Last week of the year!

Sunday, Dec 24

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 23 SpO2 low 86, 8 events <88% with overall avg., 93.1%. Avg. low SpO2, 90.5%. Pulse avg. 57.0, low 51. Slept 8 hrs 36 min.

Blog finally published late afternoon. Nice phone call with Seivertsons in Eureka, CA

Nice phone conversation with John’s brother Richard in San Jose with Kit waiting for several of the family to join them. Their Christmas is all week, with some family in Florida and not back until later, so they will have several Christmas celebrations; another later this week.

Monday, Dec 25 Merry Christmas!

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 24: SpO2 low 85, 10 events <88% with overall avg., 92.0%. Avg. low SpO2, 89.5%. Pulse avg. 56.7, low 50. Slept 7 hrs 29 min.

Here are some Christmas bells in a wreath we have been using for accompaniment with our music group for Christmas songs, when bells fit in.
We didn’t do much today.

Tuesday, Dec 26

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 25: SpO2 low 85, 8 events <88% with overall avg., 91.9%. Avg. low SpO2, 90.6%. Pulse avg. 58.2, low 53. Slept 8 hrs 35 min.

Tonight about 5:00 we drove a few miles south on snow-covered roads with ice beneath to view some incredible lights.The house and buildings are 240 yards from the road and lights begin there. Some of the lights make animals and there are real ones also. John was driving — blame the bumpy ride on him.

Entrance on Brickmill Road

The Driveway

Wednesday, Dec 27

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 26: SpO2 low 87, 4 events <88% with overall avg., 93.5%. Avg. low SpO2, 91.1%. Pulse avg. 57.0, low 50. Slept 8 hrs 36 min.

I went to the Food Bank for music, took my salad, and we played for 1/2 hour. From there to SAIL, and then home.

Thursday, Dec 28

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 27: SpO2 low 83, 2 events <88% with overall avg., 93.3%. Avg. low SpO2, 91.4%. Pulse avg. 90.5, low 50. Slept 7 hrs 32 min.

Musically, we were locked out of Hearthstone because of the bad flu bug that quarantined all residents to their rooms, so we did not perform.

John drove to town for his new 6 yr driver’s license [$54], and went shopping at two stores. The State claims the license costs $9 per year, but if you die (or quit driving) before the 6 years is over, we don’t think you get any money back. John will be 80 if he gets to use all of this one. He thinks people over 80 ought not to drive.

Friday, Dec 29

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 28: SpO2 low 84, 6 events <88% with overall avg., 92.0%. Avg. low SpO2, 89.8%. Pulse avg. 57.7, low 50. Slept 8 hrs 35 min.

The first morning chore was for Lic: BEF4009, John’s Crosstrek 2016, I called parking at CWU, added it to my Emeritus parking sticker, and changed our email address to the new one.

During the night and now, we’ve had light rain coming down on cold air and snow. Nasty mix.

Iced in, postponed Dr. Davis until afternoon, and to KVH blood draw for standing order INR & for BMP. I heard late afternoon my readings are where they are supposed to be. Fine.

Looking through old e-mails and wondering who some of these folks are, and why we were in contact. Toss some. Send to others. Progress.

John is making dinner, and will be making Roasted Candied Pineapple to take with Candied Walnuts to tomorrow’s Raclette. I’ll put warmers in my boots when I leave. They are supposed to last for 9 hours. (they did). We will leave @ 10:30 to get there by noon, with our firewood, food, and ourselves. I’ll have my camera to document the experience. We may luck out on the weather. Today looks great. Yesterday would have been not so nice, and certainly getting to Interstate 90 would have been difficult.
Straight over the mountain and river to the vineyard is just 24 miles, and by road about 65.

Saturday, Dec 30

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 29: SpO2 low 82, 7 events <88% with overall avg., 92.5%. Avg. low SpO2, 90.7%. Pulse avg. 55.9, low 50. Slept 7 hrs 33 min.

I called into Super 1 Pharmacy, HydrothoroThiazide for John and have to pick up Tuesday with my Allopurinal at Safeway (better price using GoodRX coupon, without insurance).

Be at White Heron at NOON for the annual Raclette for the volunteer wine grapevine pruning crew, and their families.

We traveled the hour and 20 minutes to our favorite winery and landscape, above the Columbia River, between Quincy & Wenatchee, uphill from Crescent Bar (and West Bar with the Ice Age Floods caused ripples in the sand.  Cameron & Phyllis Fries are the owners of this winery and vineyard.  The event was held to honor and give appreciation to the volunteer wine grapevine pruners from last spring (along with their families).  As in previous years, this year’s lunch was a very Swiss, Raclette. This is a Swiss event consisting of cheese melted and served on boiled potatoes or bread. Pickles and pickled onions were common. Maybe a sausage. We have all of these and more.
Raclette is pronounced [rah-klet’]. Raclette(French, from racler, to rake, or scrape), [Nancy says, racler is pronounced, ra-clay with a rolled r] originated in Valais but is made elsewhere in Switzerland and France.  Cameron Fries reasons that Raclette was made before the current political borders were made, such that Valais would have been part of the House of Savoy, and thus of the Holy Roman Empire.  The House of Savoy extended considerably into what is now called France.
This was traditionally a pruner’s lunch in the vineyard with potatoes and cheese over a grape-wood fire. Now this is done by most folks indoors with an electric heater and various gizmos. The vineyard and real fire ambiance is missed, perhaps unknowingly by many.

Here is a brief video description from Cameron, from 4 years ago:

Cameron Fries Describes Raclette

We arrived just before noon and unloaded firewood that John had packed Thursday, before our ice storm. Good thing he did. It was tough getting into his car to start it today because of 1/2 inch of ice.John unloads Jessica; Cameron picks up and stacks; John throws pieces up. [Jessica, the Crosstrek, is named after a song.]

unloading the firewood – 33 sec

I watched the unloading process for a short while, and went to the house to visit with Phyllis, and offer help. She didn’t need any, so we just visited. First, I had to re-meet Altessa, their collie, and give her treats (cashews) to have her go through her sit, down, and stays. She’s a cutie. Phyllis showed me her large Jade plant, and I did not think to pull my camera out for a photograph. I need to remember that the next time I’m over there. It is certainly more of a tree than our guest bedroom’s crawling jade plants. John keeps them alive, but they suffer from no care. She gave me a Jazz Christmas music book they were looking to re-home. I’ll add a song to our next December’s music for our Kittitas County Fiddlers & Friends group. We added Jingle Bell Rock this year and Let It Snow!

People didn’t start arriving until 12:30 p.m. and we were already back outside setting up around the bonfire. Cameron took a van down to the winery and brought that up, and loaded other things from the house. At this point there was bright sun and a 48° temperature. Neither lasted, but the fire and wine helped.
John did take our photo. He hates my camera, but it was the only one I had because his does not take video. I didn’t take too many videos or pictures this year, as in the past. It wasn’t long after getting back outside, I had to retrieve one of the 2 coats I brought along. Once a breeze started, and the sun went behind a cloud, I had to change coats to a much larger, heavier one I also had thrown into the car.

From 2014 Raclette write-up: “The cheese used on their device over the coals is a French cheese purchased in Auburn.  This type is especially needed for cooking over coals. “Raclette” ovens are sold, which utilize a squarer “Swiss Raclette” cheese, which has no crust and is specifically made for the oven use.” I think one of the pruners has such an oven, maybe we could switch to that next year? We had trouble with the smaller square this year over the bonfire with the unique holder at White Heron, for holding over the fire’s coals.

COMPARISON OF ROUND AND SQUARE RACLETTE CheesesLeft is the round version – Right, the square, note the splitting, because the rind is not as thick to hold (or as good to eat)

This video above, with Cameron explaining “Raclette” is from the Raclette held for 2013 (but on John’s birthday 1/4/14) with the round cheese, which I think does a much better job over the fire than the square ones meant for raclette ovens. And, this video below shows a nicer version of scraping the cheese over the potatoes; see farther below for 2017.

Nicely Filled Plate: Raclette on Potatoes

These following videos are from this year, Dec 30, 2017 and pictures are farther down the page:

Altesse Talks to Erik

Cameron Set up Coals for the Raclette and Connected Cheese
Set Up

Cameron serves

Tom serves

Next is a short video around
the crowd, eating

Tom Serves Cameron

55 more seconds of eating to end the party, Dec 30, 2017
More eating

Here’s a collection of photos, in collages: Phyllis, Cameron, Nancy ^ & ^ Nancy, John, Phyllis (2015)
After it got colder, I retrieved my heavy coat from car, see above.
John greets Lynne arriving & Phyllis joins with a bottle of wine.Altesse greets Linda & Bob from Newman Lake (north of Spokane) – and we have the wine ready – Roussanne. Fire making the required coals! That’s my blue pot on the rocks with Pineapple and Walnuts, warming. Cameron visits with Linda, and Bob with Tom. Top: Around the fire: steamed sausage pot (top right), cheese on the right, and potatoes. The blue pot has the pineapple.
Bottom: Goat cheese covered in cranberries, Brie, candied walnuts, Bleu cheese, salmon, peanut butter fudge, chocolates; not pictured, onion & garlic breads, red cabbage salad, and apple/spice frosted cake.

Regarding the pot-cooked sausages, my preference would be to roast them over the fire, as Phyllis demonstrates below, in a previous year. She needed a longer roasting fork. See below photo.
John’s found this on the web, and is thinking about next year.John visits with Erik; . . .Phil with Phyllis.

Bob, Lynne, Mark, Cameron, Audrey, and Raclette cheese holder
Activity around bonfire (below)Cameron, Bob, Margaret, Linda, John, wine, woodFrom set up to eat up. Left, in house (with wasabi peas, pickles, sesame crackers, cranberry wrapped goat cheese, Brei, cutlery in napkins, and plates stacked; rt, finished product, by the bonfire.

