JOURNALS FROM

July thru December
2006

July 3, 2006
Denny & Becky arrive tomorrow! And then we'll have our first "vacation" since beginning this odyssey over two years ago.

In order to "tidy oooop" (got that from The Producers!) at , we stayed 'til nearly 10:30 tonight. While I realize this is a house under construction, I spent the day vacuuming the plywood subfloors (OY - I KNOW). Like that famous line from some Demi Moore movie, "I've finally become my mother!" I used to call her "crazy clean". Guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Cleaning and straightening always help me to make sense of my universe. And since this little adventure is taking for-evah, neating up the place is more for me than anyone else. And my reward is: I'm living on Tylenol.

While neating up the landscaping, I found the cutest little green tree frog which I promptly caught (those little suckers can jump!). He couldn't have been more than an inch long. I took him to his "new home" at the pond and guess what? The pond has tadpoles!!! That means the pond is healthy and I can't wait to see what other wildlife become part of this little ecosystem.

There was a huge fatal accident on 101 this afternoon just in front of Dupuis restaurant...3 or 4 killed, including a child. Highway 101 is a dangerous road: people don't pay attention to the road or the speed limit and so there are fatalities all the time. That's another reason why we're looking forward to moving closer to - then we won't have to be traveling on that road every day, twice a day. I heard there was some kind of "incident" with one of the children in the car which caused it to cross the median and hit another car head on. I was going back to from a Predictable Tax meeting at Fortune Star and hit a standstill just before Costco. They were detouring everyone to Carlsborg Road and I could see it was bumper to bumper there. And I couldn't see anything on the road ahead, so I knew the accident was up a ways. So I followed some other cars that turned left at Costco and found a back road that eventually got me to Old Olympic Highway. I had to cross 101 and there up ahead I saw the accident - horrifying...there must've been 10 vehicles there - police, ambulance....terrible. In an instant, life can change forever.

July 4, 2006
In anticipation of the arrival of Denny & Becky, I arranged a little visit from Monsieur Gregory of Sequim who dutifully slathered my hair in red dye. It's not every girl who has her own personal hair stylist...and construction genius!

They arrived around 1ish and we gave them the tour of our little pit here on Carli Court. They thought it was absolutely adorable...but they don't have to live in it!

Then we followed them to Quality Inn and went to lunch at the Old Mill Cafe, then on to the Agnew Parkway house. Next on the agenda was going to for "the tour" via Old Olympic Hwy. We're trying to show them as much "eye candy" as possible and Old Olympic is very pastoral with lots of farms and green fields filled with cows and horses.

They loved the pond and the place. But I could tell this is all a bit too primitive for Denny. He told Becky, "This isn't for me." Of course, we're not expecting them ever to move here, but just in case we'll show him Bell Hill which is more like the type of housing he's comfortable with and more to his liking.

By the time "the tour" was done it was about 6. We went back to their hotel to freshen up and then on to Jim & Jill's for their 4th of July BBQ. I know everyone there was looking forward to meeting Denny & Becky. We ended up staying 'til 10 p.m., surprising since it had been a long day and they were tired. After we dropped them off, we parked and watched fireworks from the car. Since the town of Sequim is fairly flat, we could see about half a dozen fireworks displays all going off at the same time from one end of the city to the other. And then we were on our way back to Disco Bay.

We're having a ball already!!!

July 5, 2006
We had a great great day. We all went to Tarcisio's for lunch and then
we took Denny & Becky to Olympic National Park's Hurricane Ridge. The drive up was spectacular and only surpassed by the view at the top. We lucked out too - it was clear as a bell. Greg captured this scenic vista of the snowcapped Olympic mountain range and this interesting shot of a stand of snags (a fancy term for a dead tree). Before we headed back down the mountain, we were all lucky to watch this young deer on its search for some mighty fine dining on the alpine meadows of the park. By the time we got back to Sequim, friends of theirs, Ed & Deanna (who have been traveling the country in a big motor home for the past two months and just came over the ferry from Keystone) met up with us. And then we all set off to Port Townsend. Most of the shops were closed - it was after 7 p.m., but we did get to go to April Fool (one of the best gift shops on the Peninsula). Of course, they didn't buy a thing, but I finally bought a piece of an art nouveau collection I've had my eye on for the past several months. I bought a figurine of a nude woman hugging an Irish Wolfhound in faux ivory with a gold base. It was only $54 which wasn't bad at all - especially compared to the real thing - and I'm not too proud to buy a reproduction. I paid for my purchase just in the nick of time because we had 7:30 reservations at Wild Coho, and a good meal was had by all. Then it was off to Elevated Ice Cream and I splurged (don't I always!) and instead of getting my coconut sherbet, I got a two-scoop cone of chocolate mint and maroon bisque which was coconut with pecans, walnuts, and almonds!!! Anyway, we're meeting the four of them for breakfast and then it's on to the Olympic Game Farm and probably Troll Haven. Then Ed & Deanna want to see and we might go to Blue Flame BBQ for dindin.

We're having such fun. Greg needs this time off soooooo much.

July 6, 2006
We are just having thee BEST time! It is sooo great to have a little vacation - it's been so long.

Denny & Becky's friends Ed & Deanna are turning out to be lots of fun. He's a retired ob-gyn. He and his bride got to know Denny when Denny sold his home for him in Orange County almost two years ago. Anyway, we all went to a great breakfast at the Oak Table (I have GOT to go on a diet...everything I'm eating these days is a heart attack on a plate!) and we made our way to the Olympic Game Farm. Judie and I got a chance to go there when she came up for a visit before she moved here, but Greg never got a chance to go to.

I gotta tell ya: we were all laughing sooo hard we were peeing! First, "da bears". This
one big fella sits up and holds his feet with his paws and sits there, and his little (and I do mean little!) "pee pee" sticks out and of course Denny made some hysterical comment about Ed and his similarity to "da bear "and referred to the bear's manhood as "lipstick" 'cause that's what it looked like. Well, that set off an entire day of "Lipstick Ed" and we were just tearing up with laughter! The animals here spend their days being fed loaves of bread by the paying customers, which they offer to sell you when you enter the park. And so they go through their routines hoping you'll throw some their way. They laugh, they growl (or at least make the motions), and then they do the circus thing and hold their feet with their paws. Now, I understand Lipstick Ed got an X rated shot (and I'm trying to get a copy to publish here), but try as Greg might, our pictures came out censored.

Next on the motor tour were the
gentle yaks. I was only too happy to take on the job of "official feeder", while everyone else was happy just to watch - and laugh hysterically. And with that responsibility came the inevitable "slime and drool" (not that I'm complaining mind you). These yaks are so jaded, they wait for you to drive by them...instead of running over to get their treat.

Next we came to the ground hogs. When Judie and I had our visit, every piece of bread we threw was intercepted by the ever-present sea gulls This time we were actually able to throw bread directly to the ground hogs. But guess what? They weren't interested. Either that or they're not only blind as bats but their sense of smell is nonexistent. All through the park there are peacocks and peahens. Yep, that's right, peacock refers to the males only. And, as with many species, its the male who has the most colorful plumage. They need it to court the ladies and
this guy was in full regalia. Next, we went by the wolf and cat cages. The wolves were all baying at once (why I don't know) so they were fairly active. But what few cats there were, were sleeping. Judie and I really lucked out on our visit because we happened to be there during feeding time. I remember the cats staring right through us as they gnawed on their dinner. Driving on to the big open field, we first came to a small herd of elk. It was mid afternoon and most were taking a rest like this big bull and this young one under the watchful eye of his cowbird companion. These are big animals, as big as a horse. A female approached looking for a handout. They are certainly NOT shy about "gettin' in there" to take your offerings. She tolerated my pet on the nose to get her treat. Next were the fallow deer and buffalo. I believe the fallow deer are from France (like that family on Saturday Night Live). They are mostly a beautiful cream color. Unlike my previous visit when they all came up to the car - these guys weren't having any.

But the
buffalo came up and, of course, I started feeding them. Judie and I had quite the experience during our day at the Farm. A buffalo stuck its entire head into the car! I realized this when I heard a scream, as my attention was on feeding a fallow dear on my side of the car. When I turned to Judie, well, you have NO IDEA how big a buffalo's head is. Make a big circle with your arms and that's still too small. And they have thee longest pointed tongues. Denny & Becky and Ed & Deanna and Greg were bent over with laughter while I was stuffing bread in his mouth. I couldn't help touching his tongue which felt like sandpaper. He was so eager to get every piece of bread, he slimed the window. As is apparent in that photo, he was sooo close, his breath filled the car. It didn't bother me, but Becky was almost retching and Greg was overwhelmed by it and we were all just in hysterics.

Our car excursion over, we went to the gift shop where Denny & I found a refrigerator magnet with a bear holding his toes and Denny just had to buy it for "Lipstick Ed". Just before leaving, we visited the little petting zoo whose only inhabitants were
goats. Including these two adorable fully grown pygmy goats. I just had to love 'em up. I mean, wouldn't you?

Laughing hysterically all the way, at Denny & Becky's request we went on to to show Ed & Deanna. Deanna made me promise to invite them to our "open house" which should definitely be happening by the end of the century! Afterwards, it was a late afternoon tour of Bell Hill (the suburban Beverly Hills of Sequim) which was more like home to these Californians. While we were cruising the neighborhood, we passed
this tranquil scene. Then Palo Alto Road including a drive through the deep forest which brings you back out to 101. We saw several homes for sale in both places and found a couple of great ones. There was one 5 acre house with a guest house off Palo Alto which had an incredible view of the John Wayne Marina and Protection Island for $925K that everyone fell in love with. Next, we took them through the enigmatic Troll Haven - a compound of homes owned by an eccentric millionaire. The compound gets its name from all the troll statues worked into the landscape and architectural details. Finally, it was time for dinner and where else to go but for Chinese at Fortune Star. After dinner, we all went back to the Quality Inn. Denny &Ed decided to try their hand at poker and left for the 7 Cedars Indian Casino. The rest of us stayed and planned tomorrow's activities. Looks like we might be going back to PT for window shopping and we're supposed to go to Dupuis for dinner, but we'll see. Whew - busy but having a great time.

