Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

What a wonderful day to be holed up with friends! The white-trunked alder trees and the deep green hemlocks are whipping around in on-again, off-again rain. Our friends are Master Gardeners here, interested in history and genealogy, biology and ham radio. We have plenty of old friends in common and the talk flows easily. As soon as the wind lets up somewhat, we will head south into Oregon to see one more couple from “the old days”…also MGs and hams.

I mentioned on Facebook a few days ago that we had been going through old copies of Junior Scholastic and having lots of laughs. Junior Scholastic is/was a weekly news magazine for junior high students. Our school must have subscribed to them because we got to take them home and I have maybe 30 or so spanning the years of 1957 to 1960. (more…)

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November 27, 2012

On a beautiful sunny Monday we said tearful goodbyes to Keri and Stephen and headed south. Down through Seattle to Tacoma, on to Olympia we went, where the state capitol dome rises beautifully above the multitude of trees. Then we turned north up 101 to a tiny town and an old friend.

A teacher I worked with back in the day, Linda has a home on a lake with a view of snow-capped mountains on the Olympic Peninsula. A canoe and a kayak are pulled up next to her dock, a crackling fire nearby provides a cozy spot for a second cup of coffee and great conversation. She tells of bears and cougars, bald eagles and river otters. This place suits her well. Funny thing—twenty years ago I would have said her pre-school special ed classroom suited her equally well. And it did. She’s one of those people who adds to the world around her and makes it better, wherever she is. (more…)

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November 25, 2012

For the second day in the ten we have been here, it has not rained for 24 hours. The sun has been out most of the day but it appears not to be operating at full power. It is cold. Not Iowa-after-a-blizzard cold but still uncomfortable.

The concrete sidewalk out the back door, with its coating of fallen leaves, has not dried off yet. For the first time since the invention of the infernal leaf blowers, I see a possible use for them. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to sweep and rake those soggy leaves. A blower is likely the only way to get them off the sidewalk and thus keep them from being tracked into the house. Even without the big red bow and a “don’t open me till Christmas” tag, the shiny new leaf blower scratches one gift off our list. (more…)

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November 23, 2012

Here I sit at my daughter’s dining table, thankful for the remains of the Thanksgiving feast. We managed to avoid the crowds on this cold, wet Friday by hanging out for a couple of hours in a delightful antique mall, where nothing I could afford interested me and I couldn’t justify buying the stuff I really liked. But I have some great ideas for Christmas gifts!

We were fortunate that the rain held off for the whole day on Thanksgiving and we managed an interesting walk through some undeveloped park property nearby. Thirty-some years ago, there was a restaurant there with a small resort. The constant rain, vigorous growth of trees and understory shrubs, and thick carpets of moss have turned the crumbling walls of uncertain origin into mysterious ruins. (more…)

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November 18 and 19, 2012

It’s colder and wetter and constantly dark and gloomy. It is Seattle. But it is home to our daughter and son-in-law and we’re getting ready for the first Thanksgiving we’ve had with them in several years.

On Sunday morning Keri and I did the grocery shopping for the big dinner and for several other cooking projects we have in mind. Then we all paid a visit to the nearby Boeing factory tour. Because we are retired and she is on vacation, the days of the week have escaped us. We would have seen much more in the factory if workers had been present, but the noise level would probably have seriously compromised the excellent presentation our tour guide gave. (more…)

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It is cold. It is wet. It is dark. It is Seattle.

It is also great to be here with Keri and Stephen. Our trailer is happily resting on their spacious driveway and the truck is slowly getting washed by the constantly intermittent rain. We’ve done some shopping in preparation for Thanksgiving and are making lists of groceries needed for dinner and other cooking projects. The little girl who couldn’t wait to grow up so she could eat all the cookie dough without Mommy stopping her is indulging her passion for the chocolate cookies she learned to make ever so long ago. She assures me she will bake some of them, as they owe the neighbor for mowing their lawn this afternoon when it quit drizzling for an hour. (more…)

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November 15, 2012

The forecast for Boise and surrounding areas had been for dense fog hanging in until noon, so we were delighted to find breaks in the clouds and a ceiling at least a couple of thousand feet above ground level. As we left the campground we discovered we were near the National Interagency Fire Center. It is this agency which coordinates wildland fire fighting efforts and developed the original Incident Command System used today by the federal government and most if not all emergency response agencies.

By the time we crossed the Snake River again and headed northwest into Oregon we were in virgin territory again for us. At Farewell Bend, the Snake makes another bend to the east and the highway (as well as the Oregon Trail) heads northwest into the Pacific Time Zone. At Baker City, we considered stopping at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center but decided not to take the time. In conversation with our daughter last night, we said we would try to make it to her house by tonight, so excursions and poking along were not on the agenda. (more…)

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How do you know when you are “out west”? Besides looking at a map, there are many other telltale signs that you are truly not back east any longer. We haven’t seen deer for a couple of days, but dozens of small herds of antelope graze on what appears to be dead brush and dried grasses.

A sure sign of western, unpopulated states are triple trailers on trucks. They are not the 53′ trailers seen elsewhere, pulled by a semi. They are shorter but the overall length must be considerably longer than 53′. OK, if you want to know more, go look it up on Google. Apparently some eastern states also allow triple trailers on certain turnpikes. And here I thought it was strictly a western phenomenon. (more…)

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I hereby promise I will check the map and whatever other references more carefully before I make a statement such as the one with which I ended the last post. Cheyenne is listed at 6067 feet elevation, Laramie at 7165, and Rock Springs, clear across the state, is 6271. What isn’t posted on my road atlas is the 8000+ stretch between Cheyenne and Laramie. Also not listed are the electronic signs along the highway giving wind warnings. Several times as we crossed one of our favorite states, (more…)

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November 12, 2012

We started in Salina, Kansas this morning, just one county west of the destination of my first trip to our church’s youth camp back in 1950-something. The trip from Des Moines, without interstates, seemed to take forever but was still exciting. It was a Road Trip! Something other people got to do and now it was my turn! The fact that there was a cute boy in the car didn’t hurt anything, either. I was all of 13 or so and cute boys were…well, I think we all remember those days. (more…)

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