Saturday, August 31, 2013

Football, Baseball, Tennis and Bull Riding

I think you can tell by the title what was going on in Auntie Violet today. The Mariners won a hard fought game this evening in Houston and now we are watching the University of Washington playing Boise State in the new Husky Stadium. I must admit I cringe at the price tag for their new facility, but it is gorgeous. Washington State University also has a newly remodeled football stadium. I'm looking forward to a report from Nephew Jared and Brother Pat on how well they like it.

I spent a good share of the morning and early afternoon doing laundry and Forry finally got the tile floors cleaned! Not that they were sticky and needed cleaning or anything...

It was another gorgeous, sunny warm day today (high 80s). I keep reading about how foggy and damp is over on the coast lately and my arthritic bones are very glad we are not there.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Forry's Turn

Today was Forry's turn to make his annual visit to the doctor. I think he really liked Thomas, the third-year medical student who is doing his Family Practice rotation at Group Health. Dr. Brennan had Forry get a chest x-ray, thankfully ruling out my concerns about Valley Fever (because he had such a nasty cough for so long last winter).

Due to a very busy office and the extra time with the medical student, we spent most of the afternoon at Group Health, only getting home in time for the Mariner's game. We had been looking forward to this game as it was the major league debut of Taijuan Walker. It was good to see the Mariners give him lots of run support and give him a win for his debut.

The last of our immediate neighbors up here on the hill at Ponderosa Falls moved out today, so we are all alone up here. There are four empty sites immediately around us. We saw a large family moving into one of the cabins below us this afternoon, but that's the only evidence we've seen so far of Labor Day campers.

When we drove by Riverfront Park, we could see them setting up for this weekend's PigOut at the Park. As ubiquitous as the hornets and wasps have been this summer, I'm not sure it's going to be a very pleasant experience with all of those food booths. When we stopped at the Waste to Energy plant yesterday to drop off our recyclables, they were swarming around the aluminum can depository -- trying for the last drops of sweetness I presume.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Out and About

I stripped the bed and washed the purple sheets this morning, but that is about as domestic as I got today. No, wait a minute, that's not right either. I finally took the glass cleaner and some newspapers and cleaned the mirrors in the coach. Auntie Violet is not as bad as some we've seen, but she still has a bunch of mirrors (I think the coach makers think a lot of mirrors makes the interiors look bigger?!). They've been bugging me and it finally irritated me enough for me to do something about it.

Forry's looking for some new hooks for Toad II's tow-bar hitch. He wants ones that snap on rather then the screw-on ones we currently have. He thinks it might make hitching up a wee bit easier. Camping World didn't have any that weren't already part of a tow-bar, but they did have a few other things we wanted. From there we went to Home Depot, but didn't find any there either. But we did find a handle to put on my mailbox that I use to store the external surge protector and the 30 amp adapter.

From there we went over to Hallmark Used Cars to visit Thomas Suwanmaneedang, who is the fellow from whom we bought our Suzuki, Toad II, last year. We made arrangements to have the rig serviced next week at their shop. Since Suzuki pulled out of the US market, Hallmark has concentrated on used care sales. Thomas has been working on setting up their website Sounds like people let him know what they are looking for and he goes on line and tries, pretty successfully it sounds like, to find it for them.

I had taken a couple of thick Costco lamb chops out of the freezer this morning that I pan-fried for dinner. We had some summer squash from my friend Kaarin's garden and some Yukon Gold potatoes that I had sliced almost through, drenched in olive oil and baked. Quite a feast!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Doctor's Visit and HAIRCUTS!

We had a busy morning today. I had an appointment for a check-up this morning at Group Health. My doctor has a third year medical student with her for several weeks. Thomas was a delight as he did his exam before I saw the doctor. I've always enjoyed being around nursing and medical students. I know that my fellow nurses and staffers often complained about having students around, saying they slowed them down and asked too many questions. My thought was that their questions and observations kept us on our toes and often caused us to question why we did do something the way we did.

Anyhow, my visit took much longer than usual and we finished up just in time to get over to Madelia Place for our scheduled haircuts. I had called Sarah, who has cut our hair for years, before we even got to Spokane to see if she might have an opening for us. She had a cancellation this noon and was able to get us in. Since we retired, it seems we are on an annual schedule for haircuts!

Sarah cut Forry's hair shorter than he's had it in a long time! I love it shorter as it curls into ringlets in the back. It may be a while before he can put it into a ponytail again...

The last couple of times I've seen her, Sarah just trimmed the ends of my hair -- a half inch or so. Today, I told her I thought the ends weren't looking real good, so she cut off about four inches all around. She also reshaped my bangs, which had gotten a bit unbalanced from my trimming.

And update from yesterday: I called Neskowin Creek again this morning and got ahold of Jesse. Since we were not in Oregon so that we could come in to get new pictures taken for the cards, he suggested we email him pictures (which is why the above pictures!) and he would make us new cards and send them off. I got a note back after I sent the pictures, so I think we're going to actually have proof of our Legacy status.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First, Frustration and Then Good Folks and Good Customer Service

Today was one of those very frustrating days. It didn't start out that way as we went into Spokane to the Group Health lab and had our blood and urine tests done. The techs were good and got both Forry and me with their first stick. That's always nice, especially since my veins often aren't very cooperative. Since we had to be fasting for the lab work, we stopped for breakfast and then for a few groceries on our way home.

Then we went to the office to try to make arrangements to stay here an additional two weeks. The lady in the office informed us that they could find no record of the upgrade we bought last fall and that we would need to pay the thirty plus dollars due for electricity for our first two week stay. She suggested we call the K/M office and talk to Adrian Barnes who had sold the two thousand dollar plus upgrade to us. So we went back to the RV and I called him. He answered and said he would call me right back.

I waited an hour, then called the K/M office again and asked for Adrian. The lady said he wasn't available. So I asked if he had a supervisor I could talk to. She said he did and she would connect us. After about a minute and a half, she came back and said neither one of them was available and could she be of assistance.

At that point, I was annoyed enough that I just about blew her off, but she was sort of insistent. So I told her the story about how we had bought this upgrade that Adrian told us would enable us to stay at any of the K/M Parks without paying extra for utilities. After all, we had already paid over two thousand dollars for the K/M, RPI and ROD+ memberships back in 2008. And how, in spite of calling several times, we had never gotten new cards reflecting our new status.

At that point, the lady (who turned out to be named Theresa) said she'd get to the bottom of this and said she'd call us back shortly. And she did! Theresa actually went to talk to Kevin McCloud, one of the K/M owners. He authorized a note be put on our record in their computer system saying that we were not to be charged at any of their RV resorts for electricity! And she said she had called Ponderosa Falls to personally let them know. Then, she apologized for all of the confusion and said that Mr. McCloud wanted to express his apologies as well!!!

We went back down to the office and they verified that the head office had been in contact with them and everything was taken care of -- and commented that we would only be charged $200 for the third and fourth week stay instead of the whole $400 monthly charge she had quoted us earlier!

An hour or so later, we did get a call back from Adrian saying we needed to get in contact with Neskowin Creek (our "home" resort) and ask them to send us new cards reflecting our "Legacy" status! I called them immediately and got nothing but recorded messages. I left a message on three different places on their system asking them to call me. We'll see if they do. I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe they'll surprise me and be as good at customer service as Theresa was!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Playin' With the Jello

We can stay at Ponderosa Falls RV Park for fourteen nights without charge due to our membership at Neskowin Creek, part of the K/M Resort chain. However, that means we would have to move when our time is up. We wanted to stay somewhere close to Spokane as I need to fly from the Spokane airport to New York for a Board meeting on September 12th.

We looked at a couple of lake spots nearby, but the only one that looked like a good choice turned out to be for military only. We thought about Peaceful Pines in Cheney where we have stayed before. We could also stay where we are by paying their monthly rate of $400 (plus electricity!). The more we discussed it, the more we figured we really didn't want to have to move.

We went down the hill to the office today (they were closed over the weekend) to tell them what we had decided. There were three rigs lined up outside waiting to get into the park. And wouldn't you know that all of them were workers who were looking for that monthly rate. And there is only one woman in the office that deals with the monthly rentals. So we waited.

When it was finally our turn, she told us we would most likely have to move to another site as they probably had our site rented after our initial two weeks. We reminded her that when we came, she had checked and said that the site we were going to (Site 100) would be available for a month. If we had to move, we might as well move to another park... But she double-checked and said that was right and we would not have to move if we stayed.

