ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I spent last Thursday night at a county planning commission meeting, which started at 6pm and ended at about 10:45, and I was there for the whole thing, and...I wasn't bored. Not a bit. Which is weird, because in general, I hate meetings. But this one was interesting and infuriating, in turns.

I went because, at the monthly meeting of the county Democratic party (which I didn't attend, because I hate meetings, but Britt did, because he's on the executive committee) a couple people mentioned that the new county comprehensive plan (a policy document which outlines growth and resource management guidelines for the next twenty years) was being reviewed in several-chapter chunks by the planning commission, and the Tea Party types were showing up en masse and effectively drowning out the few liberal voices during the public comment period.

The comp plan has been in process for nearly two years, and I attended one of the public meetings and answered a survey on it; and anyway, when the draft plan was put up on the county website, I liked what I saw, so I figured I'd just go and give my "I like this plan!" opinion, to counter the anti-progressive types.

Before the part of the meeting that would deal with chapters 5-7 of the comprehensive plan, the planning commission had its regular business. Some people who knew this deliberately showed up late, and others were visibly bored (reading ebooks or texting), but I enjoyed it: at worst it seemed like democracy at work, and at best it was better than a movie made from a John Grisham novel.

The planning commission is a board of five county residents appointed by the county commissioners. Typically what happens is that the county staff presents a petition by someone, and their findings and recommendations; the petitioner speaks, the public is allowed to speak, and the board asks questions at each step. Finally they discuss the petition and vote on whether to allow or disallow it, and any conditions they will impose.

For the most part, this went quickly and smoothly...but then came the John Grisham novel. )

Finally, at nearly 8pm, the comp plan review began. And I was flabbergasted! I had thought that they would take citizen input first, and then, based on that, evaluate the plan. But instead the planning commissioners went through the assigned chapters and hacked the plan to bits. That is, they removed everything that a liberal, such as me, would approve of, and occasionally inserted language asserting the primacy of property rights, business owners, and farmers and ranchers, and constantly complained about how the government is overreaching and ought to be smacked down.

Whatta bunch of tea-brains. )

Here is the letter to the editor I wrote the next day: )

I'm going to miss the next meeting - next Thursday - because I'm going to be out of town. (I'm going to ECUADOR! Whee!) But I've been reviewing the draft plan chapters that will be covered then, and sending an email to the county planner, who hopefully will pass it on to the planning commission. (The planning commission chair said that they accept public comment by email, but there's no obvious place to send it, alas.) I've put the final two meetings on my calendar.

I always hated meetings. They're boring. Except somehow this one wasn't. And I imagine the next ones won't be, either.

At this rate, I'm gonna end up applying for a seat on one of the county citizen boards. Ulp.

my $85 pie

May. 9th, 2011 06:36 pm
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Saturday night was the annual fundraising dinner for the La Plata Dems - we have a fancy catered dinner, a relatively famous guest speaker (this year it was our State House Minority Leader), and a silent auction - and Britt and I always help put it together and, of course, attend. Laura, the woman running it asked me if I'd bake a pie for auction, and I assumed she meant for the silent auction...but no, instead it (and a few other items) were auctioned off in a live auction, the purpose of which seemed to be for the big-pockets donors to show off by donating in public and getting something nominal in return. (It was pretty hilarious, actually. Laura gestured to me and my crutches and said it was clearly an amazing pie since I'd baked the it on only one leg!)

My pie went for $85! My slack-jawed amazement lasted only until the NEXT pie was auctioned off for something like $125, at which I decided I had been slighted by being told my cooking was worth only about 2/3 of what the other baker could fetch. But I felt a little better when I got email from the woman who bought it (the wife of our former state senator) asking for the recipe. I figured if I had to type it in, I might as well give it to you all, too. And I'm not charging you anything.

$85 Cranberry Apple Nut Tarte )

I bid on a couple of things in the silent auction, btw, and everyone was quite amused that the woman on the crutches won a private ski lesson. NO I DIDN'T HAVE A SKI WRECK YES IT WILL BE BETTER BY NEXT WINTER.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
I think we get on average 2 phone calls per week with local, state (most), or national issue or candidate polls. I actually don't mind - usually. But last night I got the most obnoxious push poll for our local state house representative.

