Monday, June 30, 2008

Not in control

Sometimes the wisest thing to do is nothing. Today was like that.

I have been painting like a fiend a little house that the real estate lady wants very badly to show this week. Only the owner very badly wants it painted inside first. So I put in a weekend's worth of crazy hours and then today was over there at 7 a.m. painting that goddamnable sprayed-on popcorn ceiling shit. Nasty, nasty stuff. So we got the first coat of paint on the walls, chased away the drips as best as we could, painting over the ones left by the last painters, and waited to put on the second coat.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Does that look dry?

I dunno. Maybe its just shiny paint. I thought we got satin, but... shit. Still wet.

Of course the humidity is up around 95% with thick fog coating everything with wet and doors sticking because the wood is swelled with the moisture. Oh yeah, that paint's gonna take its sweet time to dry.

So I came home to think. Only I got a message from a client canceling a HUGE job I had planned to start tomorrow. Shit fuck piss damn. fuckfuckfuckfuck. Grrrrr!

Ok, there's nothing to do for it, I guess. I called around and canceled the scaffolding delivery, the reservation on the pressure washer and told my brother in law that I wouldn't be needing his help after all. Shit shit shit.

Oh well. I had to let it go. The client felt bad and has offered to pay me for the time invested so far, and I may charge her for that, but that's ok.

I had really planned on having that money in my checking account this week, though. Rent is due tomorrow and I haven't got it. I may have it from this other job I'm on, but that check's going to come in the mail, probably at the end of the week. So I'm stuck. There is not much I can do, save vent a little and let it go. I'll tell the landlord that he'll have his check by Saturday if that's ok, and keep on working as best I can.

And willing the paint to dry.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


As I tend to do, I just bit off more than I can handle, I think.

I got a call to do an estimate the other day. I went over and took some pictures, came home and typed out a very thorough assessment, recommendation and estimate. Today I got a call from the property owner. The real estate lady plans to show the house this week, but the owner wants it painted before that happens, so could I just hop on over there and do that?

I took temporary leave of my senses and said "Sure, I can do that."


No, I can't do that. Not without help anyway. Lots of help. And everybody I know is busy tomorrow. Crap crap crap.

I got over there tonight and put up a bunch of tape and drop cloths everywhere and I managed to get some mud in the obvious holes, but tomorrow is going to be hellish. I have to prime and paint all of the walls and ceilings in a one-bedroom house. Thank god the trim is stained and will not require paint. This is nuts.

And tonight as we were examining the walls, it appears that the tenants stripped off the old wallpaper and painted over the remaining glue. It's nasty, but there is not much I can do about that right now. My job is just to get it clean and ready to sell, and that's what I plan to do. The new owner will probably gut the thing anyway and do it all over the way they want.

If anybody out there (all four of you reading that is) needs something to do tomorrow, you know how to get in touch with me. Yikes!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh! Canada!

Greetings from the Canadian Maritimes!

We came up here on Tuesday in the fog and drear, but awoke to bright sunshine and beautiful views. Laura had a bad migraine (like there are good ones?!) this morning, but it seems to have passed now and we are headed out exploring. Watch this space for a link to a website with more pictures. But here are a few for now. The sunny ones are from this morning and the foggy ones are from yesterday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Money, class and respect

My girlfriend looked at my blog this morning, sniffed and looked at me slurping my first cup of coffee.

"Slacker" she said.

Who knew it would be such a demanding thing to maintain a blog?

I've been thinking a lot lately about class. I asked my friend J to write something about money and the division of wealth in Maine, and she did some, but of course what I really wanted was somebody else to write my opinion down and publish it so I could say "See! That's what I've been saying all along!"

Oh well.

Seems like this is one of those times when if I want someone to do my job, I'd better get me to do it. Damn.

I grew up blue-collar Irish. I was taught early to resent people with more advantages than me, to resent the wealthy and those for whom things seem to come easily. Never trust anyone who doesn't have calloused hands, I learned.

So here I am living in an island paradise. Years have come and gone since I was schooled in the fine art of hating the wealthy, and I have done some recovery and growth work, so I try not to compare my own internal insecurities to other people's external appearances, but there are times when it gets tough.

I pause here to catch my breath and so I don't sound like a raving nut-head. That and it is a small community where I live and it does not bode well to speak ill of anyone particularly those in a position to hire me to do things on their properties.

I guess what offends me is the attitude of some of the wealthy. Maybe it's just the nouveau riche, I don't know. I know people with lots of money who do not behave in a manner that screams "kiss my ring."

