Saturday, November 14, 2015

Down by the creek

The creek behind my house changes much with the seasons. Here is a picture from four months ago, July 14:

And here is a picture from today, November 14:

I was not standing in exactly the same spot to take both pictures, but close. In the front bottom left of each photo, you can see some dead branches, with a particular bent branch arching over the top of them. The tree on the opposite bank is the same, and the shrubby growth to the right of where I stood.

You can see how much higher the water is now than in the summer. In summer, it can get down to a pretty shallow little trickle, and you can go down and stand on stones that are underwater in the winter. In winter, it gets deep and full and fast. Every few years, it will overflow its banks, if we get heavy snowfall followed by a thaw and heavy rain. It covers much of the back yard when it floods, but it has never yet come up to the house.

This creek does not flood as often as the Nooksack River, which is just south of Lynden. The Nooksack originates in the Cascade Mountains and is influenced by mountain snowfall. Fishtrap Creek, my creek, originates just north of the U.S.-Canada border and flows through lowlands. It is a tributary of the Nooksack.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How good and pleasant is the sight

Just now I went through all my social media and unfollowed and unsubscribed from and unliked everything political. There are any number of politicians I favor and pundits whose opinions I respect, but I need a break. We just had local elections and the side I favor won some, lost some. 

The other day, when I made reference to next year, I wrote "2017" and had to go back later and fix it to "2016." When I realized my error, I was dismayed at the thought that there's still a full year to go until the presidential election, and that's a long time to invest in any amount of anxiety about the outcome. 

So right now the feeds on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter should mainly be from family, friends, and local businesses. Some of my friends may post political screeds, but I'll just hide them or delete or whatever.

Talk to me about children and grandchildren, dogs and cats, yards and gardens, hobbies, recipes, and home decor. Let me not hear of debates, policies, protests, crime, contempt, anger, posturing, ranting, or accusations.

I have an uncle who, whenever family discussions wander into controversies and become heated, will say, "Hey, how about them Mariners?" I welcome discussions of the Mariners and the Seahawks (although I am not that knowledgeable on the subjects), and I am passionately interested in the weather (but not climate debates).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Skin deep

Some years ago, when I was reading a novel by Joanna Trollope, one character's internal thought was that another character--a middle-aged, pudgy man, if I recall--seemed "comfortable in his own skin," I don't know if that's the first time I came across that idiom, but I remember it made an impression on me.

Not idiomatically, but literally, I am not comfortable in my own skin. My skin is dry and irritable. I'm itchy a lot. I scratch a lot, and consequently my skin is rough and broken. The solution would be to put lotion on every day. I've known that since my mom used to suggest it to me as far back as grade school. I've rarely been consistent in doing so. The degree to which my skin itches, burns, prickles, and the rest varies with locale, climate, weather, my clothing fabric, and, no doubt, my emotional state.


Well, after all that, I went in and the phlebotomists could not find an order for me in their computer system. The way it's supposed to work is my doctor enters into his computer my need for a blood test, which he did, and then when I show up at the lab they have in their computer what test I need. This is not the first time I've shown up and not been able to have my blood drawn because they can't find me in their system, and it happened while I was waiting, haven taken a number, to another person, who had driven in from Everson, The way it works is, you come in and take a number and sit down and wait. Eventually they call your number and that's when they tell you they can't help you.

I do want to mention that the doctor's office that ordered the test is Lynden Family Medicine and that the lab that was unprepared for me is PeaceHealth Laboratories in Lynden.

Meanwhile, I came home and am preparing breakfast for myself. Later this morning I'll call Lynden Family Medicine and cancel my appointment for later this week, since the doctor won't have any blood test results to discuss with me.

Early to rise, bleah

I'm awake early, for a Saturday. I've been awake since about 6:00 a.m. I need to go to a lab and get blood drawn this morning, as a preliminary to a regular check-up later this week. (To any readers who are my parents: Just a check-up, nothing's wrong, everything's fine.)

I have to be fasting prior to the blood draw, so I set alarms all over my cell phone that bring up the message "FASTING blood draw." I am something of a robot when I first wake up, and it would be very like me to just potter around in a slow sleepy way and fix myself some breakfast and eat it without really thinking about it. The lab I need to go to doesn't open till 8:00 a.m., so I can't just go and get it over with until then.

I am abstaining even from coffee, because I get conflicting answers on the internet about whether coffee affects one's blood sugar readings. It would, of course, if one added sugar and cream, but what about black coffee? Coffee is a bean, so the cup of coffee is sort of like bean broth. Doesn't that sound appetizing? Anyway, I'm looking forward to having some later this morning.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get well hydrated. I figure that will make my veins nice and puffy, not flat, so that no excessive needle-probing will be necessary. And you never know when they'll ask you to pee in a cup, so that's another good reason to drink a bunch of water before I go.

I want to get dressed, but the fog of morningness is affecting my brain, and I can't decide what to wear. I need a top that is warm, but not too warm, with sleeves that can easily push up or roll up for access to my inside elbow. And it needs to be suitable to taking my dog for a walk before I go to the lab. And it would be convenient if I didn't need to change before going to my hair appointment later this morning--that means a neckline or collar that doesn't interfere with my hair. And then I'd rather it be clean--no smell, no food dribbles--and not something I pull out of the dirty clothes pile. It's all rather complicated, and I'm starting to feel as if I'd like to go back to sleep.


Another month almost between postings. I will say that my car wreck freaked me out. I did everything correctly in the driving situation, but because someone else was inattentive my car got smashed and pushed around with me in it.

It was kind of sad to give up my old car. I bought it new in 1998 and it has always run fine, no problems. I think the most major repair I ever had to do was a muffler. In case you're wondering, it was a Honda.

Since the wreck, I've tended to be more nervous while driving. I feel the tension in me when someone pulls up behind me at a traffic light, or when they approach me at right angles at an intersection, or when they seem about to charge out from a driveway. I don't trust people to stop in time or see my car or yield the right of way.

But the whole incident is winding down now. I drove a rental car for several weeks after my car was totalled but finally got a new car last week. I bought another Honda, since my last one was so reliable. My new one is a hybrid, so it should get great mileage.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Here it is well into October, and I haven't posted anything this month. I was in a car wreck on September 29th, and my car was totalled, but I am okay.

As I was driving home from work, traffic ahead of me stopped, so I stopped behind a line of cars. The guy behind me came up at speed (the speed limit on the Hannegan Road is 50 mph, i.e. 80+ kph), swerved at the last moment and slammed into the right rear of my car. Below is the damage to my car.

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The impact propelled my car across the oncoming lane (by God's mercy no oncoming car hit mine) and into the ditch on the far side of the road. Below is my car in the ditch.

Below is the car that hit mine. Its airbags deployed because it was a front end collision for that car. My airbags did not deploy.

As my car was pushed from the rear right, my front bumper clipped the rear of the car in front of me.

It was what the traffic websites call an "MVA": multi-vehicle accident.

I am currently driving a rental car, in communication with my insurance company regarding a payout for my old car, and getting ready to shop for a new car.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quiet day

Yesterday I tackled a big job of mowing my lawn. I had kept waiting for a dry Saturday to mow, with the result that it had been probably four or five weeks since I mowed--certainly not since before I went to Ashland. The grass was crazy long, and even though it didn't rain yesterday it was still quite wet. But I couldn't wait any longer.

I went to the gas station and bought a couple of gallons of gas for the mower. Before mowing, I used an electric leaf blower to blow leaves off the driveway and steps onto the lawn so that the mower's mulching blades could chop them up. My deck had lots of leaves on it, too, and I blew them into piles then used a broom and dust pan to pick them up and throw them over the retaining wall.

When I mowed, I set the blades three-quarters of an inch higher than I usually do, so that the mower would not have to handle as much wet grass as all that. It was plenty as it was. I went over some areas twice, especially in the front yard, if some parts looked rough. The mower would dump a lot of wet clippings on the driveway and yard, but one of the girls from the family that lives upstairs was kind enough to use the blower to clean up the driveway while I was still mowing the back yard. So it was an intensive session of cutting, but at last I got it done. Then I took a shower because I always smell like lawn mower exhaust after cutting the grass.

In the evening I visited my folks.

This morning I slept long and woke up slowly. I made a pot of coffee and, while it was brewing, took the dog for a walk. Weekends are hard for him for the same reason they're nice for me: because I sleep in and get up slowly. He does not get his walk and breakfast as promptly as he does on work days.

I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is outside today. Sunny but crisp, with touches of fall color. I left my big door open so fresh air is coming in through the screen door. I love that. And the coffee was brewed.

After breakfast, I knitted a row of my secret knitting project, but I was getting to the end of a ball of yarn. I have a second ball of yarn, so I looked up on youtube how to join a new ball. Typically, there were many methods. One person says, "I start here at the end of a row and do such-and-such." The next person says, "Now it's important not to start at the end of a row." The several methods I watched left the tails of the old and new balls of yarn dangling out of the work with the remark, "Later you can weave these into the fabric." But then I found a lady who knotted one ball of yarn to the next and cut the tails off. She also had the charm of delivering her instructions in an Irish brogue.

So I carefully followed her instructions, and it worked just like she said. I even made it go "sproing, sproing" when I snapped the yarn tight, like she does on the video when she says, "Can you hear me?"

When I got up to get a scissors to cut the tails, I saw out my window that a hummingbird was at one of my hanging baskets. Another beautiful touch to the day.

This evening I will go to my small group and I will lead the Bible study discussion, so I'm pondering that while I knit and have coffee.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Be it ever so humble

I'm back home again. I got home last night. I went back to work today. On my way home, I picked up my dog from my niece's house.

Earlier this evening, I was feeling chilly. I put on a robe that was still warm from the dryer. I sat down to knit, but my dog got on my lap. He was extra cuddly, I suppose because of our time apart. So I stroked his head while he lay against me with his eyes closed.

Soon I'll go to sleep for the night. While I was in Ashland, I didn't sleep very well. Everything else was great, but I have my ways of getting comfortable in my home environment that didn't translate to where we were staying. I wasn't comfortable enough to drift right off; I would only fall asleep when I was so tired I couldn't help it, and I'd wake up as soon as I'd had just enough sleep that any lack of comfort would wake me up. So now it's nice to be back in my own "nest," as my sister called it.

Nevertheless, I loved my time in Ashland and hope to keep going back.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Off to see the bard

Today is the day I head to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I'm driving, and a couple people have asked if I'm leaving early. Um, no. One co-worker asked when I would start driving. I said, "As soon as I can."

My sister, who has a 6-hour drive from her California home, was planning to start at 7:00 a.m. I, who have a 9-hour drive from my Washington home, still have not left at 9:30 a.m. My sister and I have many things in common, but she is a morning person and I am not. She is a lark and I am a night owl.

Right now, at almost 9:30 a.m., my last load of pre-trip laundry is in the dryer. I still have to take my dog over to my niece's house. She and her family will kindly take care of him while I'm gone.

But packing for a car trip is not like packing for an airplane. Things don't have to fit into a compressed size, and if you miss your planned starting time it doesn't mean you can't go, it just means you'll go pretty soon.

Last night when I got home from work, I knew it would be a good idea to take my dog over to my niece's during the evening and not have to worry about that this morning. But I did need to wash some of his blankets and towels that go inside his crate. And I was tired, very tired. I was hungry when I got home from work and needed to fix something to eat. My accomplishment for the evening was doing enough laundry that I have clean clothes to wear on my trip and all I would have to do in the morning was put the last load in the dryer. Which I have.

And I turned off my alarm. To me, one thing more important than getting started on the drive is getting sufficient sleep before the drive. So I allowed myself to sleep out my full sleep. That way, I'll get there alive (I hope and trust) no matter the time. Our activities in Ashland start tomorrow morning at 10:00. I have plenty of time.

I might think it was unwise to write on the internet that I'm leaving, but my home will not be unoccupied, so if any malefactor out there was thinking of breaking into my home to steal my 1998-model giant tube TV that is definitely not high-def or my non-functioning PC, think again. But if you do stop by, would you do me a favor and unload and load my dishwasher?

Oh, and yesterday on my way home from work I stopped off at the eye doctor's to pick up my new glasses. I took a picture last night, with poor lighting and messy hair.

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When my sister was here recently, she helped me pick out the frames. I need that help because when I am trying on glasses that don't have my prescription in them I don't see well enough to judge my own appearance. So I need someone who loves my face to be with me to tell me what looks good on it.

And, now, "On to Oregon!" which was the name of a book I liked in grade school (about kids whose parents died while the family was on the Oregon Trail so they had to complete the journey themselves). I shall be on to Oregon after I take my dog to his sitter and throw my stuff in the car.

The dryer is done.