"Would you be more or less likely to vote for [candidate I think is a raving loony] if you knew he was a candidate for sainthood and on the short list for the Nobel?"

"Would you be more or less likely to vote for [candidate I support] if you know he was a father-murderer and mother-raper?"

Okay, not quite. But it totally pisses me off to be asked if I would be more or less likely to vote for a small businessman who supports cutting red tape for other businesses (that is, he wants to get rid of all environmental protection), and more or less likely to vote for someone who used to be a Washington lobbyist (oh, the horror! Except it was for an environmental organization!).

Finally I said, "I would never vote for [lunatic candidate] even if he gave me a thousand dollars and an iPad and a PONY." And the woman on the other end of the line said, "I don't have a place to write that down. Would you be more or less likely blah blah blah?"

I cannot WAIT for the friggin' election.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Last night I ran a local 5K, a benefit for the high school cross-country team that is held every year. This was my first race since my return to running after my injury this spring, and although I had decided a goal of 23:30 was reasonable, I somehow managed to pull a 22:44 out of my hat. This is exactly 30 seconds slower than my February PR which was set at 4 pounds lighter and 40 degrees cooler, and more than a minute faster than my time at this race last year, so I am really very happy about it! The utterly enthralling details... )

The other races that are interesting me right now are the political ones. I admit I was following the Tennessee gubernatorial primary just to see how much of the vote Basil Marceaux Dot Com would get (if you haven't seen his videos on YouTube, get thee hence; I am still not sure if this guy is for real or just a brilliant parody) but now that this race is over (the "Not Entirely Nuts" candidate beat the two guys who were calling Islam a "cult" and vowing to stand against institution of Sharia law in the state of Tennessee) I hope that the governor's race in my humble state of Colorado will draw some attention.

I really think we can hold our own in the wacko sweepstakes. In the GOP primary, we have the plagiarist versus the guy who thinks that promotion of bicycling is a devious plot in support of one-world government, which has led to the racist wingnut seceding from the GOP to run against them on the American Constitution Party ticket.

Fortunately, the Democrats have an excellent candidate. I mean, how can I resist voting for the ex-geologist beer brewer? Plagiarism guy, black helicopter guy, KKK guy, or beer guy. The choice is clear!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I am trying to get out of the habit of only posting when I have something major to post about. Not that I plan to tell you daily what is in my fridge. (That's for Twitter. And no, I am not on Twitter - well, I have a couple of accounts, but I use neither.)

- On Saturday we did a guided edible and medicinal plant hike, which was pretty nifty. The most useful things I learned were that the berries of this plant (Twisted-stalk) are edible and taste like cucumber, and that harebell flowers and sweet cicely are yummy in a salad. I can also identify arnica and valerian and know to bind open wounds with the mossy stuff that drapes from the trees, and can poison you with Death Camas if need be, la la la. The volunteer instructor didn't know mushrooms, though, so we gleefully pointed out (and picked) the boletus edulus and scaly urchins we saw. Still on the early side for mushrooms here, but it was nice to come home with a pound of scaly urchin (hawks' wing).

- On Monday Britt left for a week of backpacking with some guys. He's sort of the guide. I would be annoyed at not being invited on the trip, but it's been raining a lot and expected to continue raining. So la la la, have fun, I am hanging out at home with the kitty, drinking wine and eating wild mushrooms.

- I am running! Still feel a little twingy in my peroneal tendon, but it doesn't actually hurt, and I got in a beautiful 15-miler on Sunday morning up Junction Creek and the Colorado Trail. Junction Creek was flooding the color of tomato soup as I ran along it, quite dramatic. I didn't get a super-early start but was still ahead of all the mountain bikers so only saw them while I was heading back down. 37 miles for the week, finally up in respectable territory again, although I would really like to get back to the 50-65 mile range and 6 days per week. Probably not until late fall, though.

