Saturday, May 31, 2014

Frank's Diner and The Elk Public House

I guess one of the nice things about having Auntie Violet in the shop is not having to cook. We slept in this morning and by the time we had showered, it was already getting towards noon. We headed into town for a late breakfast (brunch?) at Frank's Diner. Built around an old railroad dining car, Frank's is a VERY popular breakfast place in Spokane. We've actually gone there to eat a couple of times this spring, but when we saw the lines way out the door, we went somewhere else.

Today I think we hit the lull between the breakfast crowd and the lunch crowd. There was only one family ahead of us - I think we only waited about four minutes! Forry ended up with a Denver omelet and I had just plain eggs over easy and bacon. Of course, everything comes with half a plate of hash browns so that you end up with way more than you can eat.

Our friends, Colleen and Dennis, have their booth, The Recycled Spoon, at the Spokane Art Fest in Coeur d Alene Park in Brown's Addition of Spokane this weekend. We went over about six-thirty, finally found a parking space (a major issue in Brown's Addition with its narrow streets) and walked over to the Park to visit a bit before the show closed for the day. I took a quick walk around the vendors, but didn't see anything (except for a $2700 iron dragon) that took my fancy. We ended up going over to The Elk Public House with Colleen and Dennis for a late dinner. They had a pork medallion special tonight that was absolutely awesome. But, of course, the company was even better!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Auntie Violet is in the Shop!

We were up and going early as Auntie Violet had a ten AM appointment at the service shop at R & R RV in Airway Heights. It was pretty hectic at the shop this morning with lots of emergencies, so Auntie V did not even get her  radiator shield off to look at the hoses on her recalcitrant bedroom slide until almost noon. (I did have to give Uhlmann RV in Chehalis a call to see who our Extended Warranty service was with. Fortunately, it took them less then 30 seconds to look it up -- that's good customer service!)

These service guys are trying to make sure the last of Auntie V's bad hoses are taken care of. It looks like one is already leaking and the other has bubbles. They are looking at the problem from both inside and outside as the hoses also stretch under the closet in the bedroom. The House of Hose is not too far here and they are having them make up new larger hoses (We used to get hoses from them many years ago for various stuff on the farm.).

But, the bad part of it is that they have everything apart. We debated trying to stay in the RV and work around the mess, but decided we really didn't want to do that. The other bad part is that they don't work on Saturdays and the hoses will not be ready until Monday! So we just decided that it would be easier all around to go to a motel for the next three nights. It will be more than worth it if the hose issue is finally all taken care of (two of the hoses were replaced last fall).

We did make a run into Spokane to pick up an envelope of instructions and appointment times from Spokane Eye Clinic. They were going to mail the info, but rather then have it go to Daughter MM's and then back over here, we said we'd just pick it up.

There is a big Air Show going on tomorrow at Fairchild Air Force base. We were able to watch some of those speedy jets practicing while we were outside at R&R. There were four jets flying in formation and another one doing rolls and sideways fly-bys. They were extremely loud, but very awesome to watch.

We didn't go very far once we had checked into the Airport Holiday Inn late this afternoon. Forry immediately took a nap. Then we decided just to eat at the restaurant on the premises. It was nothing fancy or special, but it was good to not have to run around anymore. After lots of looking, (the front desk had no idea what channel!) Forry found the Mariners game on TV, so we are relaxing and watching the game.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cloudy, Showery Day

The sun was shining a bit when I first got up this morning, but it didn't take long before the clouds were back. It didn't get much higher then 63 degrees today. There were just enough little rain showers to occasionally wet the ground.

We headed into Spokane this afternoon to pick up some prescriptions and to have a blood pressure check at Group Health. I've been trying a new blood pressure medication that seems to be doing its thing. At least that should make my doctor happier...

We had to get gas for Toad II. There is a Flying J station on our way into Spokane that we have been using. With the Flying J RV Plus card, we are getting a six cent per gallon discount on gas. We've used the card for a couple of years now for diesel for Auntie Violet, but only recently started using it for gas. I guess it's probably because this is the first time we've had a Flying J station handy to .where we drive back and forth?

When I talked with Sister Sherry this afternoon, she mentioned getting beef ribs when she was in town this morning. It made me hungry for spare ribs, so we stopped at Safeway to pick some up. They were out of baby back spare ribs, so I bought some plain pork ribs. They were good (I baked them at a much lower oven temp then what I use for baby backs), but not nearly as good as our usual baby backs.

