Christmas Week in the West

Monday, Dec 23

Started planning for the play-date at Hearthstone. It got better populated by players as the week progressed.

While cleaning in the garage, John found a bag with 4 long dresses of very large sizes. No clue where they came from, how they got there, or why. I have taken photos and will post on the free sites to get rid of them. I never wore long dresses at any weight. These are sizes 18, 20, 20, and 24.

We are having prime rib roast at the party we go to Christmas day at 4:00 p.m. Going to another before 2:00 just to visit friends (and their family) for an hour starting before their buffet potluck Christmas dinner. They will call us from Manastash Ridge as they are coming into the valley from west of Yakima, and we’ll drive over SE of our house ~11 miles. We’ll come back to feed our horses, and get down to our other Christmas dinner invite with our neighbor ½ mile away.

Today’s mail arrived from Sadie Thayer, with the paperwork for a deed for us to sign to give an old sign to the Kittitas County Historical Museum. This is their proof of what was given, who by, and a description. They already have it in their possession, but are finalizing the paperwork and also finishing the historical research on this local business (the sign dates back to 1917). Their description: It’s a metal sign with hand-painted design stating “1 mile to Ellensburg”, two motorcycles stopped on a dirt road waiting for a third, with trees lining the path and houses on the right side only, Harley-Davidson, and the advertisement for Mitchell’s Machine Shop, – Dealer -, and David L. Tittsworth. The sign measures 27-inches in width by 46 13/16-inches in height.”

This is not yet a good representative picture, because it has not been installed as planned in the museum on a wall with the documentation attached somehow, but when it is, we’ll go get a better straight-on photo and share the rest of the history of this place with you. We printed the paperwork, signed it, scanned it, and sent back to Sadie.

Tuesday, Dec 24

Started dishes, emptied dishwasher and refilled.
Trying to plan for Thursday’s music, and will be delivering the pair of very large jeans (I hope) after the music. That did not happen, but will in the future. If not, I have a backup person who is interested and wears the large size.

We talked to Kit, in CA, (John’s brother’s wife). She called us. Sounds as if she is doing well, and will turn 89 next year end of January.

I worked up a Christmas card to send. I’ll email out from our joint account. Been working on it off and on all afternoon and evening.

I started sending out Christmas wishes tonight via email, with a copy of the video of music we published in last week’s blog of our Thursday concert at an assisted living home, Meadows Place. This week I’m publishing the same music with different people but with the addition of antique sleigh bells. That performance was at another assisted living home, Prestige Senior Living at Hearthstone.

With the Christmas wish music video, I attached a photo of us on our 50th anniversary of July 12, 1969. We had no celebration this year, but we went to an event at the local senior center, with our newly acquired camera we gave ourselves for our gift, and had our photo taken with a gift we received from our cousins in Pennsylvania, Ethel, Pat, & Ken. I’ll repost it here:John & Nancy on July 12, 2019 at our local senior center
One of my former graduate students, a Native American, replied to my send, with a beautiful Christmas card: We talked with our sister Peggy tonight (in Ohio) after she returned from going to midnight mass at 10:00 p.m.! We found that timing interesting.

Tonight, our friend Evie Schuetz crafted gingerbread houses with her family; this one is Evie’s creation:Evie Schuetz’s Gingerbread House
The whole family participates in these creations every Christmas eve.

Wednesday, Dec 25

We hope everyone received a Christmas Wish on email from us. If you did not, please let Nancy know. It started with It is described above in yesterday’s write-up, and was in last week’s blog on Thursday.

We made an earlier call to Pennsylvania to talk with John’s 101 yr. old cousin, Ethel, who was visiting her daughter, Pat, for Christmas. It is Pat’s birthday today (they celebrated hers last weekend). Today is a green Christmas for them, with temperatures in the 50s; we are 20° lower. We have snow on the ground but it is not snowing.

John just sent me this email this morning, with the subject line, “Commas.” On this day, many, many moons ago Adam said to Eve: “It’s Christmas Eve”.

We are getting ready to celebrate two Christmas dinners, after our early morning getting up, and having breakfast.
We need to go to the first before 2:00 p.m. to visit (did not eat) at the Orcutt’s family farm, meeting a few of the family there. Suzy West is one of the many children of the Orcutts, both of whom have passed over the rainbow bridge. I knew them before meeting the rest of the family. They came to dance at the senior center on Fridays, where I played with a few others for the old time dance music starting in 1990.

Bob & Suzy will call us from Manastash Ridge and we will meet them at Jen’s house on Fox Road, about 11 miles SE of our house. Bob was my student in 1997, in Geography, and he was married to Suzy. So our connection to the family has continued. We joined them for Christmas dinner every year and for other family celebrations. We will visit an hour and come home to feed the horses while there is still daylight, and we can shut the doggie door (window) and keep the raccoon out of the den.

