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

November 27, 2007

Is it me?

Or are the rest of you as sick of the Crissmiss commercials that are running nonstop on TV? It's November 27 and I'm already reaching for the remote control to mute each and every commercial break. Has it always been this bad and annoying in the past?

Throughout the years, my favourite Crissmiss carols have changed. When I was a real little kid, I loved "Sleighride" and "Winter Wonderland" the best. Then I went through a "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" phase in the mid-70's. But it was the Andre Cold Duck commercial that started running in 1975 or 1976 that caught my attention, because they used "Carol of the Bells", which has been my fave carol since then.

Unfortunately, this season, the Powers That Be have done a nice job of taking my fave carol and beating it into the ground. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I logged six, count 'em SIX commercials using "Carol of the Bells". Brian was in hysterics every time a commercial would start and I'd reach for my pen and paper, poised to jot down yet another tired rehashing of "Carol". The offenders are, as follows:

Verizon Wireless
DirecTV/Qwest Broadband
The movie "Fred Claus"

The winner of the "Most Obnoxious Use of Carol of the Bells", however, goes to Hyundai, with their unbelievably annoying ad campaign using "Duh", which started to get old the first time with their use of "2001: A Space Odyssey" earlier this summer. I'm embarassed to be driving a Hyundai, lemme tell ya. And we're a 2-Hyundai family too!

The winner of the "Best Use of Carol of the Bells" goes to Garmin GPS because at least the new lyrics are really funny & clever, and the choir sounds great.

I've also noticed that a lot of ads are overusing music from "The Nutcracker" as well.

Needless to say, if I hear another carol of any kind, I'm gonna start taking hostages. I used to break out my holiday music tapes and listen to them in my car going to and from work. Unfortunately this season, the tapes will continue to gather dust in the back room.

Brian read a sad statistic the other day that says that most Americans are going into the holiday season this year in really bad moods. We're suffering from war fatigue, the constant bickering and scandals involving politicians, not to mention the massive foreclosures & bankruptcies and the price of gas. Could this be why the commercials are driving me mad?

All I can say is, if Kia runs their year-end sales event ad this January, I will slit my throat. Seriously. I'm sure the rest of you forgot the hell that was January, 2007, watching a bunch of fat, middle aged car salespeople lumber their way through "So Long, Farewell" from "The Sound of Music". It was an obnoxious song when the Von Trapp kids sang it, and it's ten times more annoying as a commercial jingle.

And it's not just the holiday ads with the singing that piss me off, I get apoplectic at the "guilt trip jewelry" ads as well. "Give her the gift she really wants! DIAMONDS!" or the one with the bitch who snaps at her husband, "He went to JARED!" And the bumbling husband cringes from his holiday mistake. I keep shouting at the TV, "Screw you bitch! You're lucky you got anything at all ya selfish pig!" And since when do couples give each other CARS as presents? How does that even work?

Hmmm.....maybe I should just quit watching TV? Nah. It's more fun to send emails to the companies bitching about their stupid ads.

November 24, 2007

A Relaxing Weekend

I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving weekend! It's replaced Crissmiss as my fave holiday. We've relaxed, slept late, and I have to say, neither of us has over-indulged too badly, food-wise. The weather was cold and clear all week. I've done a lot of crafts and Brian and I have had a lot of laughs, although he took the bag of pretzel sticks away from me after my 100th attempt at pretzel-fangs, which I'm sorry, is always a crowd pleaser. But then he made me laugh so hard yesterday that I sprayed crystal lite and pretzel chunks out of my nose and all over my clothes. Causing him to choke on his beer.

Because many of our neighbors either took down trees or had them fall in the storms, we discovered that we almost have a killer view of Mt. Rainier from our deck. If we could just locate these 2 offending, scraggly fir trees and cut them down, it would be an unobstructed view and raise our property value by a staggering sum. I'm kind of hoping Ma Nature takes care of these 2 trees in the next storm, although I certainly don't want the trees to damage anyone's home.