Then she said that she didn't have time to do the paperwork! And would we come back down tomorrow to take care of it? We have to run into Spokane in the morning to get some lab work done, so we told her we'd stop by when we came back. We walked back up the hill to Auntie Violet and I took the broom to all of the pine needles that dropped during last night's storm on our patio rug.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Special Weekend of Hugs

What a wonderful weekend we've had! My AHEC crew is a very huggy bunch and there were lots and lots of hugs yesterday as we visited and ate and visited some more. Most of the folks involved in rural health care are huggers. It was always fun to go to a conference and go from hug to hug as you met old friends -- and made new ones.

The hugs continued this morning. We were up early, stopped at the nearby McDonalds for breakfast to go and drove the eighty-some miles to Menno Mennonite Church. Mennonites are huggers too. And of course, this is our church family, so there were lots of extra special hugs.

I am basically a rather reserved introvert. I know, I know, I can manage a public persona that seems to be comfortable in a large group and I can fairly easily give a presentation to a big group of people. But, walking into a new group of people has never been comfortable for me and making "small talk" is not easy. If I had my druthers, I'd rather be home with a book, or visiting with a small group of people.

All of which means that it is very special for me to be comfortable enough with a group of people to exchange hugs. And while I love giving and getting hugs with people I care about, I am very uncomfortable being touched by someone I don't know. So when I say it was a wonderful weekend, you now know how very special it was!

We just had a rather violent thunderstorm pass through. First, there were violent gusts of wind and Auntie Violet was pelted with pine cones and large drops of rain. There was a great deal of lightening and thunder and the power went out in the RV park (My friend Cathi told me on Facebook that there are 1500 homes without power on the West Plains -- where we are!). Our coach switched over to the inverter and is running on batteries. There are similar lights in a few of the RVs around us. Otherwise, the park is very dark -- except for people running around with flashlights or the folks from the cabin across the road from us who came out to sit in their car with the lights on. The storm has pretty well passed on, although we can see flickers of lightening off on the far horizon.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gathering of Our AHEC Crew!

Ever since I retired over seven years ago, the team at the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) which was part of Washington State University Extension, has gotten together some time during the summer. The first couple of times we met for lunch at a restaurant in Spokane. Then as time went on (and a couple of babies turned into toddlers), we decided it would be easier to meet at someone's home. 

Today all but one of our original crew were able to come to Cathi's house (we missed you Bonnie!). It was a special gathering today as we wanted to celebrate Steven's retirement, which will happen mid-September. We had a good time telling stories of when we each first met Steven. (I was the hospital administrator of Ritzville Memorial Hospital at that time. Steven and Dr. Moyer stopped by the hospital to visit about the Washington Rural Health Association, but told my office staff that they "were from the Internal Revenue Service and to speak with the Administrator immediately!" I told my staffer she should have been suspicious because no one from the IRS would ever have been wearing a pink shirt!...)

Unfortunately, Kaarin and her daughters had to leave before we got this picture taken.

One of the nice things about our gatherings is the fact that our spouses come as well. They always were invited back in the day as well. It's been a fun group to get together.

Dave and Cathi barbecued chicken and the rest of us brought the rest of the fixings. We also came home with corn and summer squash from Kaarin's garden that she brought and shared with us. It was a fun day.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Laundry Day

It's hard to do laundry when you are traveling every other day and when you often don't have a sewer hookup. That meant that now that we are settled in here at Ponderosa Falls for two weeks, the laundry basket was overflowing.

We have a Splendide combination washer/dryer in Auntie Violet. It does a great job of washing clothes, but I don't like the way it dries as it seems to take forever. So I just run the clothing through the wash cycle then hang it up to dry either on hangers or on the folding clothes dryer that lives behind our living room couch. I no longer like to iron, so I finger-smooth the clothes as I hang them and they come out pretty good. Of course, part of it is that we really don't buy any fussy clothing that needs to be ironed.

Our wardrobe essentially consists of jeans, shorts and knit shirts. We do have some dressier clothes, but I am looking forward to two years from now when I will no longer have to attend board meetings where I need to dress up a bit. Even in all of the different churches we attend, a nice pair of slacks or jeans and a shirt with maybe a jacket is just fine. It's seldom, if ever, that we go somewhere that requires a suit, let alone a tie!