- Speaking of running (I know, I speak of running a lot!) I ran a tempo run today which leaves me cautiously optimistic about my fitness. I was worried that I had lost a lot over the summer of injury recovery, but I was able to run 3 miles at an average 7:35 pace, which is about what I was running my (longer, though) tempos at in the winter. I have signed up for a 5K on Friday night and although I know I am not in PR shape, am hoping for at least better than the 23:58 I ran last year on the same course. In fact if I can hold 7:35 I will run 23:30, so that is my goal. The race course is hillier than my morning's run, but on the other hand, races are always faster for me. So we'll see.

- I made lemon squares with this recipe (that I had printed out from rec.food.cooking at least 15 years ago) and somehow the lemon topping slipped around the edge and under the crust (guess my oven isn't exactly level) and made half the pan turn into lemon upside-down bars instead. Not that they are bad, mind you; just that it was unexpected. Also, as some of you know I recently got an ice-cream maker, and I have all the ingredients for chai ice cream. Britt thinks I am going a little overboard with the weird ice cream flavors and so I was going to make it this week, while he is gone, but somehow the idea of ice cream is less attractive when it's cold and rainy. Also when I am still 5 pounds up from my March weight, despite my increased running and mountain biking. Phooey.

- I got two phone calls from political campaigns or organizations today. Yesterday I got one political call and a call from a polling organization. I think we answer on average one poll per week; I know it's random, but I think they are trying to sample all Colorado counties, and there just aren't that many people out here in the SW corner of the state. I am really looking forward to this election season being over just so the damn phone will stop ringing.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Biking: in addition to the Log Chutes ride last Saturday, Britt and I drove out to near Pagosa Springs, about 45 minutes from here, and rode up Devil Mountain, which has a rough and rocky road leading to a cleared summit that used to have a fire lookout tower. Not quite 12 miles up and 3500 vertical feet, woohoo! A few photos are here.

Running: I can run again! Sort of! My PT has given me clearance to alternate 5 minutes of slow running with 5 minutes of walking, after a walking warm-up. I did this 3x on Thursday and 4x this morning, and it's not causing the tendinitis to flare up, hooray! It's still going to be a long road to where I was as a runner, though.

Argh: I am annoyed more than I should be by people who email me - at an address that includes my name - and then misspell my name in the body of the email. ARGH. Also I am annoyed by people who are told that the deadline for the political newsletter I send out is Thursday noon, who then email me on Thursday at 2:30 pm with their news release prefaced by, "Thank you for holding the newsletter for this information." (It should not surprise anyone that someone has committed both these annoyances simultaneously. Also that I did not, in fact, hold the newsletter for that information.)

Fun: The newsletter deadline was Thursday noon because Thursday afternoon we drove out to Montezuma Creek, Utah to start a river trip on the San Juan. An exciting and scenic weekend that was not ruined by the roughly fifty bazillion gnats that each took a bite of my tender flesh. More details when I get the photos off the camera.

Administrivia: If you have a Dreamwidth journal and a LJ, I preferentially will read you at DW and will subtly filter you out at LJ. I also filter out those I read through another journal. If I read you at DW and you read me at DW you are welcome to defriend me at LJ. I don't do the subscribe-and-filter thing at Dreamwidth since there are separate access and subscription filters, but if the asymmetry bothers you, let me know, and I will cheerfully subscribe to you and then ignore you. Okay, not really, but you know what I mean.

