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

January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Spring Hill Beach, E. Sandwich, Massachusetts - Fall, 1987

January 17, 2009

An Interview Meme

My friend and fellow blogger, Fancy Schmancy, received an interview meme via email. Here's what you do and Fancy's questions:

A. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

B. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

C. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

D. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

E. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. Here are your questions:

1. How were you introduced to the Grateful Dead?

Well I knew the "hits" from when I was in high school & college (Truckin, Casey Jones, Sugar Mag, Eyes of the World, Shakedown Street). At the time, I was mostly into punk rock and 80's music. On a trip to Maine in the fall of 1987, I wanted something different to listen to. I stopped at a record store in Kittery and found the cassette of "Skeletons from the Closet". I knew some of the songs so I bought it. And was hooked. From that point on I was obsessed with the Dead. I subscribed to "Relix" magazine and put an ad in the back, looking for Deadhead friends in Massachusetts. I got lots of replies and slowly built my live tape collection. I'd listen to the "Dead Ahead" show on WZLX radio at midnight on Saturdays and get to know the music. One of my male Deadhead penpals, who was helping me collect tapes, had an extra ticket to the 4/7/88 show in Worcester and wanted to take me to my first show. They played almost all the songs I was hoping to hear. It was an amazing show and my life revolved around the Grateful Dead from that point forward, till Jerry died in 1995.

2. How did you end up on the extreme opposite coast from where you started?

For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to get off Cape Cod. When I was a little kid, I used to bum hard on Sundays when, during early evening football games, the announcer would say, "Stay tuned for 60 Minutes, except on the west coast." I would wish so much to be there. I'd watch the sunset out of our west-facing livingroom window and be so miserable, wanting to be in the west. I went thru a phase in 6th grade where I would draw the California state flag all the time, trying to perfect the bear. I thought I wanted to live in LA b/c that city seemed so exciting. Eventually I turned my interest towards moving to London, England. Then my parents gave me a trip to California for my college graduation and my friend Charlene wanted to start in San Francisco and drive down the coast to LA. Sounded good. I could hang in Ess Eff for a few days before going to the city I'd always wanted to see, LA. That first morning in San Francisco, I fell head over heels in love with it. Heard the bell on the cable car, saw the beautiful filigree gates and fences, hiked those crazy, dizzy hills, heard the foghorn on the Golden Gate Bridge and finally understood the song, "I left my heart in San Francisco." LA turned out to be a huge, smoggy, crowded, icky disappointment. I was so homesick for San Francisco and took 2 more vacations there, subscribed to the Sunday SF Examiner newspaper and researched the hell out of it. Moved in July, 1989. I love the west coast. I hate being on the east coast. I'm so homesick for the west when I'm back east. Like I'm missing out on something. I love Washington and Oregon too. And British Columbia.

3. When did you know that Hubby was the one?

I was dating his next door neighbor, Jef at the time. Holly, me, Brian & Jef were hanging around all the time that winter of 1988-1989. Jef and I had dated during the summer of '88, broke up but were still really good friends. I'd met Brian at the Maine Dead shows in July, '88 b/c he'd gone up w/ Jef and I sold Brian my extra ticket. Then in Jan. of '89 Jef wanted to get back together. But the closer friends I became w/ Brian, the more I wanted to be around him. We'd spend HOURS on the phone at night. Jef wasn't exactly the world's best boyfriend. He was drinking heavily at the time (now clean/sober since 1996), and had a problem with fidelity in that he couldn't be faithful, and also couldn't tell me the truth. He decided to move to an apartment in Pawtucket, RI that didn't have a phone. His car finally died. It finally hit me that I'm talking to Brian all the time, thinking about Brian all the time, and dating a guy who was clearly indifferent as to whether or not we saw each other. I broke up w/ Jef the day I was supposed to go down to help him move from his mom's house in Attleboro, to RI. Brian invited me to dinner one night shortly thereafter and we had a fantastic time. A few days later he sent me a very sweet card that ended with "...and that's why I love you so much". I didn't know if he meant "love love" or "best friend love". So I sent him a card and fessed up that I was in love with him. By the time we started actually dating, we'd already covered sooooooooo much ground. Our first "date" was more like an already established relationship date b/c we already knew so much about each other. We started going out on April 25 and eloped 2 mos. later, on June 27.

4. Did you plan a career in law? If not, what was the deciding factor that led you to take the job you currently hold?

No, I never saw myself in law at all, my degree is in Television Production and that's all I did & knew. From 9th grade thru college, I worked in radio and TV. But I crashed and burned from the stress extremely quickly. When we moved to SF, I had to reinvent myself somehow. I could type, so I got a job working as the secretary to a contractor who lived in my neighborhood. Answering phones, payroll, clerical stuff, billing, etc. A year later, he told me he had to lay me off. I applied for tons of jobs and interviewed for a receptionist position at a law firm downtown. I hit it off with the office manager right away. I got called back for a 2nd interview with the partners. They could see I was educated and well spoken, but I had zero experience. I basically just said, "If you hire me, if you give me a chance to prove myself, I won't let you down. I can do this job, but I need a foot in the door. Please give me this opportunity." By the time I got home, the message was already on my answering machine that I was hired. I worked my ass off, learning everything I could, taking on every responsibility that came my way, all the shit work, all the copying jobs no one wanted to do, all the law library updates. Through the years, I worked my way up to fill-in legal secretary, to legal secretary, then paralegal. I love, love, love what I do and I'm good at it. I hate the clients, but I'm good at the job itself. I thought about going to paralegal school but my boss in SF told me not to waste my money b/c I was getting on the job training. He told me that by the time I took the first year of classes, I'd already be way too far ahead of everyone else.

5. How did you obtain your wonderful dogs?

I didn't have a pet when I was a kid. My mom had a cat, to which I was indifferent. When he died in 1978, I waited a suitable period of time, then asked for a dog. My mother issued the edict, "no more animals b/c it hurts too much when they die." I was told that I would not keep up the responsibility and they wouldn't do it for me. I wasn't even given a chance to try. I loved my cousins' dog, Disha, who loved me too. I was devastated when she died. By this time I was an adult and Brian was begging for a dog. I kept saying no, the expense would be too much, the mess, etc. etc. We actually worked our way up the evolutionary chain. First we had fish, then a hamster, then guinea pigs, a rabbit and, briefly, a hedgehog. In 2002 Brian stepped up the lobbying for a dog. I could not find one person on my side. Not one. So finally, in Feb. 2003, I relented and he dove into the search for a new dog on the Humane Society's website. I happened to be upstairs and I pointed to a particularly cute dog and said, "Look! Pepper! She's cute!" Brian went there the next day and someone else's name was on the cage. Brian waited and waited long after they were supposed to get there, and they never showed up, so the employees agreed to put our name on the cage. He picked her up the next day and she's been our little baby girl since then.

In 2005 we started talking about getting another dog, a German shepherd. We looked at a couple of dogs that year that weren't quite right for us. In December, Brian was again looking on line, at the Washington State German Shepherd Rescue website. I pointed and said, "Oh look! A 9 month old!" Then we read Sagan's heartbreaking story of starvation and neglect and that pretty much settled it. Brian went to see him first, then brought me and Pepper over to the foster home to meet him. Sagan chose us immediately. Brian and I were talking to Teresa, the foster mom, and little Sagan who was all skin and bones wedged himself between Brian and me and leaned on us. I reached down instinctively to pet him and when I looked down, he was looking up at me with those big, brown almond shaped eyes and that was that. I could almost read his mind, "Will you be my mommy and love me? I'll be good!" Pepper, unfortunately, was not at all on board with having a second dog in the house. She took to her bed, "with a sick headache" for about 3 weeks. We kept calling her "Sarah Bernhardt". She still loves to beat him up and chase him, but Sagan adores her. And when she thinks we aren't looking, we catch her nuzzling him. They make us laugh every day with their goofy antics and to me, they are like living stuffed animals.

OK then. So the first 2 people who comment that they'd like to be interviewed, and I have your email address, will receive a set of 5 questions that I get to make up.

January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I miss Victoria so much. Wish I could go this year but it's not lookin good.

January 10, 2009

A River Runs Through It

Or more like 30+ rivers. We've been preoccupied with our weather situation again. It seems as though we haven't gotten a break since the first snow in mid-December! The only sunny, clear day I can remember was Friday, 12/19. We had 8" of snow and it was in the 20's. This past week the rains returned, in the form of what is known on the west coast as a "Pineapple Express", which is a storm system that flows up from tropical Hawai'i and soaks us for days with nonstop, teeming rain. It's generally mild and sometimes preceeded by a little bit of wind. It's trademark is the huge amount of rain that gets dumped on us. This time, the rain fell on large quantities of snow, and compounded the flooding problem.

The rivers that flooded, to name a few, are: Satsop, Snohomish, Skykomish, Puyallup, Skagit, Cedar, Carbon, Wynoochee, Stillaguamish, Pilchuck, Nisqually, Skookumchuck, Deschutes, Chehalis, Tolt, Nooksack, Newaukum, White & Wallace. Scores of offshoot creeks also overflowed their banks. From Canada to Oregon, Western Washington was under water for a few days last week.

To add insult to injury, the Army Corp of Engineers had to release water from the Mud Mountain Dam down the White River, and they forgot to inform the City of Pacific, so no one saw it coming. It's a mess of mud and debris. People are pissed and I don't blame them.

No one was exempt from this storm. All of the east/west passes through the Cascades were closed because of avalanches and mudslides. People were stranded on either side of the mountains. I-5, the major interstate that runs 1,380 miles from Mexico to Canada, was shut down for 20 miles because the Chehalis River was over the road.

This is a pic of a home in Fall City, up north, on Rte. 202. King County

Flooded Sumner Meadow Golf Links. Bonney Lake is on top of that hill above the Links. Pierce County
124th Street Bridge which spans the Snoqualmie River under normal circumstances. The River flooded it. King County

Lt. Governor Brad Owen flies over flooded Centralia, which is south, between Olympia & Oregon. Lewis County

Chehalis, WA, near Centralia. Lewis County

I-5 in Chehalis. Lewis County. Having I-5 closed costs companies millions and millions of dollars in lost revenue b/c the freight can't move. The truckers don't get paid unless they are hauling. This flood is the LAST thing our local economy needed.
All train service was canceled because the tracks in Chehalis were flooded. There was no north/south Amtrak or freight service for a few days. Lewis County

I-5, Chehalis. Lewis County
Here's an aerial view of River Road, the Puyallup River and the flooded farmland on the other side of River Road. This is the road I have taken to get to/from work every day for the past 8 years. It wasn't closed, but the river was nearly road level when I drove home. Traffic was awful b/c Levee Road on the other side of the river was closed. Pierce County
River Road at the 66th Street Bridge, Puyallup. I pass this bridge every day. Pierce County
Puyallup. Pierce County
Puyallup River. Pierce County
Intersection of Hwy. 203 & the Woodinville-Duvall Road, in Duvall. King County

Lots of flooding way up north, in Ferndale, which is about 35 miles from the Canadian border.
Whatcom County

Snoqualmie Falls is almost unrecognizable. King County

The valley town of Orting, which is below Bonney Lake, was advised to evacuate, and quickly. They got hit hard when the Puyallup crested after a Pineapple Express storm in December, 2007, so more people were motivated to leave this time. Pierce County

Slide on Hwy. 20, the North Cascades Highway. Whatcom County
Downtown Snoqualmie. King County

Tolt River over the road in Carnation. King County

Wallace River in Gold Bar. Snohomish County

Stanwood. Snohomish County

This slide happened near the ski slopes at Hyak, up on Snoqualmie Pass. It stopped short of I-90 but the highway was closed anyway. Kittitas County

And finally, I couldn't get home my normal route, Highway 410 in Sumner, because of water over the road. This particular stretch always floods a bit and has very bad drainage. I had to go up to Auburn and hope that the rivers in that area (Stuck & White) hadn't flooded the roads. Fortunately they weren't that high yet and I was able to get across and then up the hill to Bonney Lake, the back way.

I do love the rain, but I think this is the first time in my life that I've hoped it stays dry for awhile.
Photos courtesy of and

January 2, 2009

My First "First"

For the first time in my life, I've come in First Place at something. Usually, if I win at all, it's second place. Always second place. It's sort of become a joke.

I've been playing a really fun game on Facebook, called "Hatchlings". I've gotten Kris, Jaime and Susan into it a bit too. For the past few rounds I've played, since April, I've always been in second place. No matter how fast I hunted, I could never catch up to the person who was always in first.

Last month, I noticed that she was gone from my network and I was in first place in the Tacoma Network. I sent her a message and she said she had changed to the Seattle network b/c she had more friends up there, which left me in first place. Yesterday, before the game reset at 4 pm, I was on a mad dash to get to 20,000 total eggs found since the round began on October 1. Last night, Brad issued the Certificates. I also came in 674th place, overall, which isn't bad considering that there are 729,310 people who have the game installed and half that number are active players. Yay Me!
This was the most fun round yet, with tons and tons of surprises and fun, starting with the Halloween eggs. Here's a small sampling of the 55 total "special edition" eggs that were released.

This one hatched into Frankenstein.

One of my FAVE designs of all time.
It hatched into a Siamese cat.

But if you named the Hatchling, "dog", this is what happened to the cat.
This egg hatched into one of three designs: a witch, a vampire and a skeleton.

This is the Golden Donor Egg, available for players who had either filled out offers thru the Hatchlings sponsors or donated towards the cost of the new servers, something I did.
On Election Day, we got hatchable Democrat Donkeys and Republican Elephants, plus this non-hatchable Vote egg.
This was the one released for Veterans/Remembrance Day. It doesn't hatch either.
Next we were treated to the koi eggs, one per day, for a week.
Then the burger eggs began showing up too. If you feed them to your hatchling pet, it maximizes its' happiness.
Thanksgiving saw the release of a plain pumpkin that hatched into a male or female pilgrim, and this corn egg that hatched into male or female Native Americans.

And a turkey of course.
We were next treated to the snowfamily eggs, that showed up one per day, for 7 days again.

This reindeer is soooo cute.

Then Brad really turned on the juice, releasing the 12 days of Christmas eggs. Brad was very creative, in making up the egg designs. The rotary dial phone for "four calling birds" had everyone in hysterics. The Milkmaid egg hatched into 8 different maid/cow designs. My fave is the leaping lord frog.
There were also the present eggs, that didn't hatch until Christmas Day.........into an adorable puppy.We finished off the round with the baby new year eggs, pink and blue, which hatched into either Caucasion or African American boy and girl babies.

The next round just started last night and I am hanging back so that a new friend in my network, who came in second, has a shot at first place, so I'm trying to say one egg behind her.
So now you know why I abandoned my blog over the last few months. Maybe some people will see it as a colossal waste of time, but I had a great time and a lot of laughs with my fellow players.