the light

when i leave work these days, the sun is still far enough above the horizon to make my heart say, “yay!” i love the extra light we start getting at the end of december. already it seems like there is so much extra light that i should be out planting or doing something in the evenings instead of hermitting myself in my house.

today was warm – i think the high was around 45ΒΊ. that’s enough to make me go stir crazy and to remind myself “oh! that’s right! eventually this ends!” so this afternoon i went for a run outside. i did wear a little too much headgear and i was sweating by the end, but overall i wore the right amount of clothing for the run (sometimes i end up not wearing enough and my skin is cold to the touch and bright red when i strip off my sweaty clothing).  

it wasn’t a bad run, but it wasn’t a great run. i was running entirely too fast for the first run outside in two or three months. i heard runkeeper give my pace after five minutes and was completely surprised that i was keeping it around a 12 minute mile (i was expecting a 13-minute mile). (as an aside, it’s awesome to have runkeeper back in my regular phone without having to switch sims and hope that the app doesn’t crash before i get done.) after i got up to an average pace of 12:05 after two miles, i tried to slow down a bit. it sort of worked, but not really.

i took a look at the long-term forecast, and it looks like the temp is heading downward again, but it’s nice to have a moment of respite to remind oneself of how it was and how it will be. 

here’s to more light in the days!

you never know what you’ll find!

the top shelf in my pantry cupboard has been wiggly since the day i moved in. instead of dealing with it then, i decided to just fill it up and deal with it. tonight i finally decided to figure out what was going on.

turns out the builder drilled support holes along the door since the shelves were so long (the shelves go back past the door to the right to the wall). the shelf was too flush with the wall for it to sit on the support properly. i banged around and shoved things around and got the stupid shelf to sit properly. thanks, builders! you’d think they’d get that in there right.

at the same time, it was an opportune moment to clean out the crap in my pantry. tossed a lot of old food and open food. then i found a couple hershey bars i’d forgotten i’d hidden for smores! haha. also, have a gigantic reeses pb cup i got for christmas. mmmm. 

now my pantry’s cleaned for the most part, my fridge is cleared out of crap, and i have some candy. can’t beat that!

finding home

i’ve always said that home is where nate and the kitties are. that’s not a lie. 

but when i drive northward to central minnesota, i can feel my heartstrings relax and reach out to the countryside. i find the familiar rolling hills, the clustered farms, the trees that abut fields that abut more trees and more trees, and the occasional lake or pond. these aren’t the valley bluffs or the pond masquerading as a lake or the five trees lining the edge of farmland before stretching into another expanse of crop. 

when i am northerly, and i have been more than once recently, i exhale a sense of relief: i am home. 

last time i was there, my friend melissa drove from fargo to meet me for lunch. we talked about how the st cloud area, for both of us, always feels like we’re coming home. she’d only lived in st cloud for two years. maybe it’s because this was the first place that we both lived after moving away from our parents’ homes. or we want to relive the halcyon days of college (although not really the case for her). 

the people look familiar (very german). the orderliness and cleanliness is satisfying. even the shoppers get me. (seriously – i went to target in st cloud last time i was up, and it was uncanny how differently people shop up there than down here. they all shop like i do.)

and then i come home to nate and the kitties. they are home. but i watch the countryside as i drive to work or to run into town, and while it’s known to me, it’s not familiar. rochester is nice looking but it’s not orderly nor is it clean. the people (caucasian) look more angular and different (not too german). 

i like my house. i like my job. i really like the people i work with. but. but but but.

following through

next monday, it will have been three months since charlie’s accident. three months! it feels like it’s been three decades. 

anyway, i he got a notice in the mail today that his reparations claim was approved. what that means is that after his medical bills all go through car and medical insurance, the state will pay up to $50,000 in bills and go after the lady who hit him. 

this got me to thinking about her court date. jane and i both agreed with each other that we’d like to go to her trial. when i talked to the person at the county, she told me that it would most likely be a jury trial sometime in the early summer. her omnibus hearing will most likely be sometime in february (i think that’s where they figure out what to do). 

i checked the dakota county court website, and they only have calendar items one day in advance. really? wow. so here’s hoping that something comes in the mail. 

ooh, oregon just got real

wow, what a weird coincidence. the day after i publish a huge post about oregon, there is big news out of the militant occupation in the mahleur wildlife refuge.

ammon bundy, the leader of the bundy group, was arrested today along with four other occupiers. 

the FBI and state police started an operation at 4:25 today (pacific time, i’m assuming, so 6:25 here). one member of the bundy group, the spokesman robert finicum, was shot dead, and another member was injured from a gunshot wound. 

the group was on the highway on the way to a community meeting, and the law (the law – this sounds like old west) had set up a roadblock on a 40-mile stretch of the highway and police were in a small town with guns. 

according to a member of the group (whose opinion can be taken either way, i guess), finicum came out with his hands up and police just shot him. 

the people arrested were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, which is a felony. 

ok, so that’s pretty much all we know for now; i’ll update if anything big happens. 

