Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Good Book, a GREAT AUTHOR!!

My favorite author is coming out with the latest in her best series.  Here's the ad for it!

I'm not paid, but I like to share the love!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Home Again, but Not For Long.

 My sister and her husband got it in their heads that Texas would be a great place to move to to help the Lord...I'm no expert in what the Lord needs for help, I always rather thought he was self-sufficient, but they think it's a fine idea.  I do know that it is more difficult to visit Texas over the weekend than it is the Tricities.  So we have not seen them since last September.  They have come back for only a few weeks and must leave again before the week is over.  So, as a last hurrah of sorts, the whole family, or what could get together on short notice, came together for a dinner to see them off.  These are some of the pictures that were taken while they were here.

 Cora was at the camera on the tripod for the next series...
 First there was Isaac staring and smiling at the un-manned camera, so Cora started taking shots...
 then another brother came on the scene..."You taking pics?  I'm in!"
 And the next, a sister this time.
 "Hey, we taking pics?"
 " Don't forget about me!"
 "Hey, I'm the dad!"
 And hey reached critical mass and began to fission.
 Here you can see the diiference between Cora holding Hailey, and Daddy holding Hailey...see?  It's the smile.  Yeah, and I might be puffed up a bit in the realization that she likes me a bit more...but that's normal pride, right??

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Accident and loss

The stars are bright tonight.  I stepped out to look.  The breeze across my back, the effect enhanced with my advanced case of age induced hair on my back, felt good compared to this afternoon's warmth.  Still, the skies looked to be clear and wonderful.  Yet, I,  father of two, decided to eschew their company for that of my laptop.  Something I appreciate more and more every day.  Google has added such a vast amount of knowledge at my finger tips that I have no need to experience the real world.  I rely on younger, smarter, more electronically apt individuals to bring their experiences to me. All in all, that is a healthier model.  I know from experience that being in reality is dangerous.

Having been in a car accident recently, I can attest that they are no fun.  Which leads me to this evening's admission.  My beautiful 2002 Toyota Tacoma died.  She died honorably.  Cora chafes when I call it a she.  She harkens back to the Spring of 2002 when i christened that truck "Apollo" after the ice skating Olympian.  Having just watched the Olympics we were enjoying Spring Break,  as I had returned to school to become a history teacher (Who even DOES that?),  on the coast, but a freak late winter storm had hit and it was a much colder stay at the beach than we had imagined.   This day was our arrival at the coast...which had been hammered by snow storms all the way to the within 20 miles of the beach. The reason was how well the truck handled on ice. I believe that was the time we had a seagull ride the truck as we backed around in circles.  Good times.

What Cora doesn't know is the hundreds of conversations that Apollo and I had when Cora wasn't there.  I knew she was somewhat under-powered, but she always delivered all the horsepower she could to get me in and out of the situations I got myself into.  One time my father and I went up to the Whiskey Dick area to look for a plane wreck...only to find ourselves in an incredible situation that ended with me shredding two tires just to get out of the loose shale hole we'd found ourselves in.  Other times it was in the midst of passing that she delivered jut that extra bit of torque to get us out of the way.  The thing is, throughout her life, that truck was awesome to me.

Did I get to all the scheduled oil changes? No.  Did i always find the time to do all the maintenance that was necessary?  No.  (This post was begun a week or so ago, so forgive me if there is some amount of disunity)  I loved that truck.

So, as I was heading home one day from school, over Konowac Pass, I found myself stuck behind a slow driver.  I don't have patience for slow drivers, they are dangerous and a menace.  There is a one mile stretch that allows for passing.  I eagerly awaited our arrival.  Apollo doesn't accelerate too fast, so much planning is necessary.  I was at the low end of third, but down-shifted to second and then back to third again and whipped out as soon as it was clear.  Things were going pretty good...although I think the guy began to speed up...and then I saw a van come up out of an orchard.  I thought, it'll stop.  Ok, it'll slow down and see me.  Ok, this sucks!  YOU IDIOT MOVE!!!!!!!  I could not go to the right, because the idiot I was passing was there.  I couldn't go many other places either.  I slammed on the breaks and slammed on the horn.  The wheels were squealing, and I was tense as could be.  Then, (for some reason I forgot about airbags) I knew we'd hit, and the airbag went off.  It was just like in the movies.  POOF!  It was out and gone.  I didn't hit it because I was tensed the hell up.  It HIT me though.  Myforearms were both bruised.  The one holding down the horn faired worst.

I managed to realize I was in both lanes and put it in reverse and managed to pull out of the oncoming lane before the truck stopped.  She died there.  Quietly, dripping oil and anti-freeze.  On the road.  She had saved my life.  I never quite treated her right, but she gave all to save me.  I loved that truck.

I jumped out.  I was cussing up a storm.  I was upset at the damage that had been done, particularly about the fact that I wouldn't be driving her home.  I checked to make sure the person in the white van was ok...sure, she was holding her stomach, but she wasn't bleeding and she hadn't the hell stopped.  She was stupid to pull out in front of someone.  She said she was fine.  I looked at me.  I was fine...though the bruises were already showing on my forearms.  I dialed 911.  She was on her phone too...I assumed she too was dialing 911.  Nope.  It turned out it was her daughter she called.

As the 911 operator began talking to me, I looked behind my truck at the growing line of vehicles.  There was an officer.  WOW!  That was fast.  I explained my problem to the 911 operator and notified her there was an officer on the scene.  She said she was doing what she was supposed to do and hung up.  I assumed an officer was on the way.  Nope.  We kicked the parts of both cars off the road and the officer and his friend began directing traffic.  Turned out they were Sunnyside officers up to do an interview.  They just happened to be in the area.

They directed Traffic and I waited.  The lady had several farm worker friends show up, and her daughter.  Her daughter spoke English.  It turned out she was uninsured.  She told the officer she did not look to see if anyone was in the lane she was pulling into.  She also said that when she saw me she just closed her eyes...fat lot of good that reaction did.  She admitted to the sheriff that she had not stopped.  Then she got mad when he ticketed her for not yielding the right of way and then also for being uninsured.  The officer put up with a lot of racist accusations, for the woman was a Mexican, and she assumed that because she was a Mexican that was the reason she got a ticket...obviously it didn't have ANYTHING to do with her breaking the law.  Anyway, he was unperturbed by her accusations and issued her the ticket and gave me the case number.  She had her rig towed back to the farm shop by one of the farm tractors.  I had a tow truck come get mine.

I had put my 1/2400 scale ships into the truck that day because that Saturday I would be presenting to the Submarine Veterans of Central Washington.  I planned to show them my ship models and a few of my other items of historic interest.  Unknown to me, the accident had created some major damage to these tiny ship models.

The sheriff who showed up a bit early because the operator didn't realize the officer on scene had no jurisdiction, offered me a ride.  I accepted, hoping it would be in the was not.  I'm just glad my hands were in front of me.

I had texted Cora that a lady had hit me with her car.  I failed to mention that I was OK, and also forgot to mention that I was in the truck when it happened.  She was a little rattled to be honest, and no one could blame her.  She called within minutes and I explained the situation that I was alright and uninjured.

Many of my fellow teachers drive the same road and a few of them texted to make sure I was ok and did not need a ride. My father-in-law called to see if I was ok.  He had found out from another teacher.  I found out then that I have a truly wide range of people I can call on.  It was comforting...though I wish they had all just written me a text before all this instead of me getting into an accident to find it out...

I lived.  I knew, somehow, that I would never drive Apollo again.  I was mad.  I was hurt.  I still am a little.  I regret that I wasn't able to use her to take some garbage to the dump.  But the insurance company gave us an equitable amount for her loss.  Turns out Toyotas don't lose their value very fast.  Of course she only had 155,000 miles on her and I planned on putting at LEAST that amount on her and more!

later, I realized all that had gone on, it finally sunk in how very close to death i had been.  That was a serous crash.  I was astounded at how well I reacted under that pressure.  I was calm and cool...well, apart from the cussing, but honestly, we had that truck since it had 310 miles on it.   It was a friend of the family.  It moved from Washington state to California and back again.  We took it many places and it took us places.  It was a true an inanimate object sort of way.

Apollo, you died on June 9.  I will remember you always.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

First Tooth!