Attitude bothers me, and I guess the waste associated with excess bothers me. When some of the owners of big, fancy mansions and estates order $30,000 worth of shrubs, pay workers to for their labor to put them in, and then decide "no, I don't like them, take 'em out!" That's the stuff that makes me crazy. It offends me that people can simply throw away the labor and effort of craftsmen who take pride in their work, simply because somebody didn't think ahead far enough to know that 12-foot high shrubs would block the picture windows looking out over the harbor.

What was paid for those doomed shrubs could pay my rent and heat my home for a year, plus buy some groceries. And it was thrown out because it was bought by stupid people who can afford to waste things.

On the other hand, I know people with lots of money who use it carefully, not flinging it around in flashy ways. Investing soundly in real estate, spending wisely to maintain and protect that investment. They treat the hired help like humans, not like appliances; they understand that skilled workers have knowledge that is valuable to their investment and they listen to it.

Perhaps what this boils down to is which kinds of people value me and what I have to offer. I'm not an expert, but I do know some stuff about stuff. I know some stuff about building stuff, some stuff about politics, and some stuff about life. I haven't lived this long and not picked up a few things of value. I guess I just like to think that someone else values what I do, appreciates what I know and what I can do, and will not simply throw it away after I have worked hard to create a thing.

I wonder how much of the animosity within the discussion of class and wealth and socio-economic status has to do with our (my) own insecurities. The uber-wealthy may be as insecure internally as the working poor. How awful it must be to have to rely on others for everything! How vulnerable it must feel to have to rely on people to make the hard look good, the house look good, and the food to taste good. I cannot imagine not knowing how to take care of things. I learned how to change the oil in a truck when I was 12, and how to rotate the tires when I was 10. Spark plugs and wires had to wait until I was in my teens.

It is easy to look with jealousy at people who have comfortable things and few visible struggles. Honestly, though, I know how I hate being at the mercy of my mechanic. I cannot imagine that kind of vulnerability every day to people who make life work.

Does this mean I have turned around to the point of pitying the poor, helpless rich folks? No. Not hardly. I reserve the right to resent the hell out of anyone who does not treat me with respect. I owe no favor to anyone who demands preferential treatment because of their social status. I kiss no one's ring. I kneel before no man (or woman). If that makes me difficult to live with, well, I guess I am not surprised. Or disappointed. I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

This has taken a very tangled path. This post has evolved over three (perhaps four) cups of coffee and several side trips around the web when my brain got stuck. What it boils down to, I guess, is a matter of respect. Don't demand what you have not earned. And respect is earned through competence, not through an inheritance or the stock market.

Money somehow seems to magnify the personality of the person who has it. A kind person who has money is seen in a saintly light. A jerk with money is seen as the consummate asshole. Arrogance is rooted in insecurity whether one has money or not, I think, and numbers in a bank account cannot make up for what is lacking in a person's insides. This has got to be frustrating to people whose only assets are in the bank.

I have no bankable assets, really, but I have more skills than many of the wealthy people I know. While money is appealing, I'd rather be able to rely on myself and my own skills to get through, I think. Having tools and knowing how to use them is more appealing to me than having money and having to rely on everyone else.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In other news Sunday

I taught myself how to make Baklava. Honestly, the most difficult part was getting the sheets of phyllo apart. The recipe was pretty easy - not a lot of technical stuff or weird ingredients. For a pastry brush, I use a three-inch wooden-handled paintbrush I got for 69 cents at the hardware store. It works fine.

Wicked Easy Baklava
1 16-ounce package of phyllo dough (the sheets are usually about 9 by 13 inches - imagine that!)
1 cup butter, unsalted (that's two sticks)

1 16-ounce bag walnuts, chopped pretty fine
dash or two of cinnamon

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
splash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350

Make sure they phyllo is completely thawed and unroll both packages that come in the box. Cover them with a damp, lint-free towel or cloth in between using sheets. It's fussy stuff. If it gets too wet, it'll stick together. If it gets dry, it will get brittle and break apart in a million pieces. (Place a piece of paper on top of the bottom six sheets so you will know when you are getting near the end.)

Chop the nuts and toss with the cinnamon. (I used quite a bit of cinnamon - maybe two tablespoons or so.)

Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and place over low heat. You don't want it to boil just yet - just melt the sugar.

butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 baking pan.
Lay in two sheets of the phyllo and brush the top with butter. Don't soak it, but make sure you get it all. Put in two more sheets, brush with butter, two more sheets, and repeat until you've got a base of about 8 sheets.