July 7, 2006
It was another jam-packed day. We got to the hotel around 11 and first off Ed & Deanna wanted to go back to Bell Hill to meet a realtor so they could look at this house for sale. Turns out it's owned by our podiatrist! That's small town living for ya. While we were there, a
spotted fawn whose mom was keeping a watchful eye just out of frame were right there at the back window munching on the homeowners prize garden foliage and we all took lots of pix of that. Ed has a newfangled digital camera and he told me he took more than 400 shots alone at the Olympic Game Farm! Then it was back into Sequim 'cause Becky had spied a painting at the antiques shop next to Fortune Star and we just had to go by to get that - something I could perfectly understand! And then it was into PT for lunch at Sweet Laurette's - a comfortable French bistro where Greg and I split a Reuben sandwich. Hmmm...I didn't know the French created the Reuben sandwich! Ya learn something every day.... Then we all went to the antique mall. Denny, of course, was on pins and needles 'cause this ain't his thing - but he handled it well. Deanna & Ed almost bought this exquisite secretary/cabinet but by the time they would pay for shipping and all, it would've been almost $10K. So guess who ended up making the only purchase? Meeeee. I've been looking at this unusual ceramic lamp since we moved here. It's very unusual, a gold-glazed female bust - very art deco. It's not in perfect condition - but good enuf. Originally they were asking $125 but I got it for $75 less 10% (you always ask for a discount!). I'm just guessing but it could date back to the 1930s. I think it might work in the dining room. I might disassemble the lamp part and just display it as a figurine...we'll see. Across the street was the antique car garage. They had a Triumph TR6 - all restored. Greg said it was the car everyone wanted on their return from the Viet Nam war. There were also a couple of vintage pick up trucks - but they were in much too good condition for Greg. He dreams of an old beat up one to tool around town in. It was just a quick browse, then the goils went window shopping at the Green Eyeshade - which mostly sells every kitchen gadget you could imagine. The boys went to the bookstore where Greg found yet another Viet Nam book to add to his vast collection, and then we all rendezvoused at the local pub. Next, it was back to the hotel for Becky - quite the fashion plate (which explains why she is a top executive with companies like Swarovski, Fossil and Armani) - to freshen up and change clothes. Then off we all went to dinner at Dupuis. Although it's supposed to be pronounced as the French say it..."doo-pui", the locals call it Dupees. Legend has it Barbra Streisand (who supposedly owns a big house somewhere hidden in the forest) eats there. The inside decor is really funky. All knotty pine - walls and ceilings, with crystal chandeliers, lace curtains, and multi-colored depression glass all on the shelves that run across the front windows. And since it was just July 4th, lots of red, white and blue flags everywhere. Dinner was steak and seafood. It was okay, and if someone I knew just "had" to eat there, we'd go again. But otherwise, if I never go there, that would be perfectly fine.

It doesn't get dark here until 10 ish, so we had plenty of time after dinner for a drive. We decided to take the group up Blue Mountain Road to see these big expensive homes you can
see on a distant mountain top when you're at . Our visitors agreed they would move there in a second...but those homes are even pricier than Bell Hill - mostly because of the lot sizes which are about 5 acres each. Then Denny drove their rental car (a 6 seater Ford 4Runner) to take Deanna & Lipstick Ed back to their RV to say goodbye. Tomorrow morning they're moving on to visit family in Portland. That closed our day.

July 8, 2006
Can't believe Denny & Becky have been here nearly a week and it's all over but the shouting! Tempest Fugit. We picked them up about 10:30 a.m. and went directly to the ferry terminal to spend the afternoon in Victoria, B.C. We had a few minutes to do a little window shopping in downtown Port Angeles, and then it was on the boat. I think the ride only took an hour and it was interesting to see the
Olympics from the other side and then watch as Mt. Baker became clearer and closer and then Victoria become a real city instead of some distant dots. And Greg happened to get a shot of the Lady Washington, a replica of a 1700s vessel that once sailed in these waters.

We had to go through customs before boarding the boat...twice on the return trip on the Canadian side and once in PA. At least at this point you don't need passports - just a driver's license, but I think that's going to change here soon.

While Denny & Becky and I watched out the window and talked, Greg went on deck to get a closer look and take pix. At one point, since I hadn't seen Greg in an while, I went looking for him and couldn't find him anywhere. Of course, the first thing I think is he's fallen overboard (can't help myself - I'm a worrier!). So I went back inside and kinda jokingly asked, "You'd know it if anyone fell overboard wouldn't you?" The shipmate looked up, said, "Yes" but obviously they don't take those kind of comments lightly and he radioed his other shipmates about it. Then I realized there was one last deck area I had missed..and there he was! Of course, I told the crew he was "found" and they called off their alert. When I told Greg about my little scare, he could only roll his eyes.

Anyway, got off the boat and hopped a "free" bus ride to the jewel of the coast there, the Empress Hotel - a grand hotel built for Queen Victoria in 1908. We took the requisite
tourist pix of each other. From there we walked to get a late lunch at Milestones which reminded me of Houston's. It was delicious. Since I'm completely off any kind of healthy diet, I had chicken portobello with pasta and a salad, and we all shared a corn and potato chowder which was more like chili but nonetheless good.

Then we took an hour and a half double-decker tour bus ride through the town and through the various historic neighborhoods. We boarded the bus and sat there for a good 20 minutes. The weather was absolutely beautiful, but sitting on a parked bus....HOT. Definitely NOT to my liking ...or anyone else's for that matter. Heat like this was one big reason I was happy to get out of California. Then I happened to make the statement, "No Babies." And wouldn't you know! Just before the bus took off, a young family with a baby not only came up to the upper level where we were sitting, but sat right behind...me!!! OY!!!!! Once we got going, there was some air filtering through the open windows - but not enough to make it truly comfortable (the baby and the heat were neck and neck as my biggest complaint of the day). But the tour was very interesting. As the bus went through neighborhoods, my eyes scanned every house with the hopes of finding some architectural detail we could "steal". And there were some gorgeous homes - mostly craftsman and tudor. Our driver was a great storyteller - even had a murder story (am I in hog heaven or what!?) to go along with the city history, centering on the architect who designed the Empress and the beautiful domed government building as well as many of the homes we were driving by. By the tour's midpoint, we had a pitstop at a marina where we
fed harbor seals who were just too amusing. They wait for people to throw them the fish that you can buy at a nearby shop. And if you don't pay attention to them, they slap the water with their fins and splash you until they get what they want! I'll have to try that next time we go out to eat... Then it was back on the bus..And wouldn't you know...that damn baby was crying the whole time...right behind me. Why would you bring an infant on a talking tour where it annoys every single person who spent $20 a piece to listen as well as see????? And, unlike at the beginning of the tour where the driver asked you to "please keep your conversation down so people could listen"...for some reason that little request got lost on the return trip. The two girls behind me were just chatting away. I turned around and politely asked them to SHUT UP. Okay, maybe not those exact words, but they got the message.

Bus tour over, we got done with just enough time for a leisurely walk back to the ferry, and along the way we stopped
to pet the horses that draw the carriages for the tourist trade. I was pleased to see that all the drivers were women which makes me think these horses are treated much better than the ones driven by drunken men in NY - or at least that was the impression I got when I was there. Becky snapped this picture of Greg and I under the trees in front of an intriguing statue.

We definitely want to return to Victoria, especially after we move in to hit their antique row. There's so much to do there, it would definitely have to be an overnighter. On the way back on the ferry, Greg spied us a room below deck that was deliciously air conditioned. I was one happy puppy!

After we docked back in Port Angeles, we it was a short walk over to Bella Italia for dinner and for the first time ever - at any restaurant -they had an hour wait. So, we took a little walk. Somewhere along the way we lost Greg to a bookshop that was, unbelievably, still open past 7 p.m. (what WILL they think of next?!!), so he was in hog heaven. Greg could live in a bookstore. And by now, with this house taking on epic proportions, I'm sure he would have loved to talk me into that option. But Denny & Becky and I continued on down the street and I lucked out by finding a collectibles shop that was still open. Open but empty. Surprise: I didn't buy a thing....but there was this one cute.......nevermind. Before you knew it, the hour was up and we were enjoying....more food. All of us by now with all these meals out are filled to our gullets. Right after dinner, around 10:30, we dropped Denny & Becky back at their hotel .

July 9, 2006
This week has just flown by and here it is the next morning and we'll leave in a little while to say our goodbyes. Oh, Lipstick Ed and his wife called Denny and told him what a great time they had with us and they want us all to go on an Alaskan cruise! Well, first-of-all, unfortunately, we have no time for such luxuries - is our priority...and NO money either - it's all going to the money pit...but it was nice to be invited.

We all had breakfast at the Oak Table again - Denny liked it (gotta go back on my diet!!!!). Then we were saying our goodbyes, and poof it was all over. Almost an entire week and it whizzed by. We both needed this, especially Greg, and we can't wait until life returns to "normal" and we can plan days like these all the time.

Denny & Becky both had a good time and Denny told me he was glad I was happy and that I had a "good man there"...imagine! What twenty five plus years will do!

The day was still young, so Greg and I caught a matinee of Superman...well, not literally caught 'cause he's pretty fast you know, but....

But then we were off to to do hours of watering while Greg prepped projects for the week. You should see
our front yard...it's beginning to "green up". To the "untrained" eye, it looks like a bunch of weeds...'cause it is! Well, there are grasses and wildflowers thrown in but, as you know, I'm goin' for the natural look...and I got that in spades.

