Picture of the Week

Since I already showed you the best stuff from our LaConner trip in the last blog (remember to click on them to see them bigger) I chose this one that I posted on my flickr page.  I got the idea from an online photography class I'm attending (? do you attend an online class?  what do you do with it?).  Actually the shot on the class was much more artistic, maybe I'll try to duplicate it more closely.

LaConner - Been There, Done That

We were having a hard time deciding what to do this weekend. Last weekend we got rained out on Saturday so we wanted to go somewhere, maybe even overnight, this weekend. I offered a few suggestions to Rick and he just wouldn't make a decision. He finally asked me what my choice was and I chose the Tulip Festival because it was something you can't just go any time of year and see.

They topped the tulip fields last week.

Oh well, I knew they had gardens you could peruse in spite of the now all-green fields and I had something I wanted to buy for someone. The only place I knew to buy it was at the Roozengarde gift shop. Besides, there was the hamlet of LaConner that we could also visit.

I think it was because they had topped the fields already that the garden we chose to visit was rather inundated with people. It was difficult to get good shots without at least a half dozen people in it, but not impossible, just frame the shot right and/or wait for the people to move outta the way.

We enjoyed the garden and took lots of shots. Then we just hit the country roads. The area up there is different from our area here in the south as it has broader expanses of flat valley with the mountains further off in the distance. Lots of farm land, big old farmhouses and barns. Chickens, cows, huge, ancient trees, and, being spring, plenty of blooms.

There were more than a couple times that I simply yelled "STOP! Back up!" (he's getting better at it) when I would spot something down in a recessed area like an irrigation ditch.

I say "LaConner - Been There, Done That" because we've seen the town, it's small and having seen it in spring we probably saw it in it's glory. It's small enough that we won't really need to return, the only thing that will change will be the merchants in the shops, the buildings won't change.

We were nearly finished shooting and heading out when Rick spotted a sign to the cemetery. As we headed up a hill we found an old schoolhouse off the road, right in someone's mowed yard. It was pretty well preserved, only some broken windows and a fallen chimney were visible from our vantage point on the outside of the fence. We decided to hit it on the way back out. The cemetery was just another cemetery, nothing outstanding. A few interesting comments and decorations on the headstones.  

A little further down the road we ended up near a small grassy hillside with about 30 half-grown steers in it.  Rick went across the street to shoot a falling-down shed in a field and when he came back to the car he decided to visit the cows.  They seemed a little wary but eventually one or two finally warmed up to our presence and came to the fence.  That started all them flocking to see us.  It was hilarious!  They ended up just streaming to the fence and crowding together to simply stare at us.

We have discovered the the success or failure of one of these photo days leans heavily on the sky. We have lots of all grey days here when the sky comes out just white in pictures and is way too bright and ruins our shots. Those days we have to shoot low, keep the sky out of the picture if possible. Then there are days when the sky is all blue without any clouds. That sky is also not the best for a photo day. This was a perfect day - stormy. Sometimes it almost seemed like we should see a twister or at least some lightning. If you look at a beautiful landscape usually it has a very interesting sky.

So if we decide to revisit some of the spring photo venues next year we have to swap our timing - first the tulip fields (we were too late) then the Japanese Garden (we were too early)

Hobnobbing With . . . . .

While out today with Mary we ran into a member from Survivor from a recent season - Shambo! If you watch Survivor you know Shambo. She had the big, ugly, curly mullet and was from this area. So it wasn't a complete surprise when I spotted her. I chose to leave her alone. Mary, on the other hand . . . .

Well, it turned out to be a very insightful conversation. So all you Survivor followers, listen up!

The very first thing she had to say was they "like to kill me!"  She went on to explain that she starved and it rained for 15 days of her stay.  They froze in the rain and she lost so much weight that now she looks great and she regained over 35 pounds!

She said she slept probably a mile from her camp because she couldn't stand her tribe of idiots.  She also said that Russell Hantz, one of this seasons "Villains" tribe is actually a very nice guy.  She said that he did not find those immunity idols on his own.  It was also her opinion that he doesn't understand the game and that he will never win because he stabs everyone in the back, therefore making them an enemy and they'll never vote for him.

One of my own observations is that the show appears to be slanted to make certain players look like jerks, or idiots, or flirts, etc.  Turns out I was right!  Shambo said that they were interviewed 3 or 4 times a day.  They are asked questions and their answers may actually be taken completely out of context to slant the viewers.  

