First week of the New Year

Sparkler wish, created, photographed, & crafted by Evie Schuetz
We thought this display should come at the top even though this week’s post starts in 2019.

And how about this photo from last Saturday? This scene is from the backyard of our geologist friend wintering in The Foothills, Yuma, Arizona.
The Crescent Moon and Venus, Yuma, AZ by Jack Powell

Monday, Dec 30

Our farrier came to trim Myst this morning. That went well.
John reported that the pile of free firewood disappeared. He had added some to round the stack you saw in last week’s blog.

We had a busy afternoon with many stops. Started at Elmview to pick up two loaves of bread: Sourdough and a Three Cheese Semolina. On to our bank for some counter checks and cash, to tide us over until our new order of checks arrives in the mail. From there we went for horse feed and sunflower seeds for the birds. On to Hospice friends, with a donation check to get in before the end of 2019. They provide a wonderful community service, and we knew one of the founders, Peg Rowbotham and loved horseback riding the trails with her. While there, I picked up a case of Ensure. On to Super 1 for some groceries.

We got home barely before dark in time for John to grain all the horses, I fed the cats, and another cat arrived later when John came back from the feeding horses.

I’ve also been trying to determine who will be able to come to the Thursday meeting for music. I have decided I cannot go because of sickness, but I have found a helper, Amy, to be my liaison for me to leave my black music bag. She and daughter Haley will take it in for me on Thursday. Some of the players do not have the ability to print 24 songs served to them by me on email. Barb Riley will fill in as violinist for me, and also because others cannot be there because of sickness.

The next entry has been on the Internet for a while now, John had seen it, but I hadn’t. It was sent by a long-time friend, who just retired and has time to surf the web. I’ll share here in case there are others of you who have missed it. Since it was originally published, commenters have shown that the whale was originally trained in Norway to fetch things.

“The video is of a South African crew, onboard the Gemini Craft, that enjoyed the company of a Beluga whale while sailing near the North Pole and played a game of fetch with the sea creature. An extraordinary moment caught on camera.”

Report on a previously trained Beluga whale

Tuesday, Dec 31

Today I was on my own to run errands. First, I went for gasoline and got all my December credits used, receiving 10 cents off every gallon (price lowered to $2.79.). Then, by Bi-Mart but we did not win any prizes.

I wrote the retired geographers’ group about possibly having no January meeting scheduled for the 2nd Wednesday of the month. I received a unanimous consent to cancel our next week’s meeting.
Contacted the music group again.
More dishes to do and the chore continues.

The rain has been a lot and we thought might dampen the fireworks, but they’re still at it. At least there’s no danger of fire. Speaking of fires, the stories from Australia are saddening and terrifying. Rebekah Lo, my former student is a meteorologist in Australia, there with her husband who is a computer guru. She sent these photographs of pyroclastic clouds from the fires below, with this comment: made 1/3/20.
“From our flight from Melbourne to Sydney just now. These are pyrocumulus, clouds and dry thunderstorms formed from heat from strong fires. Incredible and frightening.”

I found on line a short, but instructive, video of their creation process taken July 29, 2018 during the Cranton Fire, located near Idyllwild and Mountain Center, CA:

Time Lapse of Pyrocumulus Cloud Formation

Good news from our old Geography professor at the University of Cincinnati, who lives in Kiama, Australia that the fires are close but not affecting them except with all the smoke and ash. They still have road access to Sydney for supplies and are not endangered in their home.
[Because of all the fire news from OZ, John has learned about an interesting plant found only there. Next Friday’s post by John will have it.]
I was very tired when I got home after running my chores around town and finally laid down at 5:00 p.m. and slept for 1.5 hours.

Bang & Boom! Our neighbors started early tonight, with closer ones just starting their booms. Hope it doesn’t scare our horses (through the trees) in the pasture behind their backyard.

It slowed down some, and then at 12:03 a.m. we had a display of crackling lights through fireworks way into the sky over the woods behind us – very large ones of various colors.
Seattle usually lights the sky above the Space Tower but winds above a threshold set by the Fire Marshal shut that down.

Wednesday, Jan 1 Happy New Year!

John’s Grandmother, when quite young, came from Béal an Átha Móir, meaning “mouth of the big ford” – The small Irish town Ballinamore in County Leitrim, Ireland.
He did not know her, but likes the connection and reads a little about the old culture. Thus, to all – –

May the Good Lord take a liking to you — but, not too soon.
May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door
May your pockets be heavy,
Your heart be light,
And may good luck pursue you
Each morning and night,
Like the warmth of the sun,
And the light of the day,
may the luck of the Irish shine bright on your way.

Bad night last night. People starting shooting off fireworks during the rain, early, but continued with a lot around 11:00 p.m., slacked off, but came back at midnight and pretty much over before 12:15 a.m.

Sadly, I was awakened at 2:55 and had trouble returning to sleep until 4:30, when I had to take care of the cats inside wanting out. Finally, with John’s help we got them back in, and I went back to bed, sleeping in until 8:30 almost. Not doing as well as I would like yet, but maybe getting some better.
We just went through an hour of hard blowing rain, and harder blowing winds, supposed to be up to 41 mph today. Sun has returned, and John is finally going out at 11:00 a.m. to feed the horses.
We need to start 2020 January calendar (large desktop one, that hangs on our kitchen wall to keep track of our activities).

John replaced the free firewood at the end of our drive. This isn’t the best of wood for the purpose. We noticed the large stores sell ¾ of a cubic food for about $4. The Gorilla Cart supposedly holds 6 cu. ft., but we don’t wrap it in plastic.

Thursday, Jan 2

We got the canvas heavy duty carrier bag of music paraphernalia to Amy. We waved to her and from there we went to Xerox audience copies. Now I have 25 copies. Residents keep taking them away, so we have to be more diligent with watching and telling them to leave them behind for the next group.
While at CWU, we met with Jen Lipton, taking her several magazines—camels for her son, and some map history magazines for her. We had a nice historical maps 2020 calendar that she hung in the Geography department workroom, so lots of people will see it. While there, we also went downstairs to the receptacle for recycling various batteries. Too bad I forgot my batteries replaced in computer laptops of the past. Now I know where it is on the first floor so I can go back with more.

Friday, Jan 3

Crazy morning that started too soon with a before 7:00 a.m. phone call I could have done without. Through the day, I had 3 scammer calls.
I spent a lot of time on the phone trying to correct account issues on a credit card. I continued taking Tussin DM Cough Suppressant and Expectorant that does seem to encourage getting rid of the phlegm. John read the label and says this isn’t a good idea – for me.

I left a message for Mike at Habitat for Humanity shop and found out later in the afternoon he’d retired.

I needed to leave a message for someone on messenger, which is accessible through Facebook, so got on for a minute and this photo essay came up on my timeline. So, I’ll share.
I have known David Covert most of the time I have been in Ellensburg (since 1988).HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL THE FOUR SEASONS by David Covert.

Go to W David Covert on his Facebook account to see all the photos in their entirety. His photography is excellent.

I was headed to Kittitas today to do some errands. It was a fascinating trip from our house at 2240’ higher in the Kittitas Valley, where it was sunny and 40°. As I rounded the curves in the Naneum and proceeded SE, I viewed the fog bank in the lower valley. I called John to alert him, and he checked the I-90 and I-82 cameras. See them below in his Friday column, Not So Nasty News. I drove east on Thomas Rd, just down from our house on Naneum, turned south onto Fairview and ran into the fog near a friend’s house up from the old Grange on the corner of Brickmill Rd. That’s where our local rural fire station is; 5 miles from our home. From there the fog became severe, and I turned on my headlights and slowed down. I only had 10 miles total to go, and the last few miles were like a winter wonderland with frozen fog grasping the weeds and the evergreens people have planted in the shrub-steppe environment. When I arrived at my intended destination, the temperature was down to 30°. Yes, cold air drains downhill (but wow, a decrease of 10° in 640’ elevation change). On my trip home, I actually didn’t come out of the fog until just south of Thomas Rd.!

Saturday, Jan 4 Happy Birthday, John!

John’s already received his birthday cake and had a piece yesterday. It’s chocolate frosted chocolate cake. Also I gave him his present early, when he was online Amazon ordering some stuff for us. I needed a carrier for my new 5 Terabyte external drive. While he was there he ordered King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
I was alarmed and had to give him his present early because I had bought a book of that title for him for a birthday present. Turns out a number of similar books have been written by different authors. First compiled in 1485 by a bloke in jail, named Thomas Malory. Thankfully, he was ready to order a different author from the one I bought him. My only choice was to give him the present to open. He is happy to have both, to go with his first copy of one of the series, by author Howard Pyle, who does great illustrations too, under the Dover Press label.

It was snowing for a few minutes this morning, but now the sun is out and the wind has slowed down. It was blowing hard again last night and throwing things around making noise.

At 10:00 a.m. John’s out to do morning feeding and pick up the newspaper. A few days ago after the high winds he had to re-hang the paper holder under our mail box that got blown on the ground. Everything was fine this morning.

The rest of the day was filled with mostly staying in the house working on projects, except for John’s getting the newspaper and picking up a couple magazines from the mailbox, plus normal feeding chores of the horses.

I continued with various projects (mostly on the computer), but also tackled the dishes so now we have a clean set to use for the next couple days. I’m finishing up the blog maybe a little earlier than usual on Sunday.

I was off and on Facebook (FB) today for various reasons, the most recent is developing an acquaintance with a newly found friend through a site I recently joined, named ‘UKC Photographers’ (Upper County Photographers)—We are in Kittitas County, hence the KC. I’m happy they let me in because I truly enjoy the activity on the site. I don’t reside in the “upper county” but we spend a lot of time up there, and even more in the past when we were riding the trails there long before the Suncadia development invaded the space. We still go to the Cle Elum Clinic for our doctor and medical needs. I learned of this FB site while visiting the Swauk-Teanaway Grange, for the community Christmas dinner we attend every year, and on Sundays for 2 years we went on Sundays for a Bluegrass jam session there. We support many activities at the Grange, including their scholarships given to high school graduates in Kittitas County, who are planning on going to college. It’s open to all high school students in the county.

At the Community Christmas dinner is where I met Ginger Stogdell, who is one of the founding members of the site, and she invited me to join the FB group. We shared our email addresses at the Christmas party, and then exchanged the photographs we took that night.

All this above is by introduction to another member (Katie Kallio) who this week submitted these photos below. I commented on them and asked about the content. My first comment was asking the location of the photograph and from where it was taken, and also if I was seeing what I thought in the lower part, near the middle, of a white building. I thought it looked very much like the Swauk-Teanaway Grange. I was correct, as Katie responded to me on line. We started a conversation privately, and realized we had at least two friends in common (FB friends are listed by name, if mutual, when a person accesses a specific FB account.) We kept visiting much of the day. I cannot wait to meet her in person. She gave me permission to post any of her photos in our weekly blog. So, here’s the first!“What a Difference a Day Makes”—by Katie Kallio

We did have an interesting supper tonight. John fixed small pieces of cut up chicken breast, and I combined mine with 1/3 of the leftover Top Ramen with added vegetables and tonight I added many little piece cut from the pieces John fried. In addition, we had some small cut slices of spicy Baguette bread, that had been doctored up. I no longer have the name on the package because I repackaged them and put a few into a sandwich bag in the frig and divided the rest between two plastic bags that went to the freezer. They work for salads or soups.

Nice ½ hour talk with sister, Peggy, wishing John a Happy birthday and reminiscing about the way their family handled birthday parties. Not all we talked about, but that was at the end of the conversation. The beginning was to wish John a Happy Birthday, which she’d already done with a mailed birthday card and a couple of emails. We have been so busy today, we haven’t responded to anyone who sent a card, but we are thankful!

Sunday, Jan 5

I’m checking with a fairly new EBRG medical facility – Urgent Care, near where we play music some Saturdays. They open at 10:00 on Sunday. I’m wanting to see if they can check for a virus. My BP is way high.

On the way into EBRG I can stop at Warren’s place to pick up my Black Bag of music and we picked it up on our way by their house to urgent care.

Went to Urgent Care; and was diagnosed as “pneumonia cannot be ruled out” or maybe “bronchitis” and started on two medications to curtail it, but they didn’t have access to the previous X-ray from KVH-Cle Elum to compare. I’m going to go see my PCP tomorrow afternoon if they can work me in, for her opinion. Regardless, I need to have an INR before starting on high dosage of antibiotics and to deliver today’s chest X-ray on a CD for comparison to what’s in their system. I went today to urgent care, because I had very high blood pressure and they took me off the Tussin, (which had never increased it in the past). Gave me a “flu” test (swabs of my nose), and a chest X-ray. It took 3 hours out of our day, without truly knowing the answer. At least by the time I got there my BP was down to 132/70, which is still high, but nothing like it was in the early morning. And flu was ruled out (we have had our flu shots). [I use a battery powered wrist cuff for BP, and that might be an issue.]

We made it home at dusk – still some color in the things about, and John was able to care for the horses without having to use lights, and we have eaten a little. I took my first pill when home and will take the other before bedtime. There is heavy snow in the Cascades but not on this side yet. That’s the forecast, too, for all this coming week.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan