Friday, February 29, 2008

Condo Sweet Condo... Please Be Gone-go SOON!

Good evening.

By now my cats definitely know something is up. The recliner has been loaded into the SUV, as have all the clothes, food, cat food and other stuff I plan to take to Jackie's. What they don't know is that they are part of the plan. They won't particularly like it -- living in Jackie's garage or in a pen on her back patio when the weather is nice -- but it'll be better for them than living here all alone and having strangers invade frequently looking at the condo. I'll be sure to place a rug and the recliner in Jackie's garage so I can sit with them a few times during the day, so they'll know they haven't been "farmed out" or abandoned.

I dread this part of the move the most. I hate having to upset my pets, especially Ashley, the timid one. He may require therapy afterward! (Yeah, right.)

If we were moving straight to the new place, it would be easier, because all of my stuff would get there before I do and when I carried the cats in, they'd figure out real fast that, while we're in a new house, it's definitely still "home." But staying with Jackie in the interim, while the condo sells, makes us "guests," with very limited "home-based things" that they can recognize as landmarks. And since Jackie's allergic to cats, they can't be in the house with us. And boarding them would be even more traumatic for them, not to mention expensive! So -- it is what it is. I just thank God that it should only be for a short time...

Keep the kitties in your prayers during their travails and keep the condo in your prayers for a quick sale, so we can undertake the last leg of this journey and get moved in as soon as possible!

Also keep me in your prayers for a great new job using my creative and administrative skills and for an approval for unemployment compensation as I continue to look. I was told I might receive a determination today in the mail, but nothing came. Perhaps tomorrow...

Tomorrow morning Phil, Wendy and Jackie will come over and help me move the few remaining items out of the condo (the ones I can't lift by myself) and then kitties and I will be out of here.

My condo neighbors will be on the alert for anyone other than Realtor-types, day and night, and I'll be stopping by frequently for the mail. But other than that, this may be my last night in what has been a truly WONDERFUL condo experience. I adore this condo -- every inch of it.

"Then why am I selling?!" you may ask....

Because Jackie and I are the next generation in line who will be needing "help" as we age -- and the idea of getting a place together allows us to help each other and to get help "all at once" if we both need help at the same time.

God willing, we won't need much help for another thirty years, but by then homes will be unaffordable -- they almost are now! If we do it now, we can pay off the place in under ten years and be in fine shape to let the place escalate in value after that...

Just thinking ahead, you see... Not a bad idea!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Myriad Musings...My Blog Is One Year Old!

I was more than a little afraid of launching this blog a year ago. Not because I didn't have plenty to say, or because it would take a lot of time to keep it going, but because I knew it could open me up to being attacked. My opinions aren't universally held. (Whose opinions are?!) And I would have to expose myself to people's reactions -- many of them total strangers -- to the "real me," the one inside my head, the one rarely seen from where you sit or stand when looking at me.

I was just looking back over the history of this blog. It's amazing how wide-ranging it has been during its year of life -- from De Kelley to spirituality to politics to -- well, you name it, if it's happened to me this year (or been noticed by me in a major way), it's within the pages of this blog!

What I love about it is that it has all been such civilized discourse, while still being a lot of fun. No one has written in to bash anyone or anything I've covered. Not that I would allow (publish) rantings designed to bash others or myself, but the mere fact that I have not had to "disallow" any of the comments made to these blogs speaks for the decency and hearts of those who visit these pages.

All year long, I don't think I've refused to publish more than three comments, and those I did disallow were simply blatant attempts to steer readers of this blog to other web addresses for personal gain (e.g., "Make a million dollars this year..." -- with a link to some scam).

While there have been a few (very few) disagreements over particular philosophies or movies during the year this blog has been in existence, the people disagreeing have been uniformly respectful, loving, and willing to interact with me long enough and in enough detail so that, even where we've "agreed to disagree" as an end result, we have not in any way lost a friendship over any of the issues. That's what civilized people do! I just love it!

This is very different from the threads I see at most public forum sites. So many of them seem to enjoy the "gladiatorial combat" aspects of disagreeing, where vitriolic, unkind, unfair and outright defamatory and slanderous accusations are broadcast.

Case in point: I am very "into politics" this year. The last year I was this into politics was 1972.

So I went to a political website to read the comments and insights of supporters of Presidential candidates other than my own chosen candidate (Obama) to see if any of them could convince me to consider their candidate further, based on their own personal reasoning. What I found was sadly appalling for the most part: a bunch of mean-spirited zealots (in the worst sense of the term) trying to convince me, not that their candidate was the right one, but that my candidate was the wrong one! And they did this by trying to make feel stupid or naive for supporting him!

They didn't succeed.

Rantings rarely change minds or convince anyone of anything. For the most part, Obama's supporters respect -- as does Obama -- that although we have differences, our common interests and needs bind us together and need to be addressed, and we can only do that working together to make them happen.

I think all of the top Presidential contenders, on both sides, understand this. I wish their supporters did!

We're going to get a new President this year. He or she will start work next January, 2009. As I've said before, we need to keep our rhetoric in the days between now and then sober, civil and respectful, because ONE OF THESE PEOPLE WILL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT. If we want the world to respect our next Chief Executive, it behooves us to treat honorably all the public servants who are running and who are willing to put their lives on the line to lead us.

I pray for each of the candidates nightly. They can all contribute next year, but not if we keep stoking fierce fires of contention and separation.

I am SO ready for the rest of the world to become as peaceable, fun-loving and contributory as the readers of this blog have been -- and are!

Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Submissions Pouring In! Wahoo!

DeForest Kelley fans are sending me their reminiscences again for the upcoming book (THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER, FRIEND, to be released in 2009), thanks to the recent coverage from Sci-Fi Reporter, TrekToday and other websites. I'm getting submissions from sociology professors, doctors, and NASA Space Nurses. It's just been phenomenal. Keep the word out there, folks, and this new book will be a sensation when it's released!

I'm fighting a gargantuan cold and have no appetite, so keep getting weak and puny feeling. I was pretty useless yesterday, but am feeling a bit better today.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting Ready to Stage My Condo...

Busy, busy girl. We've decided to move me entirely out of this condo (cats, too) and stage it. I'm moving absolutely EVERYTHING out -- beds, the few remaining pictures, you name it. I've taken the guest bed apart and leaned it up against the wall, so it's ready to move out to Wendy's as soon as someone big and strong is here to do it (probably no sooner than Friday). I will be staying at Jackie's (with the cats in her garage) until the condo sells. Our Realtor thinks it will go fast as soon as we properly stage is. Good thing, because our hearts are set on a home we found and unless my condo sells, we can't get it.

It's been a madhouse, between taking tests, riding bikes and walking on weekends, applying for jobs and talking to the unemployment folks about my pending claim. I had a terrific visit with one of the ladies from employment security and she "gets" where I'm coming from totally, so I anticipate an acceptance. That will be very helpful until I land one of the jobs I'm going after.

So, this is an explanation for why I haven't been keeping up on this blog daily. Just too busy right now. Until I get moved and a new job and settled, I'm in "survival Mode" -- all systems "GO!" until all is well again.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ooh-Whee! What a Workout Today!

This morning I located the starting point for the Chambers Bay Walking Path near here. Jackie told me it was a challenging walk for the uninitiated, so I decided to try it out. Glad I did.

The walking path encircles the Chambers Bay Golf Course, which will host a PGA Tour next year or the year after. It's located along Commencement Bay and the terrain is very hilly.

On the way down the first hill (I walked counter-clockwise from the Chambers Bay Restaurant) I thought, "Geez, sure hope the hill [at the other end of this three mile circular course] isn't as steep as this one is!"

I seemed to be descending to the center of the earth for at least a full quarter of a mile. Others, young and speedy, jogged past me, talking. I thought, "If I tried jogging down this hill, my momentum would have me flat on my face -- and skidding -- in no time flat!"

Once at the bottom of the gulch, there was a long span of more-or-less level walking along Commencement Bay. A railroad track between me and the bay kept me entertained as trains passed, nearly every car emblazoned with colorful graffiti.

