View Article  Why Another Blog?

  I thought that I would start this blog as a more flexible adjunct to my website--texified.com.  Hopefully I can incorporate this blog site into the other with no problems.

  I was especially interested in using this to post entries during my Panama trip which is coming up.  That would depend on finding an internet cafe which I  understand is common in that area.  Also, I hope it will be more convenient to post entries and will thus lead to more postings!


26Feb2006.-- See HERE for further entries. I thought that I would start this blog site as an experiment since it's more convenient to update than this web site.  This will be important during my Panama trip, since it is accessible from any access point.


24Feb2006.--The days roll on...already it is late February, and the crocus and daffodil are up, ice on the streets this morning, but a warm sun made all cheery.   Meaning...don't we all search for it?  Sometimes the search can become too intense and then, it is best I think, to pause, and to simply live each moment and each day.  No thought, no contemplation, just sensation  is best sometimes, just the appreciation of the wonder and the beauty that surrounds us.

I am restless it seems, tired of the  mundane and needing something novel.  This is in contradiction to what I wrote above...but perhaps not.  Sometimes the usual is not enough...

Here's a nice speech.  The winner for the 1968 Nobel prize in literature talks about Japan and poetry and other neat things.


17Feb2006.--Now it's my turn for a birthday.  It seems as if they are coming all too fast!.  I'm going out to eat at the Spaghetti Factory tonight to celebrate mine and Jessica's birthday.

  We are having unusual weather here.  A very strong wind from the north blew in last night dropping the temperature into the twenties (28 here last night) which is the coldest this winter.  Very high winds blew all night and is continuing as I speak.  The power was off when I awoke this morning but fortunately came back on.  I could hear branches and fir cones dropping onto the roof all night.  Living in a forest has its draw backs!  Fortunately no trees fell (as one did in front of the house a few weeks ago which blocked the street), but a huge mess is being made.  The Douglas Fir trees shed their limber branches very easily and the streets and driveways are littered with them.  As the photo shows I have a mess to clean up in front of the house--again!

The weather was so cold that it froze the hummingbird feeders!  I couldn't believe it when I went outside and saw that the water in the feeder was frozen.  The female Anna's Hummingbird was sitting on a nearby twig and twittering at me!  It was as if she was asking me to hurry up and do something!  I immediately went back in and made a fresh batch.  When I came outside to put it up, the little female landed on the feeder while it was in my hand and began feeding!  It was if she was so desperate that she couldn't wait to begin sipping on that warm nectar.  I felt so sorry for it I didn't know what to do.  Later I put a second batch out with slightly more sugar in it just in case she needed the extra energy for this weather.


1February2006.--In every person's life there are life changing events; events that change a person forever.  One of these major events in my life was the birth of my only child, Jessica.  And today is her twenty-first birthday!  I shall never, ever forget the moment when I first held her in my arms, moments after her birth and looked down at that tiny face.  In that moment all my old life was swept away and I turned down a new path...my life changed forever for the better.  Words can never, ever express the emotions that I felt...feelings of love, tenderness, dedication...and fear, fear that something might happen to her, and that must never be.  I am so proud of my daughter, and she is so precious and beloved to me. 

  I had breakfast with her and her fiancée this morning, when I took this photo.  I took a photo of him also, but I forgot to get permission from him to show his photo, so I am leaving him off.  He is really something else; I couldn't choose a better choice for her, and I am so incredibly happy that they met and fell in love.  Happy 21st birthday my dearest daughter!



12January2006.--It rained as heavy yesterday as I have ever seen here, with ice slush and hail.  I attempted to take some photos on the Beach Walk this morning despite the gloomy dark conditions.  You can see a few of them here.  This park was originally owned by a dentist who owned and developed the land in the area.  It was bought a few years back by the county who left it pretty much in the original state.  With the construction of the second Narrows Bridge, they seemed to fee obligated to "improve" the park and paved the gravel road with asphalt, added speed bumps, guard rails, speed limit signs, etc.  One of the inexcusable things they did was to channalize part of the brook that babbled its way down through the ravine which it had cut over the millennia.  They filled in part of it with rip rock and destroyed completely the noisy little waterfalls which I had enjoyed so much in my walks.  Fortunately as tree branches and debris have fallen into the stream, new barriers were formed and once again I am entertained by the sight and sound of this wonderful little stream.  They also built a parking lot, and a "viewing area" of the bridge complete with cupola and telescope (which is filled with moisture now and unusable).


10January2006.--It rained very heavily last night.  When I was driving home, it was difficult to keep the car on the road because of the standing water and high wind.  I read in the paper this morning that a record of thirty three straight days of rain is being approached.  Then they smugly point out that New York City has more annual rain than here.  Of course, the rain that can be over in a day or less in New York is stretched out over a few weeks here.

I changed the hummers nectar a few minutes ago, the usual four parts water to one part sugar, since the front porch feeder was getting low, and the little hummingbird sits faithfully in a Japanese Maple tree a few feet away, feeding as the inclination strikes it.  I saw that this bird appeared to be female and it chased away a male that would come up occasionally (still not sure of the species! )

I've been listening to Skeletons on the Zahara on disc as I drive.  It's an amazing book and should rank at the top among adventure stories.  I read that they are considering making a movie from it which would a must see for me.


