling health, living in a nursing home. So for Mom, these topics are like breathing.

But lately, nearly every one of our daily phone conversations has some reference to her death. She might have cleaned out a closet and collected some clothing to donate to charity. But in describing the process, it's couched in "so you girls have less to go through after I'm gone." Today, we had lunch over at Panera. She started talking about the fact that they cater. I knew what was coming. She wanted us to know that we could consider hiring Panera to cater the get together after her funeral or memorial service. I knew it was coming because at Carrie's bridal shower last July, Mom picked up one of the business cards the caterer had left and brought it over to us. She wanted to let us know that she thought the food was delicious and that we could hire them. "For what?" we asked innocently. "For after my funeral." she replied. We were only momentarily nonplused. Soon we were in hysterics, laughing uproariously - all of us, including Mom.

As we sat in the booth at Panera, I asked Mom if she realized how often she brought these things up. She laughed a little, then smiled and said "I enjoy planning it." Then she pointed out that the sandwiches from Panera might be too big and therefore too messy. "People would be spilling food all over my carpet." How can I argue with any of that? So the bridal shower caterer is still in the lead.

Happy planning Mom! May you be still be planning it all as you become a centenarian!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Random Thoughts In My Head

: : One of my documents in Pages (living in iWork '09) has suddenly hiccupped, won't open and is sending me an error message: "required index.xml file is missing". I'm trying not to panic.

: : I love the opening part of the Amstel Light beer advertisement, when the old man calls out "Ladies and gentlemen, let's begin!" - in Dutch. (See it here) But despite having a pretty good ear, no matter how hard I try, I cannot repeat his call accurately. I've even tried using an online translator but I get something which doesn't scan quite right: "De dames en de heren beginnen!"

: : Using a tripod with my little Canon PowerShot S2 IS always feels like too big a production. I'm thinking a monopod would be better and easier. Suggestions?

: : Any Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees game is exciting. But this home stand has been amazing!

UPDATE: The Red Sox swept the Yankees! And Jacoby Ellsbury STOLE HOME! Andy Pettitte was pitching, Jorge Posada was catching and Jacoby dove in head first and freakin' stole home! Very rare (first time in ten years for the Red Sox - maybe fifteen years for a straight steal) and extra sweet that it happened against the Evil Empire! So Good!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Lights

On Earth Day I mentioned that we now light our home with mostly compact fluorescent bulbs. I wanted to mention that there still seem to be quality differences between styles and manufacturers. We have been trying compact fluorescents for years, starting way back when they cost a king’s ransom and you could get rebate checks to help defray the cost. Most of those early bulbs were dreadful; oversized, dim and to borrow an indelicate phrase from the film “American Graffiti”, the color of the light was a cross between piss yellow and puke green! Blech!

What we have been using for the last couple of years are the compact fluorescent bulbs from IKEA. The ones we’ve had the best luck with are the “Sparsam”. I feel the ones with the frosted globe over the tubes give the light closest to an incandescent bulb. The drawback is that they do take a couple of moments to warm up. The Sparsam bulbs which have the tubes visible seem to click on faster and warm up a teensy bit faster. The quality of their light is quite close to an incandescent, but not quite as soft and warm as those with the frosted globes.

I grew up in a household where overhead lights were disliked and traditional fluorescent lights were deeply disliked. I really, truly hate traditional, overhead fluorescents. As the saying goes “I didn’t lick it up off the grass”! So for me to happily use and endorse these Sparsam compact fluorescents is high praise indeed!

Saturday Night - With Lights!

Have I mentioned how gosh darn clever my husband is? Yup. And he’s cute as button too! Anyhoo, as planned, we made a quick trip to Radio Shack and $25.00 and a little cable wrangling later, we were watching Friday Night Lights on the “big screen”. For the technically inclined, what we purchased was a VGA/Super VGA Monitor Replacement Cable. I’m pretty sure that’s what I called it yesterday. ;o)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night - But No Lights

We got hooked on Friday Night Lights when it first launched three seasons ago. (I could listen to the haunting music over the opening credits in a permanent loop!) While we were away in Washington, we missed some episodes. We just caught up with the early March episodes we had stored on our DVR from before our trip. So we headed to the NBC website where we can watch the episodes we missed. But instead of watching the episodes on a laptop, we wanted to hook our laptop up to our television and stream the online video through to it. No dice. We think we are lacking one converter gizmo thingy. Hopefully, a trip to Radio Shack will provide the missing whatnot and solve the problem.

