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

December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!

I have absolutely zero interest in doing a '2009 year in review' because I am going to do my utmost to forget 2009. The less said about it, the better. Not only was it shitty for us, but it was shitty for everyone. I'm just glad we survived it. I haven't written in my journal since the end of March, except for one entry I made in August that said that I wasn't going to write until something good happened. Needless to say, I haven't written since then. You know the cartoon of the man crawling across the desert? His eyes are huge and have dark circles, his clothes in tatters, his hair disheveled, crawling towards an oasis in the distance. That's how I feel right now as we end the year from hell.

In an effort to put the year to rest, I've already transferred all pertinent dates to our new 2010 calendar and hung it up. I got the photos on my camera processed and have reformatted the chip so that it's completely empty. Later on tonight, after Brian goes to bed and while I'm waiting for the pre- and midnight cacophony of fireworks to begin, I'll put all the pictures into my photo album as the old year draws to a close. I've put away the holiday wrapping paper and bows. I didn't put up any holiday decorations so that's not an issue.

I am too afraid to have high hopes for 2010. I went into 2009 with such a positive attitude. We thought Brian was a shoe-in for that job in Puyallup and we were about to inaugurate our first African-American President and I had a lot of hope. Then it all went to hell.

I don't make New Years resolutions because I can't keep them. But something has got to change. That's crystal clear. I am going to have to figure out a way to take my life back. Things have spun so far out of control. I'm so tired all the time but I can't continue to give into it, and vegetate on the couch all day playing on Facebook. It's one thing when I'm on the couch and colouring, because that's one of my hobbies, but my mind turns to mush after a few hours on Facebook and then I get caught up playing Spider Solitaire and next thing I know, 5 hours have gone by. But if I am ever going to pull the trigger on this Etsy thing, I am going to have to get my ass in gear. Next week I will start the process of getting my resale license with the State and securing the Tahoma Beadworks name with the Secretary of State, then start making time to create jewelry on the weekends.

The other thing I have got to get back to doing is cooking. I used to make the most amazing vegetarian meals back in California and our first years here. Hearty soups that lasted for days which I could take to work for lunch, instead of having to shell out money for those expensive but convenient Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones frozen lunches. I would make a large pot of soup on Sunday afternoon. I'd also prepare all the veggies and stuff for future meals during the week when I got home from work. Delicious pasta dishes and salads. A couple hours of chopping & storing on Sunday made for decent & nutritious meals during the week. Neither of us can afford to keep eating junk for dinner. My cholesterol was higher than I am comfortable with, and Brian is diabetic. A typical dinner for us is: melted cheddar cheese in a whole wheat pita pocket, or a bowl of cereal, for me, and popcorn or pb&j for him. Not too smart.

I can't and won't make the 'exercise' promise and/or resolution b/c the bottom line is, I just hate it. I can work out for months and I never get used to it, I never look forward to it, and I hate every single minute of it. I am so self conscious and feel like a complete loser when I'm there. I want to walk Pepper more often, but Brian never feels like going for a walk and I feel bad leaving Sagan at home, but I can't handle both of them. He's way too strong and tends to lunge when he sees something he wants to investigate. So I am going to play that by ear.

The other thing I want to do this year is get out of the house and SEE somebody. I feel so isolated from my friends, and I have a lot of them, it's just they just live all around the world. People that I really care about and with whom I enjoy interacting. I have a FB friend, Rhonda, who I really like a lot. She lives nearby and we are making plans to meet up. I have another friend, Char, in Seattle and I am definitely going to make the time to see her. She's invited me to her boyfriend's mom's home in Gig Harbor numerous times & I never go. I whine so much about the traffic that I don't want to leave the house. And I've never been that comfortable 'outside my element'.....that goes back to when I was a kid. I always preferred having people over than going to someone's house, until I became a teenager when I would do just about anything to not be at my house. I bitch that I have no friends up here, but I do have friends up here. They just live 35 miles away. Rhonda lives in Puyallup which is the next town over. I was never such a stick in the mud when I was younger. I enjoyed hanging out w/ my friends. Even when I worked till 11:00 pm at Channel 56 in Boston, I would drive the hour back to the Cape, bypass my house in Sandwich, and meet up w/ my friends for last call at Tiki Port in Hyannis. I wouldn't get home till 3 am. So I have to get out and make the effort to see people.

