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

Winter is not over

Saturday, Feb 8

Tre’ is a 10 months old female Brittany. Friend Jeri Conklin in California raised Tre’ from a litter. I’m a co-owner. There was a field trail last weekend and we are proud Mamas.
Sonja Willitts of South Lake Tahoe was there. You have previously seen Sonja and her Britts Kip and Tug before in this blog, when they visited last year. Kip is the sire of the litter and has an orange/white/& liver (called tri) coat. Tug is a littermate to Tre’.
Tre’ won two 3rd placements, Open Puppy (11 starters) and Amateur Walking Puppy (12 starters). Open stakes (aka events) include Professional handlers, whereas the Amateur classes do not. The picture below (left) is of her at home in Browns Valley, CA sitting on a table with her ribbons, and (right) in the yard. Below those is another set of photos with (left) her and her brother Tug, but she did not wish to stack for the photo. Tug looks just like his grandfather (right photo). The grandparents are both living with us in Ellensburg. The next day, Jeri took the picture of Tre’ self-stacking in the back yard (right side of the first set of photos). Too bad I cannot “drop” that into the picture taken at the field trial grounds. The field trial was the German Shorthair Pointer Club of Sacramento, held at Quail Point Hunt Club, Zamora, CA. It is an all-breed pointing dog trial where Brittanys are allowed to compete. Please click on the thumbnails to see the photo.

Orange and White Brittany wearing ribbons (yellow) for 3rd place and also standing in yard watching something
* Cedaridge Kip’s Camelot Shay Tre’ * with her ribbons, and also in the yard.

(left) 2 handlers showing their dogs, one orange and white, one liver and white; (right) the granddad of the O/W

Tre’ (Daisy, Jeri calls her), Sonja & Tug Granddad Dan (aka Black Butte’s Chocolate Dandy)
[We don’t know what WordPress is doing with these, so please click the above image to see both full photos.]

On Saturday back in Washington State, it snowed up to at least 8″ before the night was over, and we drove on unplowed roads 30 miles to the Grange for a spaghetti dinner and program in honor of scholarships received by two high school students, for their college costs. We made it safely, and thankfully the traffic was sparse. I was happy I had on my work boots for the trip, to get back to the car, and that I had on some heavy waterproof Thinsulate gloves to scrape the snow off the car headlights, and side and back windows, while John did the front windshield that had frozen ice beneath the snow. We do not have to go anywhere tomorrow … and probably not on Monday either. We may get help from our neighbor with a plow blade on his tractor tomorrow, on clearing our long driveway.

The Spaghetti dinner (cheesecake for dessert) was for gathering donations to the Scholarship fund for next year. Each year two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to high school students going to a university. Students are from Kittitas County. Also, after the meal, we were serenaded by a group of 4 singers (who call themselves, Four Fun). In our local paper a couple days later, an article appeared in the Upper County part of the paper. You can see us in the photograph. If I seem somber and concentrating on my salad, it’s because the lady across the table had just knocked a glass of ice water into my lap. My pants were wet and it went into my lap, onto my chair, and made my pants wet on the bottom as well. It was chilly in the big room. But the good thing is that donations during the evening and the program/dinner fees will provide full funding for the 2014 scholarship awards.
Salad being served by Grange scholar with John on right and Nancy in center

Sunday, Feb 9

John cleaned paths through the snow, our biggest this year. Just before noon, our wonderful neighbor, Allen Aronica, came and cleared the driveway with a blade on the back of his tractor. Removing the snow from in front of our cars and trucks requires dragging it up the drive to Naneum Road and then pushing it off the embankment. Allen made 4 passes and then John cleaned up the small remaining parts.

8 inches of snow looking up drive (left); Allen in a green tractor pulling snow toward road (right)
First a view of the snow in the front yard & driveway. Then a view of our neighbor with his dog in the cab, plowing us out. What a super gift. We will make a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies later, maybe tomorrow when the farrier has finished trimming 2 of our horses. We didn’t get them made until Monday and delivered just a few at his request. None of us need the extra weight. We made them with pecans and John’s own raised and harvested Carpathian walnuts. These came out a bit crisp rather than chewy. When heated in the microwave they are wonderful. Still, we are investigating this situation. Here is a link with some answers. Checking other sites, it seems there are lots of answers – they sometimes conflict. One idea is to use real butter. For years, we have used Canola Oil because of the lower level of saturated fatty acids. Besides, a field of Canola (Rape Seed) in bloom is a beautiful sight. Type the word * canola * into a search box using the images tab. Some sites will tell you Canola Oil is terrible stuff, very toxic, and so on. We are still here so the truth must be otherwise. In any case, we’ll try some butter in the cookies. John came in for a short break (shovel some, break – repeat), and we had some cashews and a piece of cherry pie. Not the healthiest of lunches, I guess :-). Will have supper later. I have been working on many different things inside the house.

Monday, Feb 10

An early morning call awoke me, a telemarketer. I was not happy at all. The farrier called yesterday and re-set a 9:30 appointment for 11:00, then arrived about 11:20. He used to blame his high school aged daughter for making him late but she is now out of the nest. John’s had the horses ready and he is dressed for outdoors so he finds small projects to do rather than coming in and waiting. I’ve got a check partially written, awaiting to see if he raised his rates this year. Same price $40/horse+$5 for travel. Sadly, we have one fewer horses than for many years. John’s helped move and hold horses, and has returned to the inside to fix lunch — apple/chicken sausage, with eggs folded over cheese (probably some would call it an omelet), with leftover cheese biscuits (his homemade with Bisquick last night). I’m done for today with music, emails, and am tackling paperwork. While I was sorting papers, John mixed up the cookie dough, and after dinner we made several batches. Got a call from a long time friend I used to call weekly, but had slowed down. It was a nice visit. Then I have been alternating chores with scanning music that I have upgraded to a bigger font for lyrics and for chord designations.

Tuesday, Feb 11

This morning we made a 9:30 trip to the Emeriti Geography faculty meeting at the Copper Kettle. On to the bank to cash small reimbursement checks we’ve received, and to the grocery for a couple of sale items, collected $3 on a lottery ticket (wish it had been more), and came home by our neighbors with empty egg cartons, trading cookies for 2 dozen fresh eggs. Tonight I must go to The Connections music playing / singing at Hearthstone, at 6:30. I’m not happy about driving in the dark, especially if we get any more freezing rain as last night. A 1/2 inch (at least) layer was on everything, including the cars and walkways, driveway, and roads this morning. On my way in, tonight, it started raining pretty hard, and the temperature was at first 33 and changed to 32 as I got closer to town. I slowed down. By the time I got there (12 miles), it was no longer raining and not any on the way home either. Weird weather. John had dinner waiting, but I needed a little rest before eating. Now we’ve eaten, and all is well. Considering all the ice, power lines down, and accidents in the Country, we are in good shape.

Wednesday, Feb 12

I canceled going to the food bank today, because Evelyn is not in town, and I don’t feel up to doing it alone with only one instrument. That gives me more time to spend on chores at home. I’ve been working on dishes, cooking hard-boiled eggs to make chicken salad, and a little time spent alternately on music. Last night late, I realized we had problems with an old standby, Smile the while -Till we meet again. I thought we had that correct in our music, for years, but when checking it for our new players, I realized we did not have the correct notes on the last two bars of music. I’m rewriting the end of it, which we have probably just been doing it by ear and memory. The chords are correct; just the notes are wrong. I need it completed for new people (see Saturday below). Also, have been alternating on my jobs list sends of announcements that have piled up over the past couple of days. I send a few out each day, or every other day, occasionally. Then, I must get in some filing and cleansing the clutter. I found out yesterday I can get to my on-line banking and request a check be written and sent to someone. That saves me the cost of a check, of postage, and gives me a record on my statement (along with the images of my canceled checks). I knew about automatic withdrawals, but not that pay-bill feature. Really cool. Yesterday, John gave me a Wall St. Journal article to read about banks doing away with free checking. I hope our bank holds out. I can do without the interest (that we haven’t had in many years), but to have use fees of any kind added would not be nice. It was bad enough paying through the roof for duplicate checks (which I haven’t done yet since the price more than doubled), and went back to old checks to use up (some went back to the 1990s and had the prefix, 19__ on the top. Also my social security number was printed that is now verboten for reasons of potential identity theft problems. I blacked them all out). It’s sunny today and warming — a heat wave, 40+. John went out, while the ground was still frozen, and drove loops all over the pasture to make it easier for him, the dogs, and the horses (and cats) to get around. Truly a heat wave today, eventually going to 50 !! Tonight he made a pie from the last of our Honeycrisp apples. He had 7 in plastic in our old refrigerator. Only one was not usable – from last fall. That’s a long time without the *controlled atmosphere* (CA) the commercial packers use.

Thursday, Feb 13

Rehab center for music. We had an abundance of guitars, and one fiddle (5 guitars, a clarinet, and me). It went fine. Our new players (Bass & Charango) did not make it because of cold or flu symptoms, but they hope to make it this Saturday. If they have the flu they surely won’t. The snow – 8 inches – has turned to slush – 3 inches – and made feeding horses and exercising dogs a bummer. John did take an hour to clip some of the Hawthorne tree branches into small pieces to add to one of the brush piles. The thorns are dangerous and the wood is tough, say in contrast to Elderberry that breaks easily.

