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Autumn sun heats the surface of my pond.

Autumn sun heats the surface of my pond.

I have an idea to plant a weeping willow on this tiny island one day.

I have an idea to plant a weeping willow on this tiny island one day.

On my podcasts it’s all election all the time today. Even on the BBC! Thank goodness I have something else to think about. Fall brings some delicious warmth after an unusually cool and wet summer. If I still worked for NOAA, I would have been reviewing charts and models all year, and would know if it was the result of El Nino patterns, as I suspect. It’s typical Autumn weather now, and it suits me just fine. Mostly rain, but broken up with scrumptiously warm and sunny moments. Warm as much for the colour as for the heat.

See how patriotic I am! The flag has complicated meanings in the States, which pains me. Despite the meanings I *don't* want others to take, I take the chance and display my country's flag anyway.

See how patriotic I am! The flag has complicated meanings in the States, which pains me. Despite the meanings I *don’t* want others to take, I chance it and display my country’s flag anyway.

Each evening, there is a brief moment where the sun has an opportunity to hit the front of the house through the trees. That is, if it's shining.

Each evening, there is a brief moment where the sun has an opportunity to hit the front of the house through the trees. That is, if it’s shining.

I voted days ago, taking advantage of Oregon’s statewide mail-in ballot. It was an instant relief to get that double sealed and signed envelope into the mail. Ah, to be able to ignore the clamouring voices. And now I’ve sought them out for entertainment value. I watched all of the Saturday Night Live debates between Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin. They’re a riot. Kate does such a great job of portraying Hillary Clinton that I was actually able to see how people can dislike her. Personally I find the prospect of having a smart, introverted, strong, and empathetic woman for President to be nothing short of exhilarating. My anticipation dulled only slightly at the knowledge that there is a good chance that Congress would fetter her as effectively as they have our current President.

This handsome 3-point stood just on the verge of eating the rest of my honeysuckle.

This handsome 3-point stood just on the verge of eating the rest of my honeysuckle.

The next day he ate my apples, to which he is welcome.

The next day he ate my apples, to which he is welcome.

Then he napped in the grass. It warms my soul that these deer feel comfortable sleeping here.

Then he napped in the grass. It warms my soul that these deer feel comfortable sleeping here.

I was proud to be a part of my own friends group when a rousing text-conversation burst up over the topic of Meaure 97, and whether to tax multi-million-dollar corporations at a level corresponding to the rest of the nation. It’s good to know the people in my life care as much as I do about voting intelligently. I imagine Nike, Intel, Columbia Sportswear and the rest of the corporations (most not headquartered in Oregon) could stand to pay their fair share in taxes. I was taken aback that my fave bookstore in the whole wide world, Powell’s, spoke out against Measure 97, saying that if they had to pay higher taxes they might go under. I do hope they’re being dramatic. The biggest shock of all this election season came when I reviewed the voter booklet that explained the issues, and found that a corporation in Oregon has to have sales in mega millions before they are taxed as much as my own personal income tax. I am astonished to learn this.

I have yet to get a close up photo of this remarkable fellow, who is attracted to my pond for fish reasons.

I have yet to get a close up photo of this remarkable fellow, who is attracted both to my pond and my creek for fish reasons.

Here he is again, even farther in the distance.

Here he is again, even farther in the distance.

These geese make a wonderful call, that sounds somewhat human-like. I have yet to identify them.

These geese make a wonderful call, that sounds somewhat human-like. I have yet to identify them.

Lets talk about emails, because, why not – everyone else is. Emails. Emails. I recently commented on a friend’s blog that the idea of having my own personal computer server to manage my government work sounds divine. At my home office, just like the Secretary of State, I am allowed to use only government equipment. I use an aging CPU with outdated software. I call her Old Bessie, and she takes around 22 minutes to be up and running each morning (I’ve timed the process), after logging in to the protected network and verifying my identity with passwords and chip ID cards and the like, through multiple firewalls. I can sing the Jeopardy theme song after each click, while I wait for my 0’s and 1’s to travel to the hub in Illinois and back again. Our government IT department is understaffed and underfunded. I get these little warning messages all the time “You are using an unsupported version of…” but since I do not have administrative authority, I am not allowed to touch any of it. And don’t talk to me about getting new hardware, because that’s up to you, the taxpayer. There are hundreds of things in more critical need of taxpayer dollars.

Anyhoo, when I heard that Mrs. Clinton had a personal server, the emotion I felt was envy, not rage or suspicion. “If only!” If the rest of us peons had the means to acquire our own systems, you can bet the lady candidate would be only one of legions who engaged in the practice.

In the back of the property

In the back of the property

One last look at the lovely pond.

One last look at the lovely pond.

Tomorrow will be a frenzy. Thank heavens I work till 6pm and I’ll miss most of it. I have a demanding job and I won’t even be tempted to follow things a little bit, because I need to stay focused.

