Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mount Rushmore

Yikes,  I knew it had been a long time since I posted a blog but I didn't know it had been a half of a year.  So here is the thing;  I am a retired, person I get around to it and there are a lot more stories in my head....   The following story is but a week in mid-June.  The blog is changing scope again but it is still in the end: CeLinda's Chatter. 



Dreams and Wishes

Somewhere in the back of my head I had planned a vacation.  I think this goes back to being with my first husband.   My plan was for us to own an airplane and fly around the country seeing all the amazing sights from the air.  We would fly over the Grand Canyon, fly around Mount Rushmore and fly the length of the Mississippi and watch the world change beneath us.   

I could ‘see’ us flying around Mount Rushmore like we have flown around Mount Rainer and Mount ST Helens in Washington State.   Bill and I have been married for 36 years now and he has heard me talk about Mount Rushmore and both of us have the desire to see more of our National Parks and Monuments. The last few adventures of Bill and I have been road trips where we fly to a city, rent a car and then drive to a couple of other places.  When you are putting pins in a map that represent these trips they usually look like some kind of triangle.

Reasons why we picked Mount Rushmore:
1.     It is a national memorial.  It draws tourist like us to the region, to help their economy and to let others see the interesting and beautiful region of the world.
2.    I had started asking friends, patients and total strangers about the area: what to see and do.
3.    It looked like the average daily temperature was in the range of temperatures that I can handle with Addison’s disease so it was a good choice for an adventure.
4.    It was close enough to two other places we had on our list that a good triangle began to form. 
5.    It was looking like a good “fly-to and road-trip” destination point.



The Other Points in this Triangle:

Omaha Nebraska: 

After Donald Trump won the Presidency and I saw how divided the coasts are from the ‘heartland’ of the country I just keep looking at that map and asking myself how it can be so different from place to place.  (Bill and I have some theories about that but ‘that’ is scope creep and that means it is now two more stories.)   We also have a large map on the wall with pins in it for all the places we have travelled together.  We had already noticed a big gap in the middle of the country where we have never been, together.  We had previously looked into getting a train pass and getting on and off exploring Middle America that way.  It was quickly ruled out as an option for my Addison’s disease.  The times that you would have to get on and off the train would disrupt my sleep and that is a good way to bring on and Addison event, so no train trip for me.

I had gone to AAA (I have been a member as long as I can remember and they have saved me so many times.  I used to have them make me something they called a ‘trip-tik’ they planned it all out for you and even marked the constructions sights that you might run across.  I haven’t even thought about them since Google Maps but I am still cautious enough to have a back up on paper if I am going into unknown territory.  Hence the trip to AAA for maps and travel books for those states. After a bit of study on the internet and the old fashioned ways we were finding lots of points of interest to check out.  A friend we planned to visit at the third point in this triangle was very familiar with Omaha and she gave us lots of suggestions of places to visit and things to see.  We spent the first afternoon of our trip walking through Old Town Market filled with lots and lots of little shops that really made me think of San Antonio, Texas.  There were lots of restaurants to choose from and on that particular afternoon and evening the weather was perfect and there were lots of people crowded on balconies and decks enjoying themselves.  We ate dinner at a steakhouse named Anthony’s, my meal was delicious and Bill had eggplant parmesan and loved it.  I also remember I had sticker shock; I hadn’t even looked at steak on a menu in a very long time.   We really enjoyed our meal.    While we were eating we kept hearing classic 60's rock and roll.   I was thanking our waitress for the nice dinner and I mentioned we were going to follow our ears.   Vickie, our server for the evening looked up, studied my face, made a nice big smile and says "you will love it".  We walk 30 feet across the room and enter….   It was also like falling through Alice’s looking glass.   The band on the stage sounded like a British 60’s group and they were dressed like a British 60’s group all decked out in red with white eplets and gold ropes.  But they all looked like they were in there 20’s in 1960 which puts in their 60’s and 70’s now. And sure enough, the music took a break about 7:45 so we could all go home for the evening.  Everyone in the room was well over 50.  All were enjoying the music and the dance floor was packed.  I had the feeling I was visiting the retirement home where my mom lives, it was just like happy hour at Brookdale only this was my life and we were in a restaurant in Omaha Nebraska.   The next morning we hit the road heading for Spencer Iowa.

Julie's House 

Spencer Iowa

Bill had renewed his friendship with a co-worker a couple of years ago while she was back in the Seattle area for a visit.  She had extended the invitation to visit and we wanted to see her area.  Julie grew up in Spencer Iowa and she loves her hometown and we wanted to see it also.

We got to Julie’s about 2pm, arriving from the west on country roads.   Julie’s house was built in 1917. It is a three-story Tudor Craftsman House, with a fully finished basement, over 4000 square feet total.  Julie and Lee have fully restored the inside of the house room by room including replacing the boiler that provides all the heat and hot water. It's an amazing boiler system and they had very subtle radiators all over the house. The house is on the historic register.

The rest of the evening we talked about all the work they've done in the house step-by-step processes.  They had to start in the attic, the house had been four apartments at some point and they were reclaiming all the spaces to make it one house again.  While we were talking we made and ate dinner and she suggested plans for the next day to visit the lake area and extending the invitation for us to stay another night which we did.

Friday morning we woke up and the first place we went was the art center in town to pick up a copy of the book Julie has written about the big fire in Spencer back in the 1930s. Amazon has it but we chose to buy local.  Then we headed up to the Spirit Lake Region in Iowa they call it the Iowa Great Lakes.  They were cut by glaciers millions of years ago. Julie had mapped out the perfect day.  We walked around Arnold’s Park, had a delicious lunch overlooking the lake and then we took a ride on the Queen II a 60 minute narrated cruise on a reproduction of an 1884 steamboat.  We were exhausted by the end of our adventure and Julie had read our minds and bought pizza for dinner.  It was a wonderful visit.  We are looking forward to Julie and her family coming to visit us.

Saturday morning as we left Spencer heading towards Rapid City, we drove past the fairgrounds where all the floats were lining up for the Flag Day parade and celebrating FlagFest Weekend. (http://spenceriowachamber.org/flagfest.php)  I am just saying this stuff is real. We love Spencer Iowa from Julie’s eyes.    
      
BK in front of Sioux Falls 

Wedding happening while we were there. 
Traveling to Rapid City took us two days with stops at Sioux Falls, The Corn Palace and a driving tour of the Badlands. The otherworldly landscape of eroded buttes and pinnacles changes throughout the day as the lighting transforms the scenery.  It was warmer than the predicted average and a bit too hot for me so Bill did some walk-abouts while I stayed in shade, a cool spot of air-conditioning. We stopped at Petrified Gardens and touched so many rocks, minerals and agates.  We did a tour of a Prairie Homestead; you could dress in clothing of the period which made it fun for other tourist looking at you in your prairie gear.  Not far from the Prairie Homestead was the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and then we arrived in the town of Wall, South Dakota where we stopped at Wall Drug for a ‘free glass of ice water’. 

All the murals are made of different colors of corn-on-the- cob. 

We had rented what we thought was a house outside of Rapid City through Air BnB.  What we got was the basement of a house, which a family was living in. The ‘kitchen was a craft type table with a microwave on it and a small refrigerator below the table and a big plastic tub to put your dirty dishes in, all this worked fine but it was not what we were expecting and it was hard not to be disappointed.  We have found this to be a problem with Air BnB because there ‘categories’’ don’t give you enough information.   If you are really flexible and amenities are not very important to you then no problem, we will probably use VRBO more in the future.  The point is to know what you are getting and get what you want.  We did not spend much time in Rapid City.  We did not see the ‘City of Presidents’ collection of life-size bronze statues of each of our past presidents.  We didn’t tour the Main Street Square, actually we didn’t do anything in Rapid City.  We went to Mount Rushmore, Custer’s State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial and those were long days; driving, hiking, walking, and exploring.  So much to see. Wonderful Fun.
Cute little prairie dog.

