April through June

April 2, 2008
Newest friends, Marine&Len came to this afternoon for "The Tour."

Our houses are so very different - just like the homes of all of our new friends here - but they could appreciate this "art piece" in progress.

Marine's home has a very formal garden and I am awed at how perfect it looks - and she does it all herself! Their lot is about the same size as ours: over two acres. So you can imagine the time it takes to mow lawns and prune trees and shape shrubbery. I'm cheating at and sticking with native vegetation (but still it's a lot of work).

After "The Tour," Greg stayed on to work some more and I followed Marine&Len down the hill for a quick Chinese dinner before attending the second meeting of "Act for America," a grassroots group now 400 nationwide chapters strong created to educate about the threat of Radical Islam to our freedom and liberty. The evening was capped with a viewing of "Fitna," the short film by a Dutch parliamentarian about what has happened in the Netherlands and its progression toward Sharia Law - which is no friend to democracy, or women for that matter.

Just as with the Danish cartoons that caused such an uproar, you will be hearing more about this in the months to come. It took the Radical Islamofacists several months to gather the momentum to stage huge protests and terrorist acts about the cartoons. And so, I'm predicting, it will be with "Fitna"

Some friends I have referred to see this film (and other documents) have passed this threat off as nothing more than similar to the threat of Communism or atrocities referred to in the Bible or the immigration of illegal aliens: it's only fearmongering and right wing propaganda. There's a big difference: none of those entities want to kill anyone who doesn't conform to their beliefs. With 6000 terrorist acts linked to Radical Islam since 9/11, I tend to take this threat seriously.

Naiveté about this enemy who is not afraid to die - in fact prefers it - and whose main goal is the obliteration of all Jews and Israel - and then Christians - and will accept no compromise other than conversion to Radical Islam - is proving dangerous and will only become more so. End of today's sermon!

Meanwhile, we're still getting snow up in the mountains. Guess the whole country is getting some odd weather. Anyway, Greg took these pictures as we were leaving our rental house the other day - which as you can see has an incredible view of the Olympic Mountain range. Our rental is just to the right of this vacant lot.

April 11, 2008
At it's definitely Spring judging by the return of birds, bees and deer.

We have a mama and two fawns and another mama and her fawn who are regular visitors and they're around more and more these days. So Greg and I just stood and watched the mama and her two babies for about fifteen minutes while they grazed near the front staircase.

Deer have a physiological gift of being able to stand completely still for long periods of time - the better to escape notice by predators. So they knew we were watching them and so they watched us right back. After several minutes, they'd start to graze and then quickly pick up their heads to see what we were up to. When deer get used to humans being around, it's called habituation. It doesn't mean they're tame by any measure, it just means they allow you to be part of the everyday world around them. While I was on the staircase watching one of the babies, a hummingbird (stock photo) buzzed close to my red hair and I could hear that buzzzz loud in my ears. And two roufous sided towhees (stock photo) were dining at the suet basket.

It seems the local deer are suffering from some kind of skin disease called Hair Loss Syndrome. It causes them to itch and lick and because they're so preoccupied doing that, they are more susceptible to predators. And, especially with fawns during the winter months, they are susceptible to the cold weather. It is so sad. These two fawns we saw have it and I just wish I knew what could be done for them. Poor things.

Later in the day it was Gucci burger dinner at Pris&Robert's. According to Pris, Gucci burgers are "designer" burgers and she made tonight's version with lamb and yogurt accompanied with fries, baked artichoke with a special dipping sauce, asparagus...and banana cream pie for dessert. Thank you Pris for all your time and effort!

Ever since I read a few months ago that Absenthe is now legal, I've been interested in tasting it. Now mind you, I don't drink AT ALL, but still my curiosity was up because of its history. And so we were able to locate probably the last bottle on the Peninsula from the local state liquor store. The gift box it came in claims it "evokes the glamour and mystical allure of "The Green Fairy." Absenthe is a licorice flavored liqueur made of wormwood. It is illegal. The legal version uses a kinder gentler species of wormwood as opposed to the type found in the Absenthe joyfully consumed by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Toulous-Lautrec. Edgar Allen Poe, Van Gogh, Manet, Degas, and Picasso and a host of other artsy types. It's referred to as "The Green Fairy" because drinking the original leads to hallucinations. And there's a ritual involved. You pour the Absenthe in a glass and then place a slotted spoon over the top of the glass. On top of the spoon you put a couple of sugar cubes and then you pour a couple of ounces of cold water over the cubes so they melt into the Absenthe. This turns the light green liquid foggy.

Well, I took a sip or two and other than the liquory taste (I love licorice) it didn't do anything for me. Greg and Robert had several small glasses - and boy did both of them pay for that the next day! Hangover city. So, either they'll have to just keep it to a sip or two or Absenthe is off the menu.

As I said, I do not drink. Liquor of any kind just doesn't sit well with me. And thank goodness there is at least one vice that doesn't call to me! So it was a strange thing indeed when several years ago I developed a craving for something I had never even tasted: Ooso! I must've heard somewhere that Ooso tastes of anise (licorice) - and I seem to have a real jones lately for licorice judging by the number of boxes of Good n Plenty I've been buying. For months it seemed when I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, I'd pass by the liquor aisles and my eyes would pick out the bottles of Ooso. So, finally, one day I bought the damn thing, took it home, put it in the freezer to get it cold, and for months afterword I would take a tiny sip out of the bottle until I had finally finished it all off. Why? I have no idea. And never again have I felt the need to buy another bottle. And then there was Absenthe. I'm sure I'll never buy another bottle of that either. At any rate, it's something fun to take to friends' houses when we're invited for dinner.

April 16, 2008
Greg and I were invited to a brunch at Marine&Len's home today, but Greg had to work. Feeling guilty didn't stop me from going.

It was an exceptionally beautiful day and Marine made a wonderful meal for all of us - which included Kaj&Laura and Marine&Len's neighbors, Mary&Terry. There were cheeses and bread, salad, mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar, and a Putanesca pasta which translates as "Harlot's Pasta" but basically means you throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Let me tell you, the kitchen sink is delicious! And for dessert, a lemon fruit tart. And it was non-stop talking from beginning to end between scarfing up the tasty feast.

April 17, 2008
A day off the Peninsula.

After working at home all morning, around lunch time we started off for Seattle via Silverdale to cash in some old coins, including a Krugerand, at a local coin shop. With gold over $900 an ounce, if we were ever going to sell it, now's the time. And, of course, we hit Trader Joe's and stuffed our bounty into coolers. Then it was on to Seattle to have dinner with a high school girlfriend Lynne and her hubby Bruce who come to Seattle every April to attend a medical conference.

The last three years I think, Lynne has come to the Peninsula - and last year Bruce came with her. But this year they asked if we could meet them for dinner - at one of Seattle's chi chi restaurants, Wild Ginger.

Coincidentally, Greg's nephew, Jeff, has just moved to Seattle. And his apartment is in walking distance to the restaurant. So we were able to meet him for drinks and conversation before we sat down to dinner with our friends.