Sprinkle about 1/8 cup of the nuts over the phyllo.

Two more sheets, brush with butter, sprinkle more nuts, and keep going like this until you hit that paper marker you put in the pile when you started.

By then you should be about out of nuts. If not, use 'em up.

use up the last six pieces of dough like you have been - two pieces, butter, two pieces, butter, etc. until you get to the end of the sheets. I used a little exra butter on the top to make it nice and crispy.

Make four cuts lengthwise in the pan, then make cuts the short way to make squares. Now make cuts on the diagonal from corner to corner so that you end up with a bunch of triangles.

Try not to cut all the way through to the bottom or the syrup won't fill in the upper layers later. You'll see, trust me.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until top is golden brown.

While that's in the oven, take another look at the pot of syrup. Bring it to a boil, add the honey and vanilla, and let it boil gently for about 20 minutes. Then turn the heat off, but you can leave it on the stove and it will be fine.

When the pan comes out of the oven, spoon the syrup over the pieces. It will make the coolest sizzle sound as it hits the hot metal and bubbles into the layers of dough. Try to get it over all the pieces as evenly as you can.

After it cools about 20 minutes, use a sharp knife to cut the rest of the way through the bottom layers of dough so the pieces will separate later.

Don't try to eat it until you can pick up the pan and put your bare hand flat on the bottom without discomfort. The syrup can burn like hell.

Sunday was not spent in a complete depression. Sometimes cooking can be therapy for me. This was one of those days.

First cast

Before it started raining heavily here, L and I went for a little drive and found these. Hers is the one above the tape measure and mine is the one below.

It was midday, overcast, kinda misting a little bit, threatening to really rain. I was less than 10 feet from the guard rail on Route 3 between Somesville and Town Hill. The brook runs under the road and has recently been rearranged some by beavers. The water is dark and ferrous-looking. There was virtually no current in the pool, which is probably less than two feet deep.

On my first cast, the worm hit the water and disappeared. The bobber hit the water and disappeared right after it. I set the hook, jumped around and yelled some, then reeled it in and flipped it up onto the bank beside the highway. In all, it took about 30 seconds. Have I mentioned that I live in paradise?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


This is not your father's Father's Day post.

See, I've been crazy busy of late - not of the making money crazy busy kind, just the guests from out of town, dinner party hosting gotta clean the house kind of crazy. I've been meaning to post, but life has been against me it seems. I wanted to respond to Mike about the book thing, which was very cool, but I had to face the sad fact that I had not ready anything for pleasure in months, and that depressed me. I have two books on workaholic/recovery things that my sponsor lent to me, but (I am not making this up) I have been too busy to open them. Ain't it just a kick.

So today we're out for breakfast at Cafe This Way, the best restaurant in Bar Harbor, and I am getting more and more irritated with the overwhelming number of children that seem to be in attendance and screaming. I make some kind of comment to R, my dear friend (and long-ago second-grade teacher) and she reminds me that it is Father's Day.

Well, crap.

You see, my father is a psychotic loon. I have learned through family friends that he has been diagnosed as paranoid, delusional, and lots of other not-so-nice things. He believes he is being persecuted and that the government is out to get him. He buys and swaps guns, off the books, across the kitchen table kind of stuff. He hates fags and niggers and liberals. He utterly missed the satire that was All In The Family and skipped right to loving Archie Bunker. Suffice it to say we don't exchange cards. I fully expect to learn of his demise on CNN when it televises an armed stand-off of some kind with law enforcement officials.

So Father's Day is an awkward time for me. Coming at the end of a week of frenetic activity, with a storm front playing hell with the barometric pressure and my moods, and the sudden letdown that happens when the work is done and the house is quiet, it has left me in a weird head space.

I think I would like to recognize the good Dads out there instead of focusing on the shell of a man who long ago gave me life but who has long since ceased to be anything resembling human.

The problem is, I tried to write that stuff and it sounded hokey. The truth is, I have no idea what kind of dads my men friends are. I am sure the guys my dad used to work with would have sworn him to be a decent dad, but he wasn't. He was a bully and a coward. He lied and cheated and stole and beat me when I got caught doing those same things. He was domineering and brutal and mean. I remember what it was to look into his eyes and see hate staring back at me. Hate and disgust. Those are powerful things to lay on a young girl.

I was nobody's perfect child, I will admit that. But what I remember most about growing up was just wanting to be loved and accepted. No matter what I did, it was not enough. The last time I got straight A's was in third grade. Before I went to live with him and my stepmother. That was the last year in my childhood that I remember as happy.

See, not everybody's dads are great. I wanted to be his favorite daughter, but even as an only child, I knew that was too much to ask. I was too clingy, too eager, too scared, too insecure, too much of a little kid. Only I was a little kid.

Because of the childhood I had, and the childhood that my father had, I have opted not to have children at all. There are times I see him in my behavior, in my moods, in my anger and my rage. I never want to inflict that upon a child, and I do not know for certain that I could change it, grow beyond it, deal with it, let it go or any other method of healing. I never want a child to look into my eyes and see what I saw in my dad's - that visceral hate that cannot be explained away by I was tired, I had a long day, I didn't mean it. He meant it. I saw it clearly.

So to those of you who have a dad that you love, hug him once extra today for me. And for my blog buddy Mike who seems to be a pretty decent dad, tell your daughter often how proud of her you are.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Shame is one of those things that I love to talk about but that makes other people squeamish. Shame is to blame for so much of the deceit that exists in today's world.

I have been having an interesting conversation of late with people about coming out - meaning telling people in your life that you're queer. So many people fret so much about it, and fight so long to avoid that moment of truth when you say "Mom, Dad, I'm gay." And the reason they anguish and moan is because of shame.

We are taught early on to be ashamed of our bodies and their functions. Toileting activities are not to be discussed, unless everyone involved has had too much to drink. Sex is another thing we are taught carefully to be ashamed of. Aside from being an occasionally undignified experience, there is really nothing shameful about sex, pretty much no matter how you do it.

But shame drives us to hide things that are natural. Things that are hidden are unfamiliar, and things that are unfamiliar are frightening. It is no wonder that the Christian Civic League folks get so worked up about gay stuff. To them, we are as foreign as though we were dropped here from outer space. They can't even talk about the sex that they're having, never mind what anybody else might be doing. Good grief.

I think we should create a program to get people comfortable with sex. The idea, the concept, the act, and all its variations and accessories. Betty Dodson did ground-breaking work in this area, but has largely lapsed into semi-retirement. Oh, she still does stuff, but does not have the workshop and lecture schedule she once did. Hell, one can hardly blame her - she's been at this stuff for something like 40 years. But nobody has really picked up where she left off. Susie Bright is good, but seems to focus more on politics and age of consent stuff that makes me uncomfortable than anything else.

Nobody seems to want to talk about shame.

We are ashamed of our bodies.

We make up names for our vaginas: "down there", "coochie", "hoo-hoo", "pussy", "twat", and all the rest. I'm not a cast member of the Vaginal Monologues. You want more euphemisms, talk to one of them. We make equally silly names for our breasts, which do double duty as post-partum nutrition source and pre-coitus recreational area. We call them "boobs", "titties" and a handful of other silly things. There seems to be some kind of fear (shame) around the word "breast" and the concept of a woman's breasts. Why the fear? Why the shame? What horrifies us so much about a piece of our anatomy?

Judgement and morality play a twisted role in this as well. Random assignations of nature play a part in how a woman is perceived by society. A woman with large breasts is widely viewed as more sexual than her lesser-endowed sister. Large-breasted women hold more appeal to men (broad brush here and I know it - work with me) and are seen as having a more vibrant and sensual sex life, while women with smaller breasts are steretypically portrayed as bookish, bitter and shrill.

Is it because breasts can be a source of pleasure that we get freaked out? OR, is it because that pleasure is generally sexual in nature that we go batshit?

If you think "vagina" gives people fits, try working "labia" or "clitoris" into a conversation sometime and see how quickly people start stammering and changing the subject. It's much the same with "penis", "scrotum", and "foreskin." Try it sometime. People go nuts. Even when you are talking, in an intellectual way, about what makes people uncomfortable. They can't even discuss their discomfort. That's sad.

There are a hundred different directions I could take this thread. There is so much more to be said and explored. I guess I will ask now for reader input. If all three of you would please offer some kind of comment or suggestion, I'd appreciate it. I'd like to write more, but need something on which to focus my thoughts. Please help me out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cookies for queer rights!

So there's a voting thing happening next week. Tuesday, in fact. Primary day in Maine. It is also the day when the Maine Christian Civic League plans to be out in force encouraging people to sign a petition to repeal discrimination laws protecting people based on their sexual orientation and to eliminate funding for school Civil Rights Teams, which have been wonderfully effective in reducing bullying and creating safe schools. It would also ban gay marriage in Maine. Which is already against the law, but what the hey, it's the CCL, so why should facts and laws get in the way?

