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

December 30, 2008

All the news that is news

Or at least all the news that's fit to print.

How was everyone's holiday? Ours was quiet. I didn't put one single decoration out this year. So we just piled the presents in front of the wood stove. I didn't even drag out the stockings. This picture pretty much describes my holiday spirit this year.....or lack thereof.

Anywho, we didn't watch any holiday specials either. Not my fave, "A Child's Christmas in Wales", not "Scrooge". No Charlie Brown or Grinch this year. We caught the last hour of "A Christmas Story" on Christmas Eve, and the first hour the next day. Pretty pathetic.

Still, despite the lack of Christmas Spirit, Santa was very good to us. Brian got me a couple CD's (Tom Cochrane's "Mad Mad World" & the first Blind Melon album. Also, "Prince Caspian" and season 2 of "The Partridge Family" DVD's. He also got me the latest Ology book, "Monsterology". Beads, scratch tickets, pretty crystal earrings, a bracelet, a cool multicoloured leather purse w/ tassles and the best present, one of those new digital photo frames that plays a slide show of your fave pictures!!! It's bad enough that I blog and Facebook at work, now I'll be staring at the frame watching my vacation photos. I think I need to get a memory stick or something so that I can take pics off the computer, but right now I can upload them right from my camera.

Brian liked all his gifts too, although I sort of regret giving him the Star Trek Phaser, b/c he's been phasing me for days. I keep telling him he's not allowed to shoot the gifter with the gift, but he does it anyway.

The snow is gone, thankfully. I've had enough of that for the year. We're supposed to get some wicked rain and wind the next few days, which is OK w/ me as long as a tree doesn't drop on my house.

Steve & Deb took this week off, and I'm only here till tomorrow morning, which is fine too. I worked on Sat. and Sun. b/c I missed so much time thanks to the weather. It felt good to get out and use my brain. Unfortunately I'm all alone and saddled with our pain in the ass clients who I just loathe. It'd be one thing if they were paying their bills, but we've been providing what is, in essence, pro bono legal work for them. And it's always the people who HAVE money who don't pay. The clients who don't have a pot to piss in are the ones that send us what they can, even if it means $20 a month for 10 years. Still, it's been pretty quiet and I admit to a certain sadistic pleasure in telling them, "Sorry, no one's here to help you right now". Some actually have the GALL to say, "Well can you call him on his cell?" I get more pleasure out of saying, "He doesn't have a cell phone and anyway, I never bother him when he's ON VACATION." I mean seriously. WTF do they think? He's gonna troubleshoot the problem from New York City? Put on your big boy or big girl panties and deal with it, asshole.

Still no word on that job Brian interviewed for. We're hoping he hears soon. He's still in the running and they like him a lot, but the HR woman at the company went out of town, and the weather has provided additional delays.

I was finally vindicated the other day, by "The Sopranos" of all things. We never saw the original run on HBO b/c we don't get HBO. Brian's been watching the more sanitized version on A&E since he's been off. I've seen a few episodes and it's not too's very "familiar", but for the Mafia-angle. More from the NY Italian-angle. My vindication came when Brian told me that he's heard them pronounce "Manicotti" and "Ricotta" as "Manicott" and "Ricott". I grew up hearing and pronouncing them w/o the vowel on the end. He's tried to correct me for years and to this day I still stutter over it, 'Manicott...cotti". In fact, my family refers to ricotta cheese as "pot cheese". Imagine the look on the grocer's face when I went in and couldn't remember the name "ricotta", so I asked him where the "pot cheese" was. I had a total mental block on "ricotta". He's looking at me as though he though I had 6 heads. "Pot cheese? Pot cheese? I've never heard of it!" I said, "You know, the cheese they put in ravvies and lasagna". I think the "ravvies" also threw him. Sorry, "ravioli". He took me back to the cheese aisle and helped me look till I recognized the name "ricotta". He laughed sooooo hard. "I've never heard anyone call it pot cheese" he says. I'll have to defer to my older cousins, but I believe it was kept in a pot. Hence the name. Bobbie? Cookie? Help me out here.