And now I am off to a political thingy that didn't get into the newsletter. I will try to be polite to the campaign manager who annoyed me, see above.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Yesterday: was our Democratic Party county assembly. For those of you not in caucus states (probably most of the American readers of this journal; and of course other countries do things differently) and for those of you in Colorado who haven't gotten involved, this is where the delegates elected in our caucus get together to cast our county's vote for statewide and national candidates (this year, just for US Senate) and for local candidates, and vote on party platform resolutions, and generally get all rah-rah about politics. I was not a delegate but I am part of the Local Party Machine (capitals ironic) and ran the powerpoint slides and timed the speakers. Woo. Making sausage. )

Today: we went skiing, almost certainly the last ski day of the season for us. It was on the order of 55°F out there, and it was like skiing on a slushee, fast and slick but easy to carve turns. The weird thing was that there had been a dust storm early in the week, and much of the snow had a light coat of reddish-brown dust. Not nearly as pretty as shiny white snow, that's for sure. It really stood out on the mogul tops )

We still had a lot of fun skiing, though, and my quads are certainly aching from it. And a few more pictures are here on Flickr.

A week from tomorrow: I am running the Boston Marathon! *gulp* I will make a post later this week with my bib number and information so that if you are bored and near a computer on Monday morning (or whatever it will be in your time zone) you can check the marathon website, which is tracking runners every 5 miles (I think; it might be 5K, which is really often, as a marathon is 42K!) and see how I am doing. Needless to say, I am not expecting to win. :-) My original and ambitious goal was 3:30, and my half marathon last month suggested I could do even better, but I've been injured and my training has been really half-assed because of it. I don't really know what I could do right now. I'd like a PR (3:45 or better), I'd be really happy with 3:3x, and honestly, I should just be happy to finish it, considering. So I am probably not going to know what I am targeting until I actually get out there and start running.

ETA: Right now: I totally forgot while composing this post, but I had intended to thank whoever it was who anonymously gave me a month's paid account at Dreamwidth. So, thank you so much!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Eric reminded me on my last post that I haven't posted here in a while. So, what have I been doing?

Running. This has been my first winter of serious training, and I have to say that it hasn't been bad at all. Then again, I don't actually mind running in (light) snow. I have been running more mileage than I ever have before! And I've been getting faster - I finally got the 5K monkey off my back (my 5K time has always been much slower than what is predicted by my faster races) and smoked (relatively speaking) a race on Saturday in 22:14, a PR for me by almost 1:45 and fast enough to get me first place woman! I won a gift certificate for a pair of running shoes, which I graciously gave Britt since he has started running with me on my easy days in his beat-up old sneakers.

Skiing. We have had a lot of snow this year, which has been very nice as we also have weekday passes at Purgatory. Britt and I have gone once a week, not necessarily for the whole day but we get plenty of skiing in. When the weather has been right (and it mostly has) we have gone on Fridays, when the nice restaurant up at Dante's is open: we ski some morning runs, get to the restaurant around 1:00, have some fancy food and a Backside Stout each. It's our special treat, and actually, it costs only maybe 50% more than the crappy food in the cafeteria downstairs, and it tastes 100 times better, and it's so much more pleasant to sit in the pretty room and have a nice waitress bring us our food.

And skiing once a week has definitely improved my skiing. And! I just bought fancy new boots at an end-of-season sale, and I'm gonna try them out tomorrow. I am confident they will make me ski so much better! Right?

Politics. Oh, man, you don't want to hear about local politics. *facepalm* Colorado's caucuses are in two weeks. I'm girding my loins.

Pictures. I keep forgetting to bring my camera while skiing (we have had some beautiful days!) or running. But I got some great shots of some of the deer who hang around my neighborhood, and wow, that was five weeks ago and most of that snow is GONE.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Okay, as some of you know, John McCain came here to Durango last Friday, which to most of us Dems was kind of WTF because not only is Colorado polling something like +10 for Obama right now, this county voted for Kerry four years ago and just a few weeks ago registered more Dems than GOP for the first time. (We still have more independents than either.) Plus, there are less than 40,000 people in the county, although if you reach out to areas a couple of hours' drive, there are maybe 100,000. The McCain rally was to be held at the high school football field, not exactly a huge venue. So we got together - we being the county Dems - and put together a huge counter-rally (not a protest, but a positive pro-Obama rally).