Closeup of an inch long thorn on a WA Hawthorne
I stayed home. I missed the Adult Activity Center’s Valentine’s Day party (John and I attended last year), and this year they planned a lunch of wild rice with roasted veggies, and a chocolate fountain. See here on the web, if you don’t know. John says we are probably the last people in the USA not to enjoy one until last year. We get a quarterly schedule for all places run by the City of Ellensburg (example the community pool, and exercise area), and my picture was included this year (from last November’s Veterans Day party there). I’ll put in a copy below. You can see a few of the opportunities for members. Many more exist each week. It’s worth the money to join for the whole year. That’s where I attend first Friday monthly potlucks and my SAIL exercise class meets MWFs each week.
Nancy in a USA Flag-like vest; with others at the Adult Activitis Center

Saturday, Feb 15

This is a music gig day at Briarwood. Snow is beginning to fall. Storms are lined up over the Pacific Ocean for thousands of miles and headed to an area from southern British Columbia to northern California. Here at the house we will get snow this morning but mist or light rain later. In the Cascades and on the higher volcanic peaks most precipitation will fall as snow. Between breaks the snow will crust and then it will snow more on top. The perfect recipe for avalanches. A former student works as an avalanche control specialist at Snoqualmie Pass, so I have an interest in these things. He, John Stimberis, is mentioned in the first link below. His goal is to cause the snow to slide when he says so, then they clean it off the road. First is a story about how they work, and next is a video that shows a slide and the cleanup.
I’ve just returned from music and food. Here are my notes so John can post this. I will put some photos on the web to start next week’s blog. But, first I will discuss the new members who joined us today. I was so excited to have another fiddler, who is married to our new bass fiddle player. I have met him at the food bank where he volunteers, and I knew he was a violinist. He once borrowed my violin and played some nice classical pieces. However, I was surprised that he was the husband of the bass player. I didn’t meet her until she showed up to play her first time with us. She was the one mentioned above who had a cold so thankfully, it was not the flu, and they were there today. Our 92 year old guitar player Sandy from Easton drove down with Maury (guitar) from Cle Elum, and Roberta & Tim (guitar & Mandolin) were there with me, Benj (fiddle) and Megan (bass). It was a success – particularly since this was our first time playing together. I had one of the residents take our pictures so I will put them on the link to start with for next week’s blog. I should have taken pictures of the tables of food and desserts and I didn’t think to. Today they prepared a great Oriental chicken salad, whipped cream/Jello/fruit salad, cornbread, guacamole and chips, celery filled with cream cheese mixture, a large pot of Taco Soup, which was more like chili. For dessert, a whole table with many different choices, including a wonderful strawberry pie (with the kind of strawberries in a thick sauce made into a very berry sundae at Costco), valentine cookies, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, peach filled pastries, and brownies. To drink was hot apple cider, coffee, and water. John stayed home to work on the blog, exercise dogs, feed horses and deal with a bit of snow where we walk. On my way home I stopped off at my neighbors to feed her cat and to take in her mail.

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


Great Lakes are much covered in ice. See and read about this.

And the USA is much covered in snow. See and read about this.

Sunday, Feb 2

Yesterday morning, we had a re-gifting delivery of the Panasonic blender we gave to a former student. She decided to go with an inexpensive new food processor, which was more of what she wanted. Now that we have unpacked it, cleaned it, and checked it out, we will use it to mix our frozen raspberries or blackberries with vanilla ice cream. 🙂 [After it warms up and John can get more exercise.] I spent more time on the blog yesterday and we finally finished it and posted it late. This morning, we went to the hospital lab in Ellensburg, for a fasting blood draw. Got away and to the hospital just before 9:00 a.m. and were happy to see very few people around the place. I did not have to wait and mentioned that to the one person working, who said, “Well, it’s good you weren’t here when we opened at 8:00 a.m. Eight people were in line!” John guessed that some people could not go without their morning coffee and doughnut and were ready. We followed it up with a high cholesterol item for each of us 🙂 for breakfast, while in town so early. We used our coupons for a good price on a sandwich biscuit (large as a hamburger bun, made fresh there every morning), with cheese, egg, and sausage. We used another coupon for two plain sausage biscuits to bring home. Here we can add eggs and cheddar cheese to make a nice meal. Then we drove home by way of Circle K where the gas is cheapest in town ($3.18/gal) and filled up my car (with John doing the work). Up a few blocks to the Court House where John deposited our votes for the school levy in the receptacle there, saving on stamps. From there to our new Grocery Outlet in town, for a sale price on 3 Red Baron Pepperoni pizzas in the same box, for $2.66 each. John always starts with such a base and adds all sorts of goodies to make it a full multi-topping pizza. We were out of cat food for the 4 ferals, and the price there is extremely lower than other stores in town. We bought some 5.5-ounce cans and 13.5-oz. ones, filling a wine case box. Once home I called and activated John’s cell phone. Now I have put a few numbers in it (but he does not want many), although I think I should take off the ones on my phone and write them into my computer or a list, in case mine is ever lost or broken. I would truly be in big trouble. I took off everything from the old “broken” battery phone of John’s so we can ship it back. I hope the new one keeps its charge longer than the last. [so far; so good]
Have responded to all the emails for today, washed a load of dishes, I am now about to begin on paperwork organization. I have all day today and tomorrow and the next, because nothing is pressing until Wednesday when I have 3 events in town, the last one with John, in the evening, at the University. While everyone is watching the Super Bowl today, we are not able. We can keep up on the KOMOnews Live Blog: Seahawks battle Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII — with feed commentary by their weatherman !! My meteorologist friend from Ellensburg, Rebekah LaBar (now in New Zealand), should be here doing that for her home team. I put that out on Facebook, and 4 friends, including Bekah from NZ told me I could keep up and participate following the live stream from Fox. I ended up watching much of the game and reading the blog too. I didn’t manage to do too much helpful work on my needs for organization, but made a few more entries into the stack awaiting my attention — such as going on line to order a current tab for the license plate of our 1994 horse trailer, we use most, recently for getting a ton of hay, or for carting home the wooden pallets from the CWU sale.

Monday, Feb 3

Crazy morning. It started snowing at 7:00 a.m. and put down 4″ of the fluffy stuff, followed by a wintry mix. John used a wide push-broom to clean the soft snow off walks and driveways. Good thing because he prevented ice from occurring beneath. This was not in the forecast. I spent time announcing obituaries of long time geographers to acquaintances I thought would be interested. The whole day was filled with busy work, but that’s why I stayed home.

Tuesday, Feb 4

Well, this morning it’s cold but we don’t have winds as everyone else in the area does (even at the airport only 5 miles south). Still, I bundled up and walked out the driveway to deposit the package in the mailbox to send back to Consumer Cellular with the phone that wouldn’t keep its charge overnight. This morning we’ve been catching up on emails and other chores. Just talked with my pharmacist. This morning has been filled with email communications with my family physician in Cle Elum. My Lipid test Sunday came out fine, so they are sticking with the smaller dosage (40mg) of Atorvastatin (generic of Lipitor).
I spent time writing a letter of recommendation for a student going to graduate school, time working on the jobs list, and time trying to recover costs for the missing front tag on John’s truck (not there when sold). Worked on getting an improperly delivered USPS insured package notification to the correct person south of us on Naneum. Worked (phone call to Ariz.) on getting a 10% off coupon for the next time we go to a store (Big 5) in Yakima. Did quite a bit of work on the music for our group. I found out how to make the chords and the lyrics in a larger font, for the people who have trouble seeing the music. And, I have started constructing the songs we will need for the changed playlist in March & April (which will include a lot of Irish tunes).

Wednesday, Feb 5

Food Bank play date went well. We had people dancing in the aisles and singing along. We have started ending the time with “Jesus Loves Me” at the request of one of the patrons. It’s amazing how many people sing along. (Apparently this is not something we should be doing in a public place, but there are no politically correct police coming into the Soup Kitchen of the Food Bank. We have done Amazing Grace usually as our last song, again at the request of a couple of the patrons.) The menu was clam chowder, mixed greens and veggie salad, and a pear dessert. SAIL class went well too. We went back to town to hear a talk by Andrew Perkins on the genesis of eskers (glacier stuff from 10,000 years ago) in British Columbia. Very interesting and well done presentation. When we got home we were treated (by John) to a bowl of his homemade chili that had cooked most of the day. It was surely yummy.

Thursday, Feb 6

I spent a lot of time on music printing but I goofed and printed some in the wrong key. My sole purpose was to make them a larger font but I started with the wrong key for what we normally use, and then I forgot to transpose the one for our clarinet player. So we ended up having her sing instead of playing that piece. I came home and corrected my goof, sending out a new image to others to print. We had 4 guitars, 1 banjo, and a clarinet and fiddle on the melody and harmony. John let me off at 1:30 at Royal Vista and went on to Super 1 for a sale of canned fruit and veggies. He got tomatoes and peaches. Skipped the corn and green beans and we have regular beans for chili. While there he picked up my medication. Pretty good. $24 for a 90-day supply. It was rather cold today. On the way home we picked up a check from a friend and I picked up another at the music playing, so now next week I have to go to the bank to cash them. Most of my afternoon was spent washing dishes, working with papers, and alternating with music preparation.

Friday, Feb 7

Slept in late after an Out of Area phone call came in at 5:45 a.m. Ticked us off, but I didn’t answer it, and of course they left no message. It had no phone number connected, just 5 digits following OUT OF AREA on the Caller ID. 011624
We realized late last night before retiring that we had gotten 3 inches of new snow after we were last out and didn’t even realize it. This morning John’s out and cleared the front area first to see what the footprints were in the snow on the concrete, inside the fenced front yard. I thought they were kitty tracks, and that’s what they turned out to be.
I have many projects to work on at home today, so am missing the AAC Groundhog Tacos potluck lunch for the 1st Friday of the month. Will also miss the George, WA community hall Bluegrass Jam session and potluck tonight. The spot is 46 miles away, and we don’t want to be on snowy or icy Interstate, down and across the Columbia River. I have accomplished a few email needs. Just sent out 5 job announcements to the group I co-moderate on Google Groups (Northwest Geography Jobs). It covers many disciplines and has a large following of 617 members (after recently cleansing the list of all bouncing emails). Jobs are listed all over the United States. I decided to ask our local phone company about the out-of-area calls. Fairpoint is a national owner of many small town (previously locally owned) phone companies. So, I called the Fairpoint folks. Nothing they can do, unless I press #57 for 3 calls, and I said, no thanks, that costs me doesn’t it? Yeah, $1.50 each time. No way on that. That process is good for serious harassment issues but otherwise it is not much help. Another phone call from an automated Subaru maintenance for our 2009 Subaru that was totally wrong, so I talked to Michelle (our regular service contact there) in Yakima, and she looked up, verified I was right, and then ceased future robot calls. Another telemarketer called this afternoon from a Seattle number, but it was supposedly for breast cancer and the caller was apparently in Tennessee. She was overbearing and thought she could get a contribution by being less than nice. I bullied back and hung up. I looked on-line and found the same number and organization, complaints with the same name, and the one before me was entered just 37 minutes before mine. By going through that effort, I probably got myself on 10 other lists. Finally, got the electronic recommendation completed for one of my former students who is applying for an Applied Economics masters degree program at Utah State University. I’ve been gone from the University since December of ’09 but such things still consume more of my time than I like. Application procedures have changed over the years. Very few places want signed paper copies of letters of recommendation for graduate schools or anything else. Also, applicants for faculty jobs must apply through human resources departments on line. What a change from when I started applying myself in 1965, and also, from all the years being in charge of graduate applications for students as well as searches for faculty positions at 5 universities throughout the U.S. Now there are on line videos and such, too. I don’t know how the affirmative action rules have kept up – and I don’t have to. When I applied for the job at CWU we lived a few hours away but I was going to visit Yakima, just 32 miles away. My wanting to drive up and visit was an issue because other interested candidates would not be visiting. Okay, onward with chores. Sunny outside, but still cold, and John is still moving snow. Sun’s gone, John came in for lunch, and now is in a recumbent position. Napping? He claims not.
Wow — I just pulled out a CD that Evelyn Heflen gave me yesterday. It is the final copy of two professionally recorded songs (in Cle Elum) that she wrote. Her backup to the vocals are her son on guitar, her on banjo, and others. On the second song, Yakima River Canyon, I’m in the backup music on my fiddle (harmony), Janet Perkins also on fiddle, and David Perkins on bass fiddle. The four of us are in the Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends group that goes to nursing and retirement homes in the community.

The back and front covers to Evelyn's music recording
Click on these
images for large
.Lyrics and a photo for the music written and recorded by Nancy's friend Evelyn

Spent time on music, planning for a clothes swap (free) trying to help locate a place to hold it, and working on organization of receipts, and other such things. I figured out my schedule for upcoming events. Worked on my jobs list sends. That’s a daily effort. I’m timing myself on chores so I don’t get hung up doing only one thing for hours. Now added finding another place for the clothes exchange for one that fell through. I just sent that email off. We’ll see the response, from the local Methodist pastor. Slowly, switching to music (much is Irish) for our March/April playlist.

Saturday, Feb 8

Unfortunately, awoke to a little more snow and more scheduled tonight. I suspect we will be okay for the trip to the Grange in the Teanaway, near Cle Elum. John’s off with the dogs to feed the horses. I’m planning to work on paperwork all day, turn this blog over to John for comments, and to leave about 4:40 to get to the Grange for a Scholarship donation of $15/person for a spaghetti dinner with entertainment. He just returned from his trip out, and is staying out for another bit to finish brushing snow off the driveway that he didn’t finish yesterday. Interesting story that he met the paper delivery person about 3 hours late delivering our Wall St. Journal and the local weekend Ellensburg’s Daily Record. Normally she’s by here at 6:00 a.m., but today their delivery truck from Yakima did not make a turn in town and crashed into a couple of poles and signs. In this weather, rural paper delivery is not a job I would enjoy having.

John has been following the storms and flooding in part of England. Friday evening, he spent an hour or more looking at photos and reading about the flooding in the Moorlands and elsewhere. The dangling train rails at the collapsed stone wall at Dawlish made the news also. Two sites with photos:
1. Along the coast. In the next one, photo #7 shows one of the houses on a slight rise as they try to build an embankment around it. 2. Go forward and back from photo #7.
Flooding there looks very bad and some folks will likely never get back into the houses. John says “not that it will help,” but the weather pattern is about to shift. On Monday, here on the west edge of North America (Washington State & British Columbia) the large scale pattern will transition to a very fast zonal flow. Looks like the UK will have a shift to more southerly flow and lower wind speed by this coming Wednesday into Thursday. A lot less rain by Saturday. When you are up to your kiester (or keister) in cold muddy water there is something to be said for the rain and wind stopping. The USA will warm up some also. And the dry west coast gotten and will get more rain and snow. Life is good.

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

Celebrating talented folks

We spent a bunch of time on the blog yesterday, but then also on chores around the house and tried to burn a copy of a CD — without much luck on my laptop, and only slightly more on John’s computer. We may have to return to the old XP computer in the back room, where I know we can copy Audio to Audio, make multiple copies, and the same with data-disks. Cannot understand the problems we are having. Makes no sense.
Still overcast and 27 degrees. John went out to exercise the dogs and throw some hay to the horses. I begged off till it’s above freezing, because I got very cold (primarily my hands) yesterday. I did manage to get some shots of a few Starlings back to clean up the rest of the Mt. Ash berries we mentioned in last week’s blog, and that reminded me of my 2011 shot of the rime on them which did not build up as much this year.
Closeup of red Mt. Ash fruit (berries) covered with Rime ice
An upside-down Starling with 3 mates in a Mtn. Ash tree from which they have eaten most of the berries; Rhim on all branches and Pines in background

Now toward the end of the week, we will have warming temperatures and the likelihood of rain or snow. It will make things all muddy.
I remembered to call my 83 yr old friend on his birthday. He doesn’t have email, so I cannot send him an animated card. Some of the pictures following could appear on cards and other things – some are very colorful, like the one of the yarn and knitted things, and many show the amazing talents of people (some we know).
colorful batch of new yarn and stuff knitted from yarn; slippers, scarf; blues, reds, green, multi-colors
The picture above is one I posted on-line to the Buy Nothing Ellensburg Facebook site, to thank the donor of the bag of knitting yarn, and she plans to bring more. She works part-time at a local florist. She makes hats for people (for a fee) and sometimes they buy the yarn and let her keep the leftovers. Her name is Carolyn. She said when seeing the above picture, “That is wonderful!! Her things are beautiful.” The woman who makes and donates the above items to the Adult Activity Center, I introduced you to last week. Her name is Carol.

Monday, Jan 27

I decided against going to town today. Trying to catch up on receipt filing, organizing and recycling. We still are clouded over and cold. John’s exercised the dogs and talked to the horses. I washed clothes. Two new members joined our music group, so I have been busy working on getting copies of the music for them. I’m shipping off the images for the woman in the group (Roberta) who invited them, to run on her printer. The new members are a couple. The gal plays the Bass Fiddle, and the guy plays two instruments: a fiddle and/or a Charango. I’m almost done, and it is 8:00 p.m. and we have yet to eat dinner. Maybe I will have oatmeal. Just found a problem with my sheet music for “There Is a Tavern in the Town.” I have it in the right key, but the timing is off. I have it in Cut Time . . . . . . and the others have it in 4/4 time. The problem is that I put it in my SongWriter software so I could transpose it for our clarinet player. I have to change the timing now. Always something to take away from time I do not have enough of.

Tuesday, Jan 28

Have to eat lunch at home and take my antibiotics at 1:00 p.m., even though John disagrees with my taking it, and cites the American Dental Association. Having gotten bacteria in my blood twice a year apart, I think I would rather do it. Those little guys enjoy lodging themselves on actual and artificial (porcine) heart valves.
Got The Tavern in the Town completed in the right timing and have it ready to send tonight to the group. Unfortunately, I received a “delayed delivery message” from the first e-mail I sent to the potentially new members. Now I’m trying to locate a phone number.
My dental appt went well, and they repaired the tooth base keeping the gold crown intact. It was an expensive filling, even with insurance, but it was a far sight better than a new gold crown. $50 was my deductible, but that is paid for the year. On my way home I stopped off again at a gal’s house in town where I received several clothespins a couple weeks ago. This was for a brand new pair of comfy and warm slippers. Below is my ‘thank you’ picture I
Nancy's feet with new slippers in front of old worn out slippers
sent tonight to the “list” – Contrast is with my old down booties slippers with a completely worn out leather sole. These have cushioning and a study hard rubber sole with a nice tread. Came home to find a new cable (Micro USB) in the mail that John had bought on Amazon to transfer pictures from the camera on his new phone to our computer. Our one for the Nikon cameras has a standard size connector. John found one quite reasonably priced more so than anything in town. I got the pictures off the camera. Below are a couple of my favorites I took on the walk last week, that didn’t make it into the blog. For those we used ones from our normal cameras. However, some of these are neat, starting out at the road with our blue and white lot number. At some higher elevations in the county the utility wires had ice about 3 inches across, and they had some downed lines.

white on blue house number at front gate with Rime ice on coiled wire, trees, and more

Our north fence line near road with rime on wires, weeds, brush and, on right, neighbor's drive and trees
Barbed wire on rock crib. Along the fence, the ground slopes down and faces north. The weeds there get a nice coating and will be one of the last to melt or blow off.

Along the front fence/road; a new pole barricade to stop dogs from going to the neighbors; connects to path that turns them back toward home
Two Brittanys on a path between large Cottonwods with just a bit of snow on the fallen leaves
Along the front fence there is a deer path that leads either to the road or the neighbors. To prevent the dogs from following that path John used some of his newly cut poles and made a barricade. It goes only half-again as far as shown in the picture but then (with some brush in the way) it turns the dogs back toward our own pasture. The second photo shows how that path goes between big Cottonwood trees – it was all brush there before.

Old barbed wire (found along drive way) hung on circle of fence protecting young tree
Ice (Rime) covered bush along our drive way

I love the rime on things, particularly wire, but also weeds. Here is a photo from the road of our eastern-most part with ancient cottonwood trees, many with busted limbs from old age and wind, not ice.
Ice (rime) covered scene of trees and shrubs - view south from near Nancy's mailbox

Wednesday, Jan 29

John’s sister’s birthday is today. Happy birthday to Peggy in Parma, OH. They have had very cold temperatures. We had an early morning call from John’s cousin, Ethel Reynolds, in Brookville, PA. We awoke to 2-3″ of snow, but nothing like the east and the problems of a couple inches in Atlanta, GA. I remember having a big snow there in 1950-51 and writing the date on the windshield of our old big black 1950 DeSoto. The ice has totally crippled the city this year. We know what that is like. About 1970 or so, in Iowa City, we had ice that created impassible streets. Why people get cantankerous with city officials at times such as these ice storms is a mystery. Once the ice is on things there isn’t much to be done. Too bad they didn’t think to stay home.

Thursday, Jan 30

Drove 1/2 mile around our rural block for a haircut this morning, and on my way over, I called Consumer Cellular to complain about John’s new phone not keeping a charge overnight. They will send a new one and the free postage to return the old one. Whoopee, the sun is out, temperatures up, and the ice (and snow from yesterday) is melting. John just fixed pizza for lunch with raised crust, pineapple, sausage, pepperoni, green pepper, and shrimp. We play at Mt. View Meadows, which is only about 3 times a year, when a 5th Thursday is in the month. It was a great “shew” – and we had many percussion instruments there to back up only two “melody/harmony” players (Clarinet and Fiddle). We had a banjo, timbrel, and 5 guitars. And, I wore my Hoedown vest given to me by a gal in the upper county. Ain’t it purdy?Nancy in Hoedown vest (hillbilly) with fiddle
I wore it so I could show our hoedown honky-tonk piano lover (an 87 yr old resident at the place). He absolutely loves us. I went to his room to show him the vest, which I wore just for him, and wanted to be sure he felt like coming down to join in (he’s on continual oxygen). He came and even played You Are My Sunshine on the piano at the start of our music. Ellen took the photo of me in the vest to thank the donor on line. While there, I had our guitar player, Roberta, who is smaller than me (Medium) try it on, with the hopes she can use it to play music next month in an elementary school or two in town. It fits her better than it fits me, and that will be an appropriate venue.
I picked up dog and cat food on the way home from Bi-Mart on sale, and also bought John a nice case for his new phone. The woman that offered me one on line free never came through. Maybe her husband vetoed it. This is really a camera case, but it has a thing for the belt, and it has a hard case and enough room for the phone. No holes on the side (as normal cases for flip phones) to collect pieces of hay. I haven’t mentioned this to John, so he will learn of it as he reads and touches up my text. Tonight, I spent a bunch of time rewriting Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. We just did not have it coordinated well. I completely changed the timing, and put in all the words (even when a repeat, such as “Comin’ for to carry me home,” on multiple verses. I am gaining great respect for session musicians that can play whatever is asked of them.

Friday, Jan 31

Today were three events. At the Sr. Center was a Chinese New Year’s (Year of the Horse) celebration. I wore a sweatshirt of John’s (which is tight on him now), with a horsey scene. It was a hit with many people there, and I had taken my camera to take a picture of
Horse and Indian rider on wall (Intarsia), Nancy with mare and foal -- Year of the Horse

the horse Intarsia on the wall. Don Bunch, artist from George, WA created this one, which someone donated for the wall, so I stood in front of it and got Moiré to take my picture on my camera. Click this Don Bunch of George, WA for the story — George, WA is just 45 minutes east of us. They served Chinese Food including Pot stickers – they called dumplings, with chicken or pork, green snow peas marinated in a vinegary sauce, egg rolls (meat or veggies), a great cabbage salad, a coconut pudding cake made with white rice flour (its Chinese name is Nian Gao, and symbolizes higher heights in the new year), several dips (I chose plum, later going back for sweet & sour). They gave us treats, some wealth (chocolate dollar and a real penny), a Chinese name tag with our first name and, for me, a 2 symbol Chinese rendition, a red piece of paper with pens to write something we want to get rid of in our life (I wrote: “not procrastinating”). We had place mats of the Chinese Zodiac for fortunes of the Chinese year according to our birth year, and a lady who is a member of the AAC group, brought some very nice chopsticks for people to use, who wanted. I used mine after cutting a couple of things into smaller pieces for dunking in sauce. The red wishes for needed changes were taken outside and burned. Everyone got a Tangerine for good luck. Afterward I drove to the $1 store and bought two metal spatulas for John. One has holes/slats, and the other is solid. Then on back to our SAIL class. Then I drove home, (the mail had John’s order of printer cartridges waiting for us), came in for 1/2 hour rest (while he napped and I sat in my recliner reading emails). While I was in town, he was exercising the dogs, feeding the horses, and cutting brush. We had a heat wave – to 45. We went back to town for a travelogue of Asia presentation by our friend for many years, an economist at CWU, “Moose” Mack. He and his wife spent parts of 2010, 2011, and 2012 in Asia, at different universities, and traveled extensively in China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Indonesia (Bali), and a couple more smaller islands. One exciting canoe trip in the Mekong River was in the itinerary. He presented at 4:00 p.m. until a little after 5:00, and then after the talk, we had nice snacks and wine. Spicy meatballs with some veggies atop, a neat pastry with blue cheese and artichoke filling, fruit and veggies such as cantaloupe, melon, celery, carrots, and grape tomatoes. It was a nice touch for dinner for me, and we will just have a piece of cooked cherry pie tonight for the rest of “dinner.”

Saturday, Feb 1

Goodness, the start of another month. Where does the time go?
In anticipation of Superbowl Sunday, people have been flooding the Internet with emails to connections to previous and current ads. This link will take you to a slightly different view of the story about the Budweiser Clydesdale rearing. Stay tuned for this year’s ad, or search for it on the web. It’s wonderful, but I think a previous one is even better.

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

Mid-winter thrills

Sunday, Jan 19

We were supposed to go to a dinner up the road, but someone in the family got ill, and canceled or, as some might write, cancelled.
(In that link, the Ngram viewer failed for John, so he investigated. More at end of this post)
We got a call right before 1:00 from the granddaughter of our neighbor with the broken arm that her grandma had fallen and couldn’t get up. She didn’t hurt herself, but the granddaughter (also a nurse but not practicing on the elderly) couldn’t lift her because of the lady on the floor’s previously broken right arm. She called us, and John and I went over. John was able to help lift her off the floor, and I pushed a sturdy chair underneath her. She has been seen by her doctor since then and appears to have not been further injured by that fall.
I have been working with a new blood pressure measuring device. (I could not get it out of the package. I tried and I finally gave up after getting only a couple of pieces of cellophane off the container. Making no headway, I gave it to John. I think he used the 10” radial-arm saw! I didn’t stay around to see. He says he used a recently sharpened 10” carving knife. I wonder how our neighbors 87 and 90, could ever have opened it.) Now I’m frustrated with finally assembling it, putting in the batteries, successfully, but now trying to follow the instructions to set the clock, year, month and date, its totally not working. I don’t know how many minutes I worked, and I’m usually very capable with such things, even without reading the manual, which I’m faithfully doing. I finally gave up and told John he was going to have to try. He is fixing a late dinner, but will tackle after we eat. (John says, she hasn’t read a manual in 40 years and some of these electronic gadgets are not designed for the intuitive types.) [Nancy says, I really was reading this manual and the directions in it weren’t working for me. What he left out was that the instructions were set for when the battery was just installed; he removed one and then could follow the instructions, where I couldn’t after goofing on one setting.]
I told him I read that you are to rest 10 minutes, before taking your BP, and not to eat, smoke, exercise or drink, beforehand, and do it every time on the same arm. I told him I would not try for at least a full day and night, after raising my BP trying to get this initialized. This is NUTS. After it appeared to be working John tried it on his left arm. We think he should have taken his shirt off and moved the pad farther up his arm. It claimed his pulse rate was about 180, roughly 3X what it is. Investigation will continue after a calming down interval. Maybe listening to soft music will help. We don’t have much soft music but the bunch of CDs given to me (mostly old country, pop, and some folk) will work. While some plays on the stereo, via my laptop I’m copying from the CDs to a USB drive to play in my gadget-infused Subaru Forester. The number of things I just mentioned or alluded to that did not exist when I was born is astounding.