New Years Eve has also always been very bittersweet for me. When I was a little kid, my parents would wake me up so that I could watch the ball drop in New York City at midnight. When I was about 10, I started listening to WRKO's Top 100 Countdown, and tape my fave songs with a tape recorder that had a mic which I placed on top of the speaker of my clock radio. The quality was so awful and you had to be absolutely silent. So I'd sit in my dark room, taping songs, sometimes with my cousin Diane, sometimes alone. My parents would often host a party or leave for a party. I'd watch Dick Clark's New Years Rockin Eve downstairs on the TV, while running back upstairs to my room every few minutes to monitor the countdown on RKO. The ball would drop at midnight and then they'd cut to the ballroom where Guy Lombardo was conducting his orchestra through Auld Lang Syne, and I would fight back tears. If I was alone, I'd let myself just cry it out. I never understood why I always had that reaction to NYE. Was it the passing of time that made me sad? Was it the sadness and restlessness of feeling like I wanted to be anywhere else but I was never gonna get out of that boring town and life? It never failed. No matter how old I was, 11, 15, 18....that moment always made me cry. I never went to parties as a teenager, so I was sadly isolated that night, esp. since my folks would be gone till right before midnight at which time, they and all of their friends, would show up for the midnight champagne toast & ball drop. A couple of times my dad made breakfast for everyone at 2 am. I only went to one NYE party in 1983 with my high school friends, but we were all in college at the time.

We had a great time seeing the Dead on New Years Eve in California, of course. Those were probably the best NYEs of my life. But now, I'd just as soon go to bed early. Unfortunately the neighborhood fireworks are already starting so I guess I'm going to have to stay up and wait it out till 1:00 a.m. or so, or be jolted awake at midnight which is never an optimum way to wake up. Plus Bean and Sagieboo are already freaking out at the explosions. It's gonna be a long night.

It's supposed to be very rainy overnight and tomorrow. I hope the rain washes away the bad karma and craptastic year that was 2009. Worse. Year. Ever. Supposed to be a blue moon tonight as well, but we won't see it b/c of the weather. Last New Years Eve blue moon I remember was in the early 90's. I remember looking up at the full moon that night in the clear California twilight, standing in line to go into the Oakland Coliseum to see the Grateful Dead. Can't remember if it was 1990 or 1991. Good times. Great show too. We were both wearing our fave crystal necklaces to soak up the energy. I know I know, "tree hugging hippies".

I wish all of my friends a very healthy and Happy New Year. I love all of you!

December 26, 2009

A New World Record

Last Christmas, Steve gave me a gift card to Shipwreck Beads, but unfortunately I never made it down there all year. Last night, I went to their website to see if they'd be open today. Imagine my surprise to see an announcement on their home page, asking for volunteers to string beads in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for longest bead chain!! How could I NOT participate? How could I ever call myself a beader if I didn't contribute to this? How could I pass up the opportunity to be part of a record breaking attempt at anything? I was on the road by 8:15 and thanks to the light traffic conditions, was at Shipwreck by 8:50.

This is the article from The Olympian newspaper:

"On Dec. 26, Shipwreck Beads will attempt to break the “Longest Chain of Beads” record, now set at 402 feet. The goal? One-half mile of beads, or 2,640 feet.

Shipwreck Beads’ owner Glenn Vincent said in a news release, “This is a serious record attempt, but it’s also a ton of fun and will benefit children in our community. We can’t do it alone, so we are inviting any and all to come out and help us string this enormous chain of beads.”

Shipwreck Beads has committed to donate 2 cents to the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County for every bead in the chain."

The sidewalk leading to the front door is embedded with beads.

As soon as the doors were unlocked, I was directed to the stringing area to sign up for an hour of volunteer beading.
There were tables set up with totes full of plastic crow beads. There were 25 meter spools of cord onto which a large plastic needle was threaded. We all waited, poised, as the large digital clock counted down to 9:00 a.m., and we were off!
I happily plunged the needle into the beads and speared up to 7 at a time onto the needle. It was surprising how fast they accumulated! The only thing that was a drag was constantly having to get up, push all the beads down & get more slack from the spool.
All of the colourful strings looked like candy necklaces.
When my hour was up, I relinquished my spot to the next volunteer.
I was surprised how many people showed up, although some of the employees were also working their first hour at the stringing tables. But I also saw a videographer shooting the event, and when I left, there was a radio station from Olympia broadcasting from the parking lot. I was told that a Guinness representative would be present for the final measurement and count when the event ended at 2.
After my contribution towards the new world record, I shopped for awhile. I love this Deady bear beaded curtain. I wish they sold them!
World's Largest Bead Store.
All the posts are covered with hanks of beads
My treasure chest of booty.
These look much prettier in real life of course.

I am hoping to find out later today, or at least by Monday, if we broke the record.

December 23, 2009

Morning Has Broken

I am currently on a quest to get a specific sunrise photo of Mt. Rainier. It requires certain weather conditions, which we may or may not have. Because of this quest, I have been lugging my camera and telephoto lens back and forth to work every day. I'm now off for 5 days, and instead of sleeping in and enjoying the luxury of getting up after 8, I got up at 7:15 and looked out my slider to see what the mountain had to offer today, and it looked promising. So I headed out to my fave photo spot in the neighborhood, cranked the heat in the car and waited to see what the sky would paint for me today.

Massive lenticular cloud sitting on top of Rainier like a big hat.

The cloud started to slowly move off the summit.

The photo I am trying to capture is of the shadow of the mountains on the clouds as the sun finally hits them. While the cloud on Rainier did not produce the shadow I was hoping for, I did get the effect from the lower mountains.

December 20, 2009

2009 Holiday Cards

I made 28 holiday cards this year, to send to my most fave people. If you did not get one, it's not because I don't love you, but more than likely I don't have your address. I also have to take into consideration who will be more likely to save it than to throw it out at the end of the season.

Although I kept a list of who received the cards, I failed to note who got what. I'll be posting these on Facebook and tagging everyone who got one so that they can ID their photo. Those of you who prefer this venue for looking at pictures can let me know in the comments. Please note that a couple of the UK cards, and Axe's card, only went out on Monday and you may not have gotten them yet.
So without further adieu, I give you J. Wolf Original Cards:

December 19, 2009

Funky Firetruck

E. Pierce Fire & Rescue came thru our neighborhood tonite, sirens wailing and lights flashing, for their annual canned food drive. Unfortunately we did not know they were doing this today so we thought the block was burning down. The main engine went by, with a bunch of firefighters on foot behind them. Then the ambulance was next, and another vehicle that was towing a small trailer w/ Santa on it, then a couple more vehicles.So I decided to take advantage of an open camera shutter and a light show.

These look like G Clefs on their backs.

December 13, 2009

T'was the Night Before Christmas for the 21st Century

Winter storms in the Southeast Cascades - Sat. December 12, 2009

My friend Laurie Karman Noble, in Vancouver BC, posted this poem on Facebook. She told me she copied it & did some editing. It's perfect for our modern age and my current attitude about the holidays. The incessant and incredibly annoying singing and dancing GAP commercials alone make me want to take hostages...

T’was the night before Christmas, Old Santa was pissed.
He cussed out the elves, and threw down his list.
"Miserable little brats! Ungrateful little jerks!
I have good mind to scrap the whole works.

I’ve busted my ass for damn near a year,
Instead of “Thanks Santa” what do I hear?
The old lady bitches cause I work late at night,
The elves want more money, The reindeer all fight

Rudolph got drunk and goosed all the maids,
Donner is pregnant and Vixen has AIDS.
And just when I thought that things would get better,
Those assholes from IRS sent me a letter!

They say I owe taxes, if that ain’t damn funny,
Who the hell ever sent Santa Claus any money?
And the kids these days, they all are the pits.
They want the impossible, Those mean little shits.

I spent a whole year making wagons and sleds,
Assembling dolls: Their arms, legs and heads.
I made a ton of yo yo’s , No request for them
They want computers and robots…they think I’m IBM!

If you think that’s bad, just picture this,
Try holding those brats, with their pants full of piss!
They pull on my nose, they grab at my beard,
And if I don’t smile, the parents think I’m weird.

Flying through the air, dodging the trees,
Falling down chimneys and skinning my knees.
I’m quitting this job, there’s just no enjoyment
I’ll sit on my fat ass and draw unemployment.
There’s no Christmas this year, now you know the reason
I’m going on vacation for the whole damn season!!!

December 10, 2009


Sunrise, December 9, 2009 - Fircrest, WAIt's been crystal clear and ice cold here the past few days, as evidenced by the weather widget on the right. By the end of Monday afternoon, I was sitting in my office wearing my winter jacket and typing with gloves on. Do you have any idea how hard it is to type with gloves on? But hey, I'd rather have it cold than the 105 degree days we had during the summer.