Sunday, Dec 31

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 30: SpO2 low 85, 1 events <88% with overall avg., 92.5%. Avg. low SpO2, 90.4%. Pulse avg. 58.6, low 52. Slept 9 hrs w/ > 3 hrs off oximeter

I was miserable last night after returning home at 5:00 p.m. and I seem to be having a reaction to being around the bonfire and smoke for 4 hrs yesterday. I have been allergic to smoke since childhood. It must have been accentuated from being sick for 5 weeks with bronchitis from a bacterial infection. We had problems with the cheese for the raclette being the square kind with a thinner rind than the old thick round ones we used for years. Maybe we should lobby for a raclette machine if the rounds are no longer available. Might change the ambience, but could give us fewer problems, and we could sit and visit around a big dining room table.

Cat is in my lap.

Winding up the year and pulling old stuff from messages on the account we lose today. This is just one of those things:

The Banana Dance

Found this with the story of Evonne Ellis, WTA crew leader we’ve known for 5 years. She used this to warm up muscles for people on WTA work parties. A couple of years ago, John was getting an award and I had this big stuffed banana – a bowling prize.
We arranged for a slot at the WTA Volunteer banquet. It was my old Banana I won at the Banana Belt bowling tournament in Lewiston, ID, and had in my Geography office the entire time at CWU since 1988.John with his WTA Carhartt Award jacket, Evonne with our Banana Award, from my past. Me with my prize for her. She’s on the right leading stretching exercises at the start of a WTA work party, and John’s setting up the tools in the background, to present the safety talk. A volunteer made the costume for her to wear.

Daisy, Cedaridge Kip’s Shay Tre’ JH and mom, FC KWK Windswept Guinevere of Camelot JH both received an AKC award today, the Achiever Dog award. A Facebook friend of Jeri’s looked it up and said, “The AKC Achiever Dog certificate program is designed to recognize those exhibitors and dogs who participate in multiple sports. A dog will receive an AKC Achiever Dog certificate when they have been awarded a placement or earned a qualifying score in three different sports.” Jeri and I figured it is for field, hunting, and show. (The JH after her name is for Junior Hunter, in an AKC Hunt test, and she is currently almost finished with her Senior Hunter title, and will proceed to her Master Hunter title. New Year’s Eve phone call catch-up with John’s sister, where the temperature is very cold. What’d she say? 5 degrees ? Ouch!
We are 31°F. here.

I quit my cleanup of the old email account tonight, at 7:30 pm. Tonight we lose any contact through there.

We have had to sit and pet our dog with isolated fireworks being set in the neighborhood. Not bad yet. I hope they stop before midnight, so we can get to bed. Hopefully, it is too cold.

We had a nice visit with our sister, Peggy, in Ohio by phone, and caught up on the week since Christmas, and on the cold weather and snow stories (55 years ago) from their memory of lake effect snow.
We are having tenderloin steaks tonight to start off the New Year right. They were given to us by a friend and are from her White British cattle.

We stayed up until 12:30 because our neighbor, in the woods across the creek, shot off fireworks. John found a 2+ hour web music set. We had the volume turned up on the “Best of the Kingston Trio”, and that helped. Further, there were songs we had not heard and John looked for info on the web while the music played. Annie was upset but did not freak out, and we didn’t have to put her in a crate. She was so tired she slept hard all night, not moving when we stepped over her.

Monday, Jan 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

No CPAP – Oximetry for Dec 31: SpO2 low 82, 3 events <88% with overall avg., 92.5%. Avg. low SpO2 90.7%. Pulse avg. 57.4, low 50. Slept 8 hrs 18 min.

Working on the blog today, finally, after a final week of notifying people of our changed email address. Not fun.
We sent very few Christmas or New Years’ greetings, but did get some via the US Postal Service. Thank you for yours.

Czar (Salazar) cat gone all yesterday returned this morning for his vittles. He must have been traveling. Rarely has he not shown up for food or water (twice/day) for 6 months, since arriving in the neighborhood. Makes us wonder.

Charging FitBit (1/2 down). 9:38 a.m. John’s going out to feed horses, and to announce to Woody that it is time to eat. She, too, seems to go places, but often is in the big hay shed or a smaller little building we call the Red Barn. It is not very red, if it ever was, after 35 years of being there. And it is not really very barn like. Oh well.

Now, as John went out, he had to break up a cat fight between the two male cats. Never a dull moment. Woody arrived, however, and I just fed her. Maybe the males had a tussle while we were at the raclette and the one cat stayed away yesterday. This morning they were at the front door meowing and I let Rascal (yes he is named properly) in and then fed two of the outdoor cats.

11:20 a.m. – Just loaded several days of dishes and await the cleaned results before we have our brunch. I’m hungry and ready. We’re having link sausage & eggs, and peaches. The temperature hasn’t risen to freezing/thaw yet, and won’t today. Still, it is better than back east and most of Canada.

John fixed a nice brunch and I continued working on this blog, mostly creating photos and collages to add from the Raclette.

Hope you week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan