Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Speaking of Tomatoes, or did I hear that correctly?

Speaking of tomatoes...yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I had every intention of purchasing a variety of tomatoes, colors and sizes, as I have a story in mind for them. The lovely yellow ones were front and center, but when I picked up a stem with five attached, my finger went right through one, and two more just blooped off and smooshed onto the floor. Closer examination revealed telltale glassy patches on most of them...I thinking it was frostbite during delivery, but who knows. Since the QFC tomatoes were camera shy and jumped overboard rather than come along with me, I'll check Central Market, which is really the go-to market in this area anyway, at least if you are looking for superior produce.

I know I should get my ears checked, because I mishear things lately. I know I should, but the things I hear are so much more fun than the original. For instance, I have an NCIS episode running while I type. Along came a commercial for Macy's, inviting me to come in for a freak skin analysis. WHAT???? Ohhhhh, a free analysis. Got it. I have the hearing test scheduled.


Not exactly a tomato (Susan Sullivan is the artist)

I figure it is safe to show pictures of the (always)late Christmas gifts for my sister and her husband. I live in a pretty artsy-fartsy area and decided to do something different for them this year. The reason I can safely post these is that, at this very moment my brother-in-law is in surgery. You know all those cute fluffy little sheep? At 200 pounds they are not so cute any more. While trying to catch one two days before Christmas it clipped his arm and knocked his biceps muscle right off the bone. It balled up in his shoulder. OWWWW!! It is being brought back down where it belongs right now. Sadly he will be out of the mini-horse driving shows for the year. Can you say mutton stew?
Any way, from the top is Buddy and my sister. The rather tomato looking orb is Bandito and my brother in law. I hope they like them...I think they came out quite nice. The biggest issue has been trying to get pictures of them. The artist wanted some as well. Not an easy task since flash won't work and get an unobstructed view. So...voila the Tully's coffee cup, macro setting and auto flash held closed. It would be nice to somehow get all the way around in one shot, but I didn't feel like going with video mode since the coffee cup will not cooperate and slowly turn as I film. (It costs enough for a cup of coffee these days, one would think a nifty gimmick like that would be included!)
S2 has her other two daughters and granddaughter in town. We may not see much of her for a few days. I would go stark raving mad if my kids and grandkids were in other parts of the country...I know, you think I AM crazy, but you know what I mean. I suspect we will all get a lot of great family pictures, or at least a lot of grandkid pictures, and stories when she checks in. Sometime I will force her to tell of the fifth or sixth birthday party (Rainbow Bright themed) for daughter number two. Unforgettable; and likely the reason that video tapes were phased out and replaced with dvds. In your wildest imaginations you cannot come up with this major faux pas.
Anyway, grandma, have a great time. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my dear friend/sister.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hey Grandma, You're so fine

Song of the Day: Hey, Grandma by Moby Grape

I've thought about putting this song on our blog to surprise you one of these days. I have the record, and may have to pick up the CD just for the occasion.

Actually, today I have nothin. I've just picked up three movies from the mailbox, and I'm thinking I'll start reviewing them. First up tonight, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. If I have insomnia again tonight, I may just watch all three. I won't pretend to be a very erudite and snobby reviewer, but I do enjoy a find.

I really do have nothin :)


Monday, December 29, 2008

Clearing and Candles

I feel as though I'm stretching my fingers toward some hidden light source. From somewhere deep inside me, I hear a battle cry. Break through. I need to break through. Lying in my cradle of inertia just isn't going to do it anymore. It's been safe. It's been comforting in some ways. But it needs to be over.`I know. Sooooo dramatic!

So here is an interesting question. Is dumping emotional baggage just like taking a mental (insert your favorite elimination word here)? I wonder if I can link mental baggage dropping with physical elimination. Every time I visit the toilette, I'll be thinking, well I'm done with that, I've used that up, and when I'm done I'll get up and do something positive. A moment which will visit several times a day, remind me that it's time to move on each time it does. You need repetition when you are trying to bring about major change and growth.

What about the birthday candle story on the Bonnie Hunt Show today? We used to do that too! A viewer had written in about a childhood memory, which was that when one of the kids had a birthday, the candles would be lit on the cake and then blown out really fast. After they were blown out, Mom would remove the candles, wash them off and keep them for the next birthday.You felt really really special if you were the one that got a new candle or two used on your birthday. It also helped if you were the oldest :) I guess the reality is, we didn't have much money. I always thought it was because my Mom got raised in the depression (and was half Scottish in addition to that), and you didn't waste ANYTHING.

When I had my own kids I felt positively rebellious because I bought new candles every for every birthday. When I actually remembered to buy the candles, that is. Later on, the ages became such large numbers that I bought candles with a year on them. Those, I did save but I have to say, this is a mistake. The next time I would get them out, they had dings in them from falling to the bottom of the drawer where all manner of things gouged out little nicks. Any dust in the drawer? It was stuck to that candle. So what happened here (in the name of thrift), was that every year I got out the saved candles, said yuck and ran down to the mini mart (where everything is overpriced) and bought new ones. Of course, I saved the candle.

In fact, I bet if I checked, I'd have a number candle or two in there right now. (And, I would be wrong. Apparently, I have broken my habit :) However, I did discover this lovely arrangement. What one loose candle is doing in the bottom of this drawer is a mystery, although if you look closely you will see that it is gathering up dusty stuff quite nicely. It's hanging out with a few other interesting items. We can see that I didn't get around to any sort of cookie that needs rolling out and cutting this year. That's an aging eggbeater on the left, which once belonged to my maternal grandfather. I believe that the handle was once painted red, I sort of remember that. On the right, we have the meat tenderizer mallet thing, that my brother Peter made in metal shop. Mom used it for years, and I keep it for old time's sake. The making of any dish that requires pounding on the meat (stop that you bad people, and you know who you are) just doesn't happen around here. Underneath all is, strangely enough, a putty knife. No comment on that one, since I haven't a clue.

And about that first photo. I had cleverly hidden these socks from myself, and uncovered them in a reorganization binge earlier today. I don't talk about it much, but yes. I am a survivor. These socks were a gift from G2's daughter, Kira. Kira walked in the 3-day walk for breast cancer research this year. 60 miles she walked, partly in my honor, and partly in honor of another. I'm honored, Kira. Thank you, in so many ways.


S2! Gr82cU!!

LOL. ROFL, in fact.

She's right. There are very few IM "words" that either of us use. LOL is the most used, with an occasional ROFL thrown in for emPHAsis.

Now if we had some of those little smiley guys available for use here I would likely go crazy. I admit to being totally and completely hooked on the little fellas. Between the two of us we could likely write an entire blog using maybe ten, OK twelve, written words. I particularly like the little yellow man beating the dead horse. The dancing banana is a bit blase, but the guy pulling the BS flag out from behind his back is quite good as well. Another favored would have to be the guy eating popcorn. If only we could turn the yellow Walmart guy into a cherry tomato...

BTW, the only thing that makes me crazier than the IM lingo is ebonics. Don't even get me started on that! (Here I would be using the little Walmart guy smashing his head into the brick wall over and over and over)


Sunday, December 28, 2008

And the snow is over (for now)

I have discovered the biggest time waster known to man (or woman). Do not go to to check and see if this is true. No, I beg of you, don't do it! In particular, do not play mahjong! I'm serious here, people. Don't do it! You have been warned :)

If I had one of those riding lawnmowers, I think I'd invest in a snowplow blade attachment for it. After a couple of weeks like we just had, I'd recoup whatever the cost for the blade might have been. My neighbors would also be can't overestimate the value of good neighbor relations.

G2, I'd like you to know that writing in Word and then moving it to our blog no longer seems to be of any value. Today, I am writing this in Notepad. I have properly used paragraph indentations, along with leaving a space between each paragraph. We will see, won't we? Both of us have a real 'thing' for (mostly) proper English and punctuation. U won't c us rite like this. I can barely read text message, let alone write in it. Our inability to get blogspot to translate this accurately is very trying. I have an online friend with whom I exchange IM messages from time to time. She used to end our sessions with "CUL8R". I finally had to ask her just what that meant, thereby revealing my status as an uncool person. (See you later, just in case no one else can read that, either.)

We're watching The Sound of Music here. It still brings a tear to my eye, every time.


(Song of Day: I Ain't Broke, but Brother, I'm badly Bent)

Song of the day

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle "Slip Sliding Away." Just as irritating to have stuck in my head.

My normal routine goes as follows. After rolling over just after 6am, the dogs figure it means that I am ready to get up. They pounce, covering me with doggy kisses and nosing me to "make sure I am alright." Yeah, right. Sometimes I yell and throw things, but since getting Kate I generally get up quickly and try to get her out before she relieves herself on the carpet. Then I check the temperature in the house and chastise myself for not bringing in that last bunch of wood. Turn on the hot water on the water dispenser, go to the bathroom and put on my robe. Sadly, this is so routine that Henry leads me around the house until I have done all of those things, in that order. sigh. However, with the snow and temperatures in the teens and twenties I have had to also get dressed as I am getting out of bed. My normal attire for feeding the horse and letting her out for the day is robe, hat, boot and sometimes coat over robe. (Indeed, I AM that weird old neighbor lady.) However, lately my scotty robe has been sitting on the hook in my bathroom. Poor Henry is completely lost because of it. He stands in the bathroom waiting, and barking. Meanwhile I am getting a hot drink, checking email, sorting through things on the table, and there he stands. In my bathroom, barking at my robe. Today, for the first time in over a week, I took that robe off the hook. Poor Henry went crazy. He was beside himself with joy. Life was as it should be once again. I then put the left boot on my right foot and headed out for chores...sans coat. I can't handle the idea that my day is so boring that even the dog knows the routine. I think tomorrow I may have to put the RIGHT boot on the right foot, eh?

