Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm Melting, Melting...

The temps are up. The snow is melting. Fast. What a difference a couple of days make.

We got the girls cold weather gear on our Boxing Day shopping trip. Now it's heading to the 40's and raining. Oh well.

It was a good day. We blew our own ornaments at the Glass Works. Went to a party and had dinner at Everybody's Brewing. And now, we're trying to watch a pay per view movie.

Easier said than done. We've never had trouble with this system in the past. You find the movie you want. Because we don't have a land line, we can't just order over the TV we have to go to the internet. Well, I clicked on the showtime I wanted, which was 10 min away, and it said fine, You can watch the show at 10 pm, an hour and a half from now. No matter what I clicked on, it came up saying I had to watch at 10 pm. So we called customer service.

This show was better than the tv, according to the girls. The tech directed Lloyd to double click on a button and it went to a system summary. After many go arounds with a clueless tech, who was not listening at all to the problem, Lloyd asked for a supervisor. Now he's going around with the supervisor. We should have been able to get the 8:30 show on channel 507. Now it's 9:04, and we still don't have the 9:00 show set up.This isn't rocket science. I think DirectTV might be getting a new customer.

It doesn't help that Dishnet is in a pissing contest with the local ABC market and we haven't had ABC for a week.

Oh, I think it's straightend out. Gotta run!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Visibility is Good

I actually saw a patch of blue sky when I woke up this morning. What a Christmas present! It didn't last long, but it was there, I saw it. The flight to Boston went off this morning, so here's hoping it brings the girls back tonight. I booked a room at the Hampton Inn in case it's a horrid drive down I84. If it's bad in daylight, it will be worse at night.

We'll head out early. It will probably take a while!!!!

Update: It was a pretty snowy drive, but we made it to Portland. The snow turned to rain in Troutdale, the snowy highway to slush, the drivers from cautious to crazy, so we turned off and went to McMenamin's Edgefield for a pint of porter and some early dinner. The kids' flight was delayed a couple of hours so they'll be in around 10. We're camped out at the hotel, waiting...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tragic News From Up North

Thanks to Dorothy H. for the best laugh of the night, as we added 6 more inches of snow....

Don't Have to Dream about White Christmas

Our internet was missing in action yesterday. Bad enough to be snowed in, no mail, no papers, but no internet? I guess I'm okay with that. We have electricity. That's most important. But Santa's elves must have worked overtime last night and miraculously, the internet was back this morning. AND there were TWO newspapers in the box this morning!!! I84 is open again, hurrah! here is a shot of the icicles and the Subaru that won't be seen until spring.

The DeKay Deck Index was 26 inches yesterday morning. Add a couple more for last night. Another 10-18 due by the end of this wave. This is a shot of the deck lights and snow.

We took the opportunity yesterday, during the hiatus in snow, to go over to 'the big city' aka Hood River. I had an ophthalmologist appointment, and we did a little restocking of supplies at Safeway. It was messy on the roads but we got there OK thanks to our 4wd. On the way back we stopped in White Salmon to do a little shopping with our local merchants.

I stood in the middle of the street and took pictures of downtown. Not a lot of traffic!

After we got home, we got out the snowshoes and went for a walk. It's perfect snowshoe snow.

The internet crashed again. It was because the dish was buried. So Lloyd got on the tallest ladder we have, and took a broom to poke at the snow until it avalanched off the roof. We're good to go! No photo, I was busy holding the ladder, directing to the piles of snow, and ducking falling snow and icicles.

Today I put up the tree. Finally. The table saw is out of the living room, the wood is stashed in the office cubby, and the cookies/veggie doggie biscuits are ready to go out to the neighbors.

My Christmas list is very short. Please Santa, let this all stop long enough for my girls to get here, and for us to get them in Portland. That's ALL. Really.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Solstice!

I know the sun is up there somewhere...but it's been a week since we had that brief respite of blue sky. Yep, it's STILL snowing. I84 is STILL closed between Hood River and Troutdale, meaning no one goes in to Portland, and no newspapers make it back out here. My morning ritual is seriously impaired. Good thing I got the coffee least I have caffeine.

And internet. For a great Winter Solstice piece, visit my friend Hal's site.

Progress on the deck snowpack:
Check out the cool railing piles.

And the ever deepening stack on top of the table and grill.

And the Subaru which won't be seen until spring. The kayak is completely under.

Yesterday we took a walk with Brindle. She's has wicked cabin fever. We walked until she couldn't stand the snowballs accumulating between her toes, just after the two hills so we got our heart rates up. I stuck the camera in my pocket. Here are our blackberry bushes. They're under there somewhere.

This was a pretty red berried tree.

Later Lloyd went out with his new back country skis. He said the road was fine, but the nearby meadow was too deep to do anything with. He sunk in snow deeper than his gaiters.

I guess I'll make more cookies today. And get the rooms decked for the girls, who I hope and pray make it out of Boston on Thursday. Oh, and I hope and pray we make it in to Portland to get them!!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Day, Another Foot of Snow

Don't mean to bore you all with this snow stuff, but it's the only game in town. This morning we cleared off the deck so we could get a good measurement. The Official DeKay Deckside Snowfall is 19 inches as of 10 am PST.

We're due for blizzard conditions later today, and another foot by tomorrow night. We might not see our grill and deck furniture until spring.

I told you we were going out yesterday between flakes. Well, it never really stopped. First we waded up the path to the car, cleaned it off, and headed for The Dalles.

I had my camera out as we headed across the bridge, and caught this spectacular sight: a kiteboarder on the snow. See the blue kite in the center? There is a person attached to it to the left. That's Hood River for you!

We got to Home Depot and found that the vanity tops would fit fine widthwise in the car. Lengthwise, not so much. So Lloyd strapped them in and we drove 25 miles home with the tailgate down and the hatch strapped to the boxes. I'm sorry I did not take a picture of this rig. It was too icy in the Dalles to think about photography. On the way back, however, I was leaving fingerprints in the arm rest so distracted myself with photos of I84.

The big trucks had to pull over and chain up. One lane was clear, the other was a bit rugged. I was wishing I'd pitched a fit and stayed home. But then I got this nice shot of Lyle, WA from the OR side of the river. Quaint, eh? Trying to time the utility poles so they didn't get in the picture helped with the diversion. That and a call from Alan in California.

We made it home okay. Next dilemma: How to deliver the vanity tops to the house? Easy. We slid them like toboggans (in their carboard boxes) down the hill to the front porch. They can stay there until they get installed next week.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Snowland. I do hope it doesn't turn to freezing rain late tomorrow, as forecast for Portland.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's STILL Snowing

We had one day off, Monday, when it looked like this out the back windows. If you look closely, you'll see the moon setting over Underwood.

Since then, it's been snowing constantly.

This is the view when I opened my eyes this morning:

This is getting serious, folks. I only have enough coffee for tomorrow morning.

The birds are battling furiously at the seed feeders. I hope it's not this crowded in the coffee aisle, if I ever get there.

The Oregonian carrier was able to deliver the paper this morning, no problem. The snow was over the top of my boots wading out to get it from the box. We parked the Outlander at the top of the driveway so we wouldn't have to shovel our way out. You can barely see it top left center.

Note the empty spot next to my Subaru, which I might see again in the spring. That's where the Outlander usually parks. I'm laughing at the snowflake mobile...

When I went out for the paper, I took my trusty camera. Here's the car, ready to go, after we sweep it of course.

And here's the view back to the house. Rather Christmas Card looking, I'd say.

Here's an amusing photo of our skylight. Looks like obscured glass...frosted pattern.

They finally called from Home Depot to say our vanity tops were in last night. Great, I said, I'll ask Santa and his sleigh to stop by and pick them up. The next photo of these cabinets should have a sink and faucets. Perhaps even tomorrow, if we're lucky.The radio just said it should break later today, and not snow Saturday. Should be enough time to get the vanity tops and coffee. Then it will start up again, with an even bigger storm. Time to make a run for The Dalles. This time I'll bring my camera so you can see how beautiful the gorge looks in snow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter's Here!

It finally snowed. There were a couple of inches on the deck this morning and it snowed all day. No tracks heading out this driveway today!

Temps were in the 20's today but are down in the teens tonight. Good thing the heater is working.

The bird feeders were very popular all day.

