Strawberries need picked

John will work on the blog later today, Saturday.
There are things that need doing in daylight.
We have had about 3 pounds of berries over several days but today there are several pounds ready and there is some weeding and watering required. Also, the berries need to be cleaned, sliced, and bagged for the freezer. A few other things too.

Look for the past week’s doings here Sunday morning.

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

A Hectic Day

Saturday evening:

We were both busy today and are now home from the Geography end-of-year party. The animals are all taken care of and it is 8:30. The full story of the week will get posted by Noonish on Sunday – unless we get blown away. Most recent gust was 38 mph.

Cheers.

Tree flowerings

Sunday, May 25

Slept in and got another OUT of AREA call to wake me up. I have responded to two more in the past few days and they are from different callers. Dang, I hate that. I wish there was a button to push to stop them before answering. Answering and requesting the “don’t call” category does not work. Most times I don’t answer.
Other thing for the morning was printing a legal document for a neighbor and delivering it to our mailbox (okay on Sunday). The Internet is down again, so I’m happy I retrieved it early this morning from an email. I also got a request from my student of the 1990s to write a letter of recommendation on LinkedIn, and to sign a paper for my signature to support her in an ad for another WA county for County Assessor. Been doing other clean-up paperwork and stacks, intermittently. Oh, also throwing in music things — now changed the timing on one song I have been working on. Need to check it out with my fiddle. The software doesn’t give the best rendition, and I will have to be leading the singing and beat. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get to my violin — its buried under some stuff. The case makes a nice surface on which to pile clothing as we come in the door.

Monday, May 26 Memorial Day

We started the morning with a loose horse. John cannot find the horse’s escape route, and the others with him could not either, remaining on the opposite side of the barricade so opening a gate and directing him solved that problem. John watered onions, strawberries, and blackberries; then he mowed in various places to lessen the fuel load along the edges and/or reduce weed seed production. Mostly I spent my time on the computer reviewing a legal document and creating financial paperwork. Some work on music for Kentucky Waltz. Some time washing dishes. I have done a few emails, and need to work on more. Next, I’m tackling receipts and filing or tossing. Well, instead, I did more financial planning, and sending job announcements to the jobs list — also got cat food ready for all the 5 cats. We think only 2 made it in tonight for dinner, but sometimes they come after we stop looking. The food is always gone in the morning, and the dry food is available in the “cat house” 24 hrs. Another late night’s dinner for us– chicken, veggies, and potatoes. We don’t have much for dessert, and I’m tired so may go to bed a little sooner than last night.

Tuesday, May 27

Another crazy busy day without leaving home. Thought about going to town to Bi-Mart, the bank, and the last day of the sale at Super 1. I wasn’t planning to leave, but some things in town seemed to be calling. “Nancy, do this!” Changed my mind after talking to my banker. Don’t have the time to make a special trip to town, when I can take care of all things tomorrow, when I’m there for two other things. Many chores in the house and more on the computer. Speaking of which, I have to put my Dept of Labor questionnaire in its postage paid envelope and into the mail tomorrow. I forgot today. Late afternoon, John invited me to bring my camera and go for a walk through our property. It was enjoyable although breezy and chilly. Nice little bubbling waterfall in the irrigation ditch, various colored Iris, a few shots of the garden — strawberries mostly, and the hole created last week by the heavy gravel delivery truck, with two horses viewing it after John marked it to keep them from tripping in it and falling, the ditch had a yellow flowering weed Cinquefoil. We have several types of evergreen trees but just 3 of Pines. They are flowering and here are their pictures (click each for large view):
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole
Note on the Lodgepole – lower left – there is a rubbing off of the bark by a Mule Deer. The deer like the smaller diameter trees that bend so if we really want a tree in a particular spot it has to have some sort of protection.
Ponderosa Pine and wild cherry shrub
Ponderosa, with wild Western Choke Cherry in the background. On the site, scroll down to see photos – some with Butterflies.
BlackPineFlower
Austrian Black PineNote: the name is a link.
We widened a spot in the pasture where the ditch flows and it makes a swimming hole for the dogs. Here is what it looks like:

This is just 25 seconds long but after I stopped and walked away the Brittanys (3 of them) went in the water. It is only a foot deep so there isn’t much swimming space. Yet. We’ll try to get a photo of some of the other things when the wind stops for awhile. The white and yellow Iris are just now budding. We have variegated white/purple, purple, purple with white petals, and blue. Too bad we cannot get them all at once.

Wednesday, May 28

Food Bank music and SAIL. What happened to the day? Once home, I mainly worked on different tasks inside the house. John was starting beef stew in a slow-cooker as I left. That cooked for 8 hours and makes the meat very tender. We went to bed later than either of us planned. Spent a lot of time replacing 2 pages in the stapled booklet of songs for the audience. John help with the un-stapling (Using a knife because I don’t have a staple remover, and then re-stapling. Happily, I brought a couple of pieces of Bundt cake from the SR Center for his (and my) reward.

Thursday, May 29

We go to Mountain View Meadows Assisted Living home, only when one of the few months in the year has a 5th Thursday. I made a few last minute copies of music to take — and made a special packet to give to Jay (elderly resident who plays honky-tonk piano and loves us). I took along Kentucky Waltz to try with the group before we started. We had a small turnout in the audience. Apparently, some people were too sick or tired to participate, one was off at the doctor (we asked for her because she’s the aunt of one of our players), and the head nurse said the facility was down on the number of residents. For musicians, we had a clarinet, me on the only fiddle, 2 banjos, and 4 guitars. Interesting – we may have to change the name of our group from Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends.

I had finished my Labor Department questionnaire Monday but forgot to put it in the mailer. Finally, I got it done this morning, right before the lady from North Carolina called to check on my progress. I have a passel of things to do and take to town today, and John is going along to go by Grocery Outlet for cat food. I called and they have the 39¢ cans of fish-stuff we feed to the outside cats in the evening. Happily, our inside/outside cat has resumed eating it instead of the 50¢ cans. They all have hard food available 24/7. John dropped the mail at the EBRG PO and filled my car with gasoline, plus dropped by Bi-Mart & Super 1 and just got back as we were ready to leave. We then went to the CWU surplus sale, where I bought a staple remover for 50¢ and John put bids in on two large 44 gallon plastic barrels – that are closable. (If we get them, he will use to deliver water to trees and flowers at the end of the driveway – uphill from the ditch. The minimum bid is $5 so he bid $6.27, thinking others might stay closer to the minimum. Sometimes such things go for $10+ but John says those bidders need a barrel worse than he does. Our Internet is down again. It’s been dancing off and on too much recently. There must be a loose wire somewhere.

Friday, May 30

Still dealing with Internet problems and now this afternoon have a repairman coming to check on the situation. Apparently, it is more difficult than replacing the filter on the telephone line after it splits from that going to the modem. We have no idea what is going on at this level of shifting signals – maybe on a dark and stormy night John will investigate; or maybe not.
We just got through going through our DSL problems. Back on now, but in this dirty/dusty house, we likely will lose it again in the future and our provider (Fairpoint) no longer gives replacement modems. They now cost $60. Or, if installed, $80. We installed the last one after picking it up free in town. The technician wiggled around some of the wires in the box on the back of the garage, and went out and adjusted something at the road. It has continued to be up since he left. I hope it stays so. Dang — 9:32 and it went down again tonight. Phooey. I’m getting fed up with this. It was back on within 5 minutes; thank goodness, it has stayed on since.

Saturday, May 31

Today, I slept in, and one of my greetings on early morning mail (on Facebook) was pictures of my co-owned Brittany, Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’ (call name Daisy), from Jeri Conklin in CA. She has returned home from a Russian cruise and the puppies are thrilled to have her back to fill their pool. Daisy is on the left.
Tre'ThreeBrittsInPool
John left at 7:00 a.m. for the Pratt Lake Trail for WTA to work with about 30 folks, including a small Group Health contingent. WTA tries to have an assistant crew leader for every 5 or 6 people and for some reason this weekend generated a surplus of volunteers. Next weekend will be worse as the 7th (Sat) is National Trails Day and it is being promoted by all the hiking clubs. Today’s work is west of Snoqualmie Pass – about 80 minutes from home. 3:40 p.m. and he just called and said they were just a little late finishing and he must go through town to get gasoline for tomorrow’s trip. The price of gasoline is up again – summer driving – but not crazy high as a few years ago some said it would be. So much for experts. In Europe, because of taxes, gasoline averages about $9 per gallon. That would severely damage both recreational activity in the spread-out USA and likely kill much of the volunteer work people do.
The temperature went to 81 today, so I turned on the air conditioner. I have been working on several projects, but needed to get this blog ready for him, so that when he arrives, he can put it and the pictures, and links, into Word Press. I can edit once in there and publish, but I don’t know how to do the complete starting set-up. Before he can start on it, however, he’ll need to do the chores with the horses, exercising the dogs, and feeding the cats. I can help on only the fixing cat food part. I’m sure he’s going to be very tired after his long day.
I hear him arriving — at 5:20 p.m., so will wrap this up.
John goes to the Martin Creek Connector Trail Sunday for WTA to work with 2 dozen of the Boeing Employees Alpine Society (BOEALPS). The trailhead is about as far from most WTA Puget Sound members as it is for John. It is in the mountains where the early Great Northern Pacific RR came down the west slope of the Cascades where now there is a hiking route called the Iron Goat Trail. On the left side of the site, check out the History link.
These trails have great historical context because of the western railroad’s contribution to the region. John says “and it is new trail and fun to work on.”

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

Landscape things

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?
Sand delivery truck backing away from soft wet spot where we thought the ground was hard and rocky.
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.
A red cab on delivery truck of 15+ tons of sand; moving forward, sand flowing out the back on to the ground.
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.
A fuzzy image but all we have of a tree in Yakima; looks like an old snag that's vine covered; or moss covered; but seems natural; kind of like a big Saguaro cactus.

large flower bushes -- pink and red blossoms -- near steps leading into a church

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

When a Shrimp is not a shrimp w/txt

Saturday, May 10

Work on cleaning and the blog. This picture came in the email from a former graduate resource management student (Native American), now working in Alaska. I thought this was some shrimp, and one would fill me up, not more than two would be required. This is taken near Whittier, Alaska. Click for large view.
Nancy's once student Jill holding very large (8 inches) Shrimp just taken from the water; snow capped peaks in background; dark blue rippling waters near the ship

Sunday, May 11 Happy Mother’s Day

My favorite card wish comes from the son of one of our students while at the University of Idaho. She now lives with her family in Illinois, but has kept in touch over the years. She went into the Geography profession so over the years I have seen her at our national meetings. Here’s what her son wrote to her on Facebook with a picture of the two of them. I love it:
Happy Mother’s Day to this amazing lady! She has opened my family’s doors to anyone in need and has taught me the most valuable life lesson: You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends nose. I love you, mum.
This morning we tackled large boxes on the front porch from garage-sale purchases in past years. Haven’t been to one this year and only a few last. Therefore, we decided to move stuff to keep the bees and wasps from settling in. We found two blankets and all sorts of surprises. Two tops (a blouse and a vest) were too small for me, so I will take them to a friend Tuesday morning. I sorted out other stuff to share with other folks. I picked out paperback books to take to the Adult Activity Center for the free table.
I found a large beach towel I shall give to a favorite family with 3 kids. Also cleaning up last year, I found another beach type towel, which I have to retrieve from the sink in my washroom (where I last saw it–probably put there to wash. It MIGHT be a combo robe towel carrier. I haven’t looked at it in a couple of years. John wanted to spray weeds, but the threat of storm clouds changed his mind, so he has moved to the garden and is weeding in the strawberry patch. It is bright and sunny now with only a gray cloud still to the west; so maybe it will rain. (It didn’t, but one never knows for sure.)
I switched from chore to chore all day. Spent time on the phone calling a few relatives and friends to wish them a Happy Mothers’ Day. Worked on music and two other academic projects. Cleaned dishes and a load of clothes.

Monday, May 12

I have been busy with report compilation about the Geography Dept to present to Emeriti Faculty tomorrow morning. Also printed out an obituary to share, and directions to two end-of-year Geography Department events. Have been sharing time between eating lunch, music chores, washing dishes, and talking to our Internet provider about the problems with our router. I spent about 1/2 hr (plus 10 minutes wait time for a technical support person). Finally, he managed to take me through the system on my computer to reboot the router, and we hope that corrects the situation. (Several days later, it seems to be working all right.)

Tuesday, May 13

Started at 9:30 at the Copper Kettle for meeting with the Emeritus Geography Faculty group. I gave a report on the current department with figures about some recent happenings that I thought were misunderstood. My attempt was to be positive toward the Department and rumors that were flying. I think it was successful. I also took along an invitation to the end of the year party out in the country for getting people there with good directions, pictures, and printed out in color. Afterwards, we went around town on several errands to four different stops. Got home and had a bite of lunch. Now am busy playing catch up on email, but with my legs propped up. Tonight I have to go back to play music at Hearthstone. Did so and dropped by Bi-Mart for some Magnesium on sale. John fixed ground beef burgers with mushrooms and Havarti on Sesame seed rolls.

Wednesday, May 14

Today, is music at Noon at the Food Bank, then lunch there. Afterwards I went by a friend’s house to pick up some music related things and delivered clothes and another item from my clean-up findings. I spent an hour and a half working on the Dept. of Labor evaluation of the job title, Geographer. It is a tough thing to answer and respond to, because they are not clear in their instructions, once one starts evaluating the items. A person has to mark whether the decsription is relevant or not (to a job with the title, geographer), indicate the importance and the frequency of this item. I’m having trouble figuring out each item, because each one would be different for a distinct specialty of a geographer’s job – (whether a cartographer, planner, resource manager, or GIS analyst, and the list goes on). I finally wrote a letter with my dilemma in answering the questionnaire. Worked off and on all afternoon sending job announcements and mixing with other chores, cleaning, and sorting. I forget what time it was, but John came in and asked me to walk [there was not an exercise class to go to today] up the driveway with him and the dogs to get the mail and paper. From there we went down through a few trees – some are Cottonwoods and their white fluff is well dispersed in the air and nearly covering the ground in spots not too windy. We went to our south fence line (300 yards) at the far end of our pasture, so he could check on the irrigation water he has been directing around for the neighbors. Tonight was a dinner of leftovers with newly picked asparagus and a “nuked” Yukon Gold potato. Before heading to bed, I wrote a long statement to the people in North Carolina about my problems with filling in the answers on the first questionnaire.

Thursday, May 15

Started with a bunch of email needs. I received an answer about the questionnaire. I’m supposed to answer it relative to my job. I still don’t understand how this will be helpful to them. The items all cover things I taught, but the specialties will vary for one person taking a job as a planner, researcher, GIS analyst, or technician with Expedia or Google. Then I decided to tackle the Sleep Apnea questionnaire. I read it completely yesterday afternoon, but need to start working through it. Actually, I spent awhile scanning the 11-paged questionnaire before I fill in the blanks.
We had only one fiddle, one viola, and five guitars there today at Dry Creek. People had conflicts with doctor appointments, professional meetings, and another had to attend a funeral. We had a low turnout of residents, but our old faithful followers were there. One of them is in a wheel chair with oxygen, but he loves the songs we play, and often has a request, or sings along. This day his song was Blues, Stay Away from Me. He almost sang a solo on the first verse, the first time through. Everyone totally enjoyed it. He gave our viola player a kiss on the hand as she left. She had to meet me at my car to get her old violin I had picked up at my stop yesterday. In addition, I gave her one of the things I found in the stuff on the front porch, a camouflage lunch box, insulated, for her husband (Retired Air Force), who does search and rescue training for the locals. Then I was off for my INR reading (3.2), to Super 1, for carrots to add to Ebony’s Senior Equine, to Bi-Mart for eye ointment for me, on sale $1 off the grocery store price. Tonight John made a simple yeast bread. He started that, then cobbled together a pizza and while it cooked and was eaten, the yeast did their bit. It’s been awhile and we had to search for the pans. They had made their way to the back of a cabinet (the corner type) beside the dishwasher. The baking smells so good. It will not be cooled enough to have a piece before bedtime. Besides, we just had pizza.

