Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 55 - Feb 28th

Self Portrait, with level

I didn't have a very good day today. Which was surprising, considering this is the first full day I've had off of work so far this year. It started out nice enough, but once I got to Kohl's, it started downhill. Not very cooperative people, they are. I left in a pretty sour mood. Other things happened I won't mention, but all in all, not a great day.

I did see one of our local bald eagles. That was cool. I don't have a telephoto lens, though, so it basically photographed like a large bird way up in a tree. Oh well.

This picture reflects my melancholy mood. I want to build. I want it to be warm outside and for me to have several days in a row of just building. This itch, this urge has laid upon me for months and is only growing. I want to build.
Here's another picture I took today. I'm holding one of Kathie Olivas' creations - a nine inch Hazel figure. Kathie is a wonderful artist and person whose father just had a cardiac arrest about a week ago and whose mother saved her husband's life by performing CPR. Everyone should know CPR. I'm about 1000% sure that Kathie, her parents and the rest of her family are certainly glad that her hero mom knew it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 54 - Feb 27th

I bought this little guy from a valentines clearance. The kids like it! It's not a powerful Van Der Graff, but it's fun.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 53 - Feb 26th

Happy Birthday, Peter!! Peter turns three today and is LOVING it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 52 - Feb 25th

Gray Hair. Or grey hair, depending on your preference of spelling.

Jill's had this wonderfully cute set of stripes on her temples for a long time, but I didn't have any. We suspect she got it because of her propensity to internalize stress much more than me. And we've had our fair share.

Well, today I found gray hair on my temples. Doesn't photograph well because I keep my hair pretty short, but nonetheless, I spotted it.

In other news: the shoes didn't work. I need at least a half size bigger. They pinched my pinky toes. Also, our former Governor Gary Locke looks like he's heading to the Obama cabinet. I think that's fantastic news. Locke is my favorite Governor this state has ever had - and when he refused to run for a sure-fire win of a third term simply because he wanted to spend more time with his family, well, his stock rose even higher. I think he'll be awesome in Commerce. Well deserved. And, finally, it's lightly snowing as I type this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 51 - Feb 24th

Alexander hit a goal in school and his reward was a fish - he's been wanting another fish for a long time. He carefully reviewed them all in Bridges Pets last night and chose this one because of the black tips on his/her fins. The current name for the fish is "Fin". Turned out we didn't have rocks for the bottom of the tank like we thought we did, so we couldn't put the plants in just yet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 50 - Feb 23rd

Tonight I gave Jill what I called an "anti-date" - after dinner, I took all five kids to shop so Jill could get things done without kids underfoot. We were gone for nearly three hours which gave Jill some wonderful focus time.

One of my main goals was to get a new pair of shoes for the Fred Meyer job - mine has big holes in them. I have kind of squarish feet so normal shoes smash my pinky toes. When I first started at FM, I didn't realize this and the shoes I wore gave me enormous blisters - my pinky toes each had blisters half the size of the toes. I had to have six surgeries to correct them. I was limping so badly that customers still ask me if my feet are doing ok - and I haven't had an issue in about a year. I seriously considered using a cane last winter. I would cry at night from the pain.

And shoes wear out quickly. My mom bought me a pair last time she was in town, but those now are on their last legs. So I'm picky about my shoes. I finally found a pair at Kohl's that fit the bill - slip resistant, black, squarish toes, extra wide. But they didn't have my size two weeks ago. Tonight I found them! And for half price. Gotta love that.

Also bought Jill two pairs of slippers on clearance - a winter pair and summer pair. Bought Alexander a goldfish at the awesome pet store near Kohl's.

It was a good night.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 49 - Feb 22nd

Quick pick snapped just now with the flash. Peter cracked me up. When Jill was taking the pizza out of the oven, he started going on about the "fire alarm", grabbed a book, drug a chair under the smoke alarm and started frantically waving the book. The smoke alarm wasn't going off - but it's a sad commentary on our cooking skills that it was the first thing he thought of when he smelled the food...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 48 - Feb 21st

Some of you know I work two jobs - a full time job 8a-5p Mon -Fri for Stromberg, a division of Paychex. Then in the evenings and on the weekends, I work in the home department of our local Fred Meyer. I enjoy the work. Often weekends are nine-hour shifts. Today was a real nice day, so over my hour lunch, I rushed home with a disposable brush, popped on disposable gloves and quickly stained the edges of the table top. Didn't take off the work clothes or anything - so you see my name badge in the pic :) Got done with it plus ate my lunch with six minutes to spare! So I got to sit on the couch and chat with Jill before going back to work.

The pieces are all back inside because currently, it's slated to rain the entire next week.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 47 - Feb 20th

I love the view from our bedroom. There are several nice farms down in the valley and we have some mountains in the view - although they don't photograph well. Here is the view due East from our bedroom window.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 46 - Feb 19th

Sophia lost her fifth tooth today. And for some reason, has swimming goggles as part of her accessories today. Those teeth look so normal in their mouth and SO tiny once they are out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 45 - Feb 18th

Here's a secret about the Pacific Northwest - February is usually a quite pleasant month. This week, we've got sunny skies and a high temperature in the 50's. Wonderful!

So today I decided to varnish my table top - bottom first. I laid it out above then donned the rubber gloves and varnished it. Well, most of it.

I had actually carved a space out of the garage and setup my portable heater so I could do this over winter. I did one board and the smell infiltrated the house and was a bit overwhelming. So I decided to wait until I could do it outdoors. This week is that week!

Now I just need to stain the rest of it, find a planer so I can cut the center piece out and then cut out and finish the seats.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 44 - Feb 17th

Maranda really wants to finish this book - it's the third book in the Eragon series and she can't put it down :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 43 - Feb 16th

Jill is taking advantage of the decent weather to start weeding the garden area.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 42 - Feb 15th

Waiting for summer...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 41 - Feb 14th

Peter has a fever of 102.6 tonight :(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 39 - Feb 12th

A sprig of evergreen
frozen in a birdbath
photographed at noon
in winter light

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 37 - Feb 10th

This afternoon was David's funeral. We went from cold, wet and unpleasant outside to a warm, loving remembrance of a good man. The church was packed with a wide variety of people - his Jewish family, people from his church, people from his work, people from his childhood and from his wife's high school class she teaches. It was a wonderful memorial and we got to share laughs and tears.

The church is a small church with a glass back overlooking a man made waterfall. After everything was over, I took the camera over to get a picture of the waterfall. Night photography of water is a wee bit challenging - especially when you shake like I do. But a few came out well and I liked this one.

I've never been to this church before and doubt I will go again (it's about 45 minutes away) so this picture will remind me of David and of his wonderful service.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 36 - Feb 9th

Sophia and I went to the post office today. There was a man, on the street corner, dressed as the Statue of Liberty waving a sign that said "Taxes today!" Unfortunately, my pictures didn't turn out :( When we got home, I snapped this picture of Sophia's pink cowboy boots she loves so much. We got a light dusting of snow last night. It's chilly here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 35 - Feb 8th

My weeks take from the library. I have a wide variety of interests...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 34 - Feb 7th

Wed-Fri, Alexander and I worked on his pinewood derby car. Alexander designed the shape, the painting scheme and did most of the sanding. I did the cutting, masking and painting. Unfortunately, one of the axles turned out to be slightly slower than the other three, so he didn't win any of the races, but he got a top medal for design. We had a good time doing this.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 33 - Feb 6th

This week has been about finances. Trying to get the taxes ready - plan on finalizing tomorrow after work. I finally decided to try and tackle something that has been bugging me for years - my stock option/purchase plan from my former job. You see, I've used Microsoft Money to track all our expenses for 13 years now. But the way it handles investments has always baffled me a little bit. Add into that the fact that my former company SPLIT into two different companies, with completely different methods of dividends and it's been a headache. I printed everything out and it still doesn't make sense to me...I probably spent two hours working on it today and feel like I made no headway.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 32 - Feb 5th

My oldest was in the local spelling bee today and flayed the competition. She could spell every word that knocked out all her competition and came away with first place. She's going onto the regional's in Seattle in March!

Interlude 2

My friend David's obituary has been posted here.


In the late 80's and early 90's, we lost six people close to us - first my friend Ron committed suicide for no known reason. Then my dad's dad passed away just three weeks later. One year later, we gathered around the bed of my dad's mom on the day before Christmas Eve, 1988 and said goodbye. Almost one year later, Jill's paternal grandmother passed away. In Feb 1991, my mom's mom passed away and I never got to say goodbye. Then in May 1991, my sister, Carrie, was murdered (I know some people who argue that it wasn't murder, but they've never had anyone close so brutally cut down by a drunk driver before). And just a few years ago, Kraig Keller, a friend in his 30's and in peak health died suddenly from colon cancer. Jill's maternal grandmother passed away three years ago just days after her 95th birthday. And now David is gone.

It just never gets easier, does it? Time does not heal all wounds, it just forms a scab. I still ache from the loss of my sister. People think I don't drink alcohol because of religion or something. No. It's how I honor the memory of Carrie in my own way. I don't condemn or try to stop anyone else from drinking - although I do offer myself as a designated driver whenever the opportunity arises.

To Shelley, Gabe, Sam and Nate: my heart grieves with you. David was a talented musician, a gifted intellectual and the world is a better place for his 49 years here. All of us who knew his gentle spirit will miss him.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 31 - Feb 4th

It was the third day of nice weather here - mid 50's and sunny. I decided we should wash the very dirty cars over lunch - they haven't been washed in SO long. Most of the kids helped. The cars are happy and clean now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 30 - Feb 3rd

I'm feeling melancholy and introspective today. The death of a friend does that to you, I guess. With the hard physical work I've done lately and me not being in the peak of health, combined with my mood, I feel older today than normal. So I decided to take a picture of my eye with the Macro filters. My eyes feel old. This turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. But I thought this one expressed how I feel today out of all of them.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interlude - Rest in Peace, David

Rest in Peace, my friend.

I will always treasure the memories of your sons birthday party. My children fondly recall the fun they had…well, except when Alexander stepped on that wasp nest. But the rest of that day is filled with happy memories. I will always remember sitting in the shade chatting with you in your hat. The signs were so encouraging that the beast had gone into remission after such intense chemo and radiation. We were hopeful.

I pray you are at peace. Your encouraging smile, your insightful mind and friendly spirit will be sorely missed. Your wife has lost a great friend and your children a wonderful, caring father.

I pray for you, Shelley. May family and friends surround you and comfort you when you need, be a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bend when you need and when you need to be alone, that you can be, surrounded by love nonetheless.

Rest in peace, David Kaplowitz.

Day 29 - Feb 2nd

Three pictures today. All taken from the same spot - I'm standing on a thick bed of moss. A bit of back story - before they even laid out the street in our development, the surveyor made a 3 foot error in height right where our property is. When the initial clearance grading was done, this created an accidental earthen dam which eventually broke, flooding down the hill behind our house and killing several trees (and temporarily blocking the road below). Some trees fell, but many are just slowly rotting away to worms and woodpeckers.

To the south of where I was standing is this tree stump. I took a lot of pictures of it, but like this one. Several big sheets of bark were strewn about on the ground.

To the southeast, was one of the reasons we so love the Pacific Northwest - greenery. Life is abundant here. Ferns are growing into the moss that is growing on a living tree.

To the east is the drainage pipe put in to prevent further landslides. Landslides of our house, come to mention it. I took several alternative focus pictures and this one, focused on the blackberry branch, was my favorite.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 28 - Feb 1st

Today I finished up building the garden tables for our outside garden. Man, that's tough when it's only 34 degrees outside. I built 48 tables total - they were broken completely down, so each table has 10 sets of bolts with 20 washers and 10 nuts.

For my first hour today, I had to ferry stuff in from the storage location, which is all muddy and filled with old leaves. By the end of the hour, my forehead was numb with the cold. Here's the forklift I used to bring in loads.

Here's a picture right towards the end. They'd already started populating the tables with Valentines plants. All these got moved to the opposite end - the tables in the foreground are the ones out in the open and are for herbs.

I'm so physically exhausted, I think I'll go to bed at 8 tonight.