After about 3/8 of a mile the path started uphill again. At first the ascendancy was slight; it felt good. But not long after there was about a half mile stretch that was Seriously Challenging (probably an 8 or 9% grade). I went up slowly, trying to see if I could make it all the way without stopping. Almost did it. Had to stop once, three quarters of the way up, for about thirty seconds. Well, I didn't HAVE TO, but I wanted to check my pulse to see if I was pushing it beyond what I should to make it up the hills. My heart rate was up around 150-160 beats per minute. (My resting heart rate is around 60 or 65 per minute.) I couldn't remember if that was too high, but I felt it was certainly pushing the limit for my age (57 on March 5th this year), so I stayed put for about 40 seconds, then started out again, slowly.

It felt good and I felt terrific afterward. I even considered going again, but decided that might be overdoing it on the first day, even though I've been very active (walking on level ground and biking) the past three weeks.

This afternoon I did my usual 2.5 mile walk (mostly on flat ground). I plan to go to Chambers Bay again tomorrow and Friday. I'll walk in the morning both times. I need to be at the testing site for the Police Department on Friday by 2, so if I'm back home by noon Friday, I'll have plenty of time to get ready, drive to the Tacoma Dome parking lot and ride the Link Light Rail to the testing site in downtown Tacoma.

I'm on the last half of The Pillars of the Earth, Oprah's last book of the month club selection. It's hard to put down. It's a marathon adventure, for sure. I rarely read non-fiction, but this one is worth the time. And it has taken time. I think it'll cost me 30 hours or more of my life by the time I've closed the back cover! But it will have been worth it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thanks To George "Stompy" Hollo For Send Me This YouTube Link to a Merv Griffin Interview with DeForest Kelley...


SciFiReporter Has an Interview With Me Today!

Stuart Blair in Adelaide, Australia conducted an email interview with me recently. It turned out very well and was released today.

To catch the interview, simply email your request (to be added as a subscriber) to the following email address. It's free and a lot of fun to see what's happening Down Under in the Sci Fi world!

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In other news:

Jackie and I took advantage of the great weather this weekend and rode bikes for 15 miles one day. We walked the next day. Our legs are fine but we have to do something about the saddles of our bikes, for sure!

I have everything memorized for Friday's test with the Police Department (I've applied to become a Communication Officer and Dispatcher) and am waiting with 'bated breath to have it behind me so I can get on to the next step, if next step there be. I had to familiarize myself with "Dispatcher Speak" (Adam, Boy, Charles, David, Edward, Frank, George, Henry.... X-Ray, Young, Zebra, etc) and abbreviations so they won't slow me down during the test.

Bought some plants for the walk-way in front, thinking we'd be having a Broker's Open House today, but the Realtor cancelled until next week. (What we have here is a failure to communicate. Grrrrr....) I hope the plants continue to look as great next week as they do right now!

All for now. I need to get some breakfast under my belt and go get a li'l pencil sharpener. Friday's test requires two sharpened Number 2 pencils and I don't use pencils at all, so the ones I do have haven't been sharpened yet. They will be soon!

Enjoy the interview and please let others know how to access it -- and this blog!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This, From Jaycee of Ventura County...

I’ve been wondering why so many people want to cling so tightly to this notion that Barack is all talk and no specifics, even though there is clearly little difference between the two candidates on policy proposals. It’s campaign spin, obviously, but it really seems to resonate with the uninformed for some reason.

It occurs to me that maybe people are just listening to snippets of their stump speeches, and they hear Hillary deliver her laundry list of proposals while Barack talks more in broad themes and soaring rhetoric. That’s just style, people; let’s not mistake style on the stump for a lack of substance. I suppose it’s just a question of taste, but when I listen to a stump speech I want to be inspired. I want to hear in broad terms where the candidate intends to lead us. If I want policy specifics I read books or policy papers.

The most that Hillary or Barack can say at this point anyway is what they want to do if elected. What they are actually able to do in office depends entirely on their ability to rally public support and play well with others. We aren’t choosing a dictator or CEO here. You can’t simply get elected and implement your wondrous plan. You have to convince a sizeable majority of legislators that it’s in their interest to work with you.