And tomorrow...it's back to woik full time.

July 11, 2006
And, sure enough, it's back to the grind like last week never happened. At least there were occasions for merriment. Greg snapped this adorable photo of two huge carpenter ants in the deaththroes of a
one-on-one war.

Got some sad, but not unexpected news, today. The gentleman from whom we purchased
the "new" interim house has passed away. Shortly after we entered escrow, he was diagnosed with cancer. He was 80 and also had MS for years. When I saw him last month just before escrow closed, we talked a bit about his illness and he intimated it was very serious but didn't mention the "C" word. Then we talked about Dr. Kevorkian and discovered we both felt there was a need for such an alternative. He told me, "Look, I'm not sad. I've had a wonderful life." He even told me he was planning on going to Oregon where one of his children lived in order to take advantage of their assisted suicide law. We learned today that he took advantage of that alternative on July 6. We only met him a few times, but he was a very kind soul and very generous to us when it came to purchasing the home he lived in with his wife - who passed away several years ago.

July 13, 2006
I've been in the dirt. Digging drainage channels. I use a pick axe. I use a shovel. I use a hand shovel. I use my hands. I am exhausted.

But I still took time out of a busy, rainy day to capture a day-late illustration of one of the native plants on our property: the
Oregon grape. I didn't really knew they bore fruit and Greg showed me otherwise. I went back today to see what happened to them, only to find I caught them on the downside - doesn't look too appetizing. But interesting nonetheless. Ahhhh, nature.

July 21, 2006
Heat! Searing, sweltering, unrelenting heat! Looks like the whole country is broiling.

Now that summer heat is in full swing, it's so wonderful to be living here - and not in California. While my friends and family swelter, up until our heatwave began today, our temps have been in the 70s. But today was hot - especially when you're working outside. My car said the outside temp at was 88 (so far that's the highest I've seen, although I'm not so sure those car thermometers are accurate). Once I'm hot...hot is hot and I HATE IT! You should hear me out there cussin' like a sailor. I guess I should be thankful the humidity is imperceptible - California seems to get more humid by the year.

Poor Bud ...he's so hot he's hardly eating during the day - must sleep most of the time. So Mommy & Daddy have resorted to hand feeding
our little prince. Wish I had someone to peel me a grape!

Some like it hot, some like it cold...."Bah humbug! Sunshine's only good for flowers and photography!" For instance, this
pretty flower. I think is a mallow. At least that's what my friend Patty says. And it has a little story to go along with it. When we first bought , we found this little flower growing near the street. At first I thought it was some type of geranium, but Patty & Jan were with us and Patty's an avid gardener. We don't think it's a native and we decided some visiting bird "planted" the seed. Anyway, it was there before we broke ground but eventually was trampled away. Or so I thought. But lo and behold, I recently found it growing between the pile of rocks I've been collecting and storing for the creek bed at the end of the driveway. Since it's been so tenaciously hanging in there, I'll have to make sure I leave a place for it when I start working on the landscaping there.

Wild fruit is in bloom now too. Did you know that blackberries can come in different colors...on the same plant? I didn't. But I found
these specimens on the property. Yummm. I know blackberries can "take over" but with all the building and earth moving we're doing, the wild blackberries are at a manageable size. I'm sure taming them will be one of my gardening chores in a few years. Can't wait!

In the meantime, the sunshine and summer bring out the insects and the wildlife (and I am apparently a mosquito buffet!). In the last few days at it's been a veritable cornucopia of critters - the pond and waterfall are a hotbed of activity! Such fun! Today it was especially crazy. Tiny
mayflies hatched and danced above the water creating a feeding frenzy. Birds from all over were diving for insects and ruffling their feathers in the cool water as they bathed. Besides the usual suspects, there were black capped chickadees, a spotted towhee, even a swallow. We watched two cedar waxwings taking a bath in our waterfall, a turquoise dragonfly cruise the pond, butterflies flying over my shoulders (and landing on Greg's bottle of sportdrink), watched tadpoles swim in the pond, come upon tiny frogs - and Greg spied one real big guy who just spent the afternoon floating, google eyes above the waterline.

And, I learned something today - speaking of Google. I thought the smooth-skinned critters were frogs and the bumpy-skinned ones were toads; but I was wrong. They're all frogs. Frogs have webbed feet and their eyes are on the top of their heads; toads' eyes are on the side. I don't think we have any toads around here.

It seems each frog has his own color scheme - some brown, some green, some beige, some yellowish, and designer multi-color. Is this
green little guy cute or what?! He's just one of many I've found while I work on the landscaping. Each time, I pick 'em up and tell 'em they're goin' to the pond. And I finally spied a bunny rabbit hopping through the back yard. I was hoping to see a few of those making their home with us.

Mayflies notwithstanding, we've observed
morning doves - plentiful in California but rarer here, nighthawks, turkey vultures, and followed goldfinches and juncos as they flit from the pond to the waterfall and rest in nearby trees. Our pond has quickly turned into a habitat - exactly what I had hoped would happen.

As I walk through the front yard while I water the landscaping, I've come upon dozens of deer prints and seen lots of families with adorable spotted fawns dancing through the tall grass.

All this nature is pure heaven to me!!!

July 22, 2006
Yesterday, we spent most of the day working like dawgs cleaning at the new house. I hired a cleaning person whose company works on new construction and after paying her $220 for the day, I ended up having to go over the kitchen with a fine tooth comb and a bucket o' bleach in hand. I guess she got the first layer off - especially the bathrooms...but oy - she wasn't a detail person!

Greg spent the day in the sweltering garage prepping that. One happy happy note - this house has air conditioning!!! Wooo Hooo!

Never at a loss to fill up our waking hours with things to do, Greg's been working his tail off doing very detailed prep work for our stonemason who starts any day now. He's itching to get back on that roof but there's always something else that must be done first. Plus, it's sooo HOT.

Right now the plan is to move over just our kitchen, bath, and bedroom stuff on Wednesday & Thursday (which we should have no problem doing ourselves) and at least be sleeping there by week's end. Then we'll start organizing all the boxes to move over...and that's when I may take up our friends' offers to help. But Greg says we'll need to rent a big Budget truck or, with 700+ boxes and antique furniture, it'll take for-evah!

I've been starting to work on our dry creek bed but I just cannot function in this heat and this is one big project. It wraps around 3/4 of the house and all the way down the driveway. So far I've been
"staging" rocks on the banks of the bed in preparation. Which means I've been lifting rocks that weigh between 20 and 90 lbs and carting them all over the place. The terrain doesn't lend itself to using a wheelbarrow - unfortunately.

And...we should all but complete today a very exciting project that Greg created. We have this
cement wall plaque of "Vappa" - a woman's face that's taken from ancient Italian villa designs. She's cement and heavy and I had her in my garden in LA. She's not a fountain but I had water cascading over her face. I had no idea what we'd do with her here. Then Greg came up with the wonderful idea of hanging her on the wall that separates our two garages and is visible from the front staircase entry area. It's a large unbroken wall of stone and this is the perfect addition to break up the space. To create the cascading water requires a bowl to hold it and a recirculating pump to recycle it. A ready-made half bowl was not to be found. So Greg researched on the internet how to make a cement mold from sand. This all had to be done now because the stonemason has to work around it.

I know it's going to look fantastic!

More on the creekbed and Vappa at the
link. This one will take you to the June/July page, but also check the August/September page.

Since it's sooo hot and stays light late, we're working later at . Dinner was at 11:15 - big salad - cool and yummy.

Tomorrow is Patty's birthday and Jill is having a BBQ. Then Patty will have a party in about two weeks to debut her new waterfall and patio. Our designer Jeff did hers too.

July 27, 2006
Our front yard is just ablaze with
California poppies. And I don't know if I'm just hitting it lucky, but there must be something in the air that's bringing out more and more wildlife. Or maybe it's the season. As I was going about my business, I see what I think is a little squirrel under the big log near the front door. But then I realize this creature isn't moving like a squirrel. And, indeed, it wasn't. We have a weasel! It is the cutest thing. It even poked its nose out from under the log several times and seemed to be very curious about me. Even stood up on its hind legs. I immediately got on the internet and made sure that's exactly what it was, and this picture I found could have been taken of our little guy. I understand they're great mousers - which is a very good thing in these here parts. Hope he doesn't find any of my frogs!

And speaking of wildlife, I have received yet another spider bite!
The other morning, as we were leaving for , we followed our morning routine and picked up the newspaper from the box down the hill which I read aloud to Greg on the long ride out. This particular day, I jump back in the car and see a spider crawling on my seat just as I'm about to put my butt down. Naturally, I scream! Which scares Greg half to death and he yet again tells me I'm gonna get us killed if I do that while he's on the open road! But I can't help it - it's an automatic primal reaction. At any rate, I can only think this arachnid was on the paper when I pulled it out of the box...and that's when it bit me.

Well, this thing is itching something fierce...and it's driving me crazy. Gaaaaaa!

July 30, 2006
Just what is it with me and spiders??¿¿?

I'm minding my own business, and noticed I'm scratching an itch at my inner elbow. I thought it was a mosquito bite, but noooooo! And again, I'm itching and itching and itching. And now I have another one near my earlobe! These things turn red and spread out to the size of the palm of your hand. And then you can feel a knot the size of a walnut. As the days go on, the itch spreads to the outer edges of the red swelling. And cortisone cream does nada! Last night I took a shower after a very very long and hard day and I just let hot water run on it. At least the "scalding" feels better than the itch!

On a more pleasant subject...more deer coming to visit! And I have proof. I've been covering the ground below our swingset with some sand. When last I saw it, it had been raked smooth. But now it looks like the deer spent the night
dancing the Cookaracha!