Now for the Good News/Bad News.

Good news, we finished putting in the Pergo floor this week, and got a new fridge. See the new floor? It took us two days but we got the hall, kitchen and dining room done on Thursday. Note the icicle lights on the deck. That's as far as my decorating has gotten.

Friday Lloyd and Terry picked up the fridge and bath cabinets before the weather hit.

The bad news is, we had to tear up the floor today because the water hook up on the fridge leaked and collected under the flooring and it started to buckle. Agony. We didn't have to tear up the hall.

Now everything is drying out, and we'll pick up some new boards tomorrow to reinstall with the undamaged ones we picked up. Nothing like having to do the job was SO much fun the first time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No Where to Run to Baby, No Where to Hide

How did I miss this? I am a news junkie. Seriously. I read the paper every day. I listen to NPR. I check online and all my favorite blogs. Big OOPS.

Yeah, I heard that there was some media downsizing going on. I noticed that my USNWP subscription is now every OTHER week. How timely. They say it means more IN DEPTH reporting. Right.

Some friends in the biz let me know they still had jobs. I googled CNN cuts, to see what the damage was.

Here's a real kick in the gut for anyone like me with a science degree. CNN has decide to eliminate its entire science, environment and technology reporting team, including Miles O'Brien. Gone. Like so many glaciers and endangered species.

“We want to integrate environmental, science and technology reporting into the general editorial structure rather than have a stand alone unit,” said CNN spokesperson Barbara Levin. “Now that the bulk of our environmental coverage is being offered through the Planet in Peril franchise, which is produced by the Anderson Cooper 360 program, there is no need for a separate unit.”

So pretty boy Anderson Cooper can do just about everything. I doubt it.

At this particular time to cut this lack of quality reporting seems more than a little bit crazy. Have the execs taken the dreaded 'dumbing down of America pill'? Seems so. CNN, you have lost what little respect remained...With that, I will send another check to PBS.

Update: Not only did they let Miles go, they also graciously allowed Jamie McIntyre and Kelli Arena to 'explore other opportunities' so to speak. Time to watch Idiocracy again and cry.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wild Beauty

Tonight we went over to the 'big city' (Hood River) to the Columbia Center for the Arts. There was a slide show promoting the book Wild Beauty, photographs of the Gorge from 1867-1957. The slides were presented by Terry Toedtemeier, Portland Art Museum's curator of photography, and coauthor John Laursen. The room was packed, people sat on the floor and craned their necks from the sides of the theater.

The exhibition at PAM consists of more than 200 photographs, and is a historical journey through the unique geography of the Columbia River Gorge. Our guides Toedtemeier and Laursen explained the circumstances and significance of the photos shown, related to the times and technology.

Many of the photos have never been available to public view. The original prints or negatives are fragile, and are preserved in archival collections. I checked out the book, it costs $75. But on Amazon, you can get it for under $50. I have no room for more coffee table books. Heck, I don't even have room for a coffee table. And I can look out the window and see the Gorge every day. So no book here.

The slide show was great, and made me want to go see the photos. The exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art runs until January 11th. Sounds like a good thing to do with the girls when they come for the holidays!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon

Today was the second of our annual 'Nights in White Salmon' sponsored by the Arts Council.
Lloyd and I set up and manned the fire pits and supplied s'mores fixings from 4-6 pm.

We had a spectacular sunset sky.

The tree lighting was around 5. The new LED lights look great. No snow this year.

We'd run out of graham crackers by then but let the kids go nuts with the extra marshmallows. It was fun feeding them all sugar and knowing we wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath.

Once everyone left, we put screens over the fire pits and headed to Hooba's to try the Saturday Night Special: Memphis style dry rub ribs from the hillbilly smoker. They did not disappoint, so if you local types haven't tried them, head on over and help keep Hooba in business. The ribs are great but the BEANS are not to be missed. They are so much more than a side dish. While we were there, the mushroom lady came in with a batch of chanterelles she'd collected. Hooba didn't need them all so he sold me a pound. Can't wait to try them! I'll let you know what I do with them in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sox Fans to the End

My buddy Jill sent me this. I love it. It was bound to happen. The only thing that would be better would be to have your ashes sprinkled on the warning path....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Merry Christmakkuh

This is too funny to let slide.

Will this administration never end?

Someone in the First Lady's office send this card as the invite to American Jewish leaders for the White House Hanukkah celebration.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be off to McMinnville for a few days. I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day.

Hate to leave the gorge, it's sunny here!

But we'll be back on Saturday to get into the holiday season, and cook my bargain turkey. The town tree was delivered to the Boat Works today and it will need lights. I'm Dreaming of a White Salmon Festival is Dec. 6th.

And to top it all off, Lloyd was called for Jury Duty next Wednesday, lucky guy!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Albatross IV Retirement Party

I got some news the other day that caused much reminiscing. This was one party I wished I'd been able to attend.

Some of my faithful readers know that in an earlier life, I was a fisheries biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Narragansett, RI and Galveston, TX. I spent a lot of time in Woods Hole, MA as well, where we'd meet the ships that took us out to Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine and the Scotian Shelf for surveys, and where I worked on my master's thesis one summer. Woods Hole was also the home port of the Albatross IV.

I made my first trip on the Alb IV in 1973, while I was a Northeastern University coop student working at the Narragansett Lab. It was a groundfish survey, so we'd sort, weigh and measure the fish that came up in the trawls, and take various samples like gonads, otoliths, and stomachs. It was great fun, exhausting, and exciting at times, especially when the weather turned bad. I loved doing 'surgery' on the fish. We worked 6 hour shifts. I loved the 'dog watch', 12-6, because I loved watching the sun come up. I loved the cameraderie of the crew, and our trips of 2-3 weeks bonded us in a way that is hard to explain. Did I use the word 'love' too much here? I must have moved on before I stopped loving it!!!!

On this first trip, I met another young woman named Linda, who worked at Woods Hole in the Groundfish Survey Unit. I worked in the plankton group at Narragansett, but I dreamed about working in Groundfish Survey. Linda and I had some great adventures in our younger days. We both loved working on the RV Wieczno when she came for herring surveys twice a year from Gdynia, Poland. We even went on vacation to Poland in 1977 and visited many of our shipmates. We had some memorable times, Linda and I. Some have no details in print. Oral history only! Here's Linda being interviewed by CapeCast:

Linda eventually became Chief Scientist on the Alb IV, and was Chief on the last cruise this month. It was wonderful to see this video and my old friend. I haven't seen her in many years. The NMFS website also has some history on the seafaring women aboard the Albatross, including the first woman from Woods Hole Lab, Ruth Stoddard, in 1964. Ruth was my supervisor when I was a student coop in the plankton lab. She'd started as a clerk, but became a technician and paved the way for all of us women to follow. I never truly appreciated Ruth and all she accomplished at the time. Such is youth!

Another interesting fact, Linda owns the record for days spent on the ship- 972 over 34 years. In my 8 years there I amassed a mere 109 days. I did not know that. The program includes the names of 178 people who sailed over 100 days, so I just made it. I'm so proud to have made that list after being gone so long! Thank you Linda for putting together such a great program and posting a link for it. And for listing all the old crew members. I've had quite the trip down memory lane today.

Now I must confess, I stole a piece of the ship. The Albatross went in to the shipyard in Boston for a face lift back in the late 70's. She got new labs, new communications, new gear...and I went to the shipyard with a few coworkers to do a test run. In a bucket of trash I found a small wall plate from the old 'Sci Chart Rm' with the thirteen phone numbers for the ship's important areas. I kept it all these years. I don't have a lot of 'stuff' from my past lives, because I've moved too much. But I still have my bit of the Albatross IV. It's on a blank electrical plate cover in my kitchen. I recently put it back up after painting, so I was thinking about the Albatross about the time of this event. ESP.

The decommissioning of the Albatross IV killed one plan. My friend Robin will be retiring from the lab in RI in 2009. We'd talked about one last reunion cruise. Robin still works offshore several times a year after nearly 40 years in NMFS. We mused that those of us who are no longer around would volunteer to work on that last cruise of hers. We mused too long. Now Albatross IV is gone. I wish her well in her next life. Robin meanwhile is preparing to go out on the Oleander. It's November. I don't envy her. But I would have volunteered for the Albatross one last time...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Project Update

Today we put down the bathroom floors. It's a nifty vinyl tile called Allure you can get at Home Depot. We did both the master bath and the hall bath/laundry room with the same style. Pass thru cabinets will go where the wall is open between the two. Hopefully in a few more weeks.

It's supposed to be easy to do. Well, it was, once we got around strange corners, toilet cut outs and not quite square walls. Unfortunately, the 10 percent overage estimate was not quite enough. We need a couple more pieces to finish, so ordered those today. Hope they get in to the store before the cabinets arrive.

Here's a close up of the pattern, and the space that will soon be the pass thru cabinets. And a hole for the toilet, of course. It looks pretty good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

English Language Buffs Rejoice!

Thanks to Mary for sending this link my way. I really enjoyed the 60 Minutes interview of the Obamas last Sunday. This is one reason why.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

English teachers across the country must be feeling the love. Of course, sometimes it's useful to have bad grammar to correct. I remember Mrs. Libby, our 6th grade teacher at the Jonathan Bright School in Waltham, sending us home to watch TV ads and listen to radio to try and catch grammatical errors for homework. "Winston tastes good AS as cigarette should" she'd say.

Yes, I'm old. I remember cigarette ads on TV. Why not LIKE a cigarette should, you ask? Because LIKE is used for metaphors, AS is used for similes. Because Winstons ARE cigarettes, it is not a metaphor. See? Lessons like that stick! Think what she could have done with Sarah Palin: "Watch the debate tonight for homework, kids. Choose a sentence and diagram it". Mrs. Libby was big on diagramming sentences.

Anyway, great sense of humor, Andy Borowitz!

Take THAT, Blackberries

I made a bit of a mess, but it's done. The first vintage of blackberry wine is bottled, corked and stored. The big five gallon jug yielded 22 bottles plus a couple of glasses, which Lloyd and I drank last night. Yes, it was actually drinkable! Local winemakers need not fear, however.

The guy at the wine making/brewing store said I'd get about 2 cases. So while the yeast and sugar did their thing on the mashed blackberries, we set about drinking red wine and saving the bottles, to save money and recycle the glass of course. Thrifty and Green.

I easily spilled a bottle's worth siphoning from the big jug. I am NOT going to figure out how much this little adventure cost me. I've got the set up now, and there will be more blackberries. And next time I probably won't spill as much, what with all my 'experience'.

So when you come visit, I'll pour you a glass and you can tell me what you think!

I need to work on a label now. And a clever name.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't Look Down

For those who don't know it, my husband is insane.

You saw the second story work pictures of window installation a few weeks ago.

Well, the other day while we were painting I heard he call me to take a photo.

He was in charge of living room and stairway. I had to point the camera and shoot. I couldn't look.

I guess all that yoga pays off, though no amount of good balance and harmony would get me on that creative contraption.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our New Road Trip Hotel

New to us, anyway.

Here it is, the 1998 Coleman Fleetwood pop up camper we purchased off Craig's List from a lovely lady in Portlandlast month. It's in great shape, with two propane tanks, heater, comfy beds and blue curtains all around.

We picked it up just as we were beginning our remodel, and then it rained for two weeks straight, so it wasn't until yesterday that we had a chance to open it up and see exactly what we bought.

No buyers remorse here.

As you can see, the upholstery is in great shape. There is a queen bed on one side, and the table and benches you see here collapse into another bed if needed.

There is a double on the other side, and you can see the propane stove and the sink. There's a cooler fridge under the stove area. And the stove comes out to hook onto the outside for cooking al fresco.

It's a definite improvement over the 1984 Skamp we had in Louisiana (1998-2002). We took that baby across country, LA to CA, from LA to ME, from LA to the Outer Banks of NC, and from LA along the Natchez Trace to TN and KY. Oh, and a trip to Appalachicola, FL. I think we got our money's worth. It even had a functioning air conditioner (though we did have to put a pail under it to collect condensation).

This one has a heater. When you buy pop ups in the NW, they all have heaters. No one has AC. No need. This one does have a sweet awning, though.

I'm looking forward to some road trips in the future. But I think we'll have to head south at this point. It's already getting pretty chilly in these parts.