Little Hot Happies

Reaching temperatures in the 100 degree Fahrenheit range is not unheard of in the Pacific northwest, but just like when it snows in the winter, any time the mercury rises above 90 in the summer, weather makes headlines and dominates the news here.  I’ve no idea why. Heat in the summer and snow in the winter… it happens.  We do have air conditioning at our house (it’s a medical necessity for me), so the heat isn’t a big deal as long as I stay inside.  Being trapped inside during summer isn’t fun for the girls though, so excursions to water, not contaminated by e-coli, which also happens often in our local lakes, is high on the agenda.  But we can’t always head to the lake or river, so on those days we seek more mundane sources of joy and entertainment.

My husband’s little red car sports a wickedly nerdy sun visor.  I LOVE this!  He’d drive with it, if possible.


The squirrels in our backyard enjoy little pans of ice water and flattening themselves against the cool concrete in the shade.


Another summer perk includes garage sales.  I just love finding a bargain!  I do bring my own water bottle so I have an excuse to not solicit tykes selling lemonade and Kool Aid by the glass, but I usually donate a quarter to their cause.  I’m not terribly picky when it comes to types of food and drinks, but thinking about little grubby hands mixing my drinks is cringe-worthy.  I always think of Vacation!


I love that series of movies. They’re always good for a laugh.  Hope everyone finds things that make them happy!


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Feels Like Summer!

The days have heated up nicely over the past week and it finally feels like a real summer. We celebrated a quiet Independence Day at home.  My DH barbecued, then after dinner we drove around and looked at the fireworks.  We had a sack with some sparklers and ground flowers that we discovered when we moved, so we lit those up following the drive and called it a night.  Others in the area blew things up in grand style, so sleep was intermittent due to the Earth-shattering KaBooms.

The argyle socks were set aside for now because they demand attention while knitting in order to avoid an undue tangle of yarn and frustration. At the top of my WIP basket was the afghan I’d started several months back.  Reasons for procrastinating on this particular project were two-fold.  First, it was too bulky and awkward to take places and second, I just didn’t like it.  The pattern looked fine on one side, but the back of the blanket was extremely unattractive.  I frogged the whole thing and decided to begin anew, but this time I incorporated a reversible cable pattern so the blanket looks the same on both sides. I work on it during the evenings and hope to be finished with it within a month.



On Saturday we all went to the zoo.  The last time we’d all gone together was in 2007!

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A1, A3, A2 with the seals, December 2007, I took this picture


A3, A2 and me, 2014, taken by A1!  The seals were nowhere to be seen though.


A2 feeding nectar to a larakeet.

The heat kicked the garden into full-on grow mode and the zucchini plants are now up above my waist. Steven insists on supervising each watering, fertilizing and weeding session personally.   


There are a lot of green tomatoes on several of the plants, but others aren’t thriving as well.  They’re all being grown in pots.  Earlier this year I unearthed some random boards in the yard and I may try building a narrow bed and sticking them all in there so the roots have a little more room.  Moving plants mid-season isn’t the wisest of choices, but the poor plants are really crowded.  



We’ve eaten several zucchinis and the plants are sending off lots more squash.  I’ll let a few get really big for shredding and baking.  If we get enough then I plan on making a small batch of relish too.


We have an abundance of small branches collected during yard clean-up, so I’ve woven several small trellises for the peas and cucumbers.  Right now about 10 baby cukes (about 2 inches long each) are growing on the plants and there are a lot of blossoms.


Last month I made strawberry jam and now I’m just waiting for raspberries to come into season to make some jelly.  I’m glad to finally be growing and putting up some food again, even if it’s on a small scale.  Next year I hope to have twice as much growing space.  My DH is insistent on not getting any chickens, but maybe someday, if we move, we can get a few ladies to keep around for eggs.

The cats, dog, fish and squirrels are all happy and over-nourished. I’m trying to coordinate a trip to my parents’ house, but finding a time there my DH, A1 and my parents are all available is a bit tricky. Cheers!


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At The River

Tuesday the temperature soared into the sweltering range.  Depending on the neighborhood, reports of local temperatures ranged from the low 90s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  My DH was working but because A1 had a day off from her job we decided to pack up the girls, several friends and visit Frenchman’s Bar Park for a few hours. 


There is always so much to look at while there. Foreign ships sail to and from exotic places, tugboats chug along up and down the river and recreational vehicles abound!  We witnessed people drifting past quietly on sailboats, ski-boats skimming the water with music blaring and quite a few people enjoying their jet skies. Watercraft aside, the people viewing is delightfully varied.  Common sights included young families with babies, groups of teenagers, people (old and young alike) squeezing into spandex stretched almost to its breaking point, lots of dogs doing meet and greets while owners hold guarded leashes while hoping for good behavior and the occasional gym rats strutting up and down the shores showing off bulging muscles (often having their hard work ignored by people just there to cool off). 


The ship in the background of the above picture came from Panama.  Several times we spied sailors on the deck, all dressed in white.  


My five charges, warily eyeballing one another. A dropped guard often resulted in severe splashing.


One of the young men patiently tried showing A3 how to turn your hands into a water cannon.  She learned to do this by age three, but she feigned ignorance, 


then let slip the dogs of water war when he was least expecting it.  He is a very good-natured young man!


A2, A1 and one of their friends.  That water was cold!


A random tug boat chugging along

I brought an afghan that had been frogged earlier that morning, so basically, yarn.  After knitting almost a foot of the previous afghan I spread it out and realized that it was over 7 feet wide.  That’s a ridiculous width and explained why skeins of yarn were disappearing at an alarming rate.  The new version is about 5 feet wide, which is still generous enough to nap under.

Our river visit was only several hours long because A1 and I both had volunteer work at Furry Friends. While at F.F. I met the lead volunteer for the location and officially went through all of the procedures with her (A1 had already done this).  Happily, two cats, a brother and sister, had been adopted since the previous Tuesday!  Today is a stay at home, laundry catch up day.  We used lots of towels at the river.  Cheers!


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Cosplay Picnic

This afternoon my DH and I took A2 and A3 to a Cosplay picnic at Peninsula Park in Portland.  None of us had been there before.  Not only was it extremely easy to find and quick drive from Vancouver, but the park is breath-taking.  Literally, the perfume from the rose gardens smelled heavenly!


The park was also extremely well-kept, with no graffiti or garbage strewn about.  I love the brickwork and classic styling of the fountain, hedged gardens, gazebo and walkways.  


Immediately to the north of the gazebo is a baseball diamond, a large open field, a playground and picnic shelters.  At the far north end of the park is a community center and pool.  To date, this is my favorite park in Portland.  But today wasn’t about public venue ratings, it was about the meet up.  

Characters in the following pictures are identified to the best of my ability, but please forgive me if someone is inadvertently misnamed.  


All from the anime’, “Soul Eater”, Medusa, Death The Kid (DTK), Soul Eater Evans, Professor Frank N. Stein.  I do not know who is dressed as Medusa, but second from the left is A3 as DTK, A2 as Soul and yours truly as Stein.  ps, I’m supposed to look bored or slightly crazy… or both.


DTK and a casual version of Ciel Phantomhive.


Dragon Ball Z Character.  This athletic young man was able to hold this pose for several seconds at a time for pictures!



Random roses


Soul Eater Evans exploring the garden maze


A distant shot with lots of characters


Silly Titanic reenactment with A2 (Soul) and A3 (DTK)


Sailor Neptune (From “Sailor Moon”), Thumbelina, from the movie, “Thumbelina” and Sailor Uranus (also from “Sailor Moon”)


Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”


Original Character.  This lady’s husband created this for her and it was his first time making armor!


Close up of her armor.


From left to right: A hipster Jean from “Attack On Titan” who is wearing a swim team jacket from “Free”, Kenny from “South Park”, DTK, Luigi, Casual Ciel Phantomhive wearing a unicorn hoody and Levi from “Attack on Titan”.


skies to the east

Storm clouds threatened all around us, but only a few small drops fell during the three hours we were there. I packed about 20 sandwiches, bananas, apples and water bottles.  Before most of it was eaten I packed up a meal for a homeless man who was searching through garbage bins looking for cans and bottles to return for money.  My DH said that he most likely threw it all away once out of our sight because most people just want cash.  He looked like he could use a meal and the fact that I had a giant screw going through my head and stitches criss-crossing my face didn’t seem to phase him too much, although he did seem a bit apprehensive when we first approached him and struck up a conversation. 

Now that we’re back home everyone is napping.  I envy their ability to sleep during daylight hours!  A1 has been busy with friends and work since graduation.  Two rows on the Argyle socks were knitted! Cheers!


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The Following Has Been Brought To You By…




Productivity is not possible without several morning cups of coffee.  The smell, the warmth on my hands as they encircle the heavenly cup, the first delicate sip, that warm, tingly rush of caffeine awakening synapses from sleep… coffee isn’t just a beverage, it’s an experience.  Even at bedtime, as I drift off to sleep, I’m anticipating my morning coffee… almost as much as I anticipate the hot bath that ends each day before I’m even up, dressed and active. I’ll not dwell or expound on my evening soaks, but they are lovely!  These small rituals content and fulfill me.  Should society fall to anarchy and chaos, disrupting the flow of hot water and the importing of coffee beans then I’d seriously reconsider existence. Reliance on these habits enabled me to transform the front of our house from this…


into this.



Changes weren’t made overnight.  During the interim months, roses (planted by a real gardener long before we moved here) grew and bloomed.  The lavender bushes transplanted from our old house filled out and blossomed as well.


But as with all good things, the roses lost their petals while sending thorny branches to the eaves of the house and the lavender buds started opening.  So three days ago I downed my coffee, gloved up and began pruning and cleaning.  The late-blooming roses were clipped, but not so artfully arranged, and brought inside, while the remaining stalks and leaves met the compost pile.



The naked, exposed porch railings looked so drab and shabby that I painted them to match the door trim.  In turn, that made the garage trim look grungy, so it got a quick up-grade as well.  It looked cleaner, but now stark, glaring whiteness (the paint wasn’t really white, but it looks white outside) blinded me from all angles. Although they cannot be seen in the second picture, there are lots of colorful annuals and a few perennials now planted in the flower bed.  The American Flag was replaced and bunting hung for the upcoming holiday (US Independence Day).  

Now I can sit here and indulge my addiction.



The meager garden planted in the box next to the garage grows at a snail’s pace. A few miniscule zucchini finally appeared.



Some potted tomato plants struggle to produce as well.



Unfortunately, during the past 24 hours monsoon force rains have flooded the flower beds and I don’t know if anything will survive the new lake or if the wee plants will drown and rot.

Today’s plans include cycling through a goodly portion of Mt. Laundry, making three batches of strawberry jam and trying to finish a few rows of an Argyle sock.


Knitting socks flat seems counter-intuitive.  There are tutorials for knitting Argyle in the round, but I wanted to try the traditional method.

Elsewhere, I’ve been attempting more volunteer work in the community.  I hope to contribute mostly time, or at least food and clothing, twice a week this summer.

The DH, girls and critters are all well. Cheers!




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Old Things

I adore old things. They have character, were often handmade and have survived the ravages of history.  IMG_2338

Although the age of these whistles is unknown, they are utterly charming and hold a place of honor in my display cabinet.  When filled with water they emit joyful, warbling bird-like calls.  They belonged to my late mother-in-law.


These marbles belonged to my husband during the 1960s and 1970s. They’re so colorful and fun! He wanted to toss them out with donations to the Goodwill when we moved, but I pulled them out of the box and they now reside in a lovely piece of old carnival glass.  There are huge quantities of antique carnival glass mixed among my eclectic finds (and packed in bins in the garage and attic) because my mother-in-law collected it for years.


For as long as I can remember my own mom has collected Staffordshire Blue Calico dishes and she keeps them neatly in glass-front cupboards in her kitchen.  The crisp blue and white is so classic!  This week I found my very own Blue Calico cup and saucer at an antique/second hand shop in Vancouver.  The pattern and markings on the bottom match my mom’s dishes, but this set looks a lot lighter than I remember hers being.


The top of my display case is a mish-mash of old items I’ve collected over the years.  The only new item is the handmade berry scoop my brother made for me several years ago (it’s between the cranberry box and they yellow crock of vintage kitchen gadgets). 


This exquisite needle-punched embroidery has  a bit of mystery surrounding it.  This came from my Grandma Helen’s house.  My mom and Aunt Joan have similar pictures as well.  Someone told me they came from Finland long ago and were made by a family member but my dad said they came from Raymond, WA.  From what I can tell, the artwork was made in Finland and they were framed at a shop in Raymond.  Sadly, I was trying to clean this today and I broke the glass, so I’ll need to pick up another sheet.

All of these old things make me happy, but absolutely none of them come close to making me happy as this old thing.  Ta da!


This is my DH as a wee babe.  Today he turns 50!


With his mom, older brother and dad when he was 4 years old.


Age 6


At 19, during Air Force Basic Training


With his friend, Larry, in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, 1990


August 15, 1992


Giving the girls a “Dinosaur” ride, 2003


Spanaway, 2006



Napping with Steven, his little buddy



Center, mouth open, being promoted to Chief Master Sergeant.

Happy birthday, my sweet husband.  You are a good man, a great dad and my best friend!


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Woolly Wednesday

A1 graduated with all due pomp and circumstance!  There were 299 Seniors in her graduating class, but in spite of the size, the ceremony moved quickly.





In addition to A2, A3, her dad and me, my parents and Dan and Zoe also attended to cheer her on. She proceeded immediately to the all-night Senior party and we picked her up at the school the next morning.  She has already started working as a nanny to a 5 month old girl and is considering other work as well.  She plans on saving up money for travelling before deciding what career choice she wishes to study for.  

I was finally able to give my mom her birthday present (her birthday was in March, but I hadn’t seen her in person until this week), so now I can post pictures of it here.



The main body is the Feather Duster Shawl pattern, but I wanted to make it a little longer so I added a standard feather and fan stitch edging.  The mystery yarn came from a bag of sock yarn I picked up at the GoodWill store last year.

My fingers have been swollen up like sausages in the mornings so knitting isn’t an option, but that’s okay because I have another fibery goal to reach at the moment.  I’m spinning 350 grams of roving into thick singles.  When finished I would like to weave them into a plaid length consisting of the natural, with stripes of carbon gray running both directions. 



I have great incentive to finish the spinning portion of this summer project quickly.  In a few weeks Karen is coming down to pick up my wheel so she can work on a project she is undertaking.  There are few people I would trust with my baby, but she is one of them. 

Today and tomorrow are half days for my two younger girls and then they’re off for the summer.  A2 was hoping to pick up some babysitting work and A3 has plans to join a summer book club and participate in activities with our local library. 

The animals are all fine and furry (finny, in the fish’s case).  Thor has a wee bit of infection in his nether regions.  Without going into great detail, the reason for his issues stem from over-attentive actions with a fond stuffed animal, the latter of which has been relocated out of his reach.  Roxie continues her daily “romps” with the squirrels from behind the safety of the sliding glass door. I don’t know what any of them would do in a face-to-face meeting.


Back to my wool before Mom’s Taxi has to head out to retrieve kids from school. Cheers!







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