 Chloe, my gorgeous, highly intelligent, friendly child, lost her first tooth on Monday, April 11.  She thought it was the best thing.  It happened at or near lunch.,  She claimed that she thought she had some leftover food in her mouth, and then when she spit it out, there was her tooth,  She and her friend Wynter went to the nurse and came back with a "treasure box"  with a tooth in it.  The Tooth Fairy left her an even five dollars for her first tooth.

It was a good day.

Update:  4-16-16:  Chloe to her mom about "Castle" a tv show we'd hoped would bore Chloe into going to bed to sleeep.

Cora: Why are you watching this?

Chloe: "this is intereesting for a kid...probably a 6 year old...that lost her tooth...on school"

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentines Day and Presidents' Day Weekend

 It turns out that Hailey really likes swings!  We visited a couple parks this weekend.  We went to the "Duck Park" and the Moxee park.  While Hailey looks upon uneven surfaces with consternation, she does smile upon swinging!

Chloe was helpful during the weekend, too.
 This morning, Cora had to work, so I was alone with the girls today.  I honestly don't know how Cora does it.  She is an awesome partner in this family and I know I would never want to do it without her.  On the walk to the park I stopped for coffee, because there is never enough.  When I was done I put it on the bench.  Hailey found it and proceeded to make me some of the cutest pictures I've had the chance to take.

 These pictures have so many possible captions!

 We are definitely a cohesive unit.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 For Me.

And, now, in no particular order, what 2015 was to me:

  • I was a father for four years.
  • My daughter turned six.
  • I began my first year as a real teacher.
  • My grandmother has been dead for 25 years.
  • I was a fifth grader 30 years ago.
  • I turned one 40 years ago.
  • I noticed that wine is really cool.
  • I've been without my best friend (let's be honest, my best friend pre-girlfriend) for 18 years.
  • I've had a taste for whiskey for over 20 years.
  • I saw my favorite dog put to sleep.
  • WWII has been over for 70 years.
  • I bought my first Szechuan Peppercorns.
  • I ate Thai food for Thanksgiving.
  • I became the father of TWO girls.
  • Discovered that wine helps keep me a viable part of the population.
  • We've had more snow in the month of December than the rest of the year.
  • I harvested cucumbers and tomatoes at the first of November.
  • I planted my first Ginger plants...and they are coming along well!
  • I planted my first sweet potatoes from those bought at the supermarket, now I'm planting one of THOSE!!!
  • I've gained a deeper understanding of the books I read, and the stories within stories that are present.
  • I learned that wine is its whole other own food group.
  • I'm proud to be a husband and father.
  • I've thought I was the worst father/teacher/husband/son/brother ever.
  • I've realized I wasn't the worst father/teacher/ husband/ son/ brother ever.
  • I realized I don't really, deep down, give two shits about what others think of me.  Particularly when I am decorated with another person's snot or other bodily fluid.  This happens, screw you if you think it reflects bad upon me to wipe snot from my daughter's nose and rub it on my jeans.  It's parenthood, no one gets out alive. ...or with a full night's sleep for that matter, so go play in the freeway.
  • I like wine more and more.
  • I planted impatiens and they bloomed beautifully in the garden.
  • I realized I genuinely care about my students...dammit.
  • I realized the holidays are a bunch of work.
  • I recognized that New Years' is just another damned day.
  • I noticed that I would never have my life another way, it's difficult, and the participants are hard to deal with from time to time, and some of the scenarios really make me scratch my head, but all-in-all, it's a damn good life, and I am lucky to be a participant.
  • So, 2016, you better fucking impress me.
Where's my wine???

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our China Trip

We spent all weekend packing, unpacking, and repacking.  In the end if we lose any'll be a specially engineered chaos and pandemonium.  I don't recall which bag has what now, so opening them again will be a nifty kind of Christmas.

The house is near cleaned.  Everything is near ready.  We have two days left and I know there is still stuff to do, but damned if my befuddled mind can remember what those things are.

A few weeks ago I bought some ginger with the idea of creating teriyaki sauce, which I did, and some sort of Asian dish...which I did not.  I glanced at them yesterday and was pleased to see they had shoots on them.  So today, in a moment of brilliance I like to call nonlinear cleaning, I planted them.  Earlier in the summer I did the same and have had mild success.  It is alive and the leaves smell very gingery.

Whilst in China we will be updating you at a different blog.  You are welcome to follow us there.