Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leaving my digs in Boise

Just before I was to move out of my rented accommodation for the remainder of the session I was in need of listening to a KBOI radio broadcast. While the home was nice, I was not really sure of how to operate the stereo. I don’t think it had the AM band, so instead of trying to figure it out and miss portion of the broadcast, I moved from one living room into the living room sized front seat of car.

I’ve become a real fan of Nate Shelman’s show on 670AM here in Boise; in fact, I’m told you can hear this station clear across Idaho. His show begins at 4PM Mountain and goes on until 7PM. He was interviewing a colleague in the House, Raul Labrador. Raul and I don’t see eye to eye on immigration and I was eager to hear his views.

I had budgeted my time very well, I could listen to the entire program, tidy myself up and then drive off downtown for a meeting at 7:15, sharp.

The interview and the subsequent callers made for riveting listening. The ending was almost like a crescendo and as it did end I slapped my hands on the wheel, gunned the ignition and…nothing. It didn’t even crank. To my immediate chagrin, I realized that I had been using the battery in this vehicle to power this stereo system and this car uses juice.

I had no option but to knock on neighbor’s doors until I could find one who had a battery charger. My plans were off.

Going back into the house, it gave me the moment I needed to consider my actions, following the actions of my four little dogs. My wife and I adore our dogs and we treat them as most people do, like children. I thought we were good parents too until I saw what ‘modifications’ the dogs had made to a recliner. In short, they had eaten much of the back of the recliner and were making short work of it too. Embarrassment in the extreme. It was easy to see this recliner was historic member of the family and its replacement would be no easy matter. And the damage was too great to simply blame on their cat…

I moved out the next day…

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Lighter Side of the Legislative Session Revisited

I had intimated in my previous blog entry of not one, but two culinary fiascos to have befallen me in the past week or so. The second of which was a far more involved affair.

Like many men, I am an aficionado of chili. More importantly, I am an aficionado of my own chili and my ability to cook up award winning batches of it.

This story begins much as the last one: I set about finding the finest ingredients. As all good chili-meisters know, you do not use ground beef, but instead utilize fine steak, which you cut into small cubes and then braise. I then floured the meat and set about preparing the vegetables, including the spices that make chili what it is to so many. Fresh jalapeƱos, peppers, onions and chili flakes imported from Turkey itself.

Of course, I use a few of my own flourishes in the ingredients process which are proprietary and thus I will not include all of them here but to suffice it to say I have concocted flame-thrower chili’s which have humbled mere mortals.

After what was clearly several hours of work I prepared to fortify myself with a poured can of Guinness stout beer (also an ingredient in the cooking process) and a meaningful bowl of chili. The smell and color of the end product indicated to me that here clearly was another vintage with which I would be able to regale my friends in northern Idaho.

It was indeed hot…but…it was also…sweet. Extremely sweet. Uncommonly and unaccountably sweet. What on earth had happened? Perhaps some sort of chemical reaction to the blending of my own 25 herbs and spices?

As everything was still on the countertop I went through each of the ingredients. The countertop was a mess and the mystery impossible for me to detect, until finally I saw it: the flour I had so generously used with my beef wasn’t flour—it was refined sugar.

It was yet another reminder that I was in someone else’s home and they had decided to keep sugar in the container that I used at home for flour. Alas many hours of work lost in unsuccessfully combining dinner and dessert…

Sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Ruthie Johnson, whose appointment to the Idaho Commission on Human Rights was ratified Thursday in the Idaho Senate. It was a great honor and pleasure for me to carry her nomination.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Lighter Side of the Legislative Session

It’s my intention in my blog to highlight some of the lighter sides of being in the Idaho Legislature. Of course, it is a terrible recession and it has not been a pleasant legislative session in a number of ways, but nonetheless there are some moments when I do find myself laughing.

Being away from Hayden Lake, despite it being winter, isn’t always easy. During the session I, like the majority of my fellow legislators, must find temporary long-term accommodation. You get used to having to find this sort of thing and if you’re lucky enough to find a couple that winters in the south, you can sometimes find a situation where you can stay in the same place year on year.

For the past three years I have now stayed in the lovely home of a retired couple who are fortunate enough to spend their winter months in Mexico. I’m able to move in and essentially have free use of virtually everything in their home.

This year has not been without incident, however. There have been two culinary fiascos that have transpired due to my own inability to remind myself that while I do indeed feel at home, I am not really at home.

The first was a smaller mishap and involved my desire to prepare the perfect BLT sandwich. This entailed me getting the freshest of bread, gorgeous tomatoes and butcher cut bacon. I wanted this to measure up to the high standards I try to set for myself, as is befitting a man of my girth.

When it was time to assemble the sandwich I noticed trouble. The mayonnaise I found in the refrigerator was spreading unevenly and, worse, appeared to have pockets of mold. Horror of horrors unanticipated, I had no choice but to surgically remove the offending elements and hope for the best.

While I could not dispel the concerns of what could have been a gastrointestinal disorder coming my way, I nonetheless launched into the BLT. The taste was good, but still different. I could not understand it.

The mystery was solved when I cleared the kitchen and took the squeeze bottle of what I had though was mayonnaise and found myself instead holding a bottle of Heinz Tartar Sauce. I could hear my wife’s words ringing in my ears, “Read the label!”

Congratulations to northern Idaho resident Rayelle Anderson, who was appointed by Governor Otter to the Bing-Raffle Advisory Board. I was happy to carry her nomination on the Senate floor and was pleased my nomination was seconded by Senator John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene.