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

Our Yellow Daffodils say “Yea, Spring.”

{Click on these 2 photos for large size}
Bicolor (yellow) Daffodils about a foot tall in yard
Nanking Cherry blossoms - pink and white - against a dull blue/gray sky
The above Cherry blossoms are on Nanking Shrubs just out our back door, but . . .
The Cherry blossoms in Wash. D. C. have brightened the Nation’s Capital this week. Click and view during daylight. Or just search for photos. There are lots of visitors there, too. Try a search with –
cherry blossom Washington dc 2014

Saturday, Apr 12

Finished and posted the blog this afternoon. John brought me a nicely-cut-up into bite-size pieces of warmed leftovers from the great pizza he made last night. John is doing yard/garden work (mostly), and I’m working on the “books.”

Sunday, Apr 13

Will likely be the same regime as yesterday. Washing clothes, searching for socks for John, washing dishes, mostly tax related stuff (all those were done). I did pause for photographing a picture of one of our Brittanys who won the Chukar Classic in 1978 & 1982. The Idaho Brittany Club is collecting history, and photographs of winners. I managed to locate Carol Pochardt through LinkedIn (a professional networking site), and to get her connected to Robin Tomasi, the organizer of the history. Carol’s dog DC Bi-Mar’s Cinnabar Cindy won it in 1988. Cindy was also the dam of a litter with the sire, our DC/AFC Ramblin’ Chocolate Dandy, and I kept Cedaridge Duch’ss Dancer from that litter. She is behind our dogs as well. Also, I left a phone message for Michele Sherer in San Jose’, CA, who had many dogs from our lines, winning or placing them in the Chukar Classic. Here is a 1984 photo of Dan Richmond, FC Simons Ruff-Shod O’Dee and me with an Open All Age 1st place trophy. Click on it.
wood framed old faded photo with Nancy and Brit with handler Dan holding large trophy in straw colored grassy field
Ruffy was dark orange, not liver, as it appears in this photo of a framed photo.

I was finally ready to print the tax form, but our WI-FI (WLAN) between the printer shared by our computers in the den is not getting a strong enough signal, at least that’s the error message. John worked quite awhile and finally had to return outside to plant new berry plants…black, blue, and straw. I had just become totally ticked off when running my wrap-up on the final tax return, because it wouldn’t let me use all the deductions I have spent hours and hours recording … over the past many months. I guess we don’t qualify for the itemized deduction and must take the standard instead. Had I known that, I could have save an amazing amount of time, but now I will still likely do next year’s the same way, just in case. One never knows until it’s all entered. I’ll just get an earlier start. I didn’t think our situation was that different from previous years, but I guess I was wrong. We have itemized deductions for over 25 years. The current situation is caused by making a distribution from my tax-deferred IRA to use to build the pole building and buy 20 tons of hay. Not only is the money taxable, but it moves our income into a higher bracket for the year. So, the extra income, all taxable, affects the allowable deductions. We’ll drop back to a more normal situation for the next year. Keeping my fingers crossed for the next 10 minutes that my puppy will get her blue ribbon today on her first year’s birthday. She is supposed to run her brace at 5:00 p.m. Still no news and it is 8:07. I’m sure we won’t hear anything because any cellular towers are miles south near the interstate highway. The camp setting is in a small valley, Crab Creek valley beneath the basalt cliffs — photo in last week’s blog of our visit with “Daisy” near Ritzville, WA.
Printed out my tax return, and realized I was out of black ink in the back (backup) printer.
We may squeak through. I have one that didn’t print two bottom lines, but I can write them in by hand. I’m rather exhausted from all this effort and added stress. Think I’ll go to bed.

Monday, Apr 14

John has been doing outside work–spraying weeds, and the sprayer quit. The 2003 Ford truck battery also won’t hold a charge, so it needs to be replaced. Always something. Now he is waiting for the farrier who called with news he will be late for his “trim” appointment. John released the horses from the corral, and of course they went to the other end of the 7 acres. Don’t think anything is scheduled for me, so it will be another busy work day. I’m finalizing the tax forms to mail tomorrow, from the Kittitas P.O. where the wait is not as long as in Ellensburg. This afternoon, I received a nice email from Peggy Doiron that Daisy won a 3rd place in the Open Derby (OD) yesterday. Here it is in her words: Quick note. Daisy did a very nice job for her first time in OD. She placed 3rd. The dogs that were first and second ran bigger, but we were tickled with her. She stayed forward and busy. Had a nice little point and then on to look for more [birds]. She was our best OD yesterday.
Then a long conversation from Jeri Conklin (Daisy’s other mom), catching up on lots of things. We are both happy campers. John came back in from the horse farrier work and we had lunch. I cooked the large funny egg I mentioned in last week’s blog, for adding to my tuna
cooked and split double yolk egg to add to tuna and mayo for a lunch
{this image is full size}
salad, and then forgot to add red peppers after peeling the egg and cutting it in half. I rather figured it might be double yoked and you can see it was. It certainly made the concoction an egg/tuna salad instead tuna with egg! After lunch, John got back with the WIFI printer connection problem and we finally called our DSL provider who changed the password last week to make the system work again in order to access the Internet. We had not been able to print since then, and didn’t realize during working hours it needed another adjustment. Took awhile on the phone, but finally we again have access to the printer from both our newer computers. John has ordered ink for the back printer, and I have tested and printed a copy of our tax form to be submitted tomorrow. Guess the emergency was resolved, and a lot of stress is removed. Now to get our tax forms all in shape to ship off tomorrow.

Tuesday, Apr 15

Go to Kittitas with tax return and if John finds his wrenches, he will remove the truck battery and we’ll go buy a new one. All that happened. We were late leaving because it took him awhile – moving things and throwing odds and ends away. The tools needed are the same batch used on the dishwasher I wrote about, a socket set and a ratchet wrench. We knew they were near and only under just one or two layers of “stuff.” Eventually found under the plastic liner for the big apples purchased a few weeks ago, somewhat like this micro-thin liner in this web photo. {Click on photo for bigger but poor image.}
Very thin black plastic pre-shaped for apples tray for bottom of a box
As expected, the tools were just into the garage via the washroom door under the black plastic pre-formed tray and the thin foam top cover. With proper tools the old battery was soon ready for its non-working ride to town in the back of my Subaru. I drove to Kittitas (10 mi) to the P.O., and was the only one in line (but 4 people arrived as I finished). We drove on to Bi-Mart and succeeded in finding a replacement sprayer for the one that broke yesterday and it was on sale for $14; normally $20. While there I checked on my Magnesium tablets, and they were on sale for 30% off (through tomorrow). So, $2.79 for a normally priced, $4.00 bottle. Only one bottle was on the shelf, so I got it and asked for a rain check, which they gave me!! On to Les Schwab for the battery replacement for John’s 2003 truck. It appears that was the factory installed battery, so 10 years must be a record. John bought the top of the line of 3 possibilities — ranging from 5 to 7 years warranty. The cost was $151.15, for a 7-year guaranteed battery. Our sales tax is 8.1% but they knocked off $10 because we didn’t have them do the installation. Rather interesting now there’s a charge to install a battery but most interesting of all is the high price of batteries. On the way home we stopped for gasoline, while still talking to John’s sister, as I had called while the battery buy was going down. We talked the cell-phone battery to nothing, but had a nice long visit. Then home, chores, supper, and computer news and updates. At 11:00 p.m. we got an out of area telemarketer call. That’s really crappy. It’s also scary to receive a phone call so late at night. Makes one worry that something is wrong with a friend or relative.

Wednesday, Apr 16

Started off the morning with a call from the Research Triangle in Raleigh, NC part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to use my background in Geography for helping construct the publically accessible (free) nationwide database for jobs. More later, as I get the documents via email and postal mail. I was recommended as a resource by the NCGE (National Council for Education), of which I have been a member since 1965. A researcher called and asked me a lot of questions, about my background. The concern is to describe what a geographer does in that type of job designation. Considering my work with the jobs list and announcements since the 1990s, and being in the profession since the 1960s, I suppose I’m experienced enough, and I am willing. I don’t need more to do but will give this a try. A local apple packer has opened a controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage unit and released small Rome apples. We like Romes so when word came via a neighbor, I stopped and picked up 10 lbs for $1.99 at the fruit market at the south end of EBRG. I was down thataway intending to be at the Food bank for music and the Senior Center for SAIL exercise class. On the way home, I stopped by Royal Vista (nursing home and great dessert makers) to return the cake plate we cleaned and packed (that we’d taken from the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner the Tuesday night a week before). While there I took a sweatshirt to a woman (probably in her late 70s, who is a resident there, and who follows all our music in 3 different times I play each month. Heard while visiting her that an accordionist would be playing this afternoon, so I told the assistant to go get Jeanne Gordon and take her to the performance. Meanwhile, I walked to the other end of the building to visit with Jeanne. I got there the same time as the nurse’s aide, and thanked him for taking her, and told him she was an accordion player herself in the group I’m in, but from the 1950s. He had no idea. I went to say hello to the accordion player, and she was Karen Eslinger, with whom I have played many times. She asked me where my fiddle was; I said in the car, so she invited me to join her. That was a long haul (on my feet the entire 1.5 hours). I surely got my exercise today, but enjoyed doing music from the 1930s with her.

Thursday Apr 17

Morning is gray & dreary, with some little raindrop sprinkles. John’s out near the road planting some Ocean Spray trees. Yesterday, among other chores, he planted Dahlias in the last year’s potato patch where the soil did not need much work. If they grow he will spread them to other places where they can be seen. I spent a little time last night and this morning re-writing the music for the Tennessee Waltz without repeats and with large fonts for our group. It’s pretty nice-looking. Haven’t heard anything about how our puppy performed. She will be running on the same grounds again this weekend, and then off to Idaho. Since I wrote that, we learned she didn’t place because she didn’t like the rain and the wind, and the birds were running and not holding, for a point.
Today, I played music (largely Irish) at Dry Creek and one of the fellows on oxygen in a wheel chair is our biggest fan and has been for years. He talked to me at the beginning and at the end and gave me a smile and said something with an Irish brogue, followed by a thank you in German, so I said thank you (in German ) back. My grandmother spoke German but she only taught me a couple of words. John’s grandmother was Irish. 🙂 Neither of us knew her.
Great dinner tonight. John roasted chicken breasts he bought today, and we were astounded at the size. So large I had a lot and he had the rest of only one! He made Bisquick® biscuits (with beer) and a gravy (mushroom & onion), plus cooked cauliflower, fried in a batter. Boy, it was good. We’ll have leftovers tomorrow and the rest of the weekend.

Friday, Apr 18

Late yesterday afternoon I had a blood draw for my blood-thinning factor (INR test) but we were on the phone with a friend when the nurse tried to call. Today, at different times, both Cathys from the Cle Elum Clinic called to give me a report. That’s a strange and unexplained thing. The test report was at 2.8, so that’s about right. Last year for a time I bounced up and down on this test. Lately there is very little change and seemingly for no obvious reason. Today, John was out in the wind, but happily had sunshine part of the day. He was planning to plant Ponderosa Pine trees he got from the local Conservation District, but I think he changed jobs to work out of the wind – gusts to 39 mph. [Changed the fencing around the Blueberries and cut out some of the old thornless Blackberry canes.] I stayed busy inside.

Saturday, Apr 19

I will be going to play music and eat at Briarwood Commons this afternoon. I suspect John will post this in the morning.
So we hope you have a nice Easter Sunday.

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

Dessert, dog, dust, and wind

Saturday, Apr 5

Finished the blog and posted this morning. This evening, at the Grange, we had more musicians than stage space. We had 6 guitars, a banjo, 3 fiddles, a viola, a clarinet, and a bass fiddle. We were told the hour of music provided through their dinner went over well. The first picture below was taken when only a few of us were there, warming up on Westphalia Waltz.
Nancy in the center of practice at the Grange Hall
The next photo was taken later when we all were there playing, but one guitarist is hidden. He is in the above picture on the right, where our clarinet player is hidden.
Nancy and others playing tunes at the Grange Hall -fiddles, banjo, bass, and more
John could not get positioned such that all of us showed in one image, considering the cramped conditions. However, a professional photographer with a TV camera recorded the whole event and came up on stage on the last 2 songs to get close-ups. It is supposed to appear on EC-TV (Ellensburg Community TV), and I hope to be able to share a link in the future to the show, accessible on line. It was only Thursday this week that the photographer (Ray Moyer) went into the station to edit the footage, and I am to call back next week to find the location on the web. Stay tuned.

Sunday, Apr 6

Day spent on organization and entering data into Turbo Tax (TT). Still much to do, with mileages for medical and volunteering, which I’m first putting into an Excel spreadsheet so that I can have it calculate sorted totals by type/location, for entering into TT.

Monday, Apr 7

Worked all morning on entering information into Turbo Tax. Went to my foot doctor for nail care (he says the nail is growing out that indicates the Laser surgery is working). I’m scheduled for another laser treatment June 24. This today was to cut nails and grind off the heavy nail more like the consistency of an antler or livestock horn. Tonight I drove back to play early for The Connections (mostly-musical prayer service at care homes). Normally we play on Tuesday night, but because tomorrow is the Volunteer banquet, we rescheduled and went a day ahead.

Tuesday, Apr 8

Early morning trip to Copper Kettle for a meeting of the Emeriti Professors of Geography at CWU. We had a guest join us, John Bowen, the Interim Chair of Geography. Much of the rest of my day was spent on recordkeeping. However, at 5:30 we needed to be at the Fairgrounds for the Volunteer Appreciation dinner. It was nice, but we chose to be near the end of the buffet line, and much of the food was gone. Just before we got to the serving table the ground beef for taco-style salad ran out, along with hard-boiled egg pieces. That was supposed to be the core of the meal. We made do with what was left and had a couple of desserts. The gal in charge of the dessert table is our friend and gave John an almost full red velvet cake to bring home, see . . . (okay, this image is from the web, but it did look about like this—actually a lot better, deeper red and thicker layers of both cake, frosting and filling).
white icing on red (choc) velvet cake
…with a cool cream-filled cupcake in the place of the missing piece. If you look at the photo below, you’ll see it, the big white one, on the back side (left) of the table beyond the cake on the pedestal. Some of the others were quite fancy and there was an abundance and variety so the simple looking one did not get much attention. Worked for us!
a long table with 20+ great desserts -- cakes, cheesecake, plus
I won a door prize, which is a $10 gift card for use at restaurants I seldom frequent, but might someday get near one (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steak House, and some others I have never heard of — the joys of living in a relatively unpopulated part of the USA — all owned by Darden Restaurants. (Check below).
Icons of the 6 Darden resturants from Red Lobster to Seasons fresh grill
Most of the day was fruitlessly spent on problems with totals in columns &/or rows formulae put into an Excel spreadsheet for taxes. Thought I had it fixed with John’s help but right before bedtime, it started messing up again.
Great photos taken tonight at the dinner of 6 people wearing Carol Hancock’s donated fingerless knitted gloves. This one is appropriate for the theme of the night (Treasure Island), with all hands down :-). Thanks, John for humoring me with all the recent photo-shoot requests.
Nancy and 5 others wearing knitted fingerless gloves of many colors
Back row, l. to r.: Evelyn Heflen, Megan Kasper, Charlie Firkins
Front row, Ellen Fischer, Joanie Taylor, Nancy Hultquist

Wednesday, Apr 9

Early up and working with my laptop computer (in my recliner). Our dogs announced a person in the driveway. It was my neighbor with eggs for us and a friend. I gave her the $ and 3 egg cartons, and some of our frozen berries (rasp & black), as thanks for our dozen. She explained the HUGE strangely shaped egg in ours. I have to remember to show John.
Food Bank/SAIL today and I took Youth Depends to the Food Bank to donate (they don’t fit my neighbor). They were happy to get the 3 packages, and I have 2 more packages to deliver next week. We had our newest guitar player there with us again this week. He is a usual patron of the Soup Kitchen. Our singer was there too. He is a volunteer server and dishwasher for the Food Bank. We have 4 musicians to squeeze into the path in front of the wall refrigerators, where we have removed 3 chairs on the end table.

Thursday Apr 10

Morning came too soon, John left at 7:30, and for me it was filled with morning chores, sharing tasks between washing dishes, cleaning counters, and alternating time with data input to Excel spreadsheets, for tax purposes. If I would just do this the first of every month, as paying bills, my life would be simplified for putting into the Turbo Tax form. When will I ever learn? Please -this year is the plan. I left the house before John got back from his last day of pruning wine vines. A few days ago the vines began “weeping” (the grower’s term) when cut (John calls it leaking) while this site calls it “bleeding” and seems to make a much-ado fuss about it. Today was playing at the Rehab, where I spent 7 weeks in 2010. We had a good bunch of musicians and an appreciative audience. Many of the staff (nurses and physical therapists) stopped by to enjoy. Our usual resident Helen got up and waltzed around with her walker. She sings the words as she dances. Another resident, we call thumps up Ted, cheers us on throughout the time. We had a clarinet, violin, bass fiddle, banjo, and 5 guitars. Cool, that our new bass fiddler, Megan, works there as a Speech Pathologist, in Physical Therapy. I’m going back to work now on the computer. Took a short break to arrange for John to meet our neighbor to loan him the removable part (stinger) of a trailer hitch. He’ll need to take the ball off to connect to a fertilizer spreader. This is an off-road type of hookup.
a pull-type spreader for dry fertilizer; holds several hundred pounds
Been working hard on accounting matters, but took off to eat a dinner (earlier than normal).

Friday, Apr 11

I spent a bunch of time dealing with our Fairpoint provider for DSL with modem problems and need to reset our security code, and had to reboot my computer. Finally, 45 minutes later, we have Internet connections on all computers. Jeez. We were on for 2 hrs this morning, but it just quit for unknown reasons. I worked off line on tax stuff and decided I would report it because it was still down. Hence, the loss of time, but now it is fixed.
John has to work in the wind again today, but is going out now to dig up some raspberry plants to share with our neighbor. Two weeks later than this should have been done, but things happen. I’m continuing on paperwork. I did get an early morning call from my banker with the $ amount taken out of our mortgage payment last year for Hazard Insurance. It was not reported on the normal end of year 1099 or whatever form it used to come on with the Mortgage Interest paid. At $992, that’s a significant tax deduction so I’m glad I checked.
I wrote the descriptive paragraph below (starting “On Sunday”) before we changed our minds and drove over this afternoon instead. We were gone for ~5.5 hrs. Just got home at 7:00 p.m. We stopped in Moses Lake for lunch. The purpose was to meet my new co-owned Brittany puppy from CA. In the photo below, you can see she loves to visit and hold hands/paws. Also, you can see some of the scabland topography behind us (basalt columns and a small overhang-cave — used for shelter, food storage, by native peoples, and is a habitat for snakes, and other critters. Also visible in the photo are other dogs relaxing on their stake-out chains. The horses are used by those running dogs, scouts to find dogs, judges, and a field trial martial. Those there just to watch are members of the “gallery” and they can ride horses also — in most trials.
orange and white Brittany with Nancy and another lady at field trial grounds
Peggy Doiron is on the left, Daisy (Tre’) in the middle, and me.
I left the following paragraph of explanation in below, but first will tell you about today’s visit. Turns out, I found out just before noon the trainers would be tied up all day Sunday, running dogs in several stakes. They are running 24 dogs over the weekend. Therefore, we wouldn’t have gotten to visit at all. The worst part of the trip over and once there was the wind, dust devils (one crossed the road just behind us on the freeway), and wind (oh, yes, I said that, and the blowing dirt, ha ha). My eyes got filled with scratchy dust and were still bothering me all night. We took a couple of pictures with Daisy (Tre’) after meeting her and visiting a bit. She’s a sweetie. There are no pictures at our first meeting where she propped her front paws in my hand and let me pet her. John took some photos, and then we stood by her and shared field trial stories with Peggy. Daisy went to sleep on the stake out chain.
Here’s the descriptive paragraph …
On Sunday, we were planning to go to Goose Butte, 17 miles NE of Ritzville, WA, a trip of ~133 miles, a little over 2 hrs away. Most of the trip is on Interstate but the last few miles are on rough rural roads. We were in the middle of the channeled “scablands” but a section not scoured by the big floods. These higher areas are still covered by wind blown and deposited silt (called loess) and used as dry land wheat farms. It was not hot, but wind and dust reminded us of the days when we did this and would come home covered in the loess.
The Whid Isle Brittany club field trial is held this weekend at the site. I wanted to go over and meet my new puppy co-owned with Jeri Conklin from CA. This is the closest she will be for awhile, so I really needed to meet her. She resides in southern CA. She’ll be a year old this Sunday. We’ve written about her field awards here in the blog over the past month or so. This weekend, she runs in a Derby event on Sunday around 5:00. Derby is for dogs, age 6 months to 2 years, and bird contact is required. I wanted to meet her and her professional handlers she’s traveling and training with, Paul & Peggy Doiron. She runs again on Wednesday next week in the Inland Empire Brittany Club trial (the club for which we were among several founding members in the Spokane, WA area, back in 1974). Wednesday, I’m unavailable to go over.
On the way home at 70 mph +30 mph winds, things started to levitate out of the bed of a pickup truck in front of us. One piece, a cardboard box about the size for a large microwave oven, floated out and danced in the wind. John started to move to the left and the box did the same. Behind us there was a car coming in the left lane and a tractor-trailer in the right lane with us now straddling the center line. The box settled to the pavement and, being larger than the space under the Forester, clattered along and out the back. No harm done. And yes, WA does have a law regarding traveling with unsecured loads – much ignored.
We got home in time for John to run the dogs, and for me to fix cat food for the outside cats. They met him at the barn, while he was feeding the horses, to tell him he was late with their supper. They are pretty spoiled for wild cats. Then John fixed a loaded with goodies pizza. I went back to work on taxes.
Today we were contacted again by a neighbor, whose family had come to help with fence repair. They needed to borrow our tools: a carpenter’s crow bar, fence post driver, and rock bars. Luckily, one of the guys is a strapping young man able to handle the heavy post pounder.

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

Correction first, then the usual

We posted last week just a few hours before the State of WA dropped the estimate of the missing in the big slide. The latest report has 30 dead and 13 more missing and presumed dead. Oddly, one male was found who has not been identified. He had some gold teeth (?, crowns), but other than that there has been nothing found to help with identification. The latest news is that about 10 years ago the County Gov’t. studied the issue of buying-out all the properties in this area and decided not to. Instead a barricade of logs was placed at the bottom of the hill in hopes of preventing a slide. Yeah, right!

Saturday, Mar 29

Finished the blog and posted this afternoon. Much of the rest of the time was involved with continuing chores, and visiting with a few folks by phone. John fixed a neat dinner tonight, chicken thighs with brown rice, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, celery, and pinto beans. We got a super phone call in the evening from Jeri Conklin about our dog Tre’ who won her Amateur Puppy Walking stake for 2 points. Here is a photo of her TWO blue ribbon wins– Open Puppy with 8 starters [Paul Doiron handling] for 2 pts toward her field championship, and Amateur Puppy with 12 starters [Jeri Conklin handling] for 2 points toward her AFC (Amateur Field Championship). Click image.

Nancy's friend and co-owner of the puppy Tre' holding 2 blue ribbons at a CA field trial
Tre’ – the blue ribbon puppy

Sunday, Mar 30

We both have been working on chores inside and outside. John took a hand saw and walked up “the ditch” (1/4 mile) to remove small trees (parts thereof) that had fallen over the path to the irrigation diversion or take-out. Tonight we go to a potluck of our music group to eat and then practice for our performance next Saturday night at the Swauk Teanaway Grange, for the Anniversary Celebration of the Blue Agate Square and Round Dance Club’s dinner and dance. I managed to get a load of dishes washed in between working with records sorting.

Monday, Mar 31

Arranged for some insurance referrals from my primary doctor to another foot doctor. Always something. Most time was spent on redoing the changes to music from last night’s practice session. That was a huge slice of time. New music and new players create time sinks for me.