Apparently the show is recorded months before it's aired.  I think what she said is that they had played the game, cast their votes and were back home for something like 12 weeks before it began to be aired! 

Overall she seemed very disgruntled about the show. When Mary asked if she watches Survivor now she said "no way!"  She also said she turned down offers to reappear, she wants nothing to do with it.

Well, it was cool thing to meet someone that everyone knows like that - almost kinda like meeting a real celebrity, eh?

Picture of the Week

Again a day late! I just posted one of my new favs from this week on my previous blog, Rick on the train tracks. So I'll have to choose something else.

How about the little boys? This is taken on a new yard swing that we got from a coworker (how do you "ork" a cow?). I always envy Leticia's pictures of her granddaughters, they always look so tidy. Not so with little boys. It's getting better as they get older, but, if nothing else, they always have juice mustaches. So I opted to make this picture sepia and voila! No mustaches!

As I said on my 365 post of this picture "just a couple silly boys!"

A Well-Rounded Weekend

I just went to read Rick's blog and saw that he also blogged this weekend so I stopped reading and started my own. somehow it's not as exciting to share when you just read someone else's recap of the same thing. So here's my version.

My friends that live around the corner, the Haydens, just moved back into their house after a kitchen fire moved them out back in October. So for the last couple weeks I've spent a lot of time over there helping put things away, pick up trash, use our pickup to help haul away Goodwill items, etc. As a thanks they wanted to take us out to dinner (it was also a means of getting to know Rick better!) So our weekend started on Friday night with a trip to the Outback Steakhouse. We had a nice dinner, Mary and Rick got steak and Kevin and I got "grillers", meat served on a rice mix. All in all a good dinner. Afterward they had us to their house to play on their Wii. We bowled 2 games, Kevin stomped everyone in game one and Mary and I tied for first place (202!) in game two. Cheesecake was forced upon us.  Rick said he enjoyed the evening. Oh yeah, we left around 9 to soak a while in the hot tub, mmmm.

Saturday was expected to be a nice day earlier in the week so we'd planned to break out the old Harley and go for a ride but it turned out to be not so nice after all. That and Kevin (my son this time) needed a babysitter so we stayed home and babysat. Rick took our newly acquired canoe apart and straightened some bent frame tubing and put it all back together, now it's nearly like new! I seem to be having a hard time doing anything when the boys are here so I just futzed around. I had one difficulty with Joe, it's his turn to be in a problem stage, but overall it was a nice visit. Again we enjoyed our hot tub and our woodstove as well. I actually got it cranked to about 80º in the house, unintentionally. We watched a movie (in our underwear) and had Taco Bell for dinner.

Sunday morning was glorious and the temp was expected to hit 70º so it was our chance to put on our leather and take the Hawg for a ride. So we got out early-ish and went to The Krain for breakfast. It was perfect. From there we just rode around and took a few pictures. We toodled through Buckley, Bonney Lake, Sumner and Puyallup. We had a scary event right after we hopped on the freeway for the short time we would be on it. No, we weren't in any danger, but Rick's camera was! He bungied it in it's very well padded bag on the back of the bike. We were flying along and suddenly someone was frantically honking at us. Rick has been riding long enough that that can only mean one of 2 things, either we lost something or were just about to. So he immediately looked in his rear view mirror and saw it tumbling into the median! We pulled off and he walked back and got it. Like I said it was in a "very well padded bag" and all is fine! Shock! It tumbled right over the water-filled spot in the median and landed in the dry grass.

Our last stop before heading home was to visit my friend Judy in Puyallup. I was hoping Rick could meet her hubby, Carlton, but he was working, bummer. I told Rick that as nice as Judy is Carlton may just be nicer (sorry Judy!). Can't decide, they're just a super couple. We decided that we have to go riding together, even make a weekend trip together. Sometime in June looks good. We were talking May but I have too many obligations already for May and the weather will be nicer the closer to summer we get.

To cap off the weekend as I was heading out for my meeting (it was the special talk) Sarah got here and she and her dad did some photography. He brought home some dry ice for her to play with and then I have this new bird feeder that attract lots of purple finches who seem pretty fearless, you can get as close as 4 feet from them! So Rick had fun with his daughter and at meeting I got told that my commenting restriction is gonna be lifted, Yay! No Amazing Race on TV last night, Country Music Awards instead so back into the hot tub again, mmmm!

