Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another Not-So-Calm Day

It started out as another quiet day at home. The only plans I had were to take a shower and then drive down to the nearby Haggens grocery store to drop the bills I had written checks for in their mailbox. I also needed to pick up some Half and Half for when I get inspired to make an onion pie out of the Walla Walla sweet onions sitting on the floor in my kitchen.

I got the first part done without a problem. We've been showering over at Daughter Mary Mae's as we don't have a sewer hook-up here and are conserving the amount of water we use. MM and the GKs were on their way to the library when I came over, so I had the house to myself. Forry came over after I did and got his shower as well.

Then it was time to go to the store. But when I got to Toad II, the clicker key thing didn't open the door. It didn't even make a noise of the locks unlocking... Thinking the battery in the thing might be dead, I opened it up (there is an actual spare key inside) and used -- for the first time ever -- the key to open the driver's side front door.

Got in and tried to start the car. Nothing! Put the key in the ignition and turned it, still nothing! (Normally if you have the key in your pocket, that is close enough to turn on the ignition...) At that point, I went to get Forry, who proceeded to try everything I had done all over before deciding that Toad II had a dead battery.

Now there is only one keyhole on the entire vehicle -- the one on the driver's door! You cannot open any of the other doors when the battery is dead as they all operate electrically. Fortunately MM had a pair of jumper cables in her van because there was no way we could get into the back of Toad II to get at ours (just a matter of lawn chairs and my trike in the way...).

I went back to Auntie Violet and let Forry and MM deal with jump-starting the rig. They got the job done; Forry drove it down the road and back; then let it idle for a while to charge the battery. It seemed to start fine at that point, but a light came on that said "status check." I looked all through the manual and couldn't find anything that said what that might mean!

I did make my trip to the grocery, feeling a bit nervous about turning Toad II off while I went inside. But I had no further trouble. Maybe tomorrow I should call the former Suzuki dealer in Spokane and find out what that persistent light means...?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Quiet Day

Daughter MM and Grandson Varick were off early this morning for appointments in Seattle. Scott left for work long before we were even up. Granddaughter Claire's friend Emma was here early to spend the day. The two girls spent a good portion of their day on blankets out on the front lawn practicing their tumbling -- and giggling!

Forry had his nose in his Sudoku most of the day and I had mine in a book (in my iPad anyway). It was a good way to spend a rather chilly, partly cloudy day. I did write a couple of checks, paying a couple of bills and we got our ballots for the upcoming Special Election filled out (the only thing on the ballot is funding for a new jail!). Other than that, it was a pretty quiet day.

It's interesting summer weather here in this part of Washington. It cools off rapidly in the evenings and is quite chilly in the mornings. Then it warms up in early afternoon and is actually very nice. According to Facebook friends, there has been a great deal of early morning fog along the coast that some days doesn't really even burn off. On the other side of the state it has been hot and dry -- which is exactly what is wanted for the wheat harvest.

Already by this time in late July, the days are getting shorter. It's a little after nine o'clock and it's already quite dark outside. Of course, we're pretty much in the trees, so we don't see much of a sunset here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Shopping Trip Day

We started out this morning, my Daughter MM, Granddaughter Claire and I, with one goal in mind -- new bras all around! We started out headed for one of the big department stores, but MM decided to swing by the outlet mall in nearby Burlington to see what new stores had been added this spring.

Lo and behold, there was a MaidenForm store! And they were having a sale! You couldn't ask for a better combination of circumstances. Claire and I started looking while her Mom was parking the car and found some really cute bras. Not knowing what size to start with, we had the sales lady measure her. Then I had her measure me as well -- sizes do change you know.

By that time MM was there and we decided she needed measuring as well. From there it was off to the racks looking at the quite wonderful selection. Then we all crowded into one dressing room to try them on! Lots of giggles as Claire discovered that her elders could get quite silly trying things on. We all did come out with our selected favorites.

