Things on the highways

Sunday, June 1

Slept in again, and have been working on chores all day. It’s now late afternoon, but John is not scheduled to appear for another couple hours. He had a 2 hour drive today, and I will hear later about the workload. I turned on the a/c after seeing it made it to 86 at the airport. I do not think it’s that high in the shade of our porch but it is hot. Tried setting up my backup drive and it is not recognizing it. I don’t understand why not. I will try again, closer to the scheduled time of backing up tonight. John just called from Leavenworth and plans to be home by 6:00. He made it and we were late eating a chef salad I made. Now it is almost 9:00.
I fiddled all day and only finished a couple of things. One was a letter of recommendation for a friend since the 1990s (my student originally).
The other was my first of the month tally of our volunteer work in the county. I put in 28 hours, (not counting the music prep — just the performance, John 13.5, and I report for my 83 year old guitar buddy who doesn’t have a computer, but plays with our group, so 17 for him. I constructed a sympathy card/letter for a former student who’s mom died (she was a trick rider in her younger days, and appeared on the 1995 Ellensburg telephone directory as one [of 4] “Rodeo Grandmas”). Her name was Peggy Hunt.

Monday, June 2

Good grief, up early (5:00 a.m.) because I couldn’t get comfortable, and got a phone call at 7:24 a.m. from a neighbor about our shared water. Now it’s after lunch, and we went on a walk through the 7 acres, for John to redirect the irrigation water from the caller to a closer neighbor. (Click image for large view).
A one foot wide water irrigation ditch flowing under a wire fence
John in red shirt and blue hat drags a gray tarp through a fence line blue pipe gate

The first photo is at the low (south) end of our pasture. Naneum Creek is west of us and the diversion is ¼ mile north. The “ditch” comes in at the high point of our north fence line and makes 3 turns before heading south – then it is about 800 feet to the point in the first photo. The once “Blue Gate” (right photo) is just to the right of the current ditch but until a few years ago the trench went under the gate. John’s carrying a tarp to replace an old one. Most of the tarps sold as “dams” are bright orange plastic (100 ft. roll; cut as needed). This one (gray and white) is recycled from a hay covering business in town. Here’s my story about hay, from a couple of years ago. There is a tarped hay photo just up from the bottom. Finally, videos of the tarp dam-building process.
Movie; 1 min. 25 sec.
Just 25 sec here.
You will see that three of our Brittanys like to help John. This work is to divert water onto the field directly below us. For the past week, it has been going to the next neighbor downhill. The dogs check water depth, temperature, and decrease the clarity, but otherwise are not very useful. Interestingly, when we arrived here in 1989, the other 3 places getting water this way had manly help. One fellow left on his own, one was booted out by his wife, and the third has aged to the point of advice-giver only. A micro-statement of some of the problems facing our generation.
Back indoors, I have been dealing with email stuff for various things, some paying bills, and some notifying folks for upcoming events at CWU, primarily for Marilyn Mason’s retirement party. Marilyn has been our department secretary since 1997, but has actually worked at CWU for 33 years total. John hooked up my external backup drive disk to his computer, and his is not recognizing it either. I will take it to our computer guys to have them test it. I hope it is just a cable gone bad and not the whole shebang. If it is the disk, I hope they can retrieve all my back up files, or I suppose I will have to buy a new one and hook it up to my computer and start from scratch. This computer, however, does not have all the stuff on it that the external drive does — because it was bought previously to copy off the hard disk of a “crashed” disk on another laptop (or maybe two previous ones). An hour and a half nap helped us both this afternoon. That’s an unusual treat. When the Sun starts its dive toward the great Pacific Ocean John heads back out to attend to garden, horses, cats, and retreive the newspaper. The dogs help with all of those, just as they do with the irrigation sets.