Monday, Jan 20 Martin Luther King Day

I drove John to the dentist, let him off, and went for my monthly blood draw at the hospital for my INR reading. We planned to return home to the chores and to rest up for the next 3 days that are full to the brim. Okay, we’re back and John beat me to resting because he didn’t sleep well last night. We had a message from TX from my cousin John(ny), and I shall call him back. He’s in the states for a short while, from his position with the Shell Oil Company in Kazakhstan, as a pipeline engineer. I’ll return his call ASAP, but want to finish a few things first. Meanwhile, I’ll review the rest of the morning.
John’s teeth got cleaned and paid for, and he has no cavities. While waiting for my blood draw, I contacted Consumer Cellular to see about getting a replacement phone for the one John misplaced (lost) last September. I lucked out and said the right words, I guess, and the gal offered me a new (returned in good condition Motorola WX416 in the color red) one for less than 1/2 the price of a new one–and it comes with free shipping and free activation. I got to pick between red and black, and decided to pick a bright color he might not lose; although, I suppose the carrier will be black. He had a piece of bright orange ribbon attached to his last, but it didn’t help. While still at the hospital, I stopped off at the pulmonary center to check on my upcoming (annually required) pulmonary function test, because of one of my medications (Amiodarone). I wasn’t in the system, so have to coordinate with my cardiologist’s office in Yakima to send a request to them for a Tuesday after March 12 (last year’s timing requirement for my medical insurance to cover it). I went back to pick John up and pay the bill with a check (they give a 5% discount for paying at the time of work completion). Worth it. Our insurance covered all but $24 and preventive maintenance such as that is not subject to a deductible. Then we decided to have something to eat in town and to buy enough to use for dinner, so John didn’t have to fix anything. I should have remembered to go by the Palace to take out his free birthday dinner, as I did last year. It must be used before the end of the month. Maybe I will retrieve one tomorrow night, on my way to play music, after dark. I can bring dinner home for us to share. Once home, I got a call from my doctor’s nurse that my INR was 2.5, which is “right on” & “excellent” and I don’t have to have another until Feb 20.
Back to the other call. I called my cousin in TX and got him in Costco shopping, so we agreed he would call me back later. Unfortunately, as we were taking our warm dinner from the oven, he called, so I told him I would call him back (and I did). It was nice visiting with him.

Tuesday, Jan 21

Left about 9:15 a.m. for a trip to Yakima to my foot doctor for more work on my toenails on my right foot, using laser surgery. Now that’s done, and I have to go back in June for another treatment, and hope it continues to work. It seems some better, but everyone is different on healing times. From there we went to Big 5 Sports store to use our 10% off coupon for some boots for John. Succeeded there too, and now he has some gray boots of waterproof suede. It looked in the ad that they were tan, and the color was also listed as Golden Brown on the box, with a like picture, but they are actually gray. We checked and all the shoes in all the boxes were the same color. Speaking of gray, I went to a Fabric store recommended by my friend Ellen, looking for a metal zipper, but they only had plastic in the size, but I found a gray one (it’s for an old winter red & gray jacket that won’t stay zipped :-). Zip it up and it unzips itself from midway. Thanks a lot!) Ellen is going to sew in a new zipper for me. Then, on to Costco for gasoline ($3.10/gal), 8 cents/gal cheaper than here. We ended up spending over $300 in the store. Most of the stuff is for future use (like over the next 2 years), but it was on sale, so we decided to invest. Picked up a Turbo Tax today, so I will definitely have to get to work on the taxes. I expected to come home, rest a little while and go back to town for music, but it was cancelled because the nursing home has a lock-down because of sickness. I am sorry for the residents, but I was actually relieved I didn’t have to go. As John mentioned, I might have not been able to find my way home in the dark in the fog. I’m really tired. Perhaps I will go to bed early, for a change.

Wednesday, Jan 22

Off to the Food Bank where we had some green salad and macaroni & cheese, but the best part of the meal was cooked apples – a nice generous portion. Could have been a full apple. We had a particularly good music day. It was the three of us, one on banjo, me on fiddle, and our singer, Bob. We had a large bunch of people eating who are our “groupies” and enjoy singing along, and applauding, and even two were dancing. On to SAIL, where, from the parking lot, I called in an order for John’s birthday dinner from the Palace restaurant in town, to pick up after going to the dentist. Also, I took in 3 visors-sun hats, like this one
A sample visor hat in red, white, and blue.
because I no longer use them – little bald spot and all. I took my antibiotics with me to take at 2:00 p.m. so I’d be ready for the exposure of my blood to potential bacteria (John says: “waste of money, contributes to the development of resistant bacteria, may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and allergic reactions”), and told 5 people in my class to help remind me at 2:00 p.m. It was funny, when they all did. Completely confused and startled my teacher for the “exercise” class. On then to the dentist for a teeth cleaning; I took my violin inside, so it didn’t have to sit alone in the cold car (it also goes to class with me). Stringed instruments do not do well in the cold. On to The Palace to pick up the birthday dinner for John. During the whole month of January, we can collect a free meal (choice of two things: Chicken Alfredo or Angus Chicken Fried Steak). The Alfredo is plenty and more than one person needs, but John cooked some chicken nugget-like things (called bourbon chicken) to add to it. I warmed day-old cornbread to have with mine and he ate the garlic bread that came with it in its own little box. I went and picked it up on my way home from the dentist, and they had it all waiting at the cash register. I gave the waitress a $5.00 tip, and thanked her and the one who took my order a couple hours before. They don’t serve the Alfredo until after 4:00. I picked it up and was driving away about 4:02. We made a nice dinner for both of us but the pasta and the chicken are the same bland color. A little cut up broccoli and sweet red pepper would fix that. [Nancy says to John’s comment about bland colors—it had brown mushrooms (okay, bland), and green slices of a zucchini squash included.]

Thursday, Jan 23

I went to Hearthstone for music with the KV Fiddlers & Friends, and back home by way of a friend’s to drop off printer paper. John’s new phone arrived, but we had to charge it before trying to activate it and learn how to use it. We are now a week or so into full cloud cover and rime (deposited ice) on everything. We are keeping track of the cold in the east – US and Canada) and sympathize with all the folks there. An interesting thing about our weather is that there is no wind, otherwise the ice would not stay where it forms. The “no wind” bit is nice for us but no so good for the investors in the hundreds of wind turbines erected in WA and OR over the last 15 years. The Bonneville Power Administration has to “balance” the input (or lack) of electrons from the wind with those from falling water. Below is a view from Saturday noonish and the green line at the bottom (very low) shows the lack of wind energy. Click for large image.

A complex chart of Electricity load by BPA using wind, hydro, and thermal elec. sources - showing almost no wind power
Anyone can watch this activity (on a 5 minute basis) from the BPA’s website. When the wind blows the green line will go up and the blue line (water power) will come down. Next wind in the region is expected to be this coming Tuesday evening – so check this graph on Wednesday, the 29th or later. The “thermal” (brown line) doesn’t vary much but comes from landfill-gas and sawmills and paper companies burning “waste” materials. If the wind gets to just over 75 miles per hour the wind turbines are shut off so as to not damage themselves.

Friday, Jan 24

Today I’ve a once-a-month scholarship luncheon in CWU’s Theater (McConnell Auditorium). Noon. It was nice. Off to SAIL class afterward. When I got home, John asked me if I had the blog ready for him. I told him I had ignored it the past two days. So, here I am without much to say. I guess I can keep working on the piles of stuff around here. I did drive by the CWU library today to give a fellow who works there two copies of his master’s thesis he had given me (I was on his committee). He was actually in the History department, but the topic was geographical. They were not bound, so I assume one was a preliminary copy before his defense and the other was his final copy. He was quite pleased to receive them. Finally, this afternoon, I got John’s cell phone activated and a couple of numbers entered. Now tomorrow, I have to put a voice mail message on it and then tie it to his wrist! [Nancy here, actually, I found one free from a friend in town I have to pick up. It supposedly has a belt hook on the back.]

Saturday, Jan 25

We took the dogs and cameras up the driveway and took a few photos. The cloud cover is thick and complete so, unlike last year with blue sky and sun, the background is a uniform gray. Nevertheless, it is both interesting and pretty. Nancy carried her Nikon and the new red cell phone for John that has photo capabilities. She took about 15 pictures, but cannot get them off the phone onto her computer without a USB micro V2.0 connector. John found one for $6 that will be coming from Amazon Monday. You’ll have to wait until next week to see her favorite ones, assuming it works and they are worth showing. Meanwhile here are 4 from our regular cameras. All 4 have larger versions hiding underneath.

Scene of trees (young Cottonwood, WA Hawthorn, Ponderosa Pine) coated in white rime ice
Rime coated trees
on Naneum Fan
Rime (ice crystals) on a wire cage around a small tree - not seen.
Rime on wire cage
Rime ice on brush, trees, and wire fence
On the Edge of the Drive
Rime on fence, hanging stored barbed wire, and a bird house, hay barn with blue roof in background
Beth’s house and
stored barbed wire

About 20 feet from our front windows is a small Mountain Ash tree such as seen here in a late summer view (not our photo). Ours is now mostly barren – no leaves and just a few berries. No bigger image.
section of Mtn. Ash tree with lots of green and orange/red berries
The berries (fruits) hang until about this time or later each year. At some point a flock of Starlings shows up. There may be 100 or 150 and they will swoop in as a unit, grab berries, and off they go. They might wait 15 or 20 minutes and do this again. Then they go away. Over several days they will clean the tree of fruit. [Nancy says, they came while I was gone to town Friday, so I got the story when I returned.] (If there are Robins about they will come singly or 2 or 3 and sit on a branch and eat there rather than fly away.) The large flock of Starlings and their synchronized flight to-and-from and from one place to another is called murmuration. Currently going around the web is a video showing this phenomenon with a massive number of birds. You might have seen a version. A site that has the video and an explanation of murmuration – such as scientists now understand, and that’s not much.

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

=========Click this for the Ngram Viewer =======
[The “Ngram Viewer” is a new trick to us from the web and John wanted to try another set of words. What ones? Being from “the hills” he frequently reverts to crick when creek serves quite well for most of us. Try the 2 words ( crick,creek ) in the viewer and note the thin blue line at the bottom. It is noticeable in the late ’30s, the 1940s, and into the ’50s. John was born in January of 1944! Coincidence? Not a chance. John’s mom was an avid reader. He also noticed that the red line – for creek – drops about 80% from its peak and then pops back up in the early 1900s – there were notable floods just prior to then. Note the general decline of “creek” since then. Maybe there is something going on here (urban living, creeks running in concrete channels, and buried in pipes) such that we don’t wonder about nor wander near creeks anymore.]

Naneum Wind

Saturday, Jan 11

We decided not to risk the weather and stayed home rather than driving across the pass to Maple Valley to celebrate our friends’ son getting a job as a firefighter in Yakima. Considering he interviewed with 253 others, makes it pretty special. However, we didn’t want to be driving late afternoon in snow and rain and 46 mph winds on the pass, and then coming home in the dark back over the same pass where they were predicting 16″ of snow.
It snowed on us here after dark, but the day started sunny, turned to cloudy, and then rained some tonight too.
Thus, with the storm in the Cascades and us house bound, I worked on the blog and on the web page for last Saturday, regarding the Raclette for 2014. John didn’t do much of anything useful (his opinion).

Sunday, Jan 12

Kittitas County’s population is located like 2 bags of beans at either end of a canoe. We are in the southeast end and the “Upper County” (UC) folks are toward the west and north. A friend in the UC was using a blender and something ruptured and slung mayonnaise around the room. I wrote that it bit the dust, but John fails to see how dust and mayo relate, so we changed it. Still, it is gone. I knew we own a nice Panasonic blender we haven’t used since we arrived here in 1989, but where, I did not know. John is slowly taking things we don’t use and putting plastic bags around them and stashing them out of the way. He found and unpacked the blender and all its parts – apparently a bit dirty when he wrapped it. It still works well and, so I cleaned it up. Here’s a photo assembled and disassembled to show the parts. It has buttons and dials – so 1980s, but doesn’t talk back when you want it to do something.

The winds have been very high here tonight. Just now there was a humongous crash out back. Could be a small plane (no fire though) or a big tree, but it is too dark to see what or where. At least it didn’t hit our power wires but the storm’s not over. Ignoring the action outside, John fixed a great stew for a late dinner. Going to bed with 35 mph gusts that have sounded higher all day.

Monday, Jan 13

This morning after exercising the dogs, John found the two trees that went down in the winds last night. He’s now taken photos. The largest came down about 45 yds from the house, snapping off about 15′ up. He measured the diameter at 18″. On its way down, the big tree (or a branch from it – we don’t know yet), hit another smaller one about 10″ diameter and brought it crashing down. It’s no wonder the sounds we heard were so loud.
Some limbs on the trees (there is a 3rd one about 400 feet farther away) are dead but most will have to be cut, stacked and dried for eventual firewood. Winds are still whipping, at 40 and 42 mph gusts, and blew all night as well. I’ve been working on books and other small email and house chores. John stays away from the trees when it blows like this but can still exercise the dogs and do a few things. A local EBRG joke goes like this: Visitor says, “Does the wind always blow like this?” And the old resident says, “Well no, sometimes it blows harder.”

Tuesday, Jan 14

We went to the Emeriti Geography Faculty meeting and 3 spouses were there to enjoy the morning. We solved many problems of the world, or at least had viewpoints expressed. The father of one of the ladies had a bar (saloon) near the waterfront in Seattle way back when. She told a few stories. Maybe her father knew my carpenter grandfather although he did not live close to downtown. After a couple of hours we went on to Super 1 for the cans of tuna fish they were out of last Thursday, when we were there. We went by a day-care school (in a church) to drop off the blender. The young daughter goes there while her mother works. The day care is run by our neighbor and we know others with connections to the Grace Episcopal Church so I dropped off a gift for another friend who works there. It’s a little church-looking music box that plays Amazing Grace. Came on home by way of another person who gave me 6 wooden clothes pins for holding our music in the Ellensburg wind. Got home and did a bunch more chores, and then turned around and went back to town to play music at Hearthstone. A beautiful moon and no camera, but my friend, Glenn Engels, took one and I asked him for permission to publish here. Here is what he sent; a nice memory of what I saw, especially the halo colors and clouds in the background.
Moon 3 by Glen

Wednesday, Jan 15

Off to the Food Bank and SAIL exercise. I took an ancient but little used heating pad to Evelyn, old (still in an unopened box) tea to SAIL, and a Gospel album CD to Judy, a member of the class. It’s been a crazy day helping neighbors, and going around town. One 87 yr old lady fell and broke her arm. Another needed to show us her hogs and chickens, and give us some fresh eggs in return for frozen berries from our garden, and 10 egg cartons, 6 of them larger than a dozen. I went to play music at the food bank soup kitchen and met a homeless couple from N. Dakota trying to find work in our town and living out of their car (with a cat). I tried to introduce them to people who might be able to help. They were there getting a good meal, and enjoying our singing. We ate with them afterward and talked to them about their arrival from the wind and cold of Bismarck, ND. They were both looking for jobs, but it’s strange coming from a place where the economy is booming. Likely, more of a story must exist, but that’s all I know. Then I left for the Senior Center to meet and do things there related to the SAIL exercise class.

Thursday, Jan 16

I went to Dry Creek for music – a great turnout. Clarinet, Keyboard, 3 violins, Bass Fiddle, a singer with her Timbrel, Banjo, and 3 guitars. Two of our newest guitarists were there from the Upper County: Maury Martin, from Cle Elum, and his 92 yr old buddy, Sandy, from Easton, who is an excellent guitarist.
Afterward, I drove by a local florist where a young woman named Carolyn works, in order to pick up some knitting yarn she donated for me to give to the lady that knits for the Sr. Center. Now I have to spread it out with some of her handiwork for a photo to include with a thank-you e-mail to the gal who donated it (on line to Buy Nothing Ellensburg). I’m going to put a picture of me in her scarf at the Jan 4 deal, to the knitter, when I give her the yarn, with a thank you note. Maybe I can get a photo of two or three of our players, using the fingerless gloves in a chilly place. More yarn is supposed to be coming from another person, next week. This woman is quite generous with her time and doesn’t charge anything for her service. She will accept donations for the cost of the yarn, but I don’t think many people ever think of asking or donating money. I came up with the idea of asking for yarn from people in the community. So far, so good; maybe more to come.

We went to our local Audubon meeting tonight, taking our dues, to pay locally, because the National Audubon Society does not give any money (from dues) to the local chapters. We can get by without another magazine frequenting our mailbox. We disagree with the national policy. Our local chapter has a nice monthly newsletter and presents programs and bird field trips throughout the year. We heard and saw a colorful presentation by a woman on the “Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum & Winter Birding in the Sonoran Desert,” presented by Cricket Webb, a local chapter member. John and I met Bill & Martha Smith (he retired from Anthropology and she from the Cultural Museum at CWU), and we visited, after not really having had a nice conversation in about 3 years. My first several years here, Bill and I team taught GIS classes with a geologist and another geographer, so it was a neat mix of disciplines. We’ve seen Bill and Martha briefly in passing at Christmas parties. We have all four visited the Arizona museum in the past, John and I a long time ago, in 1976, (it got to 117 degrees that day in Tucson) when we were there to give a paper at the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers meetings, of which I’m still a member.  For those of you who knew us from our Univ. of Idaho days, the paper was on the Rise and Fall of the Idaho Wine Industry, (particularly focusing on the Troy Winery, in the town where we moved to in 1974). Back to birds: folks find dead birds and freeze them and bring them to the meetings before passing them on to the biology department at CWU. There was a Cedar Wax Wing and a Cooper’s Hawk brought tonight. They need an internet link at the meetings because there are a couple of look-a-likes for the Cooper’s Hawk, (they discussed a Goshawk too), but this was a young one, and no one was 100% sure of the identification. We use the Cornell Bird Guide. Once there, under “All About Birds” click on “Bird Guide.”  Now that we have checked both birds descriptions in the guide, I’m curious to see the bird’s head again to see the marking over the eye brow and the design on the tail feathers of stripes — mentioned that evening in the audience comments.

Friday, Jan 17
I finally succeeded in printing a picture for Jim Cummings with more to come and will give them to him tomorrow. They are from the Veterans Day honoring celebration at the senior center, back in November. You have already seen one of the pictures with me and two veterans in front of the flag, with me and my violin, and sequined “flag” vest. I worked more on cleaning clothes (many towels, work clothes, and other stuff), in the kitchen (John is a messy cook), went through a box of academic materials piled in the hallway under dirty work clothes, in front of a closet door I needed to access to look for some puzzles (see below). Re-homed all the good stuff and recycled the rest. Tossed all old overhead transparencies. We have stuff from at least 4 eras of technology that are all antiquated. Lots to toss. Found some neat stuff I forgot I had and contacted a friend who has taught a Wine course at Yakima Valley Community College to see if he wants some of our valuables we used in teaching the course: Wine, A Geographical Appreciation, for a dozen years. I found some puzzles in the closet I must have picked up at a yard sale. I will donate to the AAC. One has 500 pieces and the other has 1500! I was hoping there were some with fewer than 50 pieces, because we know a young lady whose brother is recovering from a brain aneurysm and they need to exercise and rehabilitate his brain. Meanwhile, I wrote my friend in MT who just lost her husband, who had a brain injury, and I remembered she had puzzles he worked with. Most of his had 100 pieces, but are very nice puzzles. Next time she comes over to see her son here in town, she will bring them, and I’ll pass them on.
At one of our field corners the dogs have a tendency to keep going – toward neighbors with various animals and most recently chickens. Their youngest son went to help a friend’s family butcher and came home with a dozen live ones. How neighborly. The male Britt took a jaunt over there a couple of days ago and had to be chased home. John cleaned brush and downed limbs from the corner and built a short barricade/fence that leads to a turn and return path. The rest of the ground there is so filled in with brush and fallen trees he thinks the dogs will now not go through. Today, he removed part of a fallen tree that landed across a path that goes near a spring in our “woodsy swamp” or “swampy woods.” It is along that trail that John sometimes sees Great Horned Owls watching for mice or having lunch or whatever owls do while sitting in trees.

Saturday, Jan 18

We took off for town this morning to Super 1 Foods for an early bird sale and loaded up on things we use anyway. Managed to save $17 off usual prices: pop, butter, cheese, and navel oranges. Ran into an old friend from CWU, also retired. She is an historian. We agreed we don’t have enough time and wonder how we managed to teach full-time all those years. We stopped at a coffee house for me to pick up another freebie – a glass boot mug, I’m going to give to our new pianist (who is from Texas), so she and her husband can have good southern iced tea. They will have to share; there’s only one.
The last place we went was to Briarwood Commons (a retirement community where they have their own apts for independent living), but they are quite super with potlucking all sorts of things to feed us after we give them music for almost an hour. Today, it was chicken vegetable soup, lasagna, small chicken and egg salad sandwich halves, fruit cocktail in red Jello, cashews, chips and a ton of desserts, including chocolate frosted chocolate layer cake, white frosted red velvet layer cake, peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss atop, zucchini bread with pineapple, and a large very good (I don’t usually like) pumpkin pie.
The fog is settling as ice crystals (rime) on everything. By morning it may really be picturesque. Not quite enough yet. I hope we get some blue sky and sun tomorrow to take photos. That’s always a favorite thing for me to do and I have a newish camera to do it with this year – if it happens. Sometimes wind knocks much of it off before the right picture-taking weather arrives.

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


Saturday, Jan 4

John’s birthday -now he’s caught up with me, but claims he is 38

Cover of a birthday card with a old style wooden basked with apples, yellow flowers, and black capped chickedees
From a couple that got apples
from John last fall

We will start this week’s blog with Saturday, because we were so busy in the morning trying to post the blog that we didn’t get anything written. It was a full day. We first worked on that, and then after all the morning chores, got ready and took off before noon for White Heron, for a great celebration. Here’s a photo to tempt you to follow the links below.  Click on the picture below and concentrate on the cheese, the rack holding it, over the hot coals, with the fire in the background.

A fire scene with 1/2 wheel of raclette cheese on a skewer; John H. in background with wine; waiting for the cheese to melt
January in the vineyard

First is the Raclette of 2013, or last year’s party in the vineyard. I am in the process of making one for this year. I plan to have it almost completed (in draft form) by the time this blog hits the airwaves. With that said, here is the Raclette of 2014. Minor changes many occur later, but they will be minor.
These pages describe the annual celebration Raclette for the grapevine pruners who volunteer their time for many mornings during the ending days of winter. This year the date fell on John’s birth date and so we shared a cake baked by one of the pruners that has walnut trees, so walnuts were a component. Last year the Raclette was on the 5th and we didn’t mention the birthday so no cake. Also, better this year was the weather. Last year was cold and we got snowed on. It took all the next day to warm our feet. This year was warm(er) with sun and we carried along some of our stockpiled firewood as a precaution. Really though the raclette is historically a pruner’s meal cooked over stems and pieces of vine cuttings and we try to have some grape wood on the fire at all times. We shared excellent food and companionship. The cheese is imported as a full wheel and picked up in Auburn, WA. For some background reading see the post here and then click on the ‘next’ with arrow at the top right of the page. Nancy disagrees with the explained pronunciation of Raclette. It should be on the second syllable, not the first.

Sunday, Jan 5

Today was involved with rest, recuperation, and chores. John managed to do the normal ones, and then moved 15 bales of hay from the shed to the lower pasture into an old horse trailer from where he can feed the horses in a protected area from the wind when it is gusting hard. I’ve been multi-tasking, working on a number of projects today, none of which is finished. John just ordered a microwave via Amazon, with shipping included, for a good price on a “new” unit, Panasonic. NN-H965WF, delivered to our door. Our rotating spindle has been failing for months (or at least groaning), but finally almost bit the dust completely today, and tonight it was difficult to warm the smallest thing. I completed a recommendation for a friend, a geographer, in another state, and added more to the Raclette web page story for this year.

Monday, Jan 6

I should be going to exercise at the senior center today. Instead I’m staying home to tackle more projects and, tomorrow will be the same. I decided to share our purchase of a new microwave here. Check for Panasonic. NN-H965, and click on the type you want, (we picked Panasonic. NN-H965WF ) and then go down the page for “Panasonic Genius 1250 Watt Sensor Microwave w/Inverter Technology” and open. Go down the page between Financing Offers and Product Details, to Special Offers and Product Promotions. Follow the link there. We bought this one (with this description; read them all very carefully).

Used – Very Good Item is in original packaging, but packaging may come damaged. Item has no cosmetic scratches or blemishes. Item has no cracks or dents. All accessories are present and undamaged.

John wrote the following in an email to his cousin’s daughter in PA, today —

Change of subject 1: Speaking of noises – our 10 + or – year old microwave oven started making odd sounds – again. Last year when this happened I cranked the turn-table in opposite directions a few times and it began behaving again. I assumed it was gunked up around the shaft as our house (4 dogs, 1 cat, and me) has lots of unimaginable dirt, dust, hair and on and on, floating around. This week the microwave’s complaints are more persistent. Amazon had some “used” ones of a highly recommended model. The descriptions seem to say something like: These were returned but are actually 99.999% new. One is mentioned as having a scrape on the top ¼ x ¼ inch and another doesn’t have the manual, and so on. Anyway, the used model saved us about $100. Arriving Wednesday We’ll see. –end quote–

The shipment came from a warehouse next to the Cincinnati airport – one of the few places we’ve flown into when the pilot pulled away with just moments to go and made a second try at it. It was windy. Interesting with the river just there north of the airport (in Kentucky).

I spent too much time on the request for my voice mail at CWU on 3571, but it was worth it. It is now fixed. John received a big box of goodies from his sister for his birthday. It’s full of neat things including candy and cookies and old family photographs (even of him as a baby), and of us before we were married, visiting with his grandfather in PA. The goodie box included a 1958 high school yearbook when she was a senior and he was an underclassman, and there are a number of his pictures in it.

The weather is getting nasty — it grappled on us late last night.

Tuesday, Jan 7

All day was a little overcast and sprinkles, with freezing temps, so at one time the ground was white, but didn’t stay. I spent a lot of time trying to work on arranging for Long Term Care Insurance payments, and other normal chores of the day with bills, receipts, filing – all fun stuff. I worked a little on the web page about last Saturday’s outing to White Heron.

Wednesday, Jan 8

Food bank for lunch playing music and SAIL class afterwards. Got my meds but didn’t go in the store — just to the drive-thru window. At the soup kitchen they served us a nice lasagna dish with large meatballs, a mixed green salad, and a great apple cobbler-type dish, with more apples than cobbler. We had a little snow this morning, but not enough to be a problem on the roads. On my trip home, I drove back up to within a couple miles of home, into a dense fog. While I was gone our “new” microwave was delivered. We still need to get it out of the box, but first we have to empty the dishwasher, and load the dirty stuff from the counter and clean that up. John fixed a nice pizza tonight for our dinner.

I’ve been working tonight on several projects, the most important of which is getting the photos and videos processed from my camera for the Raclette / Birthday Jan 4. I’m running out of time to get it completed before the blog goes out this weekend. Maybe it will remain under construction for awhile. Also tonight I tackled one box John uncovered, and sorted through things to take “gift” to my geography colleagues tomorrow. Stuff leftover from my teaching days… including materials and books and even a baseball cap from a local hay exporter where I have done research since 1988.

Thursday, Jan 9

This morning, John took the old microwave off the counter and “installed” the new one. It’s pretty nice, 1/4″ higher, and the circular glass tray’s radius is at least an inch more than the old one. Everything was perfect and had not been opened inside the packaging. There was noticeable wear on the packaging. It came from China (boat or plane?) and then to places in the US (planes, trains, trucks ??). Perhaps the damage on the outside glossy cardboard was enough for the store to refuse acceptance, and we got a deal on a new one for $100 less, plus shipping was included (paid for by our Prime account with Amazon… and delivery from Cincinnati was 2-day Air. John took this photo.

A white Panasonic microwave oven with many colored items on and about it; paper towels, red onions, plastic orange spoon and more
Memorize objects and colors;
quiz at the end!

How this business plan works is a mystery. This stuff is designed and then made in China and moved through several places by many people but cost about the same as a few pieces of lumber at the local dealer. Early ones cost about $50,000 using today’s inflated dollars.

This afternoon was full! It’s a bit cold and nasty to work outside so we both went to EBRG. After we dropped off a box of treasures from my past with the addition of 2 pounds hard candies, John let me off at the Rehab music gig. I carried several things in for others in our music group. We went sale-shopping again when he picked me up. He’d filled my car with gas, bought some groceries, and gone to Bi-Mart for some items, and while there found a 5-shelve plastic unit for putting things on like cans of veggies and package goods. Set-up will require moving/throwing-out some things in the garage. This is part of the rural lifestyle – buy in bulk routine. Thus far, it made it in, in its package, but it is not yet assembled.

Friday, Jan 10

Stayed home today to attempt to finish some more projects. Last night John fixed a stroganoff type of thing with potatoes, ground beef, mushrooms, yellow pepper, and celery. Tonight we had leftovers and will freeze the rest. For lunch, we had egg rolls, pineapple and orange pepper, with chocolate for dessert. I worked on the “books,” piles of stuff, and also gave John his much-needed haircut. Now we have no parties to attend to show it off. We decided against going to our friends celebration (for their son’s new Firefighter job in Yakima) at their house in Maple Valley, WA (across the pass). The weather is forecast to be very winter like, with snow up to a foot and 46 mph winds, and we would be traveling home in the dark.
Been slowly transferring 2-3 CD albums / day to make into .mp3 files to put on my car player. These came from a lady in my exercise class who had quite a collection she gave me part of in a large leather zipped folder. She’d given me a few others earlier, but this came as a huge surprise. It has 16 pages and each page holds 4 CDs, so wow, 64 albums, mostly country, but all sorts of different performers, including: Ricky Van Shelton, Anne Murray, Alan Jackson, The Statler Brothers, Jessi Colter, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Lacy Dalton, Lorrie Morgan, Reba McEntire, and people I don’t really know, such as Rita MacNeil, Lila McCann, and Nana Mouskouri, but they are singing familiar songs.

