Executor’s notes

October 26, 2008 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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After my mom’s untimely death in January and my stepfather’s less than eight months after, my job [I could not choose to accept it or not] became sorting out their house and affairs as executor of the estate.  I spent 6 to 12 hours a day, every day except two from September 26 until the day before yesterday engaged in this work, at their house in Sequim, Washington.  The past week was so busy I couldn’t even put up any blog posts!

Nothing in my life experience prepared me for doing this.  I had some help from my brother.  It was the most emotionally charged, nerveracking and constantly challenging task I’ve ever faced.  Maybe I’ve been lucky or had a charmed life.

We had to go through the entire house and sort their belongings.  In every closet, every drawer and cabinet there were items that made a stream of memories return [and some items I wasn’t familiar with].  We had to decide what to keep, what to sell and what to give away.

A two-day estate sale took place [we had professional help with it, thankfully] where I got to watch the house get packed with people, sardine can-like… and was treated with high moments [compassion, respect and compliments from total strangers; conversations with concerned neighbors] and low [people rifling through tables and haggling over prices].

Managed to get through all of that, and completely empty out and clean the house, and did a fair job rehabbing my mom’s fabulous landscaped gardens including getting a fence built [wood posts and rails with split bamboo fabric covering] that she’d been planning.  When I pulled out of there on Friday afternoon, the place was looking pretty good.

The house is up for sale, and I am hoping that someone will buy it who is interested in continuing my mom’s vision.  That might be a longshot, but one can dream.  It is just a 1980s manufactured house, but they really made the most of it.  I found a photo album chronicling my mom and stepfather’s history with this house, from finding it, forlorn and faded tan in a mobile home park, moving it to a big lot in the county off Old Olympic Hwy. and reinventing it in bold, new colors and site improvements.  It was just five years ago that we designed and built a 400 sq. ft. deck, with built in planting containers across the whole front of the house, taking in a panorama of the Olympic Mountains. 

Such a sad business.  I guess it’s a rite of passage.

Birthday calendar

October 16, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My dad would have turned 77 today, had he not died at 74.  And my mom would have been 76 Sept. 27th had she not died earlier in the year.  The two of them were married from 1952 to 1975.  She once told me, he couldn’t keep a secret from me — I always knew what he was thinking.  Some say that two people of the same astrological sign [Libra in their case] shouldn’t marry, for just that reason.  A little more mystery and intrigue can be good.

It’s funny that I always remember the dates of everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  My dad could never remember anything like that to save his life.

10-15-08

October 16, 2008 at 8:29 am | Posted in photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Cow pasture, Sequim, Washington.

Cow pasture, Sequim, Washington.

Debate reaction, and Washington gubernatorial debate

October 16, 2008 at 7:56 am | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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Since when is a plumber a sympathetic charcater?  Only someone who has never had to hire one, and wonder how they were going to pay their fee would think so.  Most plumbers didn’t finish high school, and yet they make as much as doctors.  Their work is also recession-proof — even when the economy’s in the toilet, so to speak those pipes are going to begin leaking and flooding the basement with the same regularity.  When McCain was talking about the plumber he actually used the phrase “class warfare”.

They were sitting at desks this time, taking notes and I noticed again they are both left handed.  What is it with us and our left handed presidents?  Just a freaky coincidence, I suppose.

My favorite lines from each of them:

Obama: “We must embrace a culture of responsibility.”

McCain: “First I’d use a hatchet, then get out a scalpel.”

Obama gave credit to McCain for opposing torture.  That must have hurt since he’s now in favor of it.  McCain took credit for being the first to introduce climate change legislation in the Senate.  I wonder if he realizes his running mate believes it is fiction?

Bob Schieffer asked, do either of you want to say to the other’s face anything that’s been in the negative attacks at rallies and in advertisements?  The answer was a resounding “No!”.  Obama, cool as a cucumber like usual, said “I don’t mind being attacked for the next three weeks.”

Referring to William Ayers, McCain brushed off the subject — “I don’t care about an old, washed-up terrorist.”  Then, he basically accused Obama of lying, calling it “another example of his eloquence”.  Less well crafted speaking equals more honest?  Desperate pandering.

McCain called Palin “a breath of fresh air” but he kind of choked on those words.  Can’t fault him for that.  Is Palin qualified?  “It’s up to the American public to decide,” Obama diplomatically stated.  Right afterwards NBC went to an interview with six undecided voters.  They were sure a strange, pensive and corpulent bunch.  They were wishy-washy and split on all the host’s questions, except when she asked them, “Is Sarah Palin unqualified to be President?” and all six hands shot up.

It’s distressing to me that when talking about energy they never bring up conservation.  There might be vague references to shared sacrifice and ending our reliance on non-domestic sources.  Why don’t they just tell us we’re a bunch of fatasses who need to quit driving six blocks to the store?  That would be some straight talk!

The most offensive part [it was tough to choose] was McCain saying he would “build 45 new nuclear power plants right away”.  Yikes!  Has he no soul?  Second most was all of McCain’s discussion about education.  Like most right wingers, he views vouchers and charter schools and school choice as the answer to everything.  I think it’s thinly veiled racism, an end run around Brown v. Board more than 50 years later, and it makes the problem that inner city urban schools are at a disadvantage much worse, setting them up for failure.