We are invited for prime rib dinner at our neighbor, Joanie Lee, down Naneum Road (a mile, round trip), 4:00 p.m. Boy what a huge amount of really good food. I’ll see if I can remember it all: started with a table full of hors d’oeuvres (including more than crackers, cheese, meat, seafood, and dips). John and I drank Pepsi. With the prime rib (au jus, if you wanted), they served twice baked potatoes, with cheese, green bean casserole, green salad, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, deviled eggs, rolls, and a baked ham. 3 different pies for dessert: apple, pumpkin, huckleberry/raspberry with ice cream.

Thursday, Dec 26

Playing at Hearthstone today, the same music that was in our Christmas card we sent out starting yesterday via email, except we added sleigh bells, so you may wish to check the link below for the added wintertime historical effect.

I visited Bi-Mart for Christmas candy, and on by for a short visit with neighbor Ken, who’s temporarily at the rehab.

Posted to UKC Photographers one of silver frost on barbed wire and on chain link fence – one each. Had nice comments on the photos. You have already seen them in the photo collection Dec 17 published as a link in the blog.
Today, another UKC Photographer member posted a wonderful photo of one of my favorite things in the skyscape, a sun dog:Photo by Scott Seymour, with his permission to print

I went early to Hearthstone to set up the chairs, and to and set up video for filming the December music including sleigh bells, we played our last time this year, minus our last song, A’Soalin’.
Thanks so much to Reta Hutchinson for bringing her grandfather’s sleigh bells that date back to the early 1900s. We had quite a crowd, even with so many missing players and audience members. Having Barb Riley join us was absolutely wonderful. We had an appreciative audience, and probably the best cake dessert many of us have eaten. It was a piece sized ~2″ x 2″ of two rich chocolate layers (almost the consistency of a brownie, with a white filing, and a peppermint type frosting. We stood around at the end visiting, eating, and talking about it.

NOTE on this video below, you might want to pull the start to 4:20 minutes in to get to the December music with sleigh bells.

Music with Sleigh Bells, 12-26-19

One more after Christmas creation by my photographer friend, of whom I have shared her photos in the blog on many occasions, Evie Schuetz, taken the day after Christmas before taking down all her Christmas decorations:Evie’s kitchen counter, tree, & decorations through a crystal ball lens. What a wondrous creation! Her photographic captures never cease to amaze me. Photo by Evie Schuetz, Kittitas, WA

Friday, Dec 27

We woke to an inch of fresh fluffy snow.

Seems checks are still needed. Knowing they were very high priced, I called Umpqua Bank, to ask the price of checks ordering through them. It would be 80 checks for $55, even higher than the last time I asked, and when I decided to stop using them. But, there are times one needs to write a check, so I needed to get some ordered. The recommendation from the banker was, “Go through Costco, if you have a membership there. Costco uses the same check printing company.”

Here is the meat of this story that took more than 1-1/2 hours of my time today, spaced out over the day, starting at 10:00 a.m. on the phone with my local bank (twice) and with a call to the Harland Clarke® Check Printing company in New Braunfels, TX, Costco’s exclusive provider of checks and forms, also twice. The first call was supposed to result in a returned call from the company, but it never came. I got on line again to their website and followed the instructions to order checks based on my Premium membership through Costco, which is supposed to save me 50% on charges. The percentage savings is much more than that. I haven’t calculated, but need to figure the difference of going through my bank or going through the same company using my Costco membership number.

Here is the most important part of this story. Get online through Costco to order checks and see the information you need to input, but do NOT order through there. Do it in person via the phone number below. You need to figure out such things as these: the Item # of the check style you choose, the lines of information you want printed on the checks, and the decisions about single or duplicate (I recommend duplicates for filing purposes later). Go ahead and type it into the web order form to see the actual spacing on the check: Bank routing #, your checking account #, what you want written on the top of the check (allowed two lines for names), then address, and I added one phone number (our landline) because it’s the only one with reception, e.g., I put our Phone number on the last line after the address.

Below is the toll-free phone number to give your check printing order in person to a live person (and in my case the amount was a few cents less than on the web). I could have my computer in my lap and receive the shipping notice and the confirmation report through my email account, and make changes, if needed. There was one change on my shipping label (which had been written correctly on the checks).
(Toll free) -> 1-(855) 556-5283, for ordering checks with a live person in TX

(Some of the information is repeated here, but this is a good summary): Here are my results: We have a premium membership with Costco, which allowed us to get two boxes of checks (total 382) for $14.44 (plain blue, my choice). My bank (Umpqua) wants $55 from the same company for only 80 checks, so they actually recommend to their customers to go through Costco for their checks, if they have a membership. However, do NOT go through the Internet to complete the order, but ONLY to know what information they will need (see above).

On an unrelated item: coffee in the Costco warehouse January brochure – Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice House Bend Coffee for 14 oz. bottle. I called Costco and found the price is $13.99, that’s $4.20 off starting after the first of the year. I buy a TurboTax package there, also. We will be going that way soon because the little blue Subaru is due for service.

Outside: John finally cut up a tree limb that had fallen in September.With some older pieces, also, he carried a heaping Gorilla Cart load of firewood to put at the end of our driveway with a FREE WOOD sign. After someone takes that he has another load ready to go.

I’ve been working on music for Jan/Feb, and on several other needs for cleaning stacks of materials, clothing, dishes, file folders, emails, dealing with problems with getting new checks purchased. Sending Jacquie Lawson cards and fixing up problems.

Saturday, Dec 28

Started with an early rising to let in cats at 4:30 a.m. who had gone out at 1:10 a.m. but did not return, and couldn’t because of the doggie “window” door being closed to keep out the raccoon. Back to sleep until 8:00 a.m. and John stayed up; I slept another hour because I had stayed up until midnight last night.

I realized when going for my first medicine of the day, that my medicine dispenser for the week was empty. The first pills I put in for mornings are for Entresto which is taken twice daily as 1 -1/2 pills. We need to break the pill in half, which John is able to do by hand and not use a pill splitter. He does a few of my pills I cannot get done at the pharmacy, and split me enough for a couple weeks. He also broke my Magnesium pills for the evening when only a half is taken, but whole is in the morning. I have one more med to use my pill splitter on for the rest of a bottle that now has been lowered in dosage.

So, I began other things on the computer. One was searching for the ID of a hawk my friends saw in the south part of our valley. We seldom see hawks, except for Red-Tailed ones. I talked to her Thursday, and suggested checking the Cornell Ornithology site. Their identification web site is exceptional, especially the chance to compare like species and to see maps of their location for breeding and non-breeding areas.

While searching, I somehow adjusted the brightness down on my screen so had to go into settings to make the change to where I could see what I was typing. I searched the web and found this advice; “Windows 10: Select Start, choose Settings, and then select System > Display. Under Brightness and color, move the Change brightness slider to adjust the brightness.”
I don’t know what I did to lose it, but I have it back now.

John’s now out feeding the horses. Our temperature is above freezing, but there is no sun yet. I spent time emptying the dishwasher and soaking dirty dishes to pack into the washer. Time spent on email, and switching soon, back to this blog. It may be shorter this week than usual, which will please John. His nasty news put out Friday contains a lot of information, particularly about the construction (repairing) process in our attached garage (which not used for cars).

John just returned from feeding to get his camera for a photo of the free wood sign and wood at the driveway entrance. Will be interesting to see how fast it disappears.Lunch: scrambled eggs combo (with ham, onions, red peppers, & cheese) with toast for brunch, when I uncovered some of his pants full of hay pieces that needed shook out, before washing. When he stepped outside the back door, he saw a nicely antlered buck, so grabbed his camera and got a couple photos before the guy jumped the fence. I got to see him too straight on, but we have no photos that way. He looks young and we cannot really tell if he has 4 points on both sides or not, but suspect he does. We have not had any large bucks around here this year, as in the past.Continuing with my chores. I’m alternating with them and writing the draft of the blog. We are not going anywhere today.

I finished putting my medicines in the container for this next week. Also managed to order refills from the new Kaiser Permanente Mail Order Pharmacy. My most expensive medication is Entresto but through them I get a 90-day supply for the price of two months ($80). Also ordered 90 days of Spironolactone for only $10 total.

I added cell & land line phone numbers to my cell phone for Katie at Briarwood. She is going to help repair our Christmas sweaters during their crafters workshop on Fridays from 10 to noon. I need to go to the senior center this coming Friday (1-3), for a party, so I will combine trips with lunch and games (including a game of Jeopardy).

Searching for some information, I found this old link to my past in the 1950s and 1960s. It was in the 2011 web page sent for annual greetings, which we have quit doing, with our weekly blog’s existence. Look below and see me playing a Ukulele in a Brownie band, singing at 3 yrs old in the Cherub Choir, and some other unique things back to high school days (as reminisced with classmates at our 50th High School Reunion in 2011).

Nancy’s past, Garden Hills Elementary & North Fulton High School, Atlanta, GA

I succeeded tonight in sending the November KAS (Bird) meeting report on Fungus among us, out to the Kittitas Audubon Society mailing list. Also sent the photos from the Dec 20 AAC Christmas Party to a list of folks I know as members of the Ellensburg Adult Activity Center (our senior center).

Sunday, Dec 29

We’re not sure what today will bring, but we are staying home.
Completed dishes, finished blog draft, setup the announcement for playing KVF&F schedule, trying to get a look at all January dates, but this Thursday is most important. Need to setup going to Geography tomorrow with ream of paper, etc., and master of Jan-Feb music with the additional couple of changes I need to print out and add to the end. Better get going on that chore.

John went to the swamp with his gorilla cart to bring up some previously cut firewood. He just returned and has fed horses and quail – if they come.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan