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

July 30, 2007

"Now I, had, the time of my life...."

I'm back from my unbelievably FANTASTIC trip to Vancouver Island. Can I go back please? I must say, I LOVE CANADA!! I really do. The people are so nice and so polite. For example, in the States, when a city bus is out of service for the day, all it will say is "NIS" on the board above the windshield. Short, sweet, to the point. In Canada, however, the board above the windshield flashes, "SORRY, I AM NOT IN SERVICE".

I had the absolute BEST time and the weather was just perfect. In the mid-70's, nice and cool on the water, very sunny, bright blue sky......I could not have asked for better. I have to take my pictures for processing at the camera shop today, so I have nothing to show you......yet. But since I shot 72 frames of black & white film, 168 frames of colour film and about 250 digital photos, I will have PLENTY to post when I get them back on Friday. I saw orca whales on the whale watch, and I have my fingers and toes crossed that those pictures came out.

The song which will forever be linked with this trip is "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane, which I must purchase as soon as possible. Sort of like last year's trip to Vancouver, where "Bittersweet Symphony" reminds me of being there.

July 21, 2007

Take Off to the Great White North!

Coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo!! Beauty, eh?

(Note to Bryde: if you've never heard the novelty song "Take Off" by the "McKenzie Brothers", you should check it out, as Geddy Lee sings on it). That's right, ya hosers, I'm headin' up to Victoria, Canada on Tuesday! OK, so it's not exactly the Great White North. Weather forecast is looking really, really good and I'm wicked stoked!

All she needs is a kicky toque to make her sensible travel outfit complete, eh? With her white kid gloves, comfortable shoes and fashionable train case, this lady is ready to GO!

Talk to ya when I return!!

July 19, 2007

They're baaaack

They showed up a couple of weeks ago, after a year's absence.....

I can't stop myself when they arrive......

I grab them by the handful, morning, noon and night.......

I'm very weak.......


Blueberries on my cereal!!

Blueberries in a fruit salad at lunch!!

Blueberry muffins!

Blueberry crisp!

July 16, 2007

Good to Go!

The new Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened yesterday with a ton of fanfare and hoopla. The new bridge will carry traffic eastbound to Tacoma, and the old bridge has turned into westbound lanes only, to Gig Harbor. There is a toll booth, but people who cross every day for work have transponders on their windshields, called "Good to Go!" passes. Here's a shot from this morning. So many people stayed home today because they were afraid that traffic was going to be really bad, and it wasn't. When school is back in session in the fall, it'll be a different story.

The Bridge has been under construction for about 5 years now, and highway 16 has been in the process of widening and adding lanes to accomodate the bridge traffic. Unfortunately, the last part of the project has not been completed, and that is the tearing down and rebuilding of the 2-lane Nalley Valley Viaduct, so instead of traffic bottlenecking at the bridge, it now bottlenecks further down Hwy. 16. I am in the process of figuring out a new route to work when the viaduct teardown begins in 2008.

This is an aerial of the current Nalley Valley Viaduct, it's the elevated section from the "t" in "Center Street" to the "T" in "To 38th". WSDOT will be tearing it down and rebuilding it to include more lanes.We did not drive into Tacoma for the grand opening, hating hot weather, crowds and traffic the way we do! My boss was at the office yesterday at 6:00 a.m. and said that our parking lot, as well as the parking lots at TAPCO Credit Union next door and across the street at the community college were already packed w/ people who parked so as to take shuttle buses to the bridge. Yesterday was the only time that it would be open for pedestrian traffic.

Here's a nice aerial, looking northwest, to Gig Harbor from the Tacoma side.

This is current construction on I-5, something I've been navigating for the past several months. They've torn down those overpasses and are rebuilding 2 of them. That's the Tacoma Dome in the background.

July 13, 2007

The 4 Dwarves

These guys pretty much describe me today:

Sneezy, from cutting the back yard last night & doing the hated and dreaded weeding. Sleepy because, well let's face it, who likes getting up at 6:00 a.m.?

Grumpy because I'm Sneezy and Sleepy. And the office air con died. So I'm in shorts today and a very light shirt, with my hair in a ponytail to keep it off my neck. BTW, it's cool and cloudy, but I'm still hot. I'm always hot.

