29 March 2006

"Tax Cut" Anyone??

It's that special time of the year. When we gather the paperwork, fill out the forms, and wait to see if we'll get a bit back... So, I really must ask; did anyone get a "tax cut"?? No, not the one you get when you buy a house, get married, or add onto your family. The "tax cut" that Mr. Bush is always touting. The "tax cut" that needs to be made "permanent", the one that was supposed to "help the middle class", people like you and I.. Did you get one??

If I did, I didn't notice it. I did, however, notice that my property taxes jumped. True, part of that was due to appreciation. But part of it was a tax increase that I voted in favor of. Local schools have been struggling to stay funded, and though I'm not directly affected by the state of the schools, I didn't want the kids in my community to have to pay the price. I live around the corner from a High School that basis it's curriculum in arts and music. I like knowing that it's there, and if I have to pay a bit more to keep it there, I will gladly do so..

A couple miles south of here, just across the state line, things aren't going so well. Last summer 6 Portland area schools were closed. This summer another 4-6 are in danger of closing. In one area they closed a Jr High and, instead, the kids attend class in the High School. How do they think that is beneficial to any of the kids? Ok, perhaps a freshman or two won't get picked on by the seniors, (why bully a freshman when there are 7th graders to harass??), but why should students be put into that situation? Why can't schools get the funding they need?? Oh, that's right. So we could get a "tax cut". The "tax cut" that made no difference in our taxes..

So where did that "tax cut" affect you? Are your kid's (grandkid's, niece's, or nephew's) schools being underfunded? Are the elderly people you love (i.e. G'ma C) having their medical benefits reduced? Is your favorite charity having to cut services?? The non-profit that runs the day center where I volunteer was just told their budget for next year was being cut by $15,000..

Thanks Mr. Bush... Thanks for our "tax cut"........

Funny how they continue to find billions to fund Bush's war.. Can't someone cut a bit of that funding?
(And, no, I'm not saying that we shouldn't fully support the individual members of the military, but can't we get them into a position where they're not in need of so much funding??... Can't our money be more wisely spent??..)

26 March 2006

Night on the town..

I'd long since had the soundtrack and the video, but when I found out that CATS was coming through town on it's 25th anniversary tour, I knew I had to see it live. And though the show itself wasn't all that I'd hoped (I don't think I'll ever understand why Grizabella ascends into the sky on a spaceship type contraption at the end), the night as a whole was spectacular.

I'd figured that I needed to find someone to go with me, so one day while at the day center putting to together the latest puzzle, I decided I'd ask my friend in the suit if he'd go with me. He excitedly agreed and tickets were bought.

Last Monday he moved into an apartment and, no longer having to reside in his tarp covered hovel, it was cause for a great celebration. We decided that we should have dinner before the show, and when I picked him up from his apartment we were both ready to go find somewhere special to eat.

We came across this posh wine bar near the theater, where we drank martinis with our amazing dinner. We talked and laughed until it was time to head to the theater. He in his suit, me in my "dress up" clothes, in this fabulous bar, acting like we were "somebodies"..

The theater was old and beautiful. And, though I couldn't help but wish I'd bought my tickets earlier (we were sitting almost where the second picture is taken from), it was a joy to be finally seeing CATS live.

After the show we thought it wise that we let the lemming masses exit the parking garage while we went and found a place to have a drink. It was my mistake to offer to let him choose the location. Used to trekking across town, he chose somewhere that was literally a half mile away (yes, I checked on Mapquest, so it's not a melodramatic exaggeration). I'd be happy to go on a stroll through downtown under normal circumstances, but my shoes were less than cooperative, and by the time we returned to my car each step had turned into torture.

Still, the night was a resounding success, and when I dropped him off in front of his apartment building I knew that, though I'd gone way beyond my budget, the smile on his face was more than worth every cent...

23 March 2006


The flower fairy came and left flowers on my front porch!!.. What a lovely thing to come home to...

17 March 2006

CAT's Left Coast Adventure: Concluded

CAT and I had such a fabulous time, and thought I should share the events of the second half of his trip... Sorry, I didn't take pictures. He did, so hopefully he'll show them to you, or I'll post some after he emails them to me..... (or I'll post them anyway for those of you who are far away)

Wednesday, after we went in search of the "Original Stash" (only getting lost twice), we went up through the
Columbia River Gorge. I wanted to go to a couple wineries. The first place we went to was kind of scary, Hood River Vineyards. (This was the best website I could find for it, and the only one that actually had a picture of the building, but the lady working there was very nice.) The next place we went to, Cathedral Ridge Winery, was more along the lines of what I thought a winery should be. They had pretty good wine, and we got to meet the mascot, Rusty.

Then we went to
Big Horse Brew Pub where we had wonderful burgers with sweet potato fries. It was a really cool place that overlooked the Columbia River. Definitely somewhere I'd go back to. I'd wanted to drive back into the 'couv on the Washington side of the river, but not wanting to pay the toll (turns out it was only $ .75) we drove about 10 miles further up the river before crossing over and heading home.

CAT hadn't been out and about at night, with the exception of when he met up with his friend and his family. I decided I needed to drop him off in downtown Portland while I went off to work. I get off about 2:30 and that's when things close so I hoped he would find somewhere to have a bit of fun.. When I picked him back up, he looked as though he had a fabulous time, though he classified it as "interesting" (as he couldn't stop giggling)..

Yesterday, before heading over to the Day Center to transport food, we went and found another Geocache. I live in the neighborhood of Carter Park, and since I knew there was a geocache in the nearby park (Carter Park), it seemed like a must do activity.. Before taking him to the airport, CAT and I headed downtown where we drove around in search of a sushi bar. Funny how we had driven by at least a dozen a few days prior when we weren't looking for one.. After driving up and down a myriad of one way streets, we finally located one and luckily the food was pretty good. (Except for when he ate BAIT.. Salmon eggs are definitely not something to be consumed by humans!)

I was quite sad when I dropped him off and hope he returns soon.. Perhaps I'll someday convince him to come up and stay....

15 March 2006

45' 17.460 / 122' 24.800

Today CAT and I went on a special search. 4 Wheel Taco, Taylor's Tomb Raiders, and abeNanna may be the geocaching pro's of the family, but Chester Copperpot and Alex's Human have found the one that counts, the holy grail of geocaching, the "Original Stash" where geocaching was born!!

14 March 2006

CAT's Left Coast Adventure: Part 1

CAT and I are having such a wonderful time on his trip!! Therefore, I thought I should post a synopsis of our adventures so you can all see what we've been up to (and perhaps entice some of you to plan your own left coast adventure)... His plane arrived on Saturday an hour late. I think the pilots in Phoenix were afraid of the approaching rain.. I met him at the airport and we drove into Portland where I pointed out some of the sites, along with the grass, trees, rivers.. All those things he's surely read about, but rarely sees.. I didn't really have a game plan for Saturday so after a brief driving tour we went to a brewery/restaurant that over looks the river for an early dinner.

On Sunday, after the required trip to the bagel shop, we headed out to the coast. We stopped to see the largest spruce in North America. He's never been to the Red Wood forest so this was the largest tree he'd ever seen..

It was a bit chilly on the coast, but the clouds were beginning to part so it was going to be a lovely day. We stopped in Cannon Beach which is a dramatic way to start a first visit. The view from the overlook is just beautiful. We drove down to the beach where I attempted to fly my kite. It was probably the only day ever that it wasn't windy enough.

From there we drove up through Astoria (CAT had asked where the movie "Goonies" was shot), and over to Cape Disappointment where we toured the
North Head Lighthouse. We'd gotten there just as they were about to close so we were able to climb to the top. The clouds had departed and the view was just amazing.

Then it was back to Astoria where I showed him where the sea lions lounge on the docks. He thought this was just crazy, these big fat beasts taking over the dock right in town. I tried to convince him it was better than Sea World...

We helped free some keys that a couple had locked in their car before heading back down the coast to Seaside. There we had a great dinner of steamer clams, swordfish, and various other seafood. Then there was a stop at
The Candyman's salt water taffy store where we were both humored by the flavors.

Monday I had to volunteer, but I just transported food instead of hanging out. CAT and I had gotten an early start to the day, so before going to the day center I took him to
The Kennedy School. The same brewery, McMenamins, that has the restaurant on the river bought this old elementary school and have turned it into a pub/ restaurant/ soaking pool/ hotel/ brewery/ and movie theater. (They have many historical places like this; schools, lodges, a ballroom). CAT thought this was a great idea.. It still has a lot of "school" decor. The theater is in the old auditorium, and the hotel rooms are former classrooms (complete with original chalkboards). And it's a place that all you moms could appreciate.. They have special "Mommy Matinees". Today they are playing King Kong, and "Parents with infants are encouraged to attend this special matinee. Crying babies allowed!!"

After we got done transporting lunch we headed out to
Multnomah Falls, the second highest year round water fall in the US. It's about 25 miles east of downtown Portland and there are miles of hiking trails around there. We didn't get to do much hiking since CAT was meeting his former boss for dinner and some Jewish holiday celebration.

Today he is up at
Timberline, hopefully not breaking himself as he tries to snowboard.. They have 5 lifts, and currently have a 203 inch base with 3 inches of new snow.. You can often ski up there all year long, and I hear it has a great snowboard park.

Tonight I'm taking him to eat my at my favorite pizza place,
The Vancouver Pizza Co. where they have 7 different kinds of sauce, 8 kinds of cheese, and over 30 different toppings.. Too bad it's not summer. It's nice to sit outside on the sidewalk and people watch while enjoying the best pizza ever...

Tomorrow we are headed out in search of something very special, but you'll have to check back in to see what it is....

09 March 2006


Being as there isn't much going on with me, I thought I would catch everyone up with others that I've blogged about.

My friend C still isn't doing well with regards to her cousin Pepper's murder. They have yet to find her husband, and though he's not officially a suspect, they have labeled him a "person of interest". Sometime last week he went back to his house and cleaned up the blood and mess. He also left a note for his daughter apologizing for all she's going through, as well as his wedding band and a photo of himself.. C's family had a memorial service for Pepper last Friday but didn't tell C about it. I guess it was more important to her aunt to have C's mom there.. Understandably, the whole situation just continues to be very hard on C.. Also, I thought this was odd, though the body has been cremated, the family can't do anything with the ashes. Her husband is still "next of kin".

On Tuesday, C wanted the newspapers that I've been picking up for her. I made her come to me so she would have to leave her apartment. This was something she really needed to do. After she used my computer to look up the latest info, I took her out to lunch and then introduced her to Geocaching.. I had a feeling it was something she would really enjoy.. We intended to find one that was a multi-cache, but when the last point ended up being in the front yard of a business, we decided to come back for it when someone wasn't looking at us through the front window.. I had the locations for two others already in my GPS unit, so we went off in search of them. Unfortunately, it had been several months since I put the coordinates into the unit so I couldn't recall any of the vital information of what exactly we were looking for. Still, we did find the last one we searched for, and C was hooked.. She can't wait to go again..

My jigsaw puzzle friend from the day center is in the final process of getting housing. He's been working for a temp agency and decided it was time to get a place to live. He's so excited. We've been working on a puzzle that I picked up at the local hobby store. It's an abstract painting of a horse. Once it's done, he's going to glue it together to hang on his living room wall. He was wearing his suit again today, and I asked him if he'd put it on someday soon and go somewhere with me. He said he would, and I just now went on Ticketmaster.com where I bought us tickets to see Cats on March 24th. I've been planning to see it, but didn't want to go alone. It will be so much fun to go with him..

My fish Stick has almost completely recovered from his days of being munched on by his tank mate. All his flipper fins are back and his tail is progressing well...

That's about all that has been going on. And now that I've wasted as much time as I can, I should get to cleaning this house. Grandma's favorite grandkid is coming to visit and I need to get this place in order before he arrives on Saturday.. It will be so nice to have him here. Those of you who regularly get visitors have no idea how exciting this is. My mom, sister-in-law, and niece came to visit once but that was over 18 months ago. Other than that, I've had no visitors so this is a real treat.. Perhaps he will come back to AZ with tales of his grand adventures, and I'll have to start taking reservations.. :)