Heading back towards Omaha we had picked a Holiday Inn Express in O’Neil Nebraska to stay the night.  Woke up, had an amazing and cute "complimentary”, in hotel breakfast, tiny little flat pancakes, teeny tiny cheese omelet’s, very small biscuits with very delicious gravy and a cookie.  To be fair there was also beef and turkey sausage, oatmeal, cereals, yogurts, cottage cheese, cream cheese, bagels, lots of fruit, jams, peanut butter, honey,   muffins, pastries, and cinnamon rolls all fresh baked. This morning I enjoyed breakfast, in the moment then we showered, loaded the car and headed out, just making miles today and back home tomorrow I thought.  How silly of me. The drive was beautiful;  from rough and rowdy landscape , sand to spun gold in color and more and more green begin to appear  and the landscape wakes up and opens out just like a blooming flower reaching for morning light. Then we stopped for lunch at Perkins where everything is reliably good. Bill loved the chicken and wild rice soup and wants it again at home.   

We rested awhile.  Bill even went in the hot tub. We both caught up on emails that lead to more phone conversations and texting. Listening to the news is more challenging when traveling but when we finally listened I realized the news is on a weird repeating loop: a city in Europe has been attacked, there has been a horrible fire, the weather has turned something upside down or inside out , there has been a shooting somewhere  a car has driven into a crowd of people somewhere and the stock market has gone up, just a bit.   We started looking at possibilities for dinner: no fast food, no chain food, no Mexican had that recently,  I wanted meat one more time while we were in meat country and Bill found 2 BBQ places nearby we picked the Hog Stop BBQ (https://www.facebook.com/HOG-STOP-BBQ-168822079810504/)  and told ourselves that we would check this out and go to the other one if we didn't like the first one. We opened the door and walked into a different world,  Alice and the looking Glass different world.   We were looking around for a place to sit, a couple of people looked up and said "the food is great ". The seating was family style but the  closer we looked the place was packed,  the only empty seats were reserved for what turned out to be the local little league team then as we were about to turn and go a man put his hand on Bill's shoulder and ask if we minded  sitting at the bar.  There was a dinner menu but I never looked at it; there was a BBQ buffet dinner for 9.99 . The food was fabulous.  This buffet included smoked riblets, smoked ribs, smoked pulled pork, spicy baked beans and sweet baked beans, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and sweet corn pudding. There were lots more, after I totally licked my plate clean the waitress asked if I wanted another plate, I was dumbfounded at the thought. The guy to Bill's left was a truck driver, the guys that carry loads of sand, or rock and gravel to construction sites. I think he said he was from Maine but he had been in Omaha a long time, a very friendly "born - again Christian who had just broken up with his most recent girlfriend and he has just met someone new online.  He and Bill just chatted back and forth, before you knew it the two waitresses and a couple other locals had us putting a pin on the map where we were from. That really nice guy that put his hand on Bill's shoulder was the owner and he, the guy beside Bill,  and the waitresses all suggested that we go out back and listen to the music. "It's cooling off," they said.

 I remember walking into this restaurant that my eyes had to adjust to the light or the lack there of and it was true again, the sun in this part of the country takes more than ordinary sunglasses, I was squinting with mine on.  The sky was undisturbed by clouds of any kind and the sun is brighter here.   There were several big round tables in front of us, all full, there were some benches just to our left and they had been church pews in an earlier life.  People were sitting there too but there was room for Bill and I and we settled in.  The music was just starting and again I felt something in me ‘dial in’ like visiting an alternate reality. I was with Bill, that was reassuring but now the music was just as good as the food inside.  If we had ever chosen to live in "small town USA" this might be our life.  The younger of the two singers was Lucas Minor and the other could have been an older uncle, his name was Carl had been around the block more than once.   He played really great violin and Lucas was as good on guitar as he was singing. He told us later that his first album should be coming out soon.   He played several tunes a couple were Garth Brooks and then his daddy shouted from across from me, play something you wrote,  so he did and it was good to.  As the music played and the songs went by I looked around: straight ahead behind the musician's were the softball fields where children were playing and off to the right was the smoker for the  restaurant it was busy and the smells filling the air were fabulous. The crowd was mostly friends and family of Lucas there to support and encourage him along with a few strays like us.  The waitress for the outside area was friendly also, filling up beer cups and water glasses between drags on a cigarette she left at the bar.   This is just where I wanted to be. Then the music took a break and it was time to go back to the hotel. 

We played in our suitcases a bit, sorting and organizing and throwing away then we lay back, turned on the TV and chilled out. There was a really interesting program about sharks and an effort to develop shark deterrents. I love those programs, there is so much research going on and it is so interesting. This planet is an amazing place.

More Stories to come.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Broken





Events and Happenings, all in the last two weeks:

·         The freezer died.  This is the ‘new’ freezer, turns out it was 17 years old.  Of course it was defrosted and clean during the move less than 4 months ago but frost had started to build up a little on the coils.  Then I looked one day and said those coils at the top are all clean, again.  No frost.  The next day the top two shelves were melted and things were starting to melt on the other shelves.   We were able to move the stuff in the freezer to the freezers of the three fridges in the house and wait for the new freezer to be delivered.   We did throw away a lot from the top two shelves but I know we were able to averted huge waste and I joked about it being such a first world problem because of the backup refrigerators.  Thank you for your service old freezer.
·         The clothes dryer that came with the new house died:   Bill took it apart and discovered it had been repaired before and it had not been repaired correctly.  The heating coil wiring had broken before and had been repaired with solder which worked for a while but we ordered a new part, along with 2 other parts.  This all cost about $300 instead of a new dryer at $1000 and essentially we have a new dryer.  Extending the life of something instead of sending it off to the landfill.  Thank you clothes dryer for continuing to serve us.
·         The Microwave in the kitchen died. (We have one in the kitchenette also, again a first world problem.)  Right in the middle of preparing a dinner for 12, I was able to steam the first two bowls of green beans and on the third bowl at the end of 6 minutes the beans were still frozen.  It took some testing and evaluating to confirm that indeed the microwave was dead.  Thank you for your service.  We still have the “new” microwave from the old house sitting on the back porch.  We just hadn’t gotten to deciding what to do with it yet.  Now Bill is planning on taking down the old broken microwave and replacing it with the “new” one from the old house.  Turns out it is handy to have back up appliances.  But nothing is easy either; the mounting brackets are not the same, the screws and holes are not the same either.  We are using the microwave in the kitchenette until it all gets changed out.  (A few more steps on my pedometer)
·         The stove that came with the new house is having problems.  The lower heating element is not getting as hot as it should. I was in the middle of roasting Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes for that same dinner for 12 when the oven took half again as long as it should.   Guess what, the stove from the old house has been sitting against a wall between the kitchen and the front room of the new house, since we moved in.    I love my old stove.  It is a duel fuel stove; electric ovens and the top burners used propane at the old house.  Bill had to change out a little jet inside each burner to make it correct for natural gas.  Remember nothing is easy.  It took days to get the stove apart; screws were frozen and had to be drilled out.  He had to get all the new parts together and replace a few things also and we have both cleaned on that thing for days.  The cooked on stuff, under the burner and on the sides of the stove that you can’t get to even when you are trying to keep things clean.  Another $300 plus project and my stove from the old place is about to take center stage in the new kitchen.   We hope to sell the old stove for $75 or so and let it service someone else for a while and we will be back to using our previous stove.   I loved the gas cook top and the two ovens.
·         The clothes dryer from the old house, was not new.  In fact I had been saying from time to time that I didn’t think it was hot enough or that it wasn’t drying clothes well enough.  However with the other dryer out, Bill decided to hook up the old one as a backup.  So then, I am carrying wet clothes through the house and down the hall to the other laundry room and using the dryer there.  When Bill was installing the dryer he cleaned it; vacuuming the insides and all the lint traps and the little places you don’t reach to clean out all the time.  Now is works just like new drying a load of clothes in about 45 minutes.
·         The kitchen refrigerator, we brought with us works fine but the ice maker hasn’t worked in the new house.   I don’t think it has been hooked up correctly and since there is an ice-maker in the kitchenette I am managing but since I am mentioning the broken things that goes on the list.  Hopefully Bill will get it fixed, someday.   I know you are going to think we are crazy but we sold the fridge that came with the house.   It had the ice maker and water in the door and I really don’t like those.  I find that mostly they seem good for getting water all over the floor.  We also pulled out the garbage disposal and sold it.  Bill and I have composted for years and we needed the hole in the kitchen counter for the instant hot water machine.  Now those appliances have gone on to serve others in new homes.