Last night when we were packing up for the day, it must've been after 8 p.m., I was walking down our driveway to the street and sensed something moving in a thicket of grasses. There hidden by the grass is a doe, later joined by her two fawns, happily munching on our
fireweed. We discovered our ravine trail (seen here last spring) has been a deer highway long before we ever came here and it seems they travel up our trail to get to the good stuff. We can tell they're using our trail because the tall summer grasses have been trampled down. Factoid: Fireweed is so named because it's the first plant that grows after a forest fire - or so they say. More facts: I learned a lot about deer the other day reading a book in the local hardware and feed store.

Deer are one of the most adaptable creatures on earth...probably second only to rats (and cockroaches)! They are curious and intelligent. They have an extremely keen sense of smell and sight. Their big ears are like antennae, picking up sounds from every direction. And their eyes can see a range up to 310 degrees wide. Such is the necessity of an animal that is prey. Always on the look out. They spend their days eating, making sure they're not eaten, and resting. They have four stomachs, and eat their meals grazing...always on the move. Once they fill up their first stomach, they can find a safe place to lay down and chew their cud - finishing off the rest of their meal. They leave a scent trail from glands in their feet so that others can follow where they've been and judge how safe it is. But fawns have no scent. Which is why mom can and does leave them while she goes off to eat. As long as they're not seen by a predator, they're safe. But that sometimes gets them in trouble with humans because humans immediately think a fawn alone is a fawn abandoned. So, don't ever make that mistake - especially since human scent will definitely insure the worst.

Greg has finally finished his
stone lady fountain. Talk about reinventing the wheel. Since this is a one-of-a-kind piece (what else is new), it was a series of trials and errors and at least a dozen trips to a half dozen different hardware stores for parts. Can't wait to see her surrounded by the stone wall.

August 1, 2006
My poor Greg has been struck down with food poisoning!

We've been practically living at the new local Applebee's since it's one of the few restaurants open after 9 p.m. - and we don't close up shop until at least then.

We had had a bad experience when we went to one in Oregon a year or so ago and so when one opened here we decided it wasn't for us. Our bad experience was bad service, cold food, and loud music.

But friends said this one was different and we gave it a try and found they had good salads. So there we were last night and Greg ordered the Santa Fe Chicken salad which he's ordered several times before.

Long gory story short, he has been sicker than a dawg. And the timing couldn't have been worse. We'd planned on having him stay home today to pack up our essentials so we could move over to the "Agnew" house and begin sleeping there tomorrow night...but that will all have to be changed now.

August 4, 2006
Well, guess it's my turn now.

I was working all afternoon in the hot sun
creating my "dry creek bed". Towards the end of the afternoon I was feeling a bit queasy - thought it might be heat stroke...but nope...food poisoning! While Greg was back at the Carli house getting the last of the "must have" supplies...like our bed, in order to spend our first night at the Agnew house, I was leaving my DNA on the side of the road on my drive to the new home. While I lay prostrate on the floor, here it was nearly 10 p.m., Greg was dragging in our mattress and making the bed...after putting in a long long day working on the house.

If it ain't one thing, it's another!

And...no time off for the weary. Tomorrow afternoon is our first Home Owners Association meeting. Although I have no interest in applying for President, it seems since we're sooo new, and so few people who have bought lots have built or will build any time soon, it's important to get this thing up and running before we have problems. So I organized this first meeting...and we'll go from there.

August 6, 2006
After putting in a long day's work, we were visited by some friends of California friends. They've been vacationing in their RV to check out the Peninsula thinking they may want to buy a summer home here.

My California poppies were making an impressive showing just in time for their visit.

We gave Fred & Ellen the royal tour and then it was off to dinner at Bella Italia. (Evidently a bout with food poisoning hasn't put me off my feed!)

August 7, 2006
It's not taking long to find out about the, shall we say "inconveniences" of our new home.

Well, I should start with the improvements: no long drive, travel to only takes ten minutes, a refrig with an icemaker (!!!!), a big walk-in pantry....and the previous owner left us a stand up freezer!!! We're in a farmland area now, and awaken to the crows of roosters and mooing of cows far off in the distance. And we get to enjoy
sights like this on our way back home.

We still have all our boxed stuff and furniture at the other house and that's going to take I'm sure up to two months to move out completely...but at least we're here.

Now on to the inconveniences. For starters, we've found that the electrical wiring here must've been done by monkeys. We decided to set up the formal dining room as our office/command center and every single outlet is on the same circuit! OY! And although I've happily left hardword floors behind, the carpeted floor here is like standing on cement at Home Depot. Not only is there no carpet pad, but I'm pretty sure the carpet is glued to the subfloor.

This new place has more windows and for the first time in months I can see dirt on everything that previously was happily camouflaged. And, I can see myself very very clearly in the mirror...a disheartening sight at this juncture. Personal care and upkeep: ferrgeddaboutit! Silver threads among the dyed red...unless I absolutely positively must must must not wear a hat. Monsieur Gregory of Sequim isn't working much these days. He's otherwise booked. Especially with this move, on top of everything else.

At least our drive home is much more scenic. We pass farmland and deer are everywhere. And today, there were these
adorable ducks waiting their turn to jump into a pond just out of sight.

And to add to my long long long list of things to do, we've decided to have a "BYOE" picnic at . Although it'll be my birthday, September 3rd, NO gifts allowed! Really, truly! I mean, where would I put it anyway!!!?). BYOE? Bring your own everything! Wanna eat? Bring food. Wanna drink? Bring beverages. Wanna sit? Bring a chair or a blanket. Only thing we're providing...ground...and a drop toilet!

August 9, 2006
It's another party! Jan & Patty had a big blow out this evening to debut their new waterfall and cement patio.

For the first time since we began to build, I was able to go home and shower and arrive in something other than my uniform of torn cargo pants, a stained t-shirt and a baseball cap, in addition to a fashionable layer of dust and dirt. It's like being famous. You're recognizable a mile away. Only unlike in my previous life, no one's asking for autographs. Besides the fact I'd NEVER EVER EVER go out in public in L.A. looking like this. My how we've changed.

August 12, 2006
is under transformation now that the stone walls are underway and it's so exciting.

Let's see...we broke ground a year ago April 9, so it's only taken sixteen months to get to this point. The outside of the house is really starting to look like something. Our stonemason,
Trev, and fellow mason Scott make a good team.

August 18, 2006
You'll never guess who I spoke with today!

A little background: I designed and run a website full of pictures of my
University High School classmates back in West Los Angeles. There's pictures from our childhoods all the way to the present day. I also started what turned out to be a tradition of semi-annual luncheons for the UniGirls. The next one is in a week or so and I've been stealing time to add recent pix to the site. I'm a sucker for nostalgia - sentimental as all get out. One of our classmates was David Cassidy, going back to junior high days (Emerson Jr. High, the alma mater of Marilyn Monroe.).

So I'm driving in the car earlier this week and on comes a radio commercial about how David will be appearing this evening at an Indian casino a couple of hours away. I shoulda been a PI! I call the casino and ask if there's an entertainment director, get his name, then call back asking for him. After a few tries I got him to answer his phone. I explain that I'm an alumni of David's and would he please do me the favor of passing along my phone number. He was a bit of a grouch and so I had my doubts he'd follow through. But around 11 p.m. this evening my phone rings. And it's David calling from his dressing room after the show where 6000 cheered him on! Haven't talked to him in twenty-five years plus. We had a great little conversation, got caught up, learned he has a home in Florida and one in up-state NY and two grown kids, a boy who's a musician who recently performed at Carnegie Hall and a daughter who'll be in the upcoming Dallas movie. He thanked me for "reaching out" to him and was eager to see the pix on the website....David, hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane!

August 23, 2006
In the midst of a long hot workday, a little diversion.

Mama deer and her two fawns were happily chomping on our neighbor's flora. I was standing in our livingroom and when I called up to Greg above me on the roof, I think they must've heard me 'cause they looked over in my direction. From what I've read, it's a healthy doe who has more than one fawn. Don't know which little one this is but one of the two is as timid as a mouse. I just love those spots!

Gotta laugh. My poor neighbors. They're avid gardeners and lean heavily toward the manicured garden. Just their luck they built next to us where I'm letting nature go wild to encourage the wildlife. Especially the deer - which is just the creature they're trying to keep out of their fruit orchard!

August 27, 2006
More spider bites! I swear, science will either study me for spider venom tolerance or I'm going to go into anaphylactic shock any minute now! It's all this rooting around in rocks and plants, I just know it! Terrified as I am of spiders, when I'm gardening I'm like a horse with blinders. I see 'em but I'm just positive they're on their way somewhere else....and I never see them on me or feel the bite. Right now since I've been working until dark every day, my arms are a mass of mosquito bites too. Please tell me why mosquitos exist? I mean really, what purpose do they serve except to make people miserable and sick. Someone puleeze come up with an anti-mosquito vaccine. I just know I'm in line to be one of the first in our area to get West Nile Virus. And I'm sick of wearing a layer of eau du Off every day. Can't wait for the colder weather when these things die off. Die die you bastards!

The last few weekends we've hired helpers to get some of these projects completed before the party. We met
Jarret and Scott when they helped us unload our trucks when we first moved here from California. This weekend they built us our new "snake" fence - they're standing in front of the finished product in the picture. Anyway, I'm in the back yard at the pond watering the plants and I hear something and there's the mother doe and her two fawns a few feet away. Just about that time Jarret comes back to talk to me and I tell him about the deer. He starts to jump up to the area where they're standing and leaps back shouting "Whoa!" He didn't strike me as the type that would be spooked by deer...and I was right. He said he saw the biggest rabbit he'd ever seen scampering through the underbrush. He even went so far as to call it a Jackalope. I've seen this guy before and he is really really hewj. Ahh for the day I have the time to hang out and capture my critters with the camera.