8January2006, Sunday.--A late night (4am), and I am tired.  Got a wrist watch yesterday, since the one I got last summer started losing time--sure sign of a waning battery.  It costs about four bucks for a new battery, and if you have a waterproof watch (I can't be bothered taking my watch off while showering!), it often has to have a special press to put the back back on after installing a new battery (unless you have a screw-on back). This involves going to a jewelers to have the battery installed!  The jeweler charges anywhere from $5 (I found one that cheap in Texas this summer) to $8 (here).  When you consider that at Wal-Mart's you can buy new watches from $4-$8, it is often better to buy a new watch rather than replacing the battery.   Last January I thought I'd get out of this cycle and just buy a new Swiss Army watch for a few more dollars and just replace the battery when it expired.  The watch started losing time this July while I was in Texas, and I was never able to get it repaired, despite two visits to a jewelers, so I went back to the cheap watch route.  The one I bought yesterday (Timex) has a screw-on back so, I think that I'll be able to change the battery with little problem.

Strange, today and yesterday there were very few birds in the Sound.  I could see an occasional Grebe or Cormorant way out in the middle but nothing close by.  There are usually numerous birds visible.  The little hummer is still coming to the feeder.  I see him at daybreak as I am putting on my boots on the porch.  He seems to be upset with me since he makes this little chittering noise when he sees me.



6January2006, Friday.--It was bill paying day for me.  I'd been putting off paying all these bills until I simply had to do it!  Lots of taxes and insurance...amazing. It is all very convenient since I do most of it online, but I still put it off.   I remember when I was much poorer but I had very few needs.  In grad school I got by on peanuts and still had money left over to save.  I look at my income for this past year and have to shake my head in disbelief...where did it all go?

Sometimes during my people watching episodes, I have to keep reminding myself that there can be goodness in us all--even nobility.  Sometimes that's hard to see when one reads the news and sees the idiocies that people perpetuate.  I try to emphasize the positive since by always looking at the gloomy aspect of things simply is not good for my mental health. 



Some thoughts


     Some endings stand out more than others

Others are commonplace and fade from memory.

Some are known at the time...like the last time I talked to my mother

Or when I last held my red-haired love...


Other endings aren't known, but are

Only recognized as such after the event.

Like when I last saw my other love striding

Purposely out of the terminal to board

The plane in that little

Iowa town.

Would I have run to her and held her

Close one more time if I had known?


Or when I watched you wave goodbye

From the rear window of that departing car,

How could I have known it was the last time

And that you were forever lost to me?


And the last time that I carried my daughter,

Or held her little hand as we walked along.

When I let go of her, what would I have done

If I had known

It was the last time?



5January2006, Thursday.--Why is it that discussing Politics or  Religion can rouse some people to a frothing fury?  Religion, I can understand perhaps more than politics since it deals with ideas that can affect us on very deep levels.  But politics?  I find myself reacting to what I consider ridiculous political statements, so I am not immune to this strange phenomena.  I get much more incensed about politics say than to the subject of food.  Food is much more basic to oneself than politics, so why this strange reaction to politics?  I'll have to ponder this further.

The Sound was calm this morning despite the steady rain that fell.  The usual grebes and Common Mergansers were feeding, but I saw another small waterfowl that I couldn't immediately identify although I suspect a Pigeon Guillemot (haven't looked it up yet).  I noticed that the currents were progressing southerly on the Tacoma side which would mean that the tide was coming in, but on my side the current appeared to be going out (48 degrees F again).   I also saw three Sea lions moving north in the center of the Narrows.  Nearer to me I saw this huge Sea lion which I mistook at first for driftwood, it was so large. 

It's amazing how much driftwood floats out with the tide.  I am reminded of Twain's Huckleberry Finn in which he talks about the great masses of driftwood that float down the Mississippi during the rises.  You can see great tree trunks and even large stumps drifting by.


3January2006, Tuesday.--I'm starting to feel righteous.  I have almost cleaned my office/computer room up.  It is absolutely the very worst that I have seen it.  The piles of paper were beginning to become a safety hazard.

I saw a sea lion cruising north in the Narrows today.  It breached only twice that I saw, twice in quick succession, giving out great gusts of breath that could be clearly heard.  It was a mite cold on the beach--38 F.


2January2006, Monday.--I took down the Christmas Tree and all the lights.  I also packed them up and put them in the attic.  The piano tuner came at 9:30 am and is still at his job now, almost 3 pm!  Prior tuners have taken no more than an hour.  I have to hand it to the poor guy though.  He has stuck to the job without eating, drinking or going to the bathroom!

While walking to the beach today, I saw what appeared to be an immature Bald Eagle.  They tend to hangout in the forested area just to the south of my place.  Lessee, I also saw a flock of nine Common Mergansers in the sound, along with various loons  and Cormorants (unable to determine species because of the poor lighting and distance). I also saw a Scoter, possibly a Surf Scoter. Yesterday I saw what was either a Horned or Red-Necked Grebe.  It's frustrating to identify these critters without a spotting scope.  I'll have to take one with me soon.

While taking down the porch lights, again a hummingbird came right to the feeder about four feet away.  I got a good look at the little fella.  He had a greenish body, and a red patch on his throat.  He seemed unafraid and sat there drinking for quite a while as I stood still just a few feet away.  And dangit, I am still not sure of the species!  In the summer all the hummers appear to be the Rufus Hummingbird, and I thought this winter one was the Anna's Hummingbird as I said before.  But it has no red forehead as the Anna's males do.  I shall continue to think upon this before making my final judgment.  One thing that gives me fits is the winter colors these birds are sporting.


1January2006, Sunday.--Today is the one hundredth birthday of my beloved grandfather, Emanuel Alton Evans, or Granan as all the grandchildren called him. He was my mother's father. When he used to say that he didn't think he had long to l live, I would always tell him that he would live to be one hundred.  When he reached 59, he said that he figured that he would only live perhaps another ten years or so...he lived to the age of 95, not quite one hundred, but he was ready to go on long before he reached this age.  He passed on peacefully just before I was to see him on my annual Texas pilgrimage.  He was such a wonderful person; I always considered him as my second father.  My father is 81 and is so dear to my heart.  My father's mother also would have had her one hundredth birthday this December 20th.  She reached her 91st birthday still bright and alert as ever.

I saw two hummingbirds today, fussing over who had the rights to the feeder.  Back a couple of weeks ago, as I was putting up some Christmas lights, a hummingbird appeared suddenly right in front of my face as he was checking out the feeder on the front porch.  Just the day before I had been talking with a co-worker about Hummingbirds being sighted this time of year and had been speculating as to why and how on earth they had stayed pass the blooming season.  Due to their homiothermy, or warm-blooded condition, they must maintain their body temperature at high levels, but since they are so very tiny, they have a huge surface area to volume ratio and thus radiate heat away at inordinate amounts.  They must, therefore, eat constantly and actually go into a type of hibernation at night when they can't feed.  Thus I was astounded that day to see a hummingbird with the temperature in the mid-forties.  I immediately emptied out the fermented sugar solution which had been in the feeders since July and from which the hummingbirds had refused to eat, and prepared some fresh solution and put it into the feeders.  I immediately began to see hummingbirds come to the feeder, but today was the first time that I have seen two together.  I am of two minds about feeding them passed the growing season.  On the one hand I don't want to be the reason that they don't migrate, but at the same time if they are already here, I don't want them to starve!

As far as I can tell the hummingbirds that I have seen have been juvenile male Anna's Hummingbird, which to my knowledge is the first time that I have seen this species.


31December2005, Saturday.--It has been raining...and raining and raining.  Yesterday, on the walk to the beach, it was so dim at first that I could barely see.  Out of curiosity I took the water's temperature which was 49 F. with the air temperature 46...today the water's temperature was the same and the air temperature was also 49.  A couple of years ago during this same time of year, the water temperature remained steady at 43.  The temperature of the Puget Sound water stays fairly consistent over the year normally, warming the area in the winter and cooling it in the summer.  The climate of the entire area is rather consistent with little variation, mild and wet, cloudy and gloomy during the winter contrasting with about two wonderful sunny  months in August and September. Here's some info on the area

Yesterday, I drove north along the Sound taking a road that stayed near the water which I have never done before.  It rained steadily the entire time and everybody had their headlights on in the dimness under the forest trees.  I didn't go far, just past a small town called Wauna.  As with every where you go, new homes were springing up, especially in the areas with a view.  I stopped by one house with a For Sale sign and picked up a flyer.  The house was 88 years old, perched on a bluff that overlooked the Colvas passage in both directions, along with the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier (of course they couldn't be seen on this dreary, drizzly day), newly remodeled and cost only $585,000.  :)

The forests here can be uninviting for an off trail hiker--dark, blackish green trees with sword fern, salal, huckleberry and blackberry forming impenetrable thickets.  Actually the blackberry does this in the clearings since it doesn't like the perpetual gloom beneath the trees.  You can't really walk through these forests, the tangle of vegetation makes this literally impossible without a machete, and this time of year you would be soaked to the skin in minutes.  I say they are uninviting, but this can depend much upon one's mood and the weather. Likewise, on good trails it can be a delight.  Also in areas of old growth, away from the second growth forest, the situation is totally different with wide vistas beneath great stately trees.  Once you go just east over the Cascade crest the situation changes totally--sunny, open forests of Ponderosa Pine mostly, easy to walk through in most areas, and much more cheerful and inviting.

Having these days off during the holidays is really wonderful since I have the time to do more things that I enjoy without rushing around constantly.  I dread already getting back to the grind.


29December2005, Thursday.--I took a long walk today and then went down to the beach.  It was early with the sun just peeking up, and the ravine that the stream had carved over the course of thousand of years was dark.  It was very cool, with the sound of rushing water and waterfalls.  The birds, their hormones awakening by the lengthening days, were singing sporadically.  Great Big Leaved Maples hung over the stream, their branches and trunks covered with  moss and licorice ferns.  As I approached the beach which was still hidden, I could see the sun shining on an Alder grove, causing their trunks to glow in the bright light at the end of the dark ravine, like a light in a tunnel.  I paused for a while committing the scene to memory, and as I watched,  the light dimmed as a cloud passed before the sun, and the bright clear light faded to pastels and mauves.  The water of the stream was tea colored and very cold as I washed mud from my hands after handling a tree branch shaggy with lichen.