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. See, we got a big boost from a front-page article in our local newspaper last Thursday, with the headline, "Dems Prepare for McCain's arrival," and today there was a letter to the editor from some offended Republican, who complained:
We love Durango, but are extremely ashamed of our newspaper. In my opinion, the Herald is now no better than The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle.
I am sure the newspaper editor is just devastated by the comparison.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Been gone a while, first to the Colorado State Democratic Convention (you can read my write-up at the Denver Post's PoliticsWest blog here - and haha, four out of our five CD3 delegates were elected from the Western Slope, including one guy from our county) and then off to Utah and Arizona for what was going to be a week but stretched into two because, mmm, Utah and Arizona.

Shakedown cruise of our shiny new-to-us Sportsmobile went A-OK! Even though it's rather painful filling the tank (30-40 gallons * $4.50-$4.90 diesel = ow ow ow) we only had to do it twice during our two weeks out; what a contrast from our old RV which got less than half the mpg and had about half the tankage. Of course gas then (2005, when we sold it) cost about half what diesel does today....

Used 4WD four times, twice on long, nasty jeep roads to and from trailheads, and twice briefly to get out of sand or mud hazards. Mostly camped in pull-outs off BLM or NFS land, but spent 1 night in free campground and 4 nights in definitely not free but still damn primitive NPS campgrounds. Hiked between 4-10 miles every day except for one day when we did a bunch of mountain biking instead; a couple of days we both biked and hiked, either because we were using the bikes to shuttle between trailheads and make a loop, or because we used the bikes to access the trailhead (in Zion, which was YAY). Oh, except for one day in the middle when we totally vegged out. Took about a bazillion pictures which I shall be putting on Flickr and annotating here.

I want to be still on vacation, damn it. I am not sleeping half so well in my own bed as I did under the van's pop-top. I suddenly have all this $%#@! work to do, and my house is a mess of dust and cat hair, and my lawn needs a haircut, and so do I. And there are all these photos that need rotating and uploading and captioning. And I want to write about our awesome trip. So I'm going to (try to) stay away from my friendslist and see if I can manufacture some spare time that way. If you have posted something I should see, point me to it.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
The Electoral Vote site (which is syndicated at [livejournal.com profile] electoralvote) has some interesting analysis of the Super Tuesday results. In particular, the Votemaster (Andy Tanenbaum) sorted the Democratic popular vote percentages and came up with the interesting tidbit that the most overwhelming majorities for Obama were in caucus states:
Obama did extremely well in caucus states and Clinton did very badly in them. How come? Turnout in caucus states is always low, usually about 10-20% of the electorate. Only highly motivated people bother to show up, especially the Democratic caucuses, which go on for hours and people haveto publicly defend their choice. Obama has a smaller, but extremely active and loyal following, especially among younger voters. These are precisely the people who can swing a caucus state by showing up in droves and working hard to convince the other voters that Obama would make a great President. In primary states, the media, especially TV ads have a much bigger influence.
This was certainly the case at our caucus, where we had a lot of people who had never before come to a caucus, and all but one were Obama supporters. (They were not all young, by any stretch of the imagination.)

One anomaly in the table of percentages is New Mexico, which is listed as a caucus state but split nearly 50-50 between the candidates. Since Durango's only half an hour from the NM state line, we get New Mexico news in our daily newspaper.  When I read the coverage of the caucus, I immediately thought: hmm, that sounds more like a primary than a caucus.  I did a little Googling and found out that yep, the New Mexico "caucus" is basically a primary. There is no discussion, no open voting.  Voters cast ballots at the caucus site and then leave, and they can even cast absentee ballots in advance. 

I think Obama's success in caucus states says a lot about his appeal. He inspires people. And I think that's important.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (swamp)
Well, it's over and it was a blast. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I are co-committee-chairs of La Plata County's Precinct 3 (Colorado) for the Democratic Party. We started at the 2004 caucus, at which there were 12 people. At the 2006 caucus, we had 6. Last night, we had 39.

I belong to no organized political party: I'm a Democrat. )

Then, a bunch of us went out to one of the local brewpubs and drank beer and watched CNN reporting the results on the TV over the bar. Woo! Next time, I'm going to suggest we hold the caucus in the bar.

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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