Friday, May 16

Here we are to Friday already. Where does the time fly?
Our weather report today is windy – so what’s new. The last two hours have kept John inside. We had 44 mph gusts, sustained at 35 mph, the next hour WENT DOWN (ha ha) to 29 mph sustained, and 41 mph gusts.
We had to leave the house at 1:00 p.m. to get to our eye appointments about 12 miles away. We passed all the tests with flying colors, and got home a little after 3:00 pm. We both had Optomap exams to see the back of our eye – and my left eye has had a little film on it, removable in the office with a laser, but until I decide my vision is impaired enough, we will wait another year to evaluate. That’s one of the drawbacks of an intraocular lens replacement which I had in 1997. Considering how well I see without glasses (with both eyes I have 20/20 vision), there’s no reason to be concerned. The right eye is now better than my left, which is slightly blurry (from that film mentioned above). The only funny thing to me is that I grew up (even with glasses on), with my left eye being the better one. So, because I could see targets (birds or clay pigeons) better from my left eye sighting, I learned to shoot my over/under 20-gauge shotgun, left handed. My eye pressure was good – 13 in each eye, so glaucoma is not a problem. The only thing wrong with my eyes is they are dry. That can be caused from environment, from medications I’m on, or from age. I know how to handle that, with artificial tears, or with a gel ointment. On our way home we saw a low “cloud” over the whole eastern part of our valley. This looked like wind-blown silt from the fields and roadsides plus maybe some white smoke from burning out weeds in ditches or a field. A bit late in the season for burning, though, so maybe something else. Also, not a good day with the high winds to burn anything anywhere.
John laid down for a needed nap to justify not going out and having to work in the wind. I spent a lot of time on the phone with Group Health and finally got an answer that satisfied me about a mailed receipt called an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) that came today, saying I owed a balance for a 2/25 visit (one for 15 minutes to wave a wand over the memory chip in my ICD), a visit that happens once every 3 months. It requires a long trip to Yakima and usually cannot occur in conjunction with any other appointment at the center, e.g., with my Cardiologist (but I only see him every 6 months). They seemed to charge me twice for the same test: one at $96.00 and one at $40, but it came on two different pages from two different providers. The problem was supposedly the first one was the original charge and then the second was the indication of a payment by Medicare (of only $7.12), and the 3rd is in progress. Supposedly, that has processed, and GH paid the remainder, leaving me to owe nothing. I don’t even think I want to know why so many pages to different providers, and the diagnosis doesn’t match with what I think it should. It says I was evaluated for an “abnormally fast heart rate.” I do not have that. My heart rate has been consistently in the 50s and mostly 60s for several years. I haven’t had an abnormally high heart rate since 2010 !! [John thinks all of these things are reported as numerical codes and either the code was off or the code used years ago – March of 2010 – is still in the system.] While on the phone with the Group Health rep, I logged on to GH’s computer with her looking at my personal account, and she showed me how to determine that I owed no payment. Supposedly in tomorrow’s or Monday’s mail (next week?) I will receive the EOB for the additional payment from GH for the 2/25/14’s visit. My complaint is why don’t they wait until all the reimbursements are determined before sending me a form that says the patient is responsible for $46.03 and another saying for the exact same treatment that my total responsibility is $30.04. It makes absolutely no sense to me, and she could not explain it to my satisfaction either, except to convince me I owed nothing more. We’ll see if this is the end of it. All these things contribute to the rising cost of health care but do nothing for one’s health. John’s in the kitchen with a multi-ingredient tomato sauce burbling on the stove – the pasta looks like little finned barrels – radiatori.
A bag of Radiatori pasta -- small barrel shapes with fins to hold lots of sauce; from Costco
That’s what is for dinner tonight. If the wind doesn’t take a few trees down and knock the power out! The gusts have dropped from 44 to 37 mph. Dinner is almost ready and the lights are still on.

Saturday, May 17

On the morning pasture trip with the dogs, John noticed Breeze – youngest of the horses – has an eye problem. He hasn’t been in a horse trailer since spring of 2010 and wasn’t going to load today. The vet, Dan Charlton, on duty at the clinic is a neighbor (1/4 mile north on Naneum, then ½ mile east on Charlton Road) – family has been there since settlement so they named the road after the family. Regular Saturday hours are over at Noon so Dan stopped by to “operate” on Breeze. There was a stye (blocked oil gland) back and up inside the eye lid. Usually such things are on the margin of the lid and easily seen. This was much less noticeable and so grew quite large before the bulge was obvious (to John) and caused some wetness to show on the hair below the eye. Breeze, with sedation, was an easy patient and now (a couple of hours later) thinks he would like out of the holding pen and into the pasture with his buddies.
The vet finished just before I need to go play music at Briarwood. Today I am leaving at 1:00 to pick up my neighbor (she knows a few of the residents there), and then we will stay for snacks that will fill us up just before dinner time. I usually am not hungry on such days until 9 or 10 PM. Nancy got back after 4:00, and is proofing this blog. I’m writing now, now, to tell you what we had for our tummies. We had a salad bar, with a huge offering. A large scoop of chicken salad on a tomato nestled in a large lettuce leaf, an apple/almond/cranberry/lettuce dish, a potato salad, a lettuce mixture with mandarin oranges, a 3-bean salad, a nice coleslaw, and exceptionally nice garlic buttered bread. The drink of the day was iced fruit drink made by the daughter of a resident, and frozen, except for the addition of a large bottle of Sprite. It had orange, banana, and pineapple juice as the main base. It was very refreshing. Finally, for dessert was chocolate cake with cream white frosting and a large cinnamon roll type cake, with cream cheese frosting. It was all tasty. We sat with the residents and had a nice visit. We had a small turn-out of players – a fiddle, viola, bass fiddle, and one guitar. But the audience was large – probably 18 folks.

I took pictures today (while a bit windy) of our purple blooming Lilac and white blooming Crabapple. They are near one another – Apple to the right of the Lilac in the first picture below. Left and behind the Lilac are some Carpathian walnut trees.
A near scene centered on a blooming purple Lilic with while Apple blooms background on the right beyond a small Pine; Walnut trees background left

White blossoms of Crab apple with Larch (Tamarack) in back at top left and Walnut leaves sticking in from left edge
This is the crabapple tree, again with Carpathian walnut tree leaves to the left and behind. Also behind are Larch (Tamarack) trees.

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

Bloom Time

(click for large views)
Montmorency Cherry with Bee

White blossoms of Montmorency (pie) Cherry with Bee
Montmorency (pie) Cherry with Bee

Forsythia
Forsythea and cherries
Apple Tree
Apple tree
Tulips & Cherries
Tulips and cherries
Golden Currant
Golden Currant
Saturday, May 3

We finally finished the blog, and John never went to town. I spent much of the day sorting stacks of newspaper, magazines, and office paper. I made progress, but not as much as desired. We had a late, but good, dinner: chicken thighs with veggies atop including Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, carrots, red paper, green beans, broccoli, and onions. I’ve been taking my blood pressure since Tuesday, in anticipation of the visit to the cardiologist. He always wants feedback for the week prior to coming to see him. I don’t know if it is meaningful, but to me it is, that I calculated the average of my 13 readings to be 110/59 with a 61 heart rate. [John says, the Dr. wasn’t interested in the average. He focused on the high and the low readings. Much to Nancy’s dismay.] {Nancy here- that wasn’t my expectation. I didn’t like that he picked the first one (high 133) when it was when I was struggling to put on the sleeve. All the rest were much lower, down to 101, when the sleeve was set by John. The average was for the readers of the blog, because I think it is more realistic.}
I heard from Jeri Conklin that she was going to run both dogs tomorrow in a Hunt Test in hopes of getting their second “leg.” That will be awesome if it happens. I didn’t do any music today. I did sort out some books to put into packages to mail. Things such as a thesis for one of my former students, a book I borrowed from another colleague, found an article written by another friend, and I will see if she wants a copy of the periodical. Otherwise, they just get recycled with the magazines. The good non-academic stuff gets to the free table at the Senior Center or the donation shelves at the City Library — things such as Audubon, Scientific American, Natural History, National Geographic, and a multitude of things from our past that are pretty to look at.

Sunday, May 4

I heard good news from Jeri Conklin that both dogs, our Daisy and her Dice, got their second legs for the Junior Hunter test. I wonder when the next hunt test is? (Found out in CA not until fall because of the heat.) Jeri is off to Reno to take Daisy’s mom, Ginny, to Paul Doiron for breaking to wing and shot (that means staying steady after the point and watching the bird fly away, without chasing. In addition, a dog must honor another dog on point, and “stand to flush,” if a bird flies up ahead of them. At 1:12 it just started pouring rain! Yet, nothing is showing on the base reflectivity radar. However, the forecast is for 30% chance of rain. No kidding. Glad we weren’t down in the pasture as we were this morning. John took the dogs out and I joined them to walk and take some photos. Got some cool ones of apple, cherry (with a bee), and plum blossoms, Oregon grape, tulips, and horses. Rain stopped as soon as it started, and it is 1:25.
John left for town, and I stayed to clean and sort. Today I am vacuuming stacks first so I don’t inhale so much dust. It really bothered me yesterday. John went to town, got home, and pulled out some frozen ice cream to soften, and we just put it on a piece of the chocolate cake he brought home. I am happy to take a break from vacuuming dusty things that go back to 2011 in stacks that happened and just have been piled higher and deeper around the house (yes, many stacks and boxes in other rooms go back much longer). Most of the stuff is throwaway (recycle). Hardly anything is worth keeping or giving away. I have uncovered various paperbacks, dusted them, and will take with magazines to the give-away table at the senior center. Just found two wheat pennies and put them away. Also uncovered some purple pants way too big for me, folded in a bag. I probably had them separated to give to a friend, but they got buried before delivery. Now will do that.

Monday, May 5

Magazine subscriptions are a challenge. We have not renewed several subscriptions, but some of the providers have an aggravating marketing scheme. The worst is out of Norfolk, VA (Publisher’s Marketing Bureau), where our Discover magazine is the cheapest. However, they call every year with the ploy “our prices are rising, and we want to have you renew at the lower rate.” Upon questioning, I found they do not have in their system the actual ending date, and so, one has to check the address label. Some printers have moved to plastic wrap to prevent damage when mailing, so now the labels are put on the plastic cover that is removed and tossed. That’s another requirement need for keeping good records. Also, they will not adjust past records and requests. For over a year we have not renewed the Smithsonian magazine through them, (because of their higher price), but they keep bugging us about it. Our Discover magazine goes through 2016 and we have decided by then we will just cancel and no longer deal at all with that company. The place we have gotten it for years is from a professional (student teacher service) who now have changed their name to College Subscription Service, where Smithsonian is $12.00.
On to more phone calls: I spent almost an hour with IRS over a 1040 return which was submitted Jointly, but I was being tagged and sought for not submitting it singly in my name, which we haven’t done for 45 years!! (and never under Nancy B. Hultquist). I must call back June 16, 2014 to see if it has been located in their system. Thankfully, I have a post card returned to me from the IRS in Fresno, with the date they received it by mail. That should lower my blood pressure reading for today. While I waited on the phone for her to check re-cords (after I waited forever for her to help me– getting tired of the same classical music re-peating the same tune, not one of my favorites), I entered my blood pressure information and heart rate into a computer table. I have to report to my doctor tomorrow. I’m almost done, but will add today’s and print it. I did, and had John proof it. He had been very helpful since last week helping wrap the sleeve around my bare left arm. It was difficult for me to do it alone (and raised my BP trying).
More phone calls again, associated with bills– first with RCI (Pend O’Reille Shores) and it won’t get resolved until tomorrow or later this week (fixed it Wednesday). The accountant is not there on Mondays.

Tuesday, May 6

Must go to Yakima to see my Cardiologist, visit the Subaru dealer with questions about my Subaru’s Bluetooth connection to John’s cell phone, the rear seat adjustment, and while in town visit Costco (gas & groceries). We added a late lunch because we didn’t finish with the first two stops until 3:00!
The doctor’s visit was discouraging in a way, because he said my lung function test did not show good results this year (it has to be done annually because of the A-Fib medication I’m on, called Amiodarone). I requested a retake evaluation, because I almost cancelled that test in March, being at the tail end of 5-6 week coughing condition. That re-do will be back in Yakima, rather than here in Ellensburg. In addition, he wants me to have a CT scan to search for fibrous tissue (the way I understand it). The same “damage” shows on smoker’s lungs. I have never smoked. Then he started talking about another desire to put me on the substitute drug for Amiodarone, but it takes FOUR days in the hospital to adjust the dosage to the person under careful scrutiny and its possible side effects are wicked too. The upcoming tests will occur Tuesday, May 20. They scheduled both the same day, when the CT scan could occur. It is first at 9:30 a.m., followed at 11:00 by the Pulmonary Function Test. The scan occurs at Valley Imaging.
If that wasn’t enough, he wants to further investigate cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), also called biventricular pacing. My current implant has 2 wires and the other uses 3. [John has a note below.] That’s against my wishes because a side effect is puncturing the heart, requiring emergency surgery, with death a possibility. The up side is that it would lengthen my life and make me “feel better.” I do not feel bad now. However, thinking about all this is disturbing. He also requested I take a Sleep test (to be sure I don’t have sleep apnea). We don’t know what he saw in the studies that made him think it was a possibility, and we asked, but he still wants the evaluation. That requires OVERNIGHT to be hooked up to all the machines, and is also in Yakima.
John adds: During a heart attack, the flow of oxygen-rich blood to some of the heart muscle is interrupted and it dies. The scar tissue that replaces the muscle can disturb both the heart’s mechanical action (filling and emptying the chambers) and electrical signaling (which paces the heartbeat). Some of the problem is also associated with a heart that does not have the standard shape because of many years of working with valves that have not been closing properly – Nancy’s Mitral valve, for example. Electrical signals have to pass through the damaged muscle and non-standard distances and do not exactly match the timing of signals going elsewhere to other heart chambers. The first link here calls that ventricular dyssynchrony.
Harvard health link
Cleveland Clinic link

Anytime surgeons work on the human body they have to consider the benefits and the chance of problems occurring, even death. If you have had or seen the printout of an ECG (also EKG; the K from Greek kardia) you probably are not aware of all that it tells the cardiologist. Here is a site that gets to some of it nice illustrations; except there seems to be a missing arrow in one diagram.

Wednesday, May 7

Morning started with bill paying and arranging more bill paying situations; seems like 90% of my time. MedicAlert was one–a strange one. They mailed a notice saying my account was cancelled for lack of renewal. Well, I knew I had renewed it for 3 years in Feb (at a special reduced winter special rate, saving $7/yr for the next 3). I called and finally (when unable to get a phone response), got on the Chat-On-Line to question the “mistake.” Finally, some time later one of their chat reps figured out I had renewed but the person who renewed it posted to the wrong number. Phew. Now that’s fixed. Luckily, I was able to capture both sides of our conversation and save in my bill record history. MedicAlert is one of my most important medical assistance methods. It gives access to my complete medical records database that is noted on my MedicAlert bracelet with my medical allergies and my heart implants information, plus emergency contact numbers and those of all my doctors. I wear the bracelet 24/7, even into the shower.
I went to the Food Bank for music but looking like a bag-lady because I was carrying a luggage cart to give away to a patron there. (Actually, John rewrote that incorrectly. I went outside afterwards and handed it to her from my car, in the folded position). It was an extra I had picked up at a yard sale. I kept my two heaviest big-wheeled ones. I probably only need one, but one I bought new for $47, and the other I got at a yard sale long ago for $3.00. I used to drag it behind me with all my books and papers for classes, so I didn’t have to carry a heavy satchel or wear a backpack. (Hence, the bag lady applies here. ) I also used them both to carry equipment to conferences within the state when I was the Treasurer of the Association of WA Geographers.
We had a nice play date today at the Food Bank, and even had one couple up dancing two times on Waltz Across Texas (first at the back of the room, and then they moved up front where we are). It brought a round of applause from the audience, as did several of our songs today. That’s always nice for us to know we are appreciated. After our 1/2 hour of playing, we were treated to lunch: spaghetti casserole, nice Caesar salad, some veggies, and pineapple upside down cake for dessert. From there I went to Grocery Outlet hoping to find less expensive cat food (to no avail-still none was on the shelves). Then on down by my bank for some cash, and then to Les Schwab to have my tire pressure checked. Ever since it turned 7000 miles, I have had a warning light flash when starting the car, stating to check my tires. They were all 32 psi as they were supposed to be. The technician said I didn’t need to worry unless the light came on and stayed on. On then to SAIL exercise class, where I took in a couple of things to share. One was a very large tablecloth with frills on the edge, like a bedspread skirt, but large as a pool table. It was purple with flowers. I showed it to my class of 20 members, and told them I would give it freely. The first one I saw raise her hand, is an older woman I have known for 4 years since I started attending the class. Another she would love to use it and give it a good home. I also took a special book with household hints and cooking / measurement tips, to the young woman who has been our assistant this whole school year from the AmeriCorps program. She is leaving the end of July. Boy, we are all going to miss her very much. Recently, after our leader became ill, she has been leading our SAIL exercise class, she’s involved with special cooking for lunches there, and participates on trips for those who take bus trips around our state.
I came home by way of my friend who cuts my hair (since 1988). While there, I got a tour of their new (used) motor home at an incredible price, and helped push their restored 1943 (my age) military jeep off their trailer. They took it to Wenatchee for the Apple Blossom Special Parade and it quit working about half way through. I came on home and found a huge surprise John had for me. He had taken the very heavy LA-Z-BOY chair out of the back of our pickup, and stepped it down using stacks of pallets and 2” thick planks. It would have been an interesting sight to see. It was sitting in “my corner” of the den when I arrived. So cool. Now it is all hooked up and working wonderfully. What a treat. The major problem is its odor. I put a blanket with close weave over it, to mask some of the smell, but we will give it a treatment soon, when we buy some Febreeze type of odor killer.

Thursday, May 8

I had to finalize Down in the Valley and run copies for people (still missed a couple of notes for those who play notes) — chords are okay, and most of our people are playing chords only. I have a couple more changes for our clarinet player, but most of hers I ran last night (then I realized some of the corrections were not made to her copies, plus I forgot to change keys to one two sharps higher on two of hers. (There are 4 changes I need to make to the file to convert for her; doing only 3 is not a charm.) It rained today so John went along with me and went to the store while I was playing. He got all sorts of stuff on sale that we needed, plus getting some Glade instead of Febreeze for deodorizing my chair. The savings was $5.00. It should work just fine, and we only need to do the one chair. Turnout was high on guitars (5), a banjo, clarinet, viola, and me. We did all right, except on Down by the Old Mill Stream. We murdered that one, so I was intending to leave it out the rest of our play times through the end of June. Now, it’s still raining, and I’m sitting down, figuring I shall correct the music while it is still in the front of my memory.

Friday, May 9

Day home, full of chores: clean dishes and the boxes around my newly installed chair. This morning I threw in a few more music corrections. I took time this morning responding to two academic items (at CWU). So much for being retired.
John went out gathering garbage to take to the dump in the back of the old pickup where the old broken recliner is. Also, he’s waiting to talk to our neighbor about digging a hole for our oldest horse that is declining. We thought 3 days ago she wouldn’t make it through the night. Instead, she is back to walking around and eating again. She is our oldest horse and we have 2 old Brittanys, both showing age issues.
Working between several projects, some academic, some medical, some musical, some cleaning, and more sorting, tossing, bill paying, and others. I also must make time for my consulting work for the Dept of Labor. I received all the questionnaires and goodies and a phone call today from the agency who contacted me to do the evaluation (already discussed in an earlier blog). John left for the dump with a load (that cost him $20 to depart with). Today, I enhanced one of the music changes started last night. We were having problems with the timing on the song, “Down by the Old Mill Stream,” which I fixed, but the notes are too high for the 4 singers, so I changed the key from G to D. I’m sure that will work. I also sent 9 job announcements to the Google Group, NW Geography Jobs, list I manage. We are up to 632 members, with additions each week. Three of the geography profs at CWU attach my instructions and description of the list, to their syllabi. Also, many members around the US recommend friends or contacts to the list. One last week was an interesting lead, given to a job applicant during his visit to the agency for an interview for a part-time position (City of Seattle). Then tonight we had a late dinner after I had a good long talk with my friend whose wife has dementia and is in the nursing home. She’ll never be able to return home, and he is having a tough time going back home alone (after being with her for 69 years). They’re in their 80s. Growing old is no fun.

Saturday, May 10

While updating the blog, I realized I had stored the revised song from yesterday’s key change, but failed to create the different key for our clarinet player. I just changed that before I forgot. After this is posted, I still must go back and send all the changed music (in .pdf files) to the group. That should take us through the end of June, and I don’t have to worry about July/August because we will just do our July 4th playlist, which includes patriotic songs along with good old American songs.
John has gone out to exercise the dogs in another windy (35 mph gusts), but sunny morning, with temperatures up to 54 after in the forties all night. He’s back in and fixed a brunch, sausage with mushroom cheese omelet, fried potatoes, and fruit cocktail. He’d appreciate it for the wind to decrease. It has slightly during the last 2 hours. I will stay to work on the pictures to add to this blog, many of which I took last week, and only need to consider one today. Our most recent flowering plant of the week is the Western Serviceberry; the link has 3 photos, click right arrow under the picture to change them, and double click on the picture to enlarge each. They look nice by the smell is to be avoided. Along the edge of our pasture they look like this:
(click for large view)
White blossoms of Serviceberry against green leaves at the edge of our pasture.
Closeup of white Serviceberry blossoms
Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Oh, Happy Mother’s Day

Firmware

Saturday, Apr 26

This morning John embellished the blog I sent him late last night and we posted it, after a few revisions. He picked our first asparagus of the year. I spent a good time looking at every page of all three music books last night, described in the last week’s blog. Maybe I didn’t completely. One is a collection of Burl Ives, the other 47 folk tunes by a banjo player, and then another folksongs book. I found several songs I really wanted to have (and remember), but didn’t have in our repertoire. I’m so excited. So I got up this morning, and before my first cup of coffee, I copied several songs from the Folksong book: Michael Row the Boat Ashore (from my part of the country where I grew up, so that makes it very special). (It’s about the island life on the Georgia Sea Islands (St. Simon and John’s Island), and the Africanisms in the speech dialects of the Gullah speakers there). I have visited those islands as a kid, and sat with some folks while they weaved baskets from the sea grass blades. I have already today put it into the software (just the lyrics and notes for now, but will transpose for the clarinet player, and then add the chords to run for the rest of the group.
(Update – I added it to the songs for the next two months, and May 1st, this week, we sang it. It was a hit with all there, especially the audience. I put the chorus at the beginning, all 4 verses beneath, with a repeat back to the top for the chorus each time between the verses.)
Now let me list the others I copied this morning: Goober Peas, Sweet Betsy from Pike, (one guitar player has requested that in the past), Down in the Valley – we have parts of it in an old hand-scribbled score, but this will be easy to put in the computer (update, we added that song this week), East Virginia, and Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill – [from the French word for a drill, tarière ??], plus one of my favorites when I taught Urban Geography and actually had a picture I took from BART in San Francisco, of the Ticky Tacky houses, Little Boxes. (Pete Seeger made famous in 1964). I attached a song track from him to my PowerPoint. I enjoyed it, but do not know if the students did, because it was much older than any of them. The original song is from Malvina Reynolds and was inspired by a trip through Daly City, CA. See this for a related story with photos. In between that day of music, I accepted an invite to a Moose (Did she say Moose?) roast dinner tomorrow night in town with two couples. We’re taking the wine. Then I washed, dried, and put up a load of clothes. For dinner we had roast pork with mushrooms to enhance the gravy, plus some melted cheddar over the asparagus.

Sunday, Apr 27

I found a copy in one of the other folk tunes book from my friend, Anne in MT, to add to our music group’s repertoire. So geographic: Roll On Columbia ! (by Woody Guthrie). I shall work on it today to add to next month’s playlist. I just looked up some history on line and found this: In 1987, it was adopted as the official folk song of the State of Washington.
I also am not sure I have ever heard the state song, “Washington my Home.” I downloaded the free sheet music from the link, and will try to play on my violin to hear the tune or actually decided to look for a You Tube version on the web. Here you go’ I found one. The Tumwater Girls choir’s version is not the way I would like to hear it sung, but the pictures of the State matched to the lyrics is a nice touch.
I did go out this morning to take some photos of the blooming new Shiro, yellow plum, tree. Here is a close-up but click to see the ants.
White blossoms of a Shiro -- yellow plum -- tree with some ants on them
Our Plum trees came from these folks.
I have been working much of the day on two songs. The songs include a rewrite (timing, etc) and an additional verse to Gotta Travel On (Done Laid Around) plus Woody Guthrie’s Roll On, Columbia, Roll On. I thought it appropriate for Washington residents (dams and hydro power bringing electricity to the region), but it turns out some of our group didn’t enjoy the memory of Woody Guthrie’s political stance. But, the chorus is catchy for all the residents and us to sing along, and I particularly like two of the verses:

Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on

Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

Chorus: Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

The photo captions for most of the images linked to here can be read on these old newspaper prints. Click each one if you go.
John’s been moving dirt much of the day and baked brownies that we haven’t tasted yet. We might eat one while still warm before going to the moose dinner – just in case it is tough. Our wine was a hit too, and I had a couple of small servings of both white (Roussanne) and Rose’ of Syrah. The meat was a “little” tough, but quite tasty. John has learned to cook roasts so I can break the meat apart with a fork, otherwise I chew some and give it to the dogs. We had lots to go along with it: two cauliflower dishes; one with cheddar cheese, and the other like mashed potatoes with almond flour and butter stirred in, a green salad, and asparagus. For dessert, a cherry/pineapple pie w/ ice cream.

Monday, Apr 28

This afternoon I will go to town for SAIL exercise and back by CWU Geography to copy the music packets for the community, mentioned in last week’s blog.
I started thinking about preparing for a fasting blood draw for tomorrow morning. Cannot be there until 9:15 because of eating late (not good planning).
We finished the roast pork for dinner tonight, with carrots and mushroom gravy, and croissant whole wheat rolls with John’s homemade applesauce (from Honeycrisp and Romes). His strawberries on chocolate ice cream made a great dessert. In the image here John’s 96-yr old cousin Ethel holds a couple of Honeycrisp apples. She doesn’t ~look so good~ so sometimes we send her things. See the 4th item in the list here for ~Not so Good~.
Two very large Honey Crisp apples held by John's cousin in PA
Tuesday, Apr 29

Early morning was fasting blood draw. I checked by Grocery Outlet for cat food (still out), and came right home to eat breakfast. Managed to wash a load of dishes while John watered a few trees, flowers, and garden plants. The afternoon was spent arranging for pickup of a La-Z-Boy Luxury-Lift Power Recliner Chair. The story is rather involved, but now we have a replacement for the recliner patched back together last week – it is past its use by date. The replacement seems like a real deal. Time will tell. I got it for $170 and a chair we had in our shed. The traded tan chair was a swivel, lean-back,
Old padded brown chair tilt and rotate type
rocker we picked up at a garage sale years ago and never used. The La-Z-Boy chair looks like this one I found on EBay. The picture on the left displays how one can lift themselves out of the chair’s normal position, if needed. Not pictured is the normal chair position. All this is remotely controlled.
A blue chair that rocks up, left, to get you out; or reclines way back for resting rt.
The EBay asking prices range from $455 to $825.

Wednesday, Apr 30

Off to the Food Bank, followed by SAIL. Need to get home and go through the piles of stuff in the corner of the den where my “new” chair has to reside. Got home after stopping by Grocery Outlet and they still have no cat food. I brought home some leftover lunch (drumstick – I ate the large thigh), and some veggies – not many, pineapple, and a piece of strawberry pie. I ate mine in there and brought a piece to John. Then on to SAIL, where I shared on the free table, a few things found during John’s clean-up in the shed to make way to the tan chair, including such things as: Little teddy bear, a vase, some pretty pressed or dried flowers in 3 small frames with curved glass, and some other stuff, including 3 wicker baskets for rolls or bread. I had bought a plastic container for $1 and all the stuff inside was thrown in the deal. Now that it’s empty we can fill it with sorted clothes. On home to correct several songs in our new repertoire that we found while playing today at the Food Bank. I found John in the garden and he asked me to come out to the garden to talk, before I went into the house. I figured I would get a tour as the day before, to see the flowering fruit trees, the garden stuff, and the sound of the bees pollinating the flowers. As we were talking, our neighbor came down the driveway to pick John up to go build/repair/fence around his stallion. His father opened the gate and didn’t close it and the horse is out loose in their cow pastures. I will alternate fixing the music and cleaning around my old chair to make room for the new. We have to get it placed before Saturday night, when it is scheduled to rain. Actually, John moved it into the pole building to give me more time to clean up the area.

Thursday, May 1 MAY DAY (aka Beltane)

The day is celebrated in many places as a happy time but in the USA it has become a day of protest against our capitalist culture. Seattle prepared for and got violent protesters.
I started early working on changes to music and now must print off changed copies, insert in packets, and print all for Ellen, the clarinet player. I thought I needed to do them today, but realized she needed to bring two old ones, so when I called to remind her, she reminded me they were ready to go out the door and won’t return for a week. Saved me time I did not have anyway. Our group was large, but it went pretty well with the new stuff. The audience was okay with us practicing on them. Our tambourine player is a patient there, and she joined the group. Even though she is developing Alzheimer’s she still has fantastic rhythm, and a beautiful soprano voice, and recalls the words and tunes. That is an amazing part of seeing the value of music to the residents of the places we attend each week. Our neighbor, with the loose stallion, has a bad hip and can get overheated easily so working on the fence is an episodic thing. He came by for John – yesterday, they placed 2 dozen steel T-posts and today John will drive them into the proper depth with a tool such as the one seen in this photo.
Rt.: a man demonstrates driving a fence post using a red T-post driver; left the tape with embedded wire for the fencing
The next step was to string the electric tape (wires in the fabric) and another couple from nearby came to help. The main reason for additional people is to help prompt and direct the horse into the completed enclosure. All went as planned.

Friday, May 2

Our neighbor brought John a couple of large roasts to thank us. I’ve been up since 7:00 a.m. (early for me), working on sorting and cleaning stuff. Making slow progress, but went to scan something and found out our scanner is not working. John has been downloading new drivers for our relatively new Epson printer. I surely hope this fixes it, as I still have a lot of scanning work to do for the music group, to correct errors found yesterday. Good I stayed home today. The downloading took about 1.5 hours but there were no glitches and all is now installed. We tested on both computers, and we are back in business. No clue what caused it to fail. He first tried just getting new scanning software but that did not solve the problem. The full package of updates included a “firmware” upgrade to the printer which, we think, differs from the scanning software that is resident on our computers. I did not have to change anything on my laptop, so “firmware” is the word of the day and week!
During the waiting process, John sorted and handled some of the debris (bottles, cans, boxes) accumulated in the washroom and adjacent garage. We buy canned things in units of 12 in a short cardboard box about 2 inches high and covered (or not) in plastic. These things appear to have no useful afterlife! I loaded and washed a load of dishes. Back to sorting again, while he took the dogs for a short run and turned the horses into some grass for an hour. (The time went over an hour because he forgot and took a nap) – I should have because I’m very tired. I finally called my first geography teacher to wish him a happy birthday. He’s in Atlanta, GA and about 12 years older than I am. I waited too late in the day. He and his wife must have gone out for dinner. Made some progress with the piles of stuff near my chair. I found the missing October’s tax receipts folder, along with some other interesting stuff. Yes, I should have completed this clean-up last year, or before. It’s slow going. [John claims he read that smart people learn to handle paper just once – guess we’re not smart.] I must clean out the corner for the chair so John can unload it from the truck into the house. We may need a grocery trip for various things, including the canned cat food mentioned on previous days – but actually, now outside temps are up and yellow jackets are appearing as they find such food smells as attractive as the cats do. Thusly, the outside cats may get switched entirely to dry food.
We ate late, but oh, so good – Salmon burger chunked up and stir-fried with red peppers and mushrooms, and also just fetched from the garden asparagus served under a mound of melted cheese. Then a bunch more sorting and tossing, mostly recycling, newspapers, office paper, and magazines. I am now believing this should be done every day, or at least every week – and it only took 70 years to learn it.
All 5 cats were in to the cat’s haymow tonight to eat. And peaceful it was, thankfully. No cat fights needed.

Saturday, May 3

Now it’s Saturday morning, and just when I thought I was done, I got an e-mail. Jeri Conklin wrote that our dog Daisy and Jeri’s other dog Dice, a 7-month old puppy, both received a “leg” in a licensed Hunt Test this morning. The event was put on by the Northern California Brittany Club, at Kick Back Ranch, Penn Valley, CA.
I had to get on the AKC site to find answers to my questions because I have never entered a Brittany in a hunt test. I do know three titles are available, Junior, Senior, and Master. The titles go after the dog’s name. It’s JH for Junior Hunter, and for the title, a dog must receive qualifying scores at 4 “licensed or member” tests, with scored evaluations of four different hunting abilities (see below for my condensation of the rule book).
A Junior Hunter dog is scored on these abilities (two dogs are braced together, but they are not competing with each other–only the rules). All dogs are scored from “0” to “10” on each of the following:
(1) HUNTING: A dog needs to show a keen desire to hunt, boldness & independence, and a fast, yet useful, pattern of running.
(2) BIRD FINDING ABILITY: A dog must locate and point birds in order to receive a Qualifying score dependent upon intelligence in seeking objectives, use of the wind, and the ability to find birds.
(3) POINTING: Considerations includes the intensity of its point, its ability to locate (pinpoint) birds under difficult scenting conditions and/or confusing scent patterns. A “flash” point is not recognized. Finally, a dog’s pointing score shall not be influenced by steadiness to wing and shot.
(4) TRAINABILITY: Evaluation is based on willingness to be handled, reasonable obedience to commands, and gun response. If the handler is within reasonable gun range of a bird that has been flushed after a point, a blank pistol must be fired.

Daisy got 4 nines! Highest score of day for the junior hunter test! Now the phone call. Jeri had a good morning with Daisy and Dice, who found and pointed 3 birds each and did all they were supposed to do in the process. She stood for the flush for all 3, chased on the first, but not the second and third. And here is a picture taken today in California – to WA – to the world.

Daisy the young orange and white Brittany with ribbon and owner handler Jeri with orange vest

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

Cool

Saturday, Apr 19

This morning we finished the blog and posted it before I left for the afternoon of music in EBRG and to pick up some dog food. I have been gone for several hours playing music at Briarwood Commons (retirement community). Lots of Irish songs and others, with lyrics for the audience. They fixed us an afternoon “lupper” (between lunch and supper?). Today we had a cabbage salad (not coleslaw but sort of like it), two whipped cream type salads (one was rice with mandarins) – I almost typed mandolins. Ha ha; green Jello with fruit cocktail, and the best little half sandwiches with homemade chicken salad (made by 4 of the ladies there). For dessert, we had two homemade Bundt cakes – one was cherry and the other a lemon pound, along with the best carrot cake with cream cheese dressing and pecans you have ever tasted. Bill (the baker) knows John and sent me home with two pieces. We had many players there and a new guitarist from Cle Elum joined us. He played first with us at the potluck before our music for the square dance group at the Grange, and then with us there, and last week at Dry Creek. I guess he will be joining the group! I now only wish for more fiddles. We had only 3 (viola, violin, and bass fiddle) last Thursday and 7 guitars. Yesterday, we had fewer guitars because of Easter travels, but still had a good group, and an additional fiddler who has joined our group, this quarter only on weekends, because of CWU class conflict on Thursdays. He’s married to our new bass fiddle player.

Sunday, Apr 20 HAPPY EASTER

Up to a pretty sunshiny day (but cool). John took some sausage and biscuits out of the freezer, added cheddar cheese and egg, and we had brunch. I have been working on music, and just finished Waltz Across Texas. Now I have added a couple more and made .pdf files for them to ship off next week to people with printers. Gonna visit with friends this afternoon on their way home to Yakima. We’ll sit in chairs inside our pole building out of the wind. They are bringing us some Costco dog food to share as they feed the same stuff, and that will save us a trip down to Yakima tomorrow. They arrived a little after 4:00 p.m. and we visited outside in lawn chairs near our pole building, for 2 hours in the sun, because there was no wind, and it was chilly in the shade. Nice visit. They had been at their family’s Easter dinner. Now John is back outside working again. It’s Mockin’ Bird Hill, for me, to get into music.
No reports on our puppy, so guess she didn’t have a bird on her run. Derby dogs have to have bird contact and an established point.

Monday, Apr 21

Great start to the morning – John fixed my broken recliner this morning that was coming apart as a combination of tinker toy and erector set parts. It has been operating reluctantly for awhile and finally tilted and died. He claims the problem could have been prevented for 15¢ during original construction – but they didn’t ask his advice. I also wrote to my department head from CWU and his administrative assistant (Marilyn) to ask if I could pay for copying music (on their fancy all-function Xerox machine) for our audience at the community homes we visit weekly. I can do the work, and provide the paper, but need to pay for the machine-cycles and toner. I learned they will allow me to make copies, 20 of 9 pages, back to back, for a reasonable price. The cost is high at the local print shop, and they won’t copy music, claiming it is copyrighted. Our music group has no income and we are just trying to accommodate retirement home residents who want to sing along on the old favorites. Some of our tunes (those from before 1921) can be copied at the commercial store but then other pages would have to be shuffled into the stack by hand. That’s about as much fun as using my home printer and trying to get John to put all the pages together. Anyway, now back to alternating washing dishes, clothes, and finishing music to be copied. Meanwhile, I also returned a call to the photographer who videoed us April 5th night at the Grange. He is going to make several DVD copies for us. That is awesome. John is out planting Ponderosa pines and it is overcast and likely will rain today. It rained tonight.
I finished several pieces of music, including a medley of Five Foot Two & Yes Sir That’s My Baby, also Down By the Old Mill Stream, and I may add Do Lord (as the Spiritual I learned long ago). Probably not politically correct (PC) to use the pronunciation, Lawd for Lord, and so on. But, doing Christian music in public places is also not “in tune” with some folks, and, yet, at the food bank, we have requests for Amazing Grace, It is no Secret What God Can Do, Jesus Loves Me, How Great thou Art, and others. They especially love, In The Garden. We accommodate if we know the song. John claims that when he is in a nursing home he will not want to hear these songs. He’ll be looking for the work of Roy Orbison and Roy Clark.
This is the best Pretty Woman – if it will play for you; these don’t work well on our old computer – and features a young Bruce Springsteen on guitar – find a different version if this doesn’t work for you. And here is Roy Clark and band in Iowa City doing Orange Blossom Special.

Tuesday, Apr 22

Dealing with medical bills and how much Medicare and Group Health (supplemental) insurance will pay is really a PITA. After 3 phone calls, I found out that I had not yet reached my $147 deductible on Medicare, or my $250 on Group Health (GH), so I have to pay $46.03 out of my pocket for the hellacious 3 hours of heart tests I had to suffer through back on 2/25/14. Also, while I was on the phone, I made an appt. for the both of us to have our eye exam on May 16, same doctor, 15 minutes apart, even though the exams take longer than that. Unfortunately, John has to meet his deductibles the same way. While I have already paid all but $4 of my GH, some of Medicare, he has paid nothing, so we’ll have to cover his entire exam. At least we don’t need to have new glasses. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy John hasn’t had any doctor’s visits this year.
He is hoping for the wind to stop before going out to move the straw off the strawberry patch. It’s not supposed to calm down until six o’clock, so now he rests. Winds have been sustained over 22 up to 31mph; gusts have been over 31mph since before 8:00 a.m., up to 44mph.
Lots of work squeezed in on music too, including Heart of My Heart (written in 1926 by Ben Ryan, from an earlier version, The Story of the Rose, written in 1899, by Andrew Mack). I worked as well on sending out job announcements to the NW Geography Jobs list serve.
Cancelled out tomorrow’s music at the Food Bank because my sidekick banjo player is sick in bed with the flu (going on a week). My SAIL class was also cancelled because a number of the folks are going to Seattle to the Arboretum and to shop at Trader Joe’s (EBRG does not have one and it seems to be big deal to some of these folks). The Senior Center puts on lots of activities with a bus ride and lunch included (for a price), but I have other things than riding a bus I like to do. John and I may leave in the morning when it is cold and windy to go to Costco for the much-needed dog and cat food. We have a scheduled trip to the Cardiologist on May 6, but we need several things before then.
Just heard today from Anne Engels she gave her son 3 music books for me with chords. I think they are just to borrow, copy what I want, and return. This is good. I had trouble putting together even the old 1917 one tonight, The Darktown Strutters’ Ball. I had a couple of things to work from but not in the same key or timing. I chose to go with an older version, closer to the way I think it is supposed to be, and put in the chords from now-departed Bob’s rendition. I looked on line and some placements disagreed. I just listened to it and decided myself which way to go. I took two old copies and did a real white-out job on them to be able to add chords to the music so that I don’t have to put it into my SongWriter software. Each song from scratch takes over 2 hours, and sometimes more. If the notes and lyrics are fairly visible and I can make the chords stand out; these will suffice for now. I’m spending all my entering time rewriting Bob’s stuff and also adding a few new ones. Sometimes I have the commercial score copy from a “band” member, or oftentimes I have to kludge it from the web. People with web sites want to sell “their” sheet music that has been cobbled together just as mine is, and thus, they don’t show but a few lines of any one song. I’m getting better at sleuthing, and of course, I also have musician friends to rely on for copies of some stuff I cannot find elsewhere. Only occasionally do I have to add a few measures myself from scratch.

Wednesday, Apr 23

With both events I normally do on Wednesday cancelled, John and I decided to travel to Yakima to Costco for gasoline and dog food, and some other stuff on sale. We ended up spending $3.699 / gal of gasoline, but even with the world price of oil going down $2.00/barrel, the news hasn’t reached our state. Ellensburg’s cheapest station is up to 3.719/gal. Just last week we filled my car up at $3.489/gal. Interesting. We bought some printer paper today, costing us $3.25/ream (up considerably from the last time we bought a case), but it is heavier weight; 22 lbs.
About paper weight: Using English units we normally see weight = 20 pounds. Why? Well, because you asked – the number is based on 500 sheets of the industry-agreed on size of the type of paper being considered. Multi-purpose paper for ink-jet printers is of the Basic Size 17 in. X 22 in., and this is 4 times the size of the sheets in the packages with which we are familiar. Because the paper in these packages is only ¼ the size of the “Basic Size” it takes 4 of them to get the expected 20 pounds of paper. Thus, each 500 sheet ream of ink-jet printer paper will weigh just 5 pounds. The reams of 22# paper will weigh 5.5 pounds but still be 8.5X11 inches, and thusly, it is ever so slightly denser and the “see through” is likewise reduced. A better paper. And now you know, ‘cause John was curious.
Besides paper, that we really didn’t need, we loaded up on dog and cat food so we don’t run out again. Got some roast beef, chicken, and Jarlsberg cheese on sale; some Rosemary Olive bread that we like a lot. Some other frozen stuff – mixed vegetables for making stir-fry or stew. They no longer carry the Panko-crusted Shrimp we have bought for a long time. John found a great pot roast one cooks in a bag. He manufactured a great dinner from it for tonight, with mushrooms, red peppers (from a greenhouse in British Columbia) bought today and put into the gravy, on Yukon Gold potatoes (Wintered in temperature controlled buildings: put ‘ potato storage winter ’ in an image search and see). Nice dinner. We had a brunch (Monster Biscuit) from Carl’s Jr. on the way down and on the way home, a Very Berry Frozen Yogurt Sundae (made with a generous helping of mixed berries). It rained on the way back. I took his cell phone along on the trip so we could use it if we got separated in the huge warehouse. As we approached Yakima, I tried calling his sister on his phone. No luck. I called on my cell phone and it went right through. She suggested I call Consumer Cellular and report our malfunctioning phone. I tried it again once at Costco, and nothing, no network connection, with the battery fully charged, so I left it in the car and stayed with John around the store. Got a lot of walking in so it was probably more than I would have done in the exercise class that was cancelled. Once back on the road for home, I called our cell provider’s technical support and described the problem with his phone. The solution was for me to do some stuff, and for them to make some changes through their computer. It worked, and I was able to call Peggy using John’s cell phone, to report that she was a “savior” in suggesting my calling and that it worked!! On the way home, I made one more call, but the reception through the basalt hills and without regular cell tower coverage is lousy in that 30-mile stretch. On the way home, I experimented with the camera in his phone, and captured them later onto my computer. Click each of the photos for full size on a $15 phone.
Rain drops on car window coming into the Kittitas Valley from Yakima, with full cloud cover
Coming into the Kittitas Valley in the rain. (Remember we only get 8 to 12″ annually).

I felt as if I accomplished a lot today. Now, if his phone would just hold its charge. Started making a dent into another song by Harry Wood – A Little Street Where Old Friends Meet. Got the basic images of the score from Dave Perkins, in the key of E flat. I will change it to something easier for our group to play. Three flats is not something anyone likes.

Thursday, Apr 24

We have been joined by another cat in our cat house and cat’s hay mow. We haven’t determined the gender, but it is a large light-gray-bodied cat with some white on all 4 feet and white on his face as Rascal, but with longer hair, yet not as long as Woody’s. It maybe has some orange mixed in on the legs. Normally, that means female, but in Rascal’s case, he is a male Mackerel tabby. We watched “him” up top in the morning, and then later in the evening he was back, and ended by walking the plank into the cat house, where there is dry food, water, and a night light (blue). We have turned off the heater now, and they have access to non-frozen water all around our place.
Went to Hearthstone for music. It was a nice outing. We had a large (and appreciative) audience, including the Activities Director, Liana. When she saw the music given to the residents was complete with notes, lyrics, and chords, she got her guitar and joined in. She has a great voice too, and sang along on all the songs. She was particularly thrilled with My Grandfather’s Clock, and learning the last verse. Also, she had not had the music, and had to pick out the chords by ear. Leftovers are for dinner, and too much time spent trying to enter a song which is not working well. I may give up on it. It was “T for Texas,” and I gave up. It’s an old Jimmie Rodgers song, I will have to write the music for, because it is not available on line, even for a price.

Friday, Apr 25

For our scholarship luncheon today, I picked up my friend Mary on campus and gave her a ride. We went to Dry Creek, an assisted living center, where one of our members works. The lunch was held in the “Coca Cola Room.” You’ve heard about the chairs earlier in this blog because we use them the 3rd Thursday of each month when we play music there. We have had to carry chairs down the hall from the room to the main dining room where we provide the music, so I knew the location of the room. We were the first ones there. I took John’s cell phone (with camera) along today.
Coca Cola themed room; Chrome plated legs on tables (round tops; Coke logo in center) chairs and stools with bright red covers; floor black and white squares like a chess board
Counter in Coke themed room; tall straw holder, salt and pepper shakers, little white stuffed bear, thermomater -- all with Coca Cola icons and red and white
I should have had Mary take more than one picture of me, to get one with my eyes open – so we’ll exclude that one. Guess I can just say I’m dreaming of the days of old.

Coca Cola originated in my home town, Atlanta, GA, but the funniest part of that is my Grandfather had a drug store there (Brannen’s Drug Store), and Asa Candler wanted him to put Coca Cola in his soda fountain. My grandfather declined and said he would stay with Welch’s Grape Juice. I might have been a millionaire. After returning Mary back to campus, I stopped at Grocery Outlet for cheaper cat food but they were totally out of any, small or large cans. This chain keeps some prices low by only buying certain things when the distribution centers want to unload near the end of product cycles – or something. The frustration of finding an empty shelf is almost worth the low price when stuff is there. Then on to SAIL exercise, where they had had a free lunch for people and had shown a movie. It was still playing when I arrived. We had a good class, and the staff put out wrapped pieces of leftover egg estrata from lunch for us to take home. I brought home two pieces for us to put with our leftover end of the roast beef from which we have had 7 meals. This dish appeared to have potatoes (or rutabaga; aka Swedish turnip), cherry tomatoes, red and orange peppers, onions, cheese and eggs in a casserole type of dish, similar to a Quiche or Frittata. The name Strata comes from the layering. The best I can do is to send you to a photograph on the web, click here for this photo. Once home, I spent some more time on music entry, and on household chores. Also worked a little on the jobs list I manage. Yesterday I got a Priority mail package from the place that wants my consultation about job descriptions for a Geographer. The woman from Raleigh, NC called today, but I was gone. With the 3 hours time difference, it was too late to return her phone call by 5:00 today. I have her email, so will contact her over the weekend. Another thing I did tonight was peruse (the true meaning) the three music books from my friend in Montana. They are excellent, and have a few songs I remember from my childhood, but with all the lyrics, notes, and chords. Perfect for what I need to get music in order for our group. I have stopped work after this weekend on May/June, and we are set for July, so I can get back to work on sorting things in the house – for a final destination, known as a dump or landfill, or to share with colleagues still teaching. I have done a lot of that, and there’s more to follow.
John sprayed for weeds today, and pruned the very thorny Blackberries – they have the character of winter hardiness – called Illini Hardy and come from Illinois – the only reason for having them at all. Thornless berries as just as tasty (and a lot safer for Nancy to pick – John won’t even let me near the thorny ones).

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