Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Two More Birdhouses

Today, while shopping for some gardening supplies, I found two more birdhouse that "needed" to be added to my small, but growing, collection.

The two newest members of the family are a "Bakery" birdhouse and a "Gone Golfing" birdhouse. What could be better than stopping at the bakery for a cup of coffee and pastry then heading out to the links? Life doesn't get much better than that!

Here is the entire collection now. Click on either image to enlarge.

My gardening supply shopping consisted of getting some grass seed and peet moss to re-seed a bunch of dead spots in the lawn. Max was trying to be helpful earlier in he year by spraying for weeds. Unfortunately, he used something that killed more than the weeds. I finally scraped all the dead grass away, sprinkled in some grass seed and covered it with the peet moss. Now the trick is to keep it watered during the warm weather so it germinates good. Hopefully, within about a week we should see green coming in where the brown has been.

I'm not really used to doing these kinds of jobs, but I'm finding the yard work (including keeping up with the irrigation system) has become my responsibility. It's not that Max doesn't want to do it but neither his brain nor body cooperate like they used to.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

More Saturday Pictures

In the previous post, I mentioned we drove to Waterville today. On the way to Waterville, we stopped at Estes Fruit Stand to look at the pretty handging baskets. They open earlier than most of the fruit stands in the area because they sell scads of fabulous hanging baskets. In the summer and fall, when the fruit is in season they sell all kinds of fresh local fruits.

* First: Estes Fruit Stand sign
* Second: Beautiful hanging baskets by: Ladybugs
* Third: "Pig In The Sky"... Can you see the pig formation in the clouds? (click image to enlarge)
* Fourth: Turtle Rock Island in the distance. Can you see why it's called "Turtle Rock"? (click image to enlarge)

I was fascinated by the cloud formations today. I love the big fluffy clouds. I know it indicates stormy conditions, but they sure are pretty.

Saturday Drive To Waterville

Today I took Max for a drive to Waterville. The "excuse" was to look for a historical book on the early days of the Waterville area. My cousin Shirley says her Grandfather (on Dottie's side) and his family spent some time in Waterville but she's not sure what the connection is. So, I bought the book "Beginnings" about the early settler days, hoping there was something in there. We'll see.

The first picture here is a bronze statue of a "water-witcher", which is in front of the local museum. The second photo (with Max in the middle) is the end of the museum building with a mural painted on the end. The third photo is of a painting on the end of a local barn, advertising "Dr. Pierces Golden Medical Discovery".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

First Rose Boquets

Max went prowling in the rose garden this afternoon and so here are the first two bouqets of roses this season.

Durn Good Burgers

Today Max & I took the van out for a drive. Since we got the new car, the van has taken a back seat (so to speak) in our car driving preference. It's been sitting all alone for quite a while, so we thought it'd be good to get it out on the road and burn some carbon. We planned the trip to coincide with Tom, Dick & Harry's $3.50 "Burger Bundle" Wednesday. For $3.50 you get a seriously good hamburger, with all the trimmings, a generous portion of fries, and a small fountain drink. We could, literally, share one of these baskets if the hamburgers weren't so darned good and I insist on having a whole one all to myself!

Tom, Dick & Harry's (at the Monitor exit) is a popular spot for old car enthusiasts to gather. That's "old car" enthusiasts... not "old" car enthusiasts. This is especially popular in the summer. And, they have a nice rose garden, too.

Since Max doesn't drive anymore, I try to get him out at least once a day. Sometimes I take him on errands with me and sometimes we make up a place to go just for something for him to do.

Be sure to click on the images to enlarge. In the picture on the left is my man, Max. On the right is a well endowed car-hop. They don't serve you in your car but it's a nice conversation piece prop.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New Camera - Let's Compare

O.K... I bought a new digital camera today and have spent some time getting it set up and figuring out how to use it.

My old camera was o.k. for what I'd been using it for but now I'm doing more scenery shots and using the zoom. I was finding my pictures were blurry when I zoomed. So... instead of being annoyed, I zoomed over to Costco and picked out a relatively inexpensive new model (Casio Exilim 7.2 Mega pixel). I've been getting it set-up today and running some test photos. Here's a picture of Max in his easy chair and some of our roses. That sunshine and hot weather last week (along with plenty of water) was like putting them on steroids!

Are they better than the photos taken last week? Click on the images to enlarge... that's the true test. Anyway, I hope they're better... or Max might make me return the new camera and get our money back!

Since I'm getting more out of town inquires for real estate these days, I've started posting a new picture (of the Wenatchee area) each day so the out-of-towners can get a feel for our beautiful little town... well not so little anymore.

Reading technical manuals makes me tired... I'm going to take a nap. :-)

More later.


Monday, May 22, 2006

The Medical Procedure

Today's post is best without a picture. That's because I had a colonoscopy done this morning just because my doctor thinks I'm at the age where it's a good idea. It all went very well and they did give me pictures but I promise NOT to post them. Have to say, though, I do take good pictures from that angle. :-0

The actual procedure isn't that bad. The worst part of the ordeal was prepping for the procedure yesterday. That involved going all day without eating anything and taking some icky stuff to completely clean out the pipes. I did discover through the process that it's not good to watch cooking programs when you haven't eaten all day. Plus, it seemed like every commercial on TV yesterday was for food!

Colon cancer is a serious problem these days, though, and I highly recommend having this procedure done as recommended by your doctor. The doctor today said it takes several years for a polyp to turn cancerous so if they catch it early the chances of getting cancer are reduced over 90%. Since I had such a clean slate, so to speak, the doctor said to come back in 10 years. I like that.

The doctor told me not to drive today, so after returning home from the clinic, I spent the rest of the day catching up on real estate business and new inquiries. For some reason I got deluged with internet inquiries for various properties. By deluged, I don't mean 100 (this is Wenatchee afterall), but I did have 5 different inquires... one each from Virginia - Bend, Oregon - Twisp, Washington - Cashmere, Washington - and San Ramon, California. I enjoy working with people from out of the area because I've been here so long that I can be very informative regarding the area. I think my residential blog has helped because they see that I follow the trends and know the area.

Also, I'm working with a court-ordered estate sale and that's been a bit of a challenge. I've done about two weeks of preliminary work and finally got it signed all around today with buyer and the court administrator. Since the value is so low, it's a good thing I was able to find a buyer so I don't have to share the commission. Some of these things we get into really takes more time than it's worth... but I enjoy it anyway and am never really sorry that I get involved.

Well... I'm going to sign off for now and go watch the Mariners game. They seem to be coming out of the doldrums a bit. They won all three games against the San Diego Padres this week-end and are currently leading Baltimore. I'm not really one of those "good times" fans. I like watching them even when they're not doing well... but I enjoy watching them even more when they are doing well. Go Mariners!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Overlooking Wenatchee: Saturday Evening Drive

Max & I drove home the long way (via Fancher Heights) after going out for Chinese food tonight. I wanted to check the construction progress on a house some clients of mine are having built on Twin Peaks Drive.

Sunday is usually our Chinese food day, but I'm having a medical procedure done Monday morning so must fast all day Sunday. That was poor planning! But, at least I won't have to worry about what Max will eat tomorrow because there are always plenty of leftovers from our favorite Chinese place... The Peking Restaurant on Simon St. in East Wenatchee.

This is a picture of Max from the Pangborn Monument on Grand Avenue at Fancher Heights. You can see the beautiful green hills and snow still capping Mission Ridge ski area. You can also see the Columbia River, which is mightier than it looks in this picture, cutting through the valley and separating the cities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. Alos, if you look closely... to the right of Max's shoulder is the Wenatchee Golf & Country Club where I played golf on Tuesday. If you click on the image it should enlarge.

We've had a historically hot week, but it did cool off a bit today. Tuesday was a record for that date in history (since they've been recording such things) at 95 degrees. That's more like July and August weather. It was hard to believe it is still May. We like the warm weather, but it came on so fast we didn't really have time to get used to it. We had a welcome rain storm last night and today was cooler.

We've been waiting for the weather to warm up before we planted anything in our flower pots. Maybe we can go out and shop for some petunias tomorrow... if there are any left!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Roses Bursting Out All Over

Oh my gosh... our roses are growing like they're on steroids! This hot weather has really turned them on to high speed production. I hope they don't all bloom out too quick. Yesterday's recorded temperature was 95, with more warm forecast for the rest of the week. These unusually hot temperatures are causing flooding problems in some areas due to the super fast snow melt.

Remember, you can click on any image to enlarge.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Want To Trade Flower Arrangements?

I am interested in starting an "artificial flower arrangement" exchange. Do you have one or two artificial flower arrangements you're tired of? If so, maybe we could trade. I need to replace some of mine.

If we get 5 or 6 people with two or more arrangements each we could trade and all have a nice new arrangement every month. I have a few aging arrangements I'd like to replace. If I have some friends to exchange with I could justify spending a little more.

The one pictured here is an aging one I finally put out on the courtyard table. Any ideas?



Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday Brunch

Happy Mother's Day!

This morning we drove up to Manson to have Mother's Day brunch at Mill Bay Casino with our friends June and Roger Dorner.

None of us would normally make any effort to go to a Casino, but it was a beautiful day for a drive and the price for the brunch was about $10 cheaper than anywhere in town. We figured we could more than pay for the gas with what we saved on food. This theory would have held true IF June had not gone into the casino after brunch! Fortunately, June gave me her share of the gas money BEFORE we left home. :-)

The brunch wasn't anything to brag about, but the food was good enough, and it only cost $7.77 each less the $1 senior citizen discount (for everyone except me). Oh, the price of being young.

After we ate, June decided she wanted to go play the nickel slots. She took $5 and went to play. Max was looking a little left out, so I suggested he follow June and have her show him what to do. Little did I know she didn't know what she was doing either. But, they did get their $5 punchcard and stuck them in two separate machines. Max played a while and hit a big jackpot of 50 nickels and decided to quit. He came away with $6.20, a very respectable 24% return on his investment. Unfortunately June wasn't as lucky (or wise). She continued to play until her nickels were all gone. But, she had a good time and was still happy. Max was happy too and he gave me the initial stake AND the winnings so I was happy also. Roger was a good sport about it let us have our fun.

On our way back to Wenatchee we drove up into the Golf course at Bear Mountain Ranch, just outside of Chelan. That's where the pictures were taken. If you click on the images to enlarge, you will probably see a little of the golf course and Lake Chelan in the background. I have never played this course but it looks like every hole has a fabulous view. Because it wall all built on a hill, it would be very challenging with sloping fairways and many blind shots. This is the kind of course you'd need to play a few times to figure out a strategy.

It was a beautiful Spring day and we enjoyed it very much.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Apple Blossom Pictures

O.K... here are some photos from last week-end, the wrap-up to the 2006 Washington State Apple Blossom Festival. The first picture is of Max and our friends, Carl and Tom eating pancakes and scrambled eggs Saturday morning at the Kiwanis Breakfast at Triangle Park. The Kiwanis put on this breakfast every year prior to the Grand Parade. The second picture is of the floats being staged prior to the parade. The next photo is our friend June Dorner and Max eating an ice cream bar at the Food Fair. The last photo is of the craft booths.

2006 Washington State Apple Blossom Festival

This last week-end was the final week-end of the 2006 Washington Apple Blossom Festival, which is held in Wenatchee the first full week-end of May every year. The festival starts 10 days prior and there are tons of activities and entertainment.

I'm having trouble uploading images right now, so I will post more pictures later. Many of the activities take place on the lawn to the right of the Chelan County courthouse (pictured above). They set up an entertainment stage for the full 10 days. The food and arts & craft vendors come in for the last 4 days of the festival.

The grand finale was the 2 1/2 hour Grand Parade held on Saturday. There are over 140 entrants in the parade including floats and bands from all over the region. It's really a pretty incredible parade. The first week-end of the festival has a Youth Parade which is nice too, but it's just for the kids. Other events include a full-sized carnival, golf tournament, pie bake-off, pie eating contest, blah, blah, blah. Hoards of people come to town and those of us who have lived here a long time generally try to avoid the crowds... especially the last week-end.

Well, the town is back to normal... whatever that is!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In Memory of My Dear Aunt Dottie

Here is a picture of me and my dear Aunt Dottie St.Clair in 2004, taken during a small family reunion held at her house.

Sadly, Dottie passed away last week at the age of 91. Appropriately, the day of Dottie's memorial service and the following day for the church yard gravesite service were beautiful sunny days. These days were declared "Dottie days" by her grandson, Steve. This is particularly meaningful because western Oregon is not known for it's reliable supply of sunshine. But, for these two "Dottie days", it was on cue.
Doing justice to the life of my Aunt Dottie involves mentioning at least four things... her zest for life, her devotion to her beloved 1957 Chevy Corvette, her lifelong fascination with Harley Davidson motorcycles and her love for her family... especially her daughter, Shirley. Dottie, although quite a responsible woman in life, never quite grew up and liked to refer to herself as the "big kid" and her daughter Shirley as the "little kid".

Shirley devoted the last several years to taking care of her Mother, allowing Dottie to stay in her own home where she wanted to be. Although she couldn't actually drive her Corvette or ride a Harley any more, she loved being surrounded by her substantial collection of Corvette & Harley memorabalia (including several trophies from car shows where she showed off her beautiful red and white Corvette). If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will be able to see a picture of her Corvette on the mantle behind me.

* * *
In the program from Dotties memorial was the following appropriate poem:

I'd like the memory of me
To be a happy one
I'd like to leave an afterglow
Of smiles when life is done

I'd like to leave an echo
Whispering softly down the ways
Of happy times and laughing times
And bright and sunny days

I'd like the tears of those who grieve
To dry before the sun
Of happy memories that I leave
When this life is done

* * *
She is loved and missed!

Toppenish - City of Murals

Sadly, we were called away to Oregon last week for the funeral of my dear Aunt Dottie in Springfield (Eugene). The funeral was scheduled for Sunday, so we left Saturday morning for Corbett, Oregon where my brother and sister-in-law (Clair & Beverly) live.

I scurried around Friday getting my appointments for the week-end covered and other odds and ends taken care of.

We left early enough on Saturday that we didn't have to rush to get to Clair's house. For the first time ever, we took the time to drive through the main section of downtown Toppenish, Washington. They have done a fabulous job of scattering dozens of western theme hand painted murals throughout the town.

The purpose of the murals is to tell the story of the history and legends of the community, which still has a significant Indian population, and an agricultural economic base.

These murals are painted on the ends of buildings, at the top of buildings, over the doorways... you have to look around and pay attention or you will miss some.

The first picture above gives you a perspective on the size, with the SUV parked in the lower right section of the picture. They are absolutely fabulous. Click on the images to enlarge. This will give you an even better appreciation for the quality of work in these paintings.