walking the power trail

October 22, 2016

This is our third day (2nd full day) at high altitude. Of course that is relative to sea level, but we are a mile high, give or take a few feet. 

We are here to celebrate birthdays with Bob, Carl’s father. It’s been good to catch up in person.

On our first night here we got to watch the Cubs/Dodgers game with Bob. Because it was getting late we retired to our hotel room to watch the last inning, only to find the hotel’s tv package did not include the channel with the game.  (The Cubs held on to win without us.) We plan to watch tonight’s game with Bob again (game 6), and it’s doubtful we will leave early.
Carl and I took some time this afternoon to walk around the neighborhood. We found a trail called the Power trail. I think the name had more to do with the power lines than the workout stations along the path. Or the cats. 

The first cat we encountered was inside the tennis court. With a family playing tennis. The next was along the path paralleling a railroad track.This feline was in stalking mode. Grasshopper perhaps, or some other creature we couldn’t see. But as we approached, the demeanor changed to, “nothing. I’m not doing anything important, just hanging out.” 

Or maybe hunting blue jays. We lived here for about 5 years, and I don’t recall blue jays. Grey jays in the mountains, but not blue jays. (We also ran into blue jays by the hundreds in upper Michigan in May, another place I did not remember blue jays. Turns out those were migrating, and were gone before we returned in July.)

And we found these acorns that are different than what we had seen before.

And finally the Academy o’ Farts and Knowledge.

And after our probably 2 mile walk, I needed to change into shorts and take a rest. Amazing the impact a few days of inactivity and 5,000 feet of elevation has on a person. 

Dinner at McKenzie Place (lamb chops) and now it’s time for the Cubs. (Game face)

CUBS WIN! 4 more and then we can really party!

Baking and Baseball

October 16, 2016

The pumpkin caramel poke cake turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. It was not cloying. I think the cream cheese frosting balanced the caramel. 

On to the championship series. We rode out the not quite as strong as predicted storm in the basement of a friend. Luckily it is home to his large screen tv and couch. Carl brought his usual assortment of parephanalia of the day. But the best toy was the empty box.

In the hours leading up to the Cubs game I was tasked with getting something sweet to bring. I reviewed recipes, and between the two top contenders, choose an apple bars concoction. (The other choice was pumpkin cookies.) We needed several ingredients, like apples and sugar. Out into the storm. I returned with said items and m&ms (crispy and dark chocolate). 

When it was finally time to serve dessert, Carl remarked that it was not really sweet. I thought back to a conversation noting the recipes left out the words, “sugar”, instead saying, “1 cup and 1 tsp cinnamon.” I only used 1 tsp cinnamon, but completely left out the sugar. One of the items just purchased. 

The “dessert” was not horrible, just apples with cinnamon between pie crusts. It is now breakfast. 

For today’s game I am going to try the pumpkin cookies.

Go Cubs!

storms 1-3

October 13, 2016

Or is it 1-4.

Whatever, it’s been raining steadily all day and the winds are in the offing. A cyclone appears to be behind the severity.

So I am going to tempt the gods and bake a cake. A pumpkin caramel poke cake to be more exact. It is a friend’s birthday, and he has a sweet tooth. (Happy birthday to Dave too, probably close to half the age of said friend.)

This particular recipe comes by way of my carpooler. At least his suggestion.

Carl is treating him to a batting cage session tonight. Hopefully the lights will stay on and a good time will be had by all.

A little fall color creeping in.

More colors.

Last night was pretty dry. We started the evening at Uwajimaya, shopping for dinner to eat at the stadium. Some sushi, inari, pork slices and mochi.  We watched the majority of a Sounders game and headed home.

It was interesting to be out without the crowds in an area that has a rather high homeless population. Nothing bad, just some folks relocating a mattress using a hand truck. Homelessness is a real issue in Seattle, even with record employment. No real cohesive plan in place, but a desire to change the situation. I am not in favor of the current plan under consideration, that would open up many, many public spaces to camping. The problem is with the non-directed locations it would be very difficult to effectively provide support services. I agree with distributing the available locations, but choosing ones that can be supported.

Okay, enough with the social issues.

Back to baseball.
Outside of cage work – our games are done for quite a while.
So watching the Nationals/Dodgers on the tube.
Game 5 – win or go/stay home.

It is Dave’s birthday, and I know that he rooted for the Nationals at least for a time.

So Go Nationals! (for today)

Catch-up big time

October 8, 2016

We are into the baseball playoffs.
Carls 55+ baseball team won their playoffs.


Mariners did not quite make it. Again. Again. Again.
But the Cubs are in and won their first game. And this also means a bit more “free” time at home.

Carl was quite the star here and there through both the Silver Foxes and Mariner season. Here he is, perhaps questioning a call.


On the Silver Foxes he pitches and plays the occasional third base. For the Mariners he plays right center Section 106. He caught 3 home runs total in Safeco Field this year. The August 9th Kyle Seager 8th inning, game tying 3-run home run earned him the most notoriety. Friends from across the country reported seeing him on the news. And just recently we have been made aware of some other internet reports.

CFox –  Old Timer in Leopard Print Fez cap is the real star of the Mariners comeback win.

Click on the link to see the report – or for those that don’t click – here is a reproduction.


And another link from The Big Inning blog. Game 74//Fifteenth Inning Seattle//The Seager Game. (No reproduction here)

And at the final game of the year, with the hope of the playoffs a distant memory from the  night before, he got one last mention from the announcers. October Mariner Baseball I hope the audio comes through – you may have to listen carefully.

Not that it is all about home runs. Carl brought a bunch of baseballs to the last game of the year and handed them out to kids.


The last weekend’s games were basically fun. A co-worker gave me a shoe box of old cards he had in his attic. They definitely smelled like attic, but provided about 3 innings worth of entertainment. The cards were from 1970 to 1980, with a smattering of football and basketball in addition to baseball.


Lots of folks stopped by to chat, especially on the very last day – when hope was gone.


And speaking of friends at games – Ashlan and Allen showed up for two games!


We also got to take a ferry ride with them – just to get out on Puget Sound. We were trying to show Allen some local sights, and Mt. Rainier hid the entire time he was here.

What a good looking couple!

Bringing us back to the present – we spent today out on the town.
A bus, train, SAM, train, St. Demetrios, and a walk.


St. Demetrios was all about the food – and some greek dancers. SAM was all about Yves Saint Laurent. The dress, more dresses, hats (even a fez or two) and lots of sketches of his developing work. They had quite a bit of information about how his career developed. Very interesting.

I think the one on the right is in Pooh’s colors.

This is from another walk – lunchtime at work – but with a bit of wildlife. (bad phone camera from a distance)


Enough for now – we picked up some chicken nan from the corner Indian restaurant on the way home. Games on the tube and a restful evening at home ahead.

Go Cubs Go!

Good Deeds

September 9, 2016

Just a brief post.

My good deed for the day was unloading the dishwasher at work – at the end of the day (after hours). I was going to load all of the dirty dishes in the sink, and then I realized why they were there. Unloaded and then loaded them all.

Got home and Carl was finished with his good deed of the day. First he briefly housed a neighbor boy after he and his father had discovered there was an uninvited person in their house. As the person left, the father started to follow him on foot – until Carl offered to follow him in our car. Another neighbor took the son into their home. Carl followed him down our block and started down another set. He saw a police car in his rear view mirror, but it turned down our street. However, in another block there were about 4 cop cars waiting. Carl pointed at the guy, and then returned home. They have his information if they need any statements or witnessing. [The person is probably homeless, and may have been looking for a shower.]

In other brief news, the backyard project is coming right along.


And Carl makes yet another appearance. (This was a Ranger’s home run. I actually had my mitt up, and then got to look at this rude Ranger’s butt while he tried to convince a seat host that he deserved the ball from the trough in front of our seats. He did not get it. I decamped to seats far away from him (sort of rude). And the Mariners prevailed and won the game in the end. Note the outfielder’s mitt on top of the wall.


Bugs, baseball and art

August 29, 2016

Sort of a report from the last week or so.

There has been a lot of work going on. Carl’s last day with Sagan is Wednesday and then she is off to kindergarten. But it looks like time with Audrey and Dean is heating up.

Carl’s last regular season old guy game was yesterday. They won and are in second place for the season. I think this means a bye in the first round of playoffs. One sad note is their 80+ year old pitcher is moving to Arizona on Tuesday. Next year won’t be the same.

The wasps are on the decline. After three attempts at eradication, including removing the visible nest, we called in the pros.  They sprayed, fogged and puffed around the outside. Interesting reaction was an increase in mobile wasps into the house. 10-20 a day. But easily killed. Yesterday it was only a few, so we are hopeful they are gone.

Saturday I spent a few hours in the morning cleaning the big hunk of plastic play house that had graced our back yard for several years. It was donated by a friend who’s daughter had long outgrown its allure. (She is younger than our kids, so it was intended for Carl’s kids). ((The first wasp nest eradication I ever undertook was from this small house a few years ago.)) The playhouse was home to several spiders and green scum on the north side, and general dirt. It is now much clearer, and most parents would allow their kids inside. Once inside the kids would find a table they can stand up, two windows with shutters that open, and a telephone. A dial, wall- mounted princess style phone. A testament to this house’s age. It is now destined for the granddaughter of a neighbor.

Saturday afternoon we headed downtown for the Graphic Masters exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. The entire Crumb book of Genesis was on display, Picasso and Goya. I found the Goya the most interesting, with so much symbolism contained in each piece. We did not see the earlier pieces as Carl started feeling poorly and we headed home.

On to the last week before school starts in earnest, and the traffic patterns of summer disappear.



August 15, 2016

I try to walk during lunch, and am successful at least a few times each week. Last week we walked to the closest high school and around one of their turf fields. There is an osprey family nesting on one of high field light standards.

This has led to some interesting field art or markings. (The white stuff)

There was also quite a selection of sticks at the base of the light pole, but someone had moved them all outside of the fence. I am sure they will be tolerated at least until the young have fledged.

Closer to home we need to evict some smaller flying creatures.