We watched several rigs move into the Peaceful Pines RV Park this afternoon. The park is now so full that there is one rig parked over on the side with. an electric cord running across the road to their buddies rig. Evidently, there is a big track meeting over at the EWU campus this weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thinking About...

All of the doctor visits we have been having this month have certainly brought our thinking to getting older. We've had lots of discussions about what we want to do next. We've achieved our goal of visiting all of the lower 48 states -- though I must say we certainly only sampled many of them. You could take a lifetime and still not see all there is to see in the United States, let alone the rest of the world.

We put a deposit down at Eagle View RV Park where we stayed last winter for next winter, but that's as far as we've made any concrete plans. We have thought about purchasing a lot or a house or a condo? But where? The west side of Washington and my joints don't get along well. I don't like the "achiness" the damp causes. Arizona is way too hot in the summer-time and it's a long way away from our kids and grandkids.

How much longer will our driving skills hold up? When will it be time to hang up the keys? I have never really liked to drive, and do so less and less. I really need to make myself take over the wheel more frequently. Forry has new glasses which is good for his driving. I planned to get new glasses as well, but it looks like I will be having cataract surgery instead. The doctor -- and my Sis -- say that my vision will be better than it has ever been...?

I was awakened VERY early this morning. The lady from Menno Travel who arranges travel for the Executive Board meetings called at 5:45 AM! She's in Kansas and I don't think she even thought about the time difference! I think I deserve all kinds of brownie points for not pointing out what time it was to her -- I was even actually cordial.

We moved today, but only about 100 feet from where we had been. The site we were in had been reserved by someone else for the next week. We hustled to get moved by the 1 PM check-in time in case they came early, but the new folks didn't show up until about five o'clock, right in the middle of the thunderstorm and downpour we had. At least they had enough sense to stay in their rig until the rain tapered off before they came out and did their hook-ups!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Eventful Day

Ah, the baseball game is playing on the radio, Forry is softly snoring in his recliner. This is much better -- I didn't like the quiet last night!

I was up by six and by six-fifteen I was headed back to Spokane (where did all these people come from? Are they off to work this early?!) to meet the doctor at the Sleep Clinic. It was an interesting experience. On his computer screen, he was able to show us how Forry's night had gone. Each screen showed two minutes of the night before. They had hooked him up with all kinds of electrodes: around his chest and abdomen; on his legs; on his neck; by and in his nose; near his eyes and all over his head. They could track his muscle movements, his breathing, his eye movement (REM sleep) and I don't know what else.

The tests were pretty conclusive that he has sleep apnea. About 2 AM they woke him up and connected him to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. You could sure see the difference on the computer screen. Forry even said he felt more rested this morning with just the few hours of sleep he had with the machine. So sometime this week the homecare company will set him up with the necessary equipment...

Then it was back home for a much needed nap -- and a shower for Forry to wash all the contact goop out of his hair!

Monday, May 26, 2014

So Quiet...

I left Forrest in Spokane an hour ago. He is spending the night at the clinic for a Sleep Study test. He had to be there at 9 PM. I can go in at 6:30 tomorrow morning to hear the test results with him.
It is very quiet as I sit here in Auntie Violet all by myself. I cannot recall that I have ever done this before. Usually, I am the one who leaves for a night or two or three for a Board meeting or to visit my sister or something. It is a very strange feeling to be entirely alone...

Tomorrow is our Grandson Micah's 13th birthday. Today he got the cutest little black puppy. It is a chihuahua poodle cross about two months old. Dawn posted a couple of videos on Facebook that are just darling of Micah and his puppy. He has been wanting one for a long time -- now he is the proud owner of both a tortoise and a puppy. Happy Birthday, Micah!

Today was a quiet day. The weekend campers and tenters that had come for the long weekend have packed up and gone. There is no longer campfire smoke in the air. We had a large group next to us with both a tent and a pick-up camper. There was at least ten people around their campfire when we came home from dinner Saturday night. I thought we might be in for a noisy night, but by ten-thirty they had all dispersed and it was quiet. They were even quiet in the morning even though some of them were up making coffee a little after 6 AM!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Birthday Party

Today was another busy full day. We had stopped by Safeway on the way home last night and picked up a couple of bouquets of flowers to take with us to the cemetery this morning. We left early, so we had plenty of time to stop by Forry's parents' graves before church. When I was a kid, we knew the last Sunday in May as Decoration Day -- the day you went to clean and decorate your family grave sites. I have vivid memories of going with my Mom with buckets of her home-grown gorgeous peonies in the truck of the car. I don't know if there was a name change to Memorial Day with its emphasis on military graves, or whether Decoration Day was just what my family called it. (Though Forry says he was talking with Vic this afternoon and he said his family also called it Decoration Day...)

It is always good to be back at Menno for church. Even though Gene videos each service and Bill puts it up on U-Tube on Mondays so that we can participate, it's always best to walk in through that door and get our hugs and hear the message in person.

After church, we took a quick trip over to the ranch to see all the work that has been done hauling away scrap iron and stuff. It sure looks nice! Our tenants, Barb and Jeff,  had gone to Spokane to see Wicked, but we had a chance to see both Tyler and Colby. They have grown into such nice young handsome men!

From there it was over to the home of our Godson Peter and his lovely wife Tessa to help them celebrate their son Ethan's first birthday. Pete grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for our first barbecue of the summer. Ethan was not terribly interested in opening presents. A typical one-year old, he found the boxes and wrappings much more interesting. That is, until Grandpa Curt brought this in --

And oh, the grin, when he found out it would go!

I think all the little -- and big -- boys there thought it was a pretty neat tractor too!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

So Special!

Such a treat! Our friends Leslie and Bill sent us a message that they were heading to Salt Lake City for a SendOutCards convention and that they were coming by way of Spokane! They left Serenity, their RV. at the park in Bothell and just came in Sunny, the yellow taxi (AKA their Rubicon Jeep). They got an early start this morning and arrived at Peaceful Pines a little after two this afternoon.

We talked the remainder of the afternoon away and then headed into Spokane for dinner. Leslie and Bill are foodies and can usually recommend good places to eat no matter what town you are in. We thought they would enjoy Wild Sage and indeed, they did! We had some incredible appetizers and meals (I have half of my pork shanks in the refrigerator for another day). We were pretty full, but managed to make room to share some of the spectacular coconut cake with an incredible passion fruit sauce --

As well as some Key Lime Brulee --

Leslie and Bill are spending the night in Cheney, then will head for Twin Falls, Idaho tomorrow night. It was VERY SPECIAL to have them detour this way and spend time with us!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Just Another Day

We had a relatively quiet day today. My primary care doctor had decided to consult the pharmacy department about my blood pressure meds. The pharmacist called yesterday to discuss some changes he and Dr. Heather had figured out. So today we had to make a trip back to the Group Health Pharmacy to pick up the new meds.

While we were in Spokane, we decided to make a trip all the way out to the Camping World store to take advantage of their Memorial Day sale on step-stools. The small aluminum stool that we use by the front door got bent last summer and has been getting worse all the time. We've replaced it with one that is a few inches wider and is made out of steel. Perhaps it will stand up a bit better...

Before we decided to go out to dinner last night to celebrate Forry's birthday with Son Sean, I had planned to make some biscuits and gravy for him. It's one of his favorite meals, but since it is so terribly not healthy, I don't make it for him very often. But I did make some tonight. I'm not sure what it is about biscuits and sausage gravy that he likes so much...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Forry Celebrates 75 Years!

Forry celebrated his 75th birthday today! Now that is really hard to believe. Not sure how I ended up married to someone that old...

My friend Cathi gave us a lead on a new hair dresser and we went to see Erin up on the South Hill this morning. She's not our Sarah, but she did a good job of trimming my split ends and shaping my bangs. I don't think she believed how long Forry's hair was until she got it wet and combed out. She cut it shorter than it's been in a l-o-n-g time. She said she actually cut off a good six inches...

I told her I liked it shorter because then his curls show...

Anyhow, I think she did a nice job. Thanks, Cathy, for the referral!

We went back into Spokane this evening and picked up Son Sean and took him to Gordy's Sichuan up on 30th for dinner with us. We only ordered appetizers and two entrees, but Sean still had a bag of leftovers to take home with him for tomorrow.