 

in which i research and try to explain the oregon occupation

i’ll admit – i only really read headlines about the militant occupation in oregon. i had a very high-level knowledge of what happened, and that was basically that some wildlife place in oregon was being held by some militants for some federal land reason. some people were wondering why they aren’t called terrorists; others are sending giant barrels of lube. 

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Thanks, aplus.com!

(this might be more than you know! i don’t know.)

so, i figured i’d read more on it and break it down for you so we all have a better understanding of what this is all about. and why the lube.

first of all, where is this refuge? it’s the malhuer national wildlife refuge in the lower-ish east corner of the state (more toward the middle than lower, but in that quadrant). the refuge was established in 1908 by teddy roosevelt (a great conservationist!). it’s a great pitstop for birds as far as resources go and is on the pacific flyway, a north-south corridor between alaska and patagonia. many bird watchers and avian researchers visit every year to check out the birds ($15 million yearly in the local economy). 

but apparently, cattle ranchers were on the land previous to the 1908 establishment date, and this feud goes on to this day (seriously?).  recently a 15-year management plan was enacted that involved many stakeholders in the area, and many ranchers were pleased with the results.

enter one dwight hammond and his son steve, who own 12,000 acres, the majority of which borders public (federal) land. 

these two have been obstructing for many years. in 1994, when they got in the way of putting up a fence to keep their cattle off federal land (on our dime, note theirs), they were arrested. 500 ranchers showed up to support the hammonds after their release, and charges were dropped.

in 1999, they started a fire to burn off brush, and it got into federal land. they were warned they needed a permit. then in 2001, hunters saw them illegally slaughter deer on fed. land, and a fire started (a nephew testified that steve told him to just start lighting matches and drop them all over to light the place up). in 2006, the hammonds lit some backfires during a wildfire to protect their crop without letting the firefighters on the ground know, and in the process, the fires threatened to corner the firefighters. 

they went to federal court in 2012 with many charges; they were found not guilty on two charges, guilty on two charges of arson, and four charges were thrown out if the hammonds wouldn’t appeal the two convictions and did a five-year prison sentence. the sentencing judge decided that this was too much time (this was his last day on the bench); dwight ended up getting 3 months’ time and steve a year and a day (which they served).

the US attorney on the case appealed this sentence because she didn’t think it was fair, and WON. the hammonds filed petitions to no avail, and they were set to go back to prison on jan. 4, 2016. (they also paid a $400,000 fine.)

enter the mormons (hereby known as the bundy group). the bundy group is a militant protest group that says the LDS scripture promotes defiance of the fed. government. they find a cause and go protest. (they had just gotten through with another standoff over cattle grazing rights in nevada.)

the bundys actually met with the local authorities about a peaceful protest but mentioned nothing about taking over the wildlife refuge. in late november, bundys started to filter in slowly but surely, holding rallies at fairgrounds (all peaceful so far). on dec. 30, the federal employees of the refuge were sent home early and told to not return until further notice after the bundys showed up at the refuge. 

bundy himself and some select few went to the refuge and set up armed vigils and taking up defensive positions. on jan. 2, they claimed to have 150 people (other reports were 12), and other militant groups from all over the US came to the refuge as well. local law enforcement pretty much kept its distance. 

what did they want? they wanted the hammonds released and for the federal government to relinquish control of the lands (remember – it was cattle grazing land before it was a wildlife refuge). 

Teddy-Roosevelt-Was-the-Toughest-Person-Ever

the great teddy

TL;DR BREAK: teddy roosevelt made wildlife refuge in oregon fed. lands in 1908, which had been cattle grazing land before. continuous dispute over this. hammonds owned lands adjacent to refuge, set many fires through years, spurring prison time for arson on federal lands. mormon militant group decides to take on this cause. currently on refuge land with other armed groups. want the federal government to give up lands that were ranchers’ first, more than 100 years ago (more on that later).

local officials are annoyed, but don’t do anything about this yet. on jan. 11, the militants tore down a section of fence that abutted a ranch, supposedly to give the ranchers access to the land, but the owners of that ranch didn’t want it torn down and repaired it.

in the meantime, the bundy group is poring through government papers to see if there has been any wrongdoing to ranchers. they also follow the federal employees home and harrass them. finally, in the middle of january, one of them is arrested for driving a stolen federal vehicle from the refuge. 

the militants start vandalizing the refuge, hoping to incite some violent reaction, and they also rifle through american indian artifacts that were stored at the refuge (REALLY????). there was a community meeting on the 16th, which the bundys attended, and all the local peeps were very vocal about this group needing to leave. 

now the group is trying to enlist the help of a neighboring county sheriff, who happens to be a member of an anti-government law enforcement group (not quite sure how THAT works…). apparently they are thinking about kidnapping local officials and taking over the county government. 

so why hasn’t the government really stepped in? well, the FBI is involved, talking with local law enforcement, but there are no hostages, no law enforcement on-site to issue any orders to disobey, and they’d really like to have this end peacefully (waco was bad). the bundy group has basically been very forthright in that they won’t leave until the hammonds are released and the lands given back to the state, county, and/or ranchers. 

TL;DR 2: the FBI is kind of involved, but no one seems to be entirely worried since there are no hostages, and they’re only hurting themselves sitting out there in the snow. (so far.)

THE ISSUES AT HAND

  1. what if we just…LET THEM SIT THERE?? i mean, would that be the worst thing in the world if this group just wants to hang out at the refuge? they have the right to assemble (though this is not the way to do it; get your permit!). it’d be nice if they didn’t haul their firearms on federal lands, but ultimately, they’re just a bunch of attention seekers who currently aren’t hurting anything really, until… 
  2. i’m waiting for spring to come and let the birders work this out. once the birds start flying through that pacific flyway, the watchers will come, and then we’ll see what happens. the birders have been especially vocal about this, saying they’ve been watching the militants and feeding information to the government. it’ll be interesting to see if these two groups do, indeed, clash come springtime. that’s the point when the government really will need to get involved if there is violence. 
  3. so what’s up with the lube? one of the militants posted on his facebook account to help them out and send food, supplies – anything that might help. of course this got around to people with a sense of humor, and then the militants were complaining about receiving a bunch of dildos and penis candy. max temkin, the guy who created cards against humanity, sent them a 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant to go with those dildos. it cost him about $1200 and $17.99 for expedited shipping πŸ™‚
  4. snowy-egret-fluffhow about the birds? according to officials, this shouldn’t affect the birds too much unless people start shooting at them. the refuge was created as a pitstop for birds among all this ranch land, so it’s a very popular and needed spot. TR was a conservationist’s dream (probably because he liked hunting). he established this bird refuge right around the time ladies’ hats were adorned with feathers every which way, and some bird populations were declining due to this.  the snowy egret was almost wiped out. so you could say that the land doesn’t really belong to the federal government; it belongs to the birds…
  5. which brings up a very good question about ownership. if the ranchers are out there protesting federal lands established 108 years ago that used to be used as ranch land in the basketsprevious 50 years or so to that, let’s think about who on earth should really be protesting out there (besides the birds). i’d like to see some american indians out there making appearances and debating ownership rights with these militants. really, the ownership should go to the Paiute Tribe. the ranchers never really owned the land. the paiute signed a treaty in mid 1800s (which the US promptly broke, of course), and it went from paiute to federal land to wildlife refuge. john green has a really really good video on that you should watch. so this whole vandalizing american indian artifacts thing by the militants is really kind of ironic. 

TL;DR: a couple of idiots committed arson and poaching on a federal wildlife refuge and got a light sentence, which was later overturned and they had to do the whole prison sentence. weird mormon extremist group comes in to protest their prison sentence and the ownership of that land. they aren’t hurting anyone since it’s in the middle of nowhere, so officials doing not a lot. spring is coming, however, and the birdwatchers may storm the castle, so to speak. but really, ownership rights? it goes to the birds or the original owners, the paiute american indians. also, the creator of cards against humanity sent a 55-gallon drum of personal lubricant to the militants. 

TL;DR the TL;DR: don’t commit arson and poach animals on federal lands. you’re gonna have a bad time.

thank you to:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/militants-oregon-punishment_us_568c0364e4b06fa68883c0f1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Malheur_National_Wildlife_Refuge

and all the links on this post!

so much!

i started writing a post about the oregon militant occupation, and there is SO MUCH information. of course there will be a tl;dr at the end, but i want to get it all down. it will have to be posted tomorrow. i’ve already spent too much time on it tonight! it’s cutting into my bedtime!

stayin home!

this weekend is awesome because i don’t have to go anywhere. january is usually a hermit month for me, so this was especially weird. 

i watched figure skating championships all day today, took a break to have supper with charlie at the good sport, then more ice skating. 

tomorrow it’s time to do some work; i’ve got a couple photos to work on and then my grandma’s funeral mass program to set up as much as i can. 

second time through

i just finished reading pat rothfuss’ “name of the wind” for the second time, and it was even better the second time around! 

i love his writing style. what i remember the first time i read this book was that i was not too excited to start reading it. i felt like fantasy reading had stopped being really alluring to me. but i gave it a shot and decided to read a couple chapters. once i got past the first few pages, i was hooked. and it wasn’t necessarily because of the plot or the genre; it wa because rothfuss is perhaps the most beautiful prose-ist i can think of. 

they say fitzgerald had a way with words. i would argue rothfuss is the fitzgerald of our time. there are sentences that are just beautiful, and each one makes you want to read the next. there are double meanings as well as lovely, tumbly jumbles of words. 

he’s got the first two of the kingkiller chronicles done, and he wrote ” the slow regard of silent things” a while ago. there’s a short story in a george rr martin book i’ve got to get ahold of so i can read that. but we’re still waiting on book three of the kingkiller chronicles, which is rumored to be in editing process. 

i can’t wait!