Jeff and his then fiancé visited us when we had just begun construction and they really liked Washington. And here it is three years later and they have married and here they are! Jeff's school teacher wife, Courtney, is staying in Los Angeles to finish out the school year and then will join him. So before then, Jeff is planning on staying with us a few days in our little hovel. And who knows, he may even pick up a hammer. His Dad, Greg's brother Steve, is also an accomplished carpenter.

April 18, 2008
It's mid April so what the heck is going on here? It's snowing at !

April 19, 2008
And the strange weather continues...

Earlier today it was hailing at our rental house. And then the real fun began.

We were invited to a Seder dinner at our new friends Phyllis&Don's beautiful English Tudor "estate."

So let me give you a little background.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. And one of the pithy conclusions I've come to during my time here on this planet is: We do best what we love doing. So, anyone who knows me knows I'm not the travelin' kind. You've got a real princess here - so do yourself a favor and don't ask me to go on a cruise or a tour or anything else like that unless we can get there by car - which means you don't have to put up with airports and all the horrific inconveniences, assaults to your sensibilities and other humiliations and frustrations that conjures up. Meanwhile, my friend Judie just LOVES to travel. She doesn't care what inconveniences she has to endure, give her a place to go and she's on it. I hate traveling and lo and behold I can't find my way out of a paper bag. Can't read a map, can't understand directions. And don't even think of asking me a question about geography. Must've been out of the classroom when all that stuff was being drummed into us - either that or the gene required to retain such information is missing in my genetic makeup. I'm just lost - pun intended. Judie, on the other hand, can read a map, always knows which way is North, knows where are the continents are and which countries are where. We do best what we love doing. I rest my case!

Anyhoo, so we've been invited for dinner and "scout" that I am (oh and here's another thing: despite my geographic handicap....I'm always CERTAIN when I'm telling you to go left or right or where I remembered something was located), I tell Greg that Don&Phyllis' place is on the way to our friends Kaj&Laura's home - a windy country road up off Highway 101 in Port Angeles. So off we go and it's raining a bit. By the time we turn up the road, it's beginning to snow. But as we ascend up the mountain - which gets up to 1000 feet above sea level - the snowfall is getting heavier and heavier and now everything is covered in white.

So we get to what I think is the turn off for their neighborhood and, of course, I know just where the house is located. So after my confession above, it doesn't take a genius to guess that it ain't there - we've turned into the wrong neighborhood. Okay, no problem; we turn around and drive out and continue our way up the mountain.

And then everything comes to a complete halt.

There are several cars stranded off the sides of the road including a big pick up truck in a ditch and a VW bug that's just plain stuck in the middle of the path. It is a bit of a snowstorm now and it's obvious no one's going anywhere anytime soon. Great! So we call our friends and give them an update and tell them we'll keep 'em posted.

And we wait until they try and figure things out. The locals who are kind hearted enough to direct traffic ask us to back down the hill a bit and pull off the side of the roadway (thank goodness Greg thought to take our Jeep with four-wheel drive!). And they ask us to warn others to wait. And so we sit.

Then we see a Jeep approach and it's just going past the other cars along the road side. When it gets near enough, Greg motions to it to pull aside. And then Greg decides he better talk to the driver. Never mind that he's wearing linen pants and nothing on his head and it's snowing fergawdssake! And there he is talking to the driver for what seems like forever.

Finally, he gets back to our car and the other Jeep drives past us on its way up the road. And who is it behind the wheel? Our friend Laura!!!! She asked Greg what we're doing on "their" road and Greg tells her we're on our way to (mutual) friends Phyllis&Don's house. And Laura tells Greg, "Phyllis&Don don't live up this road! They live up another one further into downtown Port Angeles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Boy, if I had just a penny for all the times since we've moved here that vital information has come our way in the nick of time....I could write a book. And, I'd be rich!)

And now we are sooo embarrassed! Nevertheless, we turn around and make our way down the mountain road and proceed on our way to the correct location.

On the way, I call Phyllis and omitting certain facts, tell her we've made it past the road problems and could she please refresh our memory with directions to her doorstep. As we're driving Greg and I discuss whether or not we should fess up to my embarrassing mistake and decide we'll just play it by ear - but also we realize that mutual friend Laura has proof of my blunder.

Dinner was to begin at 5 p.m. and here it is almost 6 when we get to their door. I'm wearing a sleeveless shift and flats without stockings. That's because I've learned that even in the winter, if I dress for cold weather and spend any amount of time in someone's house, I'll be burning up in no time. So the attire wasn't the problem - and in fact, I was fairly comfy at the dinner table (especially when they opened a window for a little air exchange). But, how to walk from the car to the door in flats in six inches of snow? Greg just happened to have a pair of his rubber work boots in the back of the car and like a child wearing Mommy's high heels, I slide and glide my way to the door.

As soon as we get inside, we're greeted by another couple who are attending the dinner and I profusely apologize for being late. And they tell us they just arrived too.

And then we find out that instead of being nearly an hour late, we're actually a few minutes early! Our hostess forgot to tell us she changed dinner from 5 to 6! And that's when I came clean and told them the whole story.

The dinner was lovely. Phyllis must've been slaving in her kitchen for days. But this had to be a first, a Seder dinner with the view out the window looking just like a Courier & Ives print.

April 23, 2008
It's the fourth Wednesday of the month which means....it's time for another Sequim Gazette restaurant review:

A trip to Applebee's

Applebee's has a lot going for it. For one thing, being a nationwide chain, you can expect consistency. The interior design is a slick mix of eye candy overload showcasing collectibles of your favorite team sport; breweriana which of course includes neon signs, and a smattering of Hollywood and music memorabilia - all of which is a hallmark of corporate savvy and deep pockets.

The waitpeople are friendly and chivalrous (the host greeted me by opening the door!).

Applebee's excellent and informative website (www.applebees.com) boasts it's "the largest casual dining concept in the world," with over 1900 restaurants in 49 states and 16 countries (when last I checked). The first Applebee's opened in Atlanta, Georgia over a quarter century ago.

The full bar is right out of Cheers - a homey place where you could see yourself coming in at your regular time and getting that pep talk before you face what's awaiting you at home. There are multiple TVs tuned to your fav sports event and the U-shaped bar is conducive to making new friends. The bar area tall bistro tables are just right for an after-work get-together and a feast of appetizers. Otherwise seating is all roomy booths.

Besides the hard stuff, wines and a wide choice of beers, there are margaritas, martinis, specialty drinks with fruit and liqueurs as well as non-alcoholic smoothies and shakes. They give you plenty of time to imbibe with two daily happy hours: from 3pm to 6pm and then again from 9pm to close. And they'll throw in selected appetizers at half price.

Speaking of appetizers, their Ultimate Trios ($11.99) allow you to mix and match any three of the following: Chicken Ranchers (with bacon, lettuce, tomato and tangy ranch), Steak Quesadilla Towers (with onions, pico de gallo, peppers and cheese), boneless or traditional buffalo wings, spinach and artichoke dip, mini bacon cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, or Dynamite shrimp. It you can't seem to narrow down the field, order a sampler of four from this group where they make the choices for you: onion rings, Baja potato boats (with cheese, bacon bits and pico de gallo, salsa and sour cream), nachos, chicken quesadilla, or veggie patch pizza.

