The Lion came in . . . and we ate crêpes

Saturday, Mar 1

Got the blog posted, from the old computer in the back room. One picture thumbnail did not work without the click on the image to see the whole picture. Now the theory about his dying computer and being related to the error didn’t hold up. Yet, now the question remains.
I sat down to write a note to a friend, and realized it was the first day of March, which reminded me I had forgotten the old adage… lamb and lion… will have to look up or ask John. I looked it up on the web and was educated to the old children’s poem I do not remember: [John: maybe because it is a new poem?]

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
By Lorie Hill
March roars in like a lion
So fierce,
The wind so cold,
It seems to pierce.
The month rolls on
And spring draws near,
And March goes out
Like a lamb so dear

Then the site (for Oklahoma teachers) goes on to tell the K-7 folks, this clarification: Before improved animal husbandry made lamb available year round, lamb meat was only available in spring. For that reason, lamb was associated with spring and called “spring lamb.” Spring is the time when most farm animal babies are scheduled to be born. [John: Spring is the time of strengthening Sun, warmth, rain, and of new growth – grass, legumes, and forbs. Mama has lots to eat and the baby gets lots of fresh milk.]
Here I am, 70 years old and still learning. The rest of the day will be involved with John cleaning off the counter and setting up his fixed computer. I have several projects to work on some from my recliner with laptop there, and some cleaning in the kitchen. We have had our lunch, so that’s off the list.
John emptied the freezer so we could get rid of all the built up frost. The temperature is in the 20s and supposed to not go above 24 for two days. He sat all the stuff outside under the overhang of the roof, or eaves. There was some snow that blew onto the packages but it came off easily before going back in. I managed to wash the towels he messed up changing the filters, and what a happy person I was, when the clothes washer poured water in like old times. Guess it was the dirty-filter-caused problem. Now my shower will act better too, with more pressure! [John: hot water has 2 filters to get through so after about 3 months the flow reduction becomes noticeable] Rather than put it back, he brought me a Marie Callendar Razzelberry pie to thaw and cook. I took care of that. Now it has to cool for 3 hrs “for best results” – which, we think, means don’t burn your mouth. I have continued working on various projects, especially fine-tuning some chord changes and additions by Evelyn, via email, after she found them using her keyboard on the score.

Sunday, Mar 2

It’s snowing hard here 100% chance all day, 24°, and the pass looks worse. Neither one of us slept well last night. John’s still miserable and now add a cold to the mix. I’m sorry. I guess I gave it to him. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and then I can start the dishwasher. Meanwhile, trying to finish music to get out to people hopefully as early as tomorrow, so they can print it off. Jeez, our Internet just went down, when I was switching jobs from kitchen dish & counter clean-up, and drying clothes washed earlier, and intending to work some on my jobs list, before sending off my music to the group. Then I was finally going to switch back to going through paperwork for taxes. I planned to put my computer by an external drive and backup everything on it, in case it takes a notion to screw up as John’s did. I managed to back up a lot, one folder at a time (not the most efficient way) and am feeling some better about that. Will learn how to automate the whole process, soon. Made some progress on sending out job announcements, and got all my music for the next two months sent. We both are still sick, however, and it snowed some today and tonight. The Lion marched in. Get the pun? Mountain passes are a mess, frequently closed, meaning traffic piles up in the small communities on either side of the Mountains. Local businesses benefit from that.

Monday, Mar 3

Called Group Health to find out what they have paid and what paperwork they have on a bill from Dr. Cardon for an end of January visit in Yakima. Found out more about backing up my system from the gurus that John had build his computer and now, recently, fixed it. We gave them a tin of chocolate candy for their efforts. Also doing much needed organization while backing up. I’m staying home to recover today. Our colds are still ongoing and mine is not too much better, especially my aggravating cough. I finally got through and received sort of an answer from Group Health on my foot care bill. They have paid for previous visits and this was no different, so they are sending a question through to Claims to see if the wrong code was used, or what. My one doctor’s visits claim goes through May 21, ’14, and another expired August 16, 2013, but the same thing has been done each time, and they paid for the visits in June, Sept, and October. I’m being charged for January’s, and my contact said it was not because of the deductible, so who knows? And, who knows how long I have to wait for an answer. It’s now Friday as I review this, and I have heard nothing from Group Health (no surprise, actually). When all this crazy stuff disappears the world will be a better place.
I’m currently backing up my computer’s hard drive, completely. It is the first time for this so it seems a slow process. Nice thing is it works on its own and I don’t have to intercede each time a folder is finished. Some folders yesterday were taking 15 minutes to back up. This Sunday, it will only have to do the files that have changed. I just have to remember to plug in the external drive to my computer by 7:00 p.m. when it is scheduled to back up. John’s colossal system has an external drive (under a foam dust catcher) connected by an 18 inch cable. I move the lap top around so I’ll just have to plug the drive (it has been sitting here for several years, unused) in each Sunday. I have remained in the house, while John is helping get wood in our truck for a friend who lives 1-1/2 miles away. The woman’s middle aged son came to help. They likely only got 3/4 of a cord of dry wood. Other dry pieces are not cut to firewood length but can be quickly after the snow and wind go away. Still, 3/4 of a cord is a lot of wood and it may last until the temps warm enough that she won’t need more until fall. Would have been nice to know sooner (in good weather) that she was about to run out.
Then an email from our friend the winemaker/viticulturist at White Heron made me do a double take, considering John’s condition, and the request for him to start wine grapevine pruning tomorrow. The forecast for tomorrow’s weather was “just okay” but for Wednesday it was decidedly not promising. John got back to Cameron that he MIGHT be ready to try on Thursday.
The disk backup finished on the entire hard drive of my Laptop. Finally. The computer types do not want to work on a computer without backing up the main hard drive (assuming it is okay) and if you haven’t done that recently it takes a long time – as I just learned. John’s automatic backup saved this step and a $100 charge when his system went haywire. Now I’m in a similar place and it feels good. And, I could still work on the computer while it backed up. Multi-tasking is the name of the game, and computers do it quite well; better than many people. [Actually, the system does time slicing but the processor is so fast we don’t notice the stop-pause-resume nature of the activity.]

Tuesday, Mar 4 Happy Fat Tuesday !

John’s sister sent this: “Just want to wish you a Happy Fat Tuesday, or in the Cleveland Polish area, (Parma), Happy Paczki day. Just saw on TV at a bakery in Amherst Ohio people have been lined up for hours to buy Paczki (pronounced poonch-key). In case you don’t know, they are Polish jelly doughnuts, fried, with 400 calories and 25 grams of fat per Paczki.
Also filled with cream, which I like better. At the bakery in Amherst they sold 73,000 last year and will break the record this year. They have tents up with heaters so people can try to stay warm. It’s 5 degrees here this morning.”
John wrote back: Only 400 calories? Get me a box! Make that 2 boxes. Nevermind. I’ll make my own for about 15 cents each; add filling and that makes it cost 25 cents.”
She wrote us back that a friend bought six for $7. She also gave us this link for our enjoyment: Check out Kiedrowski Bakery in Amherst, OH. Be sure to check out Snoogles on the site, Peggy’s favorite. John went on to give her a weather report. Looks like you get one more night of very cold, and then you’ll start to warm up. Read the following. You will feel better. Our friends, Fred & Ann Joyal, we’ve known since 1971, live in Marquette, MI.
The Great Lakes are mostly frozen. Greater than 90%. Lake Ontario is deep and has a relatively small surface area so it will usually not completely freeze over. Niagara Falls is mostly frozen and the web is full of photos of the ice and night shots with colored lights. Try this link . And go here for the Frozen Great Lakes story. And now for an impressive large satellite view of the snow and ice covered eastern North America. When this image comes up, you should be able to click on it and blow it up, and it will show faint black outlines of the Lakes. Cool.
Back to home: Most of the day was on small projects around the house, mostly on my computer. A lot more time finalizing the collection of songs to hand out on Thursday.
Interesting dinner. While John cleaned out the chest freezer over the past several days, he found some cooked roast beef and another package with some tomatoes, onions, with rice or barley. He merged them tonight into a great stew. Happy to report I completed our volunteer hours summary to send to R.S.V.P. today. We have to have it in by the 5th of the month. The short February didn’t help.