There's our well-rounded weekend, family, friends, suspense, drama, action!

The "Spice" of our Life

For a time she was just that. She was another of our special kitties, the first for some of my brood.

Spice came to us from a friend needing her out because she was unhappy being confined to an apartment and was showing this unhappiness by peeing on their bathroom rug. I think she just needed to be rescued.

When they brought Spice over they told us they didn't know if she could see or hear. They had written nasty things on her flea collar like "dumb kitty" or something like that, I don't remember exactly, all I remember is that I felt bad for her being treated like that. The dad had been shooting rubber bands at her and once in the past she had a table leaf fall on her. She was one half of a set of twins, her sister was named Sugar and was no longer with us. Spice was somewhere around age 6.

The first week or so we kept her locked in the garage to get used to the smells and chaos in our home slowly. We would all go visit her and introduce ourselves. Eventually, for a time though, she became a mostly outside cat, my ex is not an animal lover. I volunteered to take her partially to help Dane get accustomed to animals, since he would have a terror attack when even a bird approached!

Eventually her personality rounded out to a very affectionate, interesting kitty. She would head-bonk us, a kitty sign of affection. If you didn't give her the attention she was craving she would gently nip your hand. She and I would have silent conversations through the window while she sat on a fencepost wanting to come in. She enjoyed sleeping on top of the aquarium light and watching the fish in the little goldfish bowl. For a while Honda had a TV commercial with birds on a wire fence. She would try to catch the birds on the TV! She would meow at Rach when she stuck her head around the corner, playing peek-a-boo. And boy! did she love cheese! We eventually started calling it "elevator" to try to avoid being accosted by the begging cat.

In her later years she began to play vigorously at night when the other cats would get locked in the bedroom and she finally had full run of the house. And to escape the firecrackers popping she would hide in the laundry basket in the cabinet in the bathroom.  And she loved to sleep in a sunny spot in the garden.

Spice was always a thin cat and ended up with hyperthyroid disease. Then she also contracted kidney disease. The last 6 months of her life Rach and I would give her subcutaneous fluids every 3rd day or so. It was like pumping her with water from the fountain of youth, she would get so much more active when she was rehydrated. She had a heating pad in the bathroom that she spent her days on.

Spice died the night before Kevin and Shirley's engagement party back in '03, while Rach and I were trying to decorate the cake. She had turned into a great cat and we were all sad to see her go. She gave us the best 10 years of her life.

She is forever sleeping in the garden now.

C'mon Guys, Grow Up!

OK, now that I got that pic o' the week thing taken care of I must address something that's been on my mind:

Why do guys always relate everything to body parts, specifically the ones we cover with our bathing suits?  I can kinda see it coming from adolescent boys just experiencing the "coming of age" and knowledge that has been handed them, their interest and immature fascination, seeing body parts under those circumstances is understandable.  But why does it continue to consume their attention and focus until they're grandparents even? They never see something and say "Oh look!  That looks like an ear!" (or nose, or elbow, etc)

"Butts" and "boobs" are included in the focus but generally it's the male genitalia that's being observed and noted on.    Examples:




I'm not saying that these things don't resemble the items the guys see in them.  It just always has to become the focus and the new title for the item.

No doubt this is why the ancient civilizations made their phallic symbols, men are just fixated on parts of the body that are private, albeit the most important organs for the furthering of the human race.  They would be the origins of:

Men.  Troublemakers.

Whoops! - Picture of the Week

We had such an amazingly good day on Saturday at the Japanese Garden and then canoeing on the waterways in the Arboretum that I just plumb forgot about posting a pic o' the week!

The weather was perfect for the outing that we'd planned for a few weeks before it actually came to fruition. Sarah was a little under the weather but was good enough to go out for the day, she had been looking forward to it too and wasn't about to miss it for a little cold.

I ended up taking nearly 800 pics so I have quite a few I could choose from, but I think I'll post one of the critters that we so hoped to get good shots of. It was cool, when we got somewhere close to a group of birds, turtles or whatnot you could hear all this camera clicking going on as our canoe simply drifted.

I was concerned when we began to paddle toward these 2 that we were headed for some really shallow water but it turned out that they were taking advantage of a piece of flotsam (or maybe it was jetsam?), a square object of some sort.  They posed for us and as we approached one of them swam out to meet us.

Here's a link to our smugmug to view more of the awesome stuff we had a blast getting!

A Little This, a Little That. . . .

OK, yeah, I haven't been blogging lately. Little stuff going on, nothing earth-shattering. Here's a wrap up:

Rach and Tony are still just waiting to see if they got their house across the street. Still workin'. Still breathing.

Kevin is staying with his mother-in-law, Mindy. Shirley left for Vegas beginning of March. Keith and I helped him clean his house, he got rid of everything except what he absolutely had to keep, his work tools and keepsakes mainly and put most of it in storage. He opened his own bank account and was finally getting a handle on his finances. Then the first Saturday after he was out of his house he was going golfing with the guys. When he went to his storage unit it was virtually cleaned out. He was upset that the baseball cards he's collected and put away for his boys (which were valuable) were gone. But more importantly his tools were gone, what he needs for work. He's currently unemployed but that should change and when it does he'll need his tools. Well, his golf clubs were still there so he went ahead and went golfing anyway. When he went to the ATM to get the money to golf he found it overdrawn. About $800 had disappeared. Turns out it was a collection agency. Later that week he got pulled over and taken to jail for driving with a suspended license. he was released when they started bringing in the nightly DUIs and he walked to his car and drove home. While he was waiting in the holding area, though, Mindy, Rach and I were all trying to find him. He had texted Troy that he was getting pulled over but when we called the jails no one had him, that's because he never got booked in, he wasn't in the system. It all turned out well in the end. I loaned him some money and he bought a car at the auction to resell. So he's living at Mindy's, collecting unemployment, spending weekends at Denny's and enjoying his boys.

Shirley went to Vegas, is working as a go-go dancer, and I'm guessing some bartending or waitressing. She had a short stint as a showgirl, but when they required that she lose 25 pounds and she refused they let her go. So she got another job as a bikini barista and bartender and just today started at a beauty school.

Denny works. and works. He's getting some of his mortgage messes cleared up and has a suit pending just as soon as things are up to date again. Don't borrow from GMAC Mortgage. As soon as his mortgage gets fixed he can get more funding to finish fixing his rental and the insurance company can stop paying his mortgage. You'd think the insurance company would get on the mortgage company's butt to fix things so they can stop making the payments!

Heather is driving. And she is studying the Bible with a friend once a week. She and Keith went with me to the Memorial on March 30.

Dane is a ministerial servant. He's giving lots of talks. He went to Colorado and came back with strep and an ear infection. He even lost all hearing in one ear for a time. He moved back in with Jimmy Eldridge, Jimmy's wife moved in with her boyfriend and got disfellowshipped. Jimmy needs company.

Keith isn't spending much time here, my laptop is having issues and since the internet is his whole life he has to have a dependable computer. So he's staying at dad's. No job hunting, no help to sleep correctly. The only thing dad provides is a working computer.

The Vanderville's cousin, Casey, and his family are planning a visit next month. We'll have a BBQ and maybe take them to see some sights. It's gonna be a short visit and he has a friend in Seattle that he wants to see too.

We're planning a Williams' family BBQ mid-May. I had Rick take invitations when he went for Easter dinner. I don't want them to think that I don't want to be with the family, that's why we made these plans for a non-holiday family gathering.

Nothing new with cars. Nothing new with pets. Grass is growing so I gotta start mowing again.

I joined a 365 group (post a picture a day)  on flickr about a month ago and so Rick (the big copy-cat) had to go and start one too. He didn't join a group, he just made a new blog page and is posting a picture everyday. Then Sarah had to jump on the bandwagon too. Now she has her own 365 project via a blog. This Saturday we're planning to rent a canoe and paddle around the arboretum waterways and into Lake Washington maybe. Should be lotsa baby critters and pretty flowers to see. Then we'll also visit the Japanese Garden in the same area afterward. We're gonna OD on photo opportunities!

I'm trying out contacts. Multifocal contacts. When they work right they're just awesome. But the doc keeps trying to make them strong enough for me to be able to read. I don't think it'll work. But the worst problem I'm having is that my right eye must have a slightly different shape and the contact just doesn't fit right. It doesn't want to stay put. if I get glasses I'll need trifocals. Agh!

