Thursday, July 30, 2009

Skywatch Friday #55 - Stanwood Sunset

This past Saturday evening, after a very busy day, we were driving home and saw a beautiful sky scene. The sun was setting to the west and we were headed east. The sun was lighting up the thunderheads that were building over the Cascades. Vibrant pinks and oranges made for a spectacular view.

Karl graciously drove me down to the lake so I could get some better shots. I just love how the colors were reflected in the calm waters.

Sunset at Sunday Lake

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Melting!!

This is the readout from my weather station at home today. The high was 103 degs F. One hundred and three! Thirty-nine degrees Celsius. And my house in not air conditioned.

My sensor is in a shaded area on my back porch so I feel it is fairly accurate. Notice the Heat Warning that is starting to scroll across the bottom of the display.

At 8:24 pm when I took this picture, it was 88 degrees inside the house. Whew! On the ride home from work this afternoon, the car's thermometer showed 105 degrees, but that was on hot asphalt.

Seattle broke an all-time high today. The National Weather Service recorded a temp of 103 at Sea-Tac Airport today that broke the previous record of 100 degrees last recorded in 1994. Today was the fifth consecutive day with temps above 85 degrees. The average temp for July is only 75 degrees.

Holy heat wave, Batman!

What I wouldn't give for a swimming pool, some air conditioning...wait! I have air conditioning. In the camper. We are sleeping in the camper tonight.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trip to Poland - Update

Guess you've been waiting for pictures from my trip to Poland, huh? Well, my trip got pushed out several weeks. Some things weren't ready for the trip plus my Belgium contact has been vacation. Not much sense going if I wouldn't be able to accomplish the objectives.

This really worked out nicely since my mom ended up arriving during the week I would have been in Poland. The time we spent together was very nice and much better than being in Poland, even if I do love to travel!

Remember Whensday No. 8 - Playing in the Pool

It's running in the 90's here in Stanwood which is unusual for us. I wish I had a swimming pool to goof off in since we have a couple more days of it coming at us.

The heat wave we are having reminds me of a couple of summers ago when we were in 29 Palms and Palm Springs for Ryan's second deployment to Iraq. It was hotter than hot, 100+ temps. We went to a movie during the day where it was cool in the theater. Then in the evening we'd go sit in the pool at the hotel.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in 29 Palms for a couple of nights. One evening, we had the pool and hot tub to ourselves.

Karl and Ryan are both clowns and had a grand time playing in the pool. I had so much fun watching them and taking pictures.


Acting like a whale breeching

Two Too Silly

We had a wonderful time for those final days before deployment arrived. I'll never forget them.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Too Busy to Blog

It's been a very busy past few mom and her two traveling friends are in town so I've been spending as much time as possible with them (and it's been fun!) I've been taking pics but haven't had time to download and edit them. And not much free time to blog about it all either!

We needed to make a quick trip to Okanogan to pick up the camper. A quick trip included an overnight stay since we didn't leave until after work on Friday.

I played tour guide for the TTT's (as Mom and her friends call themselves) that including eagle watching, driving up Mt. Erie and visiting Deception Pass.

We've also had dinner together including Tim & Patti most evenings, too. The TTT's have their Rialtas parked at Tim & Patti's since my driveway is too small to fit them all.

Add in the heat wave we are having and there hasn't been much spare time nor energy to blog. I should be sleeping now but I wanted to share a few pictures.

View of Campbell Lake & Skagit Bay from atop Mt. Erie

Bridge over Deception Pass

Looking out towards Puget Sound

Zipping Through Canoe Pass (it's a looooong way down!)

The rest of the week and weekend will be busy too so I'll probably be skipping a few posts and memes this week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #29 - Monday Morning Cheer

Last Monday, one of the managers in the department that I now work for brought us all flowers. I had my choice between the red ones or the yellow ones. It was a pretty easy choice for me.

It was nice looking at these while I slaved away at my desk.

Cheerful Carnations

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday #54 - Chemtrail or Rainbow?

I saw this faint "rainbow" in the sky this past Saturday. In researching this, I'm not sure if it's a rainbow or a chemtrail.

Whatever it was, it was pretty seeing it in the sky.

Sorry for the bug splotches but I was shooting through the windshield while Karl was driving.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cherries Galore!

It's cherry season and the trees are producing a bumper crop this year. A neighbor dropped off a bucket of them yesterday. These are on the sour side so no just eating them like a Bing or Rainier cherry.

