Puffy feet

That’s what old ladies get in the heat. So – I must be an old lady since my feet have been puffy for days.

Last night it finally broke, heat wave over. It was a goodie, breaking or matching all kinds of records. Seattle’s record high and low temps are no longer 100º and 0º, the new record high is 102º.

Here it got to about 108º on the hottest day, Wednesday. It was over 100º by noon, Denny said when he left Bellevue at 11 PM that night it was still 90º! That’s just unheard of! Madness, I tell you!

Since we never have those extreme temps for more than a day or 2 at a time most of us don’t have a/c. So we have to get imaginative to stay cool.

We do have lots of rivers and lakes so those
are filled to capacity with people abandoning theirs ovens called home (and subsequently lots of drownings during heat waves). One of the funniest sights here locally is the Green River just down the street. There is an area referred to as 3 bridges and the river is very shallow there this time of year. So when it gets hot people just walk into the river and sit. In chairs. Now they BBQ too. In the past I even saw a truck down there, too lazy to walk that short distance I suppose. It was downright crowded this last Wednesday:

I always thought the heat in my house was generated in the afternoon and the morning sun was OK. I discovered this time though that that wasn’t true, the morning sun did its own damage. So I had to find a way to shade the front of the house (click on it to see better):

Talk about white trash! The back of the house is well shaded with a gazebo, umbrella and trees.

Well, near normal temps should be back now. Normal is upper 70’s. Can’t we find a happy medium?

New Places

Rick and I have been so busy for the last few months with wedding plans, moving preparation and now fitting everything of Rick's into my house that we haven't had the chance to go play at all. By this time last year we had already gone to the Balloon Stampede at Walla Walla, the Spring opener to Toppenish and a day trip of over 300 miles around Mt. St. Helens and to visit his cousin Melinda in Chehalis on the way home. Well, this weekend was forecast to be hot and even warm on the coast. Rick has been saying that he wanted to take a driving trip around the Peninsula so I suggested we escape and do it. Even the coast was supposed to be warm which is rare here. So on a whim we decided to do it. No reservations, barely any planning at all.

We got up and hit the road by 8 on Saturday morning so reached the coast about 2 hours later. The cloudy, cool coast, as usual. Well, it was only 10 AM, let's give it time.

We continued to drive north up the coast. Still cloudy. But warm enough to wear shorts.
We got lots of shots of that cloudy coast, with the interesting driftwood and sea stacks that our coast is know for. But not too many of the latter, they weren't always visible through the fog.

I had planned to try to see some of the sights I've missed in the past due to having too many kids, and some too young to hike very far. One was called "hole in the wall". Ran out of walkable beach, the tide was in and the surf was high. Everyone built little cairns all over, there were nothing but flat rocks everywhere which lent themselves to cairn-building. They were deserving of some photos, but no "hole in the wall". Oh well.

On one of Rick's trips in the past he remembered a forest of burls. There had been a sign on the main road. We got to the place near where he remembered it to be but no sign. But he spotted a little trail and decided we should explore it and guess what? It was the burl forest! Apparently they removed the sign on the main highway, but we found it anyway. It was pretty odd, some of the burls were about oh, I don't know, maybe 6 feet in diameter!

We eventually had to shoot north, to the inlet from the Pacific to the Straight of Juan deFuca. We got to the coast at Clallam Bay. I don't believe I'd been there before. Right next to it was Sekiu, I'd heard of it but never even seen it spelled out. Then we hit the Makah nation and Neah Bay. It was interesting but a typical indian reservation. Actually, for here, it was not typical, it is a poor tribe or reservation and there was no casino.

We just buzzed past it, planning to possibly explore a little more after we reached some more photo destinations. I was hoping to get a sunset on the beach and wanted to see Cape Flattery and the lighthouse. We also had made no rooming arrangements so we wanted to see if there would be any interesting camping or cabins on the coast.
Well, the beach up there was even foggier than further south had been and the cabins were all rented. The camping was a joke. So we gave up on the ocean side and headed to Cape Flattery, the northwest most spot in the contiguous 48.

We drove out and found the hike to the actual point to be only a half mile. It was a nice trail, well maintained and about a third of it covered with a boardwalk.
We got out there and enjoyed some spectacular views, interesting birds but still fog. Not enough to ruin our photo session, but enough to keep us from seeing the lighthouse. The pictures came out looking like paintings, very colorful but the light fog kinda washing out some of the background. Here, see for yourself:

So after taking way too many pics there at the cape we headed out to go back to trying to find some rooming. We had the tent and sleeping bags in the car but Rick preferred a room. I wanted to get some sunset shots, from somewhere on the shore of the Straight, since the ocean turned out to be a bust.

We were driving, looking for a room and looking for a sunset and a place to get pics of it. We didn't find a room but the sunset started adn we got shots of it back at Clallum Bay. Some really awesome shots.