The snow is going away. Not any too fast, but going, none the less. The rhodies no longer have clamped down leaves and the trees are standing a bit prouder. Looking out my windows it appears that there is no snow at all. However, once in a standing position it becomes quite obvious. There is still only grass and dirt showing where I have shoveled paths. If I venture off the paths it is a sippery, slimy mess. The roofs have only an inch or maybe two left. Today I will do a walk around the house and see if the gutters all survived. I guess that has been the biggest loss to home owners. Those big heavy sheets all begin to slide down and catch on the gutters taking them out as it continues the journey to the ground. I went out yesterday. I needed to know that I could, so I gave it a try. I needed hay, so bought two bales for weight. They are still in the back of the truck...I can't get the truck back to the barn to unload them. I still have about a day's worth out there. All the "real" roads are clear. Slick as snot with all the sand, but clear. My driveway that connects to the shared driveway is only clear where I have shoveled, and the shared road has tire tracks that show the ground. Getting down was a piece of cake. Getting back into the carport, even with the two bales of hay, was not easy. I had to do a bit more shoveling to make it. Hopefully by tomorrow the worst will be over. I now have bloody bleeding blisters on both hands. One of the good, and bad, things about having peripheral neuropathy is that I don't feel them coming on. I had no idea at all until I saw the blood. Bummer. Back on the cyclosporine. It was, however, worth it all just to get out on the road. Cabin fever is not a good feeling. Besides, next week I want to get to my sister's place. I have presents that I will try to get pictures of for all of you crazy folks that are still ready, and hoping, for tomato adventures. No, I am not getting my sister a tomato, but close...

Late at night and Sleepyheaded

I probably should not be allowed this close to a computer, heh. The song of the day (and it has indeed been stuck in my brain, is the New Christy Minstrels (I think that's their name) singing "Uh oh, don't let the rain come down, oh no, don't let the rain come down". Life at it's cruelest.

Not that I didn't malign the snow at times, but that is on soupy sloppy mess out there. Just try walking in 10+ inches of sloppy slushy clumpy snow, let alone drive through it. After watching a couple of cars ultimately give up their fight to leave the apartment partking lot yesterday, I put away any thoughts of taking my car out. There just isn't anything I needed badly enough to chance it. By this afternoon, things were looking a whole lot better, so I will be shopping tomorrow.

I do have a couple of things that I really want to blog about right now, but I tell you what, I am just getting too sleepy. It's 1:34 am, what I am I doing awake anyhow? Just revved up by a very productive conversation IM style with my friend T, who may or may not read this blog, but I found it energizing and just very positive. But I think, now I will sleep and perchance, dream. We did make dream maps tonight, each choosing something we'd really like to come into our lives somehow, but making sure we weren't being too darn greedy. For me it is a lens for my camera, as well as a Nikon camera body that I lust after. For her it is cool comfy shoes that are a taste costly. So it is possible that I'll dream, since these are dream maps. One never knows.

and since I'm looking at the screen sorta sideways and my hands are over the edge of the laptop where I can't even see them. Well it's time to shut the eyes. Maybe if I fall asleep with my hands on the keys they will keep writing while I sleep. Now wouldn't that be interesting? Hmmm, one of these nights Im going to try it. Messages from the dream world......

I'm babbling because I am no really awake anymore. So sweet dreams all. I have tales of Christmas but they'll have to wait. I was only going to write a couple of lines here anyhow and we see how well I've done at that. I only prayt that I've been putting the punctuation in correctly, because we know what a stickler proper punctuation is with G2. THis last has been written with mt eyes closed, yes I even typed the 2 with my eyes shut.


Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after

(disclaimer: I forgot to use "word" and copy and paste. Therefore, the pictures are off center, which, along with the word processor thing, seems to guarantee that I cannot put the writing where I want. This post, which started happily enough has now got me frustrated! ARGHHH)

Friends and family with 4-wheel drive. Without them I would not have been able to do Christmas with the family. I was picked up in Edmonds by my oldest child; the closer we got to his house, the more snow was hitting an already high snow total of 20." The roads were quite treacherous and State Patrol, tow trucks, and spin out into snow banks, were quite common on the interstate. The road leading to the house had not been plowed and was one lane wide. After several attempts we made it into the driveway, where Stoff had shoveled parking spots that morning.

The girls were adorable, of course. After the Entiat Grandma and Grandpa arrived they opened the Santa presents; they got just what they wanted. A Barbie doll for Schyler, and some musical blinking lights for Lilly.

The cats even got just what they wanted, and were soon reduced to rolling, drooling, stoned kitties.

The rest of the crowd arrived. (I wondered how it was possible that Kira and her family were able to get there in a two wheel drive pickup, and Morgan and Logan in her Miata!! When we headed back to the ferry it was easy to see. The snow plows had arrived shortly after Santa and Paradise Lake Road was plowed and sanded. )

The three girls were wonderful. Mimi had been up all night celebrating with her Daddy's family who celebrates at one minute after midnight. They adore each other and Uncle Morgan, just as he adores them.
As the day wore on, the girls got wilder, and no family event is complete without the pig pile on Uncle Jorge/Daddy.

I got home to be with the fur family and opened a present that had been sitting for over a year. It was my father's baby book. I had never seen it. It will be cherished.

In the hand of my Grandmother was written:

"Baby John's stocking was hung to the mantle shelf beside his brother's and his sister's stockings. By Christmas morning it was full. A silver spoon and fork from Grandmother and Aunti Ethel were in the foot and a Tom Tinker doll in the leg with its hands and arms sticking out over the top. On the Christmas tree were two strands of beads and a rubber Scotch Collie dog with a whistle in its back. He looked at the tree and smiled and was very happy."

