Friday, January 31, 2014

Day off

It was so beautiful and sunny today!  I love days like this - they give hope for the arrival of spring, even though I know it is folly to get too eager.

A beautiful winter afternoon in Coupeville!

Ahhhhhhh... sunshine.

We took a trip down to Coupeville, with plans to eat at the restaurant on the dock.  They were closed!  Not a total surprise, it is winter after all.  We went to Toby's Tavern instead, and it was just fine.  Michael had a big bowl of mussels.

Michael ate a lot of mussels

I don't do mussels, or oysters.  I don't mind clams, but the other two - blech!  The rubbery texture does my head in.

There was a bird skull on the dock.

Bird skull on the dock

Kind of bizarre.

I have to work this weekend.  I don't like working on the weekend, but it must be done.  Oh well.

In other news, I found a new webcam to watch - the Grand Canyon!  I love it.  I'd like to go back someday.  It's such a beautiful spot.

Sunlight and storms at the Grand Canyon

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tech talk

What a face!

What do you mean, I have pancake batter on my brow?

I figured I'd share Syd's heart-melting look before I get all geeky and start talking about computers.

It's been a very computery weekend.  On Friday, Michael's Macbook finally bit the dust.  It's been hobbling along for a long time, but the last few days it was frightfully clear that the end was near.  It was crashing whenever he tried to do anything - he'd not been able to update anything on it for a long time and it just didn't want to do anything.

Time for action!

By some fluke, there was a nice iMac right here in town that was listed on Craigslist.  For a VERY GOOD price.

It's a bit older than mine, but the previous owner must have been a good computer geek - it was totally wiped clean, and has a terabyte hard drive!  The reason they were getting rid of it was because they have too many computers.  A person can only use so many computers at once, it seems.

It was right here in town!

We arrived a few minutes early to look at it, and were out the door before we were even supposed to arrive.  Ha.

Michael spent the afternoon getting it all set up, and moving everything from his old computer to the new computer.  It all went so smoothly!  It even kept him logged in to Facebook - weird.

There was a lot that needed to be updated, and as he went through everything we discovered that the Opera browser that we had loved for so long had changed a lot - and dropped some rather important features.

Bookmarks, anyone?  Hello?

It turns out that I had an older version of Opera on my computer - I had noticed the automatic browser updates had stopped, but hadn't thought much of it.  I did notice more and more problems with compatibility though, and now I know why!

Buh-bye, Opera.

Hellooo, Safari!

Today I spent a few hours transferring my internet life to Safari.  I got to organize my bookmarks from scratch, and clean things up.  Not to mention how fast Safari is!

Oh, I did not know the woe I was suffering until I knew.

Opera is dead to me.

Now here's another picture of Syd.

I'm cool

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The owl... is so superb

One week.  One week until complete and utter madness descends upon our corner of the world.  Football.  Seahawks.  Blue and green are everywhere...

I really like those colors together, but don't want to be mistaken for a football fan.  Because really, I don't care.

Thankfully, an alternative has arisen, and is becoming better known and more popular ~


A time to love all things OWL!

Look at this - there's even a snack that looks like owl pellets!  I'll be bringing them to work that day for sure.

Recipe:  Owl Barf Balls

In the past when I've worked on this day, we've had an Anti-Superbowl party.  This year, we break tradition and go for something much more exciting and positive.


Barred Owl

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gorgeous day!

After many days of gloomy gloom, the skies cleared up today and we had SUNSHINE!  It was a truly wonderful thing.  Even better, I had the day off work so we could get out and enjoy it.

We decided to go for a walk without Syd.  It's great to take him out, but it's not always the most relaxing thing and I pretty much have no freedom to take pictures or enjoy the scenery.  Plus, we wanted to go to Ebey's Landing, and that walk just isn't a good one for Syd.  TOO LONG.  He's pretty much good for only a couple of miles, and this walk is 3.5 miles.


Michael wasn't sure if he'd be able to make the whole hike, as it was the first time he'd tried anything so long his he broke his leg.  I'm happy to report he made it just fine!  He was quite pleased, though he's paying the price now.

The hike starts out with a bang and a big set of stairs.

Stairway to...

Then it levels out for a bit as we cross the prairie and head for the bluff.

Michael on the bluff trail

It was a bit chilly out there, but by the time we got to the top of the hill I had to take my sweatshirt off.  I could pretend it was spring!  The climb up to the trees is the most difficult part of the hike.  It's actually quite steep at the end.

Heading up a steep trail

 The trees on the bluff have a lot of character, after many years of high winds blowing off the water.  We haven't hiked here so early before, and I noticed the branches were much more visible and eye-catching with less grass and other vegetation blocking them.

The trees out here have character

Snakey branches

The trail down to the beach is steep and changes often as people take different routes and cause erosion.  I've always liked this sign at the bottom of the trail.