How many Republican legislators are going to think that it’s in their political interest to help Hillary Clinton score a major political triumph like a government mandated health care system? I can say with confidence that the number will be pretty close to zero. Their jobs depend on voters whose knees jerk in unison at the mere mention of Bill or Hillary Clinton. Government mandates aren’t wildly popular with this crowd either. What good is a plan that stays on paper?

Barack doesn’t start out with thirty five years worth of bad blood and a bunker mentality. He respects those he disagrees with and they know it.

We need to decide here what it is we really want.

Are we only interested in chalking one up for our side or are we serious about getting things done for the American people? With little to distinguish between them on policy proposals; the important question is not which candidate has more experience or the better plan. The real question is which candidate can best rally public support and enlist the cooperation of traditional political enemies to address the challenges faced by the American people?

I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.

From FirstRead

Superdelegate Dilemma and the Democratic Party

I have just one comment to make to the superdelegates: If you steal the election for Hillary Clinton, when the mood of the country is so obviously for Barack Obama to become the Democratic nominee, you will be stealing the election as surely as Bush did in 2000 and 2008. If you want Democrats to vote, for sure, for the Democratic nominee, you'd best follow the will of the people.

I would be saying this same thing if I favored Clinton and the situation were reversed.

For once let's have a real contest (not a bartered and battered one) and get the person most of us apparently want as the nominee...

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Frankly, I imagine that even the superdelegates are being swayed by the candidacy of Barack Obama, so the above may be a moot point. This is a historic event, no matter which way it works out for the Democratic Party. I just know that, while Hillary can break through the "glass ceiling" for women in this country, Barack can break through it for ALL people -- and that, to me, should happen sooner than breaking through it for one sector of the population. It's time for America to live by its stated fundamental values and ideals. It has been a long, long time coming...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Response From Alison Winter -- (Senorita Invierno)

Received this lovely email from Alison in the U.K. Her perspective on the U.S. system is worth the read. Many other Brits and a few Aussies, Germans and Japanese have told me they're for Obama, too. So I know the world is watching...

Just a note to say sorry to hear about Poppy. Very sad. I just remember the photo of her in that tree from your book!

Well done for your activism as far as Obama is concerned. The rest of the world is hoping for a Democrat - mostly because we take a beating when the Republicans are in! I have to say I warm much more to Obama than Hillary, but the idea of John McCain makes my blood boil.

The only reason I can understand what is going on is because, like so many Brits, I've watched The West Wing. As fictional as it is, it helps to educate us on the U.S. political system which is vastly different to ours. It looks like a bit of a game show, to be honest! However, if Martin Sheen was president the world would be far more peaceful!

If America is to re-capture it's name built on freedom, diversity and opportunity, then Obama is the obvious choice. I get quite angry with the 'women vote' or the 'black vote' idea - really, if people vote based on such irrelevant detail then they should have their vote revoked!!!! [Emphasis Kris's.]

So much more interesting than British politics. Our parties are the same (our main two, Conservative, who don't care about poor people and any problems in the world, and Labour, who say they do but are actually also conservative when no-one's looking. Privately educated white boys agreeing with everyone else!) The third party - the Liberal Democrats - do care about green issues and are much more open to international relations. I am a member of that party, though they are a minority party. They opposed the war in Iraq, for a start!

Hope springs eternal....

I'll leave you with a hug. Keep up the good work. Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words..... etc xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Don't forget to keep up with Alison's doings and ponderings at

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Washington State Caucus -- What a Circus!

I just returned from caucasing for Barack Obama in my precinct. I was a Precinct Captain --more or less by default; only one of the participants had ever caucased before; I hadn't either. That sweet gal became my mathematician, because I'm an utter failure when it comes to convoluted mathematical formulas.

44 people showed up in our precinct -- by far a record -- and we caucased and garnered 11 delegates for Obama and 3 for Clinton. It was quite a coup, because at first three folks signed in as undecided/uncommitted and one signed in as a Kucinich supporter.