We have a dear friend who broke a bone in her foot.  I have another dear friend that is on dialysis now her kidneys are ‘broken’.  I pray daily for a dear friend with cancer, she is going through chemo therapy trying to kill cancer and extend her life. Then we were eating lunch with a very special someone and his tooth chipped,  he said his teeth were chipping a lot.  Another friend has a failing heart and a different friend has failing lungs. Bill and I have both had our second colds of the winter which makes me feel vulnerable. Today I am grateful for the body I have and the ability it has to function as well as it does even with Addison’s disease and diabetes and the complications that come with it.   I will do all I can to take good care of this body so that we might serve each other a couple more decades anyway.
I have mentioned broken appliances and broken body parts.   During the move I have looked at and discarded furniture, clothing, games, books, dishes, cooking utensils, spices and canned goods but there is another very delicate part of our lives that can break.
Bill and I are good but around us lives are shattering:  We have friends that are suffering; broken hearts, broken relationships and broken lives.   If you have ever known someone that took their own life you know what an utterly selfish act that is.   The loss and pain that touches every single life that was connected to the person who dies is changed forever and not in a good way.  It seems broken promises work the same way.  The commitments we make to each other and to those around us when broken are devastating.  Some times when young people partner up I look and say, I just don’t see that working and other times I look and ‘judge’ they are a very good fit, then time passes and the truth shows in the end.  Last summer we were reeling from breakup of a young couple that we loved and really did think they were a good fit. We have had friends that were married for years separate and get back together we have friends that have troubled children breaking up it was easy to see how the stress got to them.  There are relationships where a partner has broken a promise and hurt the other partner even I have been guilty of this and for that I am sorry.  But when it happens to someone you love, someone you are close to, someone you counted on, someone you trusted, someone you care deeply for, the pain is almost unbearable at first.   Then somewhere inside me I hear a voice saying, that relationship brought beautiful children into this world, it brought families closer together, it brought out the good more often than not and I am grateful that the relationship was good as long as it lasted.   I can’t choose anyone else’s behavior for them, only my own.  I can be sad that people are hurting and wait for time to move on and watch the rebuilding begin.    

The Seahawks are resting up and getting ready for next season, kick-off is Sept. 10, 2017.
Thank you for reading. I have so enjoyed your emails and messages back.   I love staying in touch with each of you.  

It is perfectly okay to share this blog with others. To subscribe or unsubscribe from these emails, please write me at:celindakot@gmail.com
CeLinda K







Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Mid-Winter Slide Show

Our Northeast Corner of Kirkland;
Our House
In August 2016, we made plans to host “The Mid-Winter Slide Show,” again.  We had just bought the new house and we were looking to celebrate with these long-time friends.   This is the same group we had last January.   http://celindakot.blogspot.com/2016_02_01_archive.html    I did not realize then that it was inauguration weekend, nor did I realize that there would be so much activity going on that weekend.  The closer we got to the party weekend the more afraid Bill and I were that no one would come.  We figured after everyone had marched all day they would be too tired, especially those coming from further away.   We didn’t need to worry.
photo by Mike Nelson 
The gathering was a great success.  We all discussed the state of the country,  and in friendship we comforted and encouraged each other.  Generally I don’t talk politics or religion in this blog, not that I don’t have opinions about both it is just not what this blog is about.  I have been going to a new church for a few weeks and this past week I heard something that touched me personally;  Life is a gift, Love is the point and Kindness is the path. This speaks to me.  I am so grateful for the many friendships we have that mean so much to us that are so accepting, kind, loving, gentle, and  inclusive.
All 16 of us had great food and enjoyed photos of each other’s experiences the past year. One friend had hiked most of the Pacific Crest Trail this year and the photos were just amazing. Other friends had some pretty special adventures also.  The photos were fun to see and dream about.   Only 11 stayed overnight, we all had a nice breakfast and spa time before everyone had to leave.
photo by Mike Nelson