We have no plans for New Years. It's sort of a depressing day anyway. I always thought that Labor Day should be New Years Day. January 1 is so dull. I'm sure I'll have Pepper trying to crawl on top of my head, shaking and panting when the fireworks start at midnight.

Well, I should probably think about getting started on this horrid project Steve left for me. It's bad enough that I'm very bad with numbers, but I also woke up w/ a splitting headache today. I leave you with some photos of the Harbin, China Ice & Snow Festival. What I wouldn't give to see this in person!!!

Have a great and safe New Year, and I'll catch you all on the flip side. Here's hoping 2009 is a better year for everyone!!

December 23, 2008

I'm Dreaming Of A.....

What a pity we chose THIS year not to decorate for the holidays. I could kick myself. Finally, a white Christmas. The first one for me since I lived in Massachusetts and quite frankly, I can't even remember my last white Christmas there either. 1975? 1976 maybe? In the 80's we'd had snow near Christmas but I don't remember it sticking around for the actual holiday itself.

The giant sequoia looks like it's festooned with sugar and icing. Compare this to the same photo I shot, in the blog post below this one. Way more snow on the stairs.

All the trees were covered in snow after this storm system, unlike the day before. It's not melting either.

Needless to say I won't be using my car for quite awhile.

Pepper has snows'es on her noses as well.

These 2 junipers remind me of those old trees used in small winter scenes. The kind made out of brush wire and that have dollops of thick "snow" paint on the tips.

Our new neighbors built 2 giant snowmen. Looking at their yard, they didn't even make a dent in the snow that fell!!!

The front porch is a bit treacherous to navigate right now. We've been going thru the downstairs slider and into the garage's back door to get to the vehicles or even to just go for a walk.

The heather and rockery are now buried.

And just to put the cherry on top of the already crappy year, Safeway called and said that, b/c of the weather, ALL deli tray orders have been canceled. They can't even make them up for instore delivery either. The stores are barren and the delivery trucks are stuck or delayed. Oh well.

"You have to be crazy to stay in this place, you just have to laugh at it all". Psychedelic Furs

December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

The sun doesn't get any higher in the sky than this, at 12 Noon, in December. The sun comes up at 7:53 AM and sets at 4:21 PM.

Sunday 12/21/08

"I has snows'es on mah noses!"

Looking east down my street.

This is why I can't get my car up my driveway.

Looking west up my street.

Something tells me I'm not going to work tomorrow, either!

December 20, 2008

Sorry I dropped off the face of the earth again....

Been a bit preoccupied with the weather situation around here. We've had a lot of snow & ice. The meteorologists predicted a huge storm for Wednesday, so I didn't go to work. Turns out the storm stalled off shore. A lot of people took the day off and all the schools were closed. I felt like such an idiot for not going in. If I'd had a paper bag, I was gonna cut 2 eye holes and write "SNOW CHUMP" in glitter above the eye holes, then wear it into work. Steve always teases me about my panic every time I see so much as a flake. He's from Michigan. It confounds him that someone from an equally snowy area like me is that afraid to drive in snow. Well I hate it. It never bothered me till the night it took me from 11:30 pm-2:30 am to drive from my job at Channel 56 in Boston back to Cape Cod, in a driving blizzard w/ zero visability in the middle of the night. When I saw the guardrail I knew I was close to it so I'd correct to get back in my lane, when I didn't see the guardrail, I was scared I was gonna go off the other side. The snow was mesmerizing and it was so hard for me to concentrate on my driving. I was so happy to see the lights of the Sagamore Bridge and from there I knew I could pick my way thru Sandwich on Rte. 6A. I ditched my car in the middle of my parents' driveway cause it got stuck and had to stay over b/c I knew the road on which I lived, a dirt road, would be impassible & unplowed. That was my "snow fear turning point."

So I decide to go in on Thursday b/c I figured I HAD to go in. It took about an hour to get the 22 miles, door to door. It was really bad. It started snowing again and at 12:30, Steve surprised me by saying that he thought I had better get on the road and get home b/c he was afraid I'd get stuck if I stayed at work. Again, another hour on the road getting home, going 30 mph the whole way. I couldn't even get my car up the driveway; Brian had to slog down to the road and drive it up to the garage. Western WA just doesn't have the equipment or budget to deal w/ these storms b/c it's so rare.

Although it was clear and sunny yesterday, the temp never got above 26 and there was no way I was getting out. Brian has 4-wheel drive so he & I went to Fred Meyer for groceries & stuff. He went out again today to Freddies for a couple things we forgot yesterday and he couldn't even find parking. He said he had to club his way down the bread aisle. Took 20 minutes just to get out of the parking lot and back on Hwy. 410.

So we have a blizzard watch for our area; something which is very rare. It's snowing pretty hard now and the winds are going to kick up. It's going to be very, very bad. But hey, at least we may get a chance to use our generator. I hope our cable doesn't go out or else...NO INTERNET!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! We have lots of food and supplies, so we're all cozy. I don't like the wind storms and am always nervous about the many tall fir trees that whip wildly around. On the plus side, maybe those scraggily firs that are blocking our view of Rainier might topple. Hmmm. Maybe we should go down there with a chainsaw and "help them along" before the storm really starts. hahahaha Kidding. It's a felony to cut down trees that you don't own to improve your view.

Unfortunately the cruelest irony of all is, this is the first year in my entire life that I haven't decorated for the holidays. And this is the first time we've had this much snow so close to the holidays, and we might even have a white Christmas if we don't get a massive melt or rain. It would have been nice to have had a tree and lights and our decorations out, to complete the snowy postcard picture of very rare snowy weather in Western WA.

I'll catch up w/ you guys later. I just want to get thru the wind storm unscathed.

December 6, 2008

The Mountain is Out

I've seen lenticular clouds before, but never, ever like this. When I left work today (Friday), I couldn't take my eyes off this scene, which was constantly in my line of sight all the way from Tacoma to Bonney Lake. I called Brian and asked him to get my camera and zoom lens ready for me. I whipped into the driveway, flew into the house to grab the camera, and took off to find a good vantage point. I was darting in and out of streets till I finally found an unobstructed view with no wires and no houses.
They are called "lenticular" because they are shaped like a lens. The appearance of them means a change in the weather, and rain is moving in tomorrow. Don't be alarmed, the size of them does not determine the strength of a storm. lol If it was, based on these clouds, we'd be battening down the hatches!! They form near very large mountains, like our Cascade volcanos, Mt. Fuji, etc. I'd never seen or heard of them till we moved here. We've seen much smaller ones, sometimes those sit right on the mountain top like a hat.
People have mistaken them for UFOs.
Pretty cool, eh?

December 5, 2008

Write What You Know

At least that's what they say. What do I know? Lots I guess. But lately, I just cannot think of anything to blog about. I have major writer's block. The only thing I "know" at this point, that I can blog, is bad news.

Almost a year ago, I did a very dark post when I was super depressed. I wasn't into Christmas, or anything else for that matter. Well, I didn't think it was possible, but I'm even LESS into the holidays this year. I wasn't even this bad the year my dad died or after 9/11. I still happily took out the decorations and spent hours trimming the house. I listened to my Christmas music mix tapes in the car and sang along. I baked and baked and baked. Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, cranberry bread, rice crispie treats, gingerbread cookies. At least last year I got some decorations out, put out the stockings, got the little tree out of the garage. Maybe I'll cave in closer to the day, but at this point, it's not looking good. You know it's bad when I can't even bring myself to watch all of my fave holiday shows, like "A Child's Christmas in Wales", "Scrooge" or any of the cartoons like "Grinch" and "Charlie Brown". It just seems like the more I watch that stuff, the more I long for the simpler times of my youth in the 70's. I cry my eyes out every year at the end of each one, partly b/c it's a happy ending, but partly b/c I'm so nostalgic and I miss those "old days" and now everyone's either dead or scattered to the wind.

But 2008 has been a pretty bad year for lots of people. Everything's just piling on and I just don't see myself making cards this year, decorating or even digging the stockings out. I don't want to wrap presents. I don't want to bake. Everything is such a huge fucking effort. It's like I just want to point Brian in the direction of where his gifts are hidden and say, "They're in there, knock yourself out."

I'm sorry I haven't been diligently blogging, but I can't think of anything at all to talk about. I can't even think of a way to be funny when I go off on a rant.

While Brian had a great interview yesterday, we don't dare get our hopes up. It's a great job; doesn't pay as well as Weyco did, but who cares. A job w/ benefits is all that matters. Then I can get onto his company's health plan and dump "Group Death".

Most of what's getting me down is how upset I am for my friends. So many of you guys have been having a really bad year. Who knows when we'll hear from Axe again as she's offline indefinitely; her employers cut off her internet access. Bryde, well, she's had the worst year of all of us. Many of my other friends have been battling crippling depression. My cousins (and I, but to a lesser extent) have been subjected to nearly 6 years of almost nonstop harassment from a very mentally ill "ex-cousin". A friend of Brian's spent the afternoon of Thanksgiving with us b/c his wife decided to move out the next day. He was so distraught. So he's on his cell phone, in our bathroom, sobbing and I'm upstairs on our landline with my cousin Sharon, who is also extremely upset over the ongoing "issue" with our family. At work, this time of year is horrendous. People like nothing more than to fuck with their ex's during the holidays and ALWAYS at the expense of the children. Many of our clients need so much handholding and I just don't have enough compassion to go around anymore. So I usually end up taking a lot of my frustration out on other drivers. I basically drive to and from work with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand in the air, giving everyone the finger.

I swear Facebook is the only thing that's keeping me going anymore. Don't even have "LOCI" to watch either. Well, except for the DVD's of course, but I really enjoyed the reruns on the USA Channel. Now all they show is lame crap like "House", "NCIS" and "Monk". Hate all 3 shows. Apathy is at an alltime high this year. I haven't even seen that many decorations or lights on people's homes this year, and usually they get started over Thanksgiving weekend.

My "goals" for the new year petered out by May, which was the last time I went to the gym or thoroughly cleaned a room in my house. I'm lucky if I get the house cleaned once a month. It's so hard to get out of bed and do the same slog over and over and over again.

I'll try to be better about blogging in the new year. Maybe by then I can think of something positive to talk about. Or at least think of something to talk about.

November 30, 2008

I give up

I just don't have the time or patience to dick around trying to fix the damn template on the new format. I somehow managed to get back to my old template, don't ask me how, but the pepto bismol look is going to have to suffice till I figure this shit out. The "tips for bloggers" was not helpful and I couldn't find where to put all my links.

November 25, 2008

Mutant Dog Toys II

A few months ago, I did a blog post about a couple of mutant dog toys I'd found at Safeway, one of our local grocery stores.

We named this guy "Poxy" because of his skin condition.

We call this guy "The Lion Thing" because I'm not quite sure what this legless, leopard spotted, lion-headed thing is supposed to be.

So I'm at Safeway last Saturday, and was picking up some chewstix in the pet aisle. I turned around to see if they had any good toys and I found 2 more from the Mutant Dog Toy Collection, so I had to get them.

Apparently these poor beasties seem to suffer from a genetic problem that renders them legless. With the exception of Poxy, none of them have legs. This li'l fella appears to be a raccoon suffering from severe hypothermia, right down to the tip of his ringed tail. We haven't quite settled on a name for it yet, but I've been calling him "Hypothermic Raccoonie Guy".

I'm open to suggestions on the species of this one. He has antlers, so is it a reindeer? Moose? Deer? Elk? I've never seen any of those animals with thick, long, ringed tails. Is he a cow? A bear with antlers and spots? Is it an okapi? A baby mountain tapir with a squished-in snout?

Haven't come up with a name for him yet, but I'm sure we'll think of something creative. As I said, I'm open to suggestions.

November 23, 2008

Fall 2008

Thanks to a warm, dry September, the foliage was outstanding this year. Everyone was talking about it. It was shaping up to be a good year, but all of a sudden, everything was bright yellow & red, out of nowhere. I wish I had taken my camera with me to work because it was everywhere.

This is the barberry bush in our backyard.

These next few were taken about 2 weeks later. In the 10 fall seasons we've been here, I never remember this tree getting yellow.

Even the dogwood tree leaves turned red.

Bright yellow maples peeking around fir and cedar trees.

The barberry bush went from red to blazing scarlet.

Then we had this killer full moon & clouds a couple of weeks ago.

The economy may have crashed around us, but at least we had pretty things to look at.