Saturday, Jan 11

This morning started with blue skies and sun, but dark-colored gray clouds are forming to our northwest, and we expect rain this afternoon. By Sunday am we could get some snow. It definitely will be bad on the pass, and in fact, winds last night put 75,000 without power in the Puget Sound area. I’m sure our decision not to travel across the pass this afternoon and evening was wise. Here is what the NWS thinks will happen: “Total snow when it finally tapers will be 18 inches to 3 feet . . . with the highest amounts on the volcanoes. … On the coast, waves of 25 to 28 feet are expected.” Sprinkling started here about 4 o’clock. In anticipation thereof, John fed the horses about 3.

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

Mice, cheese, and Perihelion

. . . and other things to celebrate

Sunday, Dec 29

Happy to awake this morning — 4 years after my heart valve replacement surgery. We should have thrown a party – but no – we drove to town to meet a friend to exchange some merchandise I got off the Buy Nothing Kittitas County site– that is stuff freely shared. What came today is a nice vase in which I put my dried wheat to remember my horse Frosty by, although he didn’t ever have wheat, at least while living with us. He did get a few rolled oats and these look somewhat similar. I have a tiny bale of hay somewhere I will find to put beside it. Meanwhile, the photo below shows the before and after photos of the grain in a can (John’s idea of class) and then in the “new” vase. I am putting both in for comparison, because the left was taken with a flash, and the right was not. [John says: We get bales of wheat straw to spread around places where the ground is more dirt (when wet = mud) than grass. There is still lots of grain in the straw and, what birds do not pick up or the dogs trample, produces a small crop of wheat; maybe 2 or 3 pounds. Most I leave. I clipped these last fall and they have been in the kitchen. So how many folks have seen a field of ripening wheat blowing in the wind?]

left photo of a dozen wheat heads in a can; right same in fancy container with a red rim and a blue flower on ceramic
Not so classy versus classy vases

Two other things in the bag of free goodies are gifts for others. One is a set of nice place mats from Pier One Export, reversible for blue or brown, with a centerpiece. Bamboo sticks fit into some loops on either side of the place mats, except for the centerpiece. I will give them to my friend, who sews for me, and who borrowed some linen napkins from me to use and others my mom made — she wanted to use as a pattern. Another item in the package is a chicken-shaped planter that I will give to my friends for their patio. They have larger ceramic chickens in their kitchen on the top of their cupboards. While in town we bought a few food-stuffs and stopped for a quick lunch at Burger King. Also, we brought home two BBQ rib sandwiches ($1 each). The meat was a small flat slab with zero resemblance to a “rib” and didn’t look promising but we removed the raw onion and pickles and replaced with Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, and put them in a hot oven for 3 minutes.  With some canned peaches, we survived. I am still (again) working on music for next week (which will last our group for 2 months). Finally, have Buffalo Gals in with the chorus first and four verses at the bottom. We had three different versions and weren’t doing well at all; in addition, our words in the lyrics for the audience did not match our music score. I need to figure out the time spent on each to get it to a finished product ready to mail. Then I will have to print some for people in the group who do not have access to a computer (or one with a printer).

Monday, Dec 30

A day of catch-up, not catsup or ketchup! First emails, then music, then clean up some stuff in the house for recycling or re-homing items. Plans for a few other chores. Yeah, best laid plans of mice and men. I am skipping a trip to town the next 3 days. Our group plays again the day after New Year’s Day. This day has largely been spent on music. I am down to making a .pdf of the 10th of 20 songs, at almost 6:00 p.m., but we have eaten dinner. It is now 10:45 and I just finished the last. Nothing is printed yet, but all the .pdf files are created, with big blue chords written on the music.

Tuesday, Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

I spent a bunch of time working up music for the group. At 14 minutes / page, that’s 4.6 hours, and that doesn’t include the time put in on re-doing some of them, such as Buffalo Gals, Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot, and Leaves in my music software (SongWriter). More were needed, but I worked on old copies (Xeroxed, manually-entered ones), and checked the chords (some of which were incorrect). So, for thinking I was making my life easier by picking two old lyrics books, I failed. Now they are done. I’m mailing the corrected list out with the key and the order, so people can put their music in order, and NOTIFY me if they need something. Meanwhile, I will run copies for the people coming who do not have a computer, and I will email the .pdf files to anyone wanting them, starting with our new pianist, our friendly first violin player who may make it this Thursday, and to ANYONE else with a printer who might wish to have the whole packet. I have 20 files with notes, chords, and words (some more legible than others). All are old time music pieces.  The folks in the places we play grew up with these tunes. Just before dark we got a call to see if John could help with loading a horse at a friend’s.  He did not like the set-up so after a brief attempt they postponed this activity until tomorrow. Tonight we will have to worry about fireworks and gun noise around us that for some reason upset two of our hunting dogs.  I have never understood this New Year thing – isn’t it just a made up date with no real significance? So why the guns and fireworks? Here is a long article we have only glanced at but have a look. The bottom line is that humans have fussed with calendars and use different ones.  Have a look here at the “Year of the Wood Horse”.  But, Happy New Year!, anyway. We are having a “quiet” night at home, trying to calm the Brittanys from several neighbors’ incessant firecrackers. We have the radio on for background to dilute the sharpness of the blasts from outside (nearest is about 100 yards away). It’s not working very well. Dan is lying at my feet, happy to be touching me. I scratch his back every so often. When we stopped going to field trials we stopped training – including introductions to noise, especially guns. Big mistake. The youngest, Annie, becomes a real pest. Finally, we closed her in a large crate. The others are all right. John “threw” together some brownies and I put the final caramel sauce on–smells quite good. Today for brunch, he fixed hashed browns, an omelet, and I helped finish cooking some bacon. This afternoon he baked some chicken hindquarters until they were very tender. I heated some green Lima beans. (We used to call them butter beans when I was growing up). He baked a small potato, and we shared a can of pears. I found out today the sad news that the large Buck mule deer I photographed met his demise at the hand of a local neighborhood archer, south of us, 1/4 mile. He was taken legally, but it was not kosher, IMHO. He should have been left around our area to upgrade the gene pool. John saw a smaller one this week with 3 does.

Wednesday, Jan 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2014

Today we (John) helped a neighbor by loading their horse into our stock trailer, and transport him back to his home 7 miles or so away. John took care of that and got in a little horse training too, maybe 1.5 hrs., before the horse would enter the trailer. When he arrived home, I had set him up (with his truck) to do a good deed for two more people. I went with him on this trip. One family was giving away a twin size day bed (they lived in Kittitas), 10 miles from us, to another family in Ellensburg, about 7 miles back to town, and then another 11 miles home. About $15 of gas to accomplish these deeds – 2 gold stars on the first day of the year. If we keep up at this rate we’ll be broke by summer. Actually, the horse thing will earn us a meal later on.

Thursday, Jan 2

Filled day. Morning house and email chores as usual, plus an added search for the set of one of the lyrics books I couldn’t find. Checked both cars, front back, under sweaters, coats, and pillows, and found them hiding in the house. Phew. Then John decided it was too cold to work outside and we needed to shop for some stuff in town. So, he dropped me and all my paraphernalia off at the closest nursing home to us, and he went another couple miles to and around town to the bank, to pay bills, go to the Dollar store (for waxed paper and old style mouse traps). [Most local stores sell rolls of waxed paper for about $1.80. The $1-Store sells the same thing for, well, a dollar. Explain that?] Someone invented a plastic-enhanced type of old fashioned spring loaded mouse trap.

2 mouse traps; left has a yellow plastic tray for bait; right has a copper tray
Plastic versus metal bait tray

These (left) work very poorly, but we could not find the original type (right) the last time we needed one. $1 Store had wood ones (but made in Taiwan by PIC) at 4 for a dollar, so out with the new and in with the old. Field mice sometimes make it through the gauntlet of feral cats and into the garage. One came on into the kitchen last fall – remember the broken broom story? The inside cat can only get into the garage if we open a door for him but a mouse can get into the kitchen via holes for pipes and wires. The new-old traps are just another link in the necessary defenses against the rural environment.

Friday, Jan 3

We went to the Adult Activity Center for the potluck today. It was excellent — ribs and coleslaw they provided, and people brought various good side dishes and desserts. Once done, we delivered a few packages around town, and picked up some ourselves. At one place we were today to deliver a package, they sent back a birthday card and some homemade cookies for us. Another place we stopped gave us more cookies, and me 4 new pairs of socks, plus some toe warmers to use for my feet at tomorrow’s outdoor dinner. Another friend loaned me her lined Thinsulate boots, so I expect I shall be toasty warm. John has done the afternoon chores and the wind has been blowing, giving us a chill factor of 30°; nowhere near some of the temps across the states. I think he said tonight they were expecting just above zero in Cleveland, OH, where his sister lives, and about the same back in PA where many relatives live. Farther north it has been and continues to be very dangerously cold, so we shouldn’t complain – this week. We will get this posted Saturday morning and then leave. It is John’s birthday and Perihelion, but our trip is to celebrate the proper pruning of the vines last spring and a successful harvest of wine grapes at White Heron Cellars & Mariposa Vineyard. We will have, like last year, a pruner’s field lunch called a Raclette. You can look it up or await with bated breath our description next week. It does involve cheese – one of the elements of this poem:

Sally, having swallowed cheese
Directs down holes the scented breeze
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

[Geoffrey Taylor, 1933, Cruel, Clever Cat]

Bated versus Baited – get it?

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