Dopey because.....well, I'm just Dopey.

Friday the 13th - It's Only Bad Luck if You are a Knight Templar.

It was on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, that France's King Philip IV had the Knights Templar rounded up for torture and execution. The Knights Templar were an order of warriors within the Roman Catholic Church who banded together to protect Christian travellers visiting Jerusalem in the centuries after the Crusades. The Knights eventually became a rich, powerful ‹ and allegedly corrupt order within the church and were executed for heresy.

Why do people fear the number 13? Christian theology is one source. The number thirteen is significant because it is the number of people present at the Last Supper, and Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive.Christians have also been wary of Fridays because it's the day that Jesus was crucified. Some theologians believe that Friday was the day that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and Friday was the day that the Great Flood began.To keep your mind off the matter of luck, here's some Friday the 13th trivia:

  • The 13th of a month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day. In each 400-year cycle of the Gregorian calendar, 170 years have one Friday the 13th, 171 have two, and 59 have three.

  • It is impossible to have a year with no Friday the 13th or a year with four or more Fridays the 13th.

  • When there are three Fridays the 13th in a year, they occur in February, March and November except in leap years. In leap years, they occur in January, April and July.

  • When there is only one Friday the 13th in a year, it falls either in May, June, August or October.
Sources: Newsday Article and article by Jenni Dillon.
Brian and I have kept Sagan crated during weekdays since we got him in early 2006. We don't like crating him, but we needed to make sure he was completely house trained, and past his rambunctious puppy months, before attempting to let him out all day.

We used to crate Pepper too, but eventually let her have the run of the house. At first she was good, but one day Brian came home to find the den completely torn apart. Books were pulled off of bookshelves, knickknacks on the floor.....Brian was frantically trying to clean it up before I got home. The next day, I came home to find the livingroom torn apart. It was very unusual for her to act out like that. We eventually figured out that because we had some new furniture half built in the middle of the floors in the den and up in the livingroom, and because dogs are very sensitive when their environs change, she went nuts. We quickly finished assembling and moving everything and she has never done that kind of destruction again.
We have left Sagan and Pepper alone for about an hour or 2, but never the entire day. So I figured, why not just tempt fate and leave both dogs out today. I shut all the doors to all the rooms, so they only have access to the livingroom, halls, stairs and kitchen. I made sure all foodstuffs were pushed well to the back of the countertops and we bought a trash compactor last winter to keep Sagan from getting into the trash can. Sagan won't even go to the bathroom indoors at doggie daycare so I'm not that concerned about his house training.

The only thing I am hoping is that they don't get into a dust-up. Sagan absolutely adores his big sister and will tease her till she plays with him (or growls menacingly and slaps at him). Pepper, on the other hand, grudgingly tolerates her little brother. When I locked the door, I heard her loudly growl and bark at him...I swear I heard the words, "Listen up Dumbhead, Mommy left me in charge, so back off!"

Unfortunately, I checked the local dopplar radar and saw that a very bad thunderstorm passed over my house between 8:50 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. The reddest part of the radar, which is the worst part of the storm, went right over my neighborhood, near the southern end of Lake Tapps. I can only keep my fingers crossed that my little furchildren weren't spooked enough to do any real damage to the rooms to which they have access. I guess I'll find out when I get home tonite!

July 11, 2007

Because we're just that pathetic

This is a small article from the back page of our paper, The News Tribune. Could we possibly whine a little more?

Watch this and think chilly
Finally, someone is doing something about the weather instead of just talking about it.
In response to this week’s heat wave, Click! Cable TV has set aside a channel today that’s devoted – for 24 hours – to showing nothing but photographs of winter scenes in Tacoma.
The slide show – a warm-weather version of the yule log fireplace channel – is set to “seasonal” music, and even includes the sound of wind blowing.

Click! customers with a digital cable box will find it on Channel 1 beginning at 8 a.m. It’s on Channel 117 for those without a box.

“We thought it would help people who are spending time indoors to remember recent snowstorms and know that this heat won’t last forever,” said Mitch Robinson, Click!’s marketing and business operations manager.

Tacoma blogger Kevin Freitas supplied the photos.

Robinson came across some of Freitas’ images while surfing the Internet, and sent him an e-mail Monday saying, “I have a crazy idea, give me call.” Freitas called him and quickly agreed to the idea. He put together a CD with 60 or 70 images of Tacoma neighborhoods and landmarks, mostly taken last winter.

“I’ve been testing this all day in my office and I feel at least 3 or 4 degrees cooler,” Robinson said Tuesday.

Jason Hagey, The News Tribune

The heat is on

"It's Hot.
Africa Hot.
Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot.
I don't think I can stay here if it's gonna be this hot." Biloxi Blues

Yes that's right, Pacific Northwesterners are bitching about the weather again. It's who we are, it's what we do. We don't like it this hot. Some of us moved here specifically for the rain. The thing that kills me is all the people flocking to Home Depot to buy up fans and air conditioners. You'd think that everyone would have at least one fan in their homes from prior heatwaves!! Anything in purple is considered the "Excessive Heat Warning Zone."

And Brian has to go to Albany, Oregon today, then to Portland on Thursday, and home on Friday night. It's gonna be hot down there too. He is not a happy camper.

Brush fire along Highway 167, near Sumner, on Tues. 7/10.

But at least I don't live in Eastern Washington, where it stays hot like this ALL summer. And yeah, it's supposedly a "dry heat" but you know, heat is heat. It's uncomfortable, humid or dry.
Here are some area high temperatures from yesterday. What makes these highs so amazing is that places like Astoria, Quillayute, Hoquiam, Shelton & Forks are coastal and usually stay cool in the summer; Friday Harbor is in the San Juan Islands and rarely ever gets that hot!

Astoria, OR: 92
Vancouver (WA): 104
Portland, OR: 102
Hoquiam: 99 (All time record high)
Shelton: 98
Forks: 93
Bremerton: 91
Port Angeles: 91
Quillayute: 93
Olympia: 90
Seattle: 89
Friday Harbor: 87
Now this is what I'm talkin' about!! Next stop: Juneau, Alaska! Seriously. Not this year, not next year, maybe not even for 5 years, but we will be relocating to Juneau at some point in the future.
Val and I had a really great discussion the other day about reducing one's "carbon footprint". The 2 things that have no wiggle-room for me are needing my car to get to work and the use of air conditioning. It never occured to me that Euro cities don't utilize air con the way we do over here, and Val said she was surprised to read so many American blogs and comments where we talk about cranking up the air con. I was raised in hot, humid Massachusetts, then spent 10 years in the Bay Area, 6 of which were in Marin County, where it gets hot like this on a daily basis. I was miserable and cranky. I have passed out from excessive heat. I vowed "never again". So, I guess my carbon footprint is what it is. The one good thing is that our central air system at home is extremely efficient, and my car is also fuel efficient, so I do what I can, but I make no apologies for putting my personal comfort first. When I was 22 and got my first car, I specifically requested no air con because it was bad for the environment. I was young, foolish and trying to change the world. Now I'm just old and cynical.
On another note, some of my alltime favourite places in the entire universe made the Top 10 Cities in the USA! Here is the list:

1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Chicago
4. Santa Fe
5. Quebec City
6. Charleston, SC
7. Vancouver, BC
8. Montreal
9. Victoria, BC
10. Seattle

I'm sure Canadians will be so pleased to know that Quebec City, Vancouver, Montreal & Victoria are considered "US Cities".

July 8, 2007

Porn for Women

Oooh yeah, baby, give it to me....

A big thank you to my friend Ellen for the email.

July 7, 2007

Makin' Mix Tapes (for some reason Blogger won't let me type in the title bar)

I got this KILLER button in the mail today from Kris. THANKS AGAIN!! I cracked up when I opened the envelope. I put it on my tape case in my car. The funny thing is, I've been planning on making some mix tapes for my trip to Canada, since I have an extremely long drive from Bonney Lake to Port Angeles to get the ferry to BC, and from Anacortes to Bonney Lake on the way home!! (We're talkin' 3 hours each way) So, to get this button was just PERFECT timing!

I've been making mix tapes for as long as I can remember. "Back in the day" when all I had was a clock radio and a tape recorder, I'd hold the mic up to the tiny speaker and tape off the radio. When I was 13, my parents bought me a stereo for Christmas, so I hung the tape recorder mic down onto one of the speakers and taped that way. My uncle, who was Sandwich's only TV repairman & TV salesman, gave me a small, portable boom box in the early 80's, so I'd tape my records, then play the tapes in the car on the little boom box or play the tapes on the first portable tape player that came out in the early 80's. As I started to spend all my allowance and/or gift money on records, my parents realized that this music thing wasn't just "a phase", so they caved and gave me a real tape deck for Christmas when I was a freshman in college. Then I really started making mix tapes in earnest!! It's gotten to the point where I can even fast forward through a song and know just when to stop in time for the next song to begin. I suck at math, but I can easily calculate how many songs will fit on one side of a cassette based on how long each song is. You might get about 8-9 Dead songs on one side, but if I'm taping my 1970's era 45's, I can fit 14-15 songs on one side.

I just finished my first mix tape for my trip, which contains alternating songs by...

....and....Yes, that's right, I LOVE the Partridge Family and the Monkees. I can still remember watching the Monkees in the late 60's on Saturday morning TV, and Friday nights in the early 70's wouldn't be the same w/o The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family back to back. I feel very lucky to have gotten to see 2 Monkees shows in 1986, sans Mike Nesmith unfortunately, and David Cassidy last summer. Yeah I know, they were both manufactured groups, but the guys in the Monkees actually all have musical talent and if you don't believe me, give the album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd." a listen. They were the first band to use the new musical technology known as the Moog Synthesizer. That's right, the first. That album contains some stuff that was just a bit too sophisticated for the TV show, and their song "Daily Nightly" caught my attention when I was very young. It's been my favourite Monkees song since then. Give it a listen sometime, it's extremely trippy & psychedelic.

And by the way, you have the Monkees to thank....or blame....for music videos too. They were the first to marry video of the band's antics to shots of them lip synching to the music. Mike Nesmith's other claim to fame, besides his mom having invented White-Out, is that he was one of the foremost pioneers of what is now the modern music video.

You also have to admit, both Davy Jones and David Cassidy were big time adorable, with their boyish good looks and big brown eyes. And if there are any Guns & Roses fans out there, Axel Rose's little dancy moves on stage are copied almost exactly from the way Davy Jones danced on the Monkees. The Monkees also reminds me of my bff and college roomie, Michelle, who also shares my love for them. We had so much fun partying to Monkees records at St. Joe's.

As for the Partridge Family, they remind me of summers and vacations with my cousins Sharon & Diane - us seen here in approximately late 1968 or early 1969 .They used to come up from Long Island to visit their grandparents (my aunt & uncle) who lived down the road from my parents (walking distance) all summer and for all school breaks, except Thanksgiving. The 3 of us were really into the PF and Sharon had a HUGE crush on David Cassidy, while Di and I fancied the first "Chris", Jeremy Gelbwaks. We'd even stop playing on summer nights at 8:30 to go inside to watch the show, then we'd go back outside at 9 pm to continue playing. On rainy days, we'd be at my house in "the coop" (a building on my parents' property that was turned into a cool little place for them to entertain - there was a wet bar, stereo, bathroom, gas stove, fridge & freezer) put on the Partridge Family records and sing along, playing air guitar or making drums out of coffee cans and padded chair seats, using pencils for drumsticks. That's how I learned to drum along to music really well, despite my mother's refusal to let me take drum lessons no matter how hard I begged and pleaded. Sometimes my cousins and I would stand on the picnic table outside and take turns singing the songs. Loudly. In our shrill 6, 7 and 8 year old voices. Good thing the Cape wasn't overpopulated like it is now, so there was no one to hear us except our patient (or deaf) families.

Late in the summer of 1972, we had a hurricane hit the Cape fairly hard. All the power went out early in the day, but I had my battery operated record player, so I put on a concert in the livingroom for my stuffed animals, with me singing along with my PF albums. They were a very receptive and enthusiastic audience too. And how cool did I feel in this "gen-you-wine" cobalt blue crushed velvet vest and pants suit, with the silver chain vest closure and white blouse? I was waiting for the PF bus to pull up in my driveway to whisk me off for some gigs!