We’ve looked at AppleTV in the Apple stores on a couple of occasions. But it seems as if that is designed to handle just rentals and purchased videos. There must be a “workaround” to stream internet content through the box. But if we can just plug our laptop into the television and stream away, that would be much more affordable.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Right & Wrong

Here in the United States, the news has been filled with reportage, discussions and commentary on torture. Specifically, the focus has been on the role the United States has played in torturing people. It has been overwhelming for me. I find the images are far too powerful; they burn too swiftly and deeply into my mind. As a result, I have been uncharacteristically unwilling to read and listen and learn. Therefore, I am woefully under-informed right now. My sense is that there is a movement afoot to shine a bright light upon what the United States has done wrong, as well as to bring our national moral compass back to constitutional true north.

I know this: torture is wrong, legally and morally. I also know that torture is unsuccessful. The Geneva Conventions are not new and radical concepts, nor are they quaint and outdated constructs. They are what decent people have agreed to as standards of treatment for non-combatants and prisoners of war.

I am not a dove. As the daughter of a World War II veteran, I know that sometimes, far too often, war is absolutely necessary. But I also know that we are better than what some of our leaders have authorized and ordered and that which has been carried out over the last several years in our name.

During this season of remembrance and Yom HaShoah, the lessons are clear and echo harshly down through the decades.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth!

Well, the Earth is probably not all that happy even though this is the 39th annual Earth Day. It’s sort of like moms are certainly happy to hear from their kids, but not just on Mother’s Day. They’d like to be remembered and appreciated all year round!

Morgan suggested we “Do something nice for the planet today.” Then she posed the question: “What did you do?

On this Earth Day Chuck and I continued to:
- Compost our kitchen scraps
- Recycle all our recyclables
- Use fabric instead of paper napkins
- Light our home with mostly compact fluorescent bulbs
- Shop with reusable fabric bags
- Combine errands whenever we use the car

What will you be doing tomorrow?

Happy Anniversary!

Happy third wedding anniversary to Phil and Kate!
May happiness always be yours!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yom HaShoah

Shoah is the Hebrew word for whirlwind or destruction and has come to be the word which describes the Holocaust of European Jewry from 1933 to 1945. This date was established in Israel in 1951 as a day of remembrance for all the Jews, approximately six million, who were murdered during the Holocaust by the Nazis.

Within the vast horror of the icy cold number ”six million” are individuals: men, women, children, babies, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, families, friends, neighbors, citizens, laborers, rabbis. Every single person had a life; a past, a present and a future destroyed.

We were first told to undress
clothes on one side, shoes on other
then we entered the room,
naked as the day of our birth.
It was here that we were given a number
and heard the Konzentrationlagerfuehrer 
[Concentration Camp Commandant] say:
“From this day forth, you are all numbers.
You no longer have names.
You have no identities.
You have no nationalities.
All you have is your number,
and besides your number,
you have nothing at all.”

- Excerpt from the diary of Jacob, age 17

During the remembrance services on Yom HaShoah names of the dead are read along with this poem:

Unto Every Person There is a Name

Unto every person there is a name
bestowed on him by God
and given to him by his parents.

Unto every person there is a name
accorded him by his stature
and type of smile
and style of dress.

Unto every person there is a name
conferred by the mountains
and the walls which surround him.

Unto every person there is a name
granted him by Fortune's wheel
or that which neighbors call him.

Unto every person there is a name
assigned him by his failings
or contributed by his yearnings.

Unto every person there is a name
given to him by his enemies
or by his love.

Unto every person there is a name
derived from his celebrations
and his occupation.

Unto every person there is a name
presented him by the seasons
and his blindness.

Unto every person there is a name
which he receives from the sea
and is given to him by his death.

- Zelda (Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky, 1914 - 1984)

May we always remember.
May we never forget.

Wikipedia Article on Yom HaShoah
The Israeli Knesset on Yom HaShoah
Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Memorial
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

South Africa Votes!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22nd, South African voters will head to the polls.
Are you wondering why that’s important to more than just the citizens of South Africa?
Then read this Time Magazine article entitled “Why It Matters”. You can also view a slideshow on the elections at the Washington Post.

My thoughts and best wishes are with all my SA blog friends!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Ran Away...

Yup. I ran away and I took Chuck with me. Actually, we both got that crazy cabin fever meets spring fever meets gotta take a road trip now feeling at the very same time. Then we both started thinking “beach”. The only drawback to living out in the hills of Worcester County is that an ocean beach of any kind is about two hours away by car. For someone like me who grew up just a couple of blocks away from Greenwich Bay, which flowed into Narragansett Bay and had Sand Hill Cove, the best family beach in Rhode Island, just 35 minutes away, two hours for a beach fix is far.

But it’s not too far! We headed out toward the North Shore, finalizing our plans as we drove. Soon we settled on Woodman’s in Essex (home of the first fried clam) for an early dinner. The sun was shining and it was breezy and mild. The food at Woodman’s, as always, was delicious. It was typically busy but not jam packed like a summer weekend. After dinner, Chuck stopped at the little ice cream place at the back of Woodman’s (who has room for dessert after fried seafood?) and asked the gal at the window where we could find a sandy beach nearby. She countered with a sandy beach she could give us the simplest directions to.

So off we went to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea. It was fabulous, just what the doctor ordered. We spent a little over an hour walking up and down the beach, so named because when you scuff along the sand, it makes a squeaking or singing sound - very cool. We beachcombed and visited with a couple of dozen dogs romping in the surf and on the sand - taking full advantage of their last few “legal” beach days until next autumn. The tide was approaching high and the seas were light, but I still had a great time trying to catch the perfect wave moment on film: building, curling, cresting, crashing, foaming, rolling, receding and repeat...

Now if we plan to run away again is that really running away or a day trip? I’m not about to jinx it. Running away has a much better ring to it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Double Dutch

I was thinking of this double daffodil when I chose the title. But just typing it sends me back to a black-topped playground, wearing a plaid uniform with constantly slipping knee socks and feeling more awkward than usual as I tried not to get hopelessly tangled in the twin jump ropes!

I was much better at the clapping games...

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Early Bird

Alongside our driveway there is a wonderful mass of daffodils, all yellow on yellow. Every year the green leaves push up all at once and later - much later for the impatient among us - the yellow buds unfurl in unison. This year we have an early bird.

And because there has been some discussion of floral versions of fried eggs over on Morgan’s blog, I just had to upload the photo below. (Does that mean the early bird laid an egg? Sorry! I couldn’t resist!)

Layout, photos and text by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto ’09 & Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Mac. Font: Helvetica.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Survey & Free Digi-Kit

Jessica Sprague, digital scrapbooking teacher extraordinaire, is conducting a digital scrapbooking survey. Whether you can work in Photoshop Elements or Creative Suite with your eyes closed or you have barely put your toe in the digital scrapbooking water, Jessica wants to hear from you.

If you go and answer a 21 question survey, at the end you can download a FREE Digital Scrapbooking Mini-Kit (image above). Which feels more substantial than the term “mini” implies!

You can click here to take the survey. Then download your kit and start having some digi-scrap fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greater Than 98.6F/37C

Perhaps what I have been describing as my “calendar addled brain” is really just a severe case of spring fever. I like that better than any other explanation I’ve come up with. “Spring fever” has a cheery and mercifully recoverable ring to it! And how long can spring fever last? No later than the first day of summer, which is just a mere 68 days away, right?


Actually, we have continued to keep busy ever since we returned home two weeks ago. Little details keep popping up regarding Chuck’s Dad. Happily, Chuck and his sister get along very well (Chuck has said that even if Carol weren’t his sister he would want her as his friend.) and all details are soon sorted out and put to rights. Chuck managed to track down a woman that his Dad had served with in UNRRA (the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) at the end of World War II. They had kept in touch over the years and we knew she would want to know about Dad’s passing. Turns out she is 98, sharp as a tack and still lives on her own at her farm in the upper midwest. May some of this good health and longevity rub off on us all!

We’ve made two trips to Rhode Island, including Easter Sunday at Carrie and Al’s home. It was a lot of fun to see everyone and also included a valiant effort to keep up with three different sporting events being televised that afternoon - none of which had the desired outcome! (What’s happening with my beloved Boston Red Sox this season?) And the yummy Easter dinner leftovers are continuing to keep us well fed - thank you Al, Carrie and Joan!

We’ve also been taking advantage of the nicer weather and getting out in the genuine, honest to goodness sunshine for our walks over at the track. So other than feeling more disorganized than I would like, this spring fever thing’s not so bad.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meet Susan Boyle

Do you remember Paul Pott? Well, lightning has struck twice!

Embedding was disabled by YouTube so I couldn’t put the video here on the blog, but PLEASE click this link to listen Susan Boyle sing “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables.

Oh, grab a hanky first...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blue Pearl

My taste in music has always been eclectic, as evidenced by this “Radio Me” post. That list showed artists ranging from Edith Piaf to Elvis Costello to Hoobastank to Frank Sinatra. But two albums always place in my top ten: Pearl (more info here) by Janis Joplin and ”Blue” (more info here) by Joni Mitchell.

If I am in good spirits I am likely to sing in the shower - with or without an iPod for accompaniment. Usually, some one of the songs off either of those two albums will make it into that day’s medley. “Pearl” was released in 1971, as was “Blue”. I was about 13 years old. I don’t remember being between 12 and 14 as particularly stellar years for me (she shudders). Yet for about 38 years (Anyone have some smelling salts?) Janis and Joni have contributed to the ongoing soundtrack of my life. A pretty high quality soundtrack, if I do say so myself.

What’s on your soundtrack?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Making Home Affordable

Yesterday, President Obama announced a new website: Making Home Affordable.GOV. It’s part of the overall Financial Stability Plan. It’s designed to help “stabilize our housing market and help up to 7 to 9 million Americans reduce their monthly mortgage payments to more affordable levels”.

If you live here in the United States and you have a mortgage on your home, you may want to swing by and answer a series of questions on the website to see if you are eligible to refinance or possibly modify your mortgage loan.

Welcome Spring

Sorry I didn't get around to posting these photos yesterday. I snapped them in the morning, but I came home with a slight headache which turned into a splitter and that finished me off for the night. No worries, today I am fine.

The top photo shows the gradual re-greening of the front lawn. I find it a very happy contrast to what I posted the other day! The middle photo shows some spring bulbs, which I’m pretty sure are daffodils, sprouting up under an arm of the lilacs. All our lilacs took a beating in the ice storm last December, but we’re hopeful they’ll muscle their way back. The bottom photo is one of the volunteer crocuses/croci/crocusseses (thank you Veronica!). I don’t know how it happens. Perhaps the gray squirrels are involved or maybe the garden fairies. But every year, a new crocus or two emerges where we never planted them and never saw them before. Very cool, very pretty and most welcome.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Our front lawn the day before we flew to Seattle.
I’ll snap some springier photos tomorrow...

Here we are at Wednesday, April 8th, a full week after our returning home, and I still feel all at sixes and sevens. Sheesh! I thought for sure that Monday would dawn and my calendar addled brain would miraculously reset and I would stop asking “What day is it?” No dice. I also thought I had caught up with all the laundry from the trip. Then the boxes we shipped from Washington arrived. Chuck and I had packed up some of his Mom and Dad’s family mementos and household items. To get them home safely we used our clothes (both clean and destined for the laundry) to carefully wrap up each item. It worked well, except now my laundry room is overflowing again.

Sheesh again! Did I just tip over into full blown whining? I did didn’t I? So sorry. But as long as I’ve started...

Just kidding!

On the up side: We do have crocuses (croci?) pushing up through long cold soil. Even daffodils with their deep, dark, green leaves and heavy buds tinged with yellow, are insisting on braving the still chilly spring weather to mass on the border of the driveway. In the past week, a fuzzy haze of green has begun to overtake the scraggly, winter brown and wildly mole tunneled front lawn (as evidenced above). We’ve seen gorgeous red robins and heard spring peepers at stunning, attention grabbing volume.

So really, why should I give a hoot that my laundry baskets are full to bursting? We're home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vermont Leads The Way - Again!

In 2000, Vermont was the first state to offer Civil Unions to same sex couples. Today, Vermont became the first state to legalize same sex marriage via its Legislature rather than litigation in the courts!

The northeastern region of the United States is called New England. It’s made up of six states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut allow same sex couples the right to marry in civil ceremonies. New Hampshire offers civil unions. Maine has only domestic partnership and Rhode Island, well, Little Rhody is still struggling. But to have same sex marriage legal in 50% of this region’s states, plus civil unions in a fourth, is a pretty darn good track record for this corner of the world.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Iowa Decision, Continued

Geez, they grow up so darn fast. One minute they’re this big, the next, well, they’re just all grown up.

The photo above is of my nieces Carrie and Kate. Kate is now in law school. I will resist the nearly irresistible urge as her Auntie to brag on her in excruciating detail. But I will say the kid the young lady is smart as a whip. After she read my “Field of Dreams” post, she sent me an e-mail. I was sufficiently wowed that I am printing it here in its entirety. (I have tried to apply all the intended quotations and italics.)

Kate begins:
I have read the whole decision and I just love how well-written, easy-to follow it is.
One great part of the decision is the discussion on separation of powers, and the different roles of the different branches of government. Opponents of gay marriage often cite “activist judges” or “legislating from the bench” to rally people against a ruling like this. In my opinion, it helps those opponents lend credence to the notion that a court has overstepped its authority. But this ruling spells out the exact purpose of the court’s review.

A couple of excerpts (I added emphasis):

 “Among other basic principles essential to our form of government, the constitution defines certain individual rights upon which the government may not infringe. All these rights and principles are declared and undeniably accepted as the supreme law of this state, against which no contrary law can stand… This case, as with most other civil rights actions before it, implicates these broad constitutional principles of governing. The legislature, in carrying out its constitutional role to make public policy decisions, enacted a law that effectively excludes gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage. The executive branch of government, in carrying out its role to execute the law, enforced this statute through a county official who refused to issue marriage licenses to six same-sex couples. These Iowans, believing that the law is inconsistent with certain constitutional mandates, exercised their constitutional right to petition the courts for redress of their grievance. This court, consistent with its role to interpret the law and resolve disputes, now has the responsibility to determine if the law enacted by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch violates the Iowa Constitution. A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion. Iowa Const. art. XII, § 1 (providing any law inconsistent with the constitution is void).
Additionally, they used a heightened review standard for this case. Generally, when a law is challenged before the court as “unconstitutional,” the court gives deference to the legislature. This is called rational basis review: the law must be rationally related to furthering a governmental interest. Usually laws tend to hold up under this, as most laws can demonstrate that governmental interest.

 But when it comes to equal protection, courts up the ante. You give less deference to the legislature when classes of people come into play (think laws that impact race, like interracial marriage laws back in the day). “Thus, courts apply a heightened level of scrutiny under equal protection analysis when reasons exist to suspect ‘prejudice against discrete and insular minorities . . . which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities.’”
Here, the court applied an “intermediate scrutiny” test, which is a step above rational review. With this standard, the challenged law must be substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental objective.
As the court noted, “to survive intermediate scrutiny, the law must not only further an important governmental interest and be substantially related to that interest, but the justification for the classification must be genuine and must not depend on broad generalizations…. Classifications based on factors like race, alienage, national origin, sex, or illegitimacy are ‘so seldom relevant to achievement of any legitimate state interest that laws grounded in such considerations are deemed to reflect prejudice and antipathy.’ Rather than bearing some relationship to the burdened class’s ability to contribute to society, such classifications often reflect irrelevant stereotypes. ‘For these reasons and because such discrimination is unlikely to be soon rectified by legislative means,’ laws based on these types of classifications must withstand more intense judicial scrutiny than other types of classifications.”
The state, in its reasoning for the ban, gave a number of examples as to why the government has an interest in leaving marriage between one man and one woman. Some of those reasons, very similar to those presented in the Massachusetts case six years ago, included: best interests of children to be in dual-sex marriage homes, promotion of procreation, state resources etc. The court carefully dissects and destroys each of these reasons in their heightened analysis. So ultimately the court denied this law because it failed the harder-to-meet test.
I have attached the ruling in its entirety (here’s an on-line link) if you have the time to read it. Its almost 70 pages, but a great way to learn more about how these types of cases are decided.
Just a brilliant opinion.
- Kate

Lee/Auntie Lee again:
Ooops! I hope my buttons bursting didn’t hit anyone in the eye! ;o)

Thanks Kate!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Deception Pass

The second week we were out in Washington, Chuck’s sister urged us to do a little sightseeing. Despite many trips out there over the last decade and a half, we rarely got out to see much of the area and never had gone anywhere on our own, just for fun. The focus was always to visit with Mom and Dad and later, Dad alone. The day started out with heavy rain, but as we drove north the rain clouds scudded away, blue sky became visible and soon the sun was shining. We had been advised to take a ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor. But when we arrived at the ferry dock we were informed that the ferry had broken down. Plan B was needed.

We decided to poke around on our own. After touring Washington Park we headed off to Deception Pass and the northernmost part of Whidbey Island. Just before we got to the bridge over the Pass, we pulled over into a scenic overlook. We could see that some sort of work was being done on the bridge. Chuck snapped a few photos and then began to walk back up the road a bit to get a better view. He spotted a television film crew wrapping up and figured they must have scouted the best vantage point. As Chuck approached, the cameraman hoisted his camera back up to his shoulder and the on air news guy popped out of the van and began interviewing Chuck. After just a few moments, Chuck returned to the car saying we needed to watch the Seattle news that night.

Sure enough, back at our hotel in time for the KING-5 5:00 news, we watched as they ran the story about the Deception Pass Bridge. I had hoped to embed the video clip, but I couldn’t do it. You’ll have to be sure not to blink, but Chuck’s there, about 55 seconds in, for all of four or five seconds! I guess that means Chuck has about 14 minutes and 55 seconds of fame left to go!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Field of Dreams

Congratulations Iowa!

Yesterday, the Iowa Supreme Court found a 1998 state law defining marriage as only between a man and woman to be unconstitutional!

“We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective...
We have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law...
Civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or the religious views of individuals...”

- Iowa Justice Mark S. Cady

Iowa now joins Massachusetts and Connecticut in allowing same-sex couples the right to marry in civil ceremonies. Same-sex marriage had been legal in California until Proposition 8 amended the state constitution to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman, back on November 4, 2008. (Proposition 8 is now before the California Supreme Court.) Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey all allow Civil Unions. (The Vermont Legislature recently passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, but it may be vetoed by Republican Governor James Douglas. However, the Legislature may have the votes to override that veto.) The District of Columbia, Oregon and Washington have Domestic Partnership laws which approach the level of Civil Unions. Maine and Maryland have lesser forms of Domestic Partnership laws.

The significance and importance of this Iowa ruling should not be underestimated. Iowa is located in the center of the lower 48 states, in “America’s Heartland”, not on either of the coasts. Both coasts are perceived to be more liberal than the so called “heartland”. So the impact of the Iowa ruling extends beyond the legal to the geographical and the psychological. It’s not just good news for same-sex Iowan couples who wish to marry, it’s good news for everyone who believes in equal rights.

Friday, April 3, 2009


The Monday we interred Chuck’s Dad’s remains, eight of us went back to the same American seafood restaurant we had gone to with Dad after Mom passed away ten years ago. It seemed fitting to keep walking in his footprints. After a nice lunch, tired, we all went our separate ways. Chuck and I went back to the hotel and napped, a mixture of sadness and pride washing over us. Later, we needed to eat dinner somewhere. Neither of us could imagine facing the bright electric cheerfulness of Red Robin nor did we want to just grab a salad to go and eat it in our room. Then we remembered Orexi, a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in Bellevue. We had been there a couple of times for lunch with Chuck’s sister Carol on previous visits and it was always pleasant and low key.

We arrived past seven to find easy off street parking. Other than a large party of perhaps ten people at one long table, there were just a few other diners. We were seated immediately in one of the comfortable booths. The lighting was soft, the music the same; both were soothing. The service was perfect, attentive without being intrusive; neither too fast nor too slow. I ordered the Moussaka, Chuck ordered one of the sampler plates. We both started with a cup of Avgolemono soup which was not too lemony-tart and had a smooth consistency. When our entrees arrived they were delicious. If my parents had been Greek, it would have been “just like Mom used to make”!

Throughout the meal, we felt completely taken care of - so much so that Chuck (ever the one to share) decided to tell the waitress about our day and our reason for being there. She was very sweet and once she realized Chuck’s Dad had lived such a long and happy life, she relaxed and enjoyed the story. We thanked her for taking such excellent care of us. A few minutes later she appeared with plate of warm and decadent Galaktoboureko, with two forks and told us it was courtesy of the restaurant. She said they appreciated our coming to them at such a special time.

More tears came unbidden. This time they flowed from being touched by such lovely, thoughtful kindness.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


We’re back home safe and sound! After two weeks in the lush, green, manicured, organized, right angle gridded, numerically logical, contemporary Greater Seattle, I was delighted to touch down in the far grungier, grittier, winter brown-gray, pothole-riddled, meandering unsigned roadways, of the far more elderly Massachusetts! It’s terrific out there - really. But after spending six out of the last 52 weeks away, home feels like the real world and I began to get the uneasy feeling that Greater Seattle was way too much like Barbie and Ken’s Dream House/Dream Neighborhood. I’m not talking Stepford Wives, just a preternaturally tidy and unsullied environment. Believe you me, I know this says way more about me than it does about out there!

We’re mostly unpacked. We’ve begun the laundry. We’ve slept almost enough to recover from the red-eye flight on the once again excellent JetBlue. The cats are home from the Kitty Spa and almost ready to forgive us. We remain grateful for your kindness and support. All in all, all is well.

More tomorrow...