Archive for December, 2009

Knee High

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

And now I turn the last page of the calendar. Tomorrow begins as a different year. Well good for me. Several inches of snow fell in the early evening yesterday and the sky cleared letting the full moon bring out every sparkle of the dry fluffy snow crystals. What a lovely scene that was! Breathtaking natural winter beauty. Ashton left at eight this morning to pick up Bracken and head for Mesa for a couple of days with her uncle Steve. She and I have been working on a jigsaw puzzle of a family of wolves in a meadow. I worked on that for a while after my tomato juice, coffee and oatmeal. Made my bed and did the dishes and, of all things, I vacuumed. Snow began falling about ten this morning and now it stopped. Snowfall was steady and heavy. By two fifteen I tried to sweep the sidewalk but gave up because I couldn’t keep up with it. Well it was all too pretty to just merely sit and look at so I went for a walk. No one else had cleaned their walks all week so in my hiking boots walking was heavier work than it should have been. I went east to Aaron and back. Just me and a dozen dogs. Whoopee! I made a snow angel in the driveway and got so wet I had to change into dry clothes. That does it for another year. Looking back it was a pretty good year. Plan to begin another good one tomorrow. Hope you all will do the same.

Snow Keeps Falling

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I was working on an annual letter to send that will delineate my year’s activities. I needed to stretch and noticed it was snowing. I stepped out the back door and the porch was covered with at least an inch of the feathery stuff and it is still falling. While I swept off the walk a film of the fine stuff had covered the walk behind me. I got quite wet shoulders in those few minutes. Ashton will have a difficult time finding her way home since everything is pristine white. I will leave the lights on. I asked her this morning to let me know if she wasn’t going to sleep here so I would know she was OK and not in a ditch. But I suspect she hasn’t even looked outside nor will she until ready to drive away. I do not intend to stay up very much longer. It is 10 pm and past my bedtime. The weather forecast was for 30 percent precipitation but I think it has long passed that amount. I thought it would be warm enough to rain. That is not the case. It does make for a beautiful landscape. No moon tonight and it is supposed to be full one of the first days of the new year. Just imagine — the days are already getting longer! And I haven’t even turned over my new calendar.

Holiday Snow

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Snow falling at 0530, a light dusting already covering everything. Cars of the Safeway employees across the street have not yet returned from work. The two cars of their kids have been there since last Thursday. I took an allerClear2D4 for sinus congestion (from Cosco). Lots of water. Next door Wade left, walking resolutely with his cane, getting into an extended cab pickup, as I witnessed the day after returning home from Bellingham on the seventeenth. Only a few colored lights are on along Abbot Street. Not seeing any traffic. Fixed two slices rye toast, butter, cup hot Ovaltine. Wolves are beginning to take shape in the jigsaw puzzle on the table. Ashton was working on it at 1230 am when I got up to the toilet. She and Bracken had been sifting through the pieces, more moony eyed over each other than concentrating on the puzzle. Ashton would have taken him home sometime after I went to bed around nine pm. My privacy was invaded on Dec 17 and even when I am here alone there is no feeling of privacy. Odd that sensation! I feel much like going back to bed right now. I do intend to do my time at McNary Education Center from 9am to 1pm but uncertain about napping until time to go. Should be good photos waiting to be taken along the trail if snow continues. A good update for the website. I read “Beyond Namche”, “The Open Door”, and “Wildly in the Rockies” to renew my ability to write novels. A plot set in Alice Springs, Australia, keeps haunting me but hasn’t yet gotten into Toshiba. Climbing the sacred monolith was an experience I haven’t written about so perhaps now is the time. I mentioned going back to bed. I am.

Movable Appliance

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

My laptop Toshiba is placed for operation where ever it is convenient although convenience can change with other variables. Its place until my holiday guest arrived was on a permanent table where I could sit and have references handy for articles I write for my websites. Now the machine I can hardly get along without is moved to be useful but hardly in any convenient place. Sometimes it is moved to my lap, or the kitchen counter, or to the footstool beside my easy chair. It works fine most of the time. A hindrance has been a tired mind working the keys or preparing the article. A holiday snifter of eggnog liberally laced with brandy wasn’t a big help one time either. I do wonder about putting up stuff to the WWW that I am not proud of. One neat thing is that when an article is rewritten and put up the old unfortunate one is gone — never to be seen again. I know that when I move articles on the computer they may appear lost, but by clever searching they can be found. That is not true of things in cyberspace. If the tie is broken, that article or photo is gone, gone, gone. It will have to be reloaded to the Internet to be seen again. When it comes to the blogs, those are listed and can always be found and read if one wishes to go in to look. I often read the old ones to get ideas for full blown articles. Times change and so do the minds and thoughts of readers. Often a past subject will become of interest because of influence from inventions or discoveries in other parts of the world. That’s when I try to renew the article with the more relevant information. Well sometimes I try. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes things simply fall through the cracks. But I do like to have my Toshiba handy when I want to write.

