Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From the Office Window

This would be "frozen fog".  And that would be the airport runway across the field.
It's supposed to start raining soon though.  Lovely:  28° F and raining.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

White Christmas and Projects

White Southern Oregon style.  No snow this year.
Cozy Christmas socks
Useful item: a pocket for the bed remote-control to hang between us.  (That's a remote to control the sleep-number, not a tv remote.)
Next up:  a sweater from Peg Gaffney's corgi knitting book.  Note brindle yarn.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skywatch Friday 02/20/09

Striking clouds over Lower Table Rock on my way home, Tuesday 02/17/09.
Home, sweet home. Join is at http://skyley.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Clueless in Costco"

Opinionator from the NY Times this morning.

Some of my favorite excerpts:

For a native Westerner, the slights from the other end of the country start early, and build through a lifetime: national broadcasters on election night who cannot pronounce Oregon (it’s like gun) or Nevada (it’s not Nev-odda), or a toll-free clerk who thinks New Mexico is part of old Mexico.

“You’ll have to go through your own embassy,” a resident of Santa Fe was told when trying to order Olympic tickets for games on American soil.

[Of course I have met people in Orygun who also do not know that New Mexico is a state, not another country.]

These are all minor annoyances, mind you, in a world with daily reminders that an embittered, small-hearted senator from Connecticut can hold up health care for millions, or some people would rather read a “book” by Hulk Hogan than a short story by Sherman Alexie.

Love Sherman Alexie. How can you not appreciate a writer who includes a scenario where a father tells his daughter that it's fine to marry the [native American] guy, but why would you ever share a bank account with him?

Detest Joe Lieberman.

Monday, December 14, 2009

For those with HBO

. . . who might have seen "Every F---ing Day of My Life" tonight:
Yes, as a matter of fact Southern Orygun in general and Josephine County in particular are the Appalachia of the Northwest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

And Ice Fell from the Sky

Subtitle: Why I came home early yesterday.

No, not snow. Ice. This morning the ice is still here as it hasn't yet been above freezing. But 27 is better than 6.
From the Medford Mail Tribune this morning: Icy conditions cause chaos.
"Southern Oregon Regional Communications, which dispatches for all areas in Jackson County outside of municipalities, reported about 20 accidents between 3 and 8 p.m. Friday, none of which were serious.
"The Medford Fire Department responded to about a dozen accidents during the same time period. All were believed to be caused primarily by the glaze of ice on the roads.
"Five to 6 p.m. seemed to be a very, very busy time for everybody," said Medford fire Battalion Chief Fred LaBrasseur on Friday. "The county was sending people on car accidents all over the place."
And of course I have a car which weighs about 150 lbs. Ok, I guess more than that we me and Huxley inside.

The finches are doing ok, but I think that the humming birds left.
And look: oh goody.  The fog is back.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Not "real" snow, just frozen fog. Though the fog was so heavy yesterday that the weather button reported it as "snowing lightly". I know that the everlasting fog combined with the dark affects my mood, but it was a hard week nevertheless.