We watched a lot of football on Thursday and we ate around 5:00. Here's a picture of our table. The blue bottle is Bridgeview Winery Blue Moon Chardonnay. I do not like wine, or beer for that matter, and I only bought the wine for the bottle. I'm nuts about cobalt and crescent moons. Brian had the Chardonnay with dinner and I stuck to Martinelli's non-alcoholic sparkling apple-cranberry cider. The white paper is the menu I create each year on the computer, to make it look like a restaurant. I forgot to add "cranberry sauce". We make our Thanksgiving as easy as possible. We get a turkey breast and cook that. But everything else is out of the box: Stove-Top stuffing, Potato Buds mashed potatoes (tastes just like the real thing and no pesky pealing!), Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce, Heinz Homestyle turkey gravy from the jar, frozen corn and green bean casserole (takes 10 minutes to make). This being our 19th Thanksgiving together, we have it down to a science in that we are seated and eating by 5:10, and by 6:00 p.m., the kitchen is completely cleaned up and all dishes washed (we don't even have a dishwasher! Oh wait, yes we do, her name is JoJo).
This stained glass piece throws some pretty reflections on the wall this time of year. I made this piece from a craft kit, which is why the diamonds don't exactly line up.
Ooooooo, purty!
Of course Sagan and Pepper were given a small taste of all the fixin's we made and they dived in appreciatively. They are such good dogs. Sagan was clearly being driven mad by all of the smells but he did his best to stay out of the way, and there was absolutely no table or counter surfing or begging when Brian and I were eating.
Yesterday, I fixed them half sandwiches of turkey & stuffing. Nothing too big of course and we limited the rest of the treats yesterday. Sagan dutifully ate his sandwich in his bowl, but Beanie grabbed hers and took it downstairs, with me running after her yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOO! NOT ON THE CARPET!" Oops......too late.

"I has turkey sammich!" nom nom nom nom

nom nom nom nom
I spent yesterday making vast quantities of beaded jewelry. Here's my craft table in full jewelry-making mode.
I apologize for the crappy ass pics again....the sun was washing out the jewelry, and today being cloudy, I tried to shoot the stuff under my Ott Light, but you just can't see how pretty and sparkly they are. I'm hoping that you will be able to click each picture to see the details.

The charm is the Chinese symbol for the Year of the Dragon.

The large beads are so incredibly pretty and eye catching and it's a shame you can't really see them in this picture. They are sort of a peachy/pale green.
Here is a collaborative effort. I bought some marbles off eBay a year or so ago, and I sent a bunch of them to Michelle for her collection, and I also enclosed some that I wanted her to wrap with wire. She is really, really good at wire wrapping, so she did a bunch and then mailed them back to me so that I could make necklaces.

These are pink Swarovsky crystal "pearls", with a natural stone pendant that I bought in Tacoma. I'm not 100% sure what the crystally stone is, although to me it almost looks like lepidolite.

I got the dichroic pendant in Portland and then created necklace with pink & topaz Swarovski crystal. This one is especially sparkly.
I found the millefiori pendant on sale at the Crystal Pineapple Gift Shop on Cape Cod a few years ago and just now got around to stringing it with blue Japanese delica seed beads and Swarovski crystal.
These are some fun millefiori-like beads that I got at Shipwreck Beads last month. I had enough to make 2 necklaces, a bracelet and pair of earrings.

I wish you could see the detail of the beads on the necklace. They are 3 different shapes and are multi-coloured in blues and purples.

Another marble collaborative with Michelle.

Julie gave me a puka shell necklace but it was a little too tight around my neck. So I restrung it, with clear Swarovsky crystals interspaced after every 12 puka shells. I also added a magnetic clasp. I thought it was a fancy twist on a great 70's retro fashion statement!

November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing everyone near and far a Happy Turkey Day and safe journey, should you be traveling.

