Caught-up Blog #6

I think this should be the last of the Catch-ups needed.  What should I call this one?  How 'bout...

Keeping Busy

Yes, this is the time period around Rick's unemployment.  I won't go into how he came to be that way but all of us who know will never forget how it happened, no need to document it and possibly embarrass the poor dope any further...

So, we had a crater in our back yard.  We had a bunch of wood that needed to be readied for winter use.  We have a monster-stump.  Most of that has all been attended to.  

The wood's all split , stacked and topped with plywood to keep the bulk of the rain off...

The crater has been filled and made back into the circular garden with an "Autumn Blaze" maple tree in its center...

The monster-stump is only a mini-monster.  It may be ready to pull, push, or heave out into the woods somewhere...

So we took a drive to a place that I wanted to try to get some interesting shots, Green River Gorge.  It's not easy to access and when we finally did find the trail the portion down to the river was steep enough that my fear of falling wouldn't allow me to get down it.  I even had a hard time getting back UP the section that we did attempt.  I'd like to try again with the help of ropes tied to trees and my camera in a backpack so my hands are free.

Saturday we wanted to go for a drive so we contacted Rick's cousin down in Chehalis.  She was gonna be at a equestrian event which we didn't really care to visit.  So I suggested that we head to Long Beach and the Westport Lighthouse.  

We headed out and began talking about the route and when I finally looked at the map I realized that Long Beach wasn't where I thought it was.  I wanted to go to Westport.  

Rick likes to explore and had a different road in mind that made a loop, according to the map.  It went west through the town of Brooklyn, then on to Arctic, then we're basically back in Aberdeen where we break off and go southward to Westport instead of northward to Ocean Shores like we do so often...

We found the road after stopping to ASK FOR DIRECTIONS and after about 7 miles the pavement ended and we drove the next 7 miles on gravel til we hit pavement again.  The gravel portion was well-traveled and lined with farms and forests, a pretty drive.  When we found pavement again it was just a couple miles til we hit TRAFFIC!  Cops, motorcycles, food stands, paid parking lots in the middle of nowhere.  Turns out it was Saginaw Days at the Brooklyn Tavern.  Too funny!

So we finished our adventure and just headed to Westport.  It was mostly a fishing town with the usual gifts shops, a marina, a long dock for fishing.  There were guided fishing boat tours and lots of people crabbing off the dock.  Of course there were plenty of sea birds.  The usual seagulls, grey gulls, cormorants and PELICANS!  I didn't know we had pelicans here!  They were brown pelicans and they flew in groups mostly.

After we enjoyed the sights in town we went to find the lighthouse.  On the way to the beach we noticed a park with a lighthouse, or at least a replica.  We went to the beach. looked around and couldn't find the lighthouse so we went back to the park where we saw one. 

Turns out it WAS the Westport lighthouse!  It used to be on the beach but the beach has grown and it's now the lighthouse is over 1/2 mile inland.

So, disappointed that the lighthouse was little more than a museum we looked for a road that would take us out onto the sand so we could just sit and have a beer before heading home.

I wonder what we'll do next weekend...

Catch-up Blog #5

OK, so I took a day off.  This blogging is exhausting!

So, what's up next?

Fair Day!

We girls (Rach, Shirley and I, maybe Heather will come next year) took the kids last year to the fair and it was a great day!  So we decided to try it again and guess what?  Another great day!  I remember we got burned last year and this year was again in the 80's!  In Seattle?  In September?  Wow!  I decided to buy myself a nice sunhat and after I showed it to the girls they decided to buy themselves one too!  Copycats!

So we got there and again headed for the little kids' rides, "Sillyville" they're called here at the good 'ole Puyallup Fair.  Hunter was much better at keeping up this year and could manage the rides without too much help.  So it was very much a repeat of last year.  We did the tractor pull.  We tried to get Shayne to ride a sheep ("Wool Riders Only") and he chickened out.  But since Shirley's 2 boys in particular are getting big enough for some of the big kids' rides we decided to wander that-a-way.  