-December 25, 1923 Dad's First Christmas

A perfect close, to a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Internet families

It is an interesting phenomenon that we can become so very close to people and their events; people with whom we have never spoken a word "face to face." I have my Internet family just as S2 has her's. I feel that I truly know my Internet friends; often sharing details of our lives that we perhaps have not shared before.

I spent the last 10 days worrying, and praying, and fretting about a dear little Cardigan Corgi named Clue. I have emailed her family as well. My heart has been breaking for the those things that the little girls were feeling over the loss of their house and possessions to fire, and then the loss of the Champion show dog and family member Ch Pecan Valley A Blue Clue. (I would post her picture, but haven't had a chance to get the OK from her mama.) This afternoon Miss Clue was found. It has been over a week. Lots of snow has fallen in NH. She had been hit by a car. She was far from home. She will get a thorough vet check on Friday morning. I am crying and my Cardi is licking the tears from my cheeks as her brother, Henry, snuggles in my lap. Joann's biggest concern throughout the ordeal has been that someone would say "it's only a dog." She wanted only to be able to remain positive. She knew. From deep inside her soul. I think Clue knew as well. All is well in a New Hampshire house tonight. Merry Christmas, and yes, Kimball family, there is a Santa Claus.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Was the last time this amount of snow hit Kitsap County…and that was at the Bremerton Airport; home of Justifiably Famous Fish and Chips. I knew it had to be at least close to a record, if only for the fact that it is still here. More is expected tonight. Walking down to the “main” road was misery. The snow goes up inside the pant leg, then down the boot. By the time I got down my ankle was frozen and I had to take the now packed snow from inside the boot. I got to the post office, but then came back because the temperature was quickly dropping and I wanted my friend off the road.

My plan to do most of my Christmas shopping online suddenly has a wrench thrown in. Three things that were to be here the beginning of the week are stuck in Bremerton. UPS cannot get them out. There is also one that is supposed to come via US mail, but it is also stuck somewhere. For the first time that I can remember the post office called off mail delivery. I guess there really IS something that can keep the post man from his appointed rounds.

At this point the snow is no longer beautiful. Another layer of ice on top of the twelve inches means that my little trails through the yards to get wood and do chores are treacherous at best. I may see if the neighbor can move the snow from my driveway with his tractor. If that doesn’t happen there is NO way to get out of here for Christmas. I don’t mind postponing, but my kids are a bit upset at the idea.

Speaking of kids: Morgan and Logan made it safely home from Texas. He called his momma last night from Tacoma. I think I got a decent sleep last night for the first time since this storm hit. Once a Mom, always a Mom. It really doesn’t matter if they are four or forty.

So many times in the past two weeks I have heard Dad’s voice. I think he saved a couple of my sheds from caving in, as well as chastising me into finding ways to strengthen them this spring/summer. The old “if you are going to do something, do it right the first time.” At the same time I feel like he is smiling down on me. All my life I wanted him to just be proud of me. I feel like he is now. We never had “extra” money when I was growing up, so when something needed to be done he found a book (now we have the internet) and did the job. Not much hiring of professionals to do a job. After he retired and remarried that all changed and it seemed odd to see him allocating even some of the small stuff. It was hard for me not to step up and offer to help, but I think he was tired. I miss him, and Mom, this time of year. It’s all about family; not necessarily blood relations, but all of those that we allow into those inner sanctums of our lives. That may include neighbors, friends, and internet buddies. It is those who truly care. You know who you are, and I have to just say “thanks; I love you; without you I am not sure I would still be here, and my life would certainly be lacking.”

Have a Merry Christmas, and hold those you love just a little closer. I know that I will, and that I am.

G2 (nice pictures, S2, but that little red buddy looks a bit chilly !)

Monday, December 22, 2008

If you go out into the snow tonight, be careful who (or what) you talk to). I hear the tomatoes have been restless...

If you have a tomato picture in photo shop, and you accidently and unbeknownst to you, drag a finger across the 'contrast' button...

It's actually kind of cool :)

I'm not sure what this guy did to rile up the tomato people, but I'm certain it had to be pretty dire. What, don't see the body? Look closer....

This is the same beech tree (the famous survivor of the rape of the beeches) that I posted a photo of a few days ago. More snow....more.

A wonderland.

Almost looks like cotton...

Long shot across the wetland behind my place.

And's been one year today, since I lost my beloved Jerry-kitty.

Rest in peace, little buddy. The pillow is all yours....

Due to inclement weather

Christmas may be postponed

Come, set a spell

Corgis in the snow, part something or another...

The weather is cold enough that this snow is going nowhere any time soon. We got a bit more last night. It almost touches Windy’s belly now. Yes, she does have a big belly, but she is still a horse. OK, so she is also a mini horse. The dogs have dwarf legs, so cannot really measure depth by them, and the horse is a mini with a big belly, so perhaps she is not a good example of the depth either. What I do know, is that they are no longer finding it as much fun as a few days ago, and I need snow shoes to do my chores. I come in and have to dump the snow out of my boot and shoe. I followed my intuition and got the snow off the woodshed roof last night. Today’s news tells of some roof collapses.