The menu is "All American" which definitely means burgers. Full-meal offerings include grilled fish, steaks, ribs, chicken, pasta, salads, fajitas and other variations on the Mexican theme. If you can't find anything here to your liking, well, you're just not hungry.

When Applebee's first appeared in Sequim about a year or so ago, we were overjoyed: here was a place that was open weekdays 'til midnight! And since our home-building project often goes past normal dinner times, this was great news and we soon became regulars, grabbing a bite to eat at the end of a long day.

I love salads and they had one with a perfect combo: grilled, marinated chicken breast, a fresh mix of greens, crisp Granny Smith apples, sweet candied walnuts and tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

By now you know, when it comes to places we frequent frequently, I find my favorite choice and stick to it and I had quickly gotten into the habit of ordering that Apple Walnut Chicken salad. Greg usually went for a variety of hardier fare.

But one day, "my" salad was no longer on the menu. Seemed strange because it had to be popular. Our waitperson explained that Applebee's is constantly rotating menu items (although they are doing less of that nowadays). But really, my salad was a simple one and not being the shy type, I asked why they just couldn't whip one up for me. Then our waitperson explained that most items are made elsewhere and brought in - just like the airlines do (or used to do before they stopped feeding you and began processing you like cattle).

So, after a call to their corporate offices I found out that salads and their fixins' are preassembled, breaded items are pre-breaded, and steaks are marinated before delivery; and like their burgers are then cooked to order.

Currently their salad menu is comprised of: steamed veggies with house salad, "my" Apple Walnut Chicken salad, grilled chicken Caesar, and Oriental chicken salad.

A popular lunchtime destination, most selections will cost you only $7.49 and there are neighborhood specials. Applebee's menu let's you create up to 60 different combinations so you can never complain of "same old same old" for your midday meal.

If you're watching your diet, they offer meals for Weight Watcher fans which is nice to know since most of the food is fried and/or breaded or of the high cholesterol variety.

If you could care less about your diet, then let me recommend their dessert menu which is a veritable sinner's paradise. Their just-right sized Dessert Shooters are a buy at $1.99. Try chocolate mousse with oreos, strawberry cheesecake, hot fudge sundae, key lime pie on graham cracker crumbs, or Apple Caramel Supreme with cinnamon and whipped cream on fluffy white cake. For those determined to consume as many carbohydrates and calories as one serving will allow - and attract attention while you're at it - there's Triple Chocolate Meltdown cake with dark and white chocolate and ice cream and hot fudge; Maple Butter Blondie with nuts and ice cream covered in sizzling maple butter sauce and served warm at your table; or Sizzling Apple Pie served in a skillet with walnut streusel, caramel butter and vanilla ice cream.

If you're in a hurry, you can call ahead and pick up your order as you drive by their "Carside to Go" window.

Before I sign off, I must make a full-disclosure statement and report that months ago both my husband and I were felled with what sure seemed like food poisoning within hours of dining there. To be fair, I have no proof that anything on Applebee's menu was the culprit.

April 27, 2008
Whew! Dodged a bullet!

While the two of us were working at , I was fiddling around with the waterfall filter while Greg was working on the siding nearby. When I opened the lid to the filter, there were two little froggies. Seems they just love to hang out in there and it's not a particularly healthy choice if you know what I mean (key word: filter). Anyway, looks like they laid some eggs in there (which I will have to relocate to the pond) and so I began to tell Greg about it.

And his ladder begins to teeter and with a few choice expletives while momentarily airborne, down he goes and lands on his back. He's okay...but narrowly missed hitting his head on a nearby boulder. All that time on the roof and a ten foot ladder sends him flyin'.

No more of these incidents...puleez.

Although I'll do much more of it once we actually live here, I keep a few suet "cages" hung in trees to feed the birds. Suet is a solid piece of high protein fat mixed with seeds. Now, for the umpteenth time, some critter - probably raccoons - has managed to unhook the suet cage from the chain that attaches it to a tree branch! How do they do it???? Last time I thought I made sure no one could detach those things without a pair of pliers!

April 30, 2008
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, when I was a little girl, I lived in Charleston, West Virginia with my parents. Today I'd have been diagnosed with ADD but back then they didn't know of such things and all my parents knew was I drove them crazy.

In fact, I'm in some medical journal somewhere from 1951 because at the time I was the only known infant to have survived duodenal ulcers! (That's right, my parents drove me crazy too!) When a neighbor friend who was watching me asleep in my crib told my mother that I didn't look too good my mother told her, "Leave her alone; she's asleep and quiet for once!" Turned out I almost bled to death but that's not the story I want to tell right now.

The story I want to tell came up today when my Uncle Grover reminded me of a "magic elixir" that my parents used to keep me in line.

Whenever my parents got particularly exasperated with their hyperactive kid, they threatened me with the dreaded "Tushie Exer." My Uncle confirmed the image I held in my mind: a dark brown bottle with the picture of a little girl, her pants being pulled down by a little dog, and a great big red "X" was right there on the cheek of her derriere. If that bottle sounds familiar, it was a bottle of Coppertone Suntan Lotion my Uncle told me today. I remember my Dad telling me that if I didn't behave, they'd mark my tush with that red "X" and then the people from the orphanage would come by to see who had been marked as being bad and away I'd go to some dark dank basement overrun with rats and mice.

Okay, so today you'd probably call that child abuse. But really, I think it's funny. And, look, I didn't turn out too bad, did I? Nevermind - don't answer that.

May 3, 2008
Spent the day at doing a massive clean up after Greg's helper finished helping. Construction debris is inevitable. But I don't complain. Mess means work's being done.

Anyway, as I'm driving down the road approaching the house, there are two (big - well, they're all big!) Canadian Geese in the cul de sac waddling and honking away. Why? Who knows. Maybe they were separated from the rest of their buds. At any rate, I turned off the (electric) engine and watched them until they took off.

And then Greg had a bird encounter on his way home. Spotted this bald eagle in a farmer's field. Wonder if he thinks he could scoop up that little lamb? Hope not.

May 4, 2008
Greg is simply exhausted. This kid carpenter worked for us for the past three weeks to get us over the hump on the exterior siding. Our HOA was on our ass to finish it up (like we've been dawdling!!!) since the CC&Rs require completion in one year and here we are at three plus. So we hire this young man (who actually worked with our framer on his present job). Turned out it was more frustrating and anxiety-filled than doing it all himself. No matter how Greg explained how he wanted something done...the kid goes and does it his way (translation: WRONG). And Greg would have to bound out of the house in the morning to get to the job before the kid did so he could be two steps ahead of him and head off screw-ups at the pass. Our fav screwup: Greg painted in huge letters on a plywood wall not to use a nail gun where the paint was because there was a plumbing pipe behind the wall. Guess where the kid shot in a couple of nails???

Just like old times: years ago...before I had my break on General Hospital and we lived in a 750 sf apartment in Culver City, Sunday mornings were lazy things....sleep in, read the Sunday paper, watch CBS News This Morning and dine on great big cheese and veggie omelets by Chef Gregory. Chef Gregory made his Pacific Northwest omelet debut this morning. Gotta remember omelets for dinner some time.

While Greg takes a much needed nap, I'm watching Turner Classic Movies and Strangers When We Meet with Kirk Douglas and Kim Novak is on. What a trip down memory lane. All the locations were in my childhood stomping grounds: Brentwood Village, Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood. When the leads are driving in their car, out the car window I can see landmarks like the Brentwood Hotel on the corner of Kenter Avenue, University Synagogue where my grammar school held cotillions and my Brownie troop met, Bundy Drive. And Wilson's House of Suede, and Romanoff's Restaurant and the Albatross restaurant on the beach in Malibu where the leads illicitly meet for the first time. The movie was made in 1960 and the Albatross is just a memory. But I remember my parents and I must've seen the movie together (my parents were very progressive when it came to taking me to movies) and so we all went to the Albatross for lunch one Sunday afternoon where my parents couldn't get over paying $4 for a grilled cheese sandwich!

May 5, 2008
My daffys are in bloom. Us being 1000 ft above sea level, things bloom slower here, and even slower still with this unusually cold spring. It's a good thing daffy blooms last a long time so that I've been able to enjoy them a little bit while I'm back and forth working at . One day I'll be able to watch the entire process from start to finish.

And speaking of processes. It's Spring and that means it's froggy time. Froggywog Pond (and this year even the waterfall) are filled with the dinning sound of frogs croaking. Which means frogs are mating. And so, we looked in the pond and found one of I'm sure a zillion egg sacs. What's amazing is with the naked eye they do indeed look like little dots of eggs. But with a close-up lens you can see they're actually
itsy bitsy pollywogs (aka tadpoles).

May 6, 2008
Because of my "work" on property tax reform here and because our group has come out in favor of the opponent to our current governor, a building industry group which is also feeling the bite due to runaway property taxes found me and asked me to be part of a commercial/radio spot campaign. Their campaign is endorsing the challenger, Dino Rossi and I happily accepted. It was like old times being in front of cameras again.

To film the commercial we had to go to Olympia, over two hours away from , and so we decided to make a day of it. After the shoot, Greg and I spent a leisurely afternoon antiquing and then splurged on a very fattening dinner out at a local restaurant.

I was able to add several items to my obsessive collection of knick knacks and man in the moon paraphernalia. First I bought a very inexpensive flea market type oil painting of trees. I love trees and back in California I started to collect paintings and prints for the office. Then I found a couple of old pieces of sheet music. I have quite a collection of ones just featuring the man in the moon and so added this one with a song by the famous Sophie Tucker. I also found this adorable kitty kat. A while back on another antique hunt I found the original sheet music of that famous song that my Daddy used to sing with me when I was a little girl - Three Little Fishies. It will go nicely with an aluminum tray I bought some time ago with the same theme. I always get a kick out of seeing how pieces I collect come together to create their own little grouping. That's the fun I'm looking forward to when I begin displaying all of our "junk" - creating amusing scenarios. But the unusual find of the day was a children's book from 1917 about a little boy and his friends the insects. What made it so unusual is that it came with phonograph records inside pockets made of the book's pages! I think I may have kept an old record player that can play 78 rpms so some day I'll try and take a listen to this.

May 7, 2008
Just had to go see the first of the summer blockbusters...Ironman. And it was sooo worth it. I just love Robert Downey Jr. (he wuz robbed of an Academy Award for Chaplin). Now I can't wait for Indiana Jones, Batman, and ...The Happening by the director who brought you The Sixth Sense and Signs.

May 8, 2008
Nothing particularly noteworthy to report - except
how cute is our Bud!!!!? He's got that relaxin' thing down pat!

Well, I guess there is something else...although it pales in comparison to Bud. But, the exterior of is just about completed. There's still a section outside the guestroom, and even when that's done we'll be moving on to interior issues before we put the final coat of paint on the trim, but TA DA, here's the southwest back side of the home!

May 11, 2008
This is hysterical (if a little indelicate)!

Greg took me to dinner to our fav Chinese restaurant for Mother's Day (I am Bud's mom you know!). Since we always come from "work" we look like the Wreck of the Hesperus and dirty too boot. So after we put in our order, a trip to the Ladie's room was next. And being female, that means a bladder break as well. Sorry to get so graphic here but this is too funny not to tell you about. So as I'm about to flush, I see of all things a fortune cookie fortune floating in the bowl. How it got there I do not know! I mean, we hadn't even started our meal so I know it wasn't one of ours . Anyway, I just had to read it since the printing was up....well? Wouldn't you? Here's the fortune as it met it's way to the sea: You are about to embark on an exciting journey!!!!!!!! LOL!

May 12, 2008
Back on February 1st, I talked about the "Outdoor Rooms" at . Back then I posted a few pix and the "rooms" I showed were all dusted with snow. Now, Spring is in full swing and I've done a more thorough catalog of our outdoor spaces...

Moondance Ridge which runs from the courtyard area along the north side of the house (just to the right of this image is the guest room), looks down on Moondance Trail, at the top of which is the Twisted Cedar Trailhead pictured here. Moondance Trail is the ancient deer trail that is still used today and it leads off our property to a wetlands buffer zone.

I remember a book from the 1940s which became a movie starring Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde - Leave Her to Heaven. Gene was baaad and it's a great movie for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Anyway, Cornel had a cabin in the woods and he called his place Back of the Moon. So, our Back of the Moon is where we placed that huge steel swing we schlepped with us from California and then it continues down into a ravine that leads to the wetlands area on the other side of the property. Deer have been known to travel up this ravine too.

Just to the right of the swing is a special place we call Alice's Sanctuary. Named in honor of his Mom, Greg goes there to spend a little quiet time. One day we hope to make trails beginning here that will criss cross our property.

Right outside the back door is Fawn Meadow. The path you see to the right of the meadow leads to Back of the Moon. To the left of the meadow is Moonshadow Falls and Froggywog Pond. The dry creek that begins at the street end of our driveway and continues all the way around the house and ends near Twisted Cedar Trailhead is Moonlight Creek and is actually a required part of our drainage plan. It could have just been a ditch but I couldn't help making it an art project. Just near Fawn Meadow the Creek ends at the top of the ravine - Twisted Cedar Trailhead is just out of the picture on the right.

Separating our property from our neighbor's is an area we call Halfmoon Hill defined by one of our "decorative" snake fences made of old cedar logs. The little orange tree there isn't dying, it's an unusual species of cedar tree and was a present from friends Melissa&Les.

May 15, 2008
Yesterday on our way in to work, we saw two Canadian Geese just about to cross the road in front of us. So we pulled up to try to scare them back off to the side. As we slowly approached we realized it was a mama and papa with kiddles. This image combines two pix. You can see the parents with 3 of the kiddles on the left half and on the right half just the kiddles trying to catch up with mama and papa.

May 16, 2008
The BIG TA DA. We is (basically) finished with the outside of !!!!!!

Only took us just shy of three years and two months to do it, but we've reached a huge milestone. If you look closely at the garage doors you'll notice somethin' ain't kosher.

Since it'll be months more before we can hang the real doors, I just couldn't help myself and took green tape and mocked up the plywood doors to look like the real ones!

And here's Greg finishing up the last wall with siding. That door - mostly covered by the scaffolding - leads to the guestroom. And that will be our "apartment" once we "move over." When will that be???? Keepin' our fingers crossed for late summer/fall of '09.