Then as we were walking down the sidewalk to put our bags in the car, we came by a shoe store with the cutest pairs of boots in the window. So we had to check them out. Claire has only recently moved to women's sizes, so she had to really hunt to find a black pair small enough for her. But she found a pair that fit. They're going to be perfect for her role as one of the "lost ones" in the show Pan that she's in rehearsal for now.

We made a few more stops for shirts for MM and myself, a birthday present for Varick and some new suspenders and a purple shirt for Forry. We had planned to go out for lunch, but time got away from us and all of a sudden it was after one and we had to hurry home to meet Claire's friend who was coming to spend the afternoon with her!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Day at Home and We Celebrate a Birthday

We spent a lazy day at home today. Even though Mount Vernon is quite an urban community, Daughter MM's house is on a ridge. Their house is down a gravel road off of a culdesac in a wooded area. We have seen several does and fawns when we've been here previously, but this is the first time we've seen this very nice buck. His horns are still in velvet --

Tomorrow is Mary Mae's birthday, but since Scott will be at work tomorrow and GD Claire has rehearsal tomorrow evening, we decided we would celebrate today.  Scott barbecued steaks for dinner along with some little summer squash I had marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Scott and Claire had gone out earlier and gotten her a chocolate ice cream cake to go with.

MM's blender decided to go up in smoke this morning when she was making Dutch Babies for all of us, so it was easy for Scott to decide what to get her for her birthday. I gave her the silk scarf I had found for her at Pike Street Market.

After dinner we all watched Crocodile Dundee. It's been a long time since we had seen that movie and it was fun watching it with the Varick and Claire. I remembered the scene where the crocodile almost gets Sue and the one where Dundee walks across the top of the subway crowd, but had forgotten most of the rest of it. It certainly is a classic.

PUCK Steals the Show!

Saturday was the Skagit Valley NW Shakespeare Troupe's traditional Iron Man day. Starting at 1 PM and ending up sometime after 9 tonight, they performed all three of this year's shows, Merry Wives of Windsor, To Be or Not TV, and Hamlet. Granddaughter Claire is in all three of them and her father Scott is in two.

Since we had previously seen Hamlet and the Merry Wives of Windsor we decided to only go out to the Rexville/Blackrock Amphitheatre for the four o'clock presentation of To Be or Not TV. Evidently it is tradition for this group of players to do some kind of quasi-Shakespearean scenes as the mid-day feature.

The one this year was a spoof of television including a "Dating Game" with "volunteers" from the audience and a take-off on the Jerry Sprenger show. Jerry, played by Scott, is interviewing a quartet of star-crossed lovers, who, it turns out, have been touched by Puck's magic flower.

Puck explains that "perhaps she had touched the wrong fellow sleeping since both were dressed the same..."

Puck has a rather long soliloquy -- all in Shakespearean English -- and Claire didn't miss a line!


The lovers are not too happy that they have been enchanted to love the wrong person --

 And run after Puck in order to get their revenge!

I have heard it said that actors really don't like scenes with children or dogs, as they tend to steal the show. Well, it's just not Grandmotherly pride that say that's exactly what happened this afternoon!

For a girl that will just be turning twelve in August, Claire has quite an acting resume. We saw her in Witches, the Musical last fall and saw a video of Rock Around the Clock done last winter. She's got a good memory for lines, and I understand, often knows the lines of many of the other actors!

We returned home following the show -- didn't stay to see Hamlet again -- and were in bed long before the family actors returned home sometime tonight!

Friday, July 26, 2013

And So We Move Again...

I continue to be amazed at the "Catch 22" situations we end up getting into with club memberships. We were staying at Potlatch RV Park which is a reciprocal club with both RPI (Resort Parks International) and ROD (Resorts of Distinction), both of which we have memberships with. They both have a rather strange rule which provides that you may only stay 7 nights -- instead of the usual 14 -- at any resort within 125 air miles of your home address. I guess it kinda makes sense if you are a part-time RVer -- they don't want you hanging out at a nearby camp-site all summer.

However, if you are a full time RVer, what difference does it make where your mail (and address of record) goes? They also have another rather obscure rule (at least the camp manager here had never heard of it before!) that you cannot combine the days you have with RPI and ROD! or use them one after the other!

What it amounts to is that Potlatch RV has several empty sites. We cannot move to our new campsite at Riverbend RV until August 4 when they have an opening (unless one guy moves out this weekend like he's been hinting to the managers...). We would have liked to just stay at Potlatch -- and pay for the extra days -- and the manager would have liked to fill one of his empty slots. But, both the ROD and RPI reservations people on the telephone told him that he would be voiding his contract with them (though one of the operators had told us that the campground could waive the 125 mile rule...) if we did so...

So we packed up and moved a half hour or so down the road to park in front of Daughter Mary Mae's house. It isn't ideal since it's a pretty narrow dead end road. Fortunately, there is only one house on the road beyond theirs, so we're not inconveniencing too many people. We have an extra 50 amp extension cord -very heavy - that we store here so that we can plug in at the end of the house.

 Son-in-law Scott and Granddaughter Claire are off tonight to Blackrock/Rexville Amphitheatre for another performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. MM is the stage manager, so she went along as well to deal with any emergencies that come up as well as last-minute details for tomorrow's Iron Man when the troupe will perform all three shows starting at 1 PM.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Skagit Valley

It's been an interesting summer. We spent the early part of it in Oregon's Willamette Valley with all of its nursery and berry crops. Now we are further north in Washington's Skagit Valley, another beautiful agricultural area.

One of the things that surprised me when Daughter MM and her family first moved here was the amount of potatoes grown in the valley. This field is full of purple blooms --

We were out and about with Granddaughter Claire, who spent the day with us. This is a shot of the I-5 temporary bridge (the one that fell last month!).

I thought I could get a shot of one of the many fresh corn fields from my side window in the car, but I don't think my lens is quite fast enough...

The field had a very different drop orifice sprinkler --

It was attached to this big roll of hose, the kind you usually only see with a "big gun" sprinkler --

This is the office of the Potlatch RV Resort where we are currently staying. The huge indoor pool is also in this building.

The spaces were definitely designed in another era. They are narrow and very close together.

My Mother's Day geranium plant is certainly enjoying the hot afternoons.

And Mount Baker's cold splendor oversees the whole valley --

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Laundry Day!

It was a beautiful day today, but we hardly stuck our noses outside all day. As I posted on Facebook, I swear that the laundry just sits in that bedroom hamper and MULTIPLIES! There is no way that the two of us could manage to get so many clothes dirty all by ourselves.

Be that as it may, I spent the day with the washing machine. Now, Auntie Violet has clean clothing hanging all over inside. I do wish that RV parks would get with the green movement. I can't remember when we've stayed at an RV park that didn't forbid outdoor clotheslines or portable clothes dryers. I guess they're all scared of being perceived as "trailer park trash..."

After winning their first two games -- and running up an eight game winning streak -- the Mariners lost their third game with the Cleveland Indians this afternoon. We had been hoping for a third sweep, but Cleveland was only too happy to win one today, getting three runs in the first inning. It's really been fun to watch the last several games to see both the young and older players doing so well.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It Takes Practice...

This afternoon we headed over to Daughter Mary Mae's to help her get ready for the houseful of company she was expecting tonight. She had invited the Skagit Valley Shakespeare Troupe to rehearse at her house this evening. MM made a pot of black bean soup that she served with sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese and lime juice along with mini-tortillas and watermelon to about twenty people. Some of the crew also brought chips and salsa and mini-cupcakes as well.

After eating, the group moved to the front yard to rehearse. They were working on a spoof called To Be or Not TV, that they will perform as part of their Iron Man day this weekend (Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, and To Be or Not TV all in one long afternoon and evening!). They are performing Shakespearean scenes in the guise of a "modern" television show.