We watched the Lakewood Officers' Memorial all day on Tuesday. When I left for work at 6:30 am, I saw 5 Bonney Lake PD cruisers leaving the station with their lights flashing. At first I wondered what had happened to cause that kind of response but then remembered they were heading to Lakewood. The local radio stations had encouraged people to shine a blue light in their windows for police support. When I finally got out to I-5 in Tacoma, the giant reader board at the Emerald Queen Casino had an "In Memoriam" message up. As I approached the Dome, their reader board was flashing the officers' names and photos. But what hit me hard was the huge condo building on the hill across from the Dome. It was all edged in blue lights and nearly every window had a single blue-light candle.

The procession left from McChord Air Force Base at 9, went past the Lakewood PD and down South Tacoma Way, all the way to the Tacoma Dome. Unfortunately the people that planned it forgot to take into consideration how long it would take to get 2,000+ vehicles the 10 miles b/t McChord and the T-Dome. It took HOURS. But it was quite a sight to see. The streets were lined with people, braving the bitter cold. Law enforcement and military personnel from all over the Pacific NW showed up, as well as from several states. Members of the Boston PD arrived at SeaTac at 3:00 am. The RCMP showed up in full force & wearing those snappy red uniforms. The aerial view of the 4 long columns of Mounties filing into the Dome was really, really cool.

I left work at 4 and as I crawled by in rush hour traffic, I could see the snipers ringing the edge of the Dome. It was supposed to have started at 1 but didn't get underway till after 2. I was able to catch the rest of the service after I got home. I was doing really well with it, until the Final Radio Call. What they did was have the police dispatcher call for each officer, one by one, but ending each with, "...Gone, but not forgotten." The grief in her voice was heavy....she was practically whispering. At least that's how I remember it sounding. Or maybe I was bawling so hard that the dispatcher only sounded like she was whispering.

So we're approaching our longest nights of the year. Washington's winter solstice is actually December 16 and 17, when the sun rises at 7:49 a.m. and sets at 4:20 pm. By the time the recognized Winter Solstice arrives, we've already gained 4 minutes of light. I love these cold, dark nights. Even with the light pollution, we can see the stars. I wish I could see the Northern Lights though. I've only see them twice and both times I was too young to appreciate it.

It's gonna be a very lean holiday in this house. Steve gave us a very generous christmas bonus, but I am afraid to splurge, even a little, b/c we are probably gonna owe income taxes on Brian's unemployment. Although he hasn't gotten any benefits since the end of Sept. and they are reviewing his info to see if he qualifies for extended benefits on his old claim, or start a new one. We're hobbling by on my salary, but there's no room for extravagance this year. Steve gave me a Shipwreck Beads gift card several months ago, so I would like to use that, but again, I'm afraid to spend anything. The Victoria Clipper is offering amazing Holiday Lights package deals - roundtrip from Seattle plus hotel for like $110, including the evening tour of Butchart Gardens. On a whim I tried to book a quick overnighter, but it's completely sold out, even for a weekday trip. I could book each part of the trip separately, however, it would cost way, way more money. My friend Moriah told me I'm welcome to stay at her house anytime, and I'm sure she and her family wouldn't mind going to Butchart Gardens at night, so that would save me on the hotel and rental car cost. Perhaps next year.

There aren't many holiday lights up in my neighborhood, except for the Holiday from Hell house at the end of the block, which I plan on blogging once I shoot some pictures. Let's just say I can see maybe having one of those (tacky) inflatable holiday scenes, but this place has them all over the yard. The inflatable manger scene is particularly disturbing, esp. in the mornings when I drive by at 6:30 and Joseph is all deflated, except for his plastic head. It's creepy. The Recovering Catholic in me screams "SACRILEGIOUS!!!!!" But overall, I don't see near as many lights as I used to several years ago. There wasn't much last year either, but there are even less this year.

Overall 2009 has been the Worst. Year. Ever. I am too scared to be hopeful for 2010, because my hopes were dashed this year. We've been dealt some crushing blows since January. A lot of people have. A lot of people are way worse off than we are so for that I am thankful. And I really do cling to that thought like grim death. And we have a client whose husband makes an obscene amount of money. Like over $430,000 a year. He gets these ginormous bonuses that are way, way, WAY more than I've ever made in one year, in my life. One bonus! More than most people's yearly salary! That shit makes me so ill. Does anyone really need that much money??? The charities are begging for donations and these uber rich people can't pony up some money? What's few thou to a someone that makes that kind of salary?

And speaking of the charities, some soulless bastard broke into a food bank in Seattle and stole all the Thanksgiving food, 2 days before the meals were going to be distributed. What is this asshole gonna do with 200 lbs of potatoes? And onions? They had to scramble to make up all those donations in a short period of time, and hope that people can afford to give twice. More people are using the charities than normal, and the rest of us are on a tight budget that doesn't allow for a lot of wiggle room. But I do plan on going to the Grocery Outlet and getting some discount stuff there for the Bonney Lake Food Bank.

That's another thing that I want to point out. The call went out for donations for the families of all of the slain officers' families. You know who stepped up? LOCAL businesses. Mom-n-Pops. The only large companies that donated 100% of their proceeds from sales yesterday and today were Papa John's Pizza, and Ivar's Seafood. Where was Costco? Or Microsoft? Or Boeing?

Not sure if I'm going to decorate. It's already December 10 and I haven't started. And I'll be honest, if I don't get the shit up either Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after, it's just not worth it to put any of it up, because I am fanatical about taking it down on the 26th. Brian's been having a hard time, understandably, and said he's just not into it at all. He doesn't feel like celebrating because there hasn't been one thing to celebrate at all for a loooooooong time. And I'm inclined to agree. Although I did make holiday cards and am glad I did because they came out pretty good. I scanned them and will post them after they've been sent out. I don't want to give anyone who is getting one to have a sneak preview!! I still have about 6 to make. And I am also going to bake cranberry bread, our once-a-year treat. It's also hard to get into the holiday spirit when clients are having emergencies. Inevitably someone will do something to their ex, just to ruin their holidays. Then we have to race around like crazy, setting emergency Motions, because so-and-so drained the bank account, won't pay child support, or refuses to allow the children to see the other parent, even if it's that other parent's year to have the kids.

It's felt good getting back to Kraft Korner. It's a real stress buster. And it also keeps me from wandering upstairs and returning with a cookie or some other snack, as I can sit there for hours working on my projects. I keeping saying that I'm gonna pull the trigger on this Etsy thing, but I've taken no steps toward that end. I don't make New Years resolutions but maybe that could be a goal for 2010. The photos I posted are of necklaces in my own personal stash and not really for sale. Plus I have to make more pieces and do a little research. Maybe I'll use a little of my bonus money to buy my State Resale License and secure the Tahoma Beadworks name with the State.
Let's see what else. Oh, I dumped another game off Facebook. I used to love Egg Breakers but they changed the whole game and it looks like shit. Very cartoonish and dumbed down. I was so pissed off last night that I removed the game, which I've been playing for over a year, had a decent score and tons of trophies/awards. I was surprised to find that I was OK w/ my typical knee-jerk reaction to change. Usually I fly off the handle, vent loudly to anyone who will listen (or pretend to listen) then eventually get used to the changes. This time I was just too annoyed, mostly about the awards. They all used to be in a cute little trophy case. Now they give you a really lame looking, dusty, cobwebby garage scene, and not all of the awards fit onto the limited shelf space. In order to upgrade to a better scene, you have to spend the Egg Breakers currency, "Egg Tokens", which you have to buy with money. That's crap.
I find myself actually spending less time on FB these days, mostly because our work access was cut off when the new server was installed. The software blocks social networking sites because of the many viruses. So I get home at 4:30, play Pet Pupz, Fairyland, Hatchery and Hatchlings, check in w/ some friends, and shut it down fairly early. This has been a good thing because again, it's forced me back to Kraft Korner.
"Remember, I'm pullin' for you. We're all in this together!" Red Green

December 5, 2009

More Wintery Sky Shots

We've had a couple of super foggy mornings where I work, because we are so close to the water. It makes for a beautiful and ethereal sunrise. This is the view from my office window. I wish the wires weren't there, but there are no other windows in the office that have this exact view.

Click on them for a real close up. I may try to crop the wires out.

Peering through the fog at the trees in the distance.
The sun doesn't come up till nearly 8:00 a.m. in the winter.
Taken at about 9:30 a.m.