Here in the mountains, if it's spring, it means all kinds of critters are around every corner. Especially birds. Nestled in the tall grass, I see a dark tunnel. As I approach, I can see that a mama dark junco is mighty interested in me. I'm so curious to see the nest and later in the day I sneak up and pull back the grass a little to find several eggs nestled there.

One of the nearby mountains we see here at is Blue Mountain. It's kinda become our own personal Bali Hai. And that reminds me of the song about it in South Pacific and the lyrics seem to speak to me of our dream home:

Most people live on a lonely island,
Lost in the middle of a foggy sea.
Most people long for another island,
One where they know they will like to be.

Bali Ha'i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
"Come away...Come away."

Bali Ha'i will whisper
In the wind of the sea:
"Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!"

Your own special hopes,
Your own special dreams,
Bloom on the hillside
And shine in the streams.
If you try, you'll find me
Where the sky meets the sea.
"Here am I your special island
Come to me, Come to me."

Bali Ha'i,
Bali Ha'i,
Bali Ha'i!

Someday you'll see me floatin' in the sunshine,
My head stickin' out from a low flyin' cloud,
You'll hear me call you,
Singin' through the sunshine,
Sweet and clear as can be:
"Come to me, here am I, come to me."
If you try, you'll find me
Where the sky meets the sea.
"Here am I your special island
Come to me, Come to me."

Bali Ha'i,
Bali Ha'i,
Bali Ha'i!

May 17, 2008
Frogs, snakes, newts and spiders oh my!

Now that Spring is in full swing, it's back to gardening. And that means many opportunities for close encounters with wildlife.

I'll be digging in the dirt and a small froggy pops out. And since today was a sunny and hot one, the baby snakes are takin' in the rays. I saw one baby slithering along the dry creekbed, and later another (and could've been the same one for all I know) carrying off a froggy for lunch. I hate to see any little creature die, but everyone's gotta eat. And although both the snake and frog were very little, that little froggy was quite a large package to carry off. At one point the snake had to basically stand on its head with the frog firmly held in its jaws and flip the rest of his body over his head in order to drag himself into a hiding place.

Later on, I was working at a wood pile in the field away from the house and there I found a little newt (stock photo) which I promptly carried to our pond and watched him swim away.

As I've said many times, I'll pick up newts, lizards, snakes, and frogs. But insects and especially spiders give me the heeby jeebs. Like Indiana Jones hates snakes, I'm the same way with spiders. And to make it worse (or maybe it's a form of subconscious self preservation), I seem to have a highly developed sense of spider radar. I can walk into a room and my eyes go directly to any spider. Or, they seem to enjoy causing me apoplexy by making themselves known. So this evening, after the long day at work, while Greg and I are vegging out in front of the tv watching Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Indiana Jones, along comes a spider...dangling on a strand of spider silk from the ceiling and hanging right in front of me. Not a comforting thought: at any given point in time, you're no more than six feet away from a spider...

While I did yardwork my high school helper, with a little tutoring from Greg, put together our new bridges which span the drycreeks around the property. This one creates a viewing platform for contemplating in front of Froggywog Pond. And this one crosses the creekbed at Fawn Meadows (note the old bridge on the lower right) that allows you to get to our swing at Back of the Moon.

And to top off the day, on our way home we pass the corral where our little friend Bambi hangs out. And this time, the gang's all here: the three horses, the two cows, and even a flock of Canadian geese!

May 18, 2008
While reading the Sunday paper, I hear some noise coming from what I think is the chimney in our family room. Usually that sound means it's windy outside. So that's what I figured. Until I walked through the room a little later and noticed some movement inside the glass-fronted fireplace. Through the glass, there was a little bird flopping around!! Somehow it fell down the flew and landed in the firebox and couldn't fly out. It was just by happenchance that I noticed the little thing. I caught it and set it free. Turns out it was a baby barn swallow (stock photo). It was such an unusual and interesting event that I sent a note about this little incident into our local paper for their "Seen Around" column; one of the small town quirks where readers can submit little ditties about small town life. They chose it to run in the paper and I even got a note praising my "poetry!" And I wasn't even trying. "A noise in the chimney, then something moving inside the fireplace behind the glass. A baby bird fell down the chimney, and then was set free by the startled homeowner."

And more birds later in the day. As Greg and I stood talking in our driveway, a juvenile bald eagle takes flight and passes by our belvedere (turret). One day we'll be up in that belvedere and get a bird's eye view of such wonders.

May 19, 2008
And still MORE birds. As I walk through the back yard near the pond I see three unusual birds. They flutter into a tree near the pond, then fly down to it just out of my line of sight. Of course, no camera. And I think I remember what they looked like but I couldn't find anything like them in my bird identifier books. I even called the Audubon Society and from my description they thought it might be an evening grosbeak and while they would seem similar, I swear the birds I saw didn't have that "finch" type thick beak, and had white on their backs between their wings and also a wide band of white on the back of their heads. One of many wildlife mysteries I hope we have the time to contemplate when becomes our home.

May 21, 2008
Today was a milestone day. We picked up the sheet metal beams that will one day grace the cathedral ceiling in our livingroom. They don't look like much now, but after a lot of work, they should be just what we envisioned. It was months and months ago that I created the design and template that's been stuck up in the rafters for me to dream on.

May 22, 2008
I've spoken about our new friends Marine&Leonard before. They moved here from New York several years ago; came on a visit and decided to change their lives and live in paradise. Here's what Marine emailed to me about what Spring is like at her house... Her last sentence says it all:

It is a beautiful evening here, up on the hill, the golden evening sunlight casting long shadows in the field next door.

I sit at my desk, admiring how still the water is in the distance, like a mirror reflecting a finally cloudless sky.

It is a perfect scene of serenity and peace, ah!!........ when a doe enters from stage left, for her usual night stroll, towards the woods where she most likely sleeps.

But today she is not alone, for her little fawn, still very wobbly on its legs, follows her close behind. My jaw drops and I feel joyful at once. I run to tell Leonard to come to the bedroom window to share this beautiful Discovery moment with me, and grab my camera in the process. As we get on the deck for a closer look from above, the noise alarms the doe, she looks up towards us, all ears turned like megaphones, eyes wide opened while the little one crouches behind the tall grass and flattens itself like a pancake. Mom saunters down the slope while junior holds still instinctively, waiting for danger to pass. Finally the fawn perks up, looks for Mom who is coming back to reassure and save her baby. The fawn skips down thru the grass to rejoin its mother, and they walk away in search of more clement surroundings.

Moments like these make us so happy and blessed!

Not to be outdone, our little dark juncos have made their appearance. Aren't they the cutest?! I just love those big yellow mouths.

May 24, 2008
It's rare, but once in a while we tear ourselves away from work to partake in local festivities.

The Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts is a big yearly event that features crafts, food, and live music. Friends Marine&Leonard invited us to go and after missing it the last four years, we decided to take them up on their offer.

The crafts weren't too impressive - probably because we've seen bigger and better at faires in Los Angeles. Marine&Leonard are big blue grass and folk music fans and so we got an earful of that. We saw a group that got its start locally called Deadwood Revival whose music is described as having "old-timey roots" and a tradition blue grass group, Prairie Flyer. There were so many acts we could have seen, one right after the other in several buildings, but our time was short and so we only got to take in one other band, a vintage four piece featuring 20s & 30s jazz with a great name: Miss Rose and Her Rhythm Percolators.

