Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 31, 2006


Welcome to Tacoma, Washington, USA - "The City of Destiny". Tacoma has a lot of potential, and it definitely has it's gritty areas. Overall, the downtown part is undergoing a slow, but steady, transformation from boarded up old buildings to pricey condos, trendy restaurants, shops, bars, nightclubs and museums. So far, so good.
Here's one of The Sounder trains that take commuters to Seattle a few times a day during the week. They also run it up to Seattle for Mariners games on Sundays in the summer, hence the logo on the front. We took it to a game once in 2001 and it was a blast! Freighthouse Square is my new fave place to shop. There's a huge antique store, called Katy's Antiques. She's really cool; originally from Alaska. My fave store in the world, Crescent Moon, is there too. I could spend thousands of dollars on the celestial/Wicca/dragon/faerie/crystal themed books, clothes, art, objects, etc. There's a huge food court, lots of other little shops and art galleries.
Thea Foss Waterway, looking west towards Commencement Bay. Lots of condos are being built along on the water.
Looking east: Thea Foss Bridge, Tacoma Dome most prominent features. The cloud in the background on the left of the bridge is one of Mt. Rainier's lenticular clouds. Sometimes it sits right on top of the mountain like a hat, and sometimes it drifts a little ways away. People have actually mistaken them for UFO's.
"Ride the Blue Wave". Tacoma Lightrail, Pacific Avenue.
This is Union Station, shot from the back. It was a train station in its heyday, but it now serves as the US Courthouse in downtown Tacoma. It is filled with beautiful glass art created by Dale Chihuly and his students.

December 30, 2006

The Way Back Room

A month or so ago, I posted photos of our den. This is the room next to the den, and for lack of a better name for it, we dubbed it "the way back room". It's very cluttered with bits of memorabilia and brick-a-brack that we've collected over the years. We like to collect bits of pop culture, and you can tell a lot about our interests from looking at all the stuff in this room. I'm not sure but I think if you click on the picture, it might make it bigger on your screen. Note the metal handlebars of the gazzelle machine that never gets used.
That's a map of Narnia in the top left corner of the wall, above the 1930's looking radio.

There's the gang from Lost in Space, one of my all time favourite TV shows. Don West was such a dreamboat! Yes, Val, that's a Yellow Submarine. The local record store gave them away with the purchase of Yellow Sub when it was re-released a few years ago. Somehow it has survived for about 8 years without popping or deflating.
You can't really see it well, but Sagan (aka Destructo Dog) got ahold of our Jerry Garcia doll and bent poor Jerry's wire glasses hopelessly out of shape!!

We got the autographed baseballs from the Tacoma Rainiers games we went to in the past. I don't remember who half of them are, but a couple of them have made it to the big leagues, like Bobby Madritsch. The big black thing in the center is a paper camera that I built. Brian got me the kit many Christmases ago and one year I decided to finally tackle it. It took from January to about April to finish the kit; once I got going, it actually became pretty easy to build. The camera is made entirely of heavy stock paper, except for the fabric bellows. Even the gears inside at the back, are paper. I haven't tried it, but the camera supposedly works. There's a pinhole in the lens, and you remove the lens cap to expose the film, then put the cap back on, and wind the gears to line up the next frame of film. Maybe someday I'll try it.
Oh, and by the way, since I know someone's gonna inquire, no, I don't dust this room very often at all.

A sense of foreboding....

We get some wild weather up here, as you all know. In the fall and spring, we will have sudden downpours, followed by bright sunlight. The cycle repeats itself all day long - the sky gets black and rain comes down in torrents, then 15 minutes later, the sun is out. It causes havoc on the highways when everyone is blinded by the reflection of the rain on the pavement, so they slam on their brakes and massive pile-ups occur. This was shot off my back deck, facing east, in the late afternoon, in September. We'd just had a downpour and the rain was moving east into Buckley and Enumclaw. Although it did not happen on this day, I also have similar photos of the dark sky over the brightly lit trees with a rainbow arcing across the sky.
One year we were watching the annual Daffodil Parade in April, which was live from Puyallup, just about 7 miles west of us. It would rain there, but be sunny here. Then it would be rainy here and sunny there, and that cycle kept up for most of the parade, so we were able to figure out when our next downpour would arrive, based on the weather we were seeing on TV from Puyallup.

