Earth Year

So I missed blogging on Earth Day — which is likely the most overhyped non-holiday holiday on Earth! But the great thing about that is that we are actually now in a societal phase where Earthiness has become cool and thre is less need for one dedicated day out of the year to focus people on the topic. If each of us is not at least trying to do something to Green your home, travel, family or even planet in some way, then shame on us! Check out Julie Almacy’s new blog on greening that Almacy clan.
I do credit Al Gore for much of the awareness raising success. Not sure i buy into all the doomsday predictions, but it’s undeniable that we have a planet being overtaken by poluting, selfserving societies.
There are big issues we will need to face — like reconciling global goals of economic development with the fact that with that come burgeoning populations and more pollution (Hello China). There are also unintended consequences of the race toward biofuels — actually having the opposite effect of their intent to lessen our reliance on oil and gas. With the global demand for biofuels skyrocketing, the Amazon rainforests (which trap tremendous amounts of carbon) are being destroyed so that big agra-enterprises can plant corn and soy. This long term effect will release MORE carbon into the atmosphere AND is already creating demand for biofuels, thus driving up food prices around the world. This Time Magazine story on the issue is a must read:
But there is hope.

Faith, policy and reflections on the Pope’s visit

I am a long time fan of columnist Mike Gerson. He doesn’t know me, but I remember him from when he worked for then-Senator Dan Coates when I worked for social activist/conservative Bob Woodson. Gerson was writing Coates’ speeches, emerging as the best, bar none, conservative speechwriter on the Hill. He has always seemed to have come from a place of faith – centralizing themes of justice, mercy, and compassion. Back then (late 90s), it was the Renewal Alliance that brought voice to this on the Hill, when the term compassionate conservative was not tied to a man from Texas.
Because that team has been so overused and sullied (fairly or unfairly), I hesitate to use it now to describe myself – but can find few other adjectives that capture my approach to allowing my faith to dictate a position on public policy that seeks to catalyze forces of the market, private institutions, and the best of a restrained government to meet the needs of the least among us. I find some voice in my position this week – as Gerson reflects on Pope Benedict’s historic visit to Washington last week and his reminder to the U.S. of the church’s role in advocating for the weak, even amidst its own failings:
It is never an easy discussion to bring faith into public life and positions – as evidenced by the way the three presidential candidates tiptoe around things like their prayer life, their positions on abortion, their marriages. However, it is a necessary discussion and the Pope cuts to the chase, with a direct aim out our culture of relativism, reminding us (at least me) of the value of faith in informing our public positions…
E.J. Dionne, another incredibly thoughtful columnist who’s been writing on this “beat” well before Gerson, provides another view of this visit and how as a Catholic himself, it’s brought numerous issues to the surface. Says Dionne, “Benedict directly challenged an assumption so many Americans make about religion: that it is a matter of private devotion with few public implications.” Read on….

Hill Girl Mania… also known as SWAG

I think it had been so long since we were all together at once for an extended period of time that we were half drunk with excitement when we met a few weeks ago (alright it was early February, I’m lame; get over it). What – no kids? No husbands giving us the look of “let’s go” – no place to be? Jessie, Diana, Alissa and Andrea piled into someone’s minivan (yes, several of us are lame in this regard as well) and hauled it down to Virginia from New Holland while Missie came up from Richmond.
The best place I could think of to meet was Tyson’s Galleria – which I lovingly refer to as the “shi shi” mall – all the great high end stores (Saks, Neiman Marcus, BCBGMaxAzria) with a few massmarket chains (Bloomingdales, Ann Taylor) thrown in. The first funny moment of the weekend was after our tummies were full from Cheesecake Factory goodness. We were getting ready to get our shop on, when who walked by but Newt Gingrich. If you’ve worked on the Hill long enough, running into someone like this is not a big deal – in fact, I still have a picture of me with the Newt to prove it. However, for out of town visitors, this is the DC version of the star sighting, (just significantly less glamour than Rob’s sighting of Eva Longoria in a West Hollywood Starbucks a few years ago..but, I digress). Anyway, it was enough of a big deal that in the bathroom, they started dishing on the Newt, not knowing his (3rd) wife was a few stalls away… it was quite the scene to see Diana and Jessie scurrying out of the ladies room, tails between their legs once they realized the situation….
By the time we were done with Ann Taylor, MAC(yes even this MaryKay girl needs a sturdy eye color brush), Williams-Sonoma, and BCBG MaxAzria, with a Starbucks break in between, we were tired. I think most of our time was in BCBG where Andrea went back and forth and back and forth – in typical Ange fashion on whether or not to buy that tan knit vest with rabbit fur hoodie!..while she was making up her mind, I bought one in black…
After our mall-chick day, we came back to the House of Klause and feasted on fondue and Antipasta. Even Rob got into the game before he and the kids retreated to the elder House of Klause for the night. He mixed us some Caipirinhas and stirred up the fondue… such a good husband… Not just any fondue – I got this great idea from Robin to use the Gruyere mixture from Wegmans and go to town dipping everything from chicken sausage and potatoes, to a variety of breads and veggies. We chowed. And I paired it with the can’t go wrong (and gorgeous) antipasto that I’ve perfected – using romaine, tomatoes, olives, gardeniera, provolone cheese, cappocola, mortadella, salami, and prosciutto, with Italian dressing and fresh parmesan grated overtop. To die for!! You know you’ve scored with this crowd when the three cooks all ask for the recipe..
Then, before dessert, it was time to sit around in our mommy jammies and dish – on everything from Garden Spot classmates to emerging wrinkles and saggy (or nonexistent) boobs and sex with socks on (I won’t tell who). The husbands pretty much escaped unscathed — even after we’d had two bottles of Rosa Regale. But seriously, on the husband point – if there was a lesson in the conversation, it was that we are all incredibly blessed with a few good men. Oh, that the Lord favors our sons someday with wives like us! 
We ended the night with birthday weekend cake for Diana – a special Wegmans Ultimate Chocolate Cake and fruit tart….over discussion of JLo (my current favorite fashion icon; tied with Gwyneth), SWAG (no one knew was this is?!!) Do you? ….and a look at Diana’s new jewelry line, Pretty Unique….
After a 2 am bedtime, we were up and at it early and off to Clydes down the street for Sunday brunch – complete with virgin Bloody Mary’s which Andrea prefers to exhale through the nose….Here’s the gang…..
Then, they were off…. Home to relieve the men just in time for Superbowl Kickoff…..