Cherries, Cherries & More Cherries

This evening, I taught myself to pit cherries and I made my first ever fresh cherry pie.

Fresh Cherry Pie

I'll have to let you know how the pie tastes tomorrow. It's for dinner with my mom and her traveling friends. They are in the Seattle area for a few days. We'll be chowing down on Maui Ribs, Vegetable Rice Pilaf and Cherry Pie tomorrow night.

I've still got half of a bucket left of cherries. Now to decide what to fix next! Leave me your ideas in the comments or email me your favorite recipe. My email address is the bar to the right.

What to do with the rest?

Remember Whensday No. 7 - Jenni Benni

This here is Jenni Benni, my sister-in-law.

July 1977

Jenni is Karl's older sister and did a good job of harassing her baby brother when they were growing up. I can't say I blame her! :-)

Jenni used to live in San Diego. We liked staying at her place when we visited because she's fun to be around. She has a great sense of humor. It was relaxing to be at her house. Plus there was a great little place for breakfast that we always walked to - Jimmy's. And a great pizza place not too far away either - Gaetano's.

Jenni's cats, Mocha and Cappy, always cracked me up. Those two were not fond of each other even after living in the same home for many years. They'd hiss at each other and usually were in different rooms. When we'd visit, Mocha would hide most of the time in Jenni's bedroom and Cappy would appear after a day or so. She wasn't what I'd consider a lap kitty. Only for Jenni would she do that. They were still sweet babies. Mocha has since gone on to the Rainbow Bridge, but Cappy has new playmate these days.

On one trip, Jenni, Karl and I went up to Mt. Helix. We had a nice time up there overlooking the San Diego area. You can even see Mexico. They have a nice amphitheater along with a cross memorial and park. If you ever go to SD, take a couple of hours and visit Mt. Helix. The vistas are wonderful, especially on a clear day.

Jenni now lives on the east coast and we'll be visiting her this coming Christmas holiday. I'm looking forward to seeing her new house and hanging out with her again.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

My World Tuesday - More from the Movies

On Sunday, I gave you a closeup of the sign for the Stanwood Cinemas at the Pavilion. Now let's venture inside. This is not your average theater & dining venue, although the exterior is fairly non-descript. The Pavilion recently celebrated it's 10th anniversary of their grand opening in June 1999.

Exterior of the Pavilion

When you enter through the doors, you are "back outside" standing on a cobblestone street. The interior has been designed and painted to look like an street scene from old town Stanwood.

Looking Back at the Entrance

On this "street" are three restaurants -- Amigo's (Mexican), Toyko Sushi (Sushi and Japanese food) and the Dragon Palace (Chinese) complete with indoor and "outdoor" dining areas. Also on the street is the movie theater with five screens, the concession stand and arcade.

View from the "Street"

Movie Theater

Looking Down the Row of Restaurants

What really makes this place stand out are the paintings. On the particular wall shown below which depicts Stanwood a long time ago, depending on where you are standing, you get a different perspective of the street scene.

Viewpoint #1

Viewpoint #2

Look closely at Viewpoint #2 and you'll see the street even has the wiring run from the utility pole. It's attention to details like this that makes this place special.

I noticed this little "shop" while taking pictures and it quickly became my favorite. :-)

I wish I could go inside

These wonderful paintings were done by Jack Gunter and Karla Matzke, two local artists who are very talented.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday #28 - Center of Attention

This spot of yellow is definitely clamoring for your attention!

The Center of Attention

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday #61 - Stanwood Cinemas

Stanwood Cinemas at the Pavilion

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Camera Critters #68 - Wasp at Work

These things aren't my friends due to being allergic. Thank goodness he was otherwise occupied and didn't mind me taking his picture.

Yellowjacket Wasp

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday #53 - Arlington Sunset

Taken this past Saturday evening at the Arlington Airport. This is one of those photos that don't require many words. I will say this is my 200th blog post!

Arlington Sunset

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Correction to My World Tuesday Post

I mentioned in my post on Tuesday how impressed I was with the flying acrobatics of Bud & Ross Granley. I was under the impression they were brothers. I was wrong.

Earlier this evening on King 5's Evening Magazine, the opening segment was on none other than Bud & Ross, father and son flying duo.

Bud, the father, flies the smaller red plane which is a Russian-built Yak-55 and Ross is in a Yak-18.