November 20, 2007

Canis Doofus

We've all heard of the Canis Lupus (wolf), Canis Latrans (coyote) and Canis Lupus Familiaris (dog). But today I would like to introduce you to the Canis Doofus. Judging from the photos I saw of Liz's adorable Sheltie, Ruff, all dressed up for Halloween, she has a Canis Doofus as well.

This is one of my two Canis Doofi. I have to say, this particular German shepherd is not terribly intimidating when he's running around with a squeak toy in his mouth. I'm convinced that he'd let anyone in the house as long as they gave him a belly rub and a biscuit. Well, maybe not....But he sure acts goofy around us.

Sagan sez, "I has a duck!" "I loves mah duck."

"See mah duck?"

"It not duck!"

What kind of Canis Doofus do you have?


I was tagged by Annie today!

Here are the rules...Post your earliest memory that is:

#1 Clear enough to include three details.

#2 Give your age.

#3 Pass it along to some other folks.

OK, please don't commit me to Western State Hospital after reading this!!!

My earliest memory is of being in my crib, "making people" out of tissue. If I can remember it, I had to have been at least 2 or 3; I have no idea how old I was when my parents decided I could sleep in a bed (although my mom's favourite joke is that I was 16).

I must have been sick because I don't know why else there would have been an unlimited supply of kleenex available to me. I can remember being awake, my orange-bulbed nightlight throwing shadows in my darkened room. I would tear off a piece of tissue, roll it into a ball, put it in my mouth, then put the damped tissue in my hand and make a fist to "mold" it. When I opened my hand, the tissue ball had turned into a little person; the only one I can clearly remember was a farmer wearing denim overalls and a hat. I made an entire community that night, and I had them lined up all around my crib. I talked to them and they talked to me. In the morning, I woke up and went to look for my people but they were all gone. My mom still tells the story of the time she came upstairs to check on me and found all these wadded up balls of tissue in my crib and she'd wondered what in the hell I'd been doing during the night. She cleaned them all out before I woke up. Now I tease her about the time she destroyed my village.

Tagging Axe, Val, Susan, Kris, Kristy & Bryde.

November 15, 2007

Since I had the photoalbum out....

....I thought I'd post a few pictures of a part of Mt. Rainier National Park that is currently inaccessable to the driving public because of massive damage from the floods & windstorms of 2006. I believe you can still drive to this entrance of the Park, but after that, the road is washed out and if you want to see the Chenuis or Ipsut waterfalls, or hike to the tip of the Carbon Glacier, you have to hike in at least 5 miles to the trailhead, then it's another couple of miles to the glacier.

Washington State is home to the lower 48's only rainforests. When Michelle and John came to visit us in 2000, we just didn't have the time to drive the nearly 200 miles out to the Olympic Peninsula to see the large Hoh and Quinault Rainforests. However, there is a small rainforest trail at the Carbon River entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park, and that's a good one to show visitors when you can't get out to the Oly Pen. Since Michelle's pictures of the forest came out much better than mine, the ones with the date stamp on them in red are hers.

After we left the rainforest trail, we drove farther down the road so that we could hike to Chenuis Falls, on the other side of the Carbon River. It was late June, and we'd had a very dry winter, so the Carbon wasn't as swollen and rushing as it is normally. Otherwise we never would have been able to cross it. And the only way to cross the river is on log bridges. These are long gone now, and the flood damage that exists in this area is of epic proportions. This was the first one we crossed. It was narrow, but it had a rail.
Here Michelle is about to execute a cartwheel, flip, double twist and dismount. lol As you can see, there was no rail on the second log bridge, but fortunately the river was not deep or running swiftly enough to carry you away. The most you'd get is bruised from the rocks and wet feet.

There's John, sizing up the last log bridge, which had a wire to hold onto. I would not have wanted to fall into this particular channel as it was deep and fast. The river is filled with silt and minerals, which is why it's so cloudy.
It's a shame we had such a foggy day. This is looking east up the river bed (taken by Michelle).

This is Chenuis Falls. I'm glad that John is in this picture so you can see the scale (also taken by Michelle).This green pool looked so delicious that I was fighting the urge to plunge in. But the water was icy cold because it was pouring off The Mountain, and it was not a very warm day.

It would be nice if they can fix the road so that we can access this part of the Park again, as it's the most remote corner of Mt. Rainier. However, it seems that all the repair funding is being channeled into repairing the buildings and trails at the visitor centers at Sunrise and Paradise, and reopening scenic Stevens Road, which has been closed for over a year now. It doesn't help that the other day we had another windstorm and a gust of 119 mph was recorded at Camp Muir, high on Mt. Rainier, so there is no doubt further damage to the Park.

November 14, 2007

Beautiful Winter Sunrise

These are the kinds of sunrises we are treated to this time of year, when we are expecting rain later in the day.

"Red Sky at Morning, Sailors Take Warning. Red Sky at Night, Sailors' Delight."

I did not take this photo, although I wish I'd had my camera with me when I got to work today and saw the sky. From November to winter solstice in December, when we have a sunrise like this, Mt. Rainier casts a triangular shadow on the clouds, which is what you see here. I was able to capture this shadow phenomena once several years ago, but the sky in my photo is not nearly as colourful as it is here. Photo courtesy of

November 13, 2007

Need I say more?

Thanks to Liz for the email!

November 11, 2007

Keeping with the Animal Theme

Northwest Trek is a fantastic wilderness park and nature preserve, located in Eatonville, in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. While you won't find elephants, tigers, exotic birds or fish, what you will find are beautiful animals indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.

The Pac NW is a huge region, the core being made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and southeastern Alaska, as well as British Columbia, Canada. Arguments can be made that the NW could also include far northern California, western Montana and western Alberta.

A few years ago, in June, 2000, Michelle & John came out from Maine to visit us for a week. We had only lived in WA a year at the time, so it was a lot of fun for me to take some time off and see some of the sites with them. We wisely chose a weekday to visit Northwest Trek and it was much less crowded than on weekends. I've only been to NW Trek the one time, because both the drive and the crowds on the weekend are not something I wish to deal with.
The first thing we did was take a tram ride through the largest part of the park. This area is only accessable by tram because the animals roam freely and always have the right of way. So if a herd of slow moving elk decides to hang out on the road, you're going to be there till they decide to move. But what a wonderful way to see these beautiful creatures up close and personal!

As I do not know the names of some of these animals, I invite all of you to fill me in! Anyone know what kind of bird this is?

I love buffalo and bison.
I'm not sure, but these may be Roosevelt Elk.

Going to NW Trek in June allowed for the unexpected but delightful surprise of seeing the newborn animals.
This li'l mountain goat was sooooo cute. Everyone on the tram was cooing and shooting pictures.

Too bad they grow up to be not-so-adorable.

Like Wisconsin and Michigan, we have wolverines up here too.

"Nice rack!"

After the tram, you can walk acres and acres of trails through the natural habits of the smaller critters. The barriers between you and the animals are so natural and unobtrusive, you get the feeling of being right there with them and not like you are in a large zoo. Here's a plump porkypine.

They're destructive and a nuisance, but racoons are just so frickin CUTE!

"Badgers! We don't need no steenkeeng badgers!" Oh come on! You know you were all thinking it.

The otters were a hoot. They had an outdoor pool/river bank set up and you could walk down some stairs and go underneath to see into the pool from under the water level. The otters would swim directly towards your face, their noses even with yours and as they got to the glass, they'd summersault and kick off the glass with their feet, swim back to the other end and do it again. We were laughing so hard. I could have stayed there all day. This was the best picture I could get before he zoomed off.

I love otters. They're soooo cute!
I love bears too.

Here's Michelle on the trail near the wolves and bears areas. I love how the trees look.

The wolves proved to be very elusive, but I was able to get one good shot.

A beautiful mountain lion.

They keep the wings clipped on the birds of prey so that they don't fly away. I have, however, been lucky enough to see bald eagles in the wild and they are breathtaking and noble birds.