All of you who are waiting for Christmas cards are going to have to wait a while. I actually ordered some, but they are stuck at the store in Poulsbo; it would take a snowmobile to get them, and I would be surprised if there any employees at the store anyway.

It will be odd to have to postpone Christmas, but I would do that over putting my kids and grand kids at risk. Since the “official date” is not the real date of Christ’s birth, then I don’t see the necessity of keeping that particular day. It is all about family, not a specific date. For my kids that are reading this (Kira) please take care and do not put yourselves in danger. Any one who truly cares would not insist on you going out on the road; if you must go somewhere after dark, please just stay put. There is now several layers of ice with compact snow over it, with powder snow on top of that. Take a pillow, my dear.

Power was out for a while last night. I have no idea when it went out. The digital clocks all flash midnight when the power is back on. The other clocks are battery powered so never go off. All I know is that I awoke at some point this morning and the power was out. I drifted on and off and the power came back on. I got up at 7 am, stoked the fire and fed the dogs before going out to let the horse out. Her water in the barn was not frozen. I hope those without alternative heat sources did not suffer for too long. I am sure the snow and ice laden trees were the cause. I didn’t want to find a flashlight and call the power company, choosing instead to snuggle up with the dogs until it was light outside.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Christmas, whenever it takes place. I hope all that are suffering pain and/or loss find comfort in the small things. We certainly have the power to turn adversity into great life lessons. My prayers are will you all, and a special prayer is out for a dear little corgi named “Clue.” Her family has suffered the loss of their house to fire and Clue somehow got away from the boarding facility, got hit by a car, and has disappeared. Please send positive thoughts to the beautiful Blue Merle Cardigan Corgi and her family. Footprints have been seen, so she is still wandering, lost.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hummers in the snow

Awwwww. That is all I can say, for a couple of reasons. Yesterday, I actually saw a hummingbird come to check the feeders. It was a rufous male, all glittering green on it’s back. I had no idea that any hummers stayed around for the winter around here, yet here they are. The little guy went away hungry, because the feeder was frozen solid.

So this morning I brought the feeders in, and filled them with fresh, warmed nectar. I’m putting them out one at a time, and when they start to freeze I switch them out. Until a few minutes ago I didn’t know if they were being used, or if the birdies had noticed.

It’s getting dark now, and I noticed the snow is really coming down again. I went to check the deck (my version of the great outdoors when the weather is like this), and there, perched on the woody salvia that they so loved in the summer (and is now cut almost all the way back), was the little female. If only there were light I’d take a picture of her, but she’s nearly impossible for me to see. I wonder if it was the same one I got a photo of last summer? Here is a little rufous female, feeding on the same woody salvia (Hot Lips) and she is perched on right now.

Clearly, they found the fresh food! So, awwwww. She kept twitched her wings a bit and looking round at me, but she didn’t fly away. I hope the little male joins her, and first thing in the morning I’ll be putting out some nice, slightly warm nectar.

I was actually checking to see how Ramona’s little birdhouse is doing in the snow. I plunked it into one of the wee snowbanks that are my planters, maybe a couple of hours ago now. I’ve been checking to see how fast the new snow is falling, and took a picture of it an hour ago.

My world when it snows is very different from G2's. She lives on a little farm and needs to tend to the animals. I live in an apartment and I have a deck. It's a nice deck with, of course, too much stuff on it. Especially since my friend gave me three giant pots of bamboo. I love em, but am still figuring out a redesign of the deck to accomodate everything. The only thing I need to go outside for is to take photos, and of course, tend the hummers.
Maybe the hummers might like the wee birdhouse? I don't know that they like to go inside things, but one never knows.
I've had fun today, trying different things with the camera. Here are a few of my snow day pictures...
This first I took around dawn today, hence the bluiness. See the little tube sticking out of the snow in the middle of the picture? That is the top of my rain gauge. It's got a top of snow piled on top of it, the tube itself isn't really that tall. The snow is really coming down out there tonight, so I figure that by tomorrow, there will be nothing but a tell tale bump to mark it, if even that.

I have a greenbelt around two sides of my place. I'm blessed to be on the third floor of my building, and on the end. The greenbelt is what made me take the place. It's a wetland, for the most part, so no real danger in it going away. That Virginia creeper on the tree trunk in the center...makes me homesick for the south. I really, really loved being there. You watch, G2 and I may disappear into the hollers one of these days...

Endless patters of snowy branches. I could take pictures of them forever.

The new profile picture is of the amaryllis currently blooming in my front room. Feel free to change it back, G2.

The weather outside is frightful

(the jury is still out on "the snow is so delightful")

There was snow IN the carport. This snow that is still falling is teeny tiny flakes and the slightest wind sends it flying. We did not get the big windstorm that was predicted, so no issues, yet, with power outages. The snow is still on and in the trees, so the weight on them must be tremendous. That could sure knock out the power as well.

I think snowshoes would have made getting to the barn a bit easier this morning. This is a picnic table for the grand kids. It was clear last night so I could gauge snowfall amounts.

Somewhere is here a water bucket for the horse. It looks like I need to get out the loppers! (Oh for Pete's sake it's a joke, people)
The snow is up to Henry's tummy. Suddenly those too long corgi legs are not giving him the advantage on Kate. And he has something to say about it.

