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

June 25, 2008

Mr. Vu and his Crew, Part Two

After seeing what an incredible job Mr. Vu did on the back yard, we had to have him come back and do the front. I meant to take the "before pictures" but it was pouring rain that whole week. They arrived at 7:30 am a couple of Saturdays ago, and I was only able to take 2 pictures out my car window on the way out to do errands that morning. Great googly moogly!

Brian found that tree after a terrible windstorm we had in Dec. 1995. It was only about 11" tall and it's roots were all exposed when it blew past the door where Brian was standing (at work), the morning after the storm. He took it home and we potted it and then snuck it into Washington (along w/ the sequoia which is planted in the back yard). We planted it next to the front porch but didn't take into account the way the roof hangs over far, so it's growing out at an angle and has suffered a lot from weighty, wet snows bending it over.

They worked until nearly 4:00 pm. We tried not to look out the windows while they were working but it was hard not to take a peek every now and then.

They actually shapped all of the rhododendron bushes and cut back all the dense branches.

They trimmed the tree to ease the top heavy weight and also shaped the barberry (middle) and butterfly bush. Because of the cold weather, all the plants have gotten off to a very late start.

This looks soooooo much better!

More shaping of the rhodie bushes.

They also weeded and trimmed the azaleas and potentillas in the rockery, and shaped the heather.

Dogwood flowers.

For the Vixens:
So Brian went shoe shopping on Saturday and when he got home, he showed me his new shoes. I squealed with delight and said, "You bought Bobby shoes!" He goes, "Oh brother." I placed his shoes on the table, got my camera and he says, "Oh maaan! You're gonna blog about them aren't you?" He knows me too well. So then he offered to wear the shoes, Vincent's "black wifebeater of hotness" I won on ebay and take out his Goren-like leather portfolio notebook. lol

I'm not much of a soda drinker anymore. I used to consume mass quantities of Diet Coke in the 80's, then switched to Weinhard's Cream Soda for awhile, but overall, I'm not a soda fan. However, every time I went to Safeway and passed the Jones Pure Cane Soda, I became intrigued. Jones is the wacky Seattle company that brought us "turkey gravy" flavored soda and last year, a special Seahawks set of sodas that included "dirt" and "perspiration" flavors. But one of the Jones flavors being featured in Safeway is "green apple". I always loved Adam's Sour Apple gum in the 70's and I like apple flavored candy as well. So I bought some.

Could it be any more bright green? I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty and refreshing it is. They only use pure cane sugar as a sweetener and it's delicious. I have forgotten how good pop used to be before all the companies switched to high fructose corn syrup. If you can find Jones in your local grocery store, give them a whirl.

My BFF Julie is on her annual mountaineering trek. This year's destination is Bolivia, where she will attempt to summit Hyuana Potosi. She flew into Peru and I got a couple of emails from her, both from Lima and La Paz. Because she goes as part of a mountaineering tour group, she has to bunk with people wherever they stay. I got this email from her last Friday, and I laughed so hard [Caution: many f-bombs ahead]:

"my roomie is driving me nuts. she won´t shut up. fuck. no wonder i live alone. tomorrow we head to the mountains for trekking and stuff. it will be wicked cold up there. la paz bolivia is nasty. i will be glad to leave it. once in lima alone, i´ll just hover around my hotel and not venture far. whew. i´ll be alone. the group things get pretty trying for me after a while. i prefer my singleness. how are you guys doing. how are all your doggies. how is loci. haven´t been really watching much tele here. fuck. she is driving me batshit, sitting next to me at the next computer going on and onn. shut the fuck up. no matter where you fucking go there´s annoying people. ug. anyway. am glad i am here tho since this is a growing experience for me. ok, gotta go i love you both and will email both you Vixens as soon as i can. fer sher it wont be for another week plus at least. love, me too. ps. shut the fuck up and deal w-your shit and shut the fucking fuck up."

She cracks me up. She'll be home on July 5th. We'll be planning our trip to the Portland area when she gets back, and that's going to be my only out of town trip this year. Now that I have a laptop, I will be able to upload photos of the trip in real time. You know you are in the new millenium when you have more computers in your house than TV's.

Right now I'm trying to see if I can financially swing an overnight trip to San Francisco in August to attend our friends Donnie & Mike's wedding. Brian is already signed up for a voice over training at a studio in Sausalito, and he's not sure he'll be able to even drive into The City for the reception/party. Still, I'd like to put in an appearance, if we can afford it. Donnie used to live in Haight Ashbury and his garden parties were something out of Armistad Maupin's "Tales of The City". It was always quite the paradigm shift when we'd leave the garden and go back out onto the street, after spending an afternoon behind his building where you could wander around and check out all the cool things tucked away here and there. I'll blog about it one of these days, as I have photos. Donnie & Mike have since bought a house in the Glen Park neighborhood. I'd really, really like to go. I truly hate to fly, but it's only a 2 hour flight from SeaTac to SF. I might even have to suck it up and fly coach. lol
I got a message from Bryde's fiance today, and so far her surgery was going OK. He'll update me later on. She should be home soon, as it was outpatient surgery.
Weather's supposed to get hot this weekend....of course "hot" for here means 2 days of 85 degrees. Still, I don't like it and plan to hide inside.

June 23, 2008

For Bryde


It cannot.....

Invade the soul

Suppress memories

Kill friendship

Destroy peace

Conquer the spirit

Shatter hope

Cripple love

Corrode faith

Steal eternal life

Silence courage

Good luck with your surgery on Wednesday, my friend. This time next year, we'll be celebrating your triumph over Tumora!!! Take care and we are here for you. Let us know how it went as soon as you are able.


June 17, 2008

Tagged by Daisy!

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring-summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to."

I go thru phases of listening to tons of music then not listening at all. Right now I'm in a "not listening at all" phase. However, that doesn't mean that music isn't constantly playing in my head. Or as the Buzzcocks say, "There's a harmony, in my head." My taste in music is extremely eclectic. I love everything except rap/hip hop and new country. You are just as likely to find me listening to Mozart as you will the Sex Pistols, Partridge Family, bluegrass, 1940's swing, or the Grateful Dead.

1. "Someone's Lookin' At You" by the Boomtown Rats, because it seems that everywhere I go, there are cameras. Traffic cameras, store security cameras, parking lot cameras.... It's getting to the point where I can't deal with a wedgie situation in a store anymore w/o being watched by someone. I used to have this poster in my bedroom, much to my parents' chagrin.

2. "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane, because it reminds me of my fantabulistic trip to Vancouver Island last summer.... ....the amazing time I had, how much I love to travel by myself, and how utterly heartbroken I am that I have to skip my annual trip to Canada this summer b/c of the damn economy and gas prices. Oh well. At least I have my photo albums.

3. "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Verve, because you have to admit, it's a killer, hooky song. It also reminds me of my trip to Vancouver, BC in the summer of 2006. And sometimes I feel like the words were written just for me:

"Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mold, I am here in my mold
And I'm a million different peoplefrom one day to the next
I can't change my mold
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no..."

4. Just watched my alltime fave rave movie, "Paper Moon" and that's chock full of music that I absolutely love. They used authentic recordings of the music that was popular in the 1930's. I was lucky enough to score the soundtrack album a few years ago and it's awesome. One of my faves that seems to get stuck in my head a lot is called "Keep Your Sunnyside Up". A lot of the music in the early 1930's was very topical and tried to cheer people up during The Great Depression. "Sunnyside" is one such song. Of course the way things are going in this country, we may need to resurrect some of the Depression Era music.

"There's one thing to think of when you're blue, there are others much worse off than you.
If a load of troubles should arrive, just laugh and say it's great to be alive.
Keep your sunny side up, up, hide the side that get's blue.
If you can't buy lobster and cake, you're in luck, your tummy won't ache.
So keep your sunny side up, up,
Let your laughter come thru, thru,
If you meet with gloom, don't fall down go boom,
Keep your sunny side up
Keep your sunny side up, up, hide the side that gets blue.
If you have nine sons in a row, start a baseball team, they make money you know.
So keep your sunny side up, up, let your laughter come thru,
Stand up on your legs, be like two fried eggs, keep your sunny side up."

5. "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" has also been coming and going thru my head, because many of our clients have mortgaged themselves to the hilt and now have massive negative equity on their homes, thanks to their subprime loans & plummeting property values. I keep singing, "The percentage you're paying is too high priced, while you're living beyond all your means, and the man in the suit has just bought a new car from the profit he's made off your dreams...." And it also reminds me of road trips we took up to Fort Bragg (CA not NC) in the 1990's, as it was on a mix tape we used to listen to a lot.

6. And what would be a list of summery songs without a selection by the Dead. This is a tough one b/c so many songs remind me of summer tour. But I'd have to go with their version of "Hey Pocky Way" from 7/3/88, Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford, Maine. I met Brian at that show. Can you believe the ticket price was only $20???? I found a pic of these tix on line as mine are in our Dead scrapbook. I used to cheerfully ask the gate attendants "Rip it pretty, please!" so that they wouldn't tear it carelessly, as seen above.

7. My final choice is my fave Bruce Hornsby song, "Across the River," which reminds me so much of the summer of 1990. We wuz dirt po' back then. Po' po' po'. Couldn't even afford cable TV. Had to buy generic beer. I saved a can. It's white and says, "BEER" on it. By the summer of 1990, both of us were finally hitting our stride in SF: We'd survived our first major earthquake, we got to our very first New Years Eve and Mardi Gras Dead shows, we'd met Bobby Weir and Jerry Garcia, we had a ton of new Deadhead friends, and we managed to scrape up enough $ to see the Dead as much as possible. Our lives literally revolved around the Dead back then: tape trading, shows, swapping lists, hanging out w/ friends practically every night, eagerly awaiting our next copy of "The Golden Road" or "Relix", calling the hotline 3x a day to see if new shows were announced. That was the summer that their keyboardist, Brent Mydland, died and Hornsby stepped in along with Vince Welnick. Unfortunately, even though Jerry Garcia is the lead guitarist on the studio version of "Across the River", for some reason the Dead never played it. At least not that I know of.
No pressure, but consider yourselves tagged:
A Moralized Criminal
Danger Panda

June 15, 2008

Throat cramp, pee your pants funny

You have got to check this out. Make sure you have an empty bladder, and an inhaler nearby if you are an asthmatic.

June 13, 2008

Never speak ill of the dead

But I'm gonna anyway.

So last Sunday, all of the local meteorologists were predicting a storm for Monday, with snow in the mountains & the snow level dropping to 2,500 feet by 6:00 p.m. Monday night. Down here in the lowlands, it was damn rainy, cold and windy too. It looked and felt like a classic Northwestern winter wind storm, only it's June. Or "June-uary" as we've been calling it.

At some point, 3 experienced hikers, a husband, wife & their friend, decided to take a day hike on Mt. Rainier, from the parking lot at Paradise to Camp Muir, about 10,000+ feet up the mountain. The husband and the friend had summited Rainier twice before. So they start up the mountain and get caught in a white-out blizzard. Because it was a day hike, they had no camping gear. They had to dig a snow trench and ride out the storm. The husband took the brunt of the cold in order to save the lives of his wife and their friend. He, unfortunately, died.

The spring weather on the mountain is erratic at best. We can be in bright sun down here, but Rainier is socked in with clouds and it's snowing like crazy. The storms blow in without warning, and Rainier makes a lot of its own weather because of its sheer size.

Now I am very sorry for their loss. But, HELLO!!! What the hell were they thinking? We're not talking about a couple of flatlander rube tourists, thinking they can take a stroll up the mountain. These people were allegedly experienced climbers. I would have way more sympathy if they started out in good weather and a storm came happens all the time up there. But it was pouring down rain and windy here and snowing in the Cascades. Why would they take such a risk and attempt a day hike?

This morning we wake up to the sad news that a small flat bottomed boat has capsized in the fast moving & very swollen Nisqually River (fed directly by glaciers and melting snow from Rainier), a 5 year old boy's body was found, and another child and adult are missing. The mother made it to shore, as did the guy who was sailing the boat. No one had on life jackets. Alcohol was involved. The woman's husband is in Iraq. I cannot even begin to fathom how his CO is going to break the news to this poor guy, thousands of miles away, and what a looooong trip it's going to be for the father to get back up here.

What part of RESPECT MOTHER NATURE don't people understand? All the rivers here are running fast and deep, as they do in the spring. They are ice cold. The Green and Cedar Rivers have been closed to recreation. Yet people continue to make poor decisions that result in the tragic loss of life. I am caught between feeling bad for their losses but also thinking that they deserve what happens to them - with exception of the child that drowned in the river, which clearly was a really poor decision on his mother's part.

And on another sad note, RIP to Tim Russert from "Meet the Press" who died suddenly today.

Gas is now $4.39 in Bonney Lake.

Got an email from The Bead Factory, which is hosting the Puget Sound Bead Festival in July. The contents of the email had to do w/ the fact that hardly anyone has signed up for the classes offered during the weekend of the festival, and many of the teachers are being forced to cancel them. The main reason is that with our economy, no one can afford the extra money to take the classes, which run from about $45 to $200, depending on what it is. I looked into it myself but also decided not to spend the extra on classes. At this point, I'm not 100% sure I'm even going to go. I just don't want to use gas to get there, or spend $ once I'm there. Unfortunately, I was kind of annoyed w/ the tone of the email, saying that they can't reduce the prices of the classes but would accept the fees on a payment plan. It encouraged everyone to sign up anyway, because why should beaders give up something they love because of the economy?

This ticks me off for many reasons. For one thing, The Bead Factory is the most expensive bead shop in the area. Their prices are insanely high. I've taken a few classes there, but I haven't bought much because I can get everything WAY cheaper at Shipwreck Beads in Olympia, or by mailordering from Fire Mountain Gems. And the craft store, Ben Franklin, has put in quite a lovely & large bead section as well. I would suspect that other crafters/beaders have found this to be the case too. Why spend $100 at TBF when you can get the same stuff for $50 elsewhere? People are struggling to make ends meet, homes are in foreclosure, layoffs up the kazoo, gas and groceries are thru the roof, yet TBF shows little to no sympathy for the feedback they received from beaders who can't afford to take classes at the bead festival, and urge people to pony up money they don't have by using the "guilt trip" approach. Not cool.

I have to work on Sunday because we have a trial on Monday. I am annoyed with my coworker for not offering to work instead. She lives literally less than a mile from here. But no. I have to drag my sorry ass in from Bonney Lake to do it. However, I did offer; I would have felt like a real shit all weekend if I didn't. But not without a little "quid pro quo". I told Steve I'd work Sunday if he gave me next Friday off, so that I'm not out gas for the extra trip to Tacoma. Can you tell I've been working for attorneys too long?

Have a great weekend all.

June 9, 2008

For those of you sweltering in the hot weather

It's cold, cloudy and rainy up here and has been for over a week. The snow level has dropped to 2,500 feet and snow is expected in the passes after 6:00 p.m. tonite.


The longer it stays cold and rainy, the shorter we have to deal w/ the hot summer weather and neverending daylight.

Rain on, Ma Nature, Rain On.

June 7, 2008

Pepper Sez......

"We are NOT amused!"

June 6, 2008

Tagged by Val

Val tagged me to post six quirky things about myself. Like her, I'm a quirky person. I have so many quirks that I can't think of them all, so here goes:

1. If 2 light switches control one light (like in a hallway), when the lights are off, both switches HAVE to be in the off position. I have gone downstairs and fixed the switch if it's in the up position while the lights are off.

2. I have to have my breakfast stuff set out the night before, as well as my lunch packed and in the fridge, and my clothes for the next day ready, before I go to bed. But only on weekdays.

3. My desk at work has to be tidy before I leave at the end of the day.

4. I talk to myself A LOT, but I think most only children do.

5. When I was a teenager, I couldn't shut the light off in my room to go to bed unless EVERYTHING was tidy - records put away, pens capped and in the pen holder, school books neatly stacked on the desk. If something was out of place, I'd get out of bed and fix it.

6. When I am coming to the end of a craft project, i.e., ready to put the last few beads and clasp on a necklace, one last thing to glue onto a homemade card or scrapbook page, I start putting all the tools, beads, findings, paper, etc. away and tidying up my craft table before I do the last step.

Now I have to tag 6 of you (forgive me). Don't feel obliged.

Here are the Rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Unfortunately I have no idea how to link so I'm just going to put your names down and feel free to do, or not do, the list:

Danger Panda

Have an awesome weekend everyone and GO CELTICS!!

June 4, 2008

Please send good thoughts

My teeny, tiny, teacup baby guy is sick and has to stay overnight at our vet. He's been sick off and on over the past couple of weeks, vomiting now and then; our vet is aware of it of course. We stopped giving him rawhide chews and got the special food from them. Other than that, he's as bright eyed and playful as ever, jumping up and down, teasing his sister, running all over the yard, climbing onto our laps. Because of the horrid start he had during his first 9 months of his life, before we adopted him, he's always had somewhat of a delicate system. But it's really hard to patrol what he might be eating when he's outside. Brian found some cat scat by our fence and assumed that's what Sagan got into.

I took him to day care today and they called Brian to say that Sagie was having diarreah really bad and they were going to take a sample for testing. At 3:45, Brian called me at work to say that the doctor recommended that Sagan "board" overnight and the sample had been sent to the lab. I suppose using the word "board" instead of "inpatient at the hospital" was meant to make us feel better, but as you can imagine, I'm worried sick. Of course I'm worried sick. He's my baby! My beloved pet! I hate it that he's not here & I'm having a really hard time not crying. It's bad enough when we send him to board over July 4th b/c of the fireworks, but knowing that he's down there overnight b/c he's sick is a whole other story. Brian keeps telling me not to worry, he worked in a vet clinic and saw this before and it's usually just some intestinal thing. But I can't help it. I'm his mommy. Mommy's worry.

Fortunately for us, he is in very capable hands. Sumner Veterinary Clinic is an amazing facility and just started 24/7 emergency care, which is a relief. The only other emergency vet that's close to us is clear out in South Tacoma. I do feel a bit better knowing he's just down the hill instead of 25 miles away. Everyone knows, and loves, Sagie at Sumner Vet so I know that he's getting top of the line care.

It's probably nothing serious, but if you could all send good thoughts, karma, prayers, whatever, our way, it is greatly appreciated. I know all of you are pet lovers and/or owners, and understand the kind of stress this causes.