So some friends of mine are working with the great folks over at Equality Maine to staff the polling places with a sort of "Truth Squad" of volunteers. To my dismay, the volunteers will not be causing any kind of a ruckus or stink. They are merely going to let people know what exactly they are being asked to sign and ask them to please decline. They are not going to confront the CCL folks, not going to badger them, not shout at them, call them names or in any way be unpleasant.

Obviously not a job suited to my personality.

I was asked to volunteer for a shift, but after considering it with the local organizer, we agreed that I would not be the best person to represent EQME as a volunteer. So we figured out a way I can help out, but that will not require me to be nice or polite to anyone I don't feel inclined to be nice or polite to. I'm going to bake cookies for the volunteers.

K, the local organizer, asked if I would make little boxes of cookies for the volunteers and I readily agreed. Great! She said. I need 20. Oh shit.

That's a lot of cookies. Even if the boxes are small, that's a LOT of cookies.

Well, it's getting to be about that time of the year anyway, so I fired up the home cookie factory and got crankin'. At the end of the first day, I had two full batches of ginger cookies ready to be made into ohmigods, a full double batch of sugar cookies a quadruple-batch of chocolate-peanut butter no-bakes, and two triple batches of coconut macaroons. I am nearly up to my ass in cookies.

Today I cleaned the living room with my friend D, and took a vacation from cookies. Tomorrow, though, I plan to make some chocolate chip cookies, some Russian Tea Cakes, and possibly some peanut butter cookies. It depends. Peanut butter cookies and I have issues. It has to do with power and control and burned edges.

As you can see from the picture, I have a variety of tools for the job, but very little counter space. In my home kitchen, I use a plank laid across my double sink as a work-space. There is very little room. So, in order to make a little extra, I lay the board you see across the top of the open drawer to create a little more work area and to provide easy access to the things I am going to need. It ain't perfect, but it works pretty slick.

I just made a batch of macaroons for a friend of mine who is in town for the weekend. This will put me up the list of most-favored-friend status and may even garner some bribery points for favors later on. I'm hopin' anyway. My triple batch of macaroons makes 12 large cookies about the size of a half a tennis ball, plus about 50 about the size of half a golf ball. After quality control, the true yield is usually something less than that, but it's about right.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yes! Yes, we can!

Wow. I never thought it would really happen in my lifetime. We have a nominee for the President of the United States of America who is: young, black, liberal, smart, community-based, and not a part of the entrenched, corrupt system that currently has a stranglehold on Washington, D.C. I have hope. It's name is Barack Obama.

I haven't dared to hope too loudly. I know what it is to feel disappointment. I have lived in Red Sox Nation for too many years to not know what heartbreak feels like. But now I have hope.

At the caucus in my town in February, I spoke passionately of my support for Obama. I got some real applause, too, and was selected to be a delegate to the state convention. Life intervened and I was unable to go, but an alternate went in my stead. My feelings have not changed, though.

I am 42 years old. The first president I have any memory of is Richard Nixon. That should tell you a lot about how I view politics right there. He was crooked and a bully and corrupt and got his lousy ass thrown out. OK, so he resigned before it could happen, but that's what the cards were showing.

Then we had Ford. I'm not sure why, but we did. The only thing he did that was memorable to me was pardon Nixon and piss off a whole bunch of people. There was no healing of the nation going on there, it was political cronyism and it stunk as bad as the whole Watergate thing.

Then we had Carter. He was smart, really smart. Brilliantly smart. Nuclear physicist smart. But dumb as hell when it came to politics. He was ethical and naive and it bit him in the ass. He came in looking overwhelmed and a little confused and left looking like he'd been dragged behind his farm tractor over 40 acres of rough ground.

Then we had Reagan. What a prick. He was a racist, bigoted, fuck. AIDS was killing my brothers and sisters and he didn't give a damn. Fags didn't vote for him, let 'em die. For eight years, he gutted the New Deal policies and institutions that made America the place that the world admired. He trod mercilessly on the old and the very young, the weak, the uneducated and the vulnerable. He was the most highly-polished bully US politics had seen in 100 years. What a fuck. Alzheimer's was too kind for him. I'm not done hating him. Dig him up, I'll kick him again. I hold him personally responsible for the deaths of THOUSANDS of my friends from HIV/AIDS. Bastard.

Then we had George the First. He tried the kinder, gentler thing, but still supported policies to help the rich and piss on the poor.

And then I pinned my hopes on a candidate named Clinton. For the first time, the glbt crowd was courted as a voting block. We were invited to the party, and not just to be the caterers and designers. We were welcomed, and it was heady stuff. We organized rallies, got out the vote and donated scads of cash. And we got screwed. Without so much as a peck on the cheek and some lube. We got bent over. We got Don't Ask, Don't Tell, we got the Defense Of Marriage Act, and we got shown the door. Thanks a bunch, asshole.

After eight years of heartbreak, we went right back to the Bush Dynasty with Mad King George. W has been a nightmare that I don't have to describe here. We know what it's been like. The wealthiest one percent of Americans holds more wealth than the other 99 percent COMBINED. Great swaths of the population (including me) have no health insurance. Americans are working two or three jobs just to make the bills each month. Thousands of homes are being foreclosed on every month, and don't even get me started on the war.

So here we are at a crossroads. We were faced with a choice between Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Hillary spent a good deal of time running on her husband's experience. That puts a bad taste in my mouth already. And she voted for the war. She's out. Over and done. It will be a very long time before I put my trust in another candidate named Clinton. I've been burned by that stove already. Add to the fact that there is nothing in this country that would unify the Republican party quite like HRC for president, and it's a migraine to consider.

So I look at Obama. He's not perfect. He doesn't support SSM, but Michelle does, I think. But he was opposed to the war from the start. He was a community organizer. He understands the struggles of people who this year will have to choose between groceries and fuel oil. He understands that the key to progress is coalition-building, not beating your opponent into submission. That only creates a resentful foe ready to spring at the first sign of weakness. It is far better to have your adversaries involved in the process so that they have some ownership than to leave them out. Lack of ownership often gives permission to snipe or destroy a thing. If a person has worked on a project, he is less likely to firebomb it in the night.

As some of you know, I am originally from Massachusetts. It's not my fault. I got here as soon as I could. Be that as it may, the word of the Kennedys still holds some pull in my life. I grew up in a world where it was common for the front parlor (the formal room for receiving guests) to have hanging on the wall in a conspicuous place, a crucifix, sometimes with a font for holy water. On one side of the cross typically hung a portrait of the pope and on the other a portrait of "Our Dear Jack." After he was shot, many families draped the picture of JFK with black, others opted for a black and white photograph in a simple black frame. The popes and their portraits have come and gone, but Jack remains. So this is where I come from.

When Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama back in Januray, I sat up and took notice. Ted is a political animal, he endorses and opposes things all the time, but Caroline never has. Caroline is the last surviving member of Camelot. She focuses her energies primarily on charitable works - children's literacy and such. She rarely ventures into the political realm. She was born into it, has lived surrounded by and steeped in it, but rarely does she jump in and splash around. So when she wrote a piece in the New York Times, I paid attention.

Like me, Caroline has, aside from her father, who died when she was quite young, and LBJ, known only the political history that I have known. People come up to her almost every day and tell her about how her father inspired them to do great things, to join the Peace Corps, to volunteer, to get involved. Until she met Barack Obama, she said, she had not met anyone who inspired her in the same way. Here is what she said: "I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans."

This is the first time in my lifetime when I feel real hope. I feel like things might be different, like this guy is going to challenge us to be more than we are, to do more than we think we can, to stand up and say "we are America. We are better than what we've been, we deserve better than what we've accepted of late."

We can do it. Yes, yes we can. Obama '08

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Welcome to June.

Today dawned bright and sunny. So much for a rainy weekend. I am so glad now that I worked in the rain yesterday. Not. Oh well. Today is a gift, and I will take it as such.

This morning we rolled out fairly early, but L was not interested in a heavy breakfast. I forgot to make popover mix last night, she put the kabosh to French Toast, I refused another batch of pancakes (we had those last weekend), so I dug out my friend Carole's recipe for Finnish Pancakes. If a popover was a pancake, it would be this creation.

Pannu Kakku

4 eggs
2 cups milk
dash of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix all of the ingredients together (I use an immersion blender to make it nice and frothy. I don't know if it helps, but it's fun.)
Melt 1/4 stick of butter in each of TWO 9 by 13 pans.
Pour half of the batter into each pan and bake for 30 minutes, until puffy and golden brown.
Serve warm with syrup or cold with butter & sugar.

We eat them warm with butter and cinnamon-sugar. Yum.

I have no idea how many people the recipe is supposed to serve (probably six or something silly like that). We generally eat until we want to die and have half a pan left over. You mileage may vary.