One of the nice things about birthdays in this electronic age is getting birthday greetings from so many people on Facebook. It really does brighten up the day! Thank you to everyone who wished the man in my life Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

California Quail

There is a family of California Quail that lives in the bushy grass along the edge of the park. We can hear them calling, but they are quite timid and quickly disappear if approached. I sat on the steps of the RV (still inside) and managed to get a few pictures.  They like to stay close to the edge of the tall grass...

I'm not sure what they are after in the short grass, but one would assume some kind of insect --

They stay very alert and watchful --

 We ended up today with a fairly busy afternoon. Forry's new lenses were in at Group Health's Vision Clinic, so we went into Spokane to pick them up as well as my new prescription which was ready. From there we made a Costco run. We hadn't been at a Costco since we got back to Washington and we were in grave need of a fix. We actually stopped at the Cheney Safeway store as well on our way home, so now are well stocked with groceries again.

The old highway to Spokane through Cheney is several hundred feet from Auntie Violet's front door. I am amazed at how much traffic the old road still has. Seems not everyone wants to travel on the freeway!

This was our view out to the west tonight. It was a gorgeous sunset!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Once More, Down the Road

Our two membership weeks at Ponderosa Falls RV Resort were up and since this next week is Memorial Day weekend, there were no spaces available for a paid-for extended stay...

Yesterday we stopped in Cheney and made reservations for the next week at Peaceful Pines RV Park. So this morning, we packed stuff up and put away stuff and pulled in the slides and drove the eight or nine miles to the new park. Since we weren't going very far, we didn't hook up Toad II, I just followed Forry over.

We have a site on the edge of the park facing south. We hooked up water and electricity (this park is nice -- the electric boxes are on poles a good five feet off the ground. No stooping to hook up the power!). We put the jack pads down, let down the jacks and put out the two living room slides.

Then Forry put up the antenna. The satellite receiver tried and tried, but could not make a connection -- too many trees. We decided to move forward five or six feet to see if that would help. I had to get out the longer water hose and pull out more of the electric cord. Got moved, tried it again. Still no connection! Guess we'll spend the next week without TV... Too bad, as the Mariners won tonight 6-2. It would have been a good game to watch.

I was fixing dinner when the lady who checked us in yesterday came knocking at our door asking who we were and if we had registered?!! I guessed she was a bit embarrassed when she recognized Forry, saying "Oh yeah, I took your money yesterday!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anther Doctor Apointment and Semel!

We came home last night to a Facebook note from Judy and Tim inviting us over this morning. or tomorrow morning, for Semel! We'll be moving tomorrow, so went over to their house this morning.
When we got to their house up on 27th, Judy was just taking the Semel out of the oven. Semel are a breakfast treat that I have never eaten except at Judy's or her family's. They are basically a yeast dough made the evening before, allowed to rise all night, then dropped onto a cookie sheet in large spoonfuls and topped with either sesame or poppy seeds, then baked. Served with strawberry jam and thin slices of cheddar cheese, they are delicious!

And of course, as good as the Semel are, the people serving them are even better. It was a very pleasant morning of food and fellowship. We'll be looking forward to seeing Judy and Tim and their Airstream next winter in Arizona!

This afternoon it was my turn to visit our Primary Care Physician for my annual check-up. It was a good visit. Other then getting older with all the aches and pains that go along with that, I seem to be trucking along just fine. Dr. Heather re-arranged some of my meds and gave me some exercises for the bursitis I seem to have in my trochanteric bursa (hip area).

We stopped by Peaceful Pines RV Park in Cheney and reserved a spot there for the next week. Our two weeks at Ponderosa Falls is up tomorrow and we must move on...

Sunday, May 18, 2014


My Brother Patrick was the last one of our parents' five children. Born late in their life after four girls, that male child was very welcomed by all of us (even though old Doc Lindsey told my Dad it was another girl -- when he unwrapped the blanket to show him, he and Dad both got squirted...)

One of the nice things about having a sibling so much younger then the rest of us is that when we all had kids that were teenagers or older, Pat was just getting into the baby business. And now, when the rest of us have grandkids that are tweens or teens or older, Pat's children have youngsters. So you see, one way or the other, we've had years of little ones around to enjoy.

