Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

"Blog & Newsletter"

Kotsogean Home 2017 and beyond:

This was the last we saw of the old house and this was during the winter.   Now there is a whole new city street that is paved, the lots are all leveled and divided and the street lights are in.  Three houses have foundations and the last time I was by, two of them were getting walls.  

We have officially moved on.   Bill’s Little Gem Magnolia’s are thriving after being moved 5 times in the year before.  We may not have a “little house in the woods” but we are enjoying our new abode.

Friends and Family: 

Emma, (CeLinda's Mom)
and CeLinda                    
Deborah K, Bill K, and CeLinda 

Tamara, Halie, CeLinda and Deborah K 
Friends passing through and family near and far, all are welcome at our place.  Making other people smile warms both our hearts.

Christmas Eve 2016
It is a tradition with us to have Christmas Eve with our good friends - Bill and Colleen Mohn. Top row - Bill, CeLinda, Katherine(Bill Mohn's  granddaughter), Rob, Susan (Bill Mohn's daughter). Bottom row - Bill Mohn, Lido (Bill and Colleen's dog) and Colleen. Lido is a cute dog that has learned to know us well since we do dog sit him every once in a while.  For many years My Mom and Dad joined us for Christmas,  once again we are really excited that Emma will be with us once again. 

Mid-Winter Slide Show

Mid-Winter Slide Show
This has been a long tradition with this group of friends. The Mid Winter Slide Show started years ago as a time to look at slides from the previous climbing season and plan the climbs for the upcoming season. This party has gotten less and less frequent but still is a lot of fun. The picture has the following people: Top Row - Sheena & Dale Hamilton, Bill, Chuck Easton, Autumn Scott, Tim McNulty, and Neil Jorgensen. Middle row - Mike Nelson, Lori Jo's mother, Annie Walker, Pat Jorgensen. Bottom Row- Randy Godfrey, Lori Jo Erlichman, CeLinda and Mary Morgan. For the last two years, we have had this party at our house during January.

Bill Turns 70

Wow, do I feel old. The way I look at it, I am celebrating that I made it to 70. We had two separate parties to get all the relatives over to our house. CeLinda found the happy 70th Birthday banner. I am living it up for a month just to remind myself. 

Christopher, Bill and Nathan

I had two 70th birthday parties this year. This picture is from one of them with Chris and his cousin Nathan. We recently did some babysitting for three of Nathan's four children. Chris and I try to get together as often as our schedules will allow.

Our Adventures:
CeLinda in Leavenworth WA, Late January 2017

Leavenworth is a small town in the Cascade mountains.  The town was celebrating the 50th year of their winter lights festival this year and they decided to leave the ‘village square’ decorated with trees and lights until valentines this year.  Without all the obligations of the holidays, we took off, just for an overnight in the mountains.  We drove up enjoyed the lights, walked around town, went to dinner, drove around town again to admire the lights,  okay we drove around that little square four times. Then we went to bed, woke up to 6 inches of new snow, went to breakfast, walked around town some more (that is when BK took this photo) and then we drove home and jumped back into our projects. 

We both loved going to the Oregon Country Fair last year and we wanted to go again. This year we figured out why we enjoy this venue over so many other festival choices.  It is not too hot as the park setting is all along a river, there are trees and vines and grasses everywhere so there is lots of shade. It is family friendly, it is whimsical and it ‘feels’ clean.   They have volunteers that just walk around all day with watering buckets on the dusty parts to keep the dust down.   Bill and I are drawn to the music.  I think there are at least 20 stages where entertainment is going all the time.  Jazz, blues, country, rock and drums, poetry and aieral acts, jugglers well just about anything you can think of and a whole lot of things I never thought of before.

CeLinda taking a ‘spin’  Getting Ready for the Oregon Country Fair.

CeLinda looking at the Olympia Capital Building
On our way to the Oregon Country Fair, we stopped in Olympia to have lunch by this lake. I could not help taking this picture. 

I mentioned in another photo that Bill and I had taken a trip to Iowa and South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore in June. Well, here we are below Mt Rushmore. The area looked different than I remembered it in the movie North by Northwest which was made in the 1950s. We stayed a couple of nights in this area called the Black Hills of South Dakota. Maybe you remember a song by the Beatles called Rocky Racoon where they mention the Black Hills. We sang it halfway across South Dakota.  We were both very impressed by the delicate work these stone artists create.   We went to see the Crazy Horse monument that is being sculpted now.  The work is interesting and amazing.  Just being at a national monument has a special feel.  We could see the faces of the mountain from far away but up close; all 50 flags of the United States,  hundreds of people from all over the world and a really beautiful setting.   There is a lot to see and do in the Rapid City area, if you ever go there give yourself a few days to explore.  

Bill and CeLinda at Mount Rushmore

Iowa Lakes
We took a trip to Iowa and Mt. Rushmore in June of 2017. We flew to Omaha and rented a car. We drove to Spencer, Iowa where we stayed with a friend, Julie, who Bill had known at work during the 1990's. We had a lot of fun catching up with Julie and she sent us north of Spencer to the Okoboji Lakes. Some call them the Great Lakes of Iowa. This is a picture of us just before we took a boat trip around one of the lakes.

Bill with cousins Penny and Susan
We went to Vancouver BC for a memorial service for one of my mother's relatives. My mother's sister, Mary, lives in Vancouver and her daughters also live in British Columbia. I had not seen either of them for quite a while. I was thrilled to see them again.  The very best part about memorial services is getting to see special people that we don’t get to be with very often.

 Bill and Dan Pedersen
Dan is a classmate of mine from High School. I ran into Dan at a couple of reunions and found out that he lives on Whidbey Island and is an excellent writer. Dan creates a blog about life around his home on Whidbey and he has written several books which you can find on Amazon. I am reading a mystery by Dan called Final Deception about a murder on Deception Pass. I have driven to Whidbey Island a couple times to have lunch with Dan, Chuck Easton(an old friend from the first grade) and Autumn Scott (Chuck's wife). Each time was a fun adventure to connect with old friends. Dan and I are standing in front of his house.

Snug Harbor Resort, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington   September 2017
Another get-away we had this year was to this lovely cabin.  The deck and front windows also look out over the harbor.  It was exceptionally beautiful and we enjoyed a wonderful rest, relax and renewal visit here. 

I decided to take a solo hike up the Mountain Loop highway out of Granite Falls in September. I found this hike on the Washington Trails Association website. The picture with the bridge is from their website. It had a 1300 elevation gain in 2.7 miles which turned out to be a lot of elevation gain in a short distance. I was able to take a picture of myself by balancing my phone on a rock.

CeLinda admiring her new garden and bringing in some of the potatoes
We started late this year, but with some determination, we built the “best garden ever”.  Starting from scratch we could fight our battles early so to speak……   The garden is a raised bed 4 or 5 layers of brick high.  Every bit of that brick we had moved from the old house.   We built the bed 4 feet by 12 feet along part of the backyard.  We lined the entire thing with metal mesh to keep the rats and moles from digging in from underneath (like at the old house) then we put down a layer of weed barrier and then we filled it with fresh compost enriched garden soil. There wasn’t even a stray pebble it was beautiful dirt. It turns out that I found an exercise I enjoy,  carrying bricks,  each one weighs about 7 pounds and we picked them up carried then across the yard and set them down in a new place  Now we keep a few on each side of the yard to carry back and forth.  I especially liked sitting on the edge and tending to the garden and there are no deer in our backyard. Like I said this garden was late but we still got green beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. We had all the lettuce we could eat and share all summer long.  Everything tasted delicious and it was so fun to watch everything grow.  I have been trying to garden for most of my adult life.  There is something satisfying about growing your own food.   I am really glad I don’t have to depend on growing my own food, but it is fun and I know it is organic and clean. I am looking forward to next year’s garden.