Hiking only

Hiking only!

I was hoping to find some tidbit of beach debris to bring home, but everything was too big or too embedded in the sand to move.  Michael found a hat on a stick, which quickly became a hat on his head.

Hat on a stick!

It's quite nice!


I'd like to have more days like today.  It was so nice!  I'm ready for spring now.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dark days, good food...

It was another dark and dreary day here today.  The winds are gone - and I'm very happy to report we did not lose any shingles off of the roof.  The wind blew for a while from the direction that gave us a bit of grief before, but no new losses.  We MUST get a new roof this year.

The rain, on the other hand, has settled in and isn't going anywhere for a while.  It's one of those drizzly clouds that descends to ground surface and just SITS.  At least I knew in advance that the afternoon walk with the dog would be wet, unlike yesterday when I failed to outrun the incoming squall.  It's hard to get excited about going outdoors when it's so yucky out there.

It never got completely light today.

On the bright side, we do have a very good meal ahead!  Michael is making something that we haven't had since December of 2011!

Osso buco.  Here you can see how lovely it is, from the first time we ate it.  I was skeptical, as I had never had veal before.  I changed my mind real quick though!

What's for dinner?  Osso buco!

Here's the recipe that Michael follows when he cooks it:  OSSO BUCO

That will brighten up the day!


It's a wild one out there!

The wind has been blowing and blowing and blowing.  Then it rains, then the wind blows some more.

I got to experience all of it today!  Lucky me.

The morning walk with Syd was the best.  We took out route above the library, and up through one of the Navy housing areas.  When we got to the top of the hill and could see over to the other side, it looked like the North Sea over there!  Syd stopped and stood for several minutes, just sniffing the air.  I can't even imagine what a day like today might smell like to a dog.  We continued on our way, and about three blocks from home Syd made a great find - a PIG EAR!

What the heck?

It was in front of a house that previously had a dog living there (they just moved to a house on our street, yay).  I got a good look at it before he snapped it up, so I knew it was okay.  It was quite soggy though.  He got a good hold on it, and then we ran the rest of the way home!  I think he just wanted to get his treasure home so he could chew it up in his special spot.

He was a dog determined!

This afternoon we got completely soaked on our walk.  I could see ominous black clouds to the west, and made the decision to go out a bit early and try to beat the storm.


It started raining before we were a block from home, and continued until long after we returned home.  It was wet.  After a few blocks, I just gave in and didn't worry about it.  Syd loved it!

I'm ready for summer now.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Music night...

One of my FB friend started a thread asking for  people's thoughts on the most overrated and underrated bands, and it's turned out to be a pretty fun discussion.

The overrated part of the question is kind of difficult, as so many popular band suck.  I pointed out that I hate Leonard Cohen, and everyone else seems to like him a lot.

Underrated... everything I like and love!

I could go on, and on, and on, and on...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Internet K-Hole

So there's this blog that posts only a few times a year, called the Internet K-Hole.  I discovered it sometime in 2013, and believe me, it's easy to get sucked in for a long time looking at all of those old photos they dredge up.  Most of them are from the 80's, give or take a few years.  Lots of mohawks, mullets, and feathered hair.  Some of the pictures are (very) NSFW.  Be warned.  But they are only a small percentage and you can zoom past them if you don't like it.  The rest of the photos are worth it!

This morning I saw that they had a new post up - I didn't go look, because I had to get to work and I knew it would be a nice treat to look through in the evening.  You always have the feeling that the next photo could be somebody you know - an old photo dredged up and scanned, lurking somewhere on the internet.

I never really expected a photo of myself!  HAHA!!!

I'm scrolling down, looking at the various shots of boys with skateboards and girls with feathered hair (with a few shots of boobs and other more explicit activities), when all of a sudden - THAT'S ME!!!  And my kid!!!  And a giant yellow snake!!!

Old polaroid of me and Nolan with a giant snake draped around us

The Polaroid is still on our fridge!  This photo was taken in 2005 when the Reptile Man visited the library.  I love it.

Monday, January 6, 2014


There are things in the world that just push the limit of what should be allowed.  I know, I know, it's a free world and all that... but.

This dog has hate in his eyes.

He is considering all of the ways he will rip out his owner's throat.

What's on the dog's mind?

This just leaves me to wonder - have we really stooped so low as a society, that we are encouraged to dress our dogs as one of the characters from a reality show?

Is it fair to humiliate our pets in this way, supposedly for amusement?

The costume identifies that beard as being the beard of "Jase."  How do I know this?  They all look pretty much the same to me.

(is it just me, or does that little yellow thing on the tag look like a - oh never mind, it's a duck)

I really cannot wait until this whole thing falls into obscurity.  I am so sick of those bearded faces staring out of everything everywhere! 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Productive day!

Today was another beautiful sunny day here.  It was almost easy to forget it's only January and pretend it was spring instead!

I took two very long walks with Syd.  Both were nearly an hour.  The morning walk took us on a nice route down to the water, and back up through downtown.  I like walking there on Sunday mornings, because it's pretty quiet.  Syd gets a little goofy if there are a lot of cars and people around.  Our afternoon walk was kind of a silly route, but I really enjoyed it.  This time we walked just over two miles, looping around the northeast neighborhoods.  It was pretty uneventful, which is exactly how I like it!  I did spy a couple of old trailers at parked on a street we haven't been down before.  One was a Terry, and the other was a... crap.  My mind has drawn a blank.  It starts with an S, but is not a Shasta or a Siesta (which we saw yesterday).  It will come back to me - or I will go back to it.  Heh.

After I got home from the first walk, it was so nice out I just had to head to the garden and I'm really glad I did.  Just with the work I did today, I already feel like I'm way ahead of last year!



There is an oregano plant buried under that mess, and some hollyhocks.  Things were pretty sloppy around the blueberries as well.

A bit of trimming and pulling, then voilà!  The oregano and hollyhocks can be seen, and the weeds are no longer encroaching the blueberries.  The corner is ready to be forked when it comes time to plant flower seeds.  Also, I'll be able to see if any flowers sprout on their own and keep the weeds down around them.  I usually plant cosmos and sunflowers along the fence.


I wasn't done with just that, so I kept working my way down the fence.  Last year, due to a long wet spring I never really did what I did today - and never got around to clearing this strip at all.  We didn't have any sunflowers!  It was a sad state of affairs, during what was kind of a bummer of a year what with Michael's broken leg.  I am determined not to let that happen again.  We MUST have sunflowers!


By the end of it, I'd cleared quite a bit!  I didn't pull out every last clump of grass, but I'll be able to make a pass through with the pitchfork and it won't feel like I'm clearing a prairie.


In case you're wondering why I bother - here's a picture of the garden from 2011!  The sunflowers look great, and the bees love them.  It's totally worth the work.

Our garden starts to wind down for the fall

I'm really happy to be thinking about the garden again.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One more day!

My vacation is drawing to an end, dammit!  One more day to relax.  It will be a day of shopping for the week, and reading a bit, and maybe doing a little in the garden.

THE GARDEN!  I've started thinking about the garden in earnest now.  I hate the fact the backyard is in shadow so early in the day.

Winter garden

Here is my winter garden!  The rabbits are making sure nothing weird happens out there.

I got a catalog in the mail today from Raintree Nursery, whom we bought our apple trees (and grape) from last year.  It just makes me want to buy 45 more trees!  No room for that many though.

We could put a few things in the front yard.  Our rosemary plant, which we brought inside during the coldest weather, is doing quite well.  We should really plant it outside.  They do quite well in these parts, and grow to ginormous size.  I'd like to add a few more blueberry plants, or maybe a plum tree.  I think this is the year to start planting in front!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Paint sort of close to the numbers

Isn't this just the most glorious thing you've ever seen?

A lovely piece of art!

No?  Are you sure?  Maybe you should take a closer look!

Now I want to do a paint by number!

Ohhhhh, look at that adorable little kitten!

What?  Still not convinced?

Is that blood, or paint?

Somebody worked VERY hard on this, you know!

I'm ready to put my artistic skills to work after seeing this - anybody have an unused paint by number kit?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A good start...

We had a nice day today, to start off 2014.

Okay, well... it wasn't all good.  The cat peed on Syd's blanket this morning and it still smells funky - right next to my chair at the computer.  Yay.  I'm going to give it another good clean in that spot tomorrow.  Bad Kitty.

We decided we really needed to get out of the house, so we went for a drive.  We headed east to Sedro Wooley, then turned north on HWY 9 until we hit the Mount Baker highway.  We came back through Bellingham, with a stop for lunch at Pho 99.  Despite the nice sights, I took very few photos.  There's not always a good place to stop when you want to snap photo!  No pullouts by the old car junkyards!  I did, however, get a couple of shots of the Twin Sisters mountains.

These are classic shots, because there is pretty much just ONE place to stop and take a photo.

Twin Sisters

Twin Sisters

We also stopped at one of the sleaziest AM/PMs in the world, in Sedro Wooley.  Michael spotted a drug deal in the parking lot, and several of the clientèle looked very dodgy.  We used the bathroom there, and bought beef jerky.  It was a thrill!

I had originally planned for us to try a different restaurant in Bellingham, Cafe Rumba.  It sounds very good - Peruvian food, and many 5 star reviews on Yelp!  But alas, they were closed today.  Fortunately our favorite Phở restaurant was open - Phở 99!   Not tragic to have to eat there...

Four more days off, and lots to do.  Better get some sleep.