Merry Enough

Friday, December 25th, 2009

So this christmas day comes to a merry end as I sit in my comfortable lazy boy chair contemplating the hours past. My feet were thoroughly chilled from spending the morning at one of the two Starbucks Coffee shops open this holy day in the Tri-Cities, actually the only businesses anywhere in the area gleefully going about making money and keeping old friends. We were a small group enjoying an silent atmosphere void of any signs – decorations or music – of the newborn for which the day is named. That was precisely why our select few spends the morning of December 25 in that shop sipping delicious, hot coffee. Tradition is tradition so there you are. Our group that meets every Sunday morning with coffee at Hastings Bookstore on George Washington Way in Richland often numbers over a dozen, but doggone it, this morning at 10:00 the temperature had not risen above freezing (nor did it anytime this day.) A different day, a different place so we were not surprised only six showed up. I gave the last person at our table a ride home because when her husband got up to leave she decided she was not ready to give up the conversation. I pulled the short straw because I did not jump up and walk out. Oh well she is a good conversationalist although slow and hesitant with articulation. At home I changed from my “dress” corduroys into my soft warm lounge outfit, pulled on heavy socks, ate dinner, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, courtesy of Banquet micro wave, and here I am, a snifter of egg nog by my side, facing the last blog of the merry time. The last sentence wraps it all up with the comfort and satisfaction of a day well spent.

Tail of Avatar

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Avatar — a movie plotted with the same old theme, military wanting a mineral available on the otherworld, Pandora, of blue-skinned anorexic people with lion-like tails. A sweet faced scientist turned a crippled ex marine into a Pandorian and sent him through a world warp into Pandora to make friends and negiotiate a friendly purchase of the mineral. The trees of Pandora were tremendous venerable old creatures linked by roots and dominating the country. The blue people swiftly ran and frolicked on the branches from tree to tree. Each bonded with a lovely dragon that would fly them through the chasms and peaks and trees of Pandora. The dragons snarled with vicious teeth bared. Their tails were long and lion-like with which they deftly maneuvered up, down and around the country on large wings according to the blue person on their back, whose flexible ears communicated emotions. The war appeared to favor the military with their rapid firing bazookas. As easily as the Pandorans could fly over and around the clumbsy arsenals of the invaders, their arrows glanced off the battleships. The plot is not new — the changeling fell in love with the Pandoran princess and remained in Pandora. But the scene and players are a refreshing cross between Elron’s world and Darth Vader’s. I watched in 3D and suggest you do the same.

Too Tight

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

When I load leaves into my yard waste can, I usually pack as full as possible. Which is all well and good when leaves are dry and need coaxing to settle down and allow a full load. However, when leaves are soaked in rain for three days, the soggy things pack themselves. And that should be OK. Sure fine and dandy. I raked wet leaves during the 40 degree afternoon and packed them into yard waste can and the garbage can. But Tuesday night when I put both cans at the curb the temperature dropped below freezing. Well guess what? The leaves cuddled up tight, to escape the chill, I suppose, and bonded with ice crystals. A don’t let me go bond. Different trucks pick up garbage and yard waste. The city trucks lifted the cans dutifully and held them high above with the covers flopping merrily. Except for a few, the frozen leaves stayed in the cans. So I had to haul the heavy cans into my back yard and tip them over to hold them over for another day. I hope the leaves will thaw enough so I can put them out again next Wednesday. Good thing I can put that on my schedule. Nothing very pressing for a couple of weeks anyway.

