Sunday, May 18
Early morning alarms with horses can stop any time now. This morning early, one of our horses, Jazz, escaped we think under a temporary fenced part of our back yard [opposite side of the house from the regular pasture] where they can get to for fresh grass. After his escape he was outside the regular fence looking back at the other four that he could not get to. So he was moving along the fence — running back and forth beneath our tamaracks and walnut trees near the lilac bush that we photographed for last week’s blog. This is a narrow space between the house and the pasture. John saw Jazz go by the window of the room where the old computer is and alerted me. We opened a gate into a small pen that at that moment did not have any horses in it but does lead into the pasture. He quickly went in. He doesn’t want to be caught when he is “free” like that but will go into a round pen with the command “go home” – and then he will turn and face John and is quite nice about being handled, haltered, and so on.
I have been working on the medical questionnaire for over an hour, and still have two pages of a registration to fill in for my Tuesday afternoon appointment.
Then I need to work on the Labor Department questionnaires.
In addition, after lunch, we need to get Breeze into the corral to doctor his eye. I was able to walk up to him and hold his halter while petting all the others, but we were not able to get medicine into his eye (no surprise). We have no way of sedating him as the vet did yesterday. John took the dogs for their exercise, and now is mowing. It has been windy all day, and threatening rain. I spent awhile on the phone with a friend in Oregon, while John dug a narrow ditch to drain water around the new strawberries. We’ve commandeered a natural low spot for this garden and are slowly filling and leveling. Spring melt water and a high creek makes this area damp but this year made it wet! Where tomatoes and corn grew last summer is now soppy. The strawberries are looking great – except there are a few weeds, mostly Malva parviflora (Cheeseweed), still to be pulled.
I came back in the house to mail some stuff to my friend about potential jobs and about folk music. I mixed in some dish cleaning and fixed food for the outside (and inside) cats. All five outside ones were there tonight, and Rascal was inside while they ate.
Monday, May 19
Strange early morning call confirming my medical records for tomorrow’s computerized tomography (CT) or computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan because use of amiodarone can cause lung scars. I have been on it for 4 years, and doing well. It’s for atrial fibrillations, of which I have had none. It requires a pulmonary function test annually. Learn more here.
Then John and I spent a good amount of time on the Internet, but now when I need to access it, it is down. He is out running the dogs. I received ANOTHER Out of Area call (no number shown), and I answered it to tell them to quit calling. This was for the Navajo relief group. I told them to put me on the do-not-call list, and that I was already supporting a Navajo student. The guy claimed he would put me on the do not call list–actually the call was to John “HILTqueest.”
Now the Internet is totally down, and we have been on the phone forever only to find that person cannot help us and will report to the local office, and it may be the next business day. Good grief. That’s insane. Also, my phone call from Valley Imaging (Yakima) could not get through to our home telephone this morning, but now that number is working. The Internet came back on within a half hour, after the end of our phone conversation. We suppose businesses using the Internet were right on them immediately. Dishes in washer, John has been mowing around all sides of the house, and we await a load of sand. The sand was delivered, but not before the heavy truck sunk into the track going to the round pen – past the wet garden. The truck went across, leaving tire tracks only about an inch deep and only slightly moist. Then getting turned around the front wheels started to sink. He backed up, dumped the sand and made a running start to get out. We figured it would be easier being many tons lighter, but it was still a challenge. The explanation is filed under the heading thixotropic . Note the wording used therein — deposited in the past by low-velocity streams which tend to deposit fine-grained sediment. Exactly the sort of thing that would happen on the ancient Naneum (alluvial) Fan. John will move some of this material and fill the spot with rocks and cover with gravel although it is only the high water table causing the problem.
I just checked. We received 31,320 pounds (15.66 tons) and it cost $140.16, the hauling cost was 81.43, and the tax 17.73 … totaling, $239.32. That’s just $0.0076 per pound! John says Earth probably tilted a bit from the weight change from one end of the valley to the other. Did you feel it?
The truck had passed over and turned completely around when the front wheels sunk – he has just backed away. The soft place is just a few feet wide and long. The rest of the area barely showed tire tracks from the truck and its load of sand.
This much grocery store bottled water would cost you about $50,000.
Tuesday, May 20
Three appointments in Yakima — 9:30 CT scan at Valley Imaging, 11:00 for a Pulmonary Function Test that takes an hour, and a 1:30 appointment at the same location. We went to Costco before the last one. I will likely be worn out by the end of the day and not have the energy to play music at 6:30 p.m. in Ellensburg.
Well, I have quite a story to tell, but I don’t have the energy tonight. As expected, I was worn out and couldn’t make it to play music. Okay, here’s a try at reviewing 2 days later, with a nice full night’s sleep. We left the house at 8:00 a.m., making it to the first appointment a little ahead of time for a 9:40 appointment for a CT scan. Interesting they told us to park on the south side of the building, in the only parking lot for the building. The gal that told me must have no idea of directions. It was completely on the north side, and nothing was available on the south side except a garbage dumpster. I did not have to wait too long to be admitted and whisked off (with John) to another waiting room. We were quietly waiting when a friend (husband of the Geography secretary) came into the room. He does CT scheduling, and scans, so saw my name on the schedule and came down to say hello. That was a pleasant surprise. Not too many minutes and I got to a changing room and on to the examination room. I was concerned about having to hold my arm above my head for 20 minutes, and was told I could put my left arm down for the high resolution scanning of my lungs. It worked. The left arm would never have made it up and the right one was extremely sore during and afterwards. From there we could go eat something (I couldn’t eat anything 4 hours prior to the scan). We went to Jack in the Box and got two large breakfast sandwiches. Mine was free (2.99) and John’s we paid for (3.49), but considering we both ate for the price of one, was fine. It was sufficient to tide us through without lunch.
We went on to the Yakima Heart Center for my Pulmonary Function Test. Didn’t have to wait long at all, and I was pleased with the technician and the test. I will drive back the 50 miles next year to Yakima for my test rather than have it here in Ellensburg. Then we decided we had time to go to Costco before being back at the same building as the Yakima Heart Center for a 1:30 appointment. On our way there, we drove around the old residential neighborhoods, looking at the flowering bushes. The very pretty flowering trees were past their prime, yet we saw rhododendrons — the WA State Flower, roses, some azaleas, and most exciting to me, camellias. I grew up in Atlanta, with a mom who specialized in camellia bushes/trees, not for making tea, but for the beautiful blooms. She loved to make corsages for others, or me, but mostly to give away. They are pretty in a bowl of water as a centerpiece. At the time, I knew the name of all 24 plants she had around the front yard. I still have a mental map of some of them. A beautiful deep red one was Jarvis. Pink Perfection was another, and another pink variegated one was Hermes. I have been sitting here racking my brain to pull out some names, and am having no luck. I looked on line and cannot find any familiar names. I can visualize flower images but not connect with any names. I cannot believe that some of the old ones don’t still exist somewhere. I took photos with a cell phone but the quality is poor. This tree shows well enough – it does not appear to be a tree covered with a vine or moss. So what is it?
Finally, my favorite memories — Camellias. These were in front of the Centro de fe Cristiano Cuadrangular, or the Yakima Spanish Foursquare Church. This church and the entire neighborhood is on an upslope just west of the downtown area. It is the original nice neighborhood of Yakima but not old when compared to eastern US or European cities. The town did not exist prior to 1885 and this residential area is more recent.
My next appointment was at 1:30 with Dr. Kumar for a sleep consultation requested by my cardiologist. My prior work you have heard about preparing for this visit required filling in a 13-page questionnaire to which 99% of the answers were N/A or NO. He was very informative and obviously had reports from my doctor and knew a lot about my medical history. That’s always positive. He spoke, very generally, of some people with serious sleep issues – interesting but not anything like me. Still, he can’t tell much without an overnight sleep evaluation test so I am scheduled for it June 19. I have to be there by 8:30 p.m., and they have a room like a nice large motel room, with a hospital bed (double), TV and WIFI, with a nice bathroom and shower. They hook me up and have an observation camera for contact. They hope I will sleep for 6 hrs of evaluation, but if I need to go to the bathroom, I have to announce it so they can remove the wires. Then I’m awakened at 5:30. I think that was the schedule. I don’t have to leave until I’m ready, and can have juice and pastries for breakfast and take a shower before I leave for home. I will be able to drive myself down and back. My car will be parked under lights, and the parking lot is monitored by guards.
Wednesday, May 21
Dropped off clothes at a friend’s on my way to the Food Bank, and carried along some paperback books to put in the library at the Senior Center. One was a Zane Gray book, which they said the guys really like to read. Will play music at the food bank, eat, and go on to the activity center for SAIL exercise. Gave two of the books away to a woman I was eating with at the food bank (Word and number puzzle books). She lives in a motor home in Fred Meyer’s parking lot. I also gave her a ride back a couple blocks to it. I guess she moves around town parking places until they ask her to move. She likes to be near the library where she can work on puzzles. I don’t know what she will do when it gets really hot or cold. She has no a/c or heat. I’m often asked about volunteering music at the Food Bank and in assisted living and retirement homes. Usually, the conversation is complimentary, but occasionally someone comments they could never go into such an environment, as it would be too depressing. I have a tendency to get involved in talking with people and it’s surprising what they tell me. Saddest thing now is hearing stories from homeless people at the Food Bank, or watching residents in assisted living homes deteriorate and pass on. More than once, we have been asked to do remembrance celebrations of waltzes for a person who loved our music, or the happier is being asked to play music for a birthday party, while they are still alive.
Thursday, May 22
Started early with a phone call to the neighbor south of us, one of 3 with whom we share irrigation water (from a ditch). I had problems with my computer starting last night that supposedly blocked a malware threat involved with my .pdf-making files software. I called our local computer guru group, but they didn’t know. What was happening was that when I tried to open any other malware program to check for threats, up would pop a warning message from Spyware Terminator 2012 saying it had prevented a threat, but then it would not let me open any of the other software. We worked on several things and finally I went to play music at Hearthstone. I was the lone fiddler, with four guitars and a banjo. We had the largest turnout ever in the audience. They love us and participate very well. End of another busy day, in the afternoon, with storm clouds threatening. I continued working on cleaning dishes, and dealing with computer problems. John and Annie went out working together to build another temporary fence to allow the horses access to the grass from the house out to Naneum Road. Annie mostly hunted for shrews. John built a barricade making some use of the wood pallets acquired last year. He isolated the car parking area, front yard, and some plants. The entrance/exit of our driveway at the road can be closed and with that done the five horses have ¾ of an acre of new grass to munch – and John will then mow. They don’t do a very neat job.
Friday, May 23
Whoopee — washed a load of dishes before leaving for a scholarship luncheon, close to the CWU post office where I sent stuff off to a few former students, such as a Master’s Thesis, some maps, and a couple of Aramco Worlds to my friend teaching in Geography at CWU (it just went through intra office mail). Luncheon was in the same building but I had to leave the parking space and drive 1/2 way around the block to the other side of Facilities. We had a fantastic chicken chili — white beans, tomatoes, peppers, and cornbread, plus all sorts of toppings. I filled up after a tiny breakfast of a small piece of pastry. Oh, forgot the magnificent cheesecake with a lemon frosting type deal, and for our beverage was a large cup of pineapple, orange, and white grape juice with Sprite. From there to the hospital lab, for the routine blood draw. Late afternoon, I heard that the INR reading today was down to a respectable 2.4 (my target is 2.5) from the 3.2 last week. No clue why the difference. At least I don’t have to go again for a blood draw for another month. Also, I finally managed to give John a much-needed haircut. Now he’s willing to go in public again with me. He has spent a lot of time weeding cheeseweed from the new garden and spraying weeds and brush. He moves the horses around to different pastures throughout the day, exercises the dogs, feeds the outside cats (sometimes 5), and moves hoses and plants around. [She means the ones not yet planted – still in peat pots.] I made progress working over an hour finalizing the questionnaires on what a geographer is or does in a job with that title from the Dept. of Labor. I still have two of the five to finish. We do not have any away-from-home activities to attend this long weekend, so there is time to catch up.
Saturday, May 24
Spent some time finishing up a piece of music, Kentucky Waltz, in two keys, to decide which to put it in for the main singers’ voices. I still haven’t decided between C and D. I’m leaning toward C. I even took my fiddle out to check it out in C, but have to do it yet for D. This was a song written (notes & lyrics) in 1942 by Bill Monroe. What a talented guy. Various You Tubes exist, and I like the one with his singing with Emmy Lou Harris. John worked on weeds (mowing wild iris around the pasture). It is vegetation neither the horses or deer will eat – it can have poison but tastes bad to them so the plants can take over an area wit appropriate moisture and soil conditions. Mowing prevents the spread by seed. Some neglected fields in our area seem completely covered.
I worked for some time on the Dept. of Labor questionnaires, and now am finally ready to mail them (all 5). I guess I can spend the $40 cash they sent me. It was surely poor hourly pay for my consultation. I need to change chores. John took a quick nap after mulching hundreds of very pretty purple Iris. The winds have increased to 40 mph gusts, sustained at 32 mph. Our neighbor to the west through the trees and riparian land has been making loud noise all morning, setting up large speakers for his annual Memorial Day Weekend party, we guess. It stopped, and then started again, so the party must be in progress and they stopped to eat. The wind is so “loud” that we can barely hear it at times, but it is still audible. If there in person, my eardrums would be affected.
We are going into a cool period for a few days. Thursday we had a high of 87. For this coming Wednesday the forecast if for a high of 62. The change is being brought to us by an air mass off of the northern Pacific Ocean – now arriving as 40 mph gusts. Bummer.
Our wishes for you are for a nice long weekend in celebration of Memorial Day. We will put out our flags at the road, in and on the rock crib. We are right on a curve where people are supposed to slow down, so we get lots of comments on our flag display (even though we are not on a thoroughfare and just have local neighbors north in 3 directions within a couple of miles).
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan