Sunday, December 4, 2016

Down Memory Lane

As some rather wet snow falls out of the sky this morning and Christmas music is playing on Pandora, I find myself reminded of years gone past.  Days, when I didn't have a care in the world outside of trying to stay in my parents good graces.  Back to the days when dirt was invented; well, maybe not that far.

Painting by Terry Redlin
I only wish I could live there

As a young child, Christmas was always an exciting part of the year.  While we did go to church and I did understand the true meaning of the day I found myself enjoying the anticipation, food, decorations, food and trips to visit family and friends, oh, and more food.

My mother was a very capable baker.  She usually started Christmas preparations sometime in October by making a batch of fruit bread for the holidays and gifts.  She would combine candied fruit, nuts and rum with her homemade, for lack of a better word, dough.  She would put the ingredients in little tin bread pans.  I can't remember if she baked them before she froze them or not.  I suspect not because her sole reason for starting so early was to allow the rum to infuse itself with the other ingredients.  Sometime after Thanksgiving, she would begin the process of deicing the cakes and baking them.

Being a baker mom couldn't help herself around the holidays.  The kitchen was usually the warmest room in the house because the oven was going constantly.  She would prepare and bake all kinds of cookies.  Candies were one of her favorite things to make and she usually had two or three different ones.  What she called butter horns, breads and something called a Christmas wreath were always welcome additions to our holiday food fair.  I especially waited with baited breath for the Christmas wreath.  It was bread like dough with candied fruit and nuts inside formed to look like a wreath and the inside edges were cut with a knife.  Baked in the oven until golden brown and drizzled with homemade icing and I was pretty sure that I had died and gone to Heaven every single Christmas.

I can see the house in my mind, the kitchen lay out and mom kneading bread on the table as something bakes in the oven.  I remember the smells and all the dirty pots and pans she had to clean after each round of baking but the thing I remember the most is the love of what she was doing.  She spent so many hours working dough to make it just right.  She put a lot of love in all that she did and I am truly sorry I didn't recognize that until after she passed away.  One thing we never lacked during the holidays was goodies made by a woman who obviously enjoyed bringing joy to others.

I will head back down this lane later but for now, I hope all is well with you and yours.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catch Up and Root Beer

Just thought I had better post a blog in case any one following it had come to the conclusion that I had passed on to another dimension.  Actually I went back to work for a few months and haven't really been doing anything but that.  We haven't taken any trips or done much of anything lately but the good news...we have left this dimension yet.

I got an email from one of my favorite stores in all the world, the Root Beer Store.  Seems the cost of obtaining product coupled with the newly voted minimum wage law here in Washington State has forced them to close all but one of their local stores and it closes in December.  Yesterday, Mia and I dropped by the flagship store in Redmond, Washington and purchased several different bottles of my favorite liquid and I have already enjoyed three of them.

The first asks you to Judge For Yourself.  I gave it an 8 out 10.  It is very good but not the best every.

The second is Avery's.  The logo says you should "Always ask for Avery's.  I gave it a 9 out of 10.  It is one of the sweeter versions.
Last but not least is Cicero Beverage Co. Salted Caramel Root Beer.  Very good with a pretty strong caramel presence.  I don't get a salt taste.  9 out of 10.

There you have it.  Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Things Are Changing

Several years before retirement we chose to downsize our lifestyle and move from a house to a condo.  During our search for an established, well run campus we made a list of things we wanted.  We figured this would be our last move and wanted to be fairly close to the things that we needed.

At the time, the Metro transit line ran right down the main street in front of our campus.  That changed a couple of years ago when there was a shuffling of routes and we now must walk several blocks to catch a bus.

In the beginning, we had a Balley's Fitness Center right out our back gate and across the street.  That changed in December 2011 when Balley's experienced financial issues and they closed down and LA Fitness purchased most of their memberships.  Unfortunately for us, LA Fitness already had two big facilities in Federal Way so ours was shuttered.  Earlier this week, work began on the old Balley's Facility to transform the property to multiple family dwellings.

I guess change is good.

Retirement is good for sure.  I get fewer phone calls and emails and the best part, I don't have to answer them within any time constraints.  I can sleep in but Honey has decided that I shouldn't do that cause she needs to get up early.  I can do or not do anything, anytime I want.  So life is good at the moment.  We are looking forward to tripping next year after Mia's surgery and recovery.

Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

So Apparently We Do Reincarnate

Atoms are the building blocks of everyone and everything we see.  They are everywhere in multitudes that cannot be comprehended by our current abilities.
It has been stated that atoms that are currently forming our being may have come from universe billions and billions of years ago, shaping new forms.  Those forms cease to exist and the atoms move on to be something else.  We could have the atoms of many of those that have existed before us.  Think about the possibility that you might have Einstein, Jefferson, Washington, John Wilkes Booth, or any other possible combination of atoms from some other entity.

Reincarnation at the very basic level?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Awaiting Results

Went to our regional health facility on Monday as requested by my Dermotolgist.  Since I have been having so much trouble he wanted me to come in for a biopsi of my skin for analysis.  I was injected with a deadner that makes the skin pop up on my right forearm and left outer thigh.  Using a punch tool the doctor took what looked like a "core sample" of material from both places.  Since this process digs a half inch deep hole in you there is blood and a big enough hole that a single stitch is required to close the wound.  I didn't feel a thing and I was happy for that.  I hope that I will find out what has invaded my body and get something to make it finally go away.
The doctor prescribed Doxepin to help relieve itching and the insomnia that comes with the constant itching.  I took one last night and fell soundly to sleep.  Mia said I was scratching but I didn't know it cause I was out cold.  Today, I have been in a fog and a little spacey.  A very powerful, small pill.

Early this morning I made raspberry freezer jam and some raspberry topping for ice cream.  It is so easy to do and I love raspberry jam.

Beyond that I have done very little.  Actually found myself taking a nap this afternoon.  I am thinking I won't take another pill tonight.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Difficulties in Canada

We spent a day roaming around Canmore and Banff as well as heading up to Lake Louise.  Our son had told us of a tea house a short hike from a huge parking lot.  We had hoped to take that hike but it became very clear,  early on, that the weather conditions were not going to allow us to make the trip.  Overcast and raining we chose not to take the hike.  We had not packed proper clothing for such a hike as it was over ninety degrees when we left.  Weather conditions can change in the mountains and they did.  We spent time around Banff and Canmore enjoying the scenery and just relaxing.

We found a quilt shop in Canmore that Mia said was fairly well known in the quilting community.  She investigated their wares while Honey and I waited as we usually do.

Canmore was a coal mining town before it closed down in 1979.  Named after the town of Ceannmore in northwest Scotland.  It is a Celtic word meaning "Big Head" and was titled in honor of King Malcolm III of Canmore who killed Macbeth in a fight for the Scottish throne in 1057.
The last mining town left in the Bow Valley area the city soon learned that it needed to make some adjustments in order to survive.  In 1980 Canmore became the site of the Nordic events for the winter Olympics in 1988.  Since then, Canmore has continued to be a vibrant community.

We took a short road trip while awaiting the check in time.  Following Three Sisters Road east out of town along the Bow River we come around a corner and look off in the distance to see what looks like a domed building sitting on the moon.  The Lafarge Concrete plant has a store dome that gives you the impression you are on another planet.  There is a lot of rock mining and gravel and concrete companies along this stretch of highway.

 Unfortunately Mia continued to have difficulties with her digestive system and my rash was moving around my body like a marathon runner.  The constant itching and scaling was driving me crazy.  Numerous emails to my medical provider got several different responses.  One response suggested I start taking bleach bathes.  Simple put, fill the bathtub and put a half a cup of household bleach in the water and jump in.  Supposedly it will kill bacteria if the rash is some kind of infection.

It didn't do much and I have continued to take one daily since the first.  The scaling seems to be better but the itching is almost non-stop.  The good news is the doctors made an appointment for me on Monday and I will be going in to have a biopsy taken.  Hopefully we will soon learn what it is and what it will take to dispose of it.

We saw a lot of great scenery in Canada and learned that it is illegal to panhandle.  Signs say it is also unsafe for motorists.  We discovered that Alberta has many economic issues with both a provincial and city governments that are taxing many businesses right out of business.  So everything isn't rosy in Canada.

Hope everything is good and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Canada and Beyond

We spent last Sunday night in Post Falls, Idaho and got up and took a leisurely trip to Kalispell, Montana.  As I said before, one reason for stopping in this area of Montana is the Polebridge Mercantile Bakery and one of my favorite things, Huckleberry Bear Claws.  I was not disappointed.  We had very little trouble locating the bakery in Whitefish.  To my surprise, the Whitefish location makes a bear claw nearly twice the size of the one in Polebridge for the same cost.  Definitely satisfied with that.
I have had an old leather belt for as long as I can remember.  I have punched holes in it and used it to hold up just about every kind of pants you can imagine.  Lately it has been getting a bit tattered.  I have purchased new belts from department stores but I find myself very disappointed when they fail because they are not pliable and tend to crack and fall apart.  My old belt is one piece of leather that is soft and hasn't cracked.  I went to a clothing store in Kalispell and found a replacement (haven't tossed it yet) belt.  It was expensive as belts go but if it last anywhere as long as the one it is replacing it will still be usable after I am dead and buried.  I highly recommend this store if you want good outerwear with a western flair.
We left Kalispell and head up to cross the border into the Canadian Rockies.  The border is just a short trip north and the crossing was not busy at all.  We were in Canada on our way to Banff in no time at all.  I had to adjust to the speed being in kilometers and thus a little slower that the U.S. equivalent.  In fact, we didn't see a speed limit above 120 kilometers per hour (68 mph) during our whole trip.  We cruised into the Canadian Rockies and I have to admit my son was right.  The Canadian version of the Rockies is better than the American version.  I can't really put my finger on it but I think it has to do with the speed of travel (much slower), the roadway (not a freeway) and the scenery.  The magnificent vistas catch you at every turn.  As you climb and head towards their Trans Canadian Highway you soon learn you are about to enter the Banff National Park.  You arrive at Radium Hot Springs and soon learn that you need a pass to transverse the park.  The purchase is simple.  Just tell them how many days you expect to be visiting and they charge you accordingly and give you a pass to tape to your windshield.  Low the poor individual who happens to stop anywhere in the park with no pass taped to the windshield.  Park workers are everywhere and they write tickets for not passes.
Amazing Vistas

Sign flashes to warn of bears in the road


Wild flowers

Wild life

Wild river

Wild rapids

We arrived in Canmore, BC just east of Banff a few kilometers and made our way to our motel for the next two days.  So far so good.

I was still suffering from what I thought was psoriasis but I was becoming more aware that it might be something else.  The itching and rash was terrible.  There was burning combined with constant itching and some skin scaling over a good percentage of my body.  My medical staff worked with me as we traveled but as I will tell you later, nothing seemed to help give me any relief.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.  I will continue the update over the next couple of days.