A few wasps even made it into the house.

sleepless in seattle

August 10, 2016

That’s 15 innings.

The game finally ended one minute after midnight.

I rather held Carl responsible since he caught Kyle Seager’s 8th inning home run that tied the game.

This followed a night with 2 hours sleep due to a stupid grill that looked like someone toed it to a less than vertical alignment. (Don’t ask, I need to sleep)


July 28, 2016

I have already read 3 books on this vacation. And I have started on a fourth. (This one has a time sensitive reading window as it is meant to stay here when we leave.)


My view from this year’s favorite outdoor reading location.


Carl is on the shelf from his baseball playing time right now, due to an ankle injury. We checked yesterday and his team has won their last two games while we were on the road, so they are not missing him too much. Nonetheless he is trying to keep himself in playing shape.

That is a ship of the salty variety upbound in the background. Last night was a bonus night for freighter viewing. At least six different boats sailed by. The last downbound boat went by very slowly – probably because there were three boats ahead of it at the locks. Bonus for the tourists hanging out downtown.

Whitefish dinner tonight at the Cozy Inn.
Sated and ready for quiet time.

Hall of Fame

July 27, 2016

This trip was essentially 3 in 1.
The first part was New York City.
Part 2 = Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Part 1b – transitioning from New York City to Cooperstown.
We traveled by foot, subway, train and rental car. The train ride along the Hudson was certainly the most scenic part of the trip.


It was a destination idea shared by at least 50,000 others.
With that many in attendance, you would think it was crowded. And it was in certain areas – like downtown Cooperstown through the heart of the day. Other times were surprisingly low-key. Like early in the morning during “Members Only” hours at the museum. And the road between our hotel and Cooperstown. We were even able to park within one block of the main drag through town.

In the hall itself each major league team has a space where they have uniforms, some special items about the team, and a list of the team’s major accomplishments, such as retired numbers and world series. Due to alphabetization, here are St. Louis and Seattle. One has had a bit more success than the other. (Enlarge to read details)


And it turns out Edgar Martinez is already in the Hall, at least his jersey.


This is nothing special, but I like this idea for a future project.


A bit of Seattle history.


We wandered the Hall early in the morning, and then found the Cooperstown Diner. A small, intimate setting. No taking names, just wait until a table of the correct number of seats opens up. Luckily it was not too long a line for us, or wait. The waitress, on the other hand, was literally running. We asked if this was their busiest day of the year, and she agreed and noted that another waitress would be arriving at 9:00. Of course it was past 9 by this point (she did show up eventually).

Folding chairs are the name of the game for HOF weekend. We had read enough about the induction site to purchase 3 chairs and 2 beach towels when we arrived in Cobleskill. (There are nowhere near enough places to stay in Cooperstown, so most stay a bit out of town. Cobleskill is between Albany and Cooperstown, about a 40 minute drive. Others we spoke with were staying in Albany, and even Utica.)

On our way into Cooperstown on Saturday morning we drove by the induction ceremony site. The induction is on Sunday, but the information said you could leave chairs out overnight. Even though it was not quite 7:30 AM, there were already chairs out in the general seating area. So we stopped and dropped off our chairs in what we felt was a pretty good location. There were about 2-3 rows of chairs between us and the fence separating the riff-raff from those that paid for chairs set up by others.

Once on the main drag, we could see that these same type chairs were in abundance along Main Street. This is the parade route. So Carl & I stepped into the General Store and purchased 2 more chairs and set them out in the second row along the street. They only cost $1 more than the Wal-Mart purchase, and we reasoned that there were 5 of us total, so we would move them to the induction site after the parade.


We spent most of the day wandering up and down Main Street. Many stores with baseball related kitsch and memorabilia. Many ex-players in stores signing autographs (for a fee). And lots of people watching. And it was hot. I think the water concession was the biggest money-maker throughout the weekend.

At 6:30 PM the parade commenced, with Hall-of-Famers riding in the back of trucks – in the order of their induction. First in line was Whitey Ford.


Randy Johnson – A Mariner favorite, even though he was inducted as a Diamondback.


And finally the reason we are here. Ken Griffey, Jr.


Two of the HOFers even acknowledged Carl and his fez.

After a day in the sun we were ready to head back to our home away from home for dinner and some rest. Because we had set chairs at the induction site the day before, we did not feel the need to be there at the crack of dawn. Again, the road was fairly empty until we got close. There were the two State Patrol cars that drove in front of us most of the way, there for crowd control I am sure. When we did get close the number of people and cars multiplied before our eyes. At the last moment we decided to park in a private lot – adjacent to the induction site. This saved the lines for the shuttle, and the sprained ankles sported by two of our five.

If somebody had suggested we join 50,000 others for this event, I might have balked. In the end it was a great time. The five of us in are newly purchased chairs – Carl, Mark, Dottie, Kevin and myself.


The rest of the 50,000 plus. (One woman we spoke with said they thought it was closer to 60,000 or more. But it still paled to the 82,000 they had when Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted.)


After the ceremony they take the plaques into town and install them in the museum. We did not follow that evening, choosing to wait for the morning on our way out-of-town.



And then we headed north – into Canada.


And out of Canada, and home.