Here the three nasty witches of Macbeth practice their "cauldron  burn and cauldron bubble" scene --

Son-in-law Scott, on the right, is the mock Jerry Sprinter, who MCs the spoof --

Granddaughter Claire rehearses her role as Puck, trying to explain the mix-up in love potions...

Claire will be 12 the first of August. She continues to surprise me with her ability to learn and remember the Old English language of Shakespeare!

The role of Puck is a sassy one. It will be fun to watch it play out on Saturday!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Deception Pass

This afternoon we rode with Daughter Mary Mae up to Oak Harbor on Whidby Island to pick up Granddaughter Claire, who had spent the night with one of her young actor buddies after the cast barbecue last night. On the way back, we made a short stop at Deception Pass --

This may be one of the world's scariest bridges! 

The tide was still going out both times we went across. If we had had time it would have been fun to stay and watch the maelstrom that occurs when the tide starts coming in...

Just looking down at those swirling waters rushing by makes one wonder about what it took to engineer and build this incredible bridge.

It really is a gorgeous spot as you look inland --

Snow-capped Mount Baker looms in the distance --

We all walked out about half-way. It's a bit scary with the traffic roaring past just an arms-length away --

Here are three generations of my favorite blondes!

Looking across the road to the Pacific Ocean side. The traffic is so heavy that signs warn you not to try to cross the road on the bridge. There is a path underneath the end of the bridge that will take you to the other side.

MM dropped us off at Auntie Violet Potlatch RV Park on her way back home. Granddaughter Claire had to get home to practice her part for another play she is going to be in that is having its first read-through tonight!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


After a quiet morning watching the Mariners sweep the Houston Astros, we once again headed to the Rexville-Blackrock Amphitheatre to see another performance of the Skagit Valley Shakespeare Northwest Festival Troupe. This afternoon's performance was of Hamlet. Son-in-law Scott is not in this one, but Granddaughter Claire has several small roles.

The ghost of Hamlet's father appeared above the cliff --

Claire's first appearance was as a member of the Players Troupe that Hamlet brings to enact his father's murder --


She then appears as Lucianus, enacting the murder as Death --

Later she appears as the Lady in Waiting for Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother --

Here kneeling to comfort Gertrude after she drinks from the poisoned chalice --

I had not seen Hamlet preformed before. Bjorn A Whitney, the young actor who played Hamlet was incredible. There is a great deal of talent in this troupe, some of whom we had seen earlier last fall in Witches, the Musical.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Daughter Mary Mae's family definitely has the amateur theatre bug! The four of them came over to Potlatch RV Park early this afternoon to go swimming with us at the big indoor pool. After an early supper of hamburgers, we left for the Skagit River Shakespeare Festival's presentation of The Merry Wives of Windsor at their new amphitheater behind the Rexville Grange between Conroy and LaConner. The amphitheater was a marshy blackberry bramble a couple of years ago.

They've put up a stage in this natural cliff area for their outdoor theatre productions --

Tonight's production of the very funny Merry Wives had are Granddaughter Claire playing the servant Rugby, here in this scene with Mistress Quickly --

Our Son-in-law Scott, on the left, played Frank Ford --

Scott's soliloquy as the jealous husband was masterful!

His interactions with Falstaff, the attempted seducer, were some of the funniest in the play --

MM's whole family has become involved in the amateur theater productions in the Skagit Valley. MM is one of the Stage Managers and Costumers. As there is no sound or lights for this production, Grandson Varick is taking a breather (usually he can be found with headphones on tending to microphones and such).

It ended up getting quite chilly once the sun started to go down. I was sure glad we had blankets in the back of Toad II!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Potlatch Resort, LaConner

With last hugs to Leslie and Bill, we left Tall Chief Resort this morning and again headed north. We took I 405 to I 5, then took the Conroy exit towards LaConner. It's sorta of funny that our Son-in-law Scott works in LaConner (he works for the Swinomish Tribe of Indians), but had never heard of this RV park. It's a very old one that is part of Advance Resorts of America. It's part of the Resorts of Distinction system, so we are able to stay here for a week without charge. It's actually located next to the North Basin Marina.

Potlatch is small and old with only 68 very narrow short sites. One of the fellows across the road from us said he had been coming here for 30 years and you can tell the sites were made for the much smaller rigs of that era. The couple of short internal roads are one-ways and all the sites are back-ins and 30 amps, though they do have sewers.

We had lots of attention as Forry was backing into our site. The fellow across the way was telling him what he should do and the man from the office came out contradicting what the first man was saying. It makes it hard to park when every male in the vicinity thinks they should help - it can get very confusing. I heard that they have had two bad smash-ups this year from people trying to back in, so I could understand why they were all antsy.

We haven't been over to check it out yet, but I understand they have a very nice indoor pool. Daughter Mary Mae suggested that maybe the Grandkids could come over tomorrow and spend the day with us and use the pool. That should be fun.

We are looking forward to a fairly heavy dose of Shakespeare while we are here. Scott and Granddaughter Claire are both appearing in the Summer Shakespeare Theatre. I think we'll see the Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet both this weekend.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pike Street Market

We could be this close to Seattle and not go to visit the Pike Street Market. We didn't get up very early and by the time we showered and got going, it was almost noon. We were still so full from dinner last night, that neither one of us were hungry enough for breakfast.

It was a beautiful sunshiny day today and the Market was very busy. Of course, it is summer time and there are lots of tourists, but it was as busy today as we've seen it on weekends. There was a group of people from a large tour bus that we kept seeing as well.

I did have a couple of goals. I wanted to find a birthday present for Daughter Mary Mae's birthday the last part of July. I also wanted to get some peaches for our friend Leslie. I was successful on both counts and was able to get fun presents for my little AHEC girls as well.

Sosio's vegetable stand in the market was handing out samples of peaches and nectarines. Fruit so ripe and juicy, it dripped off the slices. Bill and Leslie had invited us to dinner tonight, so I bought enough peaches for us each to have one for dessert. Bill and Forry went to buy some vanilla bean ice cream that went perfectly with the very ripe peaches.

Bill had smoked baby back ribs as well as a thick sirloin steak this afternoon in his new electric smoker. The ribs were done perfectly -- I only wish I had more room to eat more! I had never heard of smoked sirloin steak before. Leslie and Bill had had it at one of their many BBQ tastings as they went across country. They had gotten a very thick -- about 1 1/2 inches -- steak last night at the butchers in Issaquah. It was very good.

We will be leaving in the morning and heading for LaConner. It's been a very short visit with our friends, but perhaps we can get together again while we are in the area!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fall City -- And Friends!

We continued to head north today past Tacoma and Seattle and then east over to Falls City.

It was another overcast day with occasional drips, but nevertheless the green was brilliant! It is so nice to be in the Northwest!

We drove on 405, then 202 over to Falls City, then to Tall Chief RV Resort. It's not very well signed or marked, so we were a little nervous about going up a road that also had a Dead End sign. The only sign on the road said Encore, but nothing about Tall Chief. It was good to finally see the guard house at the resort. As I got out of the RV and started to walk over to check in, I spotted our friend Bill walking up behind us!

It was so good to see Bill and Leslie since we had not seen them since we were all together in Florida a year and a half ago. After we got set up and settled in, they came over to visit and we talked until we all got hungry. We ended up going to Jak's Steakhouse in Issaquah for the best rib steak I have ever had. Leslie and I split the steak while the fellows both had blue cheese hamburgers. Super food that I would recommend to everyone!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Travel Inn Resort

We were tired today after all of the exertions of yesterday. It was after ten this morning before we really got going. I had to go into the office to finish our registration as we had arrived yesterday just as they were closing.

