Saturday, February 26, 2011

And The Free Event This Week Was....

A book lecture entitled "Worst Journeys," which discussed lots of journeys where people died--which I would have to agree, would be a pretty bad journey.

It was put on by the library system as part of the Big Read project.  This is such a wonderful program, and this year's book is Jack London's Call of the Wild.  I have read the book, but not for years, but among other things, it involves a really bad journey--hence the connection.

I'm not sure what is going on nationally, but locally there have been sled dog talks and demonstrations, programs with the local Boise Police K9 units, readings, movies.  All kinds of stuff.  Just tremendous stuff. There's even a free snowshoe trial at Bogus Basin next weekend.  Until this year, I knew about the program, but had never been to any events associated with The Big Read.  THINK of all the stuff I have missed!!!!!

The local events go through March.  YAY!

Monday, February 21, 2011

And This Week's Lesson Is: Not All Companies Update Their Websites

The good part of our project to take in a different free event every week is that we have found some really great stuff that happens around the valley.  The BAD part is, lots of it is stuff we want to keep attending, but we only get to count it once.

For instance, we have been attending a 4-week lecture series on water-wise gardening/landscaping at the Boise library.  It has been really interesting, but it really only counted as a new event the first week.  Same with attending the Monday night knitting group at the branch library up the street--I'm free to keep attending, but I still need another free event for the week.  So, as you might have guessed from the lack of blogging, we've become much busier than I think we actually intended.

This past week we had a bit of a problem, as I was at the hospital with my parents on both and Tuesday for my father's hip surgery (and he's doing well and got to go home today), and Wednesday was the third part of the water lecture which Andy attended as I was pretty exhausted by that point, so by Thursday we were a bit desperate to find a free event and decided to use one of the "occurs every week" backup events, and decided to drive out to Rembrandt's Coffee Shop in Eagle to take in the Thursday jazz night listed on their website.  Andy took a magazine, I took knitting....and the jazz night had obviously taken a powder quite some time ago as there was not so much as a guy in the corner humming to himself.  I had double-checked the coffee shop's website to make sure the jazz night was still listed, but apparently that only works if the company ALSO checks their website.  Go figure.  We decided that we still got credit for the event because we did go in good faith....and we were having guests for dinner on Saturday and were running out of time.  Funny how that works.

THIS week we actually are doubly covered as there's a book lecture at the library tomorrow that I want to go to, and then Andy's woodturning group is involved with a wood worker's show and exhibit on Saturday--which is technically not free, so maybe we just have one free event and are paying to go to a wood show.  Which you don't hear people say very often.........

"Stupidest State" Is Getting Competitive

So, the Idaho legislature has passed laws allowing any healthcare provider to refuse to provide any treatment or drug that their personal religious beliefs--no matter how wacky or bigoted--disagree with.  Also in last year's session, they made it legal for you to have a gun in your car while at work--you know, because workplace shootings haven't ever happened.  THIS year they're trying to eliminate kindergarten, enlarge classroom size, have the students take online classes (which are incidentally going to be purchased from online education companies that contributed thousands of dollars to elect our Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction) instead of ones involving teachers, and have voted to "nullify" the federal healthcare law (not that this isn't unconstitutional and has been proven unconstitutional over & over) but without bothering to address the actual problem of the uninsured in Idaho.  Personally, I thought that made us a pretty serious contender for the title of "Stupidest State."  Until yesterday.

There is a bill in the Missouri Senate  that would severely modify the child labor laws that were passed in the 1930s.  I've linked to the bill, but I think everyone needs to see the intention statement of the bill:

SB 222 – This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child ages fourteen or fifteen obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under sixteen will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment

Eliminating the prohibition on employing children under 14?
Eliminating restrictions on hours?
Allowing children UNDER 16 to work "in any capacity" in motels or resorts where sleeping quarters are provided?
REMOVING the authority of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who hire children?????????????

Missouri--I am willing to concede.  You have crazier lawmakers even than Idaho.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring and Snow

Tuesday:  Toni, tired of the cold and the colorless landscape, purchases a greenhouse and excitedly brags to a friend that she is going to start planting on Wednesday

Wednesday:  The Gods of Winter, not liking anyone to rush them away, send snow, then hail, then a nighttime blanket of snow

Thursday:  Toni, only slightly repentant, decides the greenhouse might have to wait, but still feeling rebellious, puts up the spring decorations in the upstairs bath anyway, which she assumes might provoke a blizzard in retaliation tonight.

The war with the gods of spring & winter is on!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saving Public Television

Tomorrow the United States House of Representatives will be voting on a REPUBLICAN sponsored bill to eliminate--not just cut--federal funding for public broadcasting.  For most of us who understand that one doesn't get unbiased information from any source that depends on ratings and advertising dollars, it is the only source of information that truly is fair and unbiased.  If Republicans are successful, they will have stifled the voice of sanity and the propaganda machine that is Fox and all the other "news" sources owned by Rupurt Murdoch will be more powerful than ever, not to mention that the Republicans are not proposing ANYTHING to take the place of such terrific programs for children as Sesame Street.  

Please take just a few seconds to contact your elected representatives here:

The voice of reason has been silent for too long in America.  It is time to be heard.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Tuesday

*  Last week's free event was a class on raised garden beds at a local nursery.  SHOCKINGLY, most of their information involved buying products that they--just by sheer coincidence--happened to be selling.  Amazing.

*  My father had a hip replacement yesterday, so I was in Weiser at the hospital all day.  He's doing really very well, I think, but I had to laugh when one of the nurses asked if he had been able to move on his own when he came in for the surgery.  The man is 68 and until the last couple months was still jumping on and off of wagons and tractors.  But at least being really active before the surgery will help speed the post recovery surgery.

*  I have a friend who owns a chocolate shop, and they not only make their own candies, but they ship them anywhere.  This could be a problem..........

*  Saturday night we went to see a double-header basketball game between BSU (local team) and my alma mater, the University of Idaho.  I've seen lots of information about BSU trying to encourage people to watch more of the girls' basketball games because their attendance is so low, and after one night, I can tell them what the problem is:  The girls' game started at 6:00 and ended before 8:00.  Then you're supposed to wait around the stadium for more than an hour with nothing going on until the boy's basketball game starts at 9:00 pm.  Note to BSU:  Well duh!

*  Not that I have ever wanted to go back to living in a small town, but there is something AMAZINGLY reassuring about being in a small hospital where the nurses and patients have known each other for the last 40 years.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Is The Deal With Bacon????

Okay.  We've seen bacon baby food, bacon lip balm, bacon envelopes, and I have coated my kitchen with bacon grease making Julia Child's heart-clogging boeuf bourguignon.  Today, however, a friend of mine found the craziest bacon item yet:

from.........................Martha Stewart.  Ms. I-have-so-much-money-that-I-have-carved-a-$5000-cheese-wheel-to-use-as-a-decoration has taken up trailer-trash cooking.  Of course my question is--you know, besides just "Why?"--how did she cope with the layer of grease coating HER kitchen the following morning?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have You Ever Wondered...

*  If you filled the dryer with nothing but socks without mates, would they ALL disappear?

*  Do grocery carts come off the assembly line with one wonky front wheel, or is there a grocery store hidden somewhere high in a mountain retreat that gets all the brand-new carts that work?

*  We used to give people chocolate to cure all sorts of ailments.  What dratted scientist made it his life's work to prove that chocolate doesn't cure anything? 

*  Today at the grocery store, in one of those bins near checkout that are supposed to be "great deals" one can't pass up, were cans and cans of SPAM.  When did processed, congealed meat substance become an "impulse buy?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmmmmm"

*  That a kitty needs to barf on the rug ONLY when I'm sleeping, and never when I'm already up

*  I recently received a bill from Primary Health which included a $77 charge for doing a "buddy toe" wrap of my broken toe.  Are the medical and insurance lobbies just so strong that they don't feel any shame at all in itemizing a bill, stating quite clearly that they're charging almost $80 for something that took less than 3 minutes?

*  That the biggest sporting events of the year involve most people just watching the sport instead of playing it.

*  That we call it the Religious Right when it is so rarely right or even religious?

*  That so many Americans look to a big, fat drug addict and a big, fat cry-baby for "news" and guidance?  Doesn't it make you wonder what criteria they're using and who they actually rejected?

Friday, February 4, 2011


I think I finally am getting the hang of the frugal lifestyle: the money I saved by repairing a bedspread can be used to pay for the white chocolate martinis necessary to forget the ordeal OF repairing the bedspread....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What I Have Learned This Week

*  Stenciling the bathroom on the first day one feels slightly better after being sick is a great way to feel much worse the next day.

*  If one ever gets the urge to repair a bedspread, it would be far less painful to take a heavy club and beat oneself repeatedly on the head until such urge passes.  

*  The attend-one-free-event-every-week could have used an "unless one is sick" loophole

*  I can sit through a free lecture on soil improvement even when sick, but that doesn't mean that I'll retain very much.

*  Most of the advice we've received on gardening is turning out to be wrong--especially the unsolicited advice.  Which makes it pretty much like a lot of unsolicited advice one is given.

*  The blossom-end-rot-can-be-prevented-by-adding-calcium thing I once posted on here?  TOTALLY, ABSOLUTELY WRONG.  No wonder it didn't work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

I feel a bit guilty celebrating Groundhog Day this year.  This year I have been doing my best to bump off some of Punxsatawney Phil's less-famous relatives who have invaded my garden, and I feel it's slightly hypocritical.  Though maybe he's not fond of them either.  Heaven knows I have THAT sort of relatives as well.........................

Boycotting Walgreens

Here in the ever-infringing-on-personal-choices state of Idaho, a recent Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for a drug to stop bleeding for a woman because the pharmacists thought it might be being used to stop bleeding from an abortion--something that is still legal even here in Backwards Land.  The pharmacist had no proof, and it isn't up to her to decide what the drug was being used for.  The drug is ALSO used to stop bleeding after giving birth.

Idaho being the hateful state it is, the state legislature last year passed a bill saying that no doctor or pharmacist need do anything against their conscious, which is appalling enough since that can apply to filling birth control pills or other forms of contraception as well, but this pharmacist went even beyond that limit.  The drug in question was TO STOP BLEEDING.  That presumably is not against anyone's religion,  and is putting the pharmacist in the role of doctor--which shortcuts lots of pesky things like education, training, and experience that REAL doctors go through before they can make such decisions.

The full article may be found here.  And Walgreens can be contacted here.  Not that I have been a frequent shopper at Walgreens anyway, but I can guarantee I won't ever do business with them again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And TODAY'S Lesson Learned Is....

Just because one is starting to feel better does NOT necessarily mean that one is feeling good enough to attempt stenciling the bathroom wall.

Fall! Finally!

Even without extremely hot summers, I've always loved fall.  A little coolness in the air, leaves starting to turn, sweaters coming out-...