Saturday, December 28, 2013

How I Spent Christmas Day

For my immediate family, Christmas is just another day on the calendar. However, it was a rare occurance of my sister and I having a day off at the same time.

Sissy decided she wanted to run away on a mini-road trip to the beach. Unfortunately, we could not get our collective poop in a group so we decided to take a random road trip - something Sis and I love to do, and Les pretty much just tagged along to get out of the house.

We thought we would head for Layton's Prairie, a local area where Les has old family buried in a local private cemetary somewhere. We thought we would try to find the cemetary and take a few pictures for geneology research. On our way, we saw our old friend, Mt. St. Helens. It was a spectacularly crystal clear day, so we thought we'd head that direction since we would drive right through Layton's Prairie on the way.
Mt. St. Helens as seen from a small local airport on Jackson Hwy.

A lovely view of Mt. Rainier as well

A few miles closer, and a cloud has formed over the top
A small waterfall across the highway from a pullout spot
The "new" bridge built on Hwy 504 on the way to Johnston's Ridge
Some information about the blast zone at the bridge viewpoint
A blow-up of the blast zone map; we were where the black dot in the white circle is - far left side of the map. The black squiggly line is Hwy 504
Getting closer; a view from Elk Rock Overlook
Mt. St. Helens, in all her magnificent glory
Les and Sissy pose for a picture with Mt. St. Helens in the background
Looking down into the valley; just a trickle of a river where a huge lake used to be
Looking closer at the crater
The majestic lady at rest

If you want to learn more about Mt. St. Helens and her eruption, just give it a Google and there is lots of information about it online. I was able to read the actual US Geological department's report of the eruption and all the interesting information about everything that happened before, during, and after the eruption. It is in our library in the Environmental Department at work. Very, very interesting.

We never found Layton's Prairie, but we think we did find the cemetary. Les says it's not the right one, but when I looked the cemetary up online and printed out the list of everyone that is buried there, we think it is the correct one. We'll have to take another day and drive back out there to check it out.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Disappointment Rebuttal Post

This post is an opposite post. It is the opposite of the negative, down-in-the-mouth post where I discussed the many petty disappointments I was encountering a few weeks ago.

Petty disappointment #1 dealt with my (desperate) need of underwear.

My sister (whom we love v much) went to the Sears Outlet store down by Mom's place. I never find anything there that I like, want, or that fits. She found 10 pairs of underwear that fit me! Huzzah! Disappointment rebuttal!

Petty disappoinment #2 dealt with my discouragement in ordering a Kindle.

In steps benevolent blog reader Deb. She very kindheartedly gave me a $200 gift card so that I could purchase said Kindle. Kindle has been purchased, is lovingly cared for, and wholeheartedly enjoyed to the maximum of the battery charge I cannot even begin to describe the joy this fabulous little piece of 21st century technology has brought into my life. Disappointment SCHOOLED!!
Me, at work, with Kindle. I love it. (Don't know why Blogger is making this picture sideways)
Thank you so much, again, Deb, from the bottom of my heart!!!
(I was going to post a picture of me kissing the Kindle in a sweet, I-heart-my-Kindle sort of way, but they all came out a little...uh...creepy. I try really hard to keep the creep factor to a minimum on this blog, so they've all been deleted.)

To top it all off, when I went to pay the storage bill for both my and Sis' storage units - late, again - the owner only charged me a late charge on one of the units instead of both. On purpose. She was so sweet about it!

Sis has been having fits with her mortgage company lately. It's a long story, so I'll just give you the short version. After approximately eleventy-billion tries, she finally got some payment arrangements made for a missed payment that the mortgage company could actually remember making, and then Sis messed it up because she thought the payment was due on the 20th. Guess what? 15th. All of the other times, the mortgage company was to blame; this time, it was her fault. She felt so horrible about it, but she put her big girl panties on and called. She got a very nice lady with an actual brain (not one of those steampunk ones with the metal wind up key sticking out of it) who worked out a deal that not only makes the payments LESS than they were, but also the payments are now due on the 24th instead (which I have put on my Outlook calendar so I can remind her!).


Erm...yes. So, there you have it. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.


To all of my blog readers - thanks for reading my blog. You may have noticed a few new tabs across the top; unfortunately, as of this posting, they are mainly empty right now. But that will change.

Whether you celebrate the holidays or whether they are just another uneventful day on the calendar for you, please take care and be safe. The holiday seasons seem to bring out the best in many, but the stupidity in many others. Watch out for drunk drivers (and for Pete's sake, don't be one!) and people that are willing to shoot you for that last sleeping bag with legs. Have a good time, eat some great food, spend time with people you love, and survive to do it all again next year.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Wonderfulness of Strangers

I have something wonderful and completely unexpected to share.

Back on Dec. 5th, I received an email from Deb, one of my blog readers. In part, it read:

"I was just checking to make sure this email was still valid. I'd like to send you an Amazon gift card via email to help towards your Kindle Wish, and want to make sure you get it.[...] Life's full of disappointments sometimes, isn't it? But it's full of wonderful surprises too:-) Hang in there!"

Isn't that sweet? I responded that my email was, indeed, still valid, and thanked her for her offer of a gift card. She sent me a box a books a few years ago, but other than a few traded emails, we don't know each other; neither have we met. I was very touched that A) she reads my blog, and 2) she would be so kind as to offer help in my quest to aquire a Kindle.

Later that day I received the email from Amazon that Deb had sent me a gift card.

A $200 gift card.

Yeah. If you heard a weird noise around 1pm Pacific Time on the 5th, that was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

Thank you again, Deb. I ordered that Kindle and it should be here on Friday! I hope this inspires someone, anyone, to do something kind for a stranger (or even a not-so-stranger). This generous act of kindness made me feel hugged, appreciated, gobsmacked, thrilled, choked up, and just plain down-on-my-knees grateful. I told everyone at work and at home about it, and everyone that heard was just as stunned as I. I will think of you every time I use it, Deb! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!


Whew. Hard to top that, eh? Well, here are a few more things that are going on around the homestead.

This is Cheddar, our newest addition:

He is a cat my mother has been feeding for about two years now at her tiny mobile home. It's going to be a very cold winter out here in the Pacific NW, and mom volunteered us to take him in. He is feral (as far as we know) but will let me pet him a little. In this picture, he is hiding behind a bookcase at the end of the hallway. He is currently living behind our washer and dryer (he's eating and using the litter box though, apparently when no one is looking).

And here is Gigi in a little dress my sister bought (god, don't ask). Doesn't she look adorable in it? Mom and Sis have made some simple coats for the boys, but the girls don't really have anything to help them stay warm when it gets chilly in the house. Gigi doesn't really need too much since she has a pretty thick coat, but Sis could not resist this set. There is a little grey and white polka-dotted shirt that goes with it, but Mrs. Weenie wears that (I couldn't get a decent picture of her in it).

She has those great Michelle Obama arms, doesn't she?


As for my cross stitch, I still haven't gotten anything done. It's killing me. My fingers itch to stitch!

I found these cross stitch pattern books in our library system. I may have to purchase the Star Trek one - it's pretty cool! I found a few small patterns scattered in the other books that I may have to try.

Well, that's it for now. I will post pictures of my new Kindle when it arrives (whoo hoo!), and will hopefully have more pictures of Cheddar to show.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Few Petty Disappointments

Today’s post is long and on the negative side, so there’s your warning.

I swear that there is some sort of cosmic alarm out there in the universe that sounds whenever I am about to finally have something, no matter how small, go my way. This week, and especially yesterday, is a prime example.

I need new underwear.

Yes, I said it, it’s out there, deal with it.

All of my underwear is a minimum of six years old and they are all falling apart. And you know what? Underwear is freaking expensive! Especially when your lower body parts are humungous like mine. I FINALLY managed to scrape up the moolah for new undercrackers and got them ordered. They came in last Thursday – not Thanksgiving Day Thursday, but the Thursday before that. Now, we have a PO box because a few years back some little gang of buttheads with nothing better to do with their time (like, oh…getting a JOB) went around stealing mail out of the mailboxes on our road. Sis and Les was targeted, so no more mailbox. Our local post office is only open Monday-Friday from 9am-4:30pm. I work Monday-Friday 7 or 8am-4 or 5pm. They are not open at all anymore on Saturdays. So, I cannot get to the post office to pick up packages that are too big to fit in our PO box. I checked the PO box on Thursday night to see if they were able to squish it in there, and it wasn’t there. I grabbed the mail that was there, hoping on Monday that they would then squish it in there. How big could the bundle be? It is five pairs of underpants in a soft envelope. I know they are big, put it’s not like they are tarp sized. I asked Sissy to pick them up for me on her way home from Portland. She said she would. She didn’t. She was home all day on Tuesday-Thursday, so I asked her everyday if she would PLEASE pick them up for me. She said she would. She didn’t.

I worked on turkey day and Sis and Mom convinced me to drive down to Mom’s after work, spend the night, then go back home on Friday evening since I had that day off. I did, and on Friday Mom and I had a nice time going to the Fabric Depot (where I bought some awesome fabric to make her a tote bag – more on that later) and the new Goodwill store by her house. I didn’t get to go to the cross stitch shop downtown because there was a parade and the Portland Christmas Tree lighting ceremony all right there nearby. No thank you. I had a brain storm and called our local post office and asked the gal there if the package with my unders in it could be stuffed in our box. She said YEP and I was all smiles. I could now pick them up anytime on my way home. And I did. I was so excited to get the package open (I’m a cheap date and easy to please, obviously). I pulled out a pair, and you probably could have put two of me in these enormous, awe-inspiring, colossal underpants. Jeezzy creezzy. So, those will have to go back. No new underwear.

Disappointment number one.

I have also been trying – unsuccessfully – to save up for a Kindle Fire. I have one languishing on my Amazon wish list; since this was the biggest shopping weekend of the year, I thought I would look around to see if they were on QVC or HSN, because they offer the ability to make payments. While I was working on Thursday I went online and discovered that QVC had them on sale, with free shipping, and you could make six payments of about $55 each. Now that I could swing! I was really excited but hesitant (as usual) because I wanted to be sure I could actually swing it. The offer was good through Saturday, so I decided to sleep on it. I couldn’t access the Internet on Friday because I was down at Mom’s, so I got online as soon as I got up Saturday. The deal was gone. Oh, the one I wanted was still available, but no free shipping, and now only five payments. I was bummed that it wasn’t as good of a deal, but I decided to go for it anyway. I got halfway through the purchasing process, when I got an error message saying that I would need to call customer service to complete the transaction. So I called their automated ordering number. Turns out they are all sold out and are on a waitlist status. That meant that IF they got stock in again within the next 45 days, they would ship it to me and then bill me when it shipped. Well, that won’t work for me. The way my budget is set up and how I get paid, I have to be able to know exactly when that bill was going to go through. CRAP. No Kindle for me.

Disappointment number 2.

We have a storm rolling in that is dumping tons of rain and the temperatures will be dropping below freezing for our highs for the next several days, and as a result we will probably get snow and lots of ice. Les discovered that the covers we had for the outside water faucets and for the house vents are all missing, so he needed to go to Home Depot to get more. He could drive himself, but he won’t; plus, he has no money (Sis needs the bank card with her in order to deposit her paycheck and buy groceries down in Oregon). So, I volunteered to take him and help him shop (and obviously purchase) these items. Before we left, we tracked down Jim and asked him to please go get a few bales of straw for the animals, so we could be sure they would be warm and dry during the storm. Surprise, surprise, Jim is broke and didn’t have any money even though he just got his check less than a week ago. He can’t afford the $15 for the straw. So I told him I would pay for them if he would please use his shiny brand-new pickup truck to go pick them up for me (oh yes, did I not mention the new truck? And the new 33 ft trailer he bought? And the fact that he contributes zilch to our house that he uses like a free hotel? No? Well, consider it mentioned now).

Disappointment number 3.

We went to Home Depot and got two small bags of Styrofoam covers. $45 smackeroos.

Disappointment number 4.

I was hungry and so was Les, so we stopped by Carl’s Jr. on the way home. He just wanted a small cheeseburger, and I ordered my favorite Western Bacon Cheeseburger, the kind with BBQ sauce and onion rings on it. Couldn’t wait to get that burger home and inhale it!

We got home, I gave Les his burger and he started eating, but the dogs were hounding me for dinner so I took a half hour and got all the animals fed before I ate. I knew that my burger would be pretty much cold by now but it would still be awesome. I got something to drink and some chips, sat down in the recliner to watch some Sons of Anarchy with Les, unwrapped my burger and found…his cold, slightly soggy, small cheeseburger. Now, Les knew as soon as he unwrapped the burger I handed him that it wasn’t his. The onion rings and bacon would have clued him in before he even took one bite. But did he say anything? Nope. Just chowed down on it without a word.

Disappointment number 5.

Now, I know these are petty things to be disappointed about. I own that. I tried really hard to just let them all slide, even the Kindle thing. I figure there will probably be even better sales the closer we get to Xmas, or even after, but I’ve waited so long for one. And to be disappointed over a hamburger is silly, but when you stack all of these things together, it just makes me kind of...sad.


Although, I did buy some lottery tickets on Saturday. Maybe I should check those out…