Sunday, May 28, 2006

A more serious post - letter to editor

I just sent this in to the Coloradoan:

"The first sentence of a recent news story reads: “Word that U.S. Marines may have killed two dozen Iraqi civilians in "cold-blooded" revenge after an insurgent attack has shocked Americans but many Iraqis shrug it off as an every day fact of life under occupation.” I am not shocked. This is what war does to people.

Years ago I worked with a man who served in Vietnam. He told of a time when his unit was doing a search in a village. He walked into a small hut, and heard a noise. He turned quickly and fired his weapon. Only then did he realize he had just killed an old woman. She was not armed, she was no threat. But he felt he was in a position of kill or be killed. This is what war does to people.

I saw a movie on Iraq at the Aggie Theater. In it there is a young man who talks about killing the “ragheads”. In Vietnam, the North Vietnamese were referred to as “gooks”. In South Vietnam, on March 16, 1968, United States soldiers under the orders of Lt. William Calley entered the village of Mi Lai and started killing unarmed civilians, primarily old men, women, children and babies. This is what war does to people.

It is an exception when we hear about the killing of innocent people in war. But it is a reality of war. We should not fool ourselves into thinking otherwise."

It makes me sad to realize what is happening every day in Iraq, and elsewhere in the world. I tried to make this letter hit people, and make them think. It seems like we have our head in the sand about this war and what is going on.

Well, I won't post too many like this, but I wanted you to see what I wrote. Love to you all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sierra goodby cookout and German wine!

Well, tonight is our last night with Sierra before she takes off to Minneapolis to begin her work with the Minnesota Conservation Corps. We did a nice cookout on the patio, with roasted vegies, roasted corn on the cob, and vegie riblets - yummy!

Now Sierra is doing all the dishes - a good deal for all. We had a nice time visiting on the patio and Marianne and Sierra bought us each a lottery ticket - but no luck, darn! As you can see I started cooking when it was light, but by the time everything was done we were eating under the lights of the tree. But it was a nice evening and a great way to end our visit with Sierra. Now she's off to the North Country and a summer full of adventures with the wilderness and high school kids!

And we wanted to show off our white wine that we bottled recently - it's called a German Muller-Thurgau - sort of like a Riesling. It's very tasty and has a great color too.
We have the process pretty well figured out by now, so it seems to go easily, and the wines are coming out well. We are making one more - a malbec, and then taking a break during the summer months.

We'll have to bring some of the German wine up to the North Shore in August, so you all can sample it!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fun up North!

It's been a few days since Marianne, Quentin, Sierra, and I returned from Minneapolis and I'm still recovering! What a fun trip - with a great party, family, friends, great beer, a few projects, and even a new bird! The main reason for the visit, of course, was Karen's graduation party. The gathering was incredible - a really laid back, fun party with tons of good food and drink, some fun games, darts... all-in-all a great time. The great food included some awesome cupcakes that were enjoyed by everyone.

Nate did a great job of cooking out - various vegie burgers, brats, and we even cooked some elk steak that Karen's Dad, Jack, brought. The weather was a bit iffy, but we managed to have quite a bit of time on the newly refinished deck.

The elk steaks were quite a hit and even some of the (mostly) vegetarians enjoyed it. Yes, that is elk meat in Marianne's mouth!

Bruno was, of course, the most popular dog at the party. He was really well-behaved, and when he wasn't able to be outside with everyone, he would hang out at his favorite perch on the upper step and look out the window! It was really funny - he looked like a person sitting up there, with one leg down on the next step. He did well with all the hubub and excitement.

We also celebrated Mother's Day together. We went out to a great Irish restaurant "the Local" for their famous creamy hash browns. And the restaurant even gave Marianne a rose for Mother's Day. And the kids got Mar a very beautiful corsage. A wonderful Mother's Day!

Other highlights of the weekend included a great May Day parade at Powderhorn Park, getting to see a lot of the Chicago gang, a visit to Surly's Brewery, getting to know Minneapolis better, cheese curds at the Mall of America, a ride on the light rail, and , as Nate mentioned in his post, learning about and then building a rain garden. But the pix of that will have to await a post by Karen!

And last, but certainly not least, was a true highlight of the week for me - a new bird. I went out three different mornings, and one day I spotted the beautiful blue-winged warbler - number 515 for me in North America.

Three words sum up the visit. Best. Family. Ever.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Busy times - quick update

Yowza, been too busy to post anything for a while. So, thought I'd better toss out a quick update on the happenings.

Mom and I helped out at an immigrant rights rally in Fort Collins on Sunday. Between 500-1,000 people marched and rallied, and it was a good event. In Denver on Monday there were almost 100,000 people at their rally. It is really raising the issue and pointing out that the current system is badly broken. I just hope that whatever passes in Congress is a move in a good direction, and not a step backward. I read a good piece online about a good long term idea - that the U.S. could develop a plan to funnel money and support to Mexico and Central American countries to help them build their economies and jobs. It seems like the best idea is to use our wealth and power to help these countries, so folks there can get decent jobs and support their families and not even want to leave.

We've also been busy with lots of house and yard work. When I went to turn on our automated watering system, there were several problems, so I have to repair some hose and pipe, etc. And the springtime outdoor chores are always a long list. We got a lot done, but the last week has been busy with other stuff, so yard work is getting put off a bit.

We have two batches of wine almost ready to bottle - the Spanish Rioja and the German Thurgau-Muller. Yum! And then we will make a malbec, and then take a break for the summer. It has been a lot of fun, and we're learning and enjoying our new hobby.

We're super excited for our trip to Minneapolis. Hopefully, we can help a bit and relax a bit and maybe even see a few new birds! I have several target species - mostly eastern warblers that I'd love to add to my list. I'm at 514, so if I want to get to 600 species in North America, I need to get going!

Love to all.