Then we headed into town to restock. Other than quick trips for specific items, we have not made a big grocery run since we had gotten to Oregon. Since we had gone to the Safeway in Aberdeen the last time we were here, we went to the one in Shelton today. We ended up with quite a lot of groceries, but I couldn't believe when I discovered tonight that I didn't have any salad dressing of the kind I like, just Forry's awful blue cheese stuff!

I don't know what rationale makes people say they have a resort instead of a campground. There certainly is nothing here that I would consider a resort, not even a hot tub! It's kind of a funny layout. You drive through the Maplewood Resort, a 55+ RV Park with sites for sale, then down the hill into the Travel Inn Resort which is a K/M Property. However, the sales brochure for Maplewood also lists K/M as the contact for purchasing...

It was partly cloudy today and we actually had drops of rain off and on even though the temperature remained around 85 most of the day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Once Again, On the Road

It took us most of the morning, but we finally got everything cleaned up and were ready to go. It was nice that Todd and Granddaughter Havela were there cleaning and finishing loading stuff from the house. They were able to help us load my trike and the lounge chairs back into Toad II (we had needed those back seats up for the grandkids!). It sure made it a lot easier. I told Todd he'd have to come to Arizona next Spring and help us again...

It felt good to be back on the road, though. The freeway was pretty busy in the Portland area with traffic slowed, but fortunately never stopped.

Lovely green Washington State! We headed north on Interstate 5 --

We went as far as Elma, Washington and the Travel Inn Resort. We got parked, the electric and water hooked up, then I put on my swimming suit and jumped into the pool. There were a couple of young kids playing in the shallow end, but otherwise the pool was pretty empty. The water wasn't very cold, but it sure cooled me off -- I still had a heat headache, but it was much better.

Forry got his ice maker going tonight and I've been making iced tea with the Keurig machine. I have had a box of iced tea k-cups for a while, but had never tried it. I think I like the way it makes quick tea. But it does take a lot of ice cubes!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Day of Well-deserved Rest

It's been a quiet day of very necessary rest. We literally did not do anything today but run the dishwasher and watch the Mariners take the series with Los Angeles -- the first sweep this season!

Later this afternoon, after church, Daughter Dawn and Todd came by (they slept at the new house last night). They once again loaded up the van and the trailer, then they took us out to dinner as a "thank you" for helping them move. The place they wanted to take us to closes at 3 PM on Sundays, so we went to Luis' Mexican in Woodburn instead. Really good Mexican food -- not Mexican fast food. You could tell it was a good one by the large numbers of Hispanic clientele.

We did spend a bit of time getting stuff put away in preparation for our planned move tomorrow.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Then Putting It All Away

Todd was up early this morning and had the full U-Haul truck over at the new house a little after nine. He had quite a crew there from his new church to help unload the truck. They were done in little over an hour. And one of them brought pizza for lunch and another brought a casserole for dinner!

Dawn and Todd took the very soiled carpet out of their bedroom, closet and bathroom last week. Todd is putting down some very nice tile in those rooms. Because he is still working on it, the bedroom furniture had to stay out. That meant that between boxes and all the furniture, things in the rest of the house are pretty crowded.

Dawn was working on the kitchen when we arrived just before noon. I pitched in and we managed to empty many of the kitchen boxes. It took a while, but we managed to get the kitchen in working order! We had stopped at a fruit stand on our way over and picked up a flat of delicious Marion berries. I decided since we had the kitchen put together, I would initiate it with a pie for Todd.

Havela had brought a couple of her high school buddies over with her this morning and when they saw the pie, they decided to stay for dinner. Hearing their comments, Dawn and I decided I'd best bake a second pie!

It's a good thing I did as this is all that was left of the first one -- and Todd hadn't even gotten a piece!

I think I have decided that moving is really a lot of work! Glad it isn't me doing it this time.