By the time it was done it was about 9. Rooms were all gone. Restaurants were closing. So we hit a tavern on the far end of town. The dumpiest tavern ever. I ordered the special - shredded beef and cheese chimichangas. Rick ordered egg rolls. The chimichangas were the ones from Costco sold in plastic wrappers. She nuked them, plopped them on a plate, poured on some salsa and shredded cheese. Rick's egg rolls were deep fried. It was awful. But it was food and including our drinks the bill only came to $18.

So now we had full bellies but still needed a place to sleep.
I suggested we try just heading out of town, toward our next destination, Port Angeles, and just find a dirt road that we could head down and pitch our tent.

It started raining.

The dirt roads all had gates blocking entrance.

It was about 11 and we'd had a long day.

We used my GPS to find the roads and finally I convinced Rick to just stay at this one where the gate was set back just a little more than some of the others in an area called "Pysht". And the dirt road that we had to set the tent up on wasn't rocky. So we pitched the tent in the rain and crawled in to sleep.
It rained at least half the night. One corner of the tent puddled a little and the sleeping bags got a corner wet. My jeans were there and got wet too. But we got some sleep.

We got up and hit the road about 7.
We found a pleasant cafe in Joyce, had a nice breakfast, got to use a real toilet and freshen up a little with running water. On to Port Angeles.

There was an art event going on which included a sand sculpting competition. So we enjoyed the sights there in about 2 hours and headed out to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. Rick has lived here all his life and hasn't been to Hurricane Ridge. The place is renowned for very tame deer.

The weather was perfect so we saw the deer, including a brand new one that was nursing on it's mom about 30 feet from the crowds. We hiked up a hill a bit to see more views and ended up chasing butterflies, trying to out-do each other for the best shot. Back in the parking lot we caught a guy taking his pot-belly pig for a walk. Rick is a sucker for animals. He went to get pictures, then stooped down to meet the piggy face-to-face. His name was Charlie. Rick's a nut.

OK, great weekend. It was about 3 and all that was left was to get on a ferry and get home. Unfortunately everyone else visiting the peninsula decided to do so at that very same time. It took hours in the hot sun to get to the ferry dock, but when we got there we were about 15 cars from the last ones to get on.

It sounds like everything went wrong but we had a great time and didn't let all those little setbacks bother us. I guess that kind of patience and forgiveness for things not going according to plan comes with age, huh? There has to be some advantage to being in our 50's, eh?

Creature Comforts in my Comfort Zone

"Things that make you comfortable and at ease", "something that contributes to physical comfort" or "the basic physical things that make life pleasant — good food, warm clothing, etc". Those are some definitions of the term "creature comforts".

"A behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk", "the set of environments and behaviors with which one is comfortable
... A person's personality can be described by his or her comfort zones" and "the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity" are definitions of the term "comfort zone".

I've been enjoying a number of these creature comforts which are contributing to the size of my comfort zone. Some of them are rather small in nature, even seemingly insignificant
. Others are a little more notable and understandable at how they would make me comfortable. Herein is a listing of a few of these that I've been benefiting from as of late:

A new toilet to replace my jet flusher. I have always had issues with toilets flushing well in this house, although there doesn't appear to be any problem to cause slow flushing. Rick and I did some research and picked a doozie.

One of those silly fixes to make life easier. My cat insists on laying on these patio chairs all summer and they get so hairy! So I attached ties to them so they can be tied up and kept clean.

I finally got my glass top stove that I've been looking for for years. Already blogged this one but I'm still psyched about it. It's not hard to keep clean either, not with another creature comfort I discovered - Barkeepers Friend. Like Ajax or Comet but with some more punch, will actually etch some materials so it must be used with care.

A while ago my ex-son-in-law installed a digital thermostat in my living room for me and I appreciate it every day when it's in use. It warms up the house before I get up and turns itself down at night so I can't accidentally forget.

Between my hot tub and the house there used to exist a dark, damp, sparsely grassed chunk of ground - an eyesore and hard to mow. I finally got around to building a small addition to my deck and covered it up. Then I extended the garden next to it. Voila! Finally finished!

Rick's ex-neighbor who worked for Dell gave him a monitor years ago and Rick finally got frustrated with it's color issues and replaced it. Well, it was much bigger than mine (and I could see no problem with the color) so I asked if I could adopt it. I accidentally ended up with both monitors in use. What a great idea! Especially with my DVD "business", so much more room to spread things out and see what I'm doing!

Blending our 2 households means a lot of improvement in our belongings. We'd keep the better of both Rick's and mine and now we have lots of nice stuff. One of the things of Rick's that replaced mine was his big TV. Strange, though - he barely ever watches TV!

The best time of year to hot tub is winter. But here in Washington that means rain - no fun to sit out in the rain. Yet if it's not raining I like to see the stars. A temporary cover is what I need! I found this off-center umbrella and it works almost perfectly, it just doesn't like the wind.

About 4 years ago, when I finally got to move into the master bedroom, my kids installed french doors for me. But that meant I no longer had a window to open during the summer, when it's warm. I was under the misconception that I had to shell out $300 for screens - wrong! I just investigated and found that I can screen them for only $89! (now we just have to get the neighbor's dog to stop barking all night!)

Another silly fix - Rick did this one for me. A block of wood. Silly, huh? But it keeps the front screen door shut. So the grandsons or the grandpuppy can't let themselves out. And the flies can't come in the gap, since there's no more gap!

How about this creature? Sure, he's con - con - cocky (and proud of it!) and persnickety (aka - a perfectionist) - but he adds to the comfort of my home - thanks Rick for becoming an addition to my comfort zone!

Here Ya Go, Mark!

OK, so it's bee
n officially 2 weeks since my last blog. So? What's new? But due to a certain family member in Utah whining and complaining I guess I'll jot down a few highlights of the last couple weeks. When I neglect to blog often it's due to the same thing - very busy and nothing noteworthy enough to blog. Right now is no exception. So I'll create a quick recap of the most blogworthy events of the last 2 weeks.

Life with Rick
You all saw the last blog - the big mess? Well, that kept me busy for a while. It only took that first week to get things straightened out enough to walk around and be able to find things. The job is not done by any means, but at least I got that much accomplished. Now we need to get back to organizing the shop so the excess stuff from the house can move out there. Rick has gotten parts of that cleaned up as well but mostly on "his" side of it, the side where his Harley and tool bench will reside.

Last weekend we finally dusted off that aforementioned Harley and took it for a spin down to Chehalis. We had to visit his cousin's miniature donkey farm since a new baby had just been born that Monday. He had a scenic and leisurely route all planned out that avoided the freeway and the weather was perfect for it - 80's. Unfortunately for us it was also the opportune route headed south (towards Portland) for about 10,000 bicycles in the annual Seattle-to-Portland (aka STP) run. After sitting in the traffic in a tiny podunk town for an hour because the bikes would block traffic we hit the freeway after all.

Our visit to Melinda's "White Hawk Farms" was everything we'd hoped, and then some. The baby was cuter than imagined, dinner was splendid and we even helped her out with a chore - scooping the poop from the pasture, she's quite the fastidious rancher! It was great though, really. I got to drive the John Deere "Gator" which is a mini 4WD dump truck while Rick and Melinda scooped the poop. Her 2 new border collie pups were constantly in the way, trying to "herd" the Gator, they're real cuties.

While visiting Melinda the subject of her website came up (as it usually does) and we decided that I would build it for her since it seemed that it was beyond Melinda's ability and time frame. So that's what's keeping me busy this week. Check it out - http://www.whitehawkfarms.com.

That new job came on the heels of 2 new (to us) computers that Rick picked up last weekend. He found them on Craigslist and bought his and her 'puters for $130. Dell 2.4GHz, 2GB of ram (which we immediately upgraded to 3GB) GeForce FX 5200 video cards. Not the latest and the greatest but better than either of us previously had. We went to our favorite puter store, Infotech, and bought some goodies to add. I had to have my 2 monitors which required a digital cable. I also got spoiled by my old puter having a built in card reader so I had to get one of those too. I think Rick is gonna install one in his, the USB and card reader method seems awful slow. We both also got new 500GB hard drives to install. What a couple geeks!

Rach's Life
Everyone knows about Rach's divorce that took place immediately after my wedding. Our trip to South Dakota to swap cars with her ex. Tony's decision to divorce Rach a week before his Grandma died (his real reason for moving back to Cincinnati). Etc, etc. Well, Rach has moved on and has been meeting new people via a website matchmaker. She has also decided to take advantage of the current economic condition and try to purchase a house. Her life has moved forward. Apparently Tony's hasn't. And now that Grandma's gone and he's left only with the family that he doesn't get along with and his closest friend who is still only a friend, he's lonely. He sees that he made multiple mistakes.

While Mark was here visiting for our wedding he grew rather attached to our area and Rach. He feels like she's his little sister. Apparently he and his wife have been thinking about relocating and fell in love with our area. (I guess we did a good job of tour guides!) So he plans to stay with Rach in her new house until he can get settled and then the rest of the family can come out.

So between the dating, the house buying and dealing with a regretful, lonely ex she has quite a plateful. And so much of it is intertwined.

Kevin's life
Apparently Shirley has moved back in with Kevin and when they're together we don't see nearly as much of Kevin as when they're apart. So it's good that they're back under one roof (2 roofs cost $$$) but I can't really say how things are going. Good I hope.

I got to babysit Joe and Shayne for the first time since May. They're doing good. Joe was helpful and Shayne wanted to play with Grandma. They're good boys in spite of their mixed up home life.

Denny's life
The big thing right now in Denny's life is his possible promotion at work. It's been mentioned over the last couple years from time to time but now the boss that wants Denny to replace him is actually planning his big step down. That means a big step up for Denny. He was over the other night voicing his concerns. My main area of suggestions was how he could earn the respect of older men working under him. He needs their respect and that has to be earned. I reminded him that in order to be respected you must be respect-able. Keep himself groomed, keep your cool, don't swear, speak with authority, not meanness.

On the 4th Denny had a big wingding at his place. Among the guests there were his in-laws, Bud and Laurie. At one point during the evening Laurie and I had poor Heather cornered in the kitchen reminding her that Hunter's getting up there and that she could start to think about planning another baby. Well, she didn't take it too hard. I think she thought it was funny, at least I hope she did.

Dane's life
Dane is enjoying the life of the unemployed. He keeps himself busy in spiritual things. Good boy.

One night last week he called at 10:30 (that's never a good thing). He hurt his finger and wondered if I had a splint. So he came over and I used some craft sticks to steady his finger (the splints I had were for that one end knuckle only, it was his middle knuckle that was injured). I texted him a number of times afterward about going to get it looked at. Yep, it's broke. So now it's splinted correctly and wrapped together with the next finger over. Fortunately it's his left hand.

I got a call from a JW sister I was friends with ages ago and knew that she would be calling for Dane. She was and it was about the Regional Building Committee. Apparently Dane put in an application and was to attend an orientation. Cool! I spoke to him a couple years ago about the building work and he wasn't interested. But that was then and this is now. He has moved out and has become more independent. I'm so glad he applied, it'll make him very happy to do that work if he can be used. It'll be a little slice of the new system right now.

Keith's life
Awake from about 3 PM to 3 AM on the computer, chatting, im'ing, playing, surfing and texting on his phone and watching tv. All simultaneously. That's about it.

So, there ya go. I'm right now writing this on my deck, watching the squirrels and birds, listening to the wind blow and the birds sing. But as soon as I'm done it's back to work on the website for Melinda, dishwashing and grocery shopping.

Mark, I hope you're happy now!

Clutter, Clutter Everywhere...

OK, the move is complete and we are more officially a married couple, we even live together now! That doesn't seem like much to brag about but we did spend our first month of married life in separate households!

Was it just last weekend? Yes, I believe it was. We finished emptying Rick's apartment and cleaning. It was barely dirty but still took Rick hours to clean, Mr Persnickety. At least that way the landlord couldn't possibly have anything negative to say about his former tenant. Now his daughter lives there and he most likely won't be getting any more income from that property.

So we got out the crowbars and found places to stuff all Rick's stuff. The back room, the one Dane just abandoned, got a fresh coat of paint and now holds all Rick's furniture that has no permanent spot in our new house.

I've been attacking one small area at a time. First I consolidated our condiments in the fridge and cleaned out 15 bottles and jars. I cleared up the bathroom a couple days ago. Yesterday I cleared up the deck. Rick and I went through the pots and pans and casserole dishes together and took the rejects to his ex's for her to go through. Today I intend to straighten the silverware and put away the small kitchen appliances. I may also go out in the shop and put away a couple more kids' keepsake boxes. When they get settled I'll be passing them on, I already did Denny's but he's the only one that's really settled.

The living room came out nice with Rick's big TV in the place where my "monolith" had been. It has been moved to the other end of the living room for game playing and DVD viewing. Rick's recliner now lives near our computer desks so someone can sit while we surf and visit with us.

Tomorrow I'm going to my annual District Convention at the Tacoma Dome and Rick has the day off work so he'll no doubt be putsing in the shop, reassembling his toolbox, etc.

Our routine feels so strange, with Rick hitting the hay while it's still light outside. I turn down the bed for him since I have a mountain of pillows to decorate the bed, then tuck him in. Then I go back out to the living room and continue my surfing, etc and do the dishes or laundry. He gets up in the wee hours and so far I've only heard his alarm either once or twice. He rouses me when he's leaving to give me a kiss goodbye.

It's strange enough that a couple days ago I kept yelling at him to "Go home!". "What are you doing here? Don't you have a place you should be? Go home!" While we were watching a movie last night he admitted that the thought hit him that it was getting late enough that he should be headed home.

Speaking of strange, wasn't the other day when Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both died a strange day? I feel bad that Farrah's long battle got overstepped by MJ's sudden death. She suffered and should get her recognition but MJ's tumultuous life just ended in such a way that it pushed her quiet exit to the background. But maybe that's how she would have wanted it.

Tomorrow Rick and Rach may go cell phone shopping together while I'm at the convention, another slightly strange event. But getting closer to normal.

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.