The day after everyone left I went to a National Geographic presentation with Hilaree O’Neill the leader of a group attempting to summit Burma’s Hkakabo Raza.  The presentation was at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle.  It was fascinating and beautiful and harrowing and everything in between.  Tuesday I went with a girlfriend to have a skin cancer removed from her forehead and that night we had 6 people for family dinner.  I made oven baked salmon on a bed of steamed spinach with oven roasted ‘smashed’ potatoes and steamed asparagus.  Wednesday I did a lot of errands and Thursday I had a “tea-party” for the girls from the dentist office where I work, and another girlfriend was over in the evening for knitting time.  I made cute little smoked salmon sandwiches on “Paleo Cloud Bread”,
I love a buffet.
chicken salad sandwiches on croissant sliders and deviled eggs.  I had lemon pound cake, chocolate caramel brownies and cheesecake too.  Friday, is usually date nite but we had lunch out with friends and then granddaughter Halie came over for the weekend.  We went out for pizza and then watched “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot” at home eating popcorn and drinking sodas.  
If you don’t live in the Seattle area MOD pizza may be new to you but they are popping up all over this area.  ( https://modpizza.com/My personal description is if you like Subway sandwiches and you want pizza, this is the place to go; from fresh baked crust (it is thin, but if you like it thicker they will double it.) all kinds of fresh sauces, meats, vegetables and special options to add on.  Your personally crafted pizza is then cooked in a brick oven and comes out just delicious.  In a real restaurant review I should include that they also make salads and shakes for those who want those choices.    Bill and I always get the MOD size, to go.  Bill usually gets two meals out of his and I get 2 or 3.  It is also, industrial, move-them-through atmosphere not an Italian place with checked tablecloths and an old wine bottle as the candle holder.
Saturday Halie and I had home-made ‘egg-mc-muffins’  then she and her grandpa entertained each other while I went to work.  We all went to see “A Dog’s Purpose” at the movie.  We Loved It, but we were all glad that we had put extra tissues in our pockets.   There was a family just down a few seats from us and 4 or 5 kids were all boo-hooing pretty loud.  Sunday Halie and I went to church and Bill went to a meeting also.   Sometimes I think to myself; I never go anywhere, boy I am not so busy now that I am semi-retired, I am really lazy sitting in this chair knitting but I have not had any of those thoughts recently. 

In My Travels,      
After Halie left Bill and I were sitting around watching television when I started looking at the week ahead;  if we cancelled family dinner, which I don’t do lightly we could maybe have an adventure.
So Beautiful, Leavenworth at night. 
Leavenworth Washington is a cute little town just east of Stevens Pass.  In 1962 the town was struggling with the slowdown of the timber industry when leaders of the community had a meeting to decide what direction the community should go.  They decided on the Bavarian theme and everything in town goes with the theme; food, hotels even Mc Donald’s all look like they were in the beautiful mountains of Germany . This past Christmas they celebrated their 50th year of having an annual tree lighting ceremony.  The entire city and hundreds of trees are decorated with lights.  It is just magical to see.  I think I asked Bill to drive through the downtown circle 3 maybe 4 times and he just laughed and turned the
What a Surprise! 
car again.   When we woke up the next morning we discovered it had snowed 5 or 6 inches.  We were shocked, it had not been in any of the forecast we had seen.  Bill is so careful;  before we left town he had purchased a new jack for the car, collected the gear for putting chains on the car, practiced putting chains on the car, stocked the car with extra water and de-icing gear just in case but we had checked the weather and everything was clear.  I think Bill is extra cautious because we drive a Hyundai Sonata,  it is a small mid-sized car that is pretty low to the ground. At the old house we had trouble getting our cars out of the driveway because we would drag the center of the car in the snow.  I think we both wanted to see the snow not necessarily get-snowed-on.  Well, snow it was; fresh, soft, fluffy lots of it. The night before coming in from dinner the old snow everywhere was this smooth, thick, scary ice and we knew it was under this innocent looking snow.  Thank goodness for really good boots that grabbed the snow just fine, we had the car cleaned off and were on our way. We had a really good breakfast and a good long walk through town and all the cute shops. Did I mention that it is sort of Christmas all year in Leavenworth with nut-crackers being “Bavarian” and all.  Anyway it is a cute town and I loved the change of scenery and we never needed those chains.  Driving home towards Seattle we stopped at Stevens Pass for another good walk-around and a really good lunch.  There were lots of skiers and snowboarders to watch. We discovered where a lot of very fit seniors are hanging out mid-week.  Hardly any crowds and Bill was really excited to see that the price drops big-time for him, at his next birthday.
Bill, standing on the Wenatchee River 
CeLinda enjoying the snow. 

Around the House:  
Bill and I got a new bed.  We got a King size bed just to help fill up the space in our ginormas bedroom. (spell checker says there is no such word….)  If you have a king size bed or if you have any trouble at all changing sheets on the new deep and heavy mattresses then you may be interested in this product.   Bill and I were changing the sheets on our bed. The mattress is 16 inches deep and it sits directly on slats, not a box springs.  When I lift my corner of the mattress I have to put my knee under it to help hold it up because it is so heavy.  Bill, in his never ending effort to make my world better decided it was time to invent something to solve this problem.  The first thing that came to mind was those things that you roll under a car and pump it up to lift the car, but in his research he found Magic Mattress Lift:  https://www.magicmattresslift.com/
It really is just as easy as the video says.  We got 2 sets of 2 for $50.  I see now that the “special” is 2 sets for $50 and the ‘regular’ price is $70 for the 2 sets, so it looks like the price is going up.  They are amazing and a lot nicer than having an automobile jack under your bed. 

Another really cool thing around the house is the Kitchen Sink.  The sink and counter top in the new house are Corian, over the years since the sink had cracked a lot.   The house inspector said we should address the sink because it had potential problems for us in the future.   Bill did a lot of research and we had a company called Miracle Method come to repair the problem.  He said it probably did all that cracking over the years from draining boiling water into the cold sink.  The answer was to apply a layer of fiberglass over the Corian.   I am thrilled with the results. http://www.miraclemethod.com/      Miracle Method refinishes tubs, tile, counters, and sinks.  If you want to change the color or repair the chips and cracks it is a very reasonable way to go and our results were beautiful.  If I had known about these guys before, I would not have had a green bath tub for so long. 

Before

 
After
My Latest Knitting,  
In 2015 I knit 15,517 yards of yarn into projects
In 2016 I knit 16,005 yards of yarn into projects.   I just barely made my “goal” last year because I literally quit knitting for 3 months while we were moving.   I do not really expect to knit 17,000 yards of yarn this year so I will just keep track and let you know what I do knit.  My real “goal” for this year is to knit out of my stash more than I purchase new yarn….. that is a huge goal.   We are 2 whole weeks into the new year and I haven’t bought any new yarn, yet. 
the hat goes great with her
sweater.... 
In 2016 I also took a couple of classes that added new skills to my knitting toolbox.  I took a class in stranded knitting; by the simplest definition, stranded colorwork describes knitting a multi-color pattern and working each row with at least two colors at the same time. As you knit stitches with one color, the other colors are stranded along the wrong side of the work until needed.  This is not Fair Isle which is a different kind of stranded knitting.    I made a really cute hat and since it is twice a thick it is really warm.  I gifted it to a friend recently.
I also took a class in double knitting.  Double knitting has a two layered fabric that is often different on each side, but both sides are knit at the same time.  I am working on a headband, the class project.  It is really nice to add a couple of skills to my knitting quiver.

On a Side Note:
The Seahawks are resting up and getting ready for next season, kick-off is Sept. 10, 2017.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy New Year



I hope 2017 brings you everything you want and if it brings you surprises, I hope you are ready for them. 

Baby It Is Cold Out There

Our Northeast Corner of Kirkland:  I finally did a little visiting the neighbors.  I baked some chocolate brownies (thanks Suzanne for the good idea) and went visiting.  At one house I found that my neighbor had hurt her back and couldn’t carry in her groceries from the car, so I was able to help and at another house I sat and visited with a man who worked for Boeing for 50 years, he said Boeing was making prop planes when he started working there.  He is a deep thinker, raised Lutheran and a man of faith but very interested in science and how the two can come together.   He was watching a documentary on what we know about Mars when I showed up.  There is also a cute little family down a few houses that has a little boy and girl that are so precious and cute.   I can’t wait until spring when I can sit on the front porch and watch them play….  They were learning to ride bicycles just before the cold weather set in.


Events and Happenings:
 Related image

Bill and I celebrated the New Year with a kiss at midnight, we were in bed with colds and we woke up to a few blasts in the neighborhood.  I think fireworks are illegal in the city but I guess that doesn’t matter much on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day we watched the Seahawks win a very close game against the 49ers.  What I did not watch and I really can’t remember ever missing is the Rose Bowl Parade.  I think I slept through it so obviously my cold was still taking its toll.   On my bucket list is spending the week ahead of New Years helping on a float for the parade.   I am fine watching the Parade on television but I would really love to work on and touch all those flowers.  (I want to “smell the roses, up close and personal.)

Now the Seahawks are in the playoffs and I am excited and nervous at the same time.  They have been playing much better and I appreciate what they bring to the community.  The individual players seem community oriented, they visit the hospitals and schools and senior centers.  Many of the players are advocates for education and fitness and team work.  I hate the injuries but the sport isn’t going away anytime soon and for now I am watching.  When it is no longer on public television, free with an antenna, I will not be watching, just like I am not watching a lot of college ball that is only on ESPN.  For me, there are other choices I make with my dollars, I really do not spend much time watching television.  When we travel I do watch the TLC network. 

Bill and CeLinda
We rarely take photos of the two of us together,
We have watched several movies lately,  I may have been the last person to see “Sully”  but it was amazing and well done.  I loved it. We also saw Boyhood;  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyhood_(film)    I thought it was a very interesting film.  It is almost 3 hours long and Bill and I took a couple of intermissions during the movie.  It was filmed, with all the same actors and actresses over a 10 year period, sometimes a character turns away and then turns back to the camera and you can tell that time has gone by.  It is a different kind of time travel much like life that just flies by sometimes.



Around the house:  Bill loves working on projects and recently he decided it was time to change the light bulbs in the TV room from compact florescence bulbs to new LED ones, of course.  He is busy around the house all the time and occasionally he calls me in to help.  This is always interesting and I have lots of stories along this line.   He was having a bit of trouble getting a hold of the bulbs that were in the ceiling securely and he almost dropped the first bulb.   My job was to catch the falling bulbs if they lost their suction to the removal tool.  I had a laundry basket with a couple of towels in it to soften the bounce.  I did catch a couple but it actually caused anxiety, the type that affects my Addison’s.   I didn’t want to be the one responsible for the broken glass……. 




 Image result for rocky mountain train

In My Travels: we are starting to look ahead.  I think we have done enough adjusting to the new place and things are working pretty well so it is time to start thinking about having some adventures.   We read this article in the local newspaper and now we want to do something like it.   

http://dereklow.co/across-the-usa-by-train-for-just-213/   

  
Bill and I have explored San Francisco and Salt Lake City and Denver but from about Lincoln Nebraska on towards the east coast I have not experienced “middle America” (with the exception of the three years I lived in Cincinnati and I did explore some gliderports then) and we want to make stops and explore along the way visiting friends and family too.


Image result for oregon country fair

Bill and I also hope to go to the Oregon Country Fair again this year.   We had such fun last year.  I enjoyed the people, the costumes, the music, the arts and crafts, the food, the glow light parade and really just being in such strange and beautiful surroundings for a few days.  It is a bit surreal.  Now that we have been and know what we are getting into we want more of the experience…..  


For more Photos:
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/celindak/robin-romper-test



My Latest Knitting was a test knit for a friend who will be publishing the pattern soon.  It is called Robins Romper,  here are some photos of mine.   I didn’t have a baby handy to model it.  If you want to knit it the pattern will be on Ravelry around Valentines.









In the Kitchen:  Last summer my mom was looking for her pear cake recipe,  we all loved it growing up.  I finally found it and I am going to share it with you…. Save it for summer, you will love it.


Emma's Pear Cake 

This recipe makes 3 small loaf pans on 1 bundt cake

4 cups chopped pears
2 cups sugar

Mix the pears and sugar together and let stand for 15 or 20 minutes

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients:

¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon butter flavoring
1 cup chopped nuts
3 cups sifted flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda

Then mix by hand adding the liquid ingredients:

¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

Pour into the greased pans you choose to use and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Checking for doneness by sticking a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.


This recipe was on 3 post-it notes and I am glad to finally have it down in a safe place.   Bon Appetite.

Until next time:  Thank you for reading. I have so enjoyed your emails and messages back.   I love staying in touch with each of you.  

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