I did several loads of laundry this morning and early afternoon, then we took a break and drove into the Group Health pharmacy in Spokane to pick up the prescriptions that I had ordered over the internet. I was a bit surprised to see how grubby Spokane looked when we drove in. It looks like it's been a while since a highway crew picked up trash along the road. The entrance to the city didn't appear very inviting at all.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Smokey Skies

We left the Ellensburg KOA this morning under blue skies, but we soon began to see the evidence of the many wild fires that are burning in the west. You could not even see the Columbia River looking down the Gorge --

The windmill farms looked sort of spooky in the smokey skies --

The mighty Columbia didn't look very blue through the haze --

You could hardly see the little burg of Vantage across the bridge --

This poor fellow with a truck and trailer load full of apples had engine trouble going up the hill on the other side. Not a place I would want to have been stopped. At least there was another lane...

Fortunately, as we climbed out of the Gorge and headed towards Moses Lake, the smoke dissipated and we were back into blue skies. We made good time and arrived at Ponderosa Falls RV Park near Cheney a little after two pm. We have a site up on the hill that was supposed to get good satellite TV reception. It took three tries moving Auntie Violet -- a little to the left; a little more to the front; a little more to the left -- and it finally latched on!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Blue Moon and the Yakima River

Last night was a Blue Moon -- nothing blue about it, except that it's the second full moon in a month. It doesn't happen very often, I think I heard that the next one won't be until 2015. Last night's full moon looked ginormus, but when I took a picture, it didn't look like much --

So I balanced myself against Toad II and tried the telephoto setting on my Canon SX30 15 --

What a luscious globe it was! I even got Forry to come outside and take a look!

This Ellensburg KOA is one of the nicest campgrounds we've been at in a while. Our site is between a couple of nice trees -- I especially like the willow on the right -- yet we have good satellite TV reception.

The campground is on a triangle of ground between the freeway and the Yakima River. Some of the campsites are right on the bank of the river --

I'm not sure if it's still mountain snowmelt or all of the recent rain, but the river is running quite full.


Looking back towards our site from the riverbank, you can see how much space there is. When we arrived last night, we had several neighbors, most of who left this morning. Later this afternoon, the park started to fill up again. It's a convenient overnight stop.

We did not even disconnect Toad II, so we should not have too much to do when we leave in the morning. It should be an easy trip on to Ponderosa Falls near Cheney.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On To Ellensburg

We got a pretty good start this morning and for a change, everything seemed to go just fine. No low tires, no dead batteries, no difficulty setting Toad II up to tow. The only resistant part was our towbar. Guess I need to go online and find out what's recommended to lubricate it...

We headed south on I-5, turned off onto 405 towards Bellevue, then onto I-90 and headed east. It was fun to see the Cascade Mountains begin to show up in the distance --

As we got closer, the blue  began to turn into huge rocks and trees --

There isn't anything a whole lot prettier than driving over Snoqualmie Pass on a beautiful sunny day --

Until we got over the Pass and started down the east side and ran into road construction! All of the electronic bulletin boards for several miles had been warning of "congestion on the east side of the pass." I think they have been blasting on the side of this mountain for years now as they work at widening the road.

But, if you have to alternately sit and crawl for an hour and a half, it helps to be doing it with this gorgeous scenery alongside!

Finally, we pulled out of the long construction zone and began to see the more open scenes of eastern Washington --

The closer we got to the Cle Elum/Ellensburg windy area, the more windmills we began to see --


I'm sure glad we decided to break our journey to Spokane at Ellensburg. The l-o-n-g delay at the Pass made for a later arrival then we had planned. I had made reservations at the Ellensburg KOA for two nights. We have a nice shaded pull-through site -- and good satellite TV reception as well.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Well, our lazy afternoon was not to be. Daughter MM called about nine and said she had forgotten that Granddaughter Claire had to be at rehearsal tonight at six pm, so we needed to go this morning instead of this afternoon. MM, Scott and Varick came by to pick us up and we headed for Whidbey Island to pick up Claire at her friend's house (she'd gone home with her after the striking yesterday), then decided we would go check out the little town of Coupeville.

We wandered down the old downtown area for a while, then stopped by some picnic tables overlooking the water to have our lunch --

Claire was the only one ambitious enough to climb down to the beach. The tide was out so that it was pretty muddy. This is Penn Cove which is famous for its mussels. You could see some of them with the tide out.

We walked down to the end of the wharf where there was a restaurant and a couple of shops. Inside the lobby was this skeleton of a juvenile blue whale. It was immense!

If we hadn't needed to get Claire back for rehearsal, I would have been happy to spend more time exploring this enchanting, historical town.

We spent a couple of hours back at Auntie Violet resting up, then met MM and Scott for supper (Claire was at rehearsal and Varick was at Boy Scouts). It's our last night in Mount Vernon, so it was good to just spend time with them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Quick Costco Trip

We didn't need much, but wanted to pick up some vitamins and blueberries at Costco before we left. We went over to Burlington late in the afternoon thinking it was late enough to have Forry's favorite gourmet meal -- a Costco Polish dog. They are now serving a barbecued beef brisket sandwich, but they took churros off their menu! We always have two Polish dogs, one with sauerkraut, two drinks and then split a churro... Guess we won't be doing that anymore.

We came back across the Skagit River to Mount Vernon and made a stop at the Safeway store that is close by Riverbend RV Park. I needed to pick up orange juice and milk for our breakfasts. I know, I know that Costco carries both of those items, but the quantities are way too large the two of us. I also got bagels there as well. You have to buy two six-bagels sleeves at Costco and that's just way too many.

We've been enjoying the Little League World Series games this weekend. There was a team from nearby Sammamish that is the Northwest champion, so there was a local connection. There was a good Mariners game today as well (we won't talk about the one yesterday!). And to top it all off, the second half of the PBR (Professional BullRiders) season started in Tulsa this weekend and they televised all of it!

I talked with Daughter MM this afternoon and she said the stage striking went well. Sounds like she has a carload of soiled costumes to launder before they are stored away with the ones that went to the dry-cleaners. We're talking about a lazy trip to the beach tomorrow afternoon. We'll see what develops...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

That Jello Stuff...

It's a pretty common thing to hear from full-time RVers that their plans are made of jello. Meaning that they are about as hard to pin down as jello. Though jello may actually be set up, it still wiggles and moves around.

We had planned to leave Riverbend RV Park tomorrow and head for the east side of the state. But as we talked about it, we were not happy about how much time we had been able to spend with Daughter MM and her family.The Shakespeare Northwest troupe has kept them busy with two to three shows per week, plus Granddaughter Claire has been in rehearsal for Pan, the Musical. Tonight was the last Shakespeare performance out at the Rexville/Blackrock Amphitheatre. Tomorrow is "Striking Day" when the portable stage will be taken down and stored. My understanding is that it goes together somewhat like a Rubic's Cube. MM's whole family will be involved in that process.

After talking with MM, we've decided to stay here another two nights here. Son-in-law Scott has Monday off, so we'll plan to spend time with the whole family, then leave on Tuesday rather than Sunday.

After yesterday's excursion to Lynden for the Fair, we've laid low today and rested up. Forry had rented a motorized chair yesterday, but the rest of us did a lot of walking. Bill and Leslie are young enough that they had lots of energy left and went to the Renaissance Fair in Seattle today, but we stayed home and watched the Little League play-offs and a very disappointing Mariners game.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Draft Horses!

I had read an article in the Seattle paper about the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, Washington. The article talked about the large numbers of draft horses of all kinds that live in the area. It also said that the Fair in Lynden prided itself on the sheer numbers of draft horses that were in attendance. I really wanted to go and when I mentioned it to our friends Leslie and Bill, they decided they would like to go as well.

So this morning, Bill and Leslie drove up from their RV site in Falls City and picked us up in Sunny, the yellow Jeep. Lynden is located due north on I-5, almost all the way to the Canadian border, about an hour 's drive from Riverbend RV Park.

After snacks of bacon-on-a-stick, corn on the cob and corn dogs, we wandered through many of the exhibit barns. One of the surprises for me was the large number of dairy cattle. Watching some of the FFA members show their cows, I realized that was one animal I had never learned to judge in my 4-H days.

The draft horse pulling contest was being held in a large arena building. There were seven teams of two horses harnessed to a singletree that was hooked to a sled filled with 500 pound barrels of concrete. They started with a load of 7500 pounds of weight on the sled and added more barrels of concrete at first in 1000 pound increments, then 500 pounds as the sled got heavier.

Each team took its turn to be hitched to the weight sled. They had to pull it twenty feet in order to progress to the next round.

Each team had a driver and at least one helper who would connect the singletree to the sled hitch. The horses were anxious to pull. The driver often had to back them up to the hitch several times before they would stand long enough to be connected. The first few rounds went very fast with the teams having no trouble pulling the load. But, as the pounds added up, more and more teams were eliminated. The driver had to make sure the horses didn't get too anxious and pull the sled before they were ready to pull together. Once the sled moved, distance was measured and counted. Each team got two tries to pull each weight level. The winning team pulled 9500 pounds!

Later in the afternoon we went over to the grandstand to watch the horse show. This was a drill team composed entirely of draft horses under saddle! They were really quite good. It was fun to watch such huge animals performing so gracefully.

This is an eight-hitch Shetland pony team. There were six of these teams. After they paraded around the arena fence, they were turned loose for open driving. It was quite entertaining to see an arena full of pony hitches and wagons wheeling and turning. It was amazing driving -- and none of them ran into another!

This is what I had been waiting for: the six-hitch draft horse teams.

What a sight to see these beautiful teams. There were nine of them. Sixty-four big draft horse teams all in the arena at the same time. The announcer said that there was at least $100,000 worth of tack and wagon for each team -- and that's not even counting the cost of the horses!

These teams also were turned loose for free driving. Though not as quick as the pony teams, we still saw some incredible driving as they wheeled and turned in the arena.

The show ended with some pony chariot races and some playday horse game demonstrations. We had a great time watching it all.

We ended the evening at Billy McHale's Steakhouse in Bellingham. Leslie and I shared a scrumptious rib eye steak while Forry ate an immense bleu cheese burger and Bill had their steak and prawn meal. It was a good day made even better by sharing it with good friends!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another Overcast Dreary Day

According to the weather forecast, it wasn't supposed to rain yesterday nor was it supposed to rain today. I don't think the weather listens to the forecasts. It started raining yesterday afternoon and rained off and on all night. It was overcast and gloomy when we got up this morning and didn't get much better anytime today. We've had a few showers this afternoon as well. As a result, my bones have been achey all day...

Funny, I don't remember rainy days when I was a kid. Granted we lived in Ritzville on the dry side of Washington State (east of the Cascade Mountains), but I have no memories of ever playing in the rain. Until my paternal grandfather retired and Dad moved our family out to the farm, we lived across the street from the City Park and the swimming pool. Down the street just a half block were the tennis courts and a few feet further on the other side was the High School.

The swimming pool was a great incentive to Sister Sherry and I to get our chores done early so that we could be over there when the doors opened at one. A good many of my memories have to do with the long afternoons and later evenings, spent in or at the swimming pool.

We learned to roller skate in our Grandfather Kubik's basement. In those days -- before they put in the fancy court surface -- the PTA (I think) sponsored skating in the evenings at the tennis courts. They would put coins in the Pay-for-lights boxes and plug in a record player so that we would have music to skate to. None of us had special skate shoes. What we had were wheels with with an ankle strap and metal clamps that fastened onto your regular shoes (leather ones -- none of us wore tennis shoes). The front of the wheels could be extended to make them fit larger shoes. There was a skate key you wore around your neck that you used to tighten the clamps. It was a bit of a disaster if you mis-placed your skate key as it seemed like the clamps always needed tightening...

Later when they built the new grade school, we used to skate on the expanse of asphalt around the playground. Even the country kids would bring their skate wheels to school so that could skate during recess.

But as I think of all the things we did as kids, I cannot remember it raining. I do remember the snow, shoveling sidewalks and making snowmen, but no rain. Memory is a funny thing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Wolf Costumes

My Brother-in-law Rich's FastPass (good for crossing the Canada/US border quickly) had expired on his birthday. He had an appointment to appear at the Border Crossing in Blaine in person this morning to get it renewed. On his way north from their home in Olympia, he dropped Sister Roxy off at Daughter Mary Mae's to visit.

After a stop at Starbucks to pick up lattes for all, we joined them to spend the day working on the costumes for the two wolves that will be in PAN, the Musical. Forry came along in his role as supervisor and found a comfortable chair to work on his Sudoku...

Sister Roxy brought her sewing machine with her. I cut out pieces and she pinned and sewed --

We were using a fleecy grey blanket that the costumer had brought to rehearsal. It took a bit of ingenuity to get enough material out of it for the two head hats and two sets of leggings and two sets of arm warmers, but we managed.

I think the head coverings turned out to be rather cute --

It took us most of the morning and the early afternoon, but we got the job done. (I definitely know it wouldn't have happened without Roxy!) MM did some shading on the ears, then put the elastic in the leggings. It truly was a group effort.

Roxy and Rich headed back to Olympia and we went back to Auntie Violet for a well-deserved nap. Later we met up with MM's family again for a Mexican dinner at Lorenzo's, then came home in the rain...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Checking in With Family

I'm certainly glad I live now -- not many years ago. I think about how my maternal grandmother Mary Bertha Telecky Kubik left her home in her twenties (she was listed on the Census as "a Spinster") in Minnesota to join her brothers and take up a homestead in Washington Territory and then never saw her parents again. I know there were letters that went back and forth and many of her siblings ended up out west, but I don't know if they ever talked on the telephone. I know long distance was very expensive and I doubt it was used very often if at all.

Then I think about the fact that I talked with two of my sisters today and one of my daughters. One sister lives in Touchet (near Walla Walla) and the other in Olympia. Daughter Dawn was calling from Little America, on her way home from taking Granddaughter Havela to Hesston, Kansas to start her freshman year of college. My Great Nephew Kyle is spending three weeks of his summer break with his Grandma Sherry -- having traveled here from his electrician training in Virginia. Sister Roxy was recently in California visiting her daughter Penny and her new family.

We are indeed a mobile society. We travel all over the country -- or abroad -- and don't think a whole lot about the luxury of being able to do it. We can pick up the phone and keep in contact with family and friends on a daily basis if we like. We use Facebook and other social media to view pictures of each other's life events: new babies, graduations, travelogues and pictures of dorm rooms!

Son Sean may talk about how much better it was in the "olden days," but I wouldn't trade the life we live today for anything!

Monday, August 12, 2013


This afternoon I met Daughter Mary Mae and Granddaughter Claire at the JoAnn Fabric Store in Mount Vernon. We had looked at fabric and patterns last week, then MM checked with the costumer. She like our choice of patterns for the wolves of Pan, the Musical, the next show that Claire is going to be in, so today we bought it.

Then we headed over to Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church where the costumer was working on the costumes for the show. Claire is playing one of the Lost Boys. Varick's friend Gillian had helped her put together some black fishnet tights, a neon green skirt layered over a black one, the boots I bought her a couple of weeks ago and a black top. The costumer liked that look, but is thinking she wants to finish it off with a raggy plaid flannel shirt.

We talked with her about the furry fabric we had seen at JoAnn's, then looked at a old shaggy gray throw blanket she had. After a bit of discussion, we decided to go with cutting up the blanket for the costumes. Even with this week's 40% discount, that beats $16.95 a yard fur fabric!

Sister Roxy is coming up on Wednesday and we told her to bring her sewing machine -- it's payback time! (I had helped her sew muffs, ear muffs and vests for her two darling granddaughters the last time I was there.) It should be a fun day. There are only going to be two little wolves, so it shouldn't take us too long to take care of the outfits.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Of Those Days

This was indeed one of those days. It started raining sometime during the night and was still dark and gloomy most of the morning. We had seriously thought about going to see this afternoon's matinee performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor out at the Rexville/Blackrock Quarry Amphitheatre this afternoon, but we didn't like the thought of sitting out in the chilly air.

We've both noticed that we ache more in damp weather and that we definitely can tell where our old breaks and owies are. I think I can even predict coming damp weather by the way my bones feel... Guess it's all part of the aging process. All those body parts that we abused when we were younger are now getting their revenge.

Costco had some really nice looking sirloin steaks a couple of weeks ago. I bought a nice one, cut it into three about four inch pieces and froze them. On this chilly day, I took one of them out, thawed it enough to cut it into narrow slices and used it to make Beef Stroganoff. I used an old, old recipe that Sister Sherry came up with many years ago. Instead of noodles, it's served over rice. It was a favorite of Forry's and it actually tasted as good as I remembered it

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Some More "To Be or Not TV"

The Touring Show of the Skagit River Shakespeare Festival performed their To Be Or Not TV at Bakerview Park in Mount Vernon this afternoon. This amazing woman, Carolyn Travis, put together the vignettes that make up this little mock Shakespearean drama --

As TV's Jerry Springer, Son-in-law Scott tries to make sense of a romantic "trapezoid" of lovers --

Only to discover that the mixed-up lovers are the result of the mischievous Puck's (played by Granddaughter Claire) "love flower" accidentally misapplied to the wrong party --

Maybe not so accidentally?

Later, Scott plays an impassioned King Henry --

The Queen's hysterical rendition of the Hokey Pokey in Shakespearean English even had the honorable Mayor of Mount Vernon (in the pink top) up and dancing --

The Touring Company had a nice turn-out for their performance in the park today. Although it was publicized on both the local radio and the newspaper, it is hard to predict how many people might actually show up. Forry said he was "Shakespeared out" and didn't go with me this afternoon -- I think he missed their best performance yet. Claire has another performance of Hamlet out at the Rexville/Blackrock Amphitheatre tonight and both Claire and Scott will be in The Merry Wives of Winsor tomorrow afternoon. They have one more weekend in this year's season.

It was raining lightly both times I woke up during the night, but today turned out to be a beautiful sunny day with a gorgeous sunset this evening.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This Made My Day!

This was on Facebook today. I absolutely love it!

Julie Andrews Turning 79 - this is hysterical!
To commemorate her birthday, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall. One of the musical numbers she performed was 'My Favorite Things' from the legendary movie 'Sound Of Music'. Here are the lyrics she used: (Sing It!) - If you sing it, its especially hysterical!!!

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> > >>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>
(Ms. Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. Please share Ms. Andrews' clever wit and humor with others who would appreciate it.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's Only August!

It's only August, but they're playing football! I know they are preseason games, but it's still football! Forry is watching the Seattle Seahawks vs the San Diego Chargers game tonight. At the moment it's 24-3 and the announcers are NOT happy about it. You can sure tell he's listening to a California TV station!

To make it worse, the Mariners have the day off today, so I don't even get the solace of seeing portions of their game as he flips back and forth...

I cannot watch football without thinking about ironing. My Dad refereed football and basketball as well as umpired baseball games after he no longer played. Ironing his uniforms was my job. I look with envy at the uniforms the umpires are currently wearing. It looks like they have nice black and white striped short-sleeved knit shirts with black trousers that are probably no-iron as well.

In Dad's day, he wore a starched black and white long-sleeved shirt and heavy white denim knickers that fastened below his knees. The shirts were tough enough to iron, but the trousers were really a bear! Mom starched them fairly heavily and they scorched easily. She then "sprinkled" them to dampen them down and put them in a plastic bag for me to iron. The fabric was almost canvas-like and in places where there were multiple layers -- like where they fastened under his knees or at the waistband -- it was hard to iron them dry without scorching the starch.

In the days before Permanent Press, ironing clothing was one of those never-ending tasks. It seemed like you'd just get one week's ironing done when there was another batch. I actually liked ironing most of the time. We had one neighbor who hated to iron and would put her sprinkled clothes into the freezer (so they wouldn't mildew!). When I would go there to baby-sit, I'd often pull a bag out of the freezer and iron for her. It seemed to make her very happy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We Get To Celebrate Another Birthday!

Our oldest Grandson Varick turned 15 today! My Brother Patrick and his wife Cindy joined us this evening at Daughter Mary Mae's for a birthday dinner. I had made a pasta salad, MM had a green salad and Pat brought some sweet corn he picked up on the way over here from one of his growers. Varick wanted lemon bars for his birthday cake, so that's what we had.

It was birthday hats for the birthday boy. His Sister Claire had bought him a cap and we had bought this hat he's wearing in the picture. But I think the hit present for Varick was the skeleton MM found for him at Costco.

Varick, Claire and his friend Gillian were already thinking of all the different ways the skeleton could be posed -- and not just for Halloween! I can just imagine all of the ways that bunch of bones is going to show up in the future.

A very special gift from his parents was a copy of English Creek by Ivan Doig. This is the book where his parents found his unusual name. Since much of the story is about a fifteen year old boy -- the son of Varick -- they thought it was a very appropriate gift for Varick's fifteenth birthday.