Kate lets Henry blaze the trails, then stands where he has tamped down the snow.
I think before this stuff starts to melt I will take the leaf blower out to the wood shed and blow all the snow off the wood. I also think I will add tarp sides to the east side.
(DOUBLE SPACE, INDENT)It is very pretty out. However, pipes are freezing all around, and I heard on the news that there are power outages in other areas. They have been canceling flights to and from Sea-Tac airport, and there is a young man from the Army who has been at the airport since Friday. (It is Sunday). All of the surrounding motels and hotels are booked. He just wants to go home for Christmas. The weather folks say the worst is now over. Myself? I have warmth from the woodstove and city water, however I am a bit concerned for my son who is trying to get home from Austin, Texas. He is helping move a friend and they are driving up. I told him to get chains for the car, but he is downplaying it. He likely knows now what I had meant. In a couple of hours I will call and see how far into Oregon they are now. The snow is still falling here, but it is predicted to turn to rain. It is interesting how accurately weather forecasters can be. I miss the cartoon weather reports of my youth. We always watched Bob Cramm do the weather as he was a guest at my parents' wedding. (Another one of those brushes with fame; and I hear my parents saying just as I do now "I remember, when I was your age..." I can almost see my kids rolling their eyes as I did back all those years ago.)
(DOUBLE SPACE,INDENT) Y'all take care and have a good day. You can also sit in anticipation as S2 and I talk of, and plan, our next excursion. Now SHE understands my love of the area that we visited on September).
G2 (trying the pictures in the middle in an effort to make paragraphs; is it working?)
Nice picture of the flower, S2. I like!!

Friday, December 19, 2008


So why do I want the Song of the Day to be "Another Saturday Night?"

Today I turned on the telly and found that one of the local channels is off the air. Seems a dispute with Fisher Communications has forced a three day moratorium, or something to that effect. Fisher wants DishNetwork to pay a big percentage more for the right to air...of course that will mean more money coming from the customer. Luckily it is not one of my most watched channels. I suspect the Latino population is pretty upset since Univision is also knocked off the air. It is one of those channels that, strangely, I don't miss either. When I have been forced to watch it, and yes, I really have, I found a lot of scantily clad, overweight, big boobed, middle aged women shaking their tatas. I am sadly lacking in the Latino culture, but seems a very strange thing for kids to be watching. Granted, if I understood what they were saying perhaps I might have a better understanding of what was going on, but I still don't want to watch someone in clothing four sizes too small shake and shimmy. Call me old and set in my ways...I guess it is true. My parents are looking down on me and laughing or smiling. I'm not sure which. I do know that I pay enough for my TV programming as it is. I don't need to be giving more to the CEOs vacation fund. I'd like some for my own, thank you very much.

I am trying hard to figure out the ways of this blog site. I like it a lot, but there are a couple of things that make me crazy. Please bear with me as S2 and I try to figure out why things seem to be changing. I don't remember having issues with paragraphs and indents when we were traveling, which makes it all the more puzzling. Anyway, this paragraph is written with indentation of 3 spaces, and with double spacing between the paragraphs.

And this one has no indent. I must go for my umpteenth trip for wood. Then I am going to plop down on my couch, cuddle with the pups and watch TV; sans KOMO.


In tune at last~

Upon one this we are agreed, we want our indents! Yesterday I tried to resolve the conundrum. You saw my blog from yesterday. Didn't work. Today, I looked through the different format choices. I saw one, and one only, that showed indents in the sample copy. It is rather white. Soon we will know the answer to whether or not we'd like to have pretty, or proper! Well, indentations are proper to me, what can I say?

I have to admit, everything is much easier to, uh, see. Now that I'm not squinting so much, my eyes are quite relaxed. If only, when I post this on the public page, the formatting remains! I looked back through G2's previous posts and saw that her laboriously indented copy has returned to...indented! So here is hoping.

I got my mandolin out a few days ago. I haven't played for quite a while, because the bridge broke and I figured I couldn't afford the repairs. Finally I took it down to the shop, and the repair cost...$35.oo. Sigh. Had it restrung also.

Do you think I have the faintest idea where my violin pitch pipe (which is what you use to tune a mandolin as well) was hiding? No earthly clue, so I decided to try tuning to the piano. After doing that things seemed, somehow, not right. I really do know better than to tune to this piano, but it had to at least be tried. My piano came from England in the mid-fifties, at which time it was already 70-80 years old. Made during the Victorian age, it has a type of stringing that is known as 'birdcage style'. Most piano tuners, when they hear what sort of piano it is, hold up the sign of the cross and start running away. Birdcage style pianos are notorious for refusing to stay in tune.

It's been a long time since I've tuned it, and it has been moved during that time as well. Poor baby piano! Why do I keep it? Well, it was my Mom's, and that's just the way it is. Frequently, the piano hosts large piles of books. It's a great place for things that need to go out the door with me. But the poor thing is rarely played. I'm thinking of calling my friend the piano tuner and at least getting it back into tune for maybe a day. I will have to sign an affidavit promising not to call the tuner back up when it goes out of tune. This is really why they don't like tuning them...the customer calls back two days later all in a tizzy. Can't say I blame them a bit.