A Clinton supporter was invited to speak first. She said a few words -- very few, perhaps fifteen seconds' worth. I asked for more speakers on her behalf, but no one else came forward (of the eleven who had signed in as supporting her). Then I asked for Obama supporters to speak. When no one stepped forward, I gave about a minute and a half spiel about why I feel he's what the country needs right now and how I felt he was more than an equal match for McCain. I also said that while a Clinton candidacy would break through the glass window for women once and for all, an Obama candidacy would break though every kind of ceiling for everyone whose futures are presently conscripted, not just women.

The three undecided and the Kucinich supporters switched to Obama on the second go-'round, and even one of the Clinton supporters switched her vote to Obama. So all movement at our table on the second and final vote was toward Obama.

It was the same at every other table in the place, apparently -- and well over 4,000 people showed up to caucas. As I turned in my paperwork at the end of the event, the man overseeing the entire event was saying, "Based on what I'm seeing, Obama swept this place today."

Obama is going to sweep more than our caucus location. I believe he's going to go all the way, as he should.

He's the man for these times. People want to feel hopeful again and to know their futures aren't going to remain stagnant under "same-ol' same'ol'" political machinations.

Listen to what people are saying around you. The hope and excitement over this year's Presidential race is palpable.

For good reason!

Friday, February 8, 2008

WOW! What a Turnout in Seattle for Obama!

I drove to Seattle this morning to see Barack Obama in person at Key Arena. The place holds 17,000 people comfortably and 20,000 uncomfortably -- and every nook and cranny was packed beyond capacity. But there still wasn't enough room: 3,000 more people stood outside Key Arena in windy cold and drizzle, but stay they did, for every word, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The doors opened at 11 but Obama didn't speak until 1:10 or so. At about 12:15 other officials began to file in and take up the microphone to say a few words. A local musician went on and on interminably about a new song he had written for Obama, and then showed a music video of a choir singing it that went on and on and on. We could have done with much less intro and the music video alone... but that was the only missed beat in the event.

Just before Obama came onto the platform, Congressman Adam Smith, one of the first people to start the ball rolling in Washington State for Obama's campaign, was introduced and warmly welcomed by the crowd. He then introduced Mayor Nickels who said a few words.

The big surprise came next. Out came Governor Christine Gregoire, who surprised and pleased the whole place by announcing,then and there for the first time, her support for Obama. Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell had earlier in the month announced their support for Senator Clinton, so we all were wondering if the Governor would follow suit, but she tickled everyone in attendance with this energetic, skillful and joyous announcement.

When Obama came on, the place roared, stomped, yelled, screamed and chanted, "Obama! Obama! Obama!" and when he said we, as a nation, can reclaim our soul (I'm paraphrasing the content of his messsage), the crowd chanted, "Yes, We Can!" echoing an earlier speech he made that has morphed into a campaign song that's running wild in cyberspace. (It's also available on his website at

He spoke for about 45 minutes. He had the people in the palm of his hand. I was near tears before he came on as I looked around at the rainbow of colors, creeds, nationalities, and both genders of all ages-- all gathered and with such hope and enthusiasm in their eyes and stances.

I can't even imagine a better way to move forward than with Barack Obama. He has captured our imaginations and has transformed a ho-hum sense of inevitable sameness within the political system into an electric, energetic, hope-filled movement.

He has a very large percentage of the world thinking "Yes, We Can!" again.

And yes -- we can -- with leadership like his!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Poppy and Deaken -- Together Again Across Rainbow Bridge

Sad but inevitable news: I had Poppy, my black-and-white cat, put to sleep this morning. She would have been 17 in April but developed internal tumors over the course of the past several months and started to hurt and yowl, so it was time. This is every pet owner's most difficult decision: When it's time to release a pet from its suffering, it is so very hard to do...

But I take comfort in knowing that she is with her "papa Deaken" again, the serval "dad" she missed so much after he was put down 12 years ago at age 17 1/4. (You can read about Deaken and Poppy's relationship in my book about DeForest Kelley; expect to laugh and cry!) To see the two of them together -- an African serval cat and a domestic short hair a fourth his size -- playing and cavorting together was something I will never forget.

