Picture of the Week

Well, I actually have some new stuff to choose from for this week's picture. But I'm afraid there isn't anything particularly outstanding, the day was short, the shadows were long and the sun was too bright. But here's one that I like the best of the bunch:

The geese are walking on ice and the mist is that ice as it's evaporating.

Don't forget to keep checking out our smugmug. There's another site that I've been putting stuff up for sale. It's called zazzle. You can buy something made by someone else or make your own calendar, posters, t shirts, etc. Here's a link to our store!

Seeya next week!

Genesis of a Masterpiece

Well, actually this masterpiece also begins with a masterpiece.

Last year in Sarah's last year of high school, as an assignment of her AP art class she was to choose a past work of art and somehow transform it into her own work of art. Rick and I were beckoned to her house to help. She explained the project and showed us the picture she wanted to "copy":

This is Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “Young Girl Reading” and Sarah wanted a similar look for her artwork. I have some renaissance costumes, one being just the right shade of orange and an artistically interesting chair, also orange. Rick and I are both fledgling photographers so we got our photo gear and headed up to my place.

I got out the dress and, as expected, it fit just right and the chair likewise had the right look. Now we just had to emulate the light in the original picture. In the picture I believe it must have been firelight, which we didn't have available. But a low watt incandescent bulb gave just the right look, I found a small lamp and ripped off the shade - perfect! OK, now we need a book. How about a small soft-cover bible? Perfect again! I have to do something with her hair, I'm not good with that, so I grabbed a black velvet scrunchie (Kramer's fav!) circa 1990's and pulled her hair into a sloppy ponytail with the hair pulled halfway through - voila! A neat bun similar to the look in Fragonard’s painting! Wow! How is all this happening?!? Here are some of the photos Rick shot:

Now Sarah could do her magic. I guess she started with the background, nice touch, very old masters look. Then the rest followed, great job Sarah!

And we weren't the only ones that thought so, she got lots of comments and good grades on it. Just last month it was also on display at an art show at the college she currently attends, Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.

It's rare that we get to take such a neat picture of one of our offspring so I also took advantage of the same shot. I've bee aching to try to make one of our photos look like an oil painting and this one was perfect. So I used the appropriate software and had it blown up to poster size, to replace the picture I had hinging in my bedroom, the inspiration for the decor. I knew that picture would go in the room because it was taken in the room! That hopefully made Rick feel more at home in his new boudoir. Here's how my artwork came out:

OK, I know I cheated, but I'm not the artist Sarah is, I only know how to digitally edit and transform.

Good News, Bad News...Good News?

Let's see, should I start with the good news or the bad news? Let's start with the good news.

Last week sometime Rach won a radio contest and got a holiday package as a prize. There were tickets for 4 to a Christmas event in Bellevue, Snowflake Lane or something like that. She planned to give that to Shirley, she gets into that stuff, they can take the boys. I think there's ice skating and whatnot. Then she also got tickets to the zoolights at the Point Defiance Zoo. And finally she got a $50 gift certificate for TJ Maxx. Neat package, not very useful ('cept the gift cert) but neat. Little did she know thought that when she won that package her name was put into a drawing for the grand prize that was to be given away this week. And she won that as well! That is a real good package. It's a hotel room in a swanky Seattle Hotel, the Alexis, and then tickets to view the fireworks and shmooze with the party on the observation deck in the Space Needle on New Year's Eve! I would love to go! I don't celebrate but just going up and enjoying the jazz and drinks, and being able to view the fireworks, some actually below the deck, they set some off the legs of the Space Needle! A photographer's dream!--

OK, so now for the bad news: Denny has a rental house down in a section of Tacoma called Lakewood. Not a great part of town. His dad bought it years ago as a major fixer-upper, made it inhabitable and rented it out. A couple years ago he wanted to open a restaurant so he worked out a deal with Denny so Denny now owns the Lakewood house, his dad bought a restaurant and then his dad lost the restaurant. So Denny has this house that was his dad's and his dad still does most of the dealings with it, since he's a property manager and lives nearby. Just recently they got new tenants, but soon after the renters moved in the house was broken into and some of their belongings were stolen. There was a couple weeks with no communication with the renters and then finally someone went by to do some work or something and found the renters had abandoned the house, thereby breaking their lease. So now the house has broken glass that needs to be fixed and no renters.

So Denny's stuck having to fix the place again and find new renters so he can make his mortgage payments (which is another nightmare altogether, never go with GMAC mortgage!). Last night he's here visiting and his dad calls him: "a pipe in the Lakewood house in the attic broke and flooded the place. The fire dept (or water dept?) was called because water was leaking out the
eaves. The place is totaled." Denny and Heather go this morning to meet with an insurance person. It's as bad as it possibly can be. Too bad it isn't a car, they would pay it off, total it and take possession of it. Here are a few pictures:--

So now for the ... good news? Once the contractors, etc have made their bids and the insurance pays off, Denny may end up with either some money in his pocket or some improvements to his home here where he lives. We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.--

One more note of good news. I was coerced by my mother to get Keith to a doctor to have his depression checked out and she found that he has very low vitamin D. She wants him to take 2000 i.u. daily. He may come out of this deep funk and start living again - another "wait and see how it all plays out."

OK, so there was one more "good news". Better than the opposite.

Picture of the Week

This picture of the week comes from my archives, I think I'll post one that I took when the ladies in the family visited Molbak's nursery last year:

Here again is a link to our smugmug. And here's a link to an interesting site Rick found, another blogspot site featuring 100 - 150 year old photography with stories and history for most.

Check back next week!

It All Began with a Text...

"Would you be willing to give tony a hair cut later?"--

That was how it all started.--

Sounds innocent enough, huh? But, no, can't you hear the sound of a can opener? And a canful of worms aching to get out? But nice worms, happy worms, sociable worms.--

Next suggestion after I replied "like around 5" was "maybe we'll bring the dinner stuff with us and cook it there". "Spaghetti and meatballs". "Only thing we didn't get is garlic bread". "Should I pick some up on my way home from mtg?" "That'd be cool, otherwise we could run to the store sometime". "Nah, I'll get it".--

OK, so now we have dinner going on. Just Rach and Tony? I dunno.--

Tony shows up about 5 with the spaghetti fixins and gets started in his own Tony fashion. Rach follows in a few minutes. Then maybe 20 minutes or so later the rest of the gang shows up, plus one - Denny, Heather, Gage, Hunter, Heather's niece that's staying with them for a while, Lacey, and her dad, Mike, who visits often while his daughter is staying there.--

Now starts the chaos! Nothing bad, just noise, activity, etc.--

Somehow a discussion about circumcision starts. "What is the tool that older Jews used to do circumcisions called?" "I don't know, they mention it in 'Robin Hood, Men in Tights'". We start the movie and search for that part of the movie. They mention the man's title but not the tool. The movie now has to stay on. Rach and Rick are both Googling the name of the tool. No one finds the answer but the searching leads to other interesting subjects.--

Hunter and Lacey play with the Grandma toys that live here and Lacey discovers some play Poindexter glasses. She has a missing tooth as well so I
had to get some pictures! (to be posted at a later time)--

Around the dinner table another discussion similar to the circumcision one started, I forget the subject but it was just as appetizing. I believe Mike started it, nice to know we're not the only family that discusses these things at that totally inappropriate time!--

When Tony first got here and looked for the big pot to cook spaghetti in I had to fish it out of the fridge, I had some Zuppa Toscana in it, the Olive Garden recipe (minus the spicy sausage). Tony sniffed it and smiled! We were having Italian soup to go with our spaghetti dinner! Denny and Mike just about cleaned it out, calling it "Awesome Soup".--

Good times, good company, good food! But what a raucous crowd! Mike and Lacey left first, then the others followed within the hour. We had our grandparents' house back. We've gotten used to the tranquility, it's hard to imagine that I used to live in that kind of chaos!--

Sometimes I miss it.

Picture of the Week

OK, here's a definite departure from what I've been posting:

I found this at the parking lot of the Puyallup Fair in 2008. I don't know if someone was pulling a joke on someone else or someone actually parked his bike there, for safekeeping!

Here's a link to our
smugmug again.

Seeya next week!

My Achin' Butt!

Last weekend someone got the bright idea to go to the snow. It turned out to be a pretty fun day but that term "snow" just wasn't quite what anyone would imagine. We've had a bit of cold dry weather, moreso
since last weekend but before as well. No - there was snow, snow of sorts. It was about a foot and a half to 2 feet deep. But the consistency was more like concrete. A case of multiple thaws and freezes I guess.--

It looked right, but was nearly impossible to penetrate. Awesome for some kinds of sleds, I think the kind with metal runners, the old-fashioned wooden toboggans. We had our usual plastic disks and toboggans. Don't get me wrong - they went! Like mad! Like in the Griswold's xmas movie when they sprayed the disk with anti-stick spray!--

First we went to the area we've been going to for years, a trailhead near the Snoqualmie ski area. The path back into the woods was slick. We slipped our way into the woods and found a pretty cool spot to sled, not too long, with a jump where a tree had fallen and been covered with snow. No good stopping spot but a cool spot nonetheless. For concrete.--

Both of Heather's brothers went along and TJ, the only teenager there was insane. Having fun insane.--

After Hunter finally got bored there we decided to move on to another spot Rach had been told about at the other end of the Snoqualmie hill, in the Hyak area. We found a small hill mostly unoccupied within walking distance of the parking. Easier to climb than the spot in the woods and someone had even built a little jump at the bottom of one spot. TJ had to use the jump, of course. He became airborn enough for a cheap thrill!--

This spot was tame enough that even the old lady in the bunch decided to try it. I don't know why I held my hands like that, probably because I'm still nursing a messed-up thumb from a little accident a decade or so ago. Rach says I thought I was on a roller coaster!--

Rach took Hunter down mostly, her and Denny. I got this great series of one of their trips down the hill.--

So now, Rach, TJ and I are all complaining of sore rumps, no doubt bruised from sledding on the slick white concrete.

Picture of the Week

OK, here's this week's entry:

This is my stepdaughter, Sarah. Rick and I were trying to get something Sarah could use as her senior photo. It was a beautiful September day and we were out on Green Valley Road.

And here's my weekly link to our smugmug. See you next week.

Picture of the Week

This is Shayne, my "pretty" grandson. Looks like Kevin did when he was little. (And I think I remember Mindy saying he looks like Shirley too) How can you go wrong with a combination like that?

Taken September 18, 2009 in my backyard. Another babysitting photo opportunity. Oh, and here's our smugmug site link again.

Picture of the Week

For this week I'm going back to a time this summer when I got to watch my youngest grandson, Hunter. I touched it up a little and this is what I ended up with:

I'll get a copy printed for you, Heather, I promise.

Healthcare - Yeah, Right

Wednesday Hunter began to show signs of being sick. He was lethargic and feverish. In the middle of the night he awoke with a croupy cough. Heather was wanting immediately to take him to the doctor (which, at that time, would mean emergency room) but he finally quieted and went to sleep. In the morning she got urgings to go ahead and get him to a doctor as soon as they were available. So she had Tony drive her to a walk-in clinic around noon. --

When the nurse started to take his vital statistics she had to do a double take when getting his temperature. 105.2º That can't be right, take it again - still 105.2º. The doctor at this point gave Hunter some fever reducer, wrote a note and sent them immediately to the hospital.--

So they got to the ER and the hospital did the usual triage check up. In spite of the fact that a doctor had sent them due to an unusually high fever (which had been artificially reduced with the use of drugs) they deemed him unworthy of any immediate attention. As a matter of fact, he kept getting bumped to the bottom of the list for 4 - 5 hours. He also has pink eye. Other patients getting called before Hunter were curious as to why the
obviously very sick toddler was being ignoring.--

Denny was finally told that they were #2 on the list. But the fever was coming back and patients were going back every 30 - 45 minutes. So they would have to sit in the waiting room for another 1 - 1 1/2 hours with a severely feverish boy. How high would the fever go this time? They gave up.--

They headed to a nearby urgent care clinic. Within 20 minutes Hunter was being checked out. His fever was currently back up to 104º. They did a culture but stated that most likely he had swine flu (the flu du jour), the lab was not open so they wouldn't have the results til later. The x-ray showed the beginning of pneumonia and of course, the pink eye.--

So by about 8:30 they were finally getting the prescriptions filled and heading home to allow the sick baby to go to bed.--

Why would the hospital ignore the doctor's note and concern about the severely high fever? Why would they allow a probably very contagious toddler to hang out in the waiting room for 4 - 5 hours to infect everyone coming in? This I don't understand.

Our healthcare system is a joke.

A New Feature!

As a photographer I enjoy viewing other photographers' blogs and websites.

Something I notice most like to do is post a "Picture of the Week".

So - without further ado -

My first Picture of the week:

This is one of the shots that I took yesterday on Queen Anne. I'll post a new shot each week if one is available and when I don't have a new shot I'll pull something from my archives. (this "thumbnail" is not the best quality, click on it to see the better quality shot)

I think while I'm at it I'll also post a link to our smugmug in these blogs, just to urge you to go take a look. Oh! And please feel free to make comments, on this blog and on anything in smugmug that you feel warrants a comment. Check back next week!

Photo Geeks Run Amok!

I promised Sarah an autumn photo shoot a couple weeks back and began to look around for what's out there to shoot.

One place I saw was Kerry Park on Queen Anne hill in Seattle. You get awesome shots of the "
World Famous Seattle Skyline" from this park so I've had a hankerin' to go!

But last weekend was rainy and miserable. So since this weekend was to be dry we set our sights on that there hill.

Sarah, in the meantime, got an invite to go with some friends from her dorm. So we all headed into the big city, but separately.

As we were navigating the Seattle streets I spotted the Olympic Sculpture Park, a newish attraction on the waterfront built in like 3 levels and part of the Seattle Art Museum.

We fed the parking meter (YOU try to figure out how to display that stupid new parking receipt the centralized meter feeds you!) and explored. We only planned to be there for 30 minutes originally but ended up staying for over an hour, it's 9 acres with all kinds of odd things to photograph.

On our way back to the car we took a side trip into the Old Spaghetti Factory to use the restroom and I found out Rick has never been there! And he considers himself a LOCAL?!?!

At last we found the Kerry Park we originally headed out to see. We texted Sarah that we were there so we could let them know how to get there, so they could meet us, but they were busy eating burgers at Dick's. So we got lots of shots, walked up and down the street getting all kind of interesting stuff, it's a very colorful old neighborhood. But it was breezy and COLD!

We decided to head to a nearby marina for some boat shots but had a hard time finding the right turn to take to actually get to the marina. So we opted to just head to Discovery Park in the Magnolia district since we were right there anyway.

We found a veteran's cemetery with all the little matching headstones in nearly symmetrical rows and autumn leaves strewn about (aboot, eh?).

We then drove up and down little streets to see what we could see and finally ended up at the Indian Center located in the park. The views of the Sound from that spot were not picture-worthy but we found interesting artwork inside the Cultural Center.

I was hoping to be able to get some shots of the lighthouse in that area but (1) it's under reconstruction and (2) it was like a 1.5 - 2 mile roundtrip hike.

Since we both had only had breakfast and it was now about 4 PM we started hunting for a food joint and ended up patronizing a little hole-in-the-wall in the Belltown area, the Frontier Room. The food was good, service was good, and they had free wifi. But the best thing about the whole place is actually their website -
check it out!

Oh yeah, we actually started the day by running to an apartment to pick up a computer for Denny and Heather. So when we got home we not only had our pictures to share, upload and play with, we had a new computer to set up! Double fun! Where do we start?

I was so psyched about our fun day that I had a hard time going to sleep. What's that saying about simple pleasures?

Mission Accomplished

Well, our warm winter is under way - our wood stove is up and running!--

It took some time to get all the involved work done, there were many steps involved, but I'm now sitting here with my robe open to keep cool...--

Each step of this job and related jobs were tedious. It began with hauling the stove, chimney pipe and 2+ cords of firewood home. Then all that firewood had to be neatly stacked against the back of the shop. That was kinda fun. I stood at the pile and chucked the wood at Rick who stacked it. He's got a very persnickety nature (you'll see me describe him that way often, it's a very dominant trait in him) so he was best suited to do a good job of stacking. So you could say I was a wood chuck - and I chucked as much wood as this woodchuck could chuck!--

Rick has been concerned about the back of the shop and was trying to figure out a way to protect it, since someone in the past either didn't build eaves onto it or cut them off after building. Either way, the back of the shop had no protection from rain. So he opted to add a small roof as a 2fer - it'll protect the majority of the building and will also keep everything below it dry. Mainly our firewood.--

We pondered what to do for a hearth and finally came to the conclusion that a homemade one would be best. We chose the tile, slate, and when I went to buy it realized it would be too difficult to work with, mainly due to it's thickness variation. So I picked up a selection of tiles and brought them home to "try them on". Rick thinks we got the one I wanted - wrong. We got the one the majority wanted. It was about #3 on my list.--

Once that decision and purchase was made a tile saw was needed to move on, there were 6 cuts that needed to be made. So one beautiful Saturday (we had lots of those!) we got the saw and I did all the cuts right in the back of Rick's pickup.--

I was ready to start building the hearth finally and ended up coming down with a flu. I did my best, a small job every day, and got it completed that week anyway. Whew!--

We brought in the stove and did the figuring where it would sit, then where the pipe would have to go through the ceiling, avoiding the roof trusses. I cut the hole in the ceiling, built the box for the support for the chimney pipe (stove pipe and chimney pipe are not the same thing) and installed the transitional piece that was also the support. I had intended to do the stove pipe and Rick would do the chimney pipe but due to a lack of communication he ended up doing both. We learned from that, though, that we both need to communicate better and not assume (you all know how that saying goes about "assume").--

So the stove pipe was done and the chimney started to go up. Bad timing in a way. Rick was doing it after work and we just "fell back" last weekend which meant that he had one less hour of daylight each day. But he just kept plodding along, finally spending enough time up there by halogen light to get the job done on Wednesday, since the rain was supposed to start yesterday and continue for a number of days.--

Last night we lit our first fire. It is a very good quality stove, a Lopi, and burns beautifully. It looks like a gas fire, it burns so evenly! Denny and Heather came up for a little while and we all sat around in this end of the room by our computers, as usual. But this time it was a little more inviting!

Got a New Toaster!

So what? Who cares? Right?--

Well, this is no ordinary toaster - I can drive this one!--

Yes folks, Rick, Keith and I went all the way down to Vancouver yesterday to buy me a rolling toaster - a Scion xB, that is!--

Rick found this one on good old Craigslist (they really should change the name to that - "good old Craigslist"). Among the description items listed was a "reconstructed title". So he immediately decided against looking into it any further. Other than that it was perfect. I urged him to look into it further. It turns out that everything he was thinking a "reconstructed title" meant weren't true, not in this case anyway. This car had been rear ended, back quarter panel, door and bumper were damaged. The insurance company somehow ended up with it and it went to auction. Airbags were still intact and, as far as I know, there was no frame damage.--

It's very similar to my Camry, being made by Toyota also, so it feels very familiar, I can find controls easily. I used the cruise control half of the way home. But being a newer car it has some of the creature comforts that my 1990 car lacked.--

One of the cooler things it has is an auxiliary jack for the sound system (it's WAY more than just a radio) so I can plug my ipod into it and listen to
my music or my Watchtower and Awake articles.--

Yesterday I wasn't excited. I was happy, but not excited. I think I'm getting excited. I have a cool cultish car with everything I wanted in it and more!--

And, for once, I have the newest car in the family! Thanks again Ricky Baby!--

Exciting Day

OK, 2 blogs in a row. Well, for a change I had quite an exciting day. Not all good either.--

On top of the excitement I have to share in the bulk of this blog Rick broke a tooth at lunch and had to have an emergency visit to the dentist. They put a temporary crown on it. So for the next 2 weeks or so he'll be a little tender, unless he can get them to fix the temporary crown to fit better.--

Now, back to my excitement. I woke up with plans to work outside. When I got up at about 9 it was all of 35º outside. It would have to wait. So I played around on my computer and by 11:30 it was up to about 47º so I headed out. It wasn't bad.--

I started weeding and trimming, readying my front yard for the winter. Leaves had already been raked into piles and the yard waste was all loaded onto a tarp and dragged out into the woods.--

After a couple hours I heard a woman scream. Then, about 5 minutes later I heard a man yell. He yelled again. And again. He could have been saying "Help!", I couldn't make it out. Then I decided to see if I could find out where it was coming from but it quit. I ran into a couple other neighbors who were also concerned. But it had stopped. Then all of a sudden, there it was again! This time I could tell where it was coming from and that it didn't involve words. Sharon (our local Gladys Kravitz) invited me into her back yard and we discovered it was the kid next door to her. We scolded him and told him he nearly got the cops at his front door!

So, mystery solved, I went back to work on my yard. I was nearly 75% done I'd say and maybe 15 minutes after I got back to work I heard a siren come screaming into the neighborhood. That was very unusual, they normally turn off their sirens once they turn off of the main drag, Auburn-Black Diamond Road.--

They were on the other side of the block, then turned onto the street headed toward me and stopped before they got to the corner. It wasn't the cops answering a 911 call about the yelling people down the street.

I have 2 friends living on that street and there are only about 5 houses so there's always a good chance if an emergency vehicle stops on that street that it's going to one of my friends' house. So I always snoop. Sure 'nuff, it was stopped in front of the Haydens' house. And it was a fire truck.--

My first thoughts were that it was Kevin, the husband, and that he'd had another heart attack. I'm always scared that I'll see that again some day. The other neighbor I know on that street, Steve, also recently had a heart attack. But this time it was no heart attack. It was a fire.--

I got there and Mary and the neighbor, Steve, were outside Mary's house by her car. Turns out Mary had turned on a burner on her stove, maybe to boil water, and left the kitchen to go lay down, go to the bathroom, whatever. After a few minutes she heard something and, returning to the kitchen, she found it in flames. She heard the flames.--

She had turned on the wrong burner, she turned on the one with the pan full of grease sitting on it.--

Somehow she got Steve over there and he tried unsuccessfully to douse the fire. He decided they should get out when the smoke was so thick he couldn't see his own hand 2 feet in front of him.

So the firemen got there, put the fire out, aired out the house, sprayed more water and left. The smoke was so thick and black. It came out from all the vents under the eaves, the whole length of the house. My guess is that everything in that house was ruined, either from smoke or water. It'll probably have to be gutted.--

I told Mary that all will be OK. She told me that she loved me.

Blog Time

OK, I guess this is gonna be the new way to blog - wait a while and recap. Better than nothing. Occasionally there will be special events that merit their own special blogs but otherwise - this is what you get!--

As Rick mentioned in one of his latest blogs I am just over a cold, most likely the swine flu. While I was sick he did some investigation and found that most people sick at that time had the swine flu. It was definitely a flu and that's what's out there now. But since we don't all run to the doc the minute we are ill they have no way to tell exactly what the statistics are, only what they can collect from those who are going to the doc. It was a typical flu, chills, aches, etc, etc. Only one week long, then a week of just yucks to follow and now a residual cough and asthma.--

Cookie was ill at the same time and I know that cats are often susceptible to the same illnesses we get so - who knows? I did end up taking her to the vet due to bumps all over her head. The vet determined she had an allergy to her food. The thought had crossed my mind because I had just started her on a new bag. So I got an antibiotic that I never got to give her but she's back to her old self now. She's still not exactly adjusted to her new non-allergenic food though. They also ran a test for a cat ailment, Bartonella, which can cause "cat scratch disease" in people. It is very prevalent in cats and causes problems all their life but is easily treatable with a 21 day dose of an inexpensive antibiotic. So she's on the mend for that as well, her test came back a strong positive.--

Our woodstove project is moving forward. This week we moved the stove into its new place and got the stovepipe through the ceiling. We hope to get the chimney pipe up and through the roof this week and be enjoying a warm house this weekend!--

Attempting to do this project as a team has caused lots of problems that we needed to iron out. I think last night we finally got to the root of the problem and how to solve it - communicate! Strange, but that almost always seems to be the solution!--

Monday we'll have another family member back in our midst - Rach's ex, Tony, from Cincinnati. After moving out there, trying to reconnect with his Ohio family and friends he realized that he was happier here. So, after finally getting his jeep to him and finalizing their divorce in June, he's on his way back. Maybe not to be remarried to Rach, but he'll always be family. She's flying to Kansas City to meet him and help him drive out. They plan to stop in Utah and visit my brother, Mark, on the same day that Rick and I visited last year - November 1!--

I've been looking for work and went on an interview this week. I'm looking for something that will be part time, close by and hopefully fun, or at least not awful. I interviewed to be a floral merchandiser at the nearby Covington Costco. Close, fun, but definitely NOT part time. It's actually 7 days a week! I think I would have gotten the job too, the guy really seemed to like me and kept making comments about things he saw in me during our conversation that were good for the job. He'll keep my name in mind, he said, to suggest to whomever he hires to maybe consider as a backup, to work a couple days a week so they can have some time off. That would be ok.--

Rick's cousin's husband, Danny, is actually an Alaska resident and works there often. This year was no different, he was there for months building bridges. He also did some fishing - very successful fishing! He sent pictures of a salmon trip they did where they caught 94 great, big salmon! He also brought home to Chehalis halibut, clams and scallops. They have a party every year and this year they shared their seafood bounty with friends. We looked forward to the event for months. We got to the house and the table was set with about 30 bottles of wine. There was finger food and Danny was in his element, grilling tons of food. Though I'm not typically a seafood lover I did try everything and it was all delicious. I even asked for seconds of the scallops and was too late, they were gone! No wonder, they were yummy. But about 20 miles into our 75 mile drive out there I discovered I forgot my inhaler and by about 8:30 I was done, all I could do was sit on the couch. We regrettably headed home. It was a great party, I schmoosed with just about everyone there, even the quiet older guy with the Einstein hair. We got home and were in bed about an hour later, I guess my request to come home was actually a timely one.--

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what is holding Keith back, why he stays up all night and sleeps all day. Why he doesn't go job-hunting and why, in view of all the above, he's so unhappy. In a conversation with Rick the other day we came up with a possible explanation that I wasn't seeing. He may follow in the family tendency of being depressed! Hey! I can do something about that! When I asked him if he thought that may be a possiblility he agreed. So I'm going to start him on a treatment of St. John's Wort. It would be nice for the old happy, talkative Keith to be back! He stopped talking back in middle school.--

So, unless something big happens, it looks like you can expect to see my next blog on your front porch in about 2 weeks!

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

My son Denny and his family live about 5 doors down the street. Last week Denny called me to go down and make sure everything was OK. A disaster nearly happened but was averted - thankfully.--

Last winter Denny was getting to know his newly purchased house and one thing that was giving them problems were the heaters. Most didn't work so they had to use space heaters.

Hunter is becoming a big boy and has graduated to a toddler bed instead of a crib and so, at nap time, when he's not real tired will get up and play. Sometimes they find him sleeping in the closet. This day he was exploring. He climbed on his toy box and turned the thermostat for his heater, played a while more and went to sleep.

In spite of their opinion that the heater in Hunter's room didn't work, it came on. Because they were under the impression that it didn't work they arranged the room with his bed directly in front of the heater. When the heater decided to work it began to scorch the finish on the crib. The room began to fill with smoke with Hunter sleeping in it.

Fortunately, Rach's ex, Tony, was fixing some of the electrical problems in the house and installed smoke detectors according to code - one in each bedroom and one just outside each bedroom door. Heather was in the other end of the house and heard the smoke alarm in Hunter's room going off. So she was able to get him out and he was safe. This is when Denny called and asked me to go down and double check that things were OK.

I checked to see if the breaker was off for that heater, thought it was and proceeded to set up fans to remove the smoke. Turns out it wasn't the correct breaker but now that everyone was aware that the heater did indeed work, they made the necessary changes so the baby couldn't turn it on again.--

Thanks so much, Tony, for putting all those smoke alarms up. The tragedy that could have happened would have been great and it would have been a complete accident.

So be sure you have those smoke alarms working, like it or not.--


So - just how smart are birds?--

I have a bird feeder in my back yard as I've mentioned in many previous blogs. I get all the little birds as well as a few larger ones including blue jays and recently - pigeons.--

The pigeons are not very welcome as they're large birds, hence they eat a lot and usually come in large numbers, a double whammy you might say. The group I get can number about 12 at most. That's much too much. When they started coming around more frequently I started shooing them away. All it usually takes is for me to open the door and they quickly flutter off into the nearby trees.--

One morning after not having had the pigeons around for a while Rick noticed blue jay squawking coming from someplace other than out by the feeder. As he went to the back door to see where it was he noticed a pigeon at the feeder - and the blue jays were sitting on our outdoor furniture right next to the back door!--

I'll ask again: "How smart are birds?"--

Normally the blue jays are also easily frightened off by a simple opening of the door. So what prompted these guys to come right to the door to squawk and bring our attention to the fact that there were the uninvited pigeons at the feeder once again? --

Maybe they were tattling. I think they're a lot smarter than we realize.

A Refreshingly Different Ordinary Day

I'm beginning to look for a job, my days are becoming ordinary. I still have jobs to do around the house but I'm getting bored and restless. Yesterday I had the same boring day planned, shopping, maybe a little painting, then meeting.--

But then the phone rang - it was Rick (duh-duh-duh ominous music).--

"I'm coming home - I'm freezing". That was at about 10 AM. Sure 'nuff, about 25 minutes later here he was. He works in the shop at work, just outside the office and right inside one of the big roll-up doors. Some of the guys at work insist on having that door open even when it's not exactly warm and there's no heat source right where Rick sits. That's right, he sits at a computer most of the day now.--

While it was supposed to be unseasonably warm yesterday, as it has been all month, at 7 AM it's not warm. That's when they opened the door. There was a breeze. By 10 Rick couldn't feel his fingers and had had enough. So he left. Bad for LaCroix, good for me. --

So he got to join me on my shopping day. It's always nice to have someone else along. After shopping and getting home near the same time that he would have gotten home after work we had to jet out to an old school friend of his to peruse her garage sale items. She posted some of them in an email to friends and invited any to come out and go through whatever she had sorted through already. So we donated $20 and came home w some garden chemicals, painting supplies, a wheelbarrow, 2 cordless drills, a floodlight, bird seed and a gas weed eater. Fun.--

After watching a pit bull walk through our back yard and out the back gate we decided that it was time to address that back gate. Rick hopped on Craigslist and found a pair of chain link gates for sale 3 miles away. We arranged to meet with the guy about 7. That was after I'd leave for meeting so Rick went himself and bought them. 2 5' X 4' gates for $40, not bad.--

So now I'm off to meeting. But I don't have to do that alone either! Kevin's little family is going too! I get there and they're just walking in. I get to sit next to Joe. For not going to many meetings those boys were excellent. Kevin seemed very happy, he was smiling through the whole meeting. I hope they keep it up.--

What a refreshing day!

The NoBlog Zone

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone." --

Well, the NoBlog Zone is nothing like that. Actually it's quite the opposite. It's the more than average, it's the mundane.

I've found myself in this zone for apparently a couple weeks now.

Among the mundane are household improvements. Rick has been working on a small roof over the back of the shop to keep it and the items stacked against it (mainly our 2 cords of firewood) dry. I'm in the process of making some alterations to my swingset to accommodate 3 little boys and make it pretty again. The tarp on top had nearly completely disintegrated and pointed out that the whole thing needed attention.--

Last weekend Rick, Sarah and I went to the opening day of the Puyallup Fair. Rick and I hadn't planned to go. Then Sarah said she wanted to go to take pictures "of rides in the dark and stuff". That changed our plans in a flash! Check them out in our smugmug, just click on this picture.--

Our long Labor Day weekend was spent working around the house, although we did go to a BBQ at a coworker's house on a lake south of here. It turned out to be a perfect size group and a perfect day for that BBQ. It included games, a boat ride, fireworks and a campfire. Oh, yes - and Cap'n TJ.--

Rick and I both created Facebook accounts. Facebook is weird and, other than finding people you haven't heard from for ages, largely a waste of time. But reconnecting with old acquaintances is interesting. I haven't been able to find anyone I'm particularly interested in finding. My mom and Dad actually created accounts this week as well!--

What's in the books for this upcoming weekend? More house projects!--

It dawned on me yesterday why it is that we aren't off enjoying this great weather like we did last year - we were dating then. This year we're making alterations to our household - - - in the NoBlog Zone...


There have been a number of happenings in my family to cause me to want to create this blog. I already blogged one about Kitty. But last night something happened that makes it absolutely imperative.--

It seems that the quest for a good dog (or cat for that matter) is sometimes a long process of hit and miss.--

Kevin and Shirley have had a few pets over the 6 years they've been together. The cats wouldn't litter box train, they had to go. Rowdy, the miniature Pincer had to go, same problem. Then came along poor Kitty. She may have been a winner. She had a fantastic personality. I haven't heard how things are now, they got a new puppy this last Monday, a Chihuahua named Tinkerbell. I'm sure Shirley will do a better job of keeping an eye on her herself. Apparently she was rather tore up over Kitty's demise.--

Denny and Heather have 2 fantastic pets, a beautiful German Shepherd named Gage and a cute pinky-orange tabby cat named Lily. They are both extremely well behaved. But Kev & Shirl's Kitty event caused a strange chain of events to happen.--

Rachyl is looking forward to having her own home soon and decided she wanted a small dog after meeting Kitty. So the hunt began. She's been looking at the pound and other shelters for the right dog. Denny decided to help her, so he and Heather went to the pound.--

3 or so years back when Denny and Heather lived in Pacific they got a companion for Gage, a female black Lab mix named Kira. She had a bad habit of getting out of the yard. It wasn't long before she was hit by a car. Her leg was badly damaged but Denny followed the doctor's directions and she healed up pretty good, regardless of the fact that they wanted to do surgery to repair her. But she was healed and back to the getting out of the yard. She had to go.--

But Heather has wanted her own dog ever since. So when they were at the pound looking for a dog for Rach they found a dog for Heather instead, accidentally. A stunning white Husky named Tasha Ice Princess or something like that. A smaller registered husky with papers. And beautiful blue eyes. And apparently a very bad habit.--

The pound has instituted a scoring method for their adoptees and it covers aptitude, behavior, health, etc. Included is their interaction with children, strangers, other pets, etc. They didn't divulge her true makeup when it came to cats, they said she had no history with cats. Thursday while we were getting ready to go camping she got into the neighbor's yard and killed one of their cats. Maybe the second one she killed. It was obvious she did it because of the noise. So she had to go.--

This was going to be the gist of my blog. The difficulty in finding a good pet and what we sometimes have to endure in our quest. But last night something happened to put a slightly different slant on this blog. Another dog incident.

Rick's ex and daughter have a few cats and last year got a cute wire-hair terrior mix puppy and named her Pokey, after the Pokey little puppy, white with brown spots.--

She has always been a little goofy but, overall, a good pet. She also has seemed to have some health issues. She broke a leg when she was quite young by simply jumping back from the fence when another dog barked at her. But she was just a cute quirky dog.--

Rick and I were trying to figure out dinner last night when he got a text from Sarah: "Pokey just had a heart attack and died"--


"They went for a walk and she had a seizure and never got up"--

She was only a year and a half old. I went online and googled "dog sudden death" and found a website where tons of people have described the very same thing happening to their dogs. But most were much older. It's either heart or brain defects, nothing that can be helped. It's just time to go.--

So there we have it. Try as you may to acquire a good pet, sometimes even when you do it still doesn't work out.

The Forecast is for a Warm Winter

Well, not the official meteorological forecast. Rather,
our forecast here in our home.--

We've been looking on Craigslist for a great deal on a wood stove. Well, we found a "smokin" deal, here's the ad (it may be fuzzy, click on it to see it clearly):--

The stove is small, perfect for our little house, the chimney is prolly just about the right height and there's about 2 cords of wood there, easily enough for our entire winter. It's a Lopi stove, which means that it'll be simple to find replacement parts if need be and it's certified.--

Their asking price was $500 which was a real steal. We both replied to their ad and she called me at about 10 to tell me that we were number 2. She was giving number 1 an hour to call or email and then we could have it. But I didn't want this to slip away so I called and offered another hundred smackers. After doing that she called back in 20 minutes to tell me that number one wouldn't up his offer so we could have it!

That totally screwed up my plans for the day! Now, instead of cleaning and unpacking and putting away the camping stuff I was hauling firewood. LOL. It was great. And last night Rick and I started stacking it against the back of the shop.

This house is always so cold, it'll be so pleasant to have a warm house now! I just hope it doesn't make Rick decide to shed all his clothes.

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.