The first one we tried out was the "Wild Cat" roller coaster.  Joe and Shayne were both big enough to ride alone so Shirley didn't even get to share that first ride with them.  I wanted to be sure to get pictures of this, their FIRST real roller coaster ride.  The track twists around so much it's hard to follow where they go.  Shirley came and told me when they boarded and fortunately, they were in the front seat of the 4-person car.

So I just put the camera on sports mode and chose where I would try to catch them.  It worked out perfectly, the camera snaps like 5 frames per second so I just pressed the button and stayed fixed on the boys.  I got the perfect shot that, cropped way in, shows their true emotions on that first harrowing roller coaster ride!

After that success we stayed in the big ride area and the 3 of them did the rest of the rides together.  They did the bumper cars, Hunter rode with Shayne as the driver and just LOVED it!  He had this wicked smile on his face the whole time!

There was also a rainforest exhibit and all 3 boys held this big, black scorpion - ew!

The "Let's Pretend" play that was so cute last year wasn't quite as good this year.  It was a pirate story and the costumes were great but the whole thing lacked structure.  

We stayed quite late and I ended up missing meeting because of it.  Oops.  When we left I was so ready to stay - that's when the FUN photography begins, at sundown!

Catch-up Blog #4

Next on the agenda? 


Saturday?  So what?  

Well, when one's spouse is unemployed, the weather is great and all the honey-do's are done then what?  Gotta find something to do!  That was last Saturday.  So we started the day with a stop at Rick's parents' place.  They were having a garage sale, a "toy sale" they called it.  It was mostly model cars and matchbox cars.  We just had to go check it out...

We went up to visit his brother, Denis, in Federal Way next.  He was involved in a building project with his father-in-law and wouldn't feed us (no matter how hard we begged) so we didn't stick around for long.

Friday night I'd actually looked for events that might offer some interesting photo opps.  We found an India-Indian event taking place at Saltwater Park in the afternoon that was supposed to include music and dancing.  It wasn't much to see but we did meander through the park and creek.

The next event wasn't til evening, 5 - 10 PM in Burien.  Something called Arts-a-Glow.  Well, Rick's baby sister lives in Burien so we planned a visit there as well.  It was a nice visit.  I think everyone wondered what was up - no holiday to bring us visiting!  What were we doing there?

After 1.5 - 2 hours at Denise and Mike's place we headed over to the park.  The map we'd eyeballed on the internet was all wrong and we got lost but it afforded us a great view of the screaming sunset!  We contacted Denise on the telly and she led us to the park.  

So when we got to the park the first thing we saw was umbrellas decorated and lit from behind, lining the side of the street.  There was a crowd, but not a HUGE one.  There was a percussion band and they were just getting revved up.  Then they all took off in a parade around the block.  Everyone was either wearing or carrying lights!  No religious significance, no holidays - just for FUN!!!  

We weren't prepared to participate so we just wandered on into the park.  There was soft music playing at a variety of light displays.  No vendors to speak of, just art, lights and music.

Next year we're definitely going, taking the kids this time and being part of the parade!

Catch-up Blog #3

Let's see, what's next? Ah... 

Family Day

I had a different kind of party planned this year.  I've seen twinkle lights set up in the yard as a ceiling over a nicely set table and decided that that's what I wanted to do this year.  That and I wanted to have a better meal and some nice gifts for everyone.  

Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, eh?

The decorations looked great.  And the weather was unusually cooperative for a holiday weekend in the Seattle area!  Then I had help making up a 4 course Italian meal (American style Italian, that is...) which included Zuppa Toscana made by Shirley, then Caesar salad provided by Rachyl, I made manicotti, both a spinach and sausage type.  And lastly Dane and Chelsea brought 2 flavors of tiramisu.  Dale and Denny and Heather added the breadsticks and garlic bread that helped top off the meal.  We were all stuffed and had lots of left overs!  Oh yes, and wine, some nice Zinfandel wine from a box but served in decanters!

But the gifts didn't happen.  Understandable considering that my household was currently totally unemployed.  Kevin's and Rachyl's households did get me gifts, bless their little hearts!  But I was unable to reciprocate.

We managed to cram in a quick photo session that turned out well.  We used the picture frame idea and nearly every family did it differently:

We had a mysterious photobomber sneak in and out without anyone's noticing...

So, not 100% what I wanted from a party but very nice nonetheless.

Catch-up Blog #2

Next on the agenda of blogging to catch up on:

Elise's 1 Year Photo Shoot

Shirley had a goal to get photos of Elise for her first year, every 3 months and with the current season as the theme.  It was a cute idea and we pulled it off well, her ideas, our creations and my photography.  A couple other things were thrown in just because they were cute and sounded like fun.

So on the left is her 3 month shoot, shot in the fall of 2011, autumn leaves (from my recently uprooted stump [see previous post] when it was still a beautiful tree!).

Next, on the right, is her 6 months shot in the winter, with a snowflake theme.

At 9 months it was spring so Shirley wanted an Anne Geddes look, baby girl in a flower pot.  We also wanted to hit the tulip fields and use a costume Shirley had made with Elise wearing a tulip tutu, that was a FUN day!

Finally now she's one year old.  I wanted to get her in the dress that my mom took a photo of me in at a year, then I got Rachyl in it at a year.  It's time for the next generation to get their picture in the same dress.

But Shirley's plan was for a mermaid as she saw on Pinterest months ago...

I crocheted the costume quite a while back and was relieved that she still fit in it.  We knew it had to be shot in the water somewhere but we had no idea exactly where that would be.  Shirley had some ideas but the particular spot had an ugly shore.  I made another suggestion - bingo!  Shallow water and a lovely background!

Fortunately Elise loves the water so it didn't make her cry to get wet.  She's turned into the perfect model to photograph!

Shirley also got a dress for Elise to model when she was big enough to wear it so we also took those shots at the river park.

Shirley told me what she wanted for the next shoot - wait!  I thought it was for the first year?!?!    We're gonna do this for another year?!?!

Catch-up Blog #1

I have to get caught up.  I just realized what the problem is - I post everything on facebook so I feel it's been shared.  So backtrack I must...

The first thing to blog would be: 


We had been working on it for a couple months and had come to an impasse.  By hand we were about as far as we could go.  Which meant only one thing - heavy machinery.  Or at least as heavy as we could rent from Home Depot.

So I asked Denny if he could get it done while we were on our road trip (I knew he'd enjoy using the machine!).  He looked at his schedule and decided the best day to do it would actually be the day we were leaving on our road trip!  Hence the delay on our departure.

We got up early and rented the machine nearly at the store's opening.  My friend from the Kingdom Hall, Bryon Parr, was the kid who rented it to us. Nice kid and he did a good job of running us through the rental checklist.

We got it home and Denny started digging around the stump, then below the stump, until we could see movement - it was exciting!  We had already found some electrical conduit while digging by hand and Denny found a leech line from the septic system.  It made the job a little difficult but he did a great job at safeguarding those pipes.

It took about 3 hours to dig it loose and when it was done it sat about 2 feet below the surface of the ground.  So now we had a stump that weighed probably near a ton sitting in the bottom of a 6' deep hole.  How to get it out?  Let's lift it out with the arm of the excavator.  Nope.  How about the scoop on the other side?  Nope again, it just sat there and laughed at us.  I know, let's get Rick's pickup and make a ramp from 2x12's.  Hahaha!  Next we tried Denny's big work truck with twice the traction, weight and torque - HAHAHA!!!  That stump is interminable!

Well, we couldn't lift it or pull it but we could tip it.  So we tipped and back-filled.  Then tipped the opposite way and back-filled some more.  Back and forth til it was a couple feet from the top.  Then he used the machine to just jockey it out.  

Now it sits in the yard being trimmed, hacked, chainsawed, chiseled and blasted with water to reduce its weight.  Then what?  That remains to be seen...

Just another reason that tree should never had fallen.

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.