Tuesday, Apr 1

No fooling that I got almost 9 hours of sleep last night. John stayed home today because the pruning was postponed today and tomorrow. He’s taken off for Yakima to have his Subaru’s transmission line-leak fixed. It will take 1.5 hrs, but thankfully the replacement and the part are covered under our warranty. It took a long while, but I just sent off the new changes to the music packet we will practice this Thursday and play on Saturday at the Grange. Now to get something to eat and back to tax preparation.

Wednesday, Apr 2

Nice day. John’s going to do garden work. Four packets of tiny Onions have arrived from Texas and want planted, and more stuff is on the way. I’m taking off for the Food Bank Soup Kitchen for music and going after to SAIL exercise. At least I’m out and about, play music, get fed, help others less fortunate than me in the exercise class. And the dogs are happy to seem me when I get home!

Thursday Apr 3

John’s going back to prune. I started early with Group Health Insurance, and then some paper shuffling. Still way behind on tax prep, but I am making slow progress. More excitement when a uniformed, badged livestock inspector drove down the drive and was coming to the front door (heading toward the wrong gate). He wanted to know if I’d seen any stray cows. We think this would not happen unless some cattle are missing, as in old western rustling. Many fences in the area are 70+ years old so they are fallen over and cows are out someplace a dozen times a year. So something is special about this time. Then I spent a bunch of time trying to help a graduate student get a better price on a “hood” for graduation so she could borrow my master’s gown. Some students have plenty of money and others are broke. Some have massive debts that you and we will have to suck up along with a bunch of other failed government interventions in the economy. [John’s read that many of the auto recalls are from the little cars built on-the-cheap that the Gov’t. insists the manufacturers build and sell as sacrifices to the green-movement.] My music gig this afternoon is Royal Vista, and we have a bunch coming. Eleven were there to play, including our tambourine player Jeanne who is a resident there herself since last week. We played all the changes made Sunday night, in practice for Saturday night’s performance at the Grange. Tonight was an Ice Age Floods Institute lecture on the geology/geography of Terroir (sun, slope, soil, and more) in the Columbia Valley Winegrowing Area. It brought back many memories of our past teaching efforts.

Friday, Apr 4

Staying home to work on taxes. My right eye has been bothering me all day– scratchy and dry. Missing potluck and SAIL at Sr. Center. Well, it was a waste of time. I stayed up from early and with only 6 hrs of sleep, and I’m not doing well. Spent way too much time on emails and searching files time. Am turning off my computer, maybe taking a nap to rest my aching eyes, and then will work later on record keeping. John just called at noon and will run errands in Ellensburg on his way home. The local conservation district started distributing plants (ordered in January) today and we have 5 trees (Ponderosa) and 5 shrubs = 10 holes to dig. The shrubs are commonly called Ocean Spray but grow locally on the surrounding hills – so renamed Mountain Spray. Flowers are a light-cream color, then turn light brown with age and hang on into the winter. Going by them and brushing them with shirt or horse-flank gets a liberal sprinkling of the dry but soft petals.

Saturday, Apr 5

This is a planting garden preparation weekend for John. And the local grocery outlet store sold CA strawberries for 99¢ a pound, so we have 5 pounds of berries to do something with. We have lots of frozen black and raspberries, but I don’t like all the seeds. John eats them and we trade some with neighbors. We only have 1 or 2 small packets of strawberries still in the freezer. Hope to have a better-bigger crop this year. Tonight is Grange where our group, Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends is providing music for dinner at the 39th Anniversary of the Blue Agate Square and Round Dance Club. I awoke at 4:00 a.m. with 5 hours of sleep to “finish” this to send to John to post. Am still needing rest, so off here now and back to bed for a couple hours, I hope.

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

Natural disasters

[John: I thought the title was about the inside of our house!]
{Nancy: ha ha, glad I have a good sense of humor too!}

Saturday, Mar 22

Horrendous news today of a massive landslide in western WA 55 miles north of Seattle, near Oso, between Arlington and Darrington, that dammed the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, and inundated a huge area taking out many homes, causing WA State’s most tragic loss of life. The toll of lost and most likely dead and buried alive may reach well over 100.
This is not the type of environment we would ever chose to live; planning and zoning codes everywhere should avert people from building in the active flood plain of a meandering river.

air plane view of a river in Iowa with meanders, flood plain, point bars, cut banks and trees along edge of the valley
Click either of these for a larger image.
Photos here (from web) are of other areas just to show the idea.

Looking across a small river with a gravel bar on the inside of a meander. Background, fall colors with trees and shrubs.
The gravel and sandy area of the bottom photo is called a “point bar” and is covered with water when runoff is significant. There is very little vegetation because of repeated deposition of sediment scoured from upstream. The multiple actions of scouring and deposition result in the river remaking the landscape. Hills (as in the current WA case) slump and provide a source of material for the rushing waters to pick up and redistribute. Be sure to click to open the second image of the map of the river’s mouth in the above link (from Turkey) and note the light green (with purple lines) of the in-filled bay over time.

The WA – Oso slump and damage has been well covered. We are jumping ahead of today with these, but here are some links:
Sliders (red bar to move left or right with triangles in the first one) show how the area looks:
From the Seattle Times. Move this red slider to the right, then left.
From OZ – the land of kangaroos. Click on the 3 images of this link for the before/after views. The 3rd photo is of the flooding upstream from the blockage from the slide. That has gone down because the water overtopped the debris and re-established a channel.
From the Cable News Folks. The “slider” (vertical white line with triangles) in this link shows a satellite view of the debris and the damming of the river with flooding upstream. Move the slider to the left. I have an online retrieval of a Wall Street Journal article that I can send anyone interested, but only subscribers can get to it, so I’ll not give the link.
Finally, here was an early write up in a news report from the UK: click on the image to get larger views, and arrows for moving forward or backwards, with text below the photo.
From the UK’s Daily Mail.
After posting the blog, we continued our daily chores. I fixed a nice egg & chicken salad for lunch. Then off to do neighborhood things. I waited until after the mail delivery before taking over a birthday card to put in the mailbox of our 91-year old neighbor whose birthday is today. Yeah, I was saving the 50 cents postage. On the way back I stopped and got our mail and our neighbor’s mail and then I went to her front door, and used my key to let myself into her house. When she is gone, I make a weekly trip to feed and water the inside/outside cat. The cat seems to eat a lot, so I think she may have visitors. 🙂 Now John has gone out in the sunshine to do some brushing, and I am staying in to do dishes, clothes, and receipt filing for recording.

Sunday, Mar 23

Today at 2:00 to 4:00 at the Methodist church in Ellensburg is a Bluegrass Jam that I’m attending. We had 11 musicians, and twice as many in the audience. It was a lot of fun. Yummy desserts included apple cake, carrot cake, gingerbread, and some cake with chocolate on it. I brought some home to share with John, having our berries on top. He heated egg rolls for dinner, served with pears. I have been working on music, plans for tomorrow and on tax receipts. I succeeded in giving John a long awaited haircut but it needs some detail work (later).

Monday, Mar 24

Up early to work and send John off. COLD ~ 29° still early and an hour later only up to freezing. I must go to town to pick up and deliver some Buy Nothing Ellensburg items at 1:00 p.m., given freely on the facebook page of that name. At the first person’s I picked up 3 blouses to share with another member (I get one of them) and a body pillow for someone else. I drove about a block, and delivered the pillow to a gal also on the list who had toe surgery and needed it for propping her leg and foot, and to pick up from her some yarn for another person. While there I shared a Med size wool vest with her. Then I went to SAIL exercise class, and assisted with a couple of people less stable using their walkers. Back home to work on things. Too much going on. I spent hours on projects and now am falling in bed early for an early rise.

Tuesday, Mar 25

Today we made an early morning trip to Yakima. After eating breakfast, we left at 7:45 a.m. to get there by 8:45 check-in for an appointment for a MUGA test (see below), followed by an echocardiogram at 11:00. MUGA was first. They start by taking a vial of blood, and then put a radioactive substance (Technetium-99) in to attach to the red blood cells; 15 minutes later, I’m poked again (with a huge needle) for injection of the mixture into my bloodstream. This is followed by over an hour of multiple still (for the patient) moving scanned photographs at a high resolution to see more about the way the heart parts are working. The first machine was like a dentist chair, but without any support for my arms, which were supposed to be over my head, yet I can only get my right arm up that high, and no support for my neck was provided. I was a wreck after that. While this is happening, one cannot talk or move–just lie still in pain (back, neck, chest muscles, and arms). Then I was done (I thought) and given peanut butter, crackers and juice. But, after eating, I was invited back for more photographs. This time I was taken to a different machine in the Nuclear Imaging section.
[Photos at this link cycle and the fellow in the white shirt and dark tie is my cardiologist, Anatole Kim. He always refers to me as Professor.]
I recognized the machine as the one used on me 4 years ago, when I last had this test. It is much bigger and I believe more efficient, and certainly more comfortable. When I have to have this test again, I shall request ONLY that machine be utilized. At the end of my experience, I asked if I could make such a request in advance, and the technician said yes. Why I was started on the “inferior” (IMHO) one, is beyond me. This larger one had a shelf for my left arm, and I was able to reach back with my right one, even though the extension was painful. I believe next time I will request both arms stay down. I was happy they folded a pillow under my neck for support, and put a pillow under my legs. This setup was incredibly better. The photography also took less time. I was wobbly and unstable when finished and had to walk down the hall to my echocardiogram planned for 11:00 am. That examination takes almost an hour. That was a much better experience, and with a caring, concerned, and cheerful technician. The coolest thing was being able to see my porcine (aka, pig) heart value and its opening and closing. I was able to view the incoming and outgoing blood on the radiograph and could see there was no leakage. Nice. The results for the echocardiogram are enhanced by the MUGA test that preceded it, for the doctor’s interpretation of several things, including my “ejection fraction.” The MUGA provides a better “read” of the 3-D shape of the heart chambers. That’s desired because each person’s heart damage is different and the equations established using normal hearts provide an approximation that will not be quite right for others. The MUGA (MUltiple Gated Acquisition) scan is useful for assessing the heart’s primary function. It provides a moving image (much like a movie) of the heart’s beating and provides information about the heart’s major pumping chambers.

Wednesday, Mar 26

What a morning. John left for pruning, and I tried working on things. Didn’t get very far, although I did complete some future appointments with various medical personnel. With an hour left before I had to leave for playing music at the Food Bank, I heated a croissant sweet roll to have with coffee. I took one bite (not even a sticky pastry) and out came my gold tooth in the back of my mouth (top). I know that tooth’s number by heart (#15). Very fast was on the phone with the office hoping I could get an afternoon appointment after my music/lunch date. They only work M-W. They only had a slight opening at 11:00 and I was not dressed yet. So, fast a phone call to my banjo buddy that I had to get the tooth fixed and might be late arriving for music, but I would be there. They managed to cement the gold tooth crown back in. I sincerely hope it stays. It’s a little fragile. If it doesn’t it will require a whole new crown. Those are not cheap, even with insurance. There are always home chores and when I got home I decided to do dishes. John had the dishwasher cleaned of dishes and re-shelved. I looked in before loading and thought I saw a can lid caught in the back of the bottom wall drain. I asked John to come look and he agreed it shouldn’t be there and was going to be a difficult extraction. He worked awhile and eventually had to remove a plastic cover (white) with a fine screen, which accounts for the apparent color of the metal lid. To do that required a tiny socket (for a ratchet type wrench) that he does not frequently use, and requires a size adapter. Time seems to fly by while looking for infrequently used tools. He claims there are more comfortable positions than crouching and stretching from the kitchen floor into the back of a dishwasher. Four screws came out, then the filter, then the metal lid, and then the accumulated crud. He finished the reinstallation, but I didn’t get around to loading the washer until the next morning. (Will report back on the success).

Thursday, Mar 27 1964 Alaska Earthquake, 50th anniversary

Up and stayed up when John left. Feeling better. At 9:00 the dogs barked; I had a visitor from the PUD. I met him out front, and he was the one that fixed our meter. He said he had a work order to turn off our electricity for lack of payment of our bill. I wonder if we had not been here (as Tuesday), if he would have done it. He said he thought something was wrong when he realized he had just seen me recently. So, I asked whose account is listed. He gave me a telephone number — not even close! When I said no, he handed me the work order. I didn’t see if it had a name on it, but it had an address 1000 meters south from ours. We are at 11041, not 10041. I happily sent him back toward town. [John: That’s the second time this year that a service-type person failed to read the large white-on-blue numbers the county installed at the street for location purposes. Go figure.] After all the excitement, I did normal morning chores and started the dishwasher with its newly cleaned drain. Worked like a charm and at the end there was NOTHING at all of even a speck of water in the bottom.
Got a lot of time put in on printing music for 4 people in our group, and delivered some today. Others are for me and for someone who will be at the Sunday potluck but wasn’t back in town yet. We had a good happy bunch in the audience and they all participated and sang along. We had 4 guitars, a banjo, fiddle, and clarinet. Went by my neighbor’s on the way home to deliver her mail and check on her cat’s food and water, because I didn’t want to be bothered tomorrow.

Friday, Mar 28

Seems all of WA is supposed to get rain today, so John did not go to the vineyard. It rained ALL day and still is, at 5:00 p.m. I think John keeps hoping it will stop before he has to go feed. One of our cattle-owning neighbors was kind enough to give us and deliver 5 pounds of ground beef (2nd installment ‘cause we didn’t have room earlier). Just been working on different projects all day. Did get a great message from Jeri Conklin tonight about our co-owned puppy, Tre’, out of her female and a dog belonging to Sonja Willitts, Kip, who was brother to our now deceased dog, Cork. Tre’ (or Daisy, as Jeri calls her), won her puppy points (2) today in a California Field Trial. In the Open events she is being handled by pro handler Paul Doiron and will be coming north on the circuit. With her win, she can now be moved to Derby stakes. She will be handled by Jeri tomorrow in the Amateur Walking Puppy. Am I excited or what? Yepper!! Picture to follow next week.  Her official AKC name is:  Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’ .   A pointing dog may receive a maximum of 2 points for a win in Open Puppy.  The stake had 8 starters.   Puppies can only run until 15 months of age.  The  next stake is called Derby, and the dog has to establish a point on a bird.  Derby age goes through two years.

Saturday, Mar 29

Awoke to a Rascal’s loud announcement at 6:00 a.m. that he was back in the house, from his night out gallivanting. Later, we found the reason for all the vocalizing. He had deposited a large mouse for us in the den. It was completely whole. He seldom eats on them, but I guess the chase and catch is his idea of fun. Was foggy early morning, but now the sun has come out, and we might have a nice day.

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

Ides of March, and not much happened

Saturday, Mar 15

Beware the Ides of March! (click for info)

Well, the morning started, after sleeping in a little, with me working on finishing the blog to get to John to embellish, add photos, text, and links to the web references. I put it on a little USB drive and took it to him in the back computer room. I had some high resolution pictures on that and the portable drive saves a bit of hassle in getting them into the files where he wants them, then working with them doing some cropping and color adjustments. I’m grateful for the time he spends each week with getting this tome out. We do hope some of you enjoy following us. His theory is only 3 people read it, and I keep telling him I know of at least 8 🙂
Anyway, I left a little after 1:00 p.m. for Briarwood Commons (retirement community). They had a great turn out, and we had 4 guitars, tambourine, fiddle, and clarinet. Our 17 songs, with 8 Irish, and 9 others we used our lyrics with the audience for the first time. It went quite well. At the end, we played a few more not in the book. But, they were sing-along type songs everyone knew. At the end of our performance I met a new-found friend from the Buy Nothing Ellensburg list, who gave me a couple of things — all for others. One bag had a framed picture of All Things Bright and Beautiful in a musical score, matted in an 8 x 10 frame with lasered cutouts of birds, butterflies, and a snail with purple showing through the “holes” cut in the matting. Pretty neat. I brought it home, had John help me get it out of the frame so I could scan and have the lyrics and notes. Now it is back behind glass in its nice frame. I will deliver it to a woman in Kittitas next week who wants to hang it in her house. Also, I picked up a bag of cords to drop off to a person in Kittitas only a mile or so from my first drop-off. Finally, on the way home, I stopped at my neighbors to leave a package of the adult diapers given to me by the same woman today that brought me the other stuff. We want her to open one package and try them on to see if they fit. If so, in my car are two more boxes of the plastic-wrapped packages. If they don’t fit, I will return them to the woman to give to someone else. She still has many more … so if these work there are more, freely given. So, after that little jump forward in time – back to Briarwood and food! I went back in the building to join everyone for the meal they prepared for us. So nice. We had BBQ’d pork ribs (tender – an increasingly important characteristic as one ages, I think), and 3 fruit salads, a broccoli salad, salmon dip and crackers, deviled eggs, tuna fish sandwiches and corned beef sandwiches (which I passed on because my cardiologists keeps after me to stay away from salt). In old Anglo-Saxon terms the word for granule or pellet came out as corn and applied to local food grains, as well as, to very coarse salt, and only later to the Mesoamerican food called maize. That term being introduced to the Spanish by the natives of the Caribbean Islands via their Taino language. The terminology seems a bit confusing, unless your ancient history is of the A++ league.
Dessert was one cake and 3 different kinds of cookies. My one cookie is a favorite with macadamia nuts. I left there for gasoline, and the price is very high. Cheapest in town was $3.499/gal., but when I got there, their electronic card machines were down, and they could only sell by cash. I called John to see what the price was at the 7/11 in town (check and it was $3.519. Considering if I use my AmEx card, I get a 4% rebate — it’s a no brainer. I save 14¢/gal by using my card. So I went and put in 12.3 gallons, saving $1.72, but most importantly, I didn’t have to use cash, and probably wouldn’t’ have been carrying $43.45 anyway. I seldom have much cash with me. Of course, the most important point is I won’t be running out of gas. Once home, I had to review and correct the blog John had worked on. I did and posted it. After all I ate late afternoon, I did not need to eat dinner with John. He’s used to that when I go to the Briarwood Commons play date.

Sunday, Mar 16
I accessed and need to find someone to travel before May 31, 2014 on our exchange. Right now, there’s a trade-up special (get a better unit than ours is rated) for many resorts, and I don’t know how long that will last. Just found out Monday — has to be scheduled before March 21. That’s not far away. (As you read this, it is over. – actually, this morning, 3/21) a new message arrived that it has been extended to 3/23. If anyone is interested in traveling to any worldwide location by Aug. 24, 2014, call me fast. We have to book it by the 23rd (tomorrow). We went to town and filled John’s car with gas at the Circle K where they got their credit card problem fixed. He only needed 10.3 gallons, but that’s still a savings of 14¢/gal. The price over in Quincy is 5¢ higher. When John drives I can use the cell phone and bother folks with chatter, which I did. Those minutes never get used, because we have no good reception from home. I try to make up for it while on the road (with John driving) or in town. My phone does not support blue tooth technology, even though my car does.

Monday, Mar 17

St. Patrick’s Day
Have you noticed that all these “days” have become the focus of rancor (rancidness) rather than a day to enjoy. Still, everyone has something to be thankful for. Consider:

An Irishman’s car is weaving all over the road.
The police finally get him to stop.
Says the cop to the driver,
“So, where have ya been?”
“Why, I’ve been to the pub of course,”
“Well,” says the cop, “it looks like you’ve had quite
a few pints this evening.”
“I did all right,” the man says.
“Did you know,” says the cop, “that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?”
“Oh, thank heavens,” sighs the man.
“For awhile there, I thought I’d gone deaf.”

Somewhat fitting that John is pruning wine grapes to assure a quality harvest this coming fall. I got a call about our scholarship luncheon being moved up to this Friday because next week is spring break. ALREADY! Not teaching, I no longer keep up with such dates. Had my haircut and a great visit with the couple afterwards looking at a rebuilt 1943 (my age) Jeep they are restoring. It was fascinating. Figured out the deal with RCI and now have to get in touch with friends who might use one or more. Would be awesome for them to find one with a trading value of four so I would still have trading power points left for others to use. Found out more things I can get for my neighbor. I can get a case of Ensure food supplement free from Hospice Friends. Worked more on our April 5 music playlist. I’m trying hard to pick only things I don’t have to enter into my computer software, because I do not have time right now. Wind blew more today, about blew me away as I was leaving from my haircut. I should have worn a wool hat, but sadly did not.
Okay–time to hit the hay.

Tuesday, Mar 18

I had to be at the hospital for Pulmonary Lung Test at 10:00 they were running late and got me in after 10:15. Finished the test and got my call to Jen Lipton (a CWU geographer), and we met at the Golden Dragon for the lunch buffet and a run down on her life, since many months ago when I saw her. On to Kittitas to deliver some things I got from people to deliver to others in the Buy Nothing (facebook group) – one of the most positive things on FB, which I do not have time to spend reading. (If you want me to see something, please send me an email) – that I read every day. On home for a few chores, none of which I was supposed to do, and back to town for music. Went by way of Super 1, and grabbed a dozen nice large frosted (day old) donuts, rolls, and fritters for only $3.98. Normal price for a dozen is now $6.98. Then I received a quite long, long distance call from a friend in Arizona about trading for one of our RCI timeshare vacations. Finally, we ate dinner about 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Mar 19

Well, here’s a rundown. Picked up and paid for eggs from my neighbor, to take to my banjo buddy. On to town to pick her up at work, because her (older) car was in the shop getting its axle fixed. She gave me a bunch of egg cartons for the two people we know raising chickens. We drove to the Food bank. She didn’t have the student she tutors (an early childhood accidental head injury) along with her, so we had a nice relaxing time, sang many songs with a lot of enjoyment and participation by the patrons. Two people have birthdays this week, so we sang happy birthday (to Betty and Linda). We have one person who has requested our singing It Is No Secret (What God Can Do). Evelyn found the music and had to pay for it, but now we have it. Today, we played it for him, and then Amazing Grace. He came up afterwards and thanked us. MANY people sang along on Amazing Grace. Of course, in a public place as that is, we would not be politically correct and are not supposed to do anything religious. None of us cares about such rules, and there is no PC police who frequents the place. What is quite cool is one of the patrons, a year ago, stopped me at the grocery store, and requested we play Amazing Grace for him. We do every time. More recently, a person requested “Jesus Loves Me.” We have done that a couple time for him too. Today, the food was very southern, or Oklahoman. We had ham & bean soup, corn bread, honey butter, a green salad, and peaches, apricots, and a gingerbread cookie for dessert. I got some Depends pads from the food bank (don’t ask) for my neighbor. Then, I stopped at Hospice Friends for Wipes & Ensure, returned with Evelyn to our SAIL class and then took her back to work. From there, off to Dean Hall to deliver some Aramco Worlds (magazines) and dropped off egg cartons at another friend with chickens. Spring is the laying season and everyone needs cartons. While in Idaho, we had chickens and one of these special lighting features, listed in this chicken link.

Thursday, Mar 20

We were awakened at 5:20 a.m. by an accidental phone call from a music friend who was trying to reach his daughter to get help with his wife (rapidly showing signs of age). Then I worried about her (and him) and could not get back to sleep. He called again before 7:00 to apologize but to let me know they got her settled all right and she was sleeping. Pain pills are great at certain times. John was outside when the second phone call came, because he believed he saw a raccoon, coming out of our cats’ loft. He went out to knock the snow off his car, (we got an inch last night), and to go check for footprints. He saw one Raccoon track. So, he added dry food to the inside cathouse, and tonight when he feeds in the loft, he will remove the dry food from there. We haven’t seen a raccoon in these parts in 15 years. I had breakfast with John before he took off for grapevine pruning. It took me almost a half hour to create my renewal on line for the Association of American Geographers. I have been a member (next year) for 50 years, and will get life membership free starting after I pay for this year (which I just did). Then a half hour spent on sending out new announcements to the jobs list. While more to do waits, I must switch tasks so that everything shows a little progress. I made it to Dry Creek today for music. We had a good turnout. I came home, had a little to eat, and we turned around and went back to Ellensburg, to the building adjacent to the city library, for a talk on Shrub-Steppe environment (plants and animals). It was interesting and nicely done, by Mike Livingston, South-Central Regional Director, Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. Our location here on the Naneum Fan puts us in the zone (ecotone; transition area between two biomes) between Shrub-Steppe and Ponderosa Pine Forest.

Friday, Mar 21

Today was my CWU Scholarship luncheon at noon. We had a nice turnout, and were treated to a large chicken Caesar salad, with all sorts of stuff to add to it, and Grandma rolls (with butter). For dessert, a piece of Boston Crème Cake. On to SAIL class, where I helped with two people who are in need of someone to stand for support on both sides. They both have walkers, and I was in charge of moving their chairs back and forth to be out of the way of their feet, and to push the chair back for them to sit when done with the standing up ones. It wasn’t so long ago that I was in worse shape – except I was then getting better and, week by week, could notice the improvement. Unfortunately, these two will not get better and away from the need for a walker, but happily, they are still able to get out and about and participate in activities. Hope Source is a bus service available (Monday – Friday) to come to a person’s house, load them with their wheelchair or walker, and deliver them to a destination (grocery store, Food Bank, Adult Activity Center, doctor, etc.). They need a two-day notice to plan routes, but it works very well. Went by Super 1 pharmacy for two of my meds I needed refilled, and by two people’s houses to pick up and deliver stuff. I stopped at my neighbor with the chickens, to drop off some egg cartons. John pruned plum trees and raspberries, and some of the berry plants are to get dug out and given to the lady that cuts my hair — our neighbor 1/2 mile away (mentioned above on Monday).

Saturday, Mar 22

At dawn it was 24 degrees but now, at 11:45, we are up to 45. Wow. The night sky was clear but now there is a thin veil of clouds moving from the Vancouver Island area towards us. Still the sun is quite bright. Only the high North Cascade mountains are expected to get some showers from this. Suits me. Not a lot on our schedule today, but looking forward to a sunny day.

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

At 800 feet – Spring

At the vineyard the elevation is 800 to 1100 feet and it feels like spring. Here at home (elevation 2,200 feet) it still feels a bit winter-like. But during daylight hours in Ohio, check this webcam looking across part of Lake Erie toward Cleveland. No ice! It is not all gone from the lake, yet. Here’s an ice/fish story.
For us the March Equinox (spring) arrives on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 9:57 AM PDT. Pay attention and see if you can tell.

Saturday, Mar 8

Much or our day was spent on things needing done, as this blog, which we accomplished again on the back room computer because John’s hip/leg is more comfortable in that chair than on the bar stool at the counter with the newer one. After I did the final reading and posting, I continued with chores I had been doing all morning. Then, I took off to deliver a birthday package (for tomorrow) to my neighbor. It’s her 88th birthday, and I don’t want to visit with the risk of giving her something. I met her husband returning from the mail box, and gave him the goodies (he’s 91). It’s a bag with a little package of our home made chocolate candy and a nice card.
John told me he’d uncovered a box on the front porch that had others piled on, and he thought I should go through it. These are boxes that made it from the shed to the garage or in this case the front porch for my sorting. It took me until mid-day today to get to it, but what I found was really pretty cool. It was mostly old notes (even back to my days as a student, (one high school Health Science report with incredible hand draw diagrams of systems and organs in the body)! I made an A+ and was proud of it, I guess, to keep it all these years. I created it May 9, 1957, so I was 13 then and probably in the 8th grade. I must scan a few of the drawings just for posterity. I only wish I had actually memorized and learned what I was drawing. Then I would have known all the parts of my pulmonary system when doctors were talking around me and, mostly, I hadn’t a clue. Here they are, even one with an “Excellent” rating. I wonder how that 1957 text book would compare with a modern version? Click each for a full size view.

Colored drawing by Nancy in spring 1957 -- pulmonary circulation
Colored drawing by Nancy in spring 1957 -- Vertebral column
Colored drawing by Nancy in spring 1957 -- Head and neck
Colored drawing by Nancy in spring 1957 -- Ear and inner parts

In the same box with the drawings were notes from the first Geography class I ever took (never had one in high school), but I took this one in college that changed my entire life. The date was 1962. I also found in the box two professional publications of my first Geography teacher, Dr. Sanford H. Bederman, who is still alive and well in Atlanta, GA. I visited him and his wife, Jolayne, when I was down in Atlanta, GA in 2011 for my 50th high school Reunion. They have a beautiful library in their home. I wrote him and asked if he wanted the 1966 and 1967 publications I’d found, that he sent me, about his Subsistence and Plantation Agriculture Research in West Cameroons that occurred while I was in my Geography masters program in Cincinnati. We regularly exchanged correspondence (the old blue aerogram letters) while he and his wife were there. He was the reason I went to graduate school in Geography, right up the road from where he grew up, in Lexington, KY. He is excited about having the copies for his library. (See tomorrow’s entry for the interesting reply from Sandy.)

Here’s a report on the Grange funds raising extravaganza. We started our evening by buying raffle tickets (6 for $5). We had looked through the silent auction tables and found a few things we would be interested in winning for ourselves, and put a ticket in the baskets associated with each. Several of these were nice enough to consider giving them as gifts for upcoming weddings and such. We failed to win anything. Dinner was supposed to start being served at 6:00 p.m. but I don’t think we got started until 6:30. It didn’t help that the caterer arrived with the food 20 minutes after their requested time. We did not have crepes as John predicted. We had roast beef, potatoes, chicken with a great sauce, rice, and southwest veggies (green beans long, red peppers, normal carrots, and I guess the yellow things were yellow carrots. Very tasty, but not something I have ever had. Along with that described was a nice salad and a piece of carrot cake. One could have iced water or coffee with the meal. If John had had his normal Pepsi, it would have been from the bar at a cost and with an expected tip. He skipped. We stayed for the auction (well done but a bit loud) so we would be there for the LED 32″ TV raffle prize for all people who bought a dinner ticket. We didn’t win. The auction involved a lot of nice things and brought in a fair amount of money. I didn’t have a pen so couldn’t keep track of the income. There was only one item we might have bid on (a load of gravel delivered in Ellensburg), but it went for 4 times the retail cost. After all it is a fundraiser for the Grange, so to be expected. I drove us home in the rain, and we made it safely. It had not rained as much here as in Cle Elum and on the way up and back. All the animals were fine and happy to see us, and Meghan (the oldest) was ready for her special soft-food dinner.

Sunday, Mar 9

Heard back from my first geography professor that he wants the materials I found. Well, it sounds better coming from him:
You bring back old, old memories. Yes, please send the packet on .. Rhoads Murphy [I remembered and mentioned the author of our textbook] died only recently. Would you believe, Jerry Davis remains my best friend from GSU. Jolayne and I have dinner with him and his wife, Alice, often. I will pass on your compliment about use of maps [in his History 112 class I took]. He and Alice teach courses at Senior University which Jolayne and I savor. She is a Vanderbilt Ph.d. trained nuclearphysicist, whose son is a tenured professor of political science at GSU. She has a granddaughter who is a freshman at Princeton. She is really a neat lady.
Now, however, that needs a little background. Here’s what I wrote him that accounts for the notes about his friends, the Davis family. Here is what I wrote to Sandy about the find: Found notes from my very first college class in Geography from you. They are excellent, and I figure the date must have been 1962. You started my life and career in Geography, in that class, so they are very special. However, I have already taken the material I learned from you and passed it to my students through the years. If you can think of any reason to add it to a portion of biographical data in your library, I will be honored. In the back are some map exercises from Gerald Davis for History 112. I remember being shocked that he was including map exercises in his classes. I don’t think any history profs I know ever have.
For the record, while we are on “history,” he and his wife, Jolayne, chaperoned and taught us for a 9-week trip in the summer of 1965 on a Geography Field Trip to Europe (after a spring quarter class in the Geography of Europe). We visited 17 countries (as I recall), and had 19 boys and 4 girls along on the trip. It was an experience of a lifetime.
Each student researched an approved geographic topic before going, took pictures while there, and gave a report at the site. My research was on Karst topography of Yugoslavia, and I gave my running account as we drove through current-day Slovenia and Croatia down to the Adriatic coast to Rijeka and back around the Istrian peninsula. I stood in the front of the bus, talking and pointing out sinkholes (my first time to see) and the Dolomitic Alps. We would stop occasionally for me to take photos for my final report. Once in Rijeka, I went with a hotel worker in his rowboat out on the coast and looked back at the small beach, and took photos of the limestone outcroppings on the hill (source of the beach sand). It’s a lovely picture I don’t have access to right now in digital format to share. I recall how much I enjoyed the view from above the city so I looked for one on the web. Mine is from higher up than that shown in this photo. I spent 3¢ for a 45 minute bus ride to get up there. Wonder what that would cost today?
During the 9 weeks of our trip, I took over 30 rolls of 35 mm Kodachrome film on a point and shoot Kodak camera I bought before going on the trip. I used slides from that trip for many classes throughout my teaching lifetime. People today will not have the thrill of changing film while on a creaking bus careening down a mountain road. The intricacies of sprockets and cogs will soon be a lost talent.
Here is a photo from the 1965 newspaper that carried a story of our trip. Click on this please. And the ones below.
Nancy and friends from the Europe trip taken in Atlanta
The caption said — Members of Georgia State College Class who studied geography at the scene
Richard Askue Jr., Patsy Hilley, Nancy Brannen, Anne Murphy, and Dr. Sanford Bederman — we are all so cute, even Sandy!
Next you can see Sandy and me at their house in 2011.
Sandy (Prof) and Nancy (student) 45 years and going
Next picture, left to right, has Elaine Murphy, me, Jolayne Bederman, and Anne Murphy (who was along on the trip to Europe). She just sent me an email today, that she and Richard leave London tomorrow morning for home. They spent a lot of time in Ireland. I helped teach Jolayne to drive – ain’t that cool!
Sandy's wife Jolayne and 3 of the students; Nancy center; with sisters Elaine and Anne
Okay, back to today – a day filled with small things. Trying to finish getting my ducks in a row. Sometimes I feel it is a hopeless task, yet we got in a good conversation with John’s sister in Ohio, and I got a large box of stuff emptied. Tonight at 7:00 pm, as expected and automatic, my computer system backed up all the files added or changed since last week. It only took 25 minutes. That’s cool too.

Last week I was asked by my friend, Dr. Miriam Hill in Alabama to provide one of my own photographs to show an example of the Channeled Scablands of Washington. I found three, and she chose one of Dry Falls. I had to write a letter certifying I had taken the photo and giving the company the right to use it. The photograph will be published in Pearson’s Physical Geography Dynamic Study Modules that will be available for their three or four physical geography textbooks. It is in Question 21 of Lesson 17a. So I’ve been told. If the issue is new to you, look here for all you need to know about eastern Washington’s Channeled Scablands.

Monday, Mar 10

Up again early because of coughing, but at 7:30, said goodbye to John (he went wine grapevine pruning), and I laid back down to try for some rest after an interrupted night’s sleep. At 8:30 a.m. sharp came a call waking me up, from UNAVAILABLE in the area code 212 (NYC). I didn’t have that area code memorized, but heard the message they started leaving on our machine and picked up the phone. I normally would not have answered it if I had seen the caller ID, but when I heard the reason, I picked up. It was Yvonna from the WSJ who was calling to say they had received the documentation letter from CWU that okayed me to obtain special educational rates for the next two years and that she would file the letter for the future. Yet, they also want me to call in March of 2016, just in case they have a better rate for me than the one that comes on my renewal notice. So I gave her our AMEX card number for billing $199.99 and thanked her. Whoopee. Now I can continue through the chores of the day in a happy mood. Made me happy enough to wash a load of dishes.
Reported the incorrect doctor’s requested appointment for John at Dr. Schmitt’s for an annual physical, and verified we already had an appointment scheduled for Sept 16, 2014. That’s a bit of a mystery but it is fixed, so no harm done. I left message for Krista (a neighbor), delivered the berries & egg cartons, and picked up 2 dozen eggs this afternoon, traded for frozen raspberries. Temp went on up to 52 and is now headed back down. The winds almost reached the same figure but stopped at 47 mph. All day the wind blew. I had a hard time keeping the mail together trying to get it out of the box and keep it close to my body so it didn’t end up in the ditch.
John arrived home with donuts !! Yesterday’s bake but just what I wanted and $5 per 12, and a nice selection. Sent out the invitations to our music group for the April 8, Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Managed to pay a lot of bills, on line, saving the cost of check, envelope, and postage. The year I went to Europe, 1965, a first class letter cost 5¢ . Now it is nearly 10 times as much.

Tuesday, Mar 11

Started out saying bye-bye and have a nice day and safe trip to John, who left a little after 7:30. Before leaving, he must feed the horses. I slept maybe another 1/2 hour and then got dressed to leave for town. I first drove by Carl’s Jr and picked up on a coupon deal for sausage biscuits. I got enough for several meals. On to the Copper Kettle for our monthly meeting of the Emeriti Geography professors. This morning we had George Macinko, Dee Eberhart, Jim Huckabay, Ken Hammond, Jim Brooks, and me. Lillian Brooks joined us for the last hour. We met from 9:30 to 11:00. Off to the bank I went to cash a check, and transfer some money. Then by to pick up free produce (old but not moldy) from a gal NW of town, to bring to our neighbor for her pigs (the one with the chickens). On to pick up Thyroid medicine for my old female Brittany, Shay. Home to deliver the pig food, and talk to the men from the utility company trimming the trees hanging over the lines but anchored inside our fence by the road. They wouldn’t take off more than they planned, which John would have preferred. There are 3 or 4 trees that could still hit the wires if cut at the base, so they will have to come back in 6 to 8 years and trim them again.
Trimming trees with a basket or boom truck
They are extended out from the road over the fence with a bucket/boom truck and would have to operate from inside the fence to do more. Still, it is better than it was. Once John arrived home he took the dogs for their afternoon exercise, and then we had a late lunch. We took two of the sausage biscuits, scrambled two eggs, added cheddar cheese, heated the sausage with it, and toasted the biscuits. All in all it was a nice filling sandwich. This afternoon since arriving home, while he took a short nap, I paid and checked on bills, in various formats (on line website for one membership, phone call about our February utility bill that was WAY low ($30), so I figured the new meter reading option from afar went astray. I reported it, and they will check on it, but I think the accountant was only interested in telling me the $18.00 charge for the “Facility” has always been on my bill. I explained that I thought (at first) perhaps that was the main reason for the charge, but while talking to her, I saw the watts usage, was on the bill for the month, but very low (144). Last month for January’s usage, our bill was $282, and the amount used was over 2700. February a year ago the usage was also at 2700. So, I told the woman she should have someone check the system, because my bill was too low. Her comment, “So you want to pay more?” Well, yes, if I will be charged for it in the future, when they figure out my meter is not working. I asked her to please request them to check our meter or put in a new one. . She said, “Oh, I can request a work order, but it was just replaced, with a new one.” RIGHT, but hello.. what part of this don’t you understand? Your smart meter isn’t very smart. So we’ll see what happens.
Next bill pay session was supposed to be easier through my bank, but I have only used it once. I got on to see if I could create a new account to pay my doctor’s bill in Yakima, and while there I found the image of the first bill pay I did 2/24, that was not noted on my statement. I was not going to use the system until they told me how to get an image of the bank-mailed check. Well, they never got back to me, after I asked last week, but today I found it. Then I called the bank, to find out about the “memo” lower left part of the check and whether I could put something in there. The first person (the assistant manager) didn’t know, so got a teller to help me. She got on, but she couldn’t find the way either. That’s when I found it, while waiting, and continuing with my set up. She had answered one question for me and I fixed it, and went to the PAY part. Once there, the amount, date, AND MEMO CONTENTS can be added. Her option before she was ready to admit defeat and hang up, was to have me come into the bank and be shown. I think not. I told her it made better sense to go through it with me with me on my computer. I didn’t bother saying I didn’t want to drive 12 miles, haul my laptop, and take the time on a day (tomorrow) when I have 4 stops. Technology is supposed to make life easier.

Wednesday, Mar 12

Much today. John left again early, and at 9:00 a.m. the PUD maintenance technician was at my door to check on the “new meter” and low reading. He found the meter still had the same number as was read on March 3. He replaced the meter. He said they wouldn’t likely charge me, and I guess that makes sense because how would they know how many watts we used? It must have stopped working soon after the last reading because it only accumulated 144 watts used. Normally we are around 2700 for February. I think they owe me a big thank you for finding it this soon (and reporting it). I pay attention to our bills, and even though that is on an automatic credit card withdrawal, I still recognized the paper statement discrepancy with historical records. I explained that above, so I will end this discussion, except to say he managed to make the exchange without the house power being interrupted – saving us resetting clocks and such. I went to the Food Bank for music. We had an appreciative and interactive crowd. Three of us entertained today. On the menu was baked chicken, Shepherd’s pie, green mixed salad with pears and nuts and cranberries, and a great apple cobbler for dessert. I ate a lot. Received 2 loaves of English Muffin bread, a small loaf of some Artisan bread we haven’t tried yet, and a large farm bread. They encourage us to take bread because they cannot refrigerate it, and it molds quickly. We freeze it at home. That and lunch are a nice payment for our volunteer service. On to SAIL, where we had 26 in class. Highest EVER in the 4 years I have attended. While there I picked up a pair of fingerless knitted gloves made special by the knitter who donates her time. These are red and will be worn by a player in the Leavenworth (WA) Band, out in the elements. They will match their red scarves as well as warm the hands and arms, but leave the fingers free for playing the instruments. I dropped off some blank world maps and of Western Europe to my friend in Geography. Also, I had an historical atlas for her, and a few other map things. She came downstairs to save me time. I needed to drive home, and eat something to take a large dose of antibiotics an hour ahead of my dental work, and then back to town by 4:10 for my appointment for my broken tooth. The nicest thing was I got my tooth fixed for free. It was a filling that didn’t adhere and stay in from my last visit, so there was no charge. I waited around almost an hour for someone to meet me to take two bags of clothes, blankets, and food. Saved me a drive south of town toward the canyon, but would have been nice if they’d gotten there closer to the planned meeting time, instead of 45 minutes late. At least I had something along to read. I couldn’t use my phone to call people because I had to be ready to direct them in to where I was waiting, if they didn’t manage to follow the directions I gave them with street names and an address. Met them at my dentist’s office. It is easy to find, but it is on a one way street, so access is weird. It’s close to Safeway, but not when driving from there to the dentist’s office .

Thursday, Mar 13

This morning filled with music preparation and calling Hospice Friends and the Food Bank for my neighbor trying to help my neighbor obtain medical materials needed. Left before John arrived home. I made it by school, delivered egg cartons to two different people, got some mail in the system, and delivered the materials I picked up at Hospice Friends. While there, I saw a familiar face in an adjacent office and spoke to her, saying, “I know you but remind me where from.” Turns out it was Anna, who used to work at the Cle Elum Clinic where John and I go to our family physician. She knew me through the bad parts of my health, back in 2009 – 10. She was so happy to see how well I’m doing, and came out from behind her desk and counter to give me a hug.

Friday, Mar 14

Been up since 6:15, so will need an afternoon nap. Mostly working on scanning and making copies and organizing messes in this room and updating tax records. I did put in time working on the blog for this week. Scanned music from a friend in Cle Elum, now playing guitar with our group, so I could return his originals tomorrow. Yikes the winds were high today. John almost got blown off the road on his trip home. The airport recorded 59 mph gusts, and sustained over 40. We finally both crashed during the afternoon and slept for 1.5 hours. I mentioned the Artisan bread picked up Wednesday, and mid-day, I had two pieces with my tuna fish salad. By the time John got home I was complaining about the bread and asked him what spice it might have been that I was reacting too. It totally screwed up my system. Tomorrow morning I got the answer.

Saturday, Mar 15

This morning John made his toast from the Artisan bread, which I was never going to have any of again. He found the reason. It was not a spice but filled with many small sections (cloves?) of Garlic. [Why is it called a clove when it doesn’t look like Clove?] I know my system does not like garlic, so I stay away from it. I did not realize the taste in the toast involved chunks, not just juice or whatever. Never again will that bread make it into our house! We will go play music for the Briarwood bunch today and have a meal with them. I will pick up some stuff from Teresa Keith, on the Buy Nothing Ellensburg group. Will deliver some more Depends type packages donated freely to my neighbor. Every package I bring her is saving her (or her son who bought the last batch) about $15. That makes me feel good. Okay, finally, John went out to repair a fence that was falling, and I told him I would be through with this by the time he got back in the house. I have been finishing the first draft, which he then edits and adds photos to the Word Press system for posting. It’s a major time effort, but it gives us a good record of stuff to check back to, if needed.

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

The Lion came in . . . and we ate crêpes

Saturday, Mar 1

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

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

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

Sunday, Mar 2

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

Monday, Mar 3

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

Tuesday, Mar 4 Happy Fat Tuesday !

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

Wednesday, Mar 5

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

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

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

Friday, Mar 7

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

Saturday, Mar 8

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

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

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


Got the blog posted, from the old computer in the back room.  The picture thumbnails seemed to work better than last week.  Maybe John’s computer was starting to crash back then, when we had Word Press problems with the photo thumbnails.

Sunday, Feb 23

Snowed a couple inches last night and a wintry mix of mostly rain has been coming down all day.  The pass looks awful.  John fixed a super duper brunch of pancakes with pecans — we added our own strawberries and raspberries.  These accompanied a cheese omelet, and I cooked evil bacon.  I’ve been working on proofing a newsletter for the College of the Sciences at CWU.  I’m combining with tax related chores, and expect to fit in a few minutes on music compilation.  John just looked out the door and said we had 4-5 inches of snow today.  Using a wide push broom, he made paths and uncovered the concrete front and back.  To my car, the path goes over a gravel driveway, and with rain or snowmelt, it gets soft and can get just a bit muddy.  The paths will sun-dry and stay firm.  The house was built in the early 1980s but the drive was used for maybe 10 years prior to that and not properly constructed – meaning gravel was just put over the tire tracks that led in.  We have added some gravel in a few low spots that were soft.  In front of the shed where I park the Forester is a 15-20 foot section that is higher than in the dirt base inside.  John hasn’t wanted to put gravel on the high area without removing the soft dirt there.  Doing so would just direct more rain or snow melt into where the car is parked.  Seems there is a project in need of attention as it gets ever so slightly worse with each wet period.

Monday, Feb 24

It’s snowing again.
Cannot believe the amount of time spent to update my medical information via that keeps all my information in a database to match up with my arm bracelet in case it’s ever needed. I think it’s worth the $34/year for peace of mind, but it is stressful trying to access their system on the web to check the current status of everything. We know a couple of EMTs and they assure us they look for such bracelets. More snow. Pass closed again for avalanche control. Happiness with figuring out how to make .pdf files of the music to send to my group for them to print. Portable Document Format (PDF), with an icon shown here:
A small image of the icon used by Adobe Systems for the PDF

. . . is a file format used to represent documents in a manner independent of application software, hardware, and operating system. Using this file format, just about anyone that has a computer will be able to print – and thus saving me the trouble of doing so and then getting the copies to them. Adobe Acrobat Reader is also a free product for download to all computers (even old ones). That’s a huge help but I still have to print for five folks, and for the next two months we have 17 songs on our play list. I think I have all the songs reduced to one page this time around.

Tuesday, Feb 25

The trip of the day is planned around having my Implanted Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) checked out and the data stored therein reviewed. Click this image for a larger version.
Drawing of the heart, blood veins, and ICD show how the leads go
We left early, thinking we might have to detour through Ellensburg for gasoline. No need, so we went straight to Yakima and had extra time. First, we stopped by Yakima Valley Community College, where our friend Suzy keeps the president’s office functioning. We dropped off three reams of white printer paper shared from a case we bought on sale at Costco over a month ago. From there, (I was driving), we drove to the Yakima Heart Center. I checked in for my 11:00 a.m. appointment for routine device check, and only had to wait 5 minutes. Better than 3 months ago when we had a long wait. We had a nice visit with our technician. All my records read electronically from the device through a receiver put on my chest, along with a few other attachments to my lower leg and neck and chest. Nothing was noted. Everything was fine. No news is good news. We were hungry because of skipping breakfast. I guess we each had a cup of coffee but nothing else. Maybe John didn’t even have that, because normally he doesn’t have coffee unless there’s toast. We went right up the road about 6 blocks to a Jack In The Box, where we had some coupons allowing us each a Jumbo Jack hamburger, for John a free monster taco, and a shared senior drink– total, $3.49. The funniest thing was that John was halfway through his taco, and said, there’s no meat in here! I carried it up to the counter and complained. They said, oh, it’s right here at the bottom. I said, no there’s none there, open it up if you like. She said they would fix us another one and bring in to our table. It took quite awhile, but John is not a vegetarian, so we waited. When she returned, I said, don’t you want to take this back and show your cook? Nope, she didn’t. So John ate up the rest of it, and we got a bag to bring home the replacement (which had meat), and he had it with his dinner. From there I drove to Big 5 Sporting Goods store. John stayed in the car while I went inside. I had looked on line and knew the boots I wanted were Itasca Cedar Cold Weather Boots, and the price was $25, less than half as much as others available on line (for the exact same boots) and likely with a shipping fee. I also had a 10% off coupon to apply to any purchase. It was good I looked on the Big 5 Sporting Goods site, because these special offers were not displayed in the store, but were stored in their warehouse, and one had to know the make, style, and the size wanted (and to ask for assistance). It didn’t take the salesperson very long to locate them, I tried them on, and was happy with buying them. The correct price was stored in the cash register, but not written on the box.
Winter boots with rubber bottoms and soles and light leather tops with fur
They are lined with Thinsulate, and have a nice rubber bottom base, with soles that are nice for snow or ice, suede tops, with a “Faux Shearling Collar.” My only complaint is the color is lighter than the picture on the web or on the side of the box. In fact, the side of the box is even darker brown than that above. The boots are more “buff.” The latches for the strings are nice, but the color is different on the ones I bought and they are extremely long and white and black striped, as a barber pole. I will be able to lace them all the way up and then go around the back of the boot and will have enough left to tie a double knot. I just wish I had had them the day (John’s birthday) of the Raclette. They will be nice for next year. Actually, winter is not over yet. Then we went to COSTCO for gasoline (price there per gallon is 12 cents cheaper than in EBRG, plus we get another $ .13/gal off by using our AMEX card). We also loaded up on “cookie things” — flour, sugar, pecans, and more. I was tired from the walking as the store’s electric carts were in use. My cough was a constant bother, too. John was having a real problem walking around as well (because of his Sciatica), and then we got separated. I went around the LARGE store 3 times before finding him. Originally, I had stopped at the main desk to ask about our cash value on our AMEX card. I misunderstood something that arrived in the mail and thought I had to go there to collect. I do, but not until we get a $187 check with our February statement and THAT can only be cashed at Costco. That check is from activity on the AMEX card all over, including Costco and other businesses. In October, we get another significant check from Costco for shopping there. These bonuses come from being on an Executive Membership. So, when we go in March for my cardiologist visit, we’ll get the check mentioned above, cashed then. I think I missed him at his Dahlia flower bulbs stop. Finally, we connected and finished our shopping. I did the driving, and our trip was fine on clear roads. He did all the loading and unloading both places, plus he filled the gas tank.
News of John’s pained leg generated a sympathy card from Cousin Ethel in Pennsylvania where it is painfully cold. Here’s a copy of the cover. Click on it for the full view.
Front of a get well card with old fashioned bike, flowers, and butterflies
What do you think? He thought maybe he would pump air into the tires of his mountain bike and take it for a spin in the snow.

Wednesday, Feb 26

I awoke with sore muscles from coughing. What another crazy day — just when I think the day before cannot be topped. I went to two places before the Food Bank, to drop off a back-up drive for John’s computer (they must reformat his disk and reload the software and use the back-up data from the disk). Then I drove to the north end of campus to a friend to deliver black pepper from Costco for reimbursement. I called and she met me at the bottom of the stairs in the parking lot, saving me a lot of effort and time, and I went on from there to the Food Bank. They encourage Evelyn and me to take some bread from the back room because they have such an overload. There was something I’d never seen, Artisan Partage Bread. John looked it up and found it is a French word for “sharing.” It is circular and ‘parted’ into 6 wedged-shaped pieces. Thus, apparently making it worth $1 more than it otherwise would be. Evelyn and I arrived before 11:30, but they were not ready for letting in those waiting to be served, because they had fixed turkey (from a frozen turkey), and it was not ready to eat at noon, when they normally serve. Apparently, free-food recipients do not want to take home a frozen turkey because it is neither Thanksgiving nor Christmas. The staff decided the turkey had been there long enough – they just decided a day late to take if from the freezer. Oh well! Evelyn and I had agreed to meet early to work through our music for our nursing home group for the next two months, and we did, but the food was still not ready at the time we normally stop playing. We had played and practiced Irish and other songs for an hour, so the servers, cooks, and helpers enjoyed our songs. At 12:35, (with expected wait for serving still at 20 minutes), Evelyn had to leave with her student she tutors to get him lunch elsewhere and back to school by 1:00 at the high school. I carried my stuff to the car, and decided I would wait. They weren’t able to serve until quite late, but I stayed, getting at the end of the line of the regulars. I figured I earned it and it would be less salty than my going by a fast food restaurant. We had turkey, dressing, a spicy wheat berry salad, mixed greens with cut pears salad in a nice dressing, and chocolate pudding for dessert. Other things were on the menu, but off my medically allowed diet (cooked greens & cranberry sauce). By the time I finished, and went by my bank, it was too late to go to exercise class, and I wasn’t feeling much like doing that anyway. I had had enough exercise yesterday! So, I came on home. I started working again on the music changes and rewrites Evelyn and I had decided on today. We decided to limit the My Wild Irish Rose and That’s an Irish Lullaby-Too ra loo ra loo ra” just to the choruses because the verses are too involved. Now that I think about it, I think we might have just played the instrumentals and come in on the chorus. Oh, well, it’s done now, and had to be significantly rewritten.

Thursday, Feb 27

Today — morning was filled with printing and working on music. We did take time for a 32-minute call to John’s sister Peggy, to talk about her snow and cold weather in Ohio. Relatives live in western Pennsylvania, too, and both areas were headed to minus temperatures overnight. I have to time the calls, because we get 120 minutes each month but if we go over we experience an additional cost. The company cannot (or won’t) tell me how many minutes I have used. After grabbing a little tuna fish salad, I took off earlier than usual for the Adult Activity Center (AAC), where I picked up a hat, from the knitting woman’s donation. I had four to pick from. They were different sizes. I decided on the dark purple one because it was the largest. I will wear it tomorrow (supposed to dress in purple) for an Alzheimer’s fundraising event at the AAC. Home to more music work–I’m almost (she says hopefully) done with this for 2 months. Followed by answering phone calls and emails most of which are appreciated. However, last night and again tonight, long distance from Ebsco Teleservices
in Canton, Ohio (likely not true). Unsolicited phone marketing. Telemarketing. I pick up the phone and do not say anything. Wait a bit, and a woman comes on. May I please speak to John? I say nothing. Hello, hello, anyone there? Then hangs up. I have found that may be the best reason for keeping caller ID, but the web and a news article explained there is no way to stop the calls. The “do not call list” still works with legitimate businesses but these scumbags now with the robo-dialers are not honest people. Friday, we received another call while we were gone to town from the same place. No message left. The other phone call of interest was from the technician, where John’s computer has been since Wednesday, last week. They needed to know when the last back up was. I described as best I knew and then checked with John when he got in from the yard chores, and he agreed, so I called in and made the report. The techs think there is a conflict between the operating system, Windows 7 Home Premium, and the hard drive storage set up, referred to as RAID.
This is supposed to provide for data redundancy and performance improvement but the system seems to have missed that memorandum. It is still under warranty and John has a working computer, and the one with the hiccup automatically backed up files every Sunday evening. So life goes on.
This evening we spent time putting together our Crockpot chocolate candy. It cooks on low for 3 hours. The first layer is 2 lbs. of salted dry roasted peanuts. Then 4 oz. of dark sweet chocolate (cooking bar). I can break those and place them. On top of that are chocolate chips. John cut up the almond bark because it was too tough for me to do. Then we checked it at 2 hours, and let it go for one more. John did the stirring at 2 hrs. He set up the muffin paper cup holders on several flat trays, and I filled them. He was very tired from standing a lot today. The pieces cooled overnight. I didn’t count how many we got, and I don’t know if John knows either (50 to 60?). I made them a little smaller than last time, but they still are generous.

Friday, Feb 28

We began with normal chores John does daily, plus we packed a circular Christmas-cookie tin of the candies for me to take by for the computer gurus who are fixing our computer. Scholarship luncheon at Munson Hall (a very, very old dorm) is at noon. Luckily, as an esteemed Emerita Prof., I have a parking sticker for the lots around campus. This Hall is no longer used for students, but for the conference center and for visiting dignitaries to CWU, for job interviews, speeches, or career fairs. We got a tour of a couple of the rooms they rent out. If something is paid for on a department account they get a discount, e.g., $50/ night instead of $68. Usually, twelve of us meet for lunch on the 4th Friday of the month. Today, because of various conflicts, we had only six there. On the menu was Taco Soup (started as chili but did not pass the consistency threshold), served with all sorts of toppings. I had thinly grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, and sour cream. For dessert we had a chocolate pudding pie. On to the Alzheimer’s fundraiser at the normal time of our exercise class at the Adult Activity Center. We were asked to dress in purple. That I did, including wearing my new knitted purple hat. Seems “yellow” is for wanting or waiting for the return of troops or others. Pink is for cancer. Purple is for Alzheimer’s. Need a list as I’m losing track. My picture got taken a couple of times today with the hat in my hand with my winning bingo card, or on my head, or on the lady’s head who won the dressed in the most purple award. (I was sitting behind her and passed it to her. Next week’s blog, I will demo the picture of me and/or her too, in the hat. That’s my thank you note to the lady who volunteers knitted items for us. If you look back in this blog, you will see a picture of many of her offerings. The fundraiser was $5.00/card, and put on by the Civic Engagement Group at CWU, and the head of the (Alzheimer’s Association) group in EBRG. They started with a few questions, one of which was, “Do you know the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?” Part of the organization is offering education for community members. Then we had many Bingo games and the prizes were raffle tickets, which we put in different baskets next to our choices. Examples: $20 coupon from Bi*Mart and a purple Alzheimer’s Association tee shirt; $25 from a local restaurant with a purple coffee mug; a free pedicure and manicure from a shop & mug; a cozy purple blanket, and a cute ceramic bird house. I threw most of my tickets into the Bi*Mart baskets, figuring we could both benefit. They provided food (salami, cheese, crackers), purple grapes, purple wrapped chocolate kisses, little square purple chocolates, and some purple Peeps. About halfway through, a cake was presented and served — white and purple and green frosting, white cake, with a chocolate layer filling. I drank water all day and at both stops. On my way home, I stopped at the computer services store, to check on our computer, and handed them the candy. It probably made a difference, because they finished it at the last minute, called at 5:50, and I drove John to town to pick it up. The technician who did most of the work on it usually stays until six, but tonight he waited for us to get there (~6:09). So very nice. Their normal closing time is 5:30 p.m. and they are not open on Saturdays.

Saturday, March 1

Nothing is planned today, except for getting this blog posted. While proofing this final document, (Nancy does the last run-through), we got another one of those telemarketer calls at 10:25 a.m. from the same place mentioned above. I let the machine answer, and as yesterday evening, a message was not left. I guess the next time I will answer and tell them not to call any more or I will report them for harassment. John is still using the old computer because he has not yet vacuumed the space where the other goes. He uncovered the vacuum cleaner yesterday while I was gone. Then decided the filters in the AC/heater air-handler needed cleaned. Two get vacuumed and two have to go in a soapy water bath and the easiest way to do that is in the dishwasher. Only one fits at a time. But, wait! Our water system needs its filters replaced, one in the garage and one on the in-line of the hot water tank. After 4 months of use they are somewhat slowing down the water flow. So, he replaced the filters. Neither are really easy to do and things get wet. To get to the one on top of the hot water tank, the folding door has to be removed. Then, standing on a stool and leaning in over the tank (him with a sore hip), a forceful radial twist is required. He had fun! Once the water was ready, the washer had to run through 2 cycles. Why didn’t he clean the computer space then? During the first one, he was reading news and such in the backroom at that computer. During the second one, he took the dogs for their exercise (thinking we might be going to town for the computer), and when he finished feeding the horses and making a circuit of the pasture – Dan-dog did not return to the house with all the others. Calling didn’t bring him. Possible complication being a new neighbor with a dog. We share a fence line with that property but “can’t get there from here” and had to go around by car. Nice short visit but no Dan. He was waiting for us when we came home.
This morning – March 1 – there is a light snow falling. The weather folks think it will be like this until the middle of the night Mon/Tues when it will warm and change to light rain. Then we have a “chance” or “slight chance” of rain until next Saturday. Mud-brown season.

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

Typical things

Saturday, Feb 15

Snowed and sleeted.
A music day for me, with new people joining our group. The photos, taken by a non-camera person were not usable. Bummer. [But not for John who would have to manipulate, save, and fit them into the blog.] Once home, I spent a bunch of time on the blog checking things before posting, but John did all the hard work. For some reason Word Press has started doing weird things with some of our pictures. John’s doing the same way he has for months and they are showing as a truncated thumbnail image. I followed the Buy Nothing Ellensburg site tonight and found a belt case for the new phone. It’s all taken care of and I will pick it up next Wednesday. I will describe in this blog later below, after I get it. It’s made by our neighbor, Don Bacon. He and his sons run a Leather Shop and are the same craftsmen who made John’s horse saddle in 1999.

Sunday, Feb 16

Sent a request for an appointment through the NEXT MD system for John’s leg pain. Been working on things, but haven’t taken enough time off this computer. Recycled more paper from past teaching and got folders for 2014 receipts… through May. John is still hurting. I tossed a bunch of stuff from a filing cabinet and made room for 2013 receipt folders. Moved some legal-size hanging filing folders from guest bedroom cabinet to the living room one. More in another one beside the old computer did serve as a place for Rascal Cat when he was smaller. He had food, water, and a cardboard box top for a bed. He slept right by John’s left elbow. He grew out of that and now sleeps by a front window beside a ragged Jade Plant. He can look out the window and see deer and the feral cats at times. Mostly he just sleeps there so we call it his Jade Plant bed. He will spend time in my lap in my recliner or on our bed. With the nasty weather he seems able to sleep most of the time. In summer he will be outside and we don’t see him much. He must sleep a lot then too but where is a mystery.
After a web search, John has diagnosed what is bothering him – Piriformis syndrome – an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis (pear shaped) muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. [Click photo for a bigger image.]
colored drawing of hip with piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve showing how they are close together at the hip

Pain can be severe and extend down the length of the sciatic nerve. This varies, but for John, it sometimes goes to the top of the ankle; frequently not that far; and sometimes (by moving “just so”) he is only mildly pained. He is doing chores as usual. I just put a big pillow under his butt — on the barstool at the computer – changing the way things relate therein.
Today, I received a nice note from a former student to my happy birthday note to him on FB. I said: Caleb – Happy B.D. Check your email for a special animated card from us. He wrote back: Thanks Nancy you are great and I want to thank you for all the stuff you taught me in college — it has helped me in my career.

Monday, Feb 17 Washington’s Birthday

We had an interesting lunch: Pieces of venison salami, cheese, crackers, orange sections; and John had some Maui sweet onion potato chips, me a few Fritos. I also bit down and thought I’d lost an amalgam part of a filling, but, upon finishing and searching my teeth for a rough spot, I didn’t find any, and in fact, the only one in my mouth of metal is way in the back of my mouth, a stainless-steel crown. Most everything is porcelain or gold. Back to the piece of metal. It is a little larger than the size of this letter, ‘O’, but we’ve zoomed on it so the shape and color are obvious.
small bullet fragment lead-gray color; several sharp points

I looked closer and decided it was a piece of bullet fragment. John agreed and I cleaned off the sausage still sticking to it. Glad I did not bite down hard on it and break one of my teeth.
I contacted our clinic about John’s leg pain. John’s some better, but we have a tentative appt tomorrow. Meanwhile, he’s resting. His computer keyboard quit working today. Luckily we had an extra one on our old computer and it works. We need to take this by the computer shop later for them to verify and see if it is still under warranty (should be from last spring’s purchase).
Message from our family physician, noon today: Ok. Sounds like you have sciatica. This usually gets better with time. 90% of people get better within a month. If you decide to come and see me, we can discuss confirm the diagnosis and recommend some exercises and medication (if needed). Using Tylenol, or Ibuprofen is fine. So the office is half-way to the Cascade Crest and the WA-DOT says: {Interstate 90 is closed eastbound at milepost 34, near North Bend to allow tow trucks access to remove multiple spun out and disabled vehicles. Motorists are required to chain up vehicles at milepost 47, near Denny Creek, before continuing over the summit area of the pass. Estimated reopening time is a couple of hours. An exact time cannot be given, because of the increased snowfall and changing weather conditions that are occurring on the pass at this time. Updates will be provided as they become available.} It went downhill from there. When the pass is closed on this end local traffic can sometimes move, but hundreds of big trucks have nowhere to go but into the small towns. EBRG is the largest and voluntarily entering into the mess is nuts. So, no trip to the doctor in Cle Elum. It would not likely be helpful anyway, and they have enough problems to deal with, including staff that can’t get to the clinic via snow-covered rural roads.

Tuesday, Feb 18

The Snoqualmie Pass was bad all day with on and off closures. They open it and someone in the next batch of vehicles goes sideways into the snow-curb and bounces out again and spins. If no one gets hit that’s good, but the following cars need to stop and maybe can’t get traction when they start again. Worse case is that several cars or trucks get crunched and they have to sort that out while it’s snowing. I’m home though. I think I got two more Irish songs input. This effort was more time intensive than I intended. Tonight I go to Royal Vista nursing home. Only 4 of us were there. We did amazingly well. I was on fiddle and sang every song. We had a guy who played the piano, and a guy who sang, and a woman who sang. That was it. Mostly old church anthems, but a few other cool ones, such as “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I rolled one lady in a wheelchair back to her room. I remember how much trouble it was to operate a wheel chair under my own power, when I was weak, and these places never have enough staff to do such things in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, Feb 19

I picked up two things today — a new (used, free) telephone case for John’s cell phone. The fur (supposedly cow hide) is very soft and the snap (supposedly silver) is cute. Maybe he can keep track of this.
A brown cow hide pouch with red cell phone; silver button snap
The red versus black phone might help too. Also, for me, boots! A gal in Thorp had previously loaned them to me for the January vineyard outing and I had returned them. She recently bought new ones and offered me her old ones. They are not photogenic so I’ll mention something else. I found (amazing! in itself) and shipped my never used YakTrax to Anne Engels in Montana, to deal with the worst ice she has ever experienced there. A pair of boots with strap-on metal chains for walking on ice
She has fallen on the ice, and her crampons are no longer working. After the post office stop I met Evelyn at the Food Bank. We went over songs for our other group for the March/April play list. Then after playing and eating, I went to my exercise class. In the meantime, I called Anne to tell her to look for the package on Saturday. I sent it Priority mail. I hope she doesn’t get hurt on her way down the icy driveway to the mailbox to get it. Came on home and had to turn around to take John back to town with his crashed “new” computer from last spring. It finally stopped working altogether, not just the keyboard. We remember why the other substitute keyboard was not in use. After typing a page or two of text it would take a letter and fill line after line with that letter. No way to stop it except turn the power off. John did so, but it came back up the same way. After a couple of tries the screens would not come on except for a brief show of the motherboard operating system. There is a brief few seconds that is allowed for a key entry to a mode that will let a person try to fix things. That did not work. John is back to the old system until the new one can be fixed – and the shop is about 2 days behind – and the weekend is coming on. I dropped off Brooks Addiction shoes by to my neighbor, so she could see if they help support her feet that are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis.

Thursday, Feb 20

I went to Dry Creek for music. We had a good crowd in the audience and players. Was rather stressful for me from early morning through arriving to no chairs (after calling to remind them we’d be there), and some people showing without music or stand, a resident walking in the back door behind us while we were playing, having to leave her walker outside the door. But, in the end it worked out as one of my players (calmly) told me it would. Then off to the hospital for a blood draw to find it was the expiration day of my standing order for INR. I’m on good terms with the blood-leachers (phlebotomists) so we were able to “get-er-done”– good thing too, ‘cause by late in the day I did not need another issue. Luckily, they could draw today, but on my way home, I requested a renewal of the standing order for a Protime (INR) reading (must be initiated each year – I did not know). I will write that on the calendar and remember to put on our new wall calendar next year. I checked and there is no way in anyone’s system to send a reminder (not at the Dr.’s office requesting it, or at the hospital lab receiving it). If I had gone tomorrow instead, I would have been royally ticked off, because they would have refused me. I missed getting gasoline because I was running late to get home to meet my seldom-at-home neighbor. I have 2 or 3 weeks of her mail and recently fed and watered her cat name Gracie. Now tonight there is a talk in EBRG so we are headed back using the fueled-up 2009 Subaru because fueling in the cold and wind is not part of the plan. We left for town and got there early to get a good parking space (short walk) and front row seats. The talk was on the birds, vegetation, and landscape of Maui. Only some of the birds are are shown at this link. For part of their trip, they drove to over 9,000 feet and then hiked and camped (with large backpacks) for 3 days. They admitted it was dry, cold, and tough going. They do hike frequently but their last big trip was at sea level — along the Cornwall coast of SW England. They stayed in wilderness cabins (3 nights) that you can learn about at this link; scroll down until you see the photo and click on it.

Friday, Feb 21

We were awakened several times during the night as the house shuddered because of the winds, which started gusting at 24 mph at noon and went until today (still blowing at 2:00 p.m.), with only ONE hour around 7:00 p.m. last night without recorded gusts. When the direction is out of Naneum Canyon the sound of a freight train comes to mind – actually the direction was just off that a bit, more from the west, but a few times it was a roar. I just checked the airport records . . . and found that fact above, and I see that most were in the 30 mph range. I just used the figures from our airport (last 24 hours) and calculated the average gusts to be over 34 mph! Just before 4:00 the speed hit 40, and then changed direction and slowed down considerably. Now we have 12 mph sustained winds with gusts sufficiently low they are not reported. Early morning I received two phone calls 1/2 hour apart from 2 different people at our health clinic reporting on yesterday’s reading of the INR [2.9; Good!]. Then interestingly, I received another annual renewal notice by phone this morning for keeping my CWU Credit Union account active. Now that I’m no longer receiving an actual payroll check, I cannot have any money deposited from my small supplemental retirement I receive from CWU twice a month (go figure). This check is a payback from investments long ago in TIAA/CREF that were handled incorrectly, and now for the rest of my life (and perhaps hundreds of others), I will receive a few hundred dollars from CWU. It is automatically deposited in our checking account, so I do not understand why I cannot have a little taken out for my savings account for the required activity. Now, I must verbally renew it each year. [John says: About 1998/99 the state’s universities established a plan to give the instructors/professors a separate individual retirement account (IRA) not part of the WA Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Instead of a pension from the State, the new plan was a salary-match based on time served and choices made by the employee. Money was contributed directly to mutual fund companies from CWU and the person’s pay. We assume they should have made a lump sum contribution to the new accounts when this program was started based on previous (time served) pay. This payment now appears to be the “make-up” for that glitch in the transition from PERS to the IRA system. Until the first batch of IRA sign-ons have died, someone in the human resources department has to process these payments outside of the automated computer systems.]
We stayed home today, hoping that John’s computer will be fixed and we can go to town to pick it up. No such luck, so John will have to work on our old machine for this blog and anything else he wants to do. He started a crock pot beef stew just before Noon. I am trying to make headway on chores, mainly receipt organization and filing. Tonight before getting the stew in from the garage, he made a bunch of biscuits.

Saturday, Feb 22

Not a lot going on here today.

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