Tuesday, June 3

Off after lunch to Yakima Heart Center with a friend. Both of us scheduled appointments the same day so I could give her a ride. It’s a 100-mile round trip. Both John’s and my cars know the route by heart (pun intended). My routine checkup was completed 5 minutes after her exam started, so I had a little wait, but I went outside the waiting room, where I could talk on my cell phone. I made a few necessary calls before she arrived, but she found me and said she has to come back tomorrow, and could I bring her down? What am I to say–no? I did say I couldn’t go until after our events I must do are over–noon music at the food bank and the exercise class. However, I said I could miss exercise if we could push the time up on the appt. She is also in the exercise class. We went back in to change the time, but the 4:00 p.m. time was the ONLY opening for a Vascular imaging test of her legs. So, we will both attend the exercise class and leave from there. That will give me an hour’s wait while she is having the test so I will go shopping at Costco. On the way back through town to let my rider off at her house north of town, I stopped and left my external hard drive for a testing evaluation. The person there was not the normal one (or 3) I normally go through, and he took it, but wrote and made me initial a work order for an evaluation diagnosis. (That costs $43). I’m not happy with that, if it occurs, but I also need to have an external working backup drive. It will be nice if it is just a cable problem. On the other hand, even if I have to buy a new one, they will charge me for it, and also the time (probably an hour), to copy the stuff from the broken one to the new one (if they can retrieve it). I have at least 3 computers’ worth on that Terabyte drive.

Wednesday, June 4

Started the morning by picking up farm eggs from neighbor at 10:00 a.m. (she already had them in 2 cartons). We trade our frozen raspberries for them. Our frozen berry collection is dwindling so we will be ready for the fresh strawberry onslaught soon. We have many blossoms and reds starting out there now. The day-neutral (everbearing) ones John planted this year seem to have had a hard time – just about half are alive. Last year’s plantings have totally filled in – weather? or plants? or what? – no clue! We hope the new ones come around. They are supposed to be firmer than the other variety day-neutral ones we now have – many of which are not worth carrying from the garden. I have to do my normal Wednesday things, but leaving earlier today for the Food Bank music to meet a man in the parking lot to transfer a large corduroy curtain/drape for a patio door, which his wife is giving to some people who live at Elmview to make craft projects they sell at the Farmers’ Market. Elmview is a private non-profit organization, started in 1965 by parents and community members concerned about people with developmental disabilities. Note, from their website. Interesting their starting year was the year John and I met for the first time in Cincinnati, OH in our first graduate program. At the Food Bank Soup Kitchen, our music goes until 12:30, and then we are fed. However, today, I could not stay to eat because nothing on the menu is allowed on my “medical” diet. It was Corned Beef and cabbage, with dark green cooked vegetables. So, after saying my adieus, I went to Burger King and used a $4 off coupon for my lunch. Came back, picked up my meds, and put in the cooler John had packed for my trip to Costco later today. Then off to exercise class, where after class we left (with the woman I took yesterday with me to the Yakima Heart Center), back down the interstate (I-82) for another test, which was supposed take an hour. We got there early, so I parked under a shade tree and made some calls to see if I could find a ride for her in the future to save on my time and expense. She had a stent put in less than a month ago. She cannot drive herself, and her daughter has to take off from work (unpaid) to take her. After several phone calls with leads from RSVP in Ellensburg, I called about transportation. She is not on Medicaid, and therefore not eligible for most public services. She cannot ride the commercial bus transportation because she needs door-to-door service, cannot walk far, and would not have a ride from the bus station in Yakima. I’m following up on one other lead in Ellensburg, because the one possible ride I found for seniors & disabled only applies in Yakima County. We are in Kittitas County. I received some information that I will follow up on from my computer — because she doesn’t own one. We made it to the Yakima Heart Center in time for her check-in time, and I went in to check on MY next appointment hoping for something before the end of August to get my test results of May and June. Luckily, I got an appointment July 1. From there I knew I had an hour for her test and left for Costco. It took the hour, but the receptionist knew I had gone and when I would return. Unfortunately, the woman I took there could not perform the treadmill stress test and so the test was incomplete, ending in 15 minutes (at 4:15). She had a long wait for me. I bought several heavy things (and got help with the lifting them into my cart and then into my car), filled my car with gas ($3.69/gal), and went back through horrible traffic only 4.5 miles to retrieve her at 5:00 p.m. At least the receptionist knew where I had gone and when I planned to return. The story doesn’t end there, however. We left to drive home, and at the ramp to get back onto I-82, cars were backed up as far as we could see, completely stopped. Along with a couple other drivers, we went across some gravel to the exit ramp to Selah, knowing it was at least on our way home. As we passed over the river, we looked down on the accident, with a fire truck stopping all northbound lanes, and many flashing state patrol lights. We continued on to and through Selah out to the Canyon Road highway, and past, to enter the freeway back to Ellensburg. Finally, we were on our way home. I needed to return her to her car at the SR Center where she left it from being at exercise together and our leaving from there. Within 5 miles of our destination, she was looking in her bag, pockets, and pocketbook, for her lone key. She couldn’t locate it. I asked if she remembered when she left, if she could have left it in the car. No, she was sure not. Well, once in town next to her car, she searched again and so did I and couldn’t find it anywhere in her things or pockets. I asked her to look in the car. Lo, the key was in the ignition, and all locked. [The car is of the GM-recall type and until fixed are not to have anything dangling from the key. Hers was due in the shop the next day.] She does not have a backup so we couldn’t call her daughter to have her go to her house to retrieve it. So, our only alternative was to call a locksmith. I have AAA coverage and thought it was covered on my policy, but I called and asked them. Told them the complete story, and that it was not my car but I was carrying her to a doctor’s appointment and back to her car. The person on the other end was most helpful, said I was covered, and she would have to put in a call for a local provider, and would get back to me (but not before asking a lot of questions about the car in question). She called back to tell us it would be an hour’s wait. Whoa–it was already after 6:30 p.m. We asked her to tell them to hurry as much as possible. We knew the name of the roadside assistance towing company who was coming to help us. Then, she called her daughter to tell her the predicament, and the daughter knew one of the owners (maybe he’s just a driver). She said she’d call and find out what was happening, and identify her mom as the one in need. The truck arrived within 10 minutes. The fellow was very understanding and nice, and had the tools allowing him rapidly to enter the window, unlock the door, and he noticed the ignition key was turned on, so he started the car, and thank goodness, the battery was not dead. She drove off and I drove home. On the way — going 50 mph on the Kittitas Hwy — I passed over a duck with her babies, but did not hit mama nor any of the brood or family?, whatever the term should be. That made up for the earlier troubles. Thus, home, finally, just before 8:00 p.m. What a day!! Luckily, the meeting I have to attend at campus, normally on Wednesday nights, is on Thursday this month.

Thursday, June 5

Today John will go to Super 1 for the special Thursday sale items while I go to Royal Vista for music. Surprisingly, we had 10 players. One is a patient there, and she was just a singer today, although she had her Tambourine her husband brought. Except for a banjo, bass fiddle, and me on fiddle, the rest were guitars. The audience was very involved and appreciative. One lady is a member of our exercise class (the banjo player and I both are members), so she came down with her walker. She had broken her hip and had hip replacement surgery. She gave us both a hug. She sang almost every song and really enjoyed our group’s hour presentation. While I was there, John took my computer laptop by to see if the disk was recognized. It was. No idea what happened. Read tomorrow to see further comments. Tonight, John and I took off for the talk on the Last Glaciation of the Puget Sound Lowland, getting there in time to grab a seat on the front row, where we could see well. It was well done, but went longer than an hour. We were late eating and getting to bed.

Friday, June 6

Wake-up call at 7:30 a.m. from Raleigh, NC group to thank me for receipt of my filled-in questionnaire. Why can’t people in business in the east recognize a 3 hr. time difference in the west? My mom always taught me never to call anyone anywhere before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. Most frustrating was the woman calling this morning’s inability to answer my questions. I wrote responses on the questionnaire about “THEIR” definition of the meaning of Geography, and my inability to respond the way I wanted. I doubt I will ever get any response to my questions, and they will just register my numbers without reading my comments. Her response to me was she didn’t get to see the questionnaire, as it was delivered directly to the computer-entry personnel. I can only learn from this, it is another huge waste of money on a government project without proper guidelines or good data gathering from a questionnaire. The effort certainly wasted a lot of my precious time. Yesterday afternoon, my backup drive failed after 2 hrs into the process, and I left it for morning. Now it’s currently running, and I hope it finishes. If it fails again, I plan to call the computer folks who charged us $43 to tell us nothing was wrong to see if they have further ideas. I have checked the space left on the drive, and it is much larger than the used space on my laptop. It failed again this morning, but we decided to get on the Internet and buy a new one. Here’s the scoop on my new drive, to arrive Tuesday, from Amazon. It’s a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (Blue) STDR1000102- $59.99 with a Case Logic EHDC-101Blue Hard Shell Case for 2.5-Inch Portable Hard Drive-$11.84. Item Subtotal: $71.83; shipping is pre-paid via Amazon Prime; Total before Tax: $71.83; Estimated Tax: $5.75 minus Reward Points: -$68.58 (from Discover card use). Order Total: $9.00. Sounds good but John’s take is that $68 would have stocked the icebox with good beer. (Nancy’s comment – more than he needs!)
John went to town to fill his car so he doesn’t have to pay over $4.03/gal on Hwy 2 through the Cascades. $3.82/gal is bad enough, but he had only to drive 9 miles to get it today. And, frustrating, considering 2 days ago, I paid $3.69/gal in Yakima. We just got through creating together a special recipe John makes for supreme brownies, with extra chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts. I will cut into smaller pieces and take in a plastic carrier to put on the table (with a top, in case of bees). The party is outside about 5 miles from our house. Another accomplishment–competed a task created by my past. I still am asked to construct letters of reference for jobs, graduate school entry, or scholarship requests for past geography students. Two needed to be done yesterday for the same person. Luckily, I had a base start from previous letters and only had to change a few words to relate to these requests. Changes in technology now allow me to circumvent the creation of a letter, signed, and mailed from the University at their expense for such letters. Much of it is done on line and they will accept an electronic version (picture of) my signature in the salutation. One gets emailed and the other I have to submit on line. What changes we have experienced in our academic lifetime! Sitting in my lap is a computer laptop that is MANY times bigger and faster than mainframe university computers John and I began working on in the 1960s. Those took up entire rooms and had to be air-conditioned with raised floors to cover all the electrical cords and connections.

Saturday, June 7

At 6:00 a.m., John leaves for the Stevens Pass, Martin Connector Trail. WTA work party (with more of the Boeing group) on National Trails Day. Party at Megan Walsh’s (Biogeographer) is today starting at 4:00. The wind is blowing hard so it might not be pleasant. Temps at 2:45 up to 79 with winds up to 25mph. I was up at 3:30 a.m. and never really got back to sleep well. John’s alarm went off at 5:10, and I got up to fix him a sandwich. Because I will be cutting the large pan of brownies into pieces today, I was able to pack him some for the road. I stayed up, but now at almost 7:00 a.m., I shall lie back down for a while. Up again, a little more rested, and my computer internet is down. That might force me to do the off-computer tasks I so much need to accomplish.
The wind is still whipping everything … outside the house. Angry trees, according to John. I’m glad we are not housed beneath large Ponderosas, as is the woman next door.
The party was great. Everyone loved our brownies. Food was fine, and John made it in time to eat. I took movies of the award ceremony. Each year we donate money for two scholarships in our name, for a deserving undergrad or graduate student in the program. It’s named the Hultquist Distinguished Service Award. They are $500 each.
Some very important email news and pictures awaited me upon coming home. My puppy Daisy (Tre’) in CA took a first place in a Puppy Class (show), at a show called Woofstock, where everyone dresses in tie-dyed and bright clothes with flowers around their heads or such. She got a 2nd place too in another class. My favorite photo is Daisy seeing a bird in an adjacent ring, on her trip around in her class (the one on the far right below). Thanks to Jeri Conklin (her co-owner) for showing her.
Show JPG
(Click image for large view).

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