For more information including photos and video clips, just Google Bud and Ross Granley.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fire Season is Here

This time of year in the Okanogan makes me nervous. Why? Fire season is upon us.

People think of Washington State as being very green, and it is -- on the west side of the Cascade mountains. Eastern Washington is a different climate with semi-desert like conditions.

After buying the property in Okanogan last year, we started having to deal with the threat of fire in dry summer months. It was something we weren't used to and still are nervous Nellies to this day when it comes to fire.

While we can take precautions to minimize the risk of fire damage, like keeping any trees and tall vegetation away from the house, having a metal roof and cement siding (such as Hardie Plank) and of course no outdoor burning, some things are out of our control. Lightning strikes are one of the main causes of fires. The Monday after the July 4th weekend gave us a strong reminder that it is that time of year again.

As we drove down the hill towards town, you could see the storms coming across the Cascades and enveloping the valley and hills around Omak. The sky was almost black. I quickly grabbed the camera and started snapping. I apologize for some of the reflections, but I didn't notice it until after I downloaded the photos.

The storm made for some magnificent pictures with the contrast between light and dark. We were coming from an area with sun breaks in the clouds.

Darkness over the Basalt Ridge

Storm over Omak

Looking towards the Northeast Horizon

At one point, Karl thought he spotted smoke in the distance, the probable result from a lightning strike. Unfortunately, by the time we rounded the bend in the road again, the storm clouds had moved in and obscured the hillside.

Growing Ever Darker

Darker Still

We got lucky and missed most of the storm. Only a few raindrops on the windshield. In traveling across Loup Loup pass where the storm had just blown through, there was plenty of hail along the roadside. I guess our timing was right in coming down the hill and escaping the fury of Mother Nature.

Still, it made me worry about the potential for fire so now I check online every day to see what the weather is and if there have been any fires reported. It helps to have great neighbors who also keep an eye on things.

But will I ever get used to this? I'd better if we plan on living there.

Remember Whensday No. 6 - Grandparents

These are Karl's fraternal grandparents, Alma and Harold. Both of the photos are dated 1928.

I never got to meet Karl's grandfather since he passed away long before I came into the family. I only know him through some of the wonderful photographs he took.

Grandma was a special person. When I first met her, she was in her early 90's still living in her own house by herself with a wonderful garden. I loved going to San Diego to spend time with her. I always came home with different cuttings of her orchids and cacti. That woman had a huge green thumb. I still have a few cactus plants that are from her garden.

Grandma passed away in January 2007 just one week after her 100th birthday!

Alma & Harold

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Monday, July 13, 2009

My World Tuesday #40 - Fearless Flyers & Others

One of the big events around here each year is the Arlington Fly-In. Every July for five days, the skies are busy with aircraft of many shapes and sizes.

Working across the street from the airport, I hear their practice sessions in the days leading up to the airshow. I'm not able to see much, but I know they are having fun.

On Saturday, we parked in the lot at work with the two dogs in the back of the truck and watched the afternoon's show. It was a nice warm day, a bit on the breezy side, and not a cloud in the sky...except for the ones made by the flyers.

Rennie Price and his Russian built Sukhoi SU-29

Royal Canadian Air Force Plane

Ken Fowler & Eric Hansen

How do you describe this flying position?

Bud & Ross Granley were perhaps my favorites. Two different aircraft, yet their synchronization and close flying skills were amazing. I was enthralled by their performance.

Brothers at Play

I drove back to the airport later in the evening for the Hot Air Balloon Night Glow. I imagined an evening launch with the balloons glowing in the night sky. Was I going to be pleasantly surprised!

I found a nice spot across the runway from where the balloons where scheduled to be and set up the camera. While waiting for the sun to set, Mother Nature put on her own display with lightning streaking across the western sky.

We rarely have lightning in Western Washington. This was fun to watch but hard to capture with the camera. I just wasn't fast enough. I captured one picture with a little bit of lightning squiggle, but it wasn't worthy of posting.

Around 9:30 pm, five balloons began to take shape. They remained tethered to the ground as each filled with warm air.

Taking Shape

Then wham! The balloons glowed as the burners were fired. Oh, what a wondrous sight to behold! I felt like a little kid again.

Evening Enchantment

I was mesmerized as they took turns lighting up their balloons, sometimes in a pattern, at other times seemingly randomly, and then all together. You can bet I will go again next year, hopefully better trained in nighttime photography to capture the beauty of this evening glow.

Beauty at Night

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