December 29, 2006

Thanks Val!

My dear V-love friend Val took up for me regarding a small incident and my other V-love friends backed her and me up, and I just wanted to express my sincere thanks to all of you for that. It means a lot!!!

Happy Friday!!

Pepper sez, "Have a good weekend!"

I absolutely adore this picture of her. I shot this on a gorgeous September day at a small park in downtown Tacoma.

December 25, 2006

Wow! We cleaned up!!

Well, I cleaned up!! My hubby went over and above with the gifts he got for me. I am still blown away! Usually, what we do is fill out order forms from catalogs we get, then give them to each other during the summer. All we have to do is order and wrap....Well, Brian went out and shopped this year and shocked the absolute socks off me with diamond drop earrings, which he placed in a beautiful Celtic-designed round jewelry box. Not to mention a sewing machine! AND he got me this mixer thingy and software into which I can plug in the turntable to the computer, and make mix CD's FROM MY RECORD ALBUMS, 45's AND TAPES!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! Cause I've been lamenting that I have literally hundreds of vinyl, not to mention about 600 hours of live Grateful Dead tapes, and no way to transfer them to CD's. He also got me the book "Eragon" and the 40th anniversary edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Also, a whole bunch of craft stuff, craft books & colouring books, a silver thistle design barrett, and a Celtic celestial cross pendant. And a gorgeous stained glass Celtic design table. Needless to say, someone's gonna get lucky later today! tee hee hee
The stuff I got him pales in comparison; mostly books, DVD sets of his favourite shows, some Weyerhaeuser gear (hat, knife, tshirt), an autographed photo of Emmy Rossum, and this hilarious infrared "shooting gallery" that has a gun that shoots an infrared beam at a plastic log and has "bottles" and "cans" that go flying when you hit the target.

Here's the tree with the gifts, as seen at 8:15 a.m. today.
And the stockings. Pepper and Sagan got a bunch of rawhide chewies in their stockings. We never know what to get for stocking stuffers so we just do lottery tickets. I won about $21, but Brian only won about $7.
Sagan's first Christmas with us. We adopted him on 1/2/06. He's already destroyed one new toy in less than 2 hours.
Little Pepper with her new BoBo squeaky toy.
And the aftermath....
Isn't this table just gorgeous?

December 22, 2006

Ye olde tradition

Back when Brian and I were first married and living in San Francisco, we started to develop our own holiday traditions. We would go up to the Marin Headlands each Krissmiss morning to watch the sun rise over San Francisco. I have 10 years' worth of photos of the sun coming up between the Transamerica Pyramid and Bank of America building. This one particular year we had spectacular, coloured clouds and I managed to capture the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in perfect black silouette against the sky. I think this was taken in 1991. By the by, if anyone wants a chuckle, or something fun to show their kids on Krissmiss Eve, go to . This is NORAD's official Santa-tracking site. I was just on there and their latest press release assures the world that, despite the recent Colorado snow storms, the Santa radar tracker is up and running, and will be tracking Santa's journey on Krissmiss Eve.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Sunrise today: 7:55 a.m.
Sunset today: 4:22 p.m.

Personally, I like the dark winter nights and I am not one who celebrates the return of the sun, which is the traditional celebration on Winter Solstice.

When we moved up here, I immediately noticed the much longer summer days and much shorter winter days. Washington State's latitude is closest to Ottawa, Canada (7:39 a.m. and 4:23 p.m.) or St. John's Newfoundland (7:45 a.m. and 4:11 p.m.).

Here are some other sunrise/sunset times on today's Winter Solstice:

San Francisco: 7:21 a.m. and 4:54 p.m.
Boston: 7:10 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.
NYC: 7:17 a.m. and 4:31 p.m.
London: 8:03 a.m. and 3:53 p.m.
Anchorage, Alaska: 10:14 a.m. and 3:41 p.m.


The Ghost of Christmas Past

Well at least I wasn't screaming, like most babies do on Santa's lap. This is from Christmas 1966, I had just turned 2. This was taken at a Sears Roebuck store. Christmas 1967, taken at Edaville Railroad, in South Carver, Massachusetts.
I like to call this "Little JoJo Crankypants". I could NEVER sleep on Christmas Eve; probably 3 hours at best. So here I am, overtired, crying about something, and dad just had to make it a "Kodak Moment."
And there she goes, down into the sled, sucking her thumb, holding her new Thumbalina doll by the head, with the crayons spilled everywhere.
Christmas 1973. I loved that outfit; it was a cobalt blue velour vest and pants set, with a white blouse. I called it my "Partridge Family" outfit; I really wanted the blouse to be all ruffly up the front like the Partridges' but mom thought it'd be too over the top. Note the "magic 8-ball".
Merry Krissmiss to all and to all a goodnight!!!

December 20, 2006

The Aftermath I

Now that I'm finally back up and running from home again, I can post the pictures I shot the day after the storm. Here's a large branch across our front steps.

It may not look like much, but trust me, the limbs were large, heavy and many!!
A neighbor's trampoline was blown over the fence.
One of our problematic power lines
Looking up 190th Avenue at debris on the road (we live on 188th).This was the bane of our existance for the 5 days we spent in the dark, the snapped poles and downed lines on 190th Street. Cables and wires were all over the road.

The Aftermath II

A close up shot of the tree on the powerlines on 190th Street. Just one of many limbs hanging off the lines.
Looking up our driveway at the mess.
The front yard mess.
This debris pile is our neighbor's, across the street. They have way more fir trees in their yard than we do and the pile, as you can see, is as high as the 4 ft. chain link fence. We dumped our debris in the storm culvert so it doesn't look near as impressive as this one. The City of Bonney Lake is supposed to be doing clean up.

And here's a kick in the teeth, Puget Sound Energy is asking for a rate hike next year, in order to pass the cost of this storm on to their customers!! Technically, they owe us over $400 for the spoiled food, so I don't see why we should have to pay for them to do their job and get the power back on!

December 19, 2006

Thar She Blows!

OK, "thar she leaks". Here's a shot of Mount St. Helens, taken this afternoon at about 2:15 PST. That's not a cloud, it's a steam plume coming out of the building lava dome.

Live camera shot courtesy of and the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

December 18, 2006

My favorite monsters

Who can forget Saturday afternoons watching "Creature Double Feature", back in the 1970's? I loved all those movies!!! I was lucky enough to never be one of those kids who was afraid of monsters in their closets or under their beds. I always had a soft spot for monsters, at least the ones I saw when I was a kid. Here are some of my faves:

Gamera, the flying turtle. Those of you who watched "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" may remember the little ditty that Joel and the Bots used to sing: "Gamera is really neat, he is filled with turtle meat, we believe in Gamera!!" Who doesn't love Godzilla?
OK, "Monsters Inc", one of the CUTEST movies I have ever seen. Those monsters were just too adorable.
I absolutely adore Gossamer. He was only in like 2 Bugs Bunny cartoons, but he was my fave character. How can you not love a monster who wears tennis shoes? I have a stuffed toy Gossamer at home.
And my favorite monster in the whole wide world, The Bumble from "Rudolph". Each year when I watched "Rudolph", I would kind of get scared before they actually showed the Bumble because I didn't remember what he looked like. Then they'd show him and I couldn't help but think he was so cute....esp. when he puts the star on the tree at Santa's Castle. I have this "action figure" of Bumble shown here, and I also have a stuffed toy Bumble.