On the beach fly fisherman were at work, fishing for salmon and Cutthroat Trout.  In the distance I could see the wheels spinning cable on the new Narrows Bridge.  A tug passed pulling a great barge, heaped high with sawdust.  I could just see the top of that great  mountain, Rainier, the sun was rising behind it, just peeking over  the southern shoulder of the volcano.

I leaned against a tree stump, it's serpentine roots washed clean of earth, and watched everything for a while before walking back up the steep trail.


1December2005, Wednesday.--I was planning on going into town today, but there was a stalled car on the bridge, so I came to the Cutters coffee shop instead.  I was planning on visiting Borders and the mall to do some Christmas shopping.  Recently at Borders as usual I succumbed and bought a book which I chanced across.  It was The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe.  I pretty much have to read anything Wolfe writes since he is one of the bright and shining stars.  He has an incredible imagination and a great gift for writing in an engaging and interesting way. Some say that he is by far the best writer in the English language today, and not just in the science-fiction/fantasy genre in which he specializes.   Like most books that I really like, I could hardly put it down until I had read it, despite feeble attempts to stretch it out.  After finishing it, I went back and bought the sequel, The Wizard.  The sequel is not quite so captivating (I have been  putting it down at times!), but still entertaining as is anything Wolfe writes.  I think that my favorite series of his is the four or five volume series called The Book of the New Sun.  I also bought Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins.  Dawkins, of course, is one of the preeminent popularizers of Evolution, well known for his book, The Selfish Gene.

It's snowing hard now, big fluffy flakes, but I doubt (hope!) that it won't stick.  This is quite early for a snow, but I remember back in 1985 I had my first and only white Thanksgiving!  It was years later that I had my first and only white Christmas.


28November2005,Monday.--Actually got a frost last night.  The temperature according to the maximum/minimum thermometer in the back is 34 degrees F, with a low last night of 32.  Yesterday afternoon it cleared off and I knew it would be cold during the night.  As I passed over the bridge, talking to my father, the westering sun threw the bridge supports into relief and the mountain was rosy and clear.  It was quite beautiful.

I guess the school board members in Delaware that passed the requirement to teach Intelligent Design on the same par as evolution were kicked out.  My father still wants me to go with him to Panama in March and perhaps to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, which I have always dreamed of visiting.  I have heard so much about the Galapagos, which of course was so critical to Darwin in the formulation of his theory.


27November2005,Sunday.--Most of the leaves are off the trees now, and there have been two frosts that I have seen on the car after work, although it has yet to frost at home.  Strangely enough there are very few frosts at my house.  I remember two years ago there were only three, but it did snow once.  Last year there were no snows and about five or six light frosts.  When I talk to my dad in Texas the temperature is always in the seventies or eighties there.  Yesterday I saw the sun for the first time in about a week, but now it is cloudy and dreary as usual.


9November2005, Wednesday.--I just read an article about the Kansas Board of Education who just approved the teaching of Intelligent Design.  There were some interesting comments by the board. 

The voters apparently approved the banning of smoking in public places in the elections yesterday. There may be some problems since smokers must be at least twenty five feet from any doors or windows.  Critics have claimed that the center of the street is the only place left! Personally I am glad there are restrictions on this type of air pollution. The repeal of the gasoline tax which was instituted in such a high-handed way by the governor is still up in the air.


8November2005, Tuesday.--Well, the weather typical of this area has set in.  Yesterday was partly sunny, but the previous four days were filled with blowing winds and a steady downpour.  The oak trees at work were stripped of their leaves and lay in great sodden piles.  With the autumn rains comes the mushrooms which have been sprouting for the past month.  I found one area which had large numbers of Amanita muscaria, the fly Agaric Mushroom which is mildly hallucinogenic.  Apparently there are substances in it which causes nausea and extreme sickness along with the drunken effect, but when the urine of somebody who has ingested this mushroom is drank, the recipient experiences the hallucinogenic effects without the undesirable symptoms.  Apparently there are aboriginal people in Mexico, Siberia and in Finland that have independently discovered this strange effect.  One modification was developed by the Laplanders who feed the mushroom to their reindeer and drink their urine thus avoiding the ill effects!  What I can't understand is how this was discovered in the first place!  And at least three times!

The photo at right was taken down the street (click to enlarge).  As you can see it's not only humans that seem to like the taste!


7November2005, Monday.--I tried putting my web pages into an earlier version of my web and published it to Bluehost.  It appeared to solve some problems, but not others. This page seems to be updated which it wasn't before.  I also eliminated most of the photo banners (which weren't showing up) that I had and just put the title of each page in a large font. The technical help at Bluehost have been worse than useless.

I got a disturbing email from my father Saturday which said that my mother had been put into a hospital for a blood clot in her leg.  They gave her some blood thinners which seemed to have helped.  I have no doubt that this is the result of her not walking enough.  As I talked to my father on the cell phone I could hear crickets in the background.  He was at my sister's and son-in-law's house, and they were out by the pool enjoying the balmy (80 degrees!) night air.  And probably smoking their cigars also!  My father doesn't smoke but he does love good conversation.  I was envious since even in the summer time here it is too chilly to sit outside.  I can't even enjoy my deck because of the chill and mosquitoes! 


4November2005, Friday.--I've continued to have problems with the web site.  The web looks perfect on my computer, but when I upload it to Bluehost, none of the banners show up, and some pages show up as white.  I've written to them several times outlining the problems, but each time they suggest that I do something that that I had already done (as I had told them several times!).  This happens each time that I ask them questions;  I guess they really aren't interested in helping.   I am not normally the type to besiege people for help since I prefer to help myself unless absolutely necessary.  I have avoided updating the site before I have solved the problems.

Jessica's car was finally finished yesterday.  Four times before they had said it would be finished on earlier dates. It looked great, all polished up and shining.  Of course the damage never did seem bad.  They say most damage was due to certain frame elements.  The total bill was $4500.


28October2005, Friday.--I never used to have any sort of sleep problem.  Lately, I've not been able to sleep for long periods of time.  I go to bed and sleep five or six hours maximum.  I always try to get in a short siesta, but lately I can only nap maybe ten to twenty minutes whereas I used to be able to snooze for an hour.  When things are on my mind, I can usually go to sleep rapidly, but after a few hours I wake up with my mind in overdrive, going over and over things, hashing and re-hashing events, sometimes for two hours or more.  It seems that my brain has to organize things, consider all the options, and put everything in it's appropriate cubby hole before it is satisfied.


24October2005, Monday.--I talked to my father yesterday.  I guess all the family is talking about just now is the "family investment."  This is an investment that most of the family became involved in at the urging of my vivacious sister (see photo!).  After long last (supposedly) some sort of return is expected.  If true then it is truly exciting and life changing.  However...similar claims have been made in the past, extravagant claims as is this one, and nothing came of it.  This is the most definite statement thus far though, and my sister is convinced.  The excitement is catching, but I try to not really believe it, and tell myself that I would be surprised if I even regained my original investment.  Why am I always so cautious and skeptical?

My father said that my mother is more alert, in fact more alert than any of the other residents.  His dream is to place her in better circumstances if he ever earned something from this investment.  "She belongs with me."  My heart goes out to them both!

My father is talking about going back to Panama next February.  "There are still some areas that I didn't see."  I would love dearly to go with him.  I was checking the real estate offerings out again and was amazed at the reasonable prices.  There were some really nice acreages for sale.  Some were fairly primitive but beautiful.  There were also condominiums in Panama City and environs that were truly luxurious with beautiful views.

It was really foggy when I left the house a while ago, and I couldn't even see the bridge.  Usually such fogs burn off as the day progresses and by the end of the day it is sunny with a bright blue sky.  It is beginning to lift now.


23October2005, Sunday.--I woke up this morning to the sound of fog horns.  A light mist was falling and dripping from the eaves.  The air outside was cool but mild with the rich smell of forest mold and wet leaves.  Yesterday morning as I started for school, the sun was just about to peek up over that great mountain Rainier, and the silhouette of the old bridge contrasting with the lights of the new one being constructed caught my attention.  Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod.  The work is coming along rapidly.  They are stringing the cable now; 24 hours a day the pulley runs back and forth laying the cable which is only the thickness of a pencil.


21October2005, Friday.--I just talked to the body shop, the car won't be ready until about the end of next week--three weeks this has taken!

     Another beautiful sunny day, as was yesterday.  Of course it is only a matter of time before the great Southwesters come roaring in, the Pineapple Express it is sometimes called since it comes from the vicinity of Hawaii.  These storms bring in warm air and rain.  It can be quite pleasant the first few dozen times this happens since I like storms.  Of course this begins to pall after a while and the storms can hardly be called storms since the winds aren't that great--not like back east.  So I enjoy these sunny Autumn days with the smell of fallen leaves and the cool sunny days.

I'm sitting here in Starbucks, waiting for Jessica to get out of class and people watching.  People, human beings, are such social animals.  They obviously like being around each other and take endless delight in each other.  Social behavior is fascinating and so obviously has its roots in the distant history of our species.  We note, often unconsciously, every nuance of other people's behavior, picking up cues as to their mood and intentions.  This in turn influences our behavior, causing us often to make quick judgments about them.  We pick up their "vibes" often unaware as to why they affect us the way they do.

You see so many different people.  For example this demure young woman standing in line for coffee.  She seems so shy with downcast eyes, a perfect shy mouse, but then one notices the large tattoo on the small of her back, just above her low slung tight pants, and then the stainless steel post piercing her tongue...and then one wonders.  Social cues...sometimes contradictory, we put them all together and form conclusions.


20October2005, Thursday.--I was reading Herodotus again yesterday, and was absolutely re-amazed at his writings.  Here were many of the old stories that I have heard all my life--the story of Midas, and of Polycrates of Samos who threw his ring into the sea to avoid the inevitable consequences of his run of good luck.  Everybody remembers that a large fish swallowed it and was found again by Polycrates when he dined upon it, causing him to realize that no man escapes his fate.  Then there was the remarkable story of the people in Ethiopia who preserved their dead in crystal tubes of a clear crystal and propped them up in the town. This reminds me of a SF story that I read once where  columns were placed over each tomb which would play music and project a moving image of the person. Herodotus is delightful with his stories.  He is criticized by the historians for his gullibility sometimes, but he often places the caveat in his writings, "it is said, or the people say," so I believe that he wasn't totally credulous, but was simply reporting the stories that he encountered. 


19October2005,Wednesday.--Autumn is upon us.  The photo is of a Japanese maple in my front yard taken a few days ago.  The Douglas Firs are shedding their old needles this time of year, and the pavement is coated with a fine mat of inch-long brown needles.  Each time the wind blows, the air is filled with fir needles falling like a fine rain.  In my neighborhood you can tell the time of year by looking at the streets and driveways.  The trees shed various parts of themselves depending upon the season.  There is the time when the fir trees drop their seeds, filling the air with little helicoptering seeds.  At other times, the Madrone trees shed their old leaves (June).  These are evergreen trees, but still shed their old leaves after the new ones come in. In late Spring these trees drop little tiny blossoms, each one a miracle of shape and form, looking like tiny vases.  The dark streets appear white under these trees at this time.  Also in late Summer the old bark splits and falls off revealing the smooth green under bark which ripens into a rich cinnamon color.  Right now they are shedding their bright berry-like seeds which can be seen scattered on the streets. 

The Douglas Fir go through their own cycle of shedding.  In the Spring the male cones shed great quantities of pollen and coat the driveways and cars with a coating of yellow flour. You can shake the branches at this time and throw up great yellow clouds.  Sometimes the pollen is so thick that it cakes up in the nooks and crannies of my driveway.  A bit later the male cones fall and pile up on my driveway and deck.  Next  the new growing tips of the Douglas Fir sheds tiny brown papery cups which once protected the branch tips.  These little cups pile up everywhere, blowing in the breeze.  Later in the summer the large female cones of the fir drop off, and the little Douglas squirrels sit on overhead branches chewing the green cones to get at the seeds and dropping the remains all over my deck.

And of course, this time of year the Big Leaf Maples are dropping their great palmate yellow leaves, coating the streets with deep piles of fallow gold.  These, along with the plain yellow or brown leaves of the Red Alder and the leaves of other deciduous shrubs, make the area quite colorful and beautiful--and of course, provides great exercise when I try and clean my driveway and deck.

"What a bother," you may think and perhaps you may agree with one fellow I once knew who cut down all the trees around his house because of the "mess" they made.  As for me, I think that any inconvenience of these trees is far outweighed by the beauty of their presence.  I can look outside and see green everywhere for I live in the midst of a forest, and I take great pleasure in the constantly changing panorama that they provide. 

I am still having problems with getting my web site to display my pages correctly. 


18October2005, Tuesday.--I uploaded revisions to my web site yesterday, and for some reason most of the page banners aren't showing up.  This has happened before last month when If first uploaded the web pages.  I got no help whatsoever from Bluehost, and eventually they just started showing up one day.

It is cloudy (as usual) with rain expected tonight.  The natives always insist that this why the Northwest is so green.  They are right of course, but sometimes during the middle of a dreary, rainy winter in the Northwest I yearn for sun.  The natives respond that the temperatures here are very mild and that it never gets very cold or hot.  True...but it's like living in a beer cooler; it's chilly most of the time and rainy most of the time.  There are about two months during late July through about the middle of September when the weather is stupendous...actually gets into the seventies and even eighties at times.  This summer it even got to 92 degrees in May!  It never reached this high the rest of the summer.  I could stand some cold weather if there were sun to go with it.  About four years ago it rained for over a hundred days straight.  Not much each day of course, sometimes just a light mist.  It almost drove me nuts.

All that being said, I get uneasy here in the summer sometimes when there is an entire week with sun and no rain.  Everything quickly dries up during that time, and I am glad to see a little rain.  It's odd but the warm weather bothers me more here then it does in Texas when I visit there in August.


17October2005, Monday.--I talked to Dad, yesterday.  He had a wonderful time in Panama, and except for a few minor glitches (misplaced car keys) all went well.  He landed in Panama City and took a flight north to David, visited Boquette and stayed for a few nights on the Pacific Coast at a resort.  He said that he had the resort practically to himself and was pampered by the staff.  He said that he did get a little lonely here.  I have always found that it is best to go places with somebody since loneliness can set in, and of course, we want to talk about what we are seeing and experiencing. Hopefully, we can go together someday.

He said that mother was going into have a tooth pulled, but I didn't get a chance to ask more about her.  He was concerned last week because she didn't seem her usual alert self.  He wondered if they were giving her some kind of sedative--which is unacceptable.


16October2005, Sunday.--I got an email from Dad.  He has returned from his trip to Panama, and said that he enjoyed it very much.  He saw some property in the northern part that appealed to him.  I was worried a bit about him when I heard about the hurricane and flooding just north of Panama, the flooding in Colombia, and the earthquake in El Salvador.  I was afraid his trip would be ruined by rain.  I shall talk to him this afternoon and get more details.  He caught a small commuter plane in Athens instead of going into Dallas which would route him via Miami on the way to Panama.  Instead here he could park his car, go to Houston and then to Panama.  He is 81 and seems thirty years younger to me.  He has no infirmities of any kind that I know and is vigorous and active.  It takes a bit of gumption for anyone to go to another country by themselves, and I am so happy that he did.

I woke up early again after about 5 hours sleep.  I can't seem to break this habit of getting up early.  A short siesta in the afternoon recharges my batteries and helps immensely though, seeing me through to my normal bedtime of 2 am.  I just read, however, that everybody needs at the very least six hours of sleep and preferably more.  Lack of sleep has been linked to just about every malady but athletes foot.



14October2005, Friday.

Starbucks, 9:15 am, the morning sun bright through a thin haze of clouds, here for the past hour reading Herodotus' account of the battle of Plataea in which the Greeks conclusively defeated the Persians and drove them from Greece.  What a story!

Jessica will meet me here after her classes and I will break the news to her about the ticket she got in the mail for her accident.  We were supposed to pick her car up today after some repairs, but they called and said the damage was more extensive than anticipated and the cost would not be $2,000 but $4,000 and would take at least another week!  I don't understand the ticket which is just over $150 since she was cut off and skidded into a barrier.  The car that cut her off didn't stop.  It appears that the infraction involves failure to adjust speed to avoid an accident.  But when somebody suddenly swerves into your lane, what can you do?  I think the ticket should be contested.

Last night I came across references to some more books of interest, and while gratified to find them, I despair of reading them all.  Actually it's not the reading part that discourages, since I read all the time, but the retention of the information which can be quite involved since they aren't excapism fiction.

A girl just walked by with ears, lips and nose pierced, black hair, with two streaks of blonde, and a blue bandana around her head, cheeks hollowing as she sucks on a cigarette.  The nose ring is especially noticeable, silver, piercing the septum, and extending beyond her lip.  I first noticed nose piercing around 1973.


September 7, 2005, Wednesday.—I haven’t had a day off in three weeks.  G. at work has been taking lots of time off to work on some houses he bought in his home town, which has given me lots of welcome overtime.

   The mandatory evacuation of New Orleans continues.  The talking heads continue to exclaim over the incompetence of the government and blame them for just about everything except the hurricane itself.  And I even heard somebody claim on the Art Bell show that some government agency Does have the ability to control hurricanes.  I truly get tired of the quality of the news and turn it off frequently.  Tens of thousands of refugees (or as the politically correct people say “evacuees”—the term “refugee” is a racist term according to Jesse Jackson) have been transported to Texas.  And what Texas is going to do with thousands of poor, unskilled, welfare-dependent people in the future is unknown, especially when most of them will probably not go back home.   And New Orleans?  Will it be rebuilt, or turned into a quasi-tourist park?  Unfortunately the rest of the stricken Gulf Coast area has not received the media hype that the hordes of poor, pitiful people, mostly blacks, that crammed into the Superdome have received.  I don’t know if it is me or the media that has changed, but I have less and less patience with the incredible nonsense that they spout.  Part of it might be the 24/7 news channels that desperately grovel for any tidbit of news to fill the time.


September 1, 2005, Thursday.—I am sitting here in Cutter’s Point, a coffee shop in Gig Harbor.  It’s truly an amazing place, not because of the quality of the coffee but because of the clientele.  Here you can see a cross section of a certain class of people that live in this town.  The Barristas are twentish, blonde attractive girls that shriek constantly.  They scream greetings to everybody and then shriek farewells to them when they leave. They also shriek at the top of their lungs in their normal conversations to each other and to the customers. Everybody seems to know everybody else and greet each other like long lost relatives. The customers are to a large percentage, attractive, tanned, blonde women in their twenties or, if they aren’t in their twenties, then they seem desperately to try to look slim, tanned and young.  Looking outside the window at the recently installed patio, I can see a table of eight young women.  Six of them are blonde, tanned, etc.  The older women seem to have plenty of leisure and money.  Most of them talk loudly about their various activities and this combined with the shrieking of the Barristas fill the small establishment with a cacophony that can only be compared to the monkey house at the zoo.  Why do I come here instead of the Starbucks nearby?  Simply because of the glass walled section that allows the morning sun to come streaming in.  The Starbucks has a different exposure away from the sun, and I find in this gloomy, rainy place that I treasure every bit of sunshine and light.

                When Hurricane Katrina roared through the Gulf states a few days ago, the newscasters were exclaiming at how the damage in New Orleans was much less than expected.  The physical damage was heavy, but not truly serious and the city was spared the feared flooding from Lake Ponchatrain (sp?).  Then that night the levees gave way…the city is now deep in water, being below sea level, and looting is rampant, communication and travel difficult and they are saying that they will totally evacuate the city.  It will be at least a month they say before the levees can be repaired and the water pumped out.  Also the damage to the east was very bad with great loss of life and property damage.  The New Orleans Mayor predicted the fatalities in his city in the thousands.   It seems strange that so much of our oil production and transport is concentrated in this area and is now disabled.  I keep thinking that our leaders would have made some kind of adjustments to this bottle neck in the interests of national security if nothing else.


August 31, 2005, Wednesday.—Sometimes  when I step outside I can smell the sea.  It smells of iodine and wet living things.  The smell is especially strong when the tide is out.  I always stop and sniff, drawing the cool air deep into my lungs.  There seems to be a certain energy to this air…full of a tingling sensation.  I always go on, feeling revitalized.

                I arrived back in Washington from Texas August 12.  I left earlier than I usually do and spent about 26 days there.  I worked on the house, removed all the books from the back room, painted it yellow, and had a burgundy carpet put in.  Since I wished to put in shelves, and plan to have Mike’s friend, Andy, do this, I didn’t replace the existing shelving and books, but left them in the living room.  I also put in wooden blinds on the windows.  I like the look and look forward to having the shelves and books in.

                Mother: what can I say?  My emotions were so very strong when I saw her in the nursing home, and witnessed her confusion and memory loss that I was almost overcome.  I was able to put all those emotions behind a wall with only a little emotion seeping through.  Otherwise it would be overwhelming, and I had to be strong for my father who broke down occasionally thinking of what had happened to his beloved wife of 62 years.  Perhaps I shall write of this later: about when Kyenae came down and when Dad, Jessica, Kyenae and I went to Port Aransas to stay in a condominium for three nights, and we came back and had a get-together at Gwenda’s the last night with mother there, when we took mother back to the home and noticed that she needed changing, and Kyenae began haranguing the help to do it immediately; Dad and I left while she was doing this, and when Kyenae came up to us, she began crying, a hacking, sobbing…and I closed the door to my emotions and left without looking back…

                On the national front:  Hurricane Katrina has devastated the gulf and the doom-sayers are saying oil may go up to a hundred dollars a gallon.  Gasoline is already $2:52 at the cheapest Arco stations and approaching $3 at Enron, the bloated oil company.


Friday, March 25, 2005.--Here I am sitting in Starbucks at the table.  I have been working on the computers the past two weeks.  My laptop’s hard drive bit the dust a few months ago, and I eventually put another one in--or rather I Had another put in, a larger one of about 80 GB., which is double the old one.  I didn’t think that I had the recovery disks so I also got a new Windows XP disk and loaded it.  Later I found the file in which I had put the receipt for the computer and the 8 recovery Cds!  I’m starting to worry about my memory, especially when I think of the condition my poor mother is in.

                I bought Partition Magic and Ghost by Symantec and partitioned the hard drives on both computers.  Everything worked fine until I was almost finished with the laptop when it crashed and refused to start.  I spent several of the past few days researching the internet and getting information.  Luckily, yesterday I was able to fix the boot drive and get back on.  I then loaded the original disks to the C drive and the new XP with service pack two to the F drive which changed to the H drive after loading the original recovery disks.  One problem after another it seems.  For example now I can’t find the Partition Magic disk with which I can access the different operating systems on this computer, and of course it was deleted when…but never mind the details, they are intricate and confusing and has had my mind in a whirl.  I do look upon the entire experience as a learning one that has definitely exercised the neurons.  My next project that I was thinking seriously of doing is building a computer with all the latest gadgets.  That may have to be on hold though since I must pay various bills …oh well.

                Jessica was going to move back in after Steve said he wanted her to leave, but she didn’t really want to since she always ends up fighting with her mother, and after a big scene it looks as if she will be staying with Steve a while longer.  She is enrolling at the local college and will be taking Anthropology and English while she works ($748 tuition).  I am overjoyed to pay her tuition IF she applies herself.  …I hope and pray that she does fine.  I love her so much and feel so guilty for not being a good enough father.  I don’t know what else I could have done…I hope that my love makes up for my failings in some way.

                Mother is worse.  As I talked to Dad two weeks ago (I call every Sunday as I go to work) he indicated that he is looking at a nursing home near Gwenda’s.  I was devastated and could hardly maintain my composure as I talked to them.  I can tell though that she is worse…last Sunday she asked me why I was calling her “Mama.!”  “Call me Wanda like everybody else does.”  Even though she might at times not know who I am, she always tells me over and over how much she loves me.  What a precious, wonderful mother she is!  How I love and value her and how overwhelmed I get when I consider that, bit by bit, she is disappearing.

                On the national scene, besides the continuing wrangling over our invasion of Iraq, the Terry Shivo (sp) case is being overdone by the news.  The poor Florida lady in a “vegetative state” whose husband has finally had the court remove her feeding tubes over the continued objections of her parents.  The ancient Greeks felt that the blood of their kin couldn’t be on their hands so they left unwanted babies exposed on the hillsides…their death happened inevitably by natural processes.  The state seems to think the same way--it’s perfectly fine to starve the woman to death instead of giving her a merciful death.   Of course sides are polarized and politicians are weighing in.  I personally believe that the state should err if need be on the conservative side…keep her alive.




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