Wednesday, Mar 5

John set bales of hay in the back of the pickup and positioned it just at the pasture gate. If the weather is okay for grapevine pruning, he can feed the horses quickly and head out. The dogs miss their morning exercise but make it up when he gets home. Today Evelyn and I met at the Food Bank and provided music, for a half hour. Then we ate, a roast beef stir fry with rice, green mixed salad, and some sort of spice cake with blue berry swirl ice cream for dessert. Then off to SAIL. On to the grocery for John’s preventative eye medication ointment and some colas I got for him. Tonight I loaded the winery’s number into his cell phone and showed him how to use it. I had written instructions, because it’s quite different from the old one. He knows how to call me at home, on my cell, or he can call his sister or White Heron (where he will be pruning). [She makes it sound like I have dementia; I don’t; I’m just a tad ornery.] I worked some more on music, emails, and my jobs list. Now we are trying to go to bed early because of getting up early, and also because I didn’t sleep well last night.
Last week I promised some pictures from the Friday Alzheimer’s Fundraiser Bingo at the Senior Center. I found out when I went in today, they are on line on Facebook, so I grabbed a few of me and my friends. I specifically took the purple hat (remember, purple is the color of the day), and was sure to get it in the pictures of my wins so I can share with my thank you note to the knitter, who volunteers her talents. Click these to see the big picture.

Nancy in purple with winning Bingo card
Nancy at Bingo AAC lots of purple, incl. table cloth, knit hat, swetter
Thursday, Mar 6

John was off at 7:30 a.m. to prune wine grapevines at White Heron (elevation 800 feet). When he left, the temperature on our front porch (elevation 2,240 feet) was 32 but 42 at the airport. Supposedly, an hour later it is 48, and at 9:00 a.m., 50, and now it’s 52. Wow–that’s well above the forecast high for today. The vines are on a south facing, sunny, slope. Nice. I will quit the hour by hour weather report. I hope he makes it through the day all right without a lot of pain. It was looking nice with blue skies and sun, but now the clouds are building in the NW. He thought he might see a little rain (he didn’t). His cold is some better but mine’s still hanging on. I spent a lot of time working on the jobs list last night and this morning. Have about caught up. Now to punch holes in music copies and store them in their folders for 4 of our players today who cannot print their own. I needed to make a telephone call to the Wall Street Journal in Massachusetts during business hours, a 3 hour time difference. Did and found my good price in 2006 has nearly doubled from $59.95 to $99.95/yr, and that’s still WAY off the normal price. I have a request in to see what the lowest rate is they can provide me, and let them know I’m willing to pay for another 8 years in advance 🙂 Will have to wait for their decision. Otherwise, without the educational discount, they expect folks to pay $399/yr and that’s without coupons to our local grocery stores. So it won’t happen, and besides, Bill Gates likely gets his free.
Call from John, from the rest stop about 5 minutes from the vineyard — so that means my efforts with getting his phone going worked. On his way home, he stopped and bought 9 of the Honeycrisp apples, in a box for $10. He weighed the largest tonight and it was 22 ounces. Not quite 1-1/2 pounds. We surely like those sweet large apples. They’re good raw and John makes a nice apple pie from them too. He has made a cobbler with blueberries and strawberries in it — why not throw in some apples too, or “pair” them with one of the others we have in the freezer. We might be down on our cherries, however, because our trees did not produce this year. [4 pounds left]
I was gone to play music before he got home, and we had a pretty good time with our first time through the songs I’ve been working so long on. Many are included which we have never played together as a group, and a few are included that some people have never heard, known, or played. Our members there included 2 guitars, banjo, tambourine, bass, and 2 fiddles. Upon arriving home, I found the box of apples on the porch, with a sack and my name. It was a gift from the wife of one of the pruners, who knits. She had knitted me a pair of leggings like I admired at the Raclette in January. If you look back on that web page, you will see my photo of her sitting around the bonfire wearing them. I’m so excited. I shall wait to take my picture in them when I use them. Maybe there is yet time this winter. 🙂
We hope to go to bed early tonight. That means in 3 minutes! Tomorrow he is leaving for pruning at 7:30 am.

Friday, Mar 7

Made it to bed last night and the phone rang at 10:02 the result of a friend’s redial the last number called feature on his phone. Unfortunately, it was to me and not the one who’d called. I was frightened by the phone call so late at night from him (saw it on the Caller ID), and figured it was an emergency with him or his wife. He is one of our musicians. Today he called and told me it was a question about his recent outpatient procedure at our local hospital. I explained it was not a prank call. I experienced that from my stays (out and in-patient) at the hospital several years ago. Everyone receives a follow-up call from an opinion survey agency, checking on your experience with the staff, during the procedure. We both wish they would not do that. If a person has a problem, they will contact the hospital directly.
I got a fair amount of things taken care of today in the stack of materials. I had to involve our Geography Department chair to intervene with the Wall St. Journal to verify my connection still to CWU. He wrote a nice letter. I hope to hear Monday morning that they accepted it. Would be nice to keep it coming at the educational discount and save us $300.
John took off for White Heron just after 7:30 and finished up on time today. When he got home, ten deer were in the driveway. He had to shoo them off before coming on in, because the 4 dogs are expecting their run. As soon as he comes through the door they burst out and John, the cats, deer and anything else best be out of the way.
I’ve been working on the “books” all morning. Things such as renewing license tabs for the vehicles, and filing things that have built up over the past month (or more). John was tired when he got home and exercised the dogs, so he rested awhile before going out for the night feedings. Tonight there were no deer but there were 2 Canada Geese flying about and honking like a Coyote had just pulled a tail feather. They came from the west at just tree height and made about 3 loops around the neighborhood, getting lower all the while. They came over his head (and the dogs) at about 60 to 80 feet, then looped again back across Naneum Road and landed at the neighbor’s where a small creek (irrigation ditch) with brush and trees cuts across. They seemed to be settling in for the night. It was just before dusk. Maybe they are settling to wait for dawn and a breakfast of leftover oats from the nearby field?

Saturday, Mar 8

Tonight we attend a fundraising dinner & auction at the Eagles in Cle Elum, for the benefit of the Swauk-Teanaway Grange. The reason for the fundraiser (only every 3 years) is the continuing cost to keep the Grange Hall open. Many of these have closed as the rural folks thinned out and aged. This one has some younger locals that have transformed it into more of a social community center. In 2011 they collected $18,000. It costs a minimum of $8,000/year for operating expenses, and some years closer to $10,000. Expenses include fixed costs as property taxes and insurance, as well as utility costs for things such as propane and electricity, and a paved parking area. Costs come from maintenance of the floor finish, for painting walls and woodwork, and for buying kitchen and restroom supplies. Because it is a Community meeting place, investments have to be put in things that keep it a safe and comfortable place for the many people at their events, the people who rent the hall for their weddings, and the many other uses of the hall for informational meetings, bluegrass jams, square dancing, or fundraisers for other organizations. The chef is noted for making crêpes so John says we are going to be fed thin pancakes. Probably not simple ones, though.

Recently, way across the Pacific Ocean there was a typhoon called Faxai. Remnants of the moisture raised from the warm water over there have entrained in a “river of air” (RA) headed our way. From Oregon, thru WA, and on up into B.C. there will be heavy precipitation and then quick rises on the west facing slope rivers. Winds, downed trees, and mud slides will be on the Seattle evening news. There is something to be said for being on this side of the mountains. Let the March Lion roar, we’re off to eat crêpes.

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan