One of the excursions we took with Terry's brother and sister in law was to Idaho City. This sign intrigued me. I had not known of its existence, but it's the proof that my scurrilous ancestors were in this neck of the woods. My mother's maiden name was Donahue, and I had an uncle Tom Donahue.
Getting around is growing on me. Seeing the different way people of our stripe (more or less) live, the ways they have found to live a good life as they get older, I think I would choose, if I lived on the Mainland, to become a nomad. With all there is to explore, why get tied down to one place? While it is hard for me to let go of my snobbishness about house trailers, they make sense as a way to travel and live where the highways are wide and distances great. The western scenery remains the major inspiration in my life, as I'm always reminded when we get east of the Cascades. Yes, it is wonderful to have the privilege of visiting European countries with their deep culture, but the American landscape compels me more in the end.
We have to get a cable for the camera, and when we do I will post some photos.
My host and I were talking over what we went through with our parents in their last years. She made an interesting remark regarding friends who are making this journey with elderly relatives. She said, "I see them doing things and I want to say, "Don't do that. That's not important." I know just what she means. Sometimes the greatest service you can render to others is just to sit quietly and listen.
It was a lovely evening in Vancouver, Washington, and we had a nice salmon dinner with our hosts. These are the people who visited us a while ago and have decided to move to Hilo. I believe it is mostly because they like our cat so much. The really dreadful winter and lingering damp and cold may have influenced them in making this decision, as well.
They are being so nice to us. We have a private suite with scorching fast wi-fi. Last night I had a glass of white wine, followed by another little glass of white wine, followed by a glass of red, and oh there was the gin and tonic I forgot about, and to my horror I got drunk, though not embarrassingly so. I don't have a hangover, so it must have been good stuff. We were kind of letting down after being with people we felt we had to be somewhat on our guard with, which we don't have to be around David and Laura.
Today I'll be contacting Naomi and hope to get together with her.
No longer would capitalists have to govern through clumsy mechanisms such as lobbying and bribing politicians. They could do away with politicians all together and govern directly. This would save them billions.
In case anyone believes that Friedman has any credibility at all, consider this quote from an interview he did with Charlie Rose concerning the war on Iraq:
What Islamists needed to see, Friedman told Rose, "was American boys and girls going from house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying, 'Which part of this sentence don't you understand?' You don't think, you know we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna let it grow? Well suck on this.' That, Charlie, is what this war is about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. "
The same mentality he exposes here is what is behind the idea of sweeping away our historical political parties "because we can." I hope people don't fall for this naked power grab attempt. The whole Obama fiasco should warn people that the Internet can be used to manipulate masses of people. I'm still angry that Move On put its resources behind Obama without anyone's permission, after I gave them $1,000. I will never again contribute to a political campaign.
The Friedman quote above is from The Death of the Liberal Class, a brilliant , energetic polemic by Chris Hedges. We must understand that the capitalist class is poised for complete takeover of all our public institutions at firesale prices, which they are being enabled to do with the collusion of people like Friedman. Murdoch is on his way out, and he and his band of loonies were about the only thing standing in the way of the international business class. Certainly not liberals!!! No one is worried about them, because mainstream liberals always sniff out the Zeitgeist and go along with whatever capitalists and warmongers tell them is good and true. These are the people who think Nader is at fault for Bush's takeover and who look down on Chomsky. And they love our increasingly privatized military, too.
The real power players did not mind what Murdoch and his clowns did until it became clear that Murdoch had the goods on them and could have destroyed their reputations. With Murdoch out, whatever power the press has will be done. Education is finished, as the University of Phoenix rises and charter schools spring up everywhere. Soon no one will learn anything but how to get along in the corporate oligarchy, producing, consuming, and worshipping their capitalist masters. Privatization proceeds apace in every aspect of American life, with the consent of the public, who want to live quiet, safe lives of subsistence off the proverbial crumbs from the rich man's table. Rich crumbs for some, but crumbs nonetheless as long as they have little or no power over events.
Well, time to find out what our delightful Vancouver hosts have fixed us for breakfast! We have been having some pretty hot political discussions.
Do we have the greatest friends in the world or what? Suite with wi-fi, and the host just came in with a glass of fantastic white wine. They are fixing us a salmon dinner, which we will enjoy out on their deck overlooking the Columbia. Some stuff!
posting from my kindle again. limited options make it impossible to replyh to comments or look at my blogroll. but i should have full connectivity again soon. stunning scenery between vale and burns oregon and amazing landscaping by our friend in bend. she is a master gardener. photos to follow.
I have an idea for Idahoans. They could set their Idaho potatoes out on the sidewalk to bake them in this heat. It never, ever gets this hot in Hawaii.
We have been having a fine time, nonetheless, with relatives. The whole Boise area is undergoing a population explosion. New highways and malls and housing developments have sprung up everywhere, eating up the farmland around here. Most of the people here are outdoorsy, but this means lots and lots of rolling stock: speedboats, house trailers, trucks: the average house has at least three motorized vehicles in the driveway, two in the garage, and the mo'ho in the side yard. I have yet to see anyone out for a walk in this suburban neighborhood. This is their way of life, allied to notions of clean living and all around American virtues. My criticisms of any of this would be beyond unwelcome, of course, so I just go along for the ride. These are nice people, after all, and they don't consume any more resources than we do, because we fly so much. But if they converted to renewable energy and stopped letting developers swallowi up farmland, that would be all to the good. This is one of the loveliest landscapes in the world, but I just feel they exploit it rather than respect it.
Pendleton is best known for the Pendleton Roundup, the annual rodeo that takes place in September, and for Pendleton clothing, now manufactured in other countries. There was a lot of wheat and corn growing in the vicinity, and the local paper says they have an excellent, if late, crop. There is a big grain elevator and flour mill.
The downtown was trying its best, with little shops and sidewalk cafes. But this is a place that taking jobs out of the country has killed, and Wal-Mart is the only thriving business around. That and the casino on the Indian reservation five miles awqy. The Wal-Mart Supercenter is huge and sells everything, food included. Remnants of a more vital past are everywhere.
This one-room schoolhouse, moved from another location into a park, made me feel nostalgic for something I never really experienced, as a city girl who went to big schools, but I understand the pull of this. The train station is still there but the line carries only freight now, and the huge locomotives thunder through, carrying goods from China, I would guess. I presume they return with raw materials and foodstuffs for China.
Our perfectly acceptable motel is very clean and inexpensive. It has not been renovated but is well run by a personaable woman from the Phillipines. A friendly cat keeps us company in the patio area.
This rundown house and junked cars provide the view out our window.
Informational signs in the park near the railroad station give summaries of incidents from the pioneer days. Most interesting was a tale of the murder of a doctor who was unwittingly spreading measles to the Indian population. This killing was a task carried out with great regret, as the Indians did not like to have to do this. Or so the story goes.
The first pioneers also were not prepared for the way verdant springs turn into bone-dry summers here. They almost starved, this being the 1840's before the railroad and canned goods and such had arrived here. The Indians had to feed the settlers to keep them alive, which was very decent of them, under the circumstances.
This is a magnificent span on the Interstate over a gulch on the way into the Yakima Valley. It was built in the early 70's. It has the look of something made to last forever and is aesthetically thrilling, a match for its scenic location. Contrast this to the glass and aluminum edifices which we today consider the best expression of our civilization: flashy and ephemeral. Set in the glum urban areas which people profess to adore, for lack of knowledge of anything better. Yes, I am a fan of the wide open spaces, and although I love Hawaii, my heart belongs just as much to the dry western landscape.
I would bet there is not a single place left in this country where you can't get espresso! Not only that, but they have excellent chewy bagels for breakfast at the motel! We are having breakfast in our room, re-charging our electronic toys, and getting ready to go to Boise, where Terry's brother and family live.
We are so happy to be out of the dreadful Northwest summer. We're sitting at a picnic table outside the door of our motel in Pendleton, sharing a beer and using the wi-fi. The air is soft and pleasant, and the sunset is pretty. It's not too hot here-just right.
How I wish we could have seen Lummi Island under better weather conditions. It looked to be such a pretty place. It was wonderful to meet Anne Gibert and her husband Jerry and to see their home. Jerry has done a lot of work on it, and I especially liked the greenhouse he built, which was full of tomatoes. We went out for lunch to a casual basement annex to a restaurant that had a piece about it in the NYT and had terrific grass fed hamburgers. Anne is so articulate and has great stories. And she looks at least ten years younger than her stated age,perhaps even younger than that.
I'm running behind, but here is a pic from the Vancouver Anthropology Museum. They have a very extensive web site with good photos of their collection, so I'm just posting this one that conveys a certain atmosphere.
Their speciality is Northwest Indian artifacts: totem poles, canoes, baskets, and so on. It's fun to travel as we are doing now, without too much planned: just the two of us showing up without reservations and finding a place to stay. We wandered around in downtown Pendleton, which is pretty dead but which sidewalk cafes and such these days. Strangely enough, we found a hiking and bike path with a lovely creek on one side and trailers and broken down houses on the other. This place would take some time to figure out. I've got to say I'm intrigued.
We'll be seeing Terry's brother and family in Boise tomorrow.