I know they're together again, just across Rainbow Bridge, where Deaken has four legs and Poppy has her health and vitality back. I expect to see them when I get to heaven. If there are no animals in heaven, it won't be heaven to those of us who have an affinity for all of God's creations.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yes, We Can!

Let's take back America, Americans!

Hey! I'm Working For Barack! (As a Volunteer)

Starting tonight from 5 pm to 9 pm I will be helping "man"the phone banks here in Tacoma for Barack Obama!

I applied to help at his website ( and received a call this morning from a lady named Stephanie who asked if I have time to volunteer evenings until the Washington State caucus comes around on February 9th. I'd be happy to do that! I can imagine nothing better to be doing in the evenings, and I'm good on the phone. The call center is just four miles away, so it'll be a breeze to get there and help out. Wish my Obama t-shirt would get here so I could wear it to "work"! Maybe they have one there I can get...

I'll take a resume and letters of recommendation along to the Obama station in case there are people looking for a good employee during the day. It would be so great to work with people who share my enthusiasm for Obama, and perhaps even to work in the political arena in some capacity.

What's amusing and exciting is the way even the Kennedy family has been split by the Democratic prospects: Maria Shriver (Governor Arnold's wife), Ethel Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and Senator Kennedy have all come out for Barack while I believe all of RFK's kids have come out for Clinton. They must have some interesting discussions around their dinner tables -- as we all should! Good people with good intentions often have differing opinions on who should be the party's nominee. That's healthy as long as we keep it civilized and safe!

This will be a record-turnout year for voting, I believe. People are energized and invested in the outcome in a huge way. It's exciting! I hope all of you who live in the U.S. will get involved in the process in your spare time. I mean in an active way -- helping to get out the vote, encouraging people not to sit on the sidelines. Even if you're a Republican or an Independent or a Greenie or a Whatever, I want to see you out there having your say. That's what makes America great. When we all get involved, we get truly representative government. When we sit on the sidelines, we "deserve" what we get -- and it's usually pretty dismal. BUT NOT THIS YEAR! IN 2008 someone new will be elected President! Who do you think can best energize and redeem our nation in the eyes of the world? If you keep it civil, I'll be happy to publish your opinions here in my blog! Have your say but remember -- one of these candidates will be our next President and I want deference and respect shown within your comments. Civility is the premier sign of civilization. I'm sick of the Circus Maximus, kill or be killed, ambiance that too many "commentators" are using to make their case. It doesn't serve America well...

Let's resurrect Bobby Kennedy's goal: "Some men see things as they are and say, Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"

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I walked this morning for 45 minutes (fast!) and my Realtor will be by at 3:00 or 3:30 so I can sign papers to lower the price on my condo by $5K. We need to get it sold by March 22nd if we're going to get the house Jackie and I found that we love so much. Please keep me in your prayers for that...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jackie! And More...

Today is Jackie's birthday. (Jackie is my younger sister, for those of you new to this blog.) She and I had to celebrate it yesterday because she's on her way to a memorial service in Oregon this morning and may not be back until tomorrow sometime. We went to Red Lobster for lunch and had a good time. Then I went to her house and bathed her two wee dogs for her and washed their bedding, to take that task off her plate for the weekend. She said that was the best present of all!

It's cold outside but Pierce County has largely escaped all the snowing and blowing that has been in the news lately. Snoqualmie Pass across the Cascade mountain range has received national attention for its record snowfall over the past six days. It has been closed to through traffic since Tuesday except for six hours, when yet another avalanche put the kibosh on any more travel.

I used to live just on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass. in Cle Elum (klee-ell-um), Washington. Rarely does it need to be shut down. It's a major artery so many of our food supplies come across it. Even the alternate routes across the Cascades were blocked by heavy snows and avalanche danger much of the week, so if vehicles needed to get across, they had to go south and travel along the Columbia River (between Washington and Oregon) to do it. The problem with that was that at 60 cents per mile in gas for the big rigs, it was a route too far and would have caused carriers to lose money instead of making it, so most drivers elected to sit tight and wait for the highways to become passable again... No one could tell, from hour to hour, whether or if the roads would be safe again, so it had to be really frustrating for drivers.

Here in the Tacoma area it's cold and occasionally a little wet, but I've been able to walk outside the past two days. The exercise is keeping me from going stir-crazy while I apply for jobs left and right. That's a good thing!

Jackie promises to be back in town by the time Super Bowl starts. She is the official "game house" for Super Bowl every year. Wendy is taking on the responsibility of gathering the party goods, since Jackie isn't here to do it.

I always go over for Super Bowl Sunday but never watch the game. We gals gather in another room (unless the Seahawks are playing) to talk or do crafts or play with the kidlets. The men are glued to the TV set watching every play and nuance as though the fate of the world rested on what happens there. It always cracks me up -- more than a little. I would run in and say, "Hello! It's just a game!" but fear assassination..

I wish people were as focused on the upcoming election of a new President -- it has far greater consequences -- but that isn't exactly a "team sport" unless the house is filled with like-minded people, and believe me, Jackie's isn't. We're all over the map as far as who should lead us for the next four to eight years, so we steer clear of that topic for the most part (except that I got Jackie an Obama-based birthday card yesterday -- she scowled and then laughed).

It's sad to realize that the issues that most affect us -- our religion and politics -- are two topics most people don't bring up in "polite company." One reason I'm not crazy about one-on-one conversation is that it's nearly always excruciatingly (to me) superficial; no one wants to carefully or seriously discuss (meaning listening carefully as well as talking convincingly) the issues and the feelings we have about candidates, God or anything else that's of such a personal nature. We're fearful of causing someone else to become self-conscious or self-righteous or in any way seriously impassioned, so we don't discuss much at all! That has always bothered me. I remember nights as a teenager when we ONLY discussed the most important things in life as we lay on sleeping bags gazing up at the trillion and one stars in the sky. No one castigated anyone else for believing anything, whatever it was. It was all on the table... we could wonder and compel others to wonder "What if ---" right along with us.

I am compelled right now to wonder what our nation would be like with another President Clinton, with a President Obama, with a President McCain.

My heart utterly sings when I think of Obama as President. The notion makes me feel completely peaceful, as though I'll be able to take a complete breath and feel good about government and getting involved again.

My heart is not as happy (although it's content) contemplating a President Clinton -- not because I don't think she'll do a good job, but because she comes with so much baggage that half of the nation despises her -- quite unfairly, in my opinion. The spin meisters have spun such a web of gossip and innuendo about her that her actual shape and intentions are completely obliterated. That's shameful. It's barbaric. And frankly, it stinks!

But my heart almost stops considering a President McCain. He's thoughtful, caring, and fully capable of presiding over this nation -- as are the other front-runners on both sides. I just sense that he's not on the same page as the rest of the country and that he's dedicated to seeing to it that we "win at all costs" in Iraq. I don't think we'll head in the direction we should, as fast as we should, if McCain wins this election. He's a military man in an increasingly military world. I'm glad he's on our side, but I'm not sure we can afford more militarism at a time when it's so easy to steal, buy, sell and dispense weapons of mass destruction on all sides. I know we need a strong military -- perhaps now more than ever -- but other methods need to take to the forefront if we're ever going to get other nations to stop rattling sabers and hating us. We're viewed (I think incorrectly) as imperialists even by our own allies! America needs to do as much listening as we do talking (and dictating) to others.

I'm just not sure McCain is the man for the hour we're now in. I honor him as a human being and as a war hero. I like him. We need him in this struggle. He provides balance and wisdom and substance. But the perceived "imbalance of imperialism" at the moment can, in my view, only be off-set by someone with fewer ties to the old regime, to the earlier thought processes that brought us to where we are now: as a nation under a cloud of suspicion across the globe. Much of the suspicion, I hope and pray, will clear when Bush goes, but it will still take some doing to remove the tarnish from our nation's honor. We're a good country, one that shows people that living together despite differences is not just a dream, but a quantifiable reality.

I think we need a peacemaker, a diplomat, someone who will get America back on track with our original purpose and direction.

I think Barack Obama is that man.