Last week, Patrick's oldest son, my Nephew Jared and his wife Becky, invited us to come over tonight for a barbecued steak dinner. Jared is an engineer and Becky works in Human Resources. They have two delightful children, a four-year old daughter and a two-year old son. Becky and Jared live out in the Five Mile area of north Spokane in a neighborhood that had just a couple of houses when they first moved there a couple of years back. Now there is a full neighborhood of new houses.

We had a very scrumptious dinner. Becky made carrots with bourbon, fruit salad, and a very delicious Gorgonzola cream sauce for the steak that Jared grilled. Then she topped it off with a homemade Oreo cookie cheesecake. What a feast!

Forry and I feel extremely blessed by family and by our connections to them. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Birthday Party

We headed west in Toad II this afternoon for a birthday party at the terminal at Moses Lake's Grant County International Airport. Our friend Bernie was 70 today and his wife Madeline and his children, Derrick and Christin, planned quite a party for him. Bernie knew there was going to be a party. but that's about all he knew -- he didn't even know where it was going to be until this afternoon!

The airport terminal is a great place to have a party. There are no longer any commercial flights out of this airport since Horizon left a few years ago. It is lovely, almost new space. Madeline and her crew had set up and decorated tables with balloons and party favors. Live music was provided throughout the afternoon by a six piece band -- and some accordion pieces by Bernie! The meal was catered and featured green salad, corn bread, scalloped potatoes, fresh fruit, grilled chicken breasts and pulled pork sandwiches. Another table held red velvet cupcakes frosted in a variety of colors. There were a variety of beers and wines at an open bar. It was quite a party!

A bonus for Forry and I was the presence of many of our adopted Franz family, none of which we had seen since last fall! These are the youngest two: Aidan and Ethan --

And Vic, the oldest one --

It was a lovely afternoon. Good music to listen to; good friends to chat with and good food to eat. What more could a person ask for?

Friday, May 16, 2014


I read once that the true definition of a friendship is when you meet up with someone you haven't seen for a long while and the conversation picks up like you were just together yesterday.

That's our friend Mary! We hadn't seen her since last September, but she came over this afternoon and we talked the afternoon and part of the evening away. We have been friends for a long time, coming together to work on rural health issues many years ago. I was the administrator of the hospital in Ritzville and she was with the Public Health Department in Colville.

Mary had retired last year and we've spent a great deal of time talking about our roles in life after our paid working years. After working on both the state and national levels, it's quite a change to become a private citizen again.

We had originally planned to go out to dinner this evening after Mary came to visit, but early this morning I was dreaming about our coming visit and dreamed about making shrimp salad. So that's what I did! It worked much better than interrupting our visit to go to town to eat.

It's been a lovely afternoon and evening!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tired Today

I guess if I hadn't thought we were getting old, today proved it. We didn't get home last night until after eleven. And this morning, we didn't get up until almost eleven! We certainly don't snap back after staying out late like we used to!

We didn't get a whole lot accomplished the rest of the day either. Forry went over to Northwest Cummings to talk to them about the HWH problem with our bedroom slide (again!). They thought perhaps we could use some type of flexsteel tubing to replace the lines that keep blowing apart and splitting. (It seems like we've repaired or replaced one or more every six months!). They're going to do some checking with HWH to see if that might work...

I spent some time on the phone with the folks at NW Orthopedics; some time texting with my Grandson Varick and Daughter Mary Mae who had been tripped by the neighbor's dog and had sprained her knee; and an even longer time on the phone with my Daughter Dawn catching up with life in Oregon.

We spent time watching some TV, reading a bit, doing Sudoku and that's about it.

55 Years!

Today was the last of the appointments that I had called and scheduled last month for Forry. And it was probably the most frustrating. His Primary Care Physician wanted him to have a sleep study done to see if he was sleeping well. (Part of her efforts to figure out his reduced energy levels.) In order to have the sleep study done, you have to have an evaluation by a pulmonologist to see if you really need the study done. Once you get that visit done, you can schedule the sleep study.

Knowing that they were a month or more out on the sleep studies, I tried to schedule it at the same time I made the appointment with the pulmonary guy. But they can't do that as it has to be authorized by the pulmonologist first. I wondered why they couldn't schedule it, then just cancel it if the pulmonary guy didn't think he needed it. But they don't do that! In fact the scheduler lady sounded horrified that I would even suggest it.

So Forry had his appointment with the pulmonary guy today, who authorized the sleep study. But they do not have an opening until mid-June... Looks like we will be in Spokane another month.

It is a full moon tonight. This is what it looked like through all the pine trees here at Ponderosa Falls RV Resort --

It was pretty late when we got home as we went to see the play WICKED at the Spokane Opera House (except they call it the INB Performing Arts Center now). When I saw an ad saying it was on in Spokane this week, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate our fifty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Its sort of hard to believe we have been together for so long. We became friends standing together in the lunch line (we were in alphabetical order) when I was fifteen and Forrest was seventeen. We got married when I was eighteen and here we are three children and five grand-children later, still friends.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today, the Eye Doctor

We continue our regimen of visiting physician offices. Today it was the eye doctor at Group Health. Forry had an appointment at 1:30, and I had one an hour later.

It's funny how even with the hour difference in starting time, Forry and I ended up sitting in the same darkened room at the same time with our eyes dilated, waiting for the doctor...

I intensely dislike having my eyes dilated and dislike even more the bright light the doctor uses on dilated eyes to observe the blood vessels in the back of the eye. I had a partial retnal tear in my right eye several years ago and I vividly remember the pain of the bright light of the laser that was used to "weld" the tear.

Forry needs new glasses with the ongoing deterioration of his eye sight. but the optometrist said he wants me to go to the Spokane Eye Clinic for a cataract evaluation. He didn't know if it was because of the retinal tear or not, but the cataract in my right eye is much further along then the one in the left. I know I could really see the difference in the sight in that eye...

Guess it's one more appointment we get to look forward to...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Another Doctor and a Visit to the DOL

We started out this morning with another trip to the Cheney Post Office. This time they were open and the box of mail was there. The Post Office lady remarked on how heavy the box was and I just told her my daughter "can get more into one of these boxes than anyone I know!" We went back home with just enough time to sort the mail before we had to leave for Spokane and Forry's appointment with the dermatologist.

As a former farmer, Forrest always has one or more little places on his face or hands that the dermatology guys want to squirt their little cans of liquid nitrogen at and today was no different. But, he was in and out today before I could even finish reading the article in US magazine about baby Prince George.

Our Family Practice doctor had given Forry the application for a handicapped placard for the car. We needed to take it to a Department of Licensing Office to pick up the actual placards. The first one we looked for was no longer there and we could not find the second one even with the GPS. We finally went out to the DOL place on north Division. The young lady there was very friendly and delightful -- and there was NO wait! So now we have handicap placards for both Toad II and Auntie Violet.

Granddaughter Havela finally made it back to Oregon from Hesston College in Kansas today. She was supposed to make it in yesterday in time for Mother's Day, but lightening storms and bad weather in the Midwest had her spending the night in the Chicago airport.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

It was another lovely day today. We had made reservations at Wild Sage in Spokane for their Mother's Day Brunch. Our reservation was for 12:30 and we got there about quarter after. It was a zoo! People were stacked up waiting in their small waiting area and out the front door. It seems everyone was having such a good time visiting, they were NOT leaving when they finished their meal. I told the owner that, since there were only two of us, we'd be happy to sit at the bar (the bar is very tiny too, with only five stools...). We ended up sitting there -- and got our drinks comped for our willingness.

Brunch was delightful. It started off with a plate of small pastries - so good! Then I had seasonal berry crepes filled with marscapone and whipped cream while Forry had a sausage and pepper frittata. We've sat at the bar one other time. It's is great fun to watch a master barkeep at work.

Here are a few more of the photos I took yesterday out at Turnbull. This is one of the hen turkeys we saw hustling away from the road. She looks like she's nice and plump.


I thought this tree with its lichen was intriguing --

This clump of alders was just starting to leaf out --

I don't know whether to call this bush a Sarvis Berry bush or a Wild Spirea Bush. I've heard it called both by locals. All I know is that is another harbinger of Spring in the Spokane Valley. They provide splotches of color all over the wooded areas.

We returned to Auntie Violet in time to watch the last seven innings of the Mariners/Royals game and a much needed nap.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring at Turnbull

We went into Cheney this morning to pick up the box of mail that Daughter MM had sent, only to discover that the Cheney Post Office is NOT open on Saturdays. Since we were so close, we decided that we would pay a visit to the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, which is just a couple of miles outside of town.

The roadside was alive with the yellows of Arrowleaf Balsamroot and the blues of lupine -

The Nine-leaved Desert Parsley -

And field after field of my second-favorite Spring wildflower - Camas!

This dainty lily's roots were a staple food for many Native American tribes --

We literally saw thousands of these small allium type plants. We didn't see any opened or flowering and I cannot find it in any of my flower books. It was three to five inches tall...


We did see a few Biscuitroot plants. The roots of this plant were also used for a flour-like food.


Many of the wooded areas of the refuge were carpeted with my very favorite Spring wildflower. I don't know whether I like saying the name, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, or just enjoy their buoyant cheerful color!

Just as we were driving out of the auto loop and out of the refuge, I spotted a flash of pink. Forry backed up and we finally spotted it again. This is Sticky Geranium, a wild geranium. The flowers are a favorite food of both elk and moose.


We did not see a great many birds today. We saw several blackbirds, including a yellow-headed one, a flicker, two turkey hens, several geese, the pair of resident trumpeter swans and several coots, but that's about it. Forry had to give me a bad time about turning his bird-watching trip into a flower trip!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Fine Farewell

Graveside services were held this afternoon at Quincy Valley Cemetery for Forry's Nephew Donald Hardt, who passed away April 23rd at the hospital in Wenatchee after a tumble down the stairs in his Quincy home.

We picked up Son Sean at his Spokane apartment about ten-thirty morning and headed to Quincy in Toad II. It had been quite a while since we had been down that way -- and I had forgotten how long it took. I passed a bit of the time "chatting" with Forry's great-nephew's wife Patti on Facebook. She and Great-Nephew Mel were coming from Vancouver, the opposite direction.

Don had been a member of the National Guard during the Vietnam era, though called up, his unit had not gone overseas. Eleven members of the military were present to give him Military Honors: a twenty-one gun salute and taps. (I had to explain to Sean - and Forry's Sister Grace - that seven men firing three volleys equaled twenty-one shots...) Don's ashes were interred on top of his father Melvin's grave. Forry's brother Melvin had been killed in a combine accident when Donnie was just a teenager.

Forry's family has scattered and it has been eight or ten years since we had seen some of his nieces and nephews, let alone some of the greats. It was great visiting with them at the cemetery, then the group adjourned to the local Moose Lodge for more visiting and a nice luncheon fixed by the Moose ladies.

I've always looked at Sean and thought he looked like Forry's mother's side of the family. Looking at him today with all of his male cousins, it was very obvious they all looked like the Steffen clan!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Now What?

Sarah at Medalia Club has been cutting our hair for many years -- more than thirty years?!! Way back when she wanted to use Daughter Mary Mae as a model for one of her design contests. She cut MM's hair and Daughter Dawn's hair and mine and then Forry's. We have followed her to three different studios over the years (the last two were solo practices in houses she and her husband Rick had remodeled for her business.). Forry has absolutely not wanted anyone else to touch his curls for his anuual haircuts! Sarah has had a closed practice, but she always was willing to make a spot for us when we came back to Spokane.

I have been dreading the day we would return to Spokane and find that she had retired. When I called yesterday to see if she might have an opening or a cancellation, the number was disconnected! I guess that day has come... Not sure what we will do now, maybe ask around and see if anyone has a lead on a good hair-cutter.

We had a quiet day today, a rest day after all of yesterday's rounds of physician visits. We spent a bit of time this afternoon emptying enough space in Toad II to be able to fold one of the back seats up so that Son Sean can ride with us to Quincy tomorrow for Nephew Donnie's graveside service.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Very Busy Day!

Today was one of those very busy days! Since we had stayed an extra wonderful day at Sister Sherry's, we hadn't gotten our blood work drawn before all of our doctor's appointments, so we had to get up early this morning to get it done. I had spaced the fact that we were supposed to be fasting and had blithely thought we could run over to the lab when we got to Spokane yesterday afternoon... Real good thinking for a former nurse!

Anyhow, we got to the lab shortly after it opened this morning, got the labs drawn, then went over to McDonalds for breakfast before we went to Forry's first doctor appointment, the one with the back specialist to review his x-rays and MRI. Dr. Tim seems to believe that some spinal injections might do the trick with his back. So now, we wait for the injection people to call...

A quick trip back to the RV park for me to put another load of clothes in the washer and a nap for Forry. Then it was time to head back to Group Health for Forry's appointment with our Family Practice Doc. Dr. Heather changed some of his meds around and dealt with all the other annual stuff. Of course, that meant a stop at the pharmacy.

We figured we needed a treat after all the busyness, so stopped at the Starbucks drive through for our first Frappacinos of the year. They sure tasted good!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Short Journey Today

It's always sad to leave Sister Sherry's farm. This morning one of the peacocks was showing off his lovely train on my walk to the house. He didn't spread his tail, but I think it's gorgeous just as it is...

We headed out and up the Touchet River Valley. The river is running pretty full and it's hard to see in most places because of all the trees and shrubs that have been planted along its banks for the CERP conservation program --

It was a short run over to Burbank and then onto Highway 395 near the Tri-Cities, then past Lind and Ritzville, to Interstate 90. Exit 272 and a right turn past the Petro Station and we made it to Ponderosa Falls RV Park. This will be our home for the next couple of weeks while we tend to our annual medical appointments in Spokane.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sunset On the Farm

Sister Sherry, Forry and I spent a fairly lazy day today. I think we were all tired after all the company and visiting yesterday. Sherry put a chuck roast in the oven late this morning and left it to cook all day with some potatoes, onions and potatoes. It was so good this evening! (Keiko San enjoyed it too, licking up every last drop I fed him...)

As I walked over to the farmhouse so that I could post my blog (it's the only spot on the farm with internet connection from the REA.), all I saw around me was colorful sky. This is looking northwest over the large hills beside the farm --

While this is looking in the other direction looking out towards the pasture and the Touchet River -

This little hawk was silhouetted in the tree -- 

And even when I looked back, there was all kinds of color in the sky. What a beautiful evening!

It's been a wonderful couple of days at the farm. We always look forward to visiting Sister Sherry when we come back to Washington State. This year was a very special visit as I got to celebrate my birthday with family!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Birthday Fun!

What a lovely day I have had! Brother Pat and Cindy and Sister Dena and Ron joined Forry and me at Sister Sherry's for an afternoon of visiting and eating - so nice!

This is Sherry's gorgeous mastiff, Keiko San, trying very hard to get his ball out of the water trough. He was chasing it back and forth and pushing it down. He tried very hard, but finally gave up and went back to playing soccer with his bowling balls.

This is part of the crew sitting outside the shop enjoying the sunshine and visiting. That's my Sister-in-law Cindy on the left, Brother Pat and Sister Dena with Corrine, the apricot mastiff, lying on the concrete. It was a good spot to visit and enjoy salsa and guacamole and chips.

There must be a dozen or more of these gorgeous goldfinches eating at the seed feeder outside the window -

Our Mother spent the last years of her life with Sister Sherry, who planted this peony garden outside of Mom's bedroom window. Mom had a green thumb and she and Dad always had a picture perfect garden. These three peonies are the early bloomers. The rest of the garden is still all buds...


We had a typical traditional celebratory meal for our family -- spareribs! Accompanied by fresh asparagus, potato salad and garlic bread. What a feast we had! We topped it off with Rich Lemon Curd Cake that Sister Sherry had made. It was an exceptionally nice 73rd birthday!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

On to Touchet

Up early this morning, got our showers, went on line to pay our monthly bills and packed up and were ready to leave shortly after eleven. We headed north on I-84 and soon crossed over into Washington State.

We followed Highway 395 into the Tri-Cities then on over to Burbank. This is country irrigated from the Snake River. It is incredibly rich agricultural land with lots of orchards -

And the closer we got to Touchet - and Walla Walla - the more fields of grapes that we saw! This area is becoming a premier wine producing area in the nation.

Of course, the last twenty miles took the longest! We finally came down the hill and saw the Touchet River and knew we weren't that far from Sister Sherry's farm. Time for hugs!


Interstate 84 cuts across the northeast corner of the State of Oregon, one of the ruggedest portions of the state.


While not as colorful as Arizona or Utah, the terrain is every bit as rugged.

The highway coming out of the Blue Mountains is a steep grade, with lots of these "runaway truck" ramps for trucks who lose their brakes.

The cuts through the mountains are draped with link fencing to keep the eroding rock falls from falling on the highway.

Once we were out of the mountains, we headed for Pendleton and Wildhorse Casino RV Park where we settled in for the night.