Victorian parlor pianos, which this is, were really meant to be furniture. They weren't really meant to be played, they were there for show. My piano also has, 85 keys. Not 88. This is something I never realized until my oldest daughter decided to count the piano keys. She proudly came tome as I cooked dinner and announced, "I know how many keys are on a piano! There are 85!". I said, "Well honey, I think you need to count them again to be sure" and I smiled that mother smile, I'm quite sure. She counted again. Yup. 85. I counted them for myself. 85! This was some cut rate Victorian Parlor piano making, to be sure.

Well, it's a nice antique, at least. I love it, because it was Mom's, and it has a story. My Uncle was stationed in England in the fifties, and Aunt Marcia bought there for 20 pounds. The US Navy shipped it home when they returned (they actually used to do that sort of thing). Eventually, when they were reposted to Germany, we ended up with the piano. Mom played it all the time, and I always thought it sounded lovely. I can see her sitting at the piano sometimes, and it makes me feel warm inside. I think that answers the question, why don't I get rid of that thing and get a better quality piano? And I will get it tuned.

The mandolin, though, was still out of tune. I could run to the music store (only a couple of miles away) for a new pitch pipe, but the snow is still on the ground here, it's in the teens, and the roads are scary icy. Door to door transportation for the handicapped, which my youngest uses to get back and forth to her job, has been suspended. The Post Office declared that today is a holiday and there will be no deliveries. I know we sound like weenies, but it's all hills around here. You wouldn't want to drive anywhere, either.

The answer was provided by my ex-husband. He called wondering about arrangements for picking up youngest daughter for the weekend. I told him I thought it was too dangerous out there for him to come get her (it's close to a 30 mile round trip, complete with ferry rides), and then went on to gabble about my tuning problems (he's a musicologist). And he said, why don't you just find a tuning site online?

Tuning site online???? Who knew? My mandolin sounds lovely now, thank you :) And here is the link to the site I used, you can tune all manner of stringed instruments there:

Tonight, it's just me, my collection of best loved mandolin songs to play to (Cry Love by John Hiatt, my current favorite), unless my neighbor comes over and we bake.

Stay warm and tuneful :)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

S2 has Snow2

I was looking through my 'deck' file of pictures, and found these. I canned these at my brother's place in California, from his incredible apricot tree. Remnant of what was once an orchard, these are an old breed of apricot, not bred for length of staying power in a supermarket. These babies taste absolutely amazing! Anyone who grew up eating REAL apricots right off the tree, dead ripe, will never be able to eat the supermarket kind. There is just no comparison. Last year he had a bumper crop on the tree, and I flew down there in late June, just in time for them to be ready. We canned (well, I canned, he picked) for hours and then we split the bounty. I wish I still had one more bottle, but they are all gone now. This picture was taken on the deck, and the snow pictures to follow were also taken on the deck, which is the only connection. Just saw the picture when going by, and started to salivate. My brother sends me photos of ripe apricots on his tree just to torture me, so here is a little back. That was really fun, Pete. We have to do it again.

Lemon balm, ala snow. The deep freeze has done in the lemon balm, this is it's last hurrah, for this year, anyway. It will be back.

I have two miniature roses out on the deck. Incredibly tenacious plants, and ever hopeful, as you can see. The deep freeze does not appear to be affecting the roses. Amazing, isn't it? This one will be yellow, if this bloom opens. I subbed as a preschool teacher for a couple of months, and at the end of the school year the children gifted me with this plant. This will be it's fourth year out on the deck. I mounded dead leaves around the base of the plant, which is all it has ever needed. This year, who knows. Crossing fingers.

Alder trunks with snow blown on the east side. I know alders are basically the weeds of the tree world. They are 'transition' trees, meant to grow on the edge of clearings for a few years (25 or so), and then fall down and decompose, then feeding the pines and firs that follow. I love to look at them with their leaves off, but the way that these do lean...

One of three bamboos that my friend Jay gave me for my deck...he's moving back to Texas, and I'll miss him. Sniff. I'll love them just the way he did.

Another of the bamboos.

I live on the third floor in my apartment house. This is the top part of a beech tree, that is just outside my bedroom window. It's all gnarled and weird, because of a couple of things. First of all, it is not the way of the beech tree to grow in a row outside an apartment building. As soon as it starts looking lush and nice, they come along and top it, to prevent it from growing tall enough to shed leaves into the gutters. The first year that they did this, I opened my windows and hollered things at the workmen, like, what the HECK are you doing????? It worked, they quit and hurried away from the crazy lady. I have learned to hold my peace, and have a name for what they do (ok, their boss who is my landlord tells them to do it, they were only following orders). It is "The Annual Raping of the Beeches".
They put up with a lot, those beeches, even if they do look like beech balls perched on flagpoles for a few months after they receive their so called beauty treatment. The landlord's viewpoint on landscaping is that all plants must be contained. He's a good guy, we just don't agree about the beeches.

More leaning alders. This one will hit my building when it goes, but it's on someone else's property, so apparently there is nothing to be done about it. On the other hand, it's been leaning like this for quite a few years now, so may I really shouldn't be concerned about it. And I wouldn't be...except for that transitional plant thing.

And just because I like the way snow lays on leaning alders, here is one last one.

I've written at length here, and indented my paragraphs, too. Looks good at the moment, but who knows what happens when you hit publish post? Guess we're gonna find out soon, since I need to crawl under the covers and warm up my freezing self. It's in the teens outside, sorry, but that's just tooooo cold. Like G2 says, we do RAIN. And we do it well.

Nighty night.

Static in the snow

Henry cannot help himself. He MUST steal Windy's carrot.
Why is it that when I am unable to go out all I can think about is what I need and where I need to go? Not only that, I get nothing done while sitting here. I have many things I could be doing, but I sit like a slug, OK bad example; they are all hidden away, or dead from the freeze.
My days are consumed with carrying wood in to keep the house warm. If I don't keep the fire going it gets VERY cold, very fast. Even the dogs are bored. I take them out a couple of times a day, but they quickly get cold.
The snow has stopped but the temperature is dropping. It is now in the low 20s. We have about 5" now. Up north they have 27"; we just are not used to this stuff. We do rain, not snow.
The horse has hair that would make a bear envious. The forums have a constant debate going on blanketing or not blanketing. I have decided that unless she is shivering she is best off with no blanket. The self described experts AGAINST blanketing say that the blanket puts weight on the hair so it cannot stand up, which acts as an insulator. When I got her she was weaning a filly and was a bit lean. She wore her blanket at night. Now I am a bit scientific with it all. Besides the shivering I bury my fingers into her "wool." Even though she has snow standing on her back I have found that her skin is toasty warm. If she is really, really wet I will blanket her for the night if it is below freezing. By morning she is always dry. I am not an expert on anything horse related; it is a good thing that Windy doesn't know she is a horse. She has even followed me into the house before, but that is a bit much even for me...have you ever seen how much "fluid" they can put out?
Tonight was to be the program at the Preschool. All the grandkids go to the same school now and I was really looking forward to it. They always do a Christmas program which is a replay of the Nativity. Amelia was to be Mary and I think Schyler and Lilly were Angels. It will still happen, but it will be after Christmas.
Sunday Stopher is in a play at church. With more snow coming in I will likely miss that as well. It is really nice to have the kids celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. It just warms my heart as nothing else can.
I guess I will go vegetate more and think of the things that I could be doing and the things I want to be doing. You know, this cold just saps all the energy right out of me...yea right!!
Something to ponder:
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is believed to have descended from the Teckel Dogs, or the Dachshunds. Its origins are believed to date back to more than 3000 years, to the period of around the 1200 BC. when the Celtic tribes brought them to Wales from Central Europe. The word ‘Corgi’ means ‘dwarf dog’ in Welsh. The breed was developed to its present form in Cardiganshire, Wales and finds mention in the Domesday Book, written in 1086 (a record of a survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror).
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is believed to have descended, either from the Swedish Vallhund, probably introduced by the Vikings or from Schipperkes and Pomeranians that were brought by Flemish weavers. For several centuries, Pembrokes have been used by the Welsh as guardians of their farms. In 1934, they were recognized as a breed by both the English Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is very similar to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the two were freely interbred until the 1930s when breeders tried to separate them. Queen Elizabeth II had a Pembroke Welsh Corgi as a pet. Because of the royal patronage, and perhaps because of a slightly gentler personality, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has become more popular than the Cardigan.
I have a wiener dog and a hairy fu-fu dog. Please don't tell them.
(I cannot find a consistant way to space my paragraphs. No matter how much I space and indent, tonight I get no paragraphs. THAT is the reason I have bold words at the start. I do ramble a bit, but not as much as it appears in some of my posts.)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Barge Lady Cruises

Wouldn't you like to? Check it out:

Just something to think about while we are on Stormwatch 2008. The snow, boss, da snow!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Did you make it?

Just wondering! I decided not to go out there today, tomorrow will be soon enough. You are right though, it is pretty! And cold.

Lesson for the day

When building a house do NOT put a sky light over the master bath soaking tub.

It is quite chilly here today. Wanting to conserve electric as much as possible I am trying to only use the woodstove for heat. That means it gets a bit chilly in the bedroom, which is at the other end of the house. So, thinks I, a nice hot bath would be nice. It is indeed, however hot air the skylight. Once there it meets with the cold outside filtered in air. Result? A sporadic drip of VERY cold water; usually on my head or shoulders as I sit up, wondering where the drip is coming from. It never fails. This morning there was an unusually large number of drips. It is almost painful.

However, on the plus side of events. It is amazing pretty out. Cold, for sure, but beautiful. I took the dogs out and looked into the trees next door. There sunning itself was:

Need a closer look?
I instantly thought of my friend Linda and had to snap some pictures for her. I am always in awe of the bald eagle. I see them almost daily, but I still have to stop and admire them. I just can't help myself.
I need to brave the roads and go to the post office and bank. Pay day. Wish me luck; I may not be able to get back up my road in my compact pickup. The neighbor just went down in her car, but it was chained up. Oh bother.
Eagles and skylights; how about song of the day? Maybe "Sunshine on my shoulder"