It would be pretty, if only I didn't have to drive to work in it most days.
I sometimes wonder if vacation days are worth it. They don't mean that I work less: it's just deferred until I return.  I took two days off before Thanksgiving and it left me behind all week.  I know that I shouldn't grouse about it with so many unemployed and underemployed people out there, but being "overemployed" is taxing (pun intended). I've now held "the day job" for 16 years and 3 months which means that I have spent basically all of my 40's there and am working hard on the 50's. My goal has been to leave when I hit 60 and some days that feels attainable while other days I despair that it won't be.
Sometimes I look back and can't figure out where the 16 years went; it feels as if the time was squandered.  And in another 16 years we'll be 73.  If it passes as quickly as the last 16 . . . and I fear that it will.
We would like to take another winter vacation in February or March and go to where the sun is shining.  It would be so much easier to leave if there was one more person in the department as my understudy and to do the invoicing.  Kathy handles the a/p and payroll now, except for the more involved bills and the taxes.  Mari processes payments and does a good job with collection calls.  Both answer calls with billing questions and are kept busy 40 hours per week.  I really can't assign any more tasks to either, especially when they see personnel in another department get paid for knitting and reading books while they wait for the phone to ring.  Kathy knows how it is because she worked in monitoring before moving to my department in 2003.  She learned to crochet there.  But on the other hand working for me does not require nights, weekends, and holidays.
I would so much like to spend my time knitting and reading books . . .
Of course I would have no place to put an additional person in our office, were I allowed to hire one.  When the office was redesigned a few years ago, our department was short-changed on square feet per person.  We have a beautiful spacious central station, and have been told it is a showplace for the industry.  We have a sales department with a lovely conference room and private offices for people who are seldom in the office.  But such is the way in the business world.
Other depressing news for the week:
The Bandon shows are not on the 4th of July weekend in 2010.  We will need to go ahead and release the campsites we reserved to lose only the reservation fee.  If anyone wants to go to Bandon and camp on the non-dogshow weekend let us know right away.  There appear to be lots of campsites still available for the following weekend: the 9th-11th or 12th.   The Lost Coast (Ferndale) shows will be 3 days on 4th of July weekend (the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) and I presume that Redmond will also be that weekend.  And if you want to go to Bandon the dogshow weekend, let us know that as well (and which nights) so that we can reserve the appropriate number of spaces.
Yesterday would have been Jawoo's 16th birthday.  I miss her: though it's the young-to-middle-aged Julie I miss, not the ancient dog she had become.
Yesterday an ultrasound revealed that in spite of 4 witnessed ties Nola is not pregnant.  So there will truly be No-Pies.
Tuesday night when we returned from the SOKC meeting there was a message that Wendy-Sue, littermate to Kacy and Axel, had died the day before.

On the plus side, I finished the socks I was working on over Thanksgiving.  I'm keeping this pair.  Other recent projects included a pouch for holding cell phone, glasses, book, etc. for my side of the bed in the trailer.  Only Tom's side has a nightstand which has been inconvenient for me.  I'll take a picture of that someday when it's hung up and in use.
I've knitted on-and-off for years, though I started on large projects like afghans which I did not always carry with me.  Socks are much easier in that regard and are useful as well so I have enjoyed working on them.  I presume that there have been family members who did not realize I could knit (or for that matter do anything considered at all domestic).  When I was working on my socks last week in California the remark was "Oh, you're knitting socks.  How nice.  That's the first thing we did as children when we first started knitting, before we moved on to bigger projects."
The only thing I could figure was that maybe they were tube socks with big yarn.   The fitted socks are actually somewhat more complicated than the afghans, sweaters, hats, etc that I have also knitted. Humph.
Time to quit playing on the blog and to get some programming work done for the other job.  And I have the laundry detergent set out in the kitchen to thaw as it solidifies in the garage where the washer and dryer are.  The garage is refrigerator temperature when it's this cold outside.
Maybe the sun will peek through tomorrow or the next day.  Do not believe the NOAA forecast linked on the blog.  It is obviously written for people flying by in airplanes.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Napa Valley Autumn

While six hours to the north winter is setting in, the Napa Valley is enjoying its mild autumn. Friday morning we drove down 101 to Geyserville, then through the Alexander Valley and over the hill to Calistoga.  Then we followed the Silverado Trail south to Napa. Tom had the Serius/XM tuned to Classic Vinyl. I was feeling so nostalgic for the area - and the weather - that I was ready to move back.
  City park in Calistoga.

Not that we could afford to move back . . .

View down to the valley from the hospital.

I hasten to add that I seldom get nostalgic or homesick for Lake County itself.  I swear: every time we're there things look smaller and tackier.  But then Tom reminds me: we're passing through Clear Lake Oaks, Glenhaven, Lucerne, Nice: which have always been shoddy. (And who the heck was it who thought it resembled Switzerland anyway?)
But all in all it was probably a good place to grow up.  Although perhaps it was more the time than the place per se.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Party at "The Ranch"

A huge thanks to Alden for hosting our little get-together on Friday. We had so much fun being with "the family".

I had been out to the ranch before, though it must have been close to a dozen years ago. I remember that it was the first time Juneau had ever seen a bulldog and he "screamed like a girl."  The house is lovely, dog-friendly, filled with horse antiques, and has a breathtaking view all the way to the bay.

The dogs had a great time.  I didn't get too many clear pictures unfortunately, as they were in constant motion.  Though the glass of wine in my other hand probably didn't help.

The humans had a great time too.  We might have stayed out on the deck longer, but a brief thunderstorm drove us in for turkey sandwiches and pie.


Duncan looks so much like his mother as he ages.  Yes, he is still "Chunky Dunky" but Alden is working on it.  And he says that he doesn't have to do the table thing anymore.  He's retired.

Some of the attendees included Captain, Malibu, Fig, Elbe, Sage, Denali, Watson, and Pilot.  Alice was in attendance the entire time but had partied so hard that she asked to get back in her crate in the Element right before the group photo at the end.  In all, I believe that we had eleven Cardigans, one Pembroke, and one poodle in attendance.  There was also a German Shepherd but he didn't seem to want to join in the festivities.  One of the high points was when Alden's parents retired to bed and Pie ran behind and jumped up to join them, soon aided by several of his nephews.

As evening fell, the rain cleared.  This view from the deck is of the bay with Mt Tamalpais in the distance.  If you enlarge the picture, you can see the towers of the Golden Gate bridge on the left.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

In memory of Willie. You were a good bird.
Terry checks out the sausage stuffing, which was the star of the show as far as I was concerned.  Though the sweet potatoes with maple syrup and smoked paprika were a close second.
Family photos. From left to right Tom, fur-ball Paddington, nephew Bryan, sister Leslie, mom Boots.
Our niece Robyn.
The apparent smile on his face belies the fact that Paddington dislikes both Tom and me. Tom claims it stems from the day that he inserted a microchip into him with a really big needle. But maybe it's because we bring intruder dogs to his home.

Things to do with small pumpkins.  These arrangements were really a pretty addition to the tables.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did you know . . .

Quote: "We are the Super Power of the World". Um.  Is she sure?



Monday, November 9, 2009

Day Tripping

After meeting in Cottage Grove to hand-off  a dog yesterday, we took a leisurely trip home, enjoying some back roads and fall colors, and escaping the fog and smoke at home.  No, I don't understand the wisdom of allowing slash-burning on a day when the air is already stagnant (the usual state in November). Tom drove while I managed to get quite a bit of knitting accomplished.
We stopped for a belated birthday brunch at Tolly's in Oakland.  We were alone in the dining area when we first arrived, and were led to a cozy table for two by the fireplace.
These pictures are from the "Colliding Rivers Viewpoint" in Glide, east of Roseburg.  Two forks of the Umpqua meet here.  It's not an exceptionally exciting collision at the moment, but in the floods of 1964 the water level was 5 feet over the point where we were standing.  There was a sign to tell us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oregon Art Beat

I haven't had much posting time this week: Jamie and Catherine have been here since Saturday and I've wanted visiting time when not at work. They had planned to camp this week, but it turns out that they do have "enough sense to come in out of the rain" after all. Today they are heading down to the California Redwoods as there appears to be a break in the weather.
Last night Catherine prepared us a feast of Indian dishes. And an apple pie.
For those in Oregon or who get OPB, I got an e-mail from Mark in Eugene yesterday:
"I thought you might like to know that Ken will be one of the featured artists on Oregon Art Beat on OPB tomorrow evening at 8:00 pm. Ken hasn't seen the footage yet himself, but he expects that Sweet Pea and Cosmos will be appropriately recognized as the capable studio assistants that they are."
Ken is a talented potter. Mark and Ken are owned by two Cardigans.  Sweet Pea is a Stratus/Inca daughter and Cosmos is aHunter/Alice son.
Update: From opb.org

Episode 1102: Thursday October 15, 2009

Sculptor Kenneth Standhardt

Kenneth Standhardt makes ceramic vessels that look like woven baskets – and he makes all his designs with a can opener. He spends hours making each tiny mark by hand – and the result looks perfect.
On the web:

Here it is for those not fortunate enough to get OPB. To be Cardigan related: Cosmos has quite a bit of air time.

Sculptor Kenneth Standhardt

  Kenneth Standhardt makes ceramic vessels that look like woven baskets – and he makes all his designs with a can opener. He spends hours making each tiny mark by hand – and the result looks perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reading List

October 1st  is “Banned Books Day”.  The American Library Association maintains lists of by year of the ten most frequently challenged books.
On the most recent list (2008) I find:
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
The Kite Runner along with Hosseini’s equally masterful A Thousand Splendid Suns are two of the greatest books I have read in recent yearsThe description of “unsuited to age group” leads me to realize that those protesting books have most likely not ever read more than the description on the jacket.  The central character is a young boy in Afghanistan in parts of the story, but the intended “age group” is adults.  For those who wish to learn what life is like in other countries and clutures: read.   And for a view of what life can be like for Afghan women in a repressive society, read A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Other favorites of mine that have appeared on recent lists:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Reason: racism
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicity, and unsuited to age group
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
I should make it a point to read every book on the list.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cove Palisades

We have found a new half-way spot between here and Tri-Cities to camp. We stayed at Cove Palisades State Park on our way up on Thursday and then back last night. I regret that we had so little time camping.

The park is situated on Lake Billy Chinook, a reservoir at the confluence of the Crooked River and the Deschutes.

Thursday night we spent down at the bottom of the canyon, in the Deschutes campground. It is the end of the season and the campground was nearly empty.

This is the view at sunset behind our campsite.
No cell phone reception.  No internet.  Lots of quiet and desert air.
We will be back.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Rogue Valley Burns

It's hot: 95 F and expected to hit over 100. It's dry. It's windy. Perfect conditions for a fire. Or multiple fires.
The morning started out with a fire south of Ashland at the south end of the valley. At the last report it was around 50 acres and had burned one house.
But we were looking out our office window and saw this one start.

There is/was a power substation up there and we know that the power is out at some of the employee's houses as everyone is calling home to check.  The unofficial word is that three or four houses have burned.
Often when there are multiple fires set this time of year it turns out to be the work of an arsonist.  You can tell from the skies that there were no lightning strikes.
The above pictures were made around 3 p.m.   Here's an update from around 4:20.

The wind is picking up and the fire has jumped a good distance to the north.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Changes . . .

A change of seasons . . .
Though the leaves are falling mostly from drought this time of year.

 We haven't yet had our first frost, though some mornings have been down in the 40's.

  Yesterday's project: two tuns of pellets bought and stacked in the garage. Yes, that would be 100 forty lb bags. One ton for each of us. Yes, my arms and back are still sore.

Today's project was another change. My 2+ year old laptop decided that it no longer wanted to be able to get on to the wireless network. Its wired port had failed sometime back. It is under warranty, but was going back to Dell on a lease return in just a couple of months anyway. Let's just say that the buyout on the lease made it not a good deal.

Left: old laptop. Right: new netbook. Not shown: new fancy desktop in "my room" (which doubles as guest bedroom). The netbook will be the take-with e-mail and web machine. The desktop will be for the fancy editing.

The netbook has a built-in webcam and microphone. It can take a picture of me and Alice working at the computer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Stroll in Eugene

Last Friday in Eugene was one of those perfect end-of-summer/early-fall days. We had an 8 a.m. ring time which left us ample time to relax and restore. After some nap and/or computer time (that would be me), Louise, Kim, and I took the dogs for a walk up the path along the millrace. 

 Louise knew this spot existed: an urban garden run by UO students.  I find myself increasingly envious of those with the time and especially the water to be able to have such opulent, luxurious garden spots.    Our water at home has levels of boron which are toxic to many plants except, alas, Himalayan blackberries.  We are limited by quantity as well as quality.

 An entire area devoted to peppers.

 Sunflower with bee.

I could live in Eugene, or any place from Eugene north to the Washington border.  I do still reserve the right to be a desert snowbird in the dark and cold winter months.

For the foodies among the readers: I was able to introduce Louise and Kim to a couple of places they hadn't been to before.  On my recommended list are the Glenwood Cafe on Willamette and Taco Loco on 7th.  We also ate at the campus Glenwood: the food was great but the menu is smaller, and at Mazzi's - long a Eugene fixture.   And we ate not once, but twice at Mekala's, the Thai restaurant conveniently located next to the motel.  How can you beat a Thai place which also boasts a list of single-malt scotches.? And at which I had what was absolutely the best desert to date: the Coconut Island.  A scoop of homemade coconut icecream on a bed of steaming hot sweet sticky rice.

Then again, maybe it's better for the diet that we don't live in Eugene.