Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Catching Up - And an Award!
Sorry I have been missing in action this week. Between going away last weekend and being deluged with work-related stuff, my brain didn't even have the energy to do anything after my day but passively watch The Daily Show and fall asleep during Colbert.
First of all, I would like to thank Let's Talk for bestowing upon me the E for Excellence award! I really appreciate it!
And I must also belatedly thank Sue J. of Nailing Jello to the Wall and Dr. Zaius of Zaius Nation for honoring me with this award back before I went on vacation last month. And Tomcat from Politics Plus gave me the award as well although with his many posts I can't locate the exact date!
So to all of you, thank you so much, you are all Bloggers of Excellence and I am humbled by being honored by you.
I think by now so many of the blogs I read have received the award that let me just say I award it to all of the blogs on my sidebar, which are all excellent and I hope you will browse through and enjoy them.
I'll give you a quick update on our trip to the Adirondacks. First of all, we were really lucky with the weather: It was a beautiful sunshiney weekend and the temperatures were springlike. There was indeed snow in the higher elevations where we were looking for our weekend getaway. The snow was piled high everywhere, but it was old snow; you know, that kind of crusty, ice crystally snow that has a coating of black road dirt on it, not the pretty white fluffy stuff. Plus it was in the process of melting with much vigor, especially after the big rainstorm they had had up there on Friday. This resulted in mud - lots of mud, everywhere. And of course it hadn't occurred to us to bring boots, so we had to give up any thought of keeping our feet clean while walking around.
The realtor who took us around to the places we were investigating was new at the job, and not that familiar with the area. In fact, she hadn't seen the houses she took us to herself, so it was a learning experience for us all.
The first one we were looking for was down the end of an unpaved road. We kept driving and driving, following the realtor's car, and finally came to a barricade that said "Road Closed." She was sure that the house was supposed to be on the left side of the road so we assumed we hadn't reached it yet as we hadn't seen anything on the left that matched the house's description. So we decided to walk a ways down the road and see if we could find it after the barricade. Diva was with us so she joined us and we marched on down the increasingly muddy road full of ice and potholes.
After about 3/4 of a mile we realized there was no way this house was this far down the road, and turned back. Going back was mostly uphill, so by the time we got back to the car we had had a better workout than we'd had in months! Diva was satisfied for the day and slept in the back of the car for the rest of the afternoon.
Once back in the cars, we drove back up the road and realized we had gone right past the house without realizing it; it was on the opposite side of the road from what the realtor expected. So we finally got to see this house, which turned out to be quite nice inside; lots of knotty pine, a fireplace, nice flow to the rooms.
The other two places we looked at were not as tempting; the first was still unfinished inside and had no fireplace, nor any hope of putting one in from the way it was arranged. The other one needed a great deal of work and was being occupied by a 36-year-old bachelor whose housekeeping habits, to say the least, left something to be desired. I have a good imagination and can picture what a place would look like if it were cleaned out, but this was a bit beyond what I'd want to deal with. It's too bad, too, because it had a great view.
So, we continue our search for a weekend getaway. There are many more places for sale up in that region and we will want to see more of them before making a decision to buy something.
While we were up there, we had dinner in a nice old restaurant in Johnstown, where we were staying. The restaurant is in a Greek Revival house that was built in 1798 and serves relatively gourmet food. We were seated in the bar area as the restaurant side was full.
We ordered our meals (salmon for me, pork tenderloin for DH), and the waitress explained they included several courses. After we finished our soup, she came back and said "Are you ready for your corn fritters?" We had noticed on the menu that we had a choice of corn fritters or sorbet, but the way she said "corn fritters" made us feel that to order anything else would just not be the thing to do. So we said "sure," and a few minutes later, she brought out these dishes with what looked like large round pieces of fried dough, covered in - maple syrup. We dug in, and while they were extremely tasty, corn fritters with maple syrup seemed a very unusual palate cleanser between courses!
Naturally once our main meals came we weren't quite as hungry as we would have been, but we enjoyed them anyway.
In the meantime, a group of men came in and sat at another table in the bar. There were two older men with white hair, and three younger men in their 30's - all dressed casually, flannel shirts and jeans. They started talking about guns and which guns are the best guns, and one of the younger men went off on a long paean of praise about one particular type of gun, and what a great gun it is, and how you can use for anything, and how he once shot a moose at 400 feet right in the forehead with it, and he uses it to get white tails all the time, and so on.
I was sitting there listening to this and I said to my husband, "This sure isn't a conversation you would hear in suburban New Jersey."
I also couldn't quite imagine either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton sitting around with those guys talking about guns. McCain would probably have been able to fit right in.
Driving through the towns in upstate New York I could see the way prosperity has kind of passed them by; the houses are all older, many need paint. There are a lot of makeshift repairs on houses and on cars. The people aren't poor, but they aren't rich, and haven't been rich recently. I felt as if this is the "middle America" that is suffering the most from the Bush administration's policies, and that these are the people that the Democrats need to address in a lot of states that have similar issues to this region of New York.
But unless the Democratic candidates can make them believe they understand them at a very basic level, what they say about economic policies may not matter. I hope they'll be able to make that connection.