The music is pleasant, and a lot of the same writers & musicians appear on both groups' album credits. Say what you want about David Cassidy. He was a fan of hard rock, he is an extremely talented musician, but he gave his all singing these sweet but sappy ditties that I'm not ashamed to still listen to and admit that I love, even though he truly hated the songs.

And both groups remind me of a really wonderful time in my childhood.

July 3, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

America turns 231 on July 4th. Happy Birthday USA!!! Too bad we couldn't have given her a new president and administration as a birthday present.

Here's one of my alltime fave Dead songs, "U.S. Blues" sung by Captain Trips himself.

Red and white, blue suede shoes
I'm Uncle Sam, how do you do?
Gimme five, I'm still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck

Check my pulse, it don't change
Stay seventy two, come shine or rain
Wave the flag, pop the bag
Rock the boat, skin the goat

Wave that flag
Wave it wide and high
Summertime done, come and gone
My oh my

I'm Uncle Sam, that's who I am
Been hidin' out, in a rock and roll band

Shake the hand, that shook the hand
Of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use, them ol' U.S. Blues?

I'll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife!

Wave that flag
Wave it wide and high
Summertime done, come and gone
My oh my

Back to back, chicken shack
Son of a gun, better change your act
We're all confused, what's to lose?
You can call this song

Wave that flag
Wave it wide and high
Summertime done come and gone,
My oh My
Summertime done come and gone
My oh My


Thanks to Google Images and also to David Dodd's "Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics" website. I know the song by heart, but I don't think I could have typed it off the top of my head.

I've been tagged by KOTGD

Over at Mark's blog, I found out I have been tagged to list 8 facts/habits about myself, and I gotta tell ya, I'm having a really hard time coming up with 8 things you guys don't already know. My life is an open book. Hmmm........let's see.

1. When I was a kid, I couldn't turn off my bedroom light without first making sure that everything in my room was in it's place. My records had to be put away, clothes hung up, school books stacked neatly on my desk, all supplies put away in my desk. When I was satisfied, I would turn off the light. This habit continued through high school. ("paging Dr. Dwyer....")

2. My mom said I had a doll that I named "Riti", after "Rita" on "Peyton Place". I ripped the head off it and used to carry the head around by the hair. Mom said it was pretty gruesome when she'd get me in my crib and I'd be standing up, holding the head in one hand, with my other hand on the crib rail, grinning maniacly. She called my pediatrician in tears. I guess I knew then that I never wanted to have children.

3. First time I colored in a coloring book, mom said I picked up a black crayon and scribbled wildly all over the page. She called my pediatrician in tears.

4. Growing up as an only child in a remote & lonely part of town, my stuffed animals have always been my friends. They all have different personalities; I'd recite the day's events to them each night (found out later that my parents and any other relatives that were present would listen at the bottom of the stairs, trying not to laugh). I used to play cards and Monopoly with them (and I didn't cheat either). One night my mom heard me hysterically laughing when I was supposed to be sleeping. She called up to me to go to sleep to which I replied, "Trax just told me a funny joke". Trax is my well worn and much beloved stuffed horse that I got for Easter when I was 7. She called my pediatrician in tears.

5. I fell off the school slide in 6th grade and fracture my left wrist. This was 1976, so no, we didn't sue the school for not having a padded surface on which to fall.

6. I got a concussion at the Barnstable County Fair after trying to go down one of those slides with the bumps, on a burlap sack. I started sliding b/f I was ready & sitting upright, and my head bounced off every one of those bumps on the slide. The crowd laughed at me. I was hurt and humiliated. Not much luck with slides, eh?

7. I was on "Entertainment Tonight" in September, 1989, on the way in to a free Bob Weir/Rob Wasserman & Jefferson Airplane concert in Golden Gate Park. You had to bring canned food to drop off in order to get in to the show. ET stopped us to ask us questions, and the show aired that following Monday. We didn't tell anyone b/c we never thought it would be shown, but we received a ton of phone calls from friends and family who did see it.

8. I share my birthday with Jimi Hendrix and Caroline Kennedy.

I am tagging those listed below, to participate, or not!

Both gals at The Valentine Cat
IPod Librarian
Obsessed With Vincent