Rick has been working a lot of OT lately, LaCroix is counting stuff more thoroughly than ever and is clearing out stuff too. If you know LaCroix you know that they don't get rid of anything. Something's up. We think they're in selling mode.  Bernie, the younger brother, turned 70 in December, it's time to retire.

OK, that about catches everything up.  Now leave me alone.

Picture of the Week

This project is gonna get a whole lot easier! I'm part of a 365 group on flickr now called 365friends, it's a group of JW's who are supposed to post a picture a day for the whole year. Well, it actually started last year and maybe the majority of members did all their posting last year because since I've been on I've seen maybe 10 out of 68 current members posting!  Oh well, I'm the newbie and it's fun, I get comments and critiquing on my stuff (the compliments are the most fun though!)  And I'm meeting other witnesses all over the world.  One member who contributes some interesting stuff is in Japan and submits regular day-to-day type stuff, but that's regular day-to-day type stuff in Japan!  So it's not regular day-to-day type stuff that we see everyday.

Anyway, so I have a batch of cool stuff that I shot this week to choose from and I choose the one that got the most comments and compliments:

This is my akebia vine, I'm always anxious for this to bloom because it has the most interesting, delicate, and unusually photogenic flowers.  But doesn't smell one iota - I asked the super-sniffer to go test it out, nada.

K, tried to put the rest of last week's stuff up in little thumbnails - too much trouble to try to get them to line up nicely like I'd like.  So click on the 365 friends link above, find one of my pix (I'm suzierwilliams) and you can go to my photostream and look at the rest of my stuff.

My - OUR Kitty, Cookie!

Yeah, I know, "Idontcollectcats".  (and to your left you see a perfect example of why I don't!)  Well, I don't!  I have a few and have had a few.  That is, I have a few in decorative form and have had a few in live form.  My current pet kitty is Cookie, or "the cat formerly known as Socks".  When she was originally adopted by my daughter's best friend in 9/97 she was named Socks, for her 4 white paws.  She was adopted along with her sister whom Havalah named Gucci.  They were so tiny they both fit in one hand.

Havalah was leading a seedy life, in and out of apartments and the cats tagged along for a while.  This time, though, I believe she had no place to move to, she was being evicted and the cats would be left to fend for themselves.  Poor "Socks" was pregnant and had already lost a litter, due probably to neglect, I think she was living mostly out with a gang of kitties in the apartment complex.

"OK, I'll take the poor pregnant kitty".  So now I had 3 cats.  And a half, a neighbor cat who thought he owned our place as well as the place across the street.  Rachyl was living with me and had her 2 cats.  Then a week after I took in this poor kitty she was pregnant no more - there were 6 new kitties in the house!  And all had mommy's 4 white paws!

That makes 11 1/2 cats!

My brother had a tabby similar to Socks named Casey (or KC - "Killer Cat") and I found myself lapsing into that name, so the "K" sound got pulled into her new name, "Cookie".  Cookie was not a very friendly cat, she'd just as soon rip yer face off if you got too close.  She was a very good mother though and in spite of being an average looking tabby her 6 babies were all beautiful and easily placed when they were weaned.

As a young cat she loved to chase (and catch one daily!) birds. NO!  Bad kitty!  She also loved to chase (and as far as I know she never caught any) leaves - or bugs - or something, we couldn't always figure it out.  She just looked drunk, jumping about after nothing!  She got the nickname "Drunk Kitty" after her antics.  And when she sees a camera she always manages to pose.  Good thing, she's very photogenic.  She still occasionally brings in a mouse to play with until it finds a way down a hole in the kitchen floor into the crawl space below the house.

She was always just one of the cats, not one of the special ones since she wasn't very loving.  But when the other cats were gone and she became the alpha cat she began to enjoy the attention more.  Dane was her person more than anyone else.  She began to sleep with me and my Lucy cat when Lucy was sick and I didn't know it yet, apparently Cookie knew it.  She slept with us and when Lucy was gone she continued to sleep with me.

Enter now Rick.  Fortunate for me, Rick is also a cat lover.  And Cookie knows it.  So now, even though I'm the one who feeds her she only has eyes for Rick. 

She has done an about face over the past few years, mostly since Lucy died.  She has become very affectionate and we can even kiss her cute little kitty-haid.  She's about 12 now, moving slower, needing her nails clipped and her teeth done.

But she's learned to love.

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.