On the Lookout

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

There are always people working out new scams, new ways to make a living. When invitations come by email they are easy to delete so I pay little attention to them. But snail mail is a different ball of wax. I open each piece of mail carefully to prevent damaging the stamp. I save them all: non-profit and bulk mail which are so varied they take pages of definition and explanation in the stamp catalogs. Only a rare few use first class postage and and businesses use a postage meter, which from a sender’s point of view beats the dickens out of hand pasting a stamp to each letter. Even now with self adhesive the task becomes manual labor, and probably female not “man”uel at all. I get a lot of mail, at least two or three letters every day, and each requires some form of postage hence my stamp collecting.

A warning came in my mail today. My website domain name was about to expire. Send money quickly to prevent the lapse which would let the name be up for grabs that some enterprising soul could hold the name hostage and charge a high fee. Act now and to be on the really safe side by sending money to this address immediately and we will take over and never again will you need to worry about losing your domain name. (You will still have to pay, although a reduced rate if you pay for more than one year at a time.) I didn’t fall for this because I pay my webmaster and he does the negotiating although I haven’t paid him lately either. But my first instinct was to put a check in the return envelope and play it safe.

The upshot of all this is that any person can come up with an idea to make money by helping people. Help being the operative word here. You know how a shark searches deep water for a quick bite. I think it is quite creative. Like selling insurance to pet owners promising to take care of their pet left behind when they are taken up in the Rapture. I will do what I must but through regular channels. I do admire entrepreneurs but I will pass on this one, thank you very much.

Places of Peace

Monday, December 21st, 2009

There is no hope for it. I am sitting quite satisfied with myself in a comfortable chair in my warm house. There will be an occupant in my small bedroom — at other times the computer room. The occupant is at present viewing the movie AVATAR which I am most anxious to see as well. If you haven’t paid attention that movie is made with an unusual animation which I do not completely understand except that the few scenes I have seen and the information about how the movie was made appears to be otherworldly. Beyond the world of Spocks pointy ears. I can’t wait to see/hear the characters speak. Will it be in English? Martian? Or simply mime? Or sign language. I shall see.

The skies are cloudy and wringing out the rain drops. I did my regular Monday hours at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge Education Center encouraging my visitors to count bird species. But now I am tucked in my comfortable space and I am looking forward to a December 25 over coffee with a dozen wonderful people who always are a pleasure to be with. I wouldn’t mind if the rain keeps falling on a regular basis. Tomorrow I will celebrate the shortest day of the year knowing each following day will get longer again. The ancients celebrated for what it is – the turning point of the earth’s orbit that would bring longer days (at least here in the northern hemisphere). I celebrated the longest day — no sundown at all — within the Arctic circle some years ago with bonfires of all things. A city ordinance prohibits such things in our backyards, so I won’t celebrate with an outdoor fire but celebrate I will. Right here in my warm comfortable space. Eating and drinking. Wow.

First day?

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

First thing this morning Ashton got up to go grocery shopping. She has special food preferences, or rather specific dislikes, and this was the only time in her schedule (between my own) that we could shop. I have a special Sunday morning meeting and she was not about to accompany me when there were other people she would rather associate with. Agewise it made sense. But she had a late night and waking up was tough. However, our mission was accomplished. The fridge is full of favorites, and we both got off and running on time. She will not come here tonight but will be here early tomorrow so she can go with me to see my Refuge. She and Bracken will walk the trail while I do my time in the Education Center as I always do on Mondays.

I have been knitting a wool scarf — 24 stitches wide — so far it it about 8 feet long. Almost finished. My hands get very tired knitting and I decided I needed some other activity. I chose a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle. The store had a wide range of choices and what I have is a Bev Doolittle print. Now that probably doesn’t mean anything to you. It certainly didn’t mean anything to me but the title is “Sacred Ground.” The white birch forest and snow covered ground with a renegade racing away on a red horse towing a red packhorse looked like a challenge. The edge pieces are assembled and now the harder work begins. I did not realize how tired my legs would get while working on the puzzle. I locked my knees to lean over the table and I won’t stay at it very long at a time. But it is a diversion. And fun.

Good thing too. The TV decided to be totally uncooperative. I tried to play a VHS of Crocodile Dundee and couldn’t make it work. The reason that came up was that my Douglas do Right handy man wears a leather hat like Dundee — authentic Aussie leather, sweat and all. But bringing out the VHS was just that. I couldn’t get the picture adjusted so the cassette is just out. I moved some connections around and none worked. Neither does the TV. Life gets tedious sometimes. I do not forget Ashton’s stash of TV dinners. Just what I need. She won’t miss one, I’m sure.