But ok, honestly? I’m still thinking about it. As soon as the work is done I will find some kind of live stream to plug into. Because it really does matter how this goes. I know the President is only one person, and that one person does not have the power we think she has, and that one person does not have the power the majority of people insinuate upon her. She will be a face to the world, and a champion of causes, but a woman who has to find a way to work with the team, whether that team is hostile or friendly. She will have to continue to do her job while crazies try to find a way to impeach her, and straightjacket her, and defame her. She will have to stand tall while people talk about her wrinkles and her waistline and her butt and her voice and her taste in clothes. And like many women in the workforce, she will have to do the job spectacularly to maintain even the mildest respect from the masses.

We’ve been oh, so scared to talk about it, but we are right on the edge of electing a woman as a President.

It is so important that she is elected. Who else (among women who want that job) is baddass enough to pull off a woman in the White House? I think she doesn’t care if you hate her, and I don’t care if you hate her, but she can do the job. And oh, my fingers will be crossed all night long that Americans will give her that chance.

Monday was “Gramma Day,” so my girlie and I were on our way out to Sandy to visit my Grandma Trulove in Sandy. We missed our exit, and our car was being buffeted all over the highway due to the wind, so we pulled over to check a map and make a call and tell Grandma we’d be late. She was not feeling well and asked us to visit another time.

Vista House

Because the sun was brilliant, or maybe because we were out in the gorgeous gorge, we made a day of it.

The wind turned out to be frightful, however, albeit exciting.

At the Vista House, I didn’t even want to get out of the car. Neither one of us would attempt to open the doors, because we were sure the wind would rip them right off, so I drove to a different spot and turned the car around. Miss T was certain that she wanted to get out and play in the wind like some others who were there, so I finally acquiesced, and insisted that I accompany her if she got out of the car. I was so afraid of my heavy camera BLOWING AWAY that I left it in the car.

We crawled along a grassy area, clinging to rock wall for about 15 feet, when a particularly fierce gust dropped us both on our seats.

“That was a bad idea, Mom. I’m sorry,” says Miss T, “We have to go back.” So we kept our profiles low and used the rock wall to drag ourselves back to the car.

At the steps to the Vista House, one man leaned over a metal railing and held his legs out, and then let the wind hold him up. The wind blew his legs directly out to the side while he held on to the railing with his hands. This was insane wind!

Latourelle Falls

Inside the car, we recovered, while it rocked wildly. I suddenly felt as though the wind could push our car right off the 733 foot ledge, and wanted to get out of there! So we headed down the cliff and didn’t stop again till Latourelle Falls.

We read until we passed 200 pages in Inkheart, which Miss T is reading for a school assignment. Very entertaining book. I don’t know the setting, but it reminds me a lot of Provence, France. The days in the book were hot, and that “felt” good because the gorge in Oregon was cold.

There were trees down all over the place, because of the wind, and we had to proceed cautiously on the old Columbia River Highway. After we saw a couple of guys with a beautiful load of wood, we realized we should do the same, and gathered till the trunk of my little Saturn dragon wagon was full. Sedans are not as good for wood gathering as pickups, in case you were wondering.

Tuesday a new President was sworn in!! I’m so thrilled! No, in answer to my man’s persistant questions (and possibly yours too), no, I DO NOT think Obama is going to turn the world around and make us all rich and rebuild our country with his own two hands and make peace with the Arabs and feed all the Somalis. Look, a President is one man. An American President is a man tasked with leading a capitalist country, and thus is a man beholden to big business. On top of that, an American President in the 21st century is a man plagued with an old-school Congress that is first and FOREMOST concerned with it’s own interests, and only mildly concerned with leading our country, strengthening our economy, our addressing the interests of the American public.

In other words, I have very little expectation of any U.S. President. To think the President can do anything at all is asking a great deal of a person in that positon. Obama is doomed before he even begins, simply because of the system he must operate within.

I am still thrilled that Obama is President. He is a minority, which is going to change our world even if he fails miserably. He will probably not continue the paths begun by the Bush Administration, and I am glad because I didn’t like those paths. I don’t have any answers, I just think those ideas weren’t working, and I want somebody to try something else. Obama may fail too, but let’s give something else a try. I am thrilled because in his acceptance speech, he talked about mutuality. Bush would never say that, he might not even think it. However, I think it is a leap toward peace on earth for the leader of America to say out loud and on television, that we need a healthy coexistance with other nations. Not that we need their third-world fingers to sew us more clothes, but that we need their independent success.

In my opinion, it will be little stuff like this different goal of worldwide participation, that will shift the terrible violent destructive tide of our nation. I am not saying Obama’s gonna fix our problems. I am saying that it takes a different attitude to pave the way for peace and for growth and for prosperity. I am saying that it sounds like Obama has that attitude. I hope if that’s really how he feels, he can keep strong in the face of inevitable dissent from all the old-schoolers there in his midst.

braces!

Also on Tuesday, and more of an impact in our family: Miss T got braces! She’s been wanting them for a couple years. I’ve been waiting for when I can afford it. Well, for the fourth year in a row of considering braces, I am in worse financial shape than the year before. Her mouth is maturing and the time is now. So, here ya go, Chase Manhattan, my New Year’s gift to you.

She’s doing ok with them. Very excited, but sobered by the pain. From what I recall, it goes away in a couple of days. We’ll just put more thought into softer foods for awhile.

Ok, that should cover the news for the moment.

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