There are obviously a lot of terrific dancers here as they all strutted their stuff on the dancefloor to Miss Rose's music. Marine couldn't help herself and got out there and did a solo. Since she's a pro, I yelled out, "Show us a little Fosse," and instantaneously she took on that Fosse style including his signature tip of the hat!

May 25, 2008
And friends, yet again, invite us to dinner. Tonight we went to Pris&Robert's.

Visiting them at their bluff side home just makes me yearn all the more for what life will be like at someday. They've been in their house for several months now and are, of course, still putting on finishing touches. Robert is a very talented carpenter himself (and that's how we became acquainted) and he's been busy doing all sorts of projects including making their own cement countertops for Pris' gourmet kitchen.

Pris made a great pasta dish and a rhubarb and blueberry crisp in honor of Greg's birthday...on the 27th.

Also got another email from Marine about her little fawn:

I wonder where the little fawn is right now?
Where is it ? Leonard asks, I wonder, I don't know.

A cool breeze came thru the night, leaving behind a calm morning and a big grey cover up over the peninsula. Vapors of fog are gently lifting off the driveway, and mama deer is just on the other side of the fence..

Trailing close behind, lightly prancing around her hind legs is the fawn, still gawky in its gait. It is as sweet as seeing it for the first time a few days ago. Leonard tells me to get the camera and hurry, but I'm afraid we'll scare them off with our voices and sudden movements. Len is already ahead, rushing with excitement. He circles around one end of the fence and is now running towards them. I reluctantly hurry to keep up with him, since I have the camera. By the time I have mama deer in my sight again, she is too far, it's too late for the shot.

You've just gone right by it, says Len, look
it's right there.

I stop, turn around and sure enough, there is Junior, flat on its belly, hind legs extended behind, head down on the ground, motionless like a piece of deadwood. It totally gets lost in the tall grasses. I approach to snap a couple of pictures while gently talking to the fawn that everything is going to be OK. Wow, so unreal! We leave the little fellow and soon the mother comes back to reassure her baby.

What happens next is pretty surreal!

Rushing around to get ready, Leonard tells me once more to grab the camera. Impatient as we're already late, I comply nevertheless and run towards the big lawn.

This time Len motions me towards what looks like a little brown bundle on the freshly mowed grass. From the back, it looks like a little fox, all snuggled up in a ball. But as I get near it, I realize it is the little fawn, resting, at peace, as if placed professionally by a photographer for its Kodak moment, totally
oblivious to our presence.

No moma deer in sight, as if she left Junior there on purpose, totally confident that no harm will come to her little one.

It is the most surreal sight, to lie on my belly and stare into the big brown eyes of that little bambino, peacefully resting undisturbed. Maybe it recognizes our soothing voices from earlier and doesn't fear for its safety.

It feels like home, chez Hirschfeld, indeed a
"field of deer" in German.

May your day be filled with wonder, beauty, love and peace...

May 26, 2008
It's Memorial Day. And every year I thank Greg for his service to his country. And that goes for every other soldier. I know there are those who will cringe when I say that Freedom Isn't Free. But if you are a student of history, you know how true that statement is.

We found a beautiful American Flag and hung it off the porch at . And then it began to sprinkle.

What a shot!

Earlier, before it began to drizzle, I got a chance to stroll the grounds and look at my handiwork. There are fields of wildflowers, wildflowers, wildflowers everywhere!

May 27, 2008
It's Greg's 61st birthday and we meet Pris&Robert to celebrate...again...for dinner at Alderwood Bistro.

I think this is the first year ever I didn't get Greg a card! Neither one of us are big on presents...it's how we treat each other every day that's important. But finding time for "niceties" is nigh on impossible. And having the time to discover moments like our friends Marine&Leonard and their little deer...that will have to wait for another day.

May 28, 2008
A conversation with a friend brought back this little story...

Back on Kelton Avenue I loved my garden - my pride and joy.

Only problem was, I lived amongst retched students and who knows what else.

One of my fav flowers were bird of paradise (even had them in my wedding bouquet). One spring I noticed they were just beginning to bloom and the next day...GONE. Someone had actually had the balls to come with a scissors and cut off the blooms! Can't tell you how this pissed me off. Soooo, after posting a sign right in the bush that said, "Smile, You're on surveillance camera" to no avail, I had to put on my thinking cap.

And here's what I came up with. I ordered itching powder from a joke shop, I coated the stems of the flower with Vaseline and sprinkled on the itching powder.

And guess what? Never had the problem again!!

I've since found out that the "itching mechanism" in itching powder is stinging nettle - something I have unfortunately encountered in the woods. And whomever stole my flowers deserved every itch they scratched.

And here's this month's restaurant review as seen on the pages of the Sequim Gazette...

McDonald's - Not your parents fast food joint

If you've been sitting under a rock lately (or misplaced your Blackberry), you haven't heard that the cost of rice has increased 70% this year, corn is up around 30% (due in large part by farmers now growing inedible corn for biofuels), not to mention gasoline prices that will continue to rise - which of course tacks on to the cost of every single thing we buy because trucks eat up a lot of fuel.

And now reports on how this is the worst time in memory for restaurants, with big chains like Cheesecake Factory filing for restructured bankruptcies just to stay in business. You may notice that portion sizes are being downsized in order to allow you to still have a night or two out to dinner without paying more for it.

Just what am I gonna do? Me, who makes reservations for dinner? These are tough times indeed for the cooking challenged.

That's why when deciding on my next restaurant for this month's column, what with all the bad economy news, I figured I better concentrate on a restaurant that won't put a dent in our pocketbooks.

So, let's all go out to McDonald's shall we?

Is there anything I can tell you about McDonald's that you don't already know? From it's humble beginnings in Des Planes, Illinois to its charitable Ronald McDonald House, it's an American Icon.

Gone now are those huge golden arches which today have morphed into a 21st century motif; and Sequim's McDonald's is new and sleek.

The sitdown area is a mini photo gallery - a sepia-toned history of the Peninsula. The seating is no nonsense which includes state-of-the-art easy to clean booths (the better to mop up after food fight wars among the toddler set). There's even one big booth island capable of seating a family of four and grandma and grandpops as well.

Attached to the sitdown area is a small version of an amusement park for kids. The gymboree is a cornucopia of primary colors - just the place for harried moms to put their kids to burn off their sugar rush.

For what it's worth...McDonald's can be described with the current mantra, "It is what it is." It's not about ambiance or slow dining. It's about fast inexpensive food. That's what you expect...and that's what you get.

But McDonald's isn't just about hamburgers anymore. I counted nearly 100 items on the menu! Of course there's hamburgers and french fries and beverages, but I was surprised to find there are 21 items on the breakfast menu. They offer plenty of chicken choices and a Filet-o-Fish sandwich. And nearly a dozen salads.

For under $10 I splurged on a Caesar salad (without the grilled chicken), a small unadulterated burger, fries, and a diet Coke. I was pleasantly surprised when the Caesar salad arrived with a packet of (Paul) Newman's Own Creamy Caesar dressing (one of five Newman's Own dressings on the menu). These are so good, I even use them at home. And true to McDonald's philosophy of helping the community, profits of all of Newman's products go to charity. The lettuce was fresh and crispy which included, to my surprise, not just iceberg but some field greens as well.

The hamburger wasn't particularly exciting - but then I didn't order a fancy one. Mine was strictly no frills. They supplied a nice big slice of tomato upon request, and the lettuce, pickles, and onions were available at the self-serve bar. And that's where I found those annoying packets of ketchup. I understand that portion control is essential in a business like this, but I should remember to always bring a scissors with me under these circumstances. By the time I had enough ketchup on my plate to satisfy me, my fries and hamburger were pretty near room temp. (I just don't like ketchup with my fries, I like french fry soup.) For some reason, the self-serve bar doesn't put out mustard - that I had to ask for. But there were endless refills of my diet Coke - something you don't get if you take out.

In order to do a thorough job for my review, I found it mandatory that I order some type of dessert. I settled on a cinnamon bun which wasn't bad (unless I paid attention to fat and calorie content). If you're really worried about calories and nutritional facts, they make it easy for you with a nifty handout that tells you about every item they offer.

The wait staff was perky and well-trained. The bathrooms are nearly antiseptically clean - which is no small feat when most of your audience are sticky-fingered kids.

While I was there amongst young families and tots playing in the gymboree, I saw several groups of senior citizens taking advantage of the low prices I suspect.

When you're hungry, when you're in a hurry, when you're watching your pennies, when you want to be a little naughty (or not) and when you aren't looking for ambiance, McDonald's fills the bill.

Today is friend Jan's birthday...a year and a day younger than Greg. So we joined festivities at a local bar & grill and celebrated with Jan, Patty, and daughter Andrea.

May 30, 2008
This evening Greg and I attended a "celebration" in honor of a new friend of ours. We met Thelma and then her husband, Barry through a garden club fundraiser. I bid on Thelma's time to help weed our property.

Sidebar: My weeds have weeds. But on the positive side, I will say that the endeavor has given me several avian encounters because while rooting (no pun intended) through the underbrush to remove weeds I have several times discovered White Crowned Sparrow and Dark Eyed Junco nests which evidently are made in the ground and not on tree branches.

Anyway, Thelma's husband came up to take the tour and what a special man he is. Unfortunately, he has been diagnosed with cancer and Thelma threw him a party, a celebration. I won't go into detail here about the celebration (you get the idea), but I will talk about the fact that the celebration was filled with dogs! Barry & Thelma own a beautiful golden retriever and she and her friends (who attended the celebration) are part of a volunteer group called Gentle Paws. They donate their time and their canines by visiting patients and schools and any other group that benefits from animal companions. All the dogs, of course, were incredibly well behaved. There was Crikey, an Australian Sheep Dog; Hercules & Honeybear, pomeranians; Coco a rescued greyhound; and so many other wonderful canines. Where would we be without our animal friends.

May 31, 2008
Close encounter of the avian kind...

I'm back at my weeding. It's going to take me years to get rid of the "bad" weeds. With over two acres, you can just imagine what a task it is to keep ahead of them. It is absolutely overwhelming. Especially when they all start to go to seed at the same time. There's just no way I can get to all of them before that happens. And so, I just must resign myself to do what I can.

My main culprit is something with a nice name: velvet grass. It grows in a big clump, has broad light green leaves. Any time you disturb the ground, they take over.

Anyway....so I was weeding in what I call our "salal corral," an area just to the north of our driveway behind a snake fence.

Salal is a shiny leafed ground cover found in forests. And in this area, there is a lot of that velvet grass growing up between the leaves. I'll clean this up a bit, but my grandmother had a great description of tasks like this one..."It's like trying to pick fly poop out of pepper!"

So there I am, on my knees, digging around for the grass, spreading apart the leaves of the salal, and hacking at the grass with a hand pick.

When all of a sudden as I pull back the salal leaves I see something the color of dirt but it has a smooth sheen to it. I bend my head down closer to it and am just stunned to see two baby sparrows hunkered down in a nest! For a second I thought possibly I had harmed them but as I watched I could see them breathing. If I had been paying attention, I would have heard mama (and possibly papa) chirping away at me, warning me to stay away from their babies. So now the ruckus started to make sense. And then when I stood up, the babies took off in the underbrush and mama and papa started running around on the ground. Mama was faking a broken wing to draw my attention away from her brood.

June 2, 2008
Here's how crazy things have gotten since we've undertaken this mindboggling project...

File this under, "If my fans from General Hospital could see me now."

I have made a symbolic choice to absolutely refuse to buy new sheets and towels until we can actually call home. I'll admit it's a "girl thing," but that's my decision and I'm stickin' to it!

Our bedsheets are beginning to literally fall apart. I have a big hole at the foot of my side of the bed - and I can't seem to find any other sets of sheets because it's packed whoknowzwhere in some box which is probably at the bottom of a stack ten feet high).

So today I found myself at the Goodwill Store buying a single pillowcase to cut up and patch my sheet! Boy, how the mighty have fallen. If my fans from General Hospital could have seen me shopping today. No more Rodeo Drive...it's Goodwill or bust!

June 10, 2008
It's a White Crowned Sparrow (stock photo) population explosion at .

Again, while weeding, I uncovered yet another nest. This one only had eggs (stock photo)...so far.

XXXJune 6, 2008
Can you believe it? It's June and we've had cool days and gray days and now snow is predicted for the Olympic Mountains behind us.

Cool gray days are the best days for weeding. Nothing worse than the sun beating down on your back while you're working hard outside.

Meanwhile, Friend Lisa is very very busy. Just to recount to you all the stuff she's into makes me tired. And on top of forestry, teaching classes, taking care of a family, and building a house (or at least putting finishing touches on one), she has added something else. She and hubby Revy have beautiful golden retrievers and Gracie just had pups! Not quite ready for his/her close up Mr. DeMille. Can't wait until they're old enough to snuggle.

June 8, 2008
An unexpected visit!

Greg's newphews Jeff and Scott came to the Peninsula today. Jeff moved here a couple of months ago - actually to Seattle (and will soon be joined by his school teacher wife). Brother Scott is out for a quick visit and the two of them got "The Tour" and then we went to lunch at Sunshine Cafe before they had to catch the ferry back.

We really enjoyed seeing them and hope we can get together more often.

But wait, there's more!

We had a "return home" dinner at a local Mexican restaurant with friends Candice&Steven who are snowbirds and have spent the past few months in Florida.

It was nonstop talking and catching up for three hours.

And I was presented with a wonderful gift (which I can't wait to display!). A beautiful dessert plate in black and white with a woman sitting on a crescent moon. Just like my uncle and aunt who finally decided they would give us our housewarming gift "early" after holding on to it for two years (!!!), Candice&Steven decided they'd present us with this now too.

Anyway, they traveled to Florida in a jumbo, and I mean jumbo, vacation trailer. How jumbo is it? Well, consider this: from Florida to Washington state the cost for gasoline was $3,000!

June 9, 2008
Global warming? NOT!

Not only did it pour rain today...and blow like a hurricane, but our Bali Hai was peppered with snow by day's end.

I don't mind it at all...except it's growing weeds....well....like weeds.

At this rate I'll never ever ever get rid of 'em!

June 10, 2008
And another rainy day.

Still weeding and found the gaping maws of baby birds.

June 11, 2008
Seen Around

June 13, 2008
Unexpected visit by a former work buddy of Greg's. Tried new SoHo Bistro and drive to Hurricane Ridge.

Then dinner at Candice&Steven's house. We brought dessert, a Peanut Butter Pie from the restaurant I'll be reviewing later this month. Yummm.

June 15, 2008
Spent the day doing a test run install of a set of livingroom beams!!!

June 16, 2008

I absolutely positively HATE wearing glasses.

Indiana Jones quote: "We're at the age when life stops giving us things and starts taking things away." Ptooey! Bah Humbug.

Glasses sure aren't a panacea that's for sure. I am wedded to them now every waking moment.

And so, I should have remembered that factoid that we're never more than six feet away from a spider at any given moment.

Greg just came running into the bedroom after hearing me jump and scream and yell. I saw (or rather kinda saw as I was on my way to the shower and unfortunately I don't wear my glasses there), what I THOUGHT was a piece of lint (a relatively big piece of lint) on the bed. I picked it up A SPIDER!!!! EWWWWWWWWWWW.

My animal encounters got better as the day progressed.

New mama and twin fawns.

Bald eagle by the roadside as I left OtM and traveled down the mountain.

June 17, 2008
Visit by Boni&Ted to see progress.

First sighting of bunny

Bella Italia for dinner

June 19, 2008
A squirrel thinks he owns the place...Greg locks him out and you should have heard the complaining!!!

June 20, 2008
Something to look forward to:

Friend Judie is coming for a visit next month. So is friend Daniel.

Sorry to rub this in. Sooo glad we're not living in California, Arizona or Texas with this unbelievably hot heatwave. We're enjoing mid to high 60s with intermittent sun.

Whenever I'm outside gardening and the sun peeps through the cloud cover, a sailor would blush with the words that come out of my mouth cursing the sun. As I've said so often before: Bah humbug! Sun is only good for photographs and flowers.

June 22, 2008
We're lousy with visitors.

Just got a call from my ex and his wife and they're going to come visit in early August. We may have overlapping visits which would be lots of fun!

June 24, 2008
Deer, deer everywhere. Sad note on why I saw the eagle...up close with vulture.

Walked down driveway and deer was curious.

June 25, 2008
This month's Sequim Gazette restaurant review...

Sunshine Cafe is tucked under the porch...along the old section of Sequim's main street.

Just the name alone is perfect for reminding us of one of the reasons we all love living here.

An often forgotten landmark, you might be surprised to know it's been here for over twenty years.

Tourists probably enjoy it more often than longtime locals - and that's a shame.

It's one of the busiest restaurants in town come tourist season because it's just what they're looking for: a hometown feel. And it's just the right size to make you feel cozy. So for those of us who used to be tourists and settled here for the small town atmosphere, it should become high on local favorites lists.

The present owners are Allen and Diane Drake and Allen's is the face (and pony tail) you'll see beyond the order window.

It's definitely a family place. You'll even find a small family photo gallery above the cash register amidst charming collectibles.

Waitress Danielle, one of the key components to creating the cozy atmosphere, says, "It's all about the love. There's always plenty of hugs to go around."

Danielle tells me they have lots of regulars. And when one of their regulars hasn't visited for a while, Sunshine Cafe staffers have been known to give them a call - just to make sure everything's all right.

Waitress Gigi, the "unofficial" greeter is proud to tell you she's been there through four regime changes - which means she's been there practically from the beginning. The minute you walk in, there's a friendly "How are you today?" And sometimes a chiding comment, "It's been a while - where have you been!"

I'm sure Gigi and Danielle are champs at remembering their regulars' "usual" orders down to the last detail. Just another way they make you feel special.

Sunshine Cafe's walls are lined with Pacific Northwest themed artwork by Tim Quinn, the political cartoonist for our Gazette - and for the right price they could grace your walls at home. (Occasionally other artists' work is offered.) Some of Tim's favorite cartoons have a place on the wall just outside the bathrooms. Don't know if that's a statement being made - but I will vouch for the bathrooms being immaculate.

Fresh flowers adorn the tables. But we prefer sitting at the counter. Then we really feel like it's the 1950s again and Eisenhower is president. (Oh all right, Sunshine Cafe wasn't open then but you get the idea!)

When you order coffee or tea, they'll bring your cream in their signature black and white dairy cow creamer. They tell me they can always tell a newbie because a newbie will exclaim, "How adorable!"...while regulars know it's part of the show. And yes, they're for sale.

They're open for breakfast and lunch - but you can order breakfast anytime. And they will be "pleased to prepare" orders to go.

Besides the expected breakfast offerings, they have old fashioned oatmeal or cream of wheat (and zoom), biscuits 'n' gravy, veggie browns, chicken fried steak, corned beef hash and, of course, omelets including the new Gigi Scramble folded with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese. Also new to the breakfast menu is the Sunshine Muffin Sandwich with ham, bacon or sausage and egg on an English muffin; or Cathy Joe: seasoned ground beef, spinach and mushrooms folded into scrambled eggs and topped with parmesan cheese.

If you love pancakes - you'll be happy. They offer both buttermilk and whole wheat.

Owner/chef Allen takes special delight in transforming these light and fluffy cakes into unique round discs of artwork with messages. For that alone, it's worth the trip. Mine said "Smile" and sported a smiling happy face. What a unique Valentine's Day or birthday gesture to be remembered by your guy or gal...order them a serving of pancakes and ask the chef to draw something special...a heart perhaps. They also serve French toast and waffles. All with real maple syrup.

Homemade honey butter is served with muffins, but they'll add some to your pancakes if you ask nice.

Just like the breakfast menu, the lunch menu offers lots of choices.

Soups are made daily including clam chowder which was just right - not too salty as often is the case. I tried the corn chowder with plenty of corn and big chunks of potatoes.

What would a hometown cafe be without burgers. New is the Western burger with bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and topped with their beer batter onion rings (they' so good, it's worthy of a side order!) or try the curly fries or their sweet potato fries. I've had the mushroom burger and it was very tasty.

On the handwritten menu board, you'll see they're serving several chicken wraps.

Prefer salad? They have plenty of them - with homemade dressings. I ordered their new Garden Chicken salad. Fresh fresh greens, red onions, cucumber, colorful peppers. I skipped the bacon and cheese and had them add black olives instead. I got Caesar dressing on mine. Delish. Also new is Spinach salad. But they still offer fan favorite Oriental Chicken Sesame salad with a homemade sesame soy vinaigrette.

Beverages include specialty teas, hot chocolate and hot apple cider, flavored cream sodas, endless ice tea and raspberry lemonade.

Before you call it a meal, try some of their fresh baked pies or an old fashioned hard ice cream shake. Desserts are homemade too, of course.

I just missed out on a piece of their ambrosial Peanut Butter Pie, darn! But Gigi ran the last remaining piece under my nose as she packed it up for a to go order. How cruel!

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