And another Kodak moment I missed: you know those
cedar waxwings? Well, there's evidently a pair of them that think our back yard is the bee's knees. And they just love taking baths in the waterfall. So this one waxwing comes in for a landing on the edge of the big flat rock that creates one of the falls. He lands, then takes a good long look around to make sure he's not in line to be someone's lunch. Then he jumps into the rushing water for an instant, just to get his tootsies wet. Out of the water again, he takes another good look around. Then another jump into the water - this time up to his belly. And then another look around. And another jump into the cool water up to his neck. Now he's feelin' pretty safe and decides to go for it. He jumps in with all fours and wiggles and fluffs and is just having the best time. In fact, too good a time 'cause he's wiggling around so much he starts to fall off the edge of the rock. Wings aflutter, he manages to pull himself back up and starts another round of vigorous bathing. And again, he starts to fall. This went on for three or four more times. Reminds me of that comedian Sam Kinisin who was famous for a routine on the poor starving in Biafra and yelled, "Move to where the food is!" Guess he didn't hear me when I yelled, "move away from the edge"!

I feel just like Snow White with all these animals everywhere.

Last night while driving back to to pick up Greg, just as I was turning into the entrance, I see something jumping in the road.
A big 'ol frog...the size of my palm. So, of course, I jump outta the car and pick him up. I tell him he's won the froggy lottery and give him a ride to his new home...our pond. Don't know how much you know about handling frogs but....shortly after you pick 'em up, they pee all over! Guess it's a defense mechanism. It doesn't bother me but I didn't want him to christen my car. So there I am steering with my right hand while my left is out the window holding onto Mr. Frog. Wonder what he was thinking.

August 29, 2006
A major milestone at .
Bye bye Sanikan and hellooo flush toilet....just in time for our party guests. Of course, it's shoved into the corner of a supply cabinet but hey...it's clean, it's white, and it flushes!!!

August 30, 2006
Today is
Greg's Mom's 87th birthday and there was a big celebration at her nursing home. There was cake and ice cream and presents and conversation. Alice has Alzheimer's but she's getting good care at Dungeness Courte and it's only ten minutes from us. Greg is a wonderful son. And I'm eternally grateful to Alice for creating such a wonderful human being as my hubby.

September 1, 2006
Is it September already? Between the move, worrying about Bud, and getting ready for our first party...if we thought we were at a hectic pace before...well that was nothing.

Our little Bud isn't feeling well. He's gettin' to be an old guy now and I tell him all the time he's got to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest, healthy living cat who ever lived. Any change is stressful for a cat and we were nervous about this move. Early on he seemed to be handling it fairly well but lately he's not eating or drinking - which could be a very bad sign. One big drawback about living here...no 24 hour emergency vet service. You have to travel more than an hour to the nearest one. It was the weekend (isn't that always the way it happens!?), so I couldn't get a local vet on the phone and resorted to calling our California vet at home since we'd become friends. We had a long conversation about symptoms and behaviors the result of which was to get him to the doc as soon as possible for mega testing. Today was Bud's appointment. He's such a sweet little animal and we just adore him...he's our family, truly, and is treated as such. Which is almost the polar opposite to most people's view on pets - especially here. Guess it has something to do with that "hunting mentality". I mean people here care for their pets, but they're definitely not treated like one of the family.

Anyway, we left Bud at the vet's for most of the day and had a long conference after the tests and got pretty good news but still we came home with an armful of different food and...the dreaded "subcutaneous fluids" paraphernalia. For those of you who've never had to deal with this: dehydration is a serious problem and since Bud hasn't been drinking much, it was decided that giving him sub-Q fluids would be a big help. It requires getting him to sit still while you shove a huge needle into the skin on the back of his neck and hold him until 100 ml of fluid drips in. Greg and I have decided to wait until tomorrow to begin...anything to put it off. We've been this route before several years ago with him and ended up having to hire someone to come over to do it. But that was only for a limited amount of time. We also had to do it with our previous kitty, Ratzo...and that was a failure too.

How much more can we deal with on our plates?

Finishing up last minute projects,
Greg caught me applying a "rusted" finish to the stone lady fountain. Oh, and that's my new "signature" hat ($3.84 at Walmart). I'll save my now famous David Letterman Late Night baseball cap for the dirty jobs - it's kinda tired.

September 2, 2006
Well, I coulda told ya...we stink at sub-Q fluids! I swear, there was a black cloud over both of us all day just thinking about having to do this thing. And we are just dismal failures. So we've resorted to giving Bud droppers full of water at every opportunity and he's pretty good about that. We'll talk to the vet on Tuesday, Monday being Labor Day, and see what's next. But the good news so far is that his kidneys are doing fine for his age although he has painful arthritis in his back. So this lack of interest in food and drink could be because he's just not feeling well.

Meanwhile, on top of the worries with Bud, and moving (or at least partially moving) from the other house, we've both been busting our butts for the past few weeks to finish up some projects in preparation for this BYOE party tomorrow.

I admit, most of the butt busting was my affair because I wanted to complete several landscaping projects since the party will be held outside at the pond and waterfall. That meant working 10 hour days digging and planting rocks for this dry creek bed project. I knew it would really make a big difference to the overall front yard landscaping. The creek bed is a required part of our drainage plan to divert water away from the foundation. It didn't have to be an artistic endeavor but....I couldn't help myself!

Part of this "getting ready" project was getting rid of some
huge rock piles on the property that I wont be using for the creek bed. Ever since we began excavating the foundation, I've been collecting rocks that are everywhere just under the surface. I'd work right along side the fellow who did our excavation yelling, "Rock!" and jumping right in the hole as he drew back his excavation bucket to dig 'em out. In California I coulda cared less about rocks but this is a totally different environment and, with two plus acres to landscape, I can see the advantage rocks can play - especially if they're free. And if you spend any time looking at them, they really are like monstrous gems - especially when they're wet which brings out the dramatic coloration. (Rainy days should be spectacular!) Rocks can be expensive if you have to pay for them. A truckload of drain rock is a few hundred dollars and boulders can be hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Anyway....with exquisite timing, it just so happened that my neighbor and a couple of friends needed rocks for various projects on their properties and plenty of mine were in need of a new home. Almost every single rock I'm using is green (I definitely have a thing for green!) and there were plenty of mongrels. So for the past week, I've been tossing over rocks the size of watermelons to my neighbor's yard. In addition I invited my friends over with their pick up trucks and we tossed hundreds of rocks into their truckbeds - including some along our driveway as in this picture. They must've made at least a dozen trips altogether...but I finally got rid of the rockpile at the street and the one in the back which was as tall as I am.

Late in the day we had a visit from Sue who recently left to move back to Northern California. You'll remember she and Judie, my high school friends, had both moved here last summer to start new lives. But after a year they both decided to return to CA. Anyway, Sue moved out here with her son Matt and girlfriend Tricia and returned to visit them with other son Bill and girlfriend Katie. Sue hadn't seen for months so
she brought out the whole fam damily and we gave them all the cook's tour.

At days'end we were treated to yet another spectacular
early evening sunset.

September 3, 2006
Today's my birthday. Fifty-F***ing-Six! And 57 will be here before I know it.

To get ready for the party, I spent an army-barracks version of a luxurious day doing "girlie" things like manicures and pedicures. And at this ancient age, I'm noticing depressing things like...it's getting harder to bend down to do a pedicure.

Much more enjoyable, I spent a rare romantic morning with my hubby...who later morphed into Monsieur Gregory of Sequim and dyed my hair for the festivities later on. It was one of those "shouldn't wear a hat" kinda party. Unless I know I have a special occasion coming up, and whereas I would normally color my hair every 2-3 weeks, I go two months between colorings and just where my hats. There's not enough hours in the day to worry about this stuff when we have this monster to build!

The party began at 4 p.m. About
thirty guests came and brought tables, chairs, and plenty of food. And although I told everyone that no presents were allowed, I received several bouquets of home-grown flowers - dahlias from our State Representative Jim Buck and his wife, roses from Jan&Patty who also brought fixings for everyone. Donna, too, brought roses and there were incredibly fragrant Casablanca lilies from Andrea, Chris & Benjamin. There was a delicious birthday cake and a dragonfly (my new favorite motif) suncatcher from Jim&Jill, homemade zucchini bread from Lisa, a beautiful framed portrait and a handmade man-in-the-moon votive from Rick&Marty, and adorable cards (several of which admonished me to stop and smell the roses! Think they're tryin' to tell me something???).

The funniest moment of the party: everyone showed up wearing hats in my honor!

The most astonishing moment of the day was receiving a totally unexpected incredible piece of art from Gordon Day (that man who's
famous around these here parts for his deep pit BBQ). Gordon is an award-winning wood carver and I know he must've spent months on this piece. When he took it out of his car I almost began to cry - you could just tell how much work and skill went into this. It's just wonderful! Gordon took a very old cedar burl and carved it into the man in the moon. The face is so expressive. It's huge, probably 2 ft square and nearly a foot thick and heavier than I can carry. We want to find "just the right place" for it and I think I know where that's going to be - right outside our front door!

And the capper to the day. As The Queen (and how I got that moniker I am at a loss to tell!), I was presented with a perpetual crown to be passed along to birthday girls in the group for the next year.

Thank you everyone who made my birthday a memorable event.

The day's final festivities centered on watching two of Greg's newest best friends. (Anything that eats the flying "damp wood termites" is Greg's newest best friend.) So,
there's Spidey currently munching on one with one in the frig; and the frog I brought to - now named Mr. Toady by little big man Benjamin Wright - eatin' bugs!

As the evening wound down and the sun began to set, I realized how my life has changed from the one I lived in L.A. I still feel very much untethered and that won't change until becomes a true home, but we're on this journey forward and I'm happy....except for this unfortunate getting older thing.

September 4, 2006
I'm still celebrating my birthday. An old old friend from my grammar school days, Kathy, who happens to live near Seattle, came to the Peninsula to spend the day. We haven't seen each other since before we moved here.

Kathy came over on the ferry with her lab Maddy and we spent a few hours together. First it was lunch at my fav Chinese restaurant, then a leisurely tour of .

Kathy's a practical girl and during the tour she'd come up with some great ideas. Most we'd already thought of (great minds work alike!) like putting in a dumb waiter to get our groceries up to the kitchen. But she had one wonderful idea. The dumb waiter we bought on Ebay and it dates back to 1928. The mechanism is really sculpture, so Kathy suggested we open up the wall there so you can view the inner workings.

After the tour we got a quick snack and then she was off to catch the ferry back home.

Days like this are rare...and I always feel guilty that I'm the one who has the luxury of taking a day off now and then...while Greg stays on the job.

September 6, 2006
One of the house details I'm most excited about is the front door.

Greg is creating a massive custom door in the gothic style. So far he's made and installed the door frame. Our stonemason made sure the stonework would be done for the party and to complete the picture, I just had to have the torch sconces installed - for looks only as electrical is months and months away. Even unfinished, it looks great!
A man in his castle.


September 7, 2006
Post party - life goes on. While I spent all my time at for the past month getting projects finished for the party, errands, other duties, and this journal have suffered. So I'm spending the next few days close to home to get caught up. I have a 100 photos to post on this site and tons and tons of material to write....especially on the
link. This one will bring you to the June and July page, but also see this link for August and September.

But here's what
looks like so far.

September 8, 2006
Good news! Bud's been acting like his old self. We had a long consult with the vet today and went over every food, med, and supplement Bud takes. Since his kidney tests came back ok, the doc isn't too concerned about his water intake. Hope things just go back to "normal"....

September 10, 2006
Today I didn't step foot out of the house. But I did spend hours and hours on this website. Did the same on Friday and Saturday. But today I also swept the kitchen floor, vacuumed, washed the dishes, made lunches, took care of Bud, did wash, and did sewing repairs. I tired.

September 17, 2006
It's an overcast sprinkly day. Greg and I go for Sunday breakfast to the Old Mill Cafe in Carlsborg, a little town between Sequim and Port Angeles, and try to eat healthy. Except Greg orders steak and eggs and gives me a bite or two of the steak - mouthwatering! On the Peninsula: Beef: it's what's for breakfast...lunch...and dinner!

Greg drops me back at the rental house and goes on to to work on that roof. I stay home and get caught up with emails.

After some false starts we think we've finally worked out our DSL installation with the local phone company.

After slaving around the house (while Greg has another fun and exciting day up on that roof), I take a nice long afternoon walk in the neighborhood. For what turned out to be a jaunt of more than two hours I go up and down roads and lanes and see all manner of wildlife. I made friends with a gelding (that's a male horse) who moseyed over to me from his pasture and we had a nice talk. I passed a farmer's field where I watched nine deer who watched me, nevertheless, they kept on grazing. And then saw a
spectacular flock of Canadian geese (not my pictures here). There must've been well over 200 of them flying in formation right over my head. My eyes followed them as they drifted down, wings fluttering and I noticed they all began to gather in a nearby field. They look so majestic when they're flying...but the honking makes you smile.

September 19, 2006
Here's something I haven't done in...I don't know how long! It was a girl's day out with Jill and Mary Ann. We spent the day in nearby Silverdale just over the Hood Canal Bridge and hit every store you can imagine including TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, Tuesday Morning, and Linens n' Things. I felt like a starving person...all of a sudden there was this cornucopia of stuff and I went a little wild. Best finds were a great pair of copper lame boots and a perfect new purse. And then there was lunch at Olive Garden - one of just a handful of places you can get a good salad. Boy, back in LA I'd be dining at The Ivy on Robertson or Off Vine in Hollywood, or Delmonico's..............

September 23, 2006
Another birthday get together at Jan & Patty's. It's a rare occurrence when I can actually dress up for a party and now that we live so much closer to everything, it's possible to go home and dust off.

September 27, 2006
Greg is still working on that roof. I swear, he just never gets a clear shot at it. Murphy's Law prevails constantly and there's always something focusing his attention elsewhere. Fer instance, yesterday.

It's hunting season here (don't get me started!) and Greg was putting up a half dozen "No Hunting" signs on the road skirting our development. Suddenly he sees something moving just out of his line of vision. He turns around only to watch his Jeep roll right into a ditch.
Eeeegawds! Just another day in the country. But the tow truck was there in a flash and there was no real damage done. Hard to believe.

Luckily Greg wasn't driving when this happened, but I would always wonder when I read about accidents on country roads...I mean, how can you get in an accident - there's no traffic to speak of! But...there are ditches on the sides of these roads and if you don't keep your attention on what you're doing...well, let's just say we've seen many a car in a ditch and I have to admit that several times I've avoided disaster by inches.

October 3, 2006
There's happy and sad news.

Today is our tenth wedding anniversary. Ten years ago, Greg and I stood in a forest in Banff, Canada and said our vows. But our love affair really began a quarter century ago. That's the happy news.

The sad news is Greg's mom has suffered a serious stroke. After a few days in the local hospital, she was transferred to a rehab and care facility. While the people and care here are far superior to what we found in care facilities in California, it still isn't the personalized care she was receiving at the Alzheimer's home here.

Things have looked pretty grim for the last two weeks and so Greg put in a call to his brother and sister to come visit. I won't go into all the sad details here but suffice it to say her quality of life is not what she would want for herself. I'll leave it at that.

And, it was on our anniversary in 2000 that my mother passed away.

From bad comes good my Mom always said, so Greg has been able to spend some time with his brother Steve and sister Merri while they're here.

To give ourselves a break from the nursing home visits, today we took them to see - something they've only seen in pictures. It's been more than two years since the family has been able to get together.

While I was giving "the tour", we entered the livingroom and Steve says, "there's a bird at the window". And sure enough, somehow a
flicker (not my picture), a member of the woodpecker family, had gotten into the house. When we came upon him, he was feverishly flying up against the picture window, exhausted. It was just pure luck we were there to find him. We hadn't been at the house for a few days and wouldn't for several more while the family was here. That poor little thing was just terrified.

I've had birds as pets all my life and feel very comfortable handling them. So I went to the window and after a few tries was able to grab ahold of him. You try to hold their wings in place with your hands but this guy wasn't having any of that. The best I could manage was holding one wing down, all the while he was shrieking to high heaven. I think he cut himself while he was banging at the window poor thing. Screaming all the way, I trotted over to the front door and stood outside on the porch. And off he flew into the wild blue yonder. My good deed for the day.

Being our anniversary, Greg found me a wonderful present. This is the second time he's seen something while driving by a store window. And the timing was perfect. At a local collectibles shop, there in the front window, was a
unique papier mache "hot air balloon" . Very unusual, and I ought to know since I've been collecting the man in the moon for nearly twenty years now. And in that time, Halloween has become a five billion dollar industry. Since the moon is traditionally one of the more common symbols, Halloween is especially good hunting.

October 6, 2006
Bud had a checkup at the vet's today and test results are good! Whew! Next is his annual heart check up...

October 8, 2006
I'm at an impasse and can't make much progress on my projects at - Greg's got scaffolding up for his roof work and our stonemason has his scaffolding and huge boxes of stone in my way. So I've been spending lots of time doing errands, projects, chores, shopping - nature abhors a vacuum.

I don't know about you, but when I get out of the groove of work work work, it's easy to turn into a three-toed sloth. Once I'm working on a physical project, like making that dry creek bed or gardening, ya cain't stop me...but I'm finding it hard to get going again.

Besides, I have become a political junkie with my radio or tv turned to all news all the time. Who'd a thunk it???? It was such a boring topic when I was younger but now I see it for what it is: psychology....and once you understand that - it is just all sooo transparent.

With all the worry about his mom on his mind - let alone building this house - at least Greg was able to enjoy the scenery and photographed
this weathered old barn that's a stone's throw away from where we're living now.

There's nothing so constant as change. This area, the Peninsula, was mainly known for its logging and farming. But I'm afraid these old barns are a diminishing breed as the city council here is bowing to the bucks to be made by taking advantage of the growing popularity of the region. There are hundreds of homes and condos being built and unfortunately one of them, a huge project, will for some unknown reason be Mediterranean in design! Goodbye Northwest...hello Valencia.

October 12, 2006
Today was Bud's heart doc appointment which is a whole-day affair. There aren't many veterinary specialists on the Peninsula and Bud's cardiologist is almost two hours away and requires a ferry ride. So, we made the best of it and did "off Peninsula" shopping too. Bud was such a patient little trooper - and his checkup was good news, especially considering he's a senior citizen: he's been with us since 1991. And if Greg and I have anything to say about it, he'll make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for oldest living healthy kitty.

We had a nice lunch and dinner out and ran ourselves ragged with errands and shopping. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I must've hit 20 stores today including: Nordstrom's, JC Penney, Sears, L'Occitane, Aeropostale, Linen's n Things, Cost Plus World Market and Trader Joe's. I keep running shopping lists so I can make the most of these outings.

October 14, 2006
We're still trying to get our HOA off the ground and today was a second meeting. Greg and I can tell this is going to be one interesting journey...and one we'd really like to opt out of. But nooooooo.....

October 17, 2006
Just like major holidays, births, and weddings; getting our annual flu shots is a real time-marker. Ever since Greg's flu developed into Meningitis over twenty years ago, you can bet Greg and I are first in line to get our dose of medicine. And although we got our cheap shots at Costco, the line wasn't bad at all. Don't know what Costco charges in California (here it's $18) but I'm sure that the waiting line wraps around the building.

October 21, 2006
Today would have been my Dad's 86th birthday.

I'm still staying home and running errands. Yesterday was Jeep maintenance day along with hours on the phone and at the computer. Monday will be Prius day.

Tonight is yet another birthday party.

Jill had the usual suspects over to celebrate her hubby Jim's bd as well as a neighbor's. And just guess what was on the menu? Ah, come on...you know: MEAT! Absolutely mouth-wateringly prepared by expert BBQ artist Jim...but gawd my cholesterol. And I have absolutely NO willpower.

October 24, 2006
Well, I was supposed to go to to begin spraying more siding and doing some major weeding but...ended up spending the better part of the entire day on the phone, at times simultaneously, with Earthlink and Qwest. What a hoot (at least in hindsight!). I had Earthlink on the land line and Qwest on the cell and at one point, I actually put the two phone together so Earthlink and Qwest could have a conversation!!! I had to develop the skills of Sherlock Holmes in order to untangle some account and billing issues between these two entities who supply us with our DSL...and here over a month ago I thought this was all wrapped up!

At least Greg takes a little break at lunch. We put a bunch of sand in the swing area (that swing set we brought all the way from California) and it seems like those swings are smack dab in the middle of the path the deer take when coming up from the wetlands that surround our property because they are covered with tracks. Today Greg noticed
another track and it turns out to be coyote. Since there wasn't any evidence of an unfortunate event, I guess we can surmise the coyote came upon those tracks some time after the deer had moved on.

October 26, 2006
You're not going to believe this...or maybe you will, but I was on the phone yet again trying to fix this DSL service thing. I'm like a dog with a bone when it comes to stuff like this, but boy it sure eats up your day.

While working on the roof (boy, the word roof is turning into a "four letter word! - can't wait 'til this part of our project is behind us....and I know Greg will second and third that!) Greg got
a look at our pond from a higher perspective. And here's a look at his beloved turret which sports our man in the moon moonvane.

A couple of weeks ago we happened across a model train show and sale so we stopped in to take a look around. Although it's a long way off, Greg has dreams of finishing off the interior of the turret in the style of the personal railway cars from times gone by - the kind you saw on the Wild Wild West tv show if you remember. Anyway, one of the participants told Greg about a book, Mansions on Rails, which he promptly got via Ebay and it's got plenty of ideas. We both dream about the day when we'll be working on projects like this!

My gutsy Greg. Here he is, all by himself,
working waaay up there on that roof.

October 28, 2006
Wooo Hooo! We got our new memory foam bed "up and runnin'". I was planning on getting us a new mattress when we move - but Costco had a deal I couldn't pass up.

We've been using a memory foam bed topper and pillows for quite a while and really love it. The thing comes all "sucked in" when the box arrives and when you open the seal...whoosh. So, we let it breathe for a couple of days and then decided to put it on top of our old foam mattress. I mention this because since Greg and I have been together, our mattress has been on the floor - just a little quirk of ours. But...let's just say getting up and outta bed from that level has become less and less desirable. So, for the first time we're enjoying the bed from new heights...and we like it!!!

October 30, 2006
Having spent two and a half decades together, Greg and I may be experiencing some kind of common phenomenon - I swear I can't tell you how many times this has happened. I'll be thinking of something (usually totally out of context to what's going on at the moment) and Greg will start talking about it. Spooky! Happened again the other morning and again last night. In fact it happens all the time.

I remember once seeing a documentary about the human body. It explained heart cells actually beat and they have a certain rhythm. But when you get two heart cells together, their beats sink up. Maybe the same thing happens to soulmates!

November 1, 2006
We're getting some cold, actually freezing, weather now. With every change of the weather, there's something dramatic happening at . This is our first winter with our pond and waterfall...and just look at what artwork mother nature has created: a sculptural
study of icicles and a thin layer of ice slowly creeping across the pond.

Oh, and we figured out that those pawprints at the swing aren't coyote, but dogs. Again, this is a rural area and people here don't think of their pets as family members. Can't tell you how many poor dogs, as well as horses and other livestock, we've seen outside being drenched by pouring rain. Same mentality goes for putting your dog in the back of your truck bed...with nothing holding them down to prevent them from becoming airborne. Just so negligent. Anyway, reading the story the prints tell, these dogs are chasing after deer and if there's any way we can prevent this, we will.

November 3, 2006
I always feel guilty doing this...but then again...it doesn't stop me! Greg's working on the roof at while I meet new friends Melissa and Lisa for lunch at one of the newest posh restaurants in Sequim. The Cedar Creek Inn just reopened under new management with a sophisticated Northern Italian menu. As with virtually all restaurants here, the sauces and such are overpowering, but what the heck (although I dream of the day when California restaurateurs discover this area). I met Melissa and Lisa last year when I took a course through the local community college on native landscaping. Both of them are escaped Californians (we all tend to stick together...or maybe it's just that there's so many of us). Melissa worked in advertising and Lisa and her husband Revy are in construction. Melissa has a beautiful 5 acre piece of property and Lisa, who is very brave in my book, has taken on a 20 acre parcel which requires forest management.

November 4, 2006
This morning I made a call in to a local radio show all about real estate and broached the subject of property taxes. When the host mentioned that he could do several shows on this topic, I immediately Googled him. He's a local real estate agent. Got him on the phone and offered myself up as a guest to talk about Washington's problematic property tax system. I also offered up the Jefferson County Assessor and a VP of Research from a local think tank to round out the guest roster. As we used to say when I was riding and jumping horses: over, under, or through 'em!

And this evening we attended a garden club fund raiser held at the John Wayne Marina in Sequim. John Wayne is fairly famous around these here parts and docked one of his beloved boats here.

Of course I hightailed it to the food tables...and other than carrot sticks, every single thing was bad for our health!

November 8, 2006
Well, the election returns are in and we have lost our champion for property tax reform. Jim Buck, who sponsored our bill in the House of Representatives, lost his bid for reelection and it looks like our efforts are at a big standstill. Hopefully, it will gain some momentum when the 2008 elections get geared up.

November 9, 2006
Tonight was Donna's birthday party, held at Jill's and Jim's home. Donna's husband, Gordon, is the one who made me that exquisite
Man in the Moon carving for my birthday. Donna keeps live chickens for their eggs - which I haven't partaken of 'cause of the cholesterol. And I know fresh eggs are soooo good.

A word about collecting: once you know someone collects something, at least for me, I can't help scanning for treasures on their behalf. And Donna, no surprise, collects chickens. But hubby Gordon hates 'em with a passion...which is probably why I go out of my way to find more (he he). Many times I just give Donna catalogs and dog ear pages of everything rooster and hen (as I am THE catalog queen - especially at this time of year). So naturally I found a couple of great items to bug Gordon but pleased Donna no end.

November 13, 2006
After four reschedules, today I met with movers at Judie's storage bin to supervise the final remnants of her move back to California. She left the Peninsula at the beginning of June to have hip surgery and now that she's recouping from that has just recently rented an apartment in the Van Nuys.

November 14, 2006
Another opportunity to talk property taxes. I've made it a point to try and get on every national radio call-in show I possibly can and today I was successful in talking to Clark Howard, the financial how-to-save-money wizard. He had several good suggestions...none of which I wasn't already aware of. And none of which would do what's needed to give homeowners predictability and allow them to plan for their financial futures. No matter, just another brick in the wall.

November 16, 2006
It was another girl's day shopping excursion to nearby Silverdale. Jill, Maryann and I made a rather quick pass through all the shops we don't have here on the Peninsula, had a quick lunch at (woo hoo!) Olive Garden, and then it was back home. On the way back into town, they took me by the Carli Court house (our original rental) to pick up a few items. We have STILL not completed the move out of there and that's our plan over the next several weeks. We're up to nearly 800 boxes now and moving these boxes and other items will take multiple trips because we have to sort along the way: which boxes will go directly to , which will go to the Agnew Parkway house (the one we're living in now and will live in until we "move over" about a year or so from now) which requires deciding what boxes go inside the house and which go to the garage.

Greg shot this extreme close up of the
berries on a pyracantha bush down the road from the rental house. What is it about orange that makes you feel so happy?

November 17, 2006
Today is a very sad day. Greg's mom passed away early this morning. Greg spent eighteen hours by her bedside, until the very end. Not only is Greg my hero, he was his mom's. Although we wish she were still with us, we all knew her quality of life was such that she wouldn't want to stay. Greg wrote this
lovely obituary, polished by his sister Merri and brother Stephan. It will appear next Sunday in our local paper, the Peninsula Daily News. And Greg made a special page out of it and posted it on his VietnamJourneys.com website.

November 18, 2006
And life goes on....

Today is the day I got myself and the county assessor booked on that real estate call-in show to discuss property taxes. It went well and the mix of guests as well as callers made it an informative show. In fact, it went so well, the host has asked us to do another show!

I know the deck is stacked against any reform, but I'm a dog with a bone and I'll keep plugging along on this. The Howard Jarvis people in California told me making headway with this cause is definitely a matter of educating the public and that it took 20 years to get Prop 13 passed!


November 23, 2006
We've been invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with Jill and Jim and their family. Not surprising, Jill put together a gourmet meal including that heavenly pumpkin pecan tart she made last year. She even made me one to take home...and would you believe, she was forced to add a note to it that read "leave some for Greg!"

November 24, 2006
On our way back to the Agnew Parkway house from , if we have the time we take a more scenic back road. I have to laugh when I say "more scenic" because evvvverything's scenic here. But anyway, this one piece of road has big farmer's fields and a senior's housing development and it must be where deer have had their paths carved out for centuries. Point being, it's good photographic hunting. And today was an especially good one. Greg grabbed these pix of the cutest little fawn. This first one shows a bit more of what's surrounding the little guy (or gal) and the sign on the tree trunk makes for
an interesting statement. These creatures are so sweet and wonderful, I just ache to hug and pet them! Friends of ours have theirs taking apples out of their hands. But they're located in a more populated area and I'm afraid to get them to trust humans because there's always a hunter looking to bring home a trophy. We'll just never understand it.

November 26, 2006
It's snowing! Big fluffy flakes are gently raining down on...everything. I love it...but Greg worries about things at . Like our rain gutters, which aren't permanently installed yet.

But we ventured out for a late lunch and drove s-l-o-w-l-y into town to see a winter wonderland. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: everything looks better with a layer of snow!

After our lunch and running a couple of errands, we decided to brave it and drive up to .
Here's us just entering the development off the main road. At 1000 feet, there was considerably more snow on the road up than in flat Sequim where we had lunch. This is definitely the most snow we've seen since we moved up here. Everything at the house must've had at least a foot of snow on it...and thankfully, so far at least, the gutters are where they're supposed to be. With this much snow, details become undulating bumps on the landscape.

No surprise that the pond and the waterfall are both frozen. Our
poor little egret has been forced to do physical labor it seems. Here I am at the front steps, all bundled up nice and cozy, and reduced to the wonder of a five year old! At the back of the house there's a path going down a deep ravine with the twisted branches of a cedar announcing the top of the trail. I mean, really, is this suitable for a Christmas card or what! And, unbelievably, it's in our own back yard!!!

Being up in the mountains like we are there, the power is out. Often. It went out a week or so ago for several days because of wind and falling trees. Even before all this, we knew we were allowing for a generator - a must if you're living in the more rural areas.

And the festivities of the day weren't over yet! This time we were invited to Jan & Patty's for a sit down prime rib dinner to celebrate Jill's 60th and Jan & Patty's daughter, Andrea's, birthday too. A wonderful group of people and it's hard to believe that by this coming spring we'll be going on three years of parties and get-togethers.

November 28, 2006
The snow is still here in a big way and it won't be melting away up at this altitude any time soon. We ended up with
about 20" ...you can see how deep the the tire impression is; and our neighbor, Fred, organized a snow plow since the city doesn't do it because we're on a private road.

I was whoopin' and hollerin' and jumpin' down our driveway as my feet sank in the snow which came all the way up to my kneecaps. So much snow clung to our turret that it started to look like a
Russian onion dome!

December 7, 2006
Here's a naughty little story to share with you....Lately I've had some conversations with friends about staying at 'til the bitter end. That's one big reason we've been paying monstrous insurance bills for "long term care" coverage which can pay for home care if and when the time comes. Now, I've given this a lot of thought. Some time well into our 90s, while we still have our faculties and can still dance a jig, I want them to find Greg and I in the car in the garage....his zipper down and my head in his lap!!!!


We've decided to spend the next several weeks moving out of the other rental house which will require a monumental organizing project...but we might as well take advantage of the fact that there's not much Greg can do to move forward; certainly not the roof!

December 15, 2006
You've probably been watching your tv and hearing about the wind storms that are wreaking havoc on this state. It's not so bad here on the Peninsula but we definitely have had some ferocious winds and periods of heavy "window hitting" type rain. Even in this weather, I sleep with the window open. Nothing like having the cool air on your face while your body is all toasty under the covers. The winds last night were so strong, it sounded like something out of The Wizard of Oz. Greg went to to check on things and we were lucky - we didn't lose any more trees (we lost 2 - and a big branch off of a cedar with the snowstorm after Thanksgiving). The power out, yet again. We'll be installing a whole-house generator to serve us during these frequent outages. The area is rural with lots of trees and the population isn't dense enough to warrant the expense of burying the lines.

Now that we're working on projects that keep us away, the critters who call home are getting quite comfortable. So far we know we have field mice and chipmunks. Many times we've found the trash can has been turned over and leftovers from our lunches are strewn across the floor. Well, today was no exception except....there was a definite scent wafting through the air. Then Greg hears some muffled screeching down in the can. Greg tipped it over and guess who sauntered out? First one, and then a second
skunk who obviously found it a lot harder to get out than get in. Greg says the smell is pretty noticeable...but really, I don't find the scent of skunk all that horrendous. I mean, I don't want it in the home when it's finished mind you, but it doesn't bother me now. However, Greg plans to seal up the entire house with sheets of plywood as well as completely seal off the closet to make it a "safe" room where we can start storing items like all our appliances which will have to be delivered soon (the appliance store has been kind enough to hold onto them for nearly two years now!).

December 18, 2006
Yesterday afternoon we were invited to friend Melissa's beautiful Craftsman home for a tree-trim party. Met a lot of her interesting friends...none of whom are Washington natives (what else is new?). Lots of interesting conversations including the Alaskan oil fields and the environment, and I got a good "low down" from the ex-Alaskans who explained that with today's technology there is very little disturbance to the land when installing the pipelines and they added that the environmentalists are very much involved in the process. No matter how you feel about it, trying to stop "progress" in the world today is practically futile, so hearing what he said made me feel a little bit better about the effect on wildlife.

Other conversations focused on horses (Melissa is a horse owner and I'm looking forward to riding along with her one of these days). She also broke out a tape of world class riders in the dressage ring. I'm sure it was boring for most of the guests but Melissa and I found it fascinating.
Here's a video of a champion and it doesn't get much better than this. To the untrained eye, this doesn't look like much, but every single movement made by that horse takes years to perfect and is completely controlled by the rider. Part of the art is going from one gait or maneuver to another seamlessly.

Another one of Melissa's friends worked in production in the film industry and we had some fun reminiscing about old Hollywood. It seems Melissa grew up in Burbank and played on the nearby Hollywood lots. We got to meet the owner of the local version of Trader Joe's, but most interesting was talking to a young man from Kosovo who had fought in Iraq. If you want the true story, don't pay attention to the biased media: talk to someone who has actually been there. According to this soldier, the media does all they can NOT to tell the full story and makes a point of ignoring the good works done by our men and the thankful Iraqi people for their efforts.

And then there was food. Great homemade French onion soup, prime rib, three-bean salad...and homemade apple pie from Melissa's own apple trees.

The tree was a vision in silvers and reds...

December 22, 2006
Last night was Jan & Patty's Winter Solstice party. Patty has a "thing" for Druids, the Celtic life, and the calendar turning towards "the light" - days getting longer and brighter. The usual suspects attended along with a woman I met a while ago at Patty's garden club fundraiser. I bought four hours of expert weeding and Thelma and her husband and Greg & I were the late-stayers. It's like shoving an elephant around to get us to go to parties (especially back in our California life), but once we're there...and good conversation ensues...we find ourselves saying, "Well, we better get going, these people have to get some sleep!"

December 24, 2006
And this evening was Jim & Jill's Christmas eve party. More food, more conversation. And more opportunities for me to go completely off my diet and run up the carb/calorie/sugar/cholesterol tab.

December 25, 2006
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Since Greg and I haven't been working at for the past several weeks, we've slowed our days down...a bit. We're still gearing up to complete the move out of the Carli rental house. But today, we took our first walk together in the new neighborhood and discovered
McDonnell (McDonald) Creek runs just across the street. With the weather we've been having, it's more of a river than a creek. The trail wasn't exactly user friendly but that didn't stop us. Not when there's sights like this to see. What is it with moss on trees - it's just so...so...Antebellum. I've been turning into a real sloth since I've been staying home to work the past three months while Greg worked on the roof. All that hard working moving boulders to make that dry creekbed had me dropping the pounds, but now I've packed 'em back on like a hibernating bear. Can't wait to get back on a more physical schedule.

The spelling of the creek, McDonnell/McDonald is a bit of local lore. They had a whole page write up about it in the paper explaining that even though it was named after long-ago residents, the county decided it had it's own way of spelling. For some reason I'm very sensitive to this kinda thing, since my name is continually misspelled (Shelley - like the poet and author - not Shelly). Guess it's the old secretary in me. I even check to see if someone named Jane isn't spelling their name "J-a-y-n-e"... And still I make mistakes. Grrrrrr!

December 27, 2006
Nothing exceptional about today...more of the same: working on getting out of the Carli rental house and organizing all our stuff in the Agnew house. But, to cheer us up a bit, here's what we see
out the bedroom window. And this is a vista from the pastures we go by on our way to run errands.

December 29, 2006
The tale of the baklava. This is a hoot.

So, since Greg can't work on that roof, we've been cleaning up construction debris at , a continuous and very necessary task. I had ordered one of those incredible baklavas from Harry & David and it was supposed to be delivered to since we get all our mail there now. Anyway, I'm waiting and waiting and waiting, and this thing never shows up (I should've quit there 'cause I don't need the sugar or the calories but hey, it's the holidays!!). Anyway, I finally called Harry & David and they confirmed that it was indeed delivered. Well, they were nice enough to send it again, and this time we had it delivered to our rental house.

So, we're sweeping and gathering up left over lumber and there's what's left of the box in the corner of the downstairs shop area! It was either a skunk or a raccoon but that little stinker ate the whole thing! There weren't even crumbs left. I'd get angry, but how can I get mad when I know I'd've done the same thing. In fact, when I did get my replacement, it was gone in two days...and poor Greg hardly got a piece. Just carrying on the family tradition so I understand. When my parents were dating, my dad brought my mom a big box of chocolates. A couple of days later when he came to pick her up for another date, he asked for a piece of chocolate. Mom had eaten every piece!

December 30, 2006
Had another interview on local radio, well actually from Bellingham, about my property tax crusade.

December 31, 2006
Another year just about over. Time. Time. TIME. The swiftness of its passing is on my mind constantly. And because we want to be in our home at so badly, I try not to wish the "now" away.

These days we only "visit" there since we're spending time moving and setting up . But it's
views like this from our turret that make taking it slow difficult.

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