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

June 29, 2010

My 4 Day Weekend Can't Come Fast Enough

I can't believe it's only Tuesday. I feel like I've done a week's worth of work in 2 days. I love my boss, I do, but I cannot wait for him to leave. He cannot wait to leave.

Sagan will be boarding at Sumner Vet for his annual "July 4th Summer Camp" trip, because of the fireworks, although so far it hasn't been too bad. They went on sale on the Indian reservations last week, but I don't think people have the disposable income to buy more than they want to use on July 4th. But by the end of the week, the firecrackers, whistling Saturn missiles and the occasional (and illegal) half stick of dynamite or an M-80 will be driving my doggies insane. We send Sagan down to board usually for at least 3 days/nights. We also pay for the "Super Deluxe Pampered Pooch" treatment, so he's well taken care of. Pepper prefers to be with us.

As much as I would like to spend my weekend sleeping till 9 and then vegetating, half conscious on my reclining loveseat watching crappy TV, I have set some goals of things I'd like to get done.

First and foremost, as you can see, we kind of let the backyard go. It's been pouring rain for weeks and we can't get out there to cut it. The sun comes out and it grows like crazy, but we have to let it dry b/f we can attempt to use the lawnmower. Then it grows some more.

The grass must be at least 2' tall now, and will have to be weed wacked first, before it can be mowed. I can't take it anymore, it's just wretched. The front yard needs to be mowed too, the weeds are winning again and we have moss growing all over the place. It's taking over the concrete on the other side of the garage.
Other things I would like to accomplish:
  • Clean the house really well. Brian's been doing a good job keeping up with the vacuuming and bathroom, but it needs my touch every now and again. Between the dust, pet dander and dog hair, everything is pretty much coated with this icky film.
  • Put all the DVDs, books and CDs away.
  • Do my 2 new Craft Kit of the Month Club kits. Plus make more jewelry.
  • Sweep the garage floor. It's still very clean and organized from my cleaning spree last fall but the floor is, again, covered in pine needles and leaves.
  • Wash my car, unless it rains.
  • Wash out Sagan's crate and wash all the pet bedding.
  • Purge some closets and take a bunch of stuff to the Goodwill in town.
  • Suck it up and contact Norton as to what the hell is wrong with my Norton. I loathe making tech calls.
  • Do my 600th blog post (this is 599).
It sounds a bit ambitious seeing it all written out like that! I do want to take some time to relax and do some colouring. I've been making myself shut down the computer and/or TV by 9, or earlier, and read for a bit. Just finished the last 2 Harry Potters and enjoyed them way better this time around, now that we all know how it ends. Reading them before bed made me have a few Potter-themed dreams which were pretty cool. Snape was such a repugnant character in print, but I cannot deny a strong attraction to Alan Rickman as Snape in the movies. And also to Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. Kills me that they are in Slytherin. But I digress...

Finally, a very Happy Canada Day to our neighbours to the north!!

June 27, 2010


I became fascinated with beach glass (I refuse to call it 'sea glass') when I was a kid, and have been collecting it for as long as I can remember. You don't see a lot of beach glass anymore since most bottles are recycled. And out here the Pacific pounds things to bits. I used to have fairly good luck in the 70's and 80's on the Cape beaches, and then at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California, where I got most of my best finds including interesting shells, shards of pottery, china & ceramic, and the rarest of all: Red. Cobalt is hard to find too.

When I was little and would play by myself at Spring Hill, I would fantasize that, as I was climbing over the jetties, there would be a huge pile of beach glass treasure on the other side of the breakwater. Of course there never was, but I still remember that anticipation of hoping to find treasure on the other side. I dream about beachcombing a lot.

June 23, 2010

Pre-Vacation Stress Mode

I love Yosemite Sam. He's always cracked me up. Some of my friends told me they thought I should get a Tasmanian Devil tattoo, but I really think that Sam truly captures the true essence of my personality way better than Taz.

So my boss is headed for China in July for 3 weeks on a "greatest hits" tour. I think he's insane to go, what with North & South Korea on the brink of war, the horrid heat and pollution. But he's got the Great Wall on his bucket list so he's off. I was reading one of his guides which was brutally frank about the bathroom situ, or lack thereof. I am sorry but there is no way in bloody hell that you will EVER find me in a country that doesn't have a western style bathroom. I mean, my idea of camping is no mini-fridge in the hotel room. Can you see me roughing it in Asia? Me neither.

Of course it just wouldn't be a vacation without all the stress that comes with it. We are T-minus 7 days from his departure, and cranking out work so fast that I am, again, terrified we are going to make a big mistake. On the plus side, the days are flying by. Today I almost peed myself when I got a call from Commissioner's Services about a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday. Now, if you aren't expecting a call from the Court, it's always cause for concern when they do call you out of the blue, because it can only mean that there is a problem. It didn't at all help that Steve came into my office and stood behind me, as I attempted to coherently and concisely, without stuttering, explain the string of events that have occurred over the last month hoping that they'd get it and not strike the hearing. They got it. Steve let out a huge "PHEW" and dashed off to Court. I really thought I was gonna have a cardiac event. I am getting too old for this stress. On the other hand, we are finally making some headway with the cases because he's forced to deal with the issues now, so that a crisis doesn't come up when he's gone.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if he asked me to work on Sunday, although all our deadlines are tomorrow and Friday. I just can't wait till next Wednesday afternoon, when I can finally take a breath. I'm off next Friday, July 2, for the 4-day holiday weekend. Then I am taking a week off and my dear friend Joe is going to be in Seattle for a couple of days, so we're gonna play tourist and go watch them toss fish at Pike Place Market and go to the top of the Space Needle. I can't help but reflect on this time last year and what a horrible, horrible summer we had. I try not to remember 2009, and I don't even like looking at any of the photos I shot last spring and summer. This is clearly 'the new normal'. So many more people still have it way worse than we do, so I cling to that thought like grim death.

I'll post some more pics of my jewelry this weekend.

June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day Dad. I Miss You.

A few years ago, I made this little remembrance book as a tribute to my beloved father, who passed away on June 23, 2003.

He was born in 1922, in Georgetown, British Guiana in South America. He, his brother Frank and sister Stella were orphans.
Dad became a US citizen when he was 19 and joined the army. He was wounded in Italy in WW2 and received a purple heart.
Daddy's little girl.

I have a hard time listening to "The Dreaming Tree" by Dave Matthews without weeping at the lyrics quoted on this panel.

Dad's the groovy chick in the pant suit at our beach house.

He used to perform in the Lions Club Minstrel Show each year, in the chorus, singing a solo and also as a Flora Dora Girl. He loved that skit the best. Note the unfortunate flash marks on his balloon boobs. Mom made his Flora Dora costumes.
He took me to see my beloved Red Sox.

Always civic-minded, he proudly volunteered to march in town parades as a Lions Club member.
Then there was the time I dragged him all over Northern California for 3 weeks in the summer of 1988, the year before I moved there.

We had a great time.

I found this note when he found out I got a raise at Channel 56.

This is the last time I saw him alive. He was undergoing radiation for aggressive lung cancer. Diagnosed in February, gone by June.

New Template

Let me know what you think. I'm on the fence about the seems too big but I'm not sure how to make it smaller.

June 15, 2010

June in Washington

Taken from Church Lake Drive, Bonney Lake.

There was an avalanche somewhere up there last week and a climber was killed.
Local seismographs are picking up unusual shaking that seems to be coming from the glaciers. For now they are calling them "ice quakes", because the scientists have never ever seen this before so they don't quite know what to make of it. *Gulp*
The ice and glaciers can break off even without an earthquake or eruption, and the lahar would be catastrophic.
Little Tahoma
I prefer to refer to The Mountain as "Tahoma", which has always been the 'traditional' name that was changed to "Rainier" by Capt. George Vancouver. Some members of the Puyallup Tribe want to restore the name to Ti'Swaq, after an ancient band of people who lived high on the mountain. Past attempts to seriously change the name from Rainier have failed.

June 11, 2010


"You have got to slow down when you are on the phone, the clients think you are always in a hurry," Steve says to me today at lunch. I smiled wryly; he laughed. This isn't the first time someone has said that to me. I know that customer service isn't my strong point, and I'm the first person to admit it. Usually I'm typing a million miles an hour to keep up with the information pouring out of my brain, so having to answer the phone in the middle of a brilliant Declaration I'm writing, is more than a tad annoying. It breaks my train of thought and the temperamental artist in me can't hide the 'you-have-interrupted-me-and-I-am-not-happy-make-it-quick' tone in my voice. So when I answer the phone I sound rushed and somewhat breathless. I also won't take any shit from anyone, so if a client decides to take their frustrations out on me, I don't even try to hide the contempt in my voice. The other thing, is even if I am doing my best to be polite and am not in the middle of a project or have 2 other lines on hold, I still come off rude because I talk so fast.

I never heard this complaint about the way I speak from anyone on the east coast, only from people on the west coast. I told Steve, "Well you do realize that the way I speak is also due in large part to where I'm from? Even when I am not annoyed by the interruption of answering the phone?" He nodded and said yes, he understood, and he also told me that he knows that will be impossible for me to change. Because I talk fast to him, to Brian, to the mail carrier, to Debby, ad nauseum. He has been acquainted with enough people from Massachusetts to know this is the way we speak, and I've worked for him over 9 years. My mom talks really fast, darting from topic to topic with no break or breath. My cousin Sharon...damn she goes so fast I miss more than half of what she says. And my ex's father talked so fast and had such a thick Bostonian accent that I literally did not understand a word he said the first few times I met him.

Hence, the expression, "Masshole". This is defined, in Wikipedia, as follows:

"Masshole is a portmanteau of Massachusetts and Asshole, sometimes used to express a derogatory view of residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, the term Masshole is also used by in-state residents themselves as a term of affection. It is also used by non-native Commonwealth residents as well.....often in reference to what they perceive as an obnoxious attitude and aggressive driving habits." Guilty and guilty. I have often said that the west coast drivers wouldn't last two seconds on the roads in MA. That's where I learned to drive. And even though I've been a west coast driver way longer than east coast driver, it's just the way I learned drive.

And my rapid fire, "Stevefisher'soffice" "canItellhimwho'secalling?" "pleasehold" comes off as extremely brusque. You can take the girl out of Mass, but you can't take the Mass out of the girl. If you want to see a classic, albeit extreme, example of a Masshole, just watch any of Denis Leary's stand up routines. Born & raised in The Bay State, he went to Emerson College in Boston and graduated a few years before I went there.

Several months ago, one of my high school friends invited me to join a Facebook group. It's name? "I'm not rude, I'm just from Massachusetts". I was reading the discussions on the group's page and cracking up. I want to print them out and let Steve read them:

"We are just very focused and don't notice other people"

"We are all just 100% HONEST....don't take any BS from people, and other parts of the country just can't handle that."

"I think we have a sense of how things are done and how they should be done. When we see an ass backwards way of doing things we have the balls to say WTF???"

"If being blunt is rude then count me in"

There are over 65,000 members of this Facebook group, by the way.

I may call the west coast my forever home, but I'm proud to be a Masshole.

June 10, 2010

Survival of the Fittest

Dog Pack Attacks Gator In Florida


At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the "apex predator," can still fall victim to implemented 'team work' strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and "survival of the pack mentality" bred into the canines.

See the remarkable photograph below courtesy of Nature Magazine.

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the soft underbelly of the gator.

Not for the squeamish !!!






I want all 3 puppehs AND their stuffed gator!! Hat tip to Liz for sending this to me in an email!!

June 7, 2010

New Necklaces

Here are some of the necklaces I made over Memorial Day weekend. I am adding them to the stockpile I am now building up. It's taking me awhile to do all this!! The photography alone takes hours and hours. But once it's all done, I can finally open an Etsy account. These will be up for sale, and are not part of my personal stash. I will post pics of the stuff I made for myself next. As always, click on the pics for a more detailed view. The stones are so pretty. Photos don't do them justice.

Mixed stone rhodonite, snowflake obsidian, sodalite, poppy jasper, leopard skin jasper, white howlite, amazonite & rose quartz
Mixed stone cape amethyst, peridot jasper, river sandstone, red aventurine, new jade, brown goldstone, black stone & China jade.
Blue (dyed) rainbow quartz with glass heart
Same stone with celestial pendant

Clasp of celestial necklace
Oregon blue opal. The stone reminded me of driftwood, the ocean & beach on a cloudy day, so I did one in gold with a shell pendant

And one in silver with a dolphin pendant

Faux malachite

Azurite, which is one of my fave stones. I also found this azurite pendant in my charm stash!

Glass beads with a dichroic pendant

I found this enameled pendant and paired it with ruby zoisite beads.
I also added the little danglies to the pendant.

I bought the bookmark and added the beads. It's hard to see, but there are 2 green crystals on either side of a cobalt blue bead.
Another bookmark.
I love makin' stuff!!!