Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Few More Calls

I just called eight more people for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. This time I was calling Colorado and Washington State. Several people were already out at campaign events! That's pretty exciting. I left some messages, but everyone I talked to either already signed up or eager to help out in some other way. I would call more people, but I had to charge my cell phone battery again. Anyway, it was very encouraging.

I slept late this morning and then spent the rest of the day doing random house cleaning. The kitchen floor looks pretty good now that the cookie dough and walnuts are gone. I went to Casa Ibarra with my parents and ate Vegetarian #10. As my brother has said, this blog should really be titled "What's For Supper?"

Home is Where you Lose your Hat

Several people have asked me, since I've moved into my house, whether it "feels like home". I've always said I wasn't sure, but my parents' house still felt like home to me. In fact, I may have mentioned that in my blog at some point. I have now determined that it does, indeed, feel like home, because I can now no longer find anything. I have this $25 off rebate for my Kitchen-Aid mixer that's due on Sunday and I can't find the packing slip to send in as the receipt. I could probably use the order confirmation that Amazon sent me via e-mail, but I forgot to print it while I was at work. It's possible that I could get the printer working here, but there's no guarantee of that. Driving somewhere to do it makes less sense given the gas prices and the amount of time involved. In any case, I am now making an effort to start filing stuff in my filing cabinet.

Another exciting thing (as if the last topic were exciting) was that I believe that a juvenile red headed woodpecker visited my deck this week. I feed the birds on my deck rail and as I was getting ready for work, I saw a large bird with a brown head, a black back and a bright white spotted or mottled area near the tail. It was the same size, shape and had the same mannerisms of a red bellied woodpecker. Red headed woodpeckers are pretty rare around here, so it was pretty exciting. At the very least, I've never seen a bird like that one before.

Tonight I went to see the English Concert, which was a part of the Duke Artist's Series. I enjoyed it a great deal. They played mostly baroque and baroquey classical pieces of such composers as Vivaldi and Mozart. I'm definitely a fan of Vivaldi and all the music was lovely. The musicians all performed in different outfits of muted dark blues and purples, which added to the visual appeal of the performance. The director and violin soloist, Andrew Manze, introduced each piece by providing historical information as well as pointing out some of the structural components and themes of the pieces. This was well done and often humorous. It was clear that the musicians, especially Manze, enjoyed the music and enjoyed performing it, which is always nice to see.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

If Only My DVR Could Read My Mind

Can you believe it? After anxiously awaiting Jon Stewart's appearance on 60 Minutes, I forgot to set my DVR to record it. I must have thought about it at least ten times today, but most of the time my hands were covered in cookie dough. Not only was I not able to watch it after coming home from dinner, but I won't be able to see it in HD. It's most distressing. Fortunately, I will be able to see it at my parents' house on an inferior television. I had to console myself by seeking out a video of the Jon Stewart Crossfire appearance, which was entertaining and thought provoking. IFilm has it in its entirety.

I made chocolate chip cookies today for someone at work, in order to thank him for how much he's helped me. Given how rich these are, he may have to get his wife and son to help him out.

Last time I forgot to mention the link to the Wolfpacks for Truth, which was in response to the Bush/Cheney wolf fear tactic commercial.

My parents and I went to ACME Food & Beverage Company tonight and I had fettucine with artichoke, fennel and saffron cream followed by pear and ginger bread pudding. Fortunately, I have enough to take to work for lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Voting and PhoneCorps

I voted today. We have "early voting" here, which is really voting by absentee. In my case, I voted curbside and made sure that my dad took in my ballot. I'm still paranoid about the potential of someone's carrying in my vote that might have differing political views from mine. It seems as if it should be possible to come up with some scheme to maintain the privacy of curbside voters. Or perhaps they could hold early voting in accessible locations? What a novel idea.

This afternoon I debated about whether I should participate in the Kerry-Edwards campaign PhoneCorps. I really wanted to do it, but then I discovered that I would be calling people in other states. I don't have a long distance plan and I was skeptical about whether my cell phone would be good enough at my house. I eventually gave it a try and called thirty people. I was signing up people to go door to door to ask people to vote. I left a lot of answering machine messages, but perhaps that isn't too surprising on a Saturday night.
I did end up talking to several people who were very enthusiastic about the campaign, but couldn't participate for one reason or another or had already participated in an event today. One of the women, who I talked to for close to ten minutes, was a charming 79 year old lady who reassured me that all her family members, but one, were voting democratic and stressed how very important it was that we get rid of Bush. A canvasser had already visited her earlier today and she'd already voted, but she was still happy to talk to me about her horror at what has and is happening in Iraq and how the administration compares to what she observed while living in Europe during the second world war. That's the sort of conversation that makes calling random strangers on the opposite side of the nation worth it. ..and maybe some will remember to listen to their answering machines when they get back home.

I almost forgot to stress the significance of this. I'm not sure if I've mentioned previously in my blog, but people who know me quite well probably know that I absolutely hate making phone calls. With some exceptions, such as making restaurant reservations, I feel sometimes extremely anxious before calling and other times just slightly anxious. I don't understand it and probably never will. In any case, I really wanted to participate in this, because it's something that I can actually do for the campaign and I figured it would be good for me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Battle of the Signs

Someone (a neighbor?) put a Bush-Cheney sign just outside the edge of my property line at the end of our main driveway today. I thought it was necessary for my mom to immediately go out in search of our own Kerry-Edwards sign. She rushed off to the Orange County Democratic Party to get 3 Kerry-Edwards signs, 2 bumperstickers, a David Price sign and button. So now, if you drive by my driveway, you will see at least a somewhat more balanced display. Fortunately, the sign for our Democratic congressman, Price, tips it a little in the appropriate direction. Hopefully this will not attract signs for the horrid Republicans that are running for governor and the senate. I've now added another bumpersticker to my van and my mom promises to wear the button, since I already have my own (thanks to KB!).

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Party II

I took the day off on Friday and the washing machine came by, because the door switch came in. Unfortunately, it seems that the timer was also bad, so he had to order a new timer. It will work again someday. Meanwhile, I baked chocolate chip cookies and coconut macaroons for my second party.

The second party, which was mainly intended for people who couldn't make my first party and those who I thought would like to visit with those people, was actually quite small. Everyone who had children declined, because of the difficulties in getting a babysitter or some other conflict. Nine of us, including me and my parents, sat around talking and eating for four hours or so, which was fun. I had mostly the same food as last time: lemon parmesan garlic dip, guacamole, cheeses, veggies, fruit, samsosas and the cookies mentioned above. I also had cold shrimp with cocktail sauce, which was surprisingly popular and very easy to serve. One thing that was interesting was that at my previous party, for which I had asked a couple of people to bring extra chairs, everyone stood. For this one, everyone sat down the entire time. Parties are obviously unpredictable.

Today my dad and I went to Sam's Club, because my mom had seen a digital piano that I might want for my birthday/Christmas. I read up a bit on-line about the Yamaha DGX500 and it didn't sound like something I would be interested in, because it didn't have weighted keys. We went to Sam's Club anyway, just to take a look and because I needed another case of IBC root beer. Even though the piano is not what I want, it's gotten me started looking at what's available in digital pianos and synthesizers, a market that I haven't looked at in over fifteen years. Like most electronic technology, it's come a long way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Comment on the Last Debate

I have just a quick comment about tonight's debate. I don't think the recommendation to get an education if your job is outsourced will resonate with the voters whose jobs have been outsourced that already HAVE an education. I don't think an extra college diploma or courses at a community college will help your typical laid off software engineer. Yes, many people in manufacturing have been laid off, but it's definitely not a one size fits all problem.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Random Bits

There were several things that I neglected to mention in my last post. One of the reasons that last week's mocha cake and the macaroons turned out so much better is that my mom got me an oven thermometer and we were able to determine that you have to specify that the oven temperature is 360 degrees in order to get it up to 350 degrees. Apparently, that makes a big difference.

Also, one of JH's hobbies, that he demonstrated Saturday night, is contact juggling, which looks very cool.

My washing machine died Friday night. I spent most of the day waiting for the repairman to arrive. It looks as if the door lock switch failed and he'll have to order a new one. Joy. It's only been four months! I'm going to have to outsource my laundry related program activities. It will take an average of five to seven days for the part to come in.

You may have seen on other blogs the video that compares the eloquence of Bush ten years ago compared to his recent verbal blunders. If you haven't, I recommend that you check it out. If you think of Bush as being human (I realize this may seem a bit of a stretch), it's really rather sad. What's far more tragic (and scary) is the idea that someone who has obviously detiorated this much is running the country. It's one thing to be malevolent and another to be malevolent and suffering from dementia.

You also might want to check out this superb video by the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Juggling Macaroons

This week (during the week) the two main things (other than watching the debates) worth noting were that I went out to lunch twice. On Wednesday JJ and I went to Dale's Indian Cuisine and Friday CL, PS , and I went to Moe's Southwestern Grill, in Cary. I had a burrito at Moe's that reminded me of a Cosmic Cantina vegetarian one and it was about the same price. Last night I had a Burrito Cancun at Casa Ibarra, so not only did I have Mexican food twice in once day but I had burritos for both meals. I think that's a first. We got to sit outside for both lunch outings and the weather was absolutley perfect.

I've been cooking all day. GM, JH and AE came over for dinner. I made a shrimp, bacon, pesto and mozarella pizza with a spinach salad and coconut macaroons. Yes, I've made the same pizza for three weekends in a row. I'm going to have to learn to make something else for that many people, so I can invite people back a second time. This time I didn't overbeat the eggs for the macaroons so they actually looked normal. They even browned. I was very pleased.

Having them over was loads of fun. JH started teaching me how to juggle! I must say that I made more progress tonight than I ever have on my own.

After dinner we watched Pirates of the Carribean, which was very entertaining. It was yet another movie that I'd be happy to see again.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Lenore the Weekend Blogger

This week, I enjoyed yet another stellar weekend.

On Saturday morning, my mom and I left my house at 11:15 to head for 9th street find a parking space. For the 3rd time in four years, we intended to watch the NC Gay and Lesbian pride parade. JA is heavily involved in organizing it and I like to show my support. Plus, it's a really cool parade. I've thought for years about makin a sign that says "I'm straight, but they're great!", but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Unfortunately, someone pulled into my favorite parking space, just as I was pulling into the parking lot. We like parking across from Francesca's, so we can eat ice cream while we watch. We had to park in the George's Garage lot instead and they seem to have good coffee and good peanut butter cookies.

We waited an hour and a half for the parade to officially start. It's fun to people watch before that, although I have a feeling that people watching on 9th street would be pretty entertaining any Saturday morning of the year, or any other day, for that matter.

The parade was filled with the usual collection of motorcycles, gay pride organizations, bands, floats and a few drag queens. All the rainbow colored flags and baloons were nice and colorful, as always. I was happy to see that there were lots of Kerry supporters, both marching in the parade and watching from the side.

In the evening, I met GM and JH at Southpoint. We ate at Rockfish, where we shared calamari and oysters for appetizers and I had a cup of clam chowder for my meal. It was very good. Afterwards, we saw Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I enjoyed it. It was very entertaining and funny at times. I would be willing to see it again and, for me, that's a good recommendation.

This morning, I got up and started getting ready to get started cooking almost immediately. I made a mocha cake and a shrimp, bacon, pesto (and mozarella) pizza, just like last week. I also made a spinach salad with toasted almonds, raspberries, avacado and honey Asian citrus dressing from the Cook Something cookbook that RP gave me. JJ, JA, EB and MP came over to celenbrate JJ's birthday. I gave him a 256 MB usb flash drive. I put six birthday candles on the cake, to represent JJ's age in binary. I only lit three of them. Actually, JA lit them, because I'd forgotten how to use the lighter. I had a good time, of course.