Now, on to Washington state politics.  I’m camped out here for a month, and I don’t know much about what’s going on here but it sure looks interesting.  Waiting for Obama and McCain to come on for 15 mins. or so, treated to a barrage of state political ads.  Hey, you can vote for the Attorney General here, and one candidate promises to be a consumer advocate and fight corruption at all levels!  What do you know.  [Alaska is one of five states where the AG is appointed by the governor.]  You can also vote for the Lands Commissioner.  They’re also voting here on a Death with Dignity law like Oregon’s.  A Christine Gregoire commercial ran right after one for the movie W, the actor’s George W. mug shot segwaying right into the real George W. face beautifully!

Chris Gregoire, the Democratic incumbent is running for governor against Dino Rossi, Republican who she defeated in 2004 by 132 votes.  It took seven months for recounts, suits and countersuits to determine that result.  It’s rumored to be that close again but I don’t believe it.  There’s about a 50-50 mix of Gregoire and Rossi signs here in Sequim, but the race will be decided by King County and I’m certain it’s leaning Democratic.

This feels like an extremely mean and nasty campaign.  Rossi’s ads accuse Gregoire of losing the names and addresses of 1,300 sex offenders; while hers accuse Dino of wanting to lower the minimum wage by $1.50.

At the beginning of their debate Rossi noted it’s been 28 years since Washington elected anyone other than a Democrat as governor.  I’m not sure if he ever said Republican?  He seems to have disavowed all knowledge of the name of his party.  His ads, signs, and I guess even the ballot call his party affiliation “GOP”.  Nice try.

Rossi seemed to have mixed feelings.  Talking about his career as a state legislator he said, “Honesty and integrity are the only way you can survive in Olympia.  All you have there is your word.”  But before that he had said we need to fix what is wrong in Olympia [hinting at a culture of corruption, I guess].

At one point Gregoire accused Rossi of soft-pedaling and obfuscating tax increases by calling them “fees” or “surcharges” instead of taxes.  Sound familiar?  [Think Mark Begich.]

KING-TV had an interesting idea — they left a cliff notes version of the original question [from a panel of three news reporters] on the bottom of the screen during the candidate’s answer, so you could see just how far they were straying in their answer.

Update: Oh no!  Joe the Plumber might be a fiction.  A real guy, but most of the stuff McCain said about him turns out to not be quite true.

Four more weeks

October 13, 2008 at 6:08 am | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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How about that apology, Meg?

October 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm | Posted in politics | Leave a comment
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State Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and McCain campaign spokesperson Meg Stapleton spar outside the Legislature’s office building in downtown Anchorage.  This is as good an illustration as any of what Alaskans have been dealing with since Gov. Palin became McCain’s VP candidate and the McCain campaign became ensnarled in the Troopergate investigation. 

Via Liberalaska.

10-12-08

October 12, 2008 at 4:46 pm | Posted in photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Kinzie Battery, Ft. Worden State Park, Pt. Townsend, Washington.

Kinzie Battery, Ft. Worden State Park, Pt. Townsend, Washington.

Slacker Uprising

October 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Posted in politics | 2 Comments
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I watched the new Michael Moore movie last night.  A travelogue of highlights from his 62 stop tour of colleges in 2004 to try to get John Kerry elected.  The film concentrates on the one month period leading up to the election.  It seems longer than four years ago. 

He bucks the trend in his last couple films of limiting his appearances [“A little of me goes a long way”] — this one is mostly Michael speaking to crowds.  He gets pretty intense and animated at times.  Very poignant moments with parents who lost children in Iraq.   My favorite scene was from a Seattle press conference where a reporter asks, “Are your movies propaganda?” and he patiently explains that the mainstream press were the progpagandizers, cheerleading the administration during the rush to war — and he exists to counter them!  He really lambastes them for violating the public trust.  Powerful and relevant and everything to do with how the MSM has been improverished the last five or six years.  They’d better get it together soon.

We’re reminded that Kerry did very well with the youth vote in 2004 [“the only age group he won”].  The ultimate success of what Moore was doing may well take another few elections to fully realize.  I have a lot of hopes and confidence for the generation in their 20s now.

Watching what the Republicans are doing today, purging the voter rolls in six swing states, one can’t help but relive the crushing misery of the 2000 and 2004 elections.  We have to get such an overwhelming majority out there this time that they cannot steal it again.  The current polls are indicating a landslide, but the electoral college may still be close thanks to Republican dirty pool.

In my ideal world, the Republicans are well on their way to being a permanent minority.  Let’s make it happen, people!

10-11-08

October 11, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Posted in photo du jour | Leave a comment
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This is my all-time favorite place to eat in Seattle.

This is my all-time favorite place to eat in Seattle.

10-10-08

October 10, 2008 at 1:08 am | Posted in photo du jour | Leave a comment
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Ive seen a lot of interesting clouds the last few days.

I've seen a lot of interesting clouds the last few days.

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