Monday, September 30, 2019

Issaquah to Spokane

Yesterday can only be described as unpleasant.  The entire trip we had episodes of spitting rain, heavy rain and snow flurries.  It was cold.  The bus leaks outside air to the inside, so when it's cold, you know it.  We had head and side winds most of the day.  A lot of I90 is rough and could really use some attention.

Here we are approaching Snoqualime pass with the clouds hanging in the trees.  Note the snow in the higher elevations.

More clouds, more snow.

Lake Keechelus.  Looking foreground one can see the stumps are visible.  It's very low.  It's a managed reservoir, so I guess it's not too dire that there is not water in it.

This object was at a rest stop.  Is it a plane?  It's very odd looking.  I couldn't get a decent picture of it from the side.  Jim thinks it might be a Cutlass, but his level of confidence is not high.

Ryegrass Summit.  Does this not look harsh?  The wind turbines in the back are barely visible.

Photo taken at a truck plaza in Ritzville.  It's pretty flat here. 

How does this happen?  It's a single car accident.  Not much earlier he had passed us at a high rate of speed.  It's a perfectly flat and straight part of the road.  Looking bottom left we can see where he left the road and hit the dirt.  It appears that he went up the bank some and then rolled the car.  The windshield and front end are ruined.  No one was in the car, so whoever was in the car managed to leave it.  There we a lot of cars stopped on both sides of the road.  The trucker ahead of us had his flashers on and everyone slowed down a bunch, except for one vehicle.  It came up the left lane at a high rate of speed and only realized that traffic was slow before braking hard.  People's driving ability seems to be deteriorating.  We had a U Haul pass us and then get back in our lane about four feet ahead of us.  We're heavy, we don't stop on a dime.  Fortunately the U Haul responded to the air horn and drove away quickly from us.

After a painful arrival in the RV park (terrible site, got a new one - 37 degrees) we made it over to Jim's son's house for dinner.  They have a new dog.  He's a red headed lab, nine months old.  He's an exceptional puppy.  Very little barking or jumping, he's very mellow.  Here he's also tired from playing with the Lab next door.

Here is Carl the cat, this is how she likes to drink water.  She does not fear the dog, but she won't play with him, either.

So we're in Deer Park, which is north of Spokane.  Currently it's 42 degrees, the forecast is still for a low of 21 tonight.  I am coming down with something, so far it's a sore throat and that weird feeling in the chest. 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Last Day in Issaquah

Today was our last day in Issaquah.  Since we decided on our departure date, the forecast changed and the weather has really tanked.  It's cold.  Well, cold for us.  I think it's not the temperature so much as how damp it is given the amount of rain and moisture in the air.  It's unfortunate that we couldn't leave a week ago.

This is me, wearing my new outfit.  Why, you wonder, is she wearing such ugly clothing?  When we left Tucson in June, it was so hot that it completely fell out of our heads that September in the GPNW can be miserable.  We did bring rain jackets, but no vests and no warm lounging clothing.  So there has been shopping in defiance of the on going non-acquisition fatwa.

Camo sweat shirt from the Eddie Bauer outlet store, warm fuzzy pants courtesy of Walmart.

This is our next door dog.  He's very calm and friendly.  I haven't heard him bark yet, unlike the beast two sites down that yaps constantly.  Look how long his legs are.

We went to the fish hatchery this afternoon after completing the day's pre-departure checklist.  We took the tire covers off, ruining the winter plans for many spiders.  The creek is as high as we have ever seen it.  The fish were quite active today, throwing themselves against the weir.

This is a salmon's head.  He's one of the big fish.

The one on the right will be turned back in a second.  In order to make it up the stream they have to clear the level where the water comes over.  That very rarely happens.  Fish returns are down this year, but they think they'll harvest enough eggs for a new generation.

We're heading out to Spokane in the morning.  Tuesday night it's supposed to go down to 21 degrees.  That's just too cold.  We really need to head south.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Medical Stuff, Dragons and the Whistleblower

Tuesday we saw the back surgeon.  He said Jim is doing fine, it's normal to still have discomfort (note I did not say lightning bolts down the leg or a deep penetrating ache that makes you want to cut your leg off).  Jim is doing much better.  He walks faster and no longer has that slightly lurching gate from before.  He's reached the stage where he's better off than before the surgery, so we're declaring victory.  We're also leaving this place - Sunday.

While in Renton we also got my left foot lasered some more.  On visit six I had a different person than the prior five times.  He's better.  His thought process about where to put the laser is good.  After the sixth session, I decided to go back two more times to see him.  I will say that it's better.  It's not great, but I no longer feel like I'm stepping on a tack when I take a step.  That alone has made it worth while.

This is from downtown Renton.  This is a 109 year old building, and that is Erasmus the dragon on the roof.  He's an art project installed last April.

Here's a better picture from an article.  I do love me a good dragon.

We've had rain, followed by blue skies.  Yesterday it started out wet and then improved.  Since it wasn't raining, Jim climbed up the boarding ladder on to the roof.  The giant laurel over hangs the front passenger slide and drips leaves on the slide toppers.  We don't want the leaves getting rolled up into the fabric when the slide comes in, so there must be sweeping.  I offered to do it, but was glad to not have to.  Ladders just give me the willies.

Today we headed back to Bellevue to visit the Amazon brick and mortar store.  Jim's Nook e-reader is dying.  Barnes and Noble produced an unreliable product.  Battery life is unpredictable, and it won't stay where you left it.  Sometimes it's very difficult return to the last page read.  So, even though we did not want to further support the evil empire of Amazon, he bought a paperwhite.  I already have one, it's not bad.  It certainly does not have the battery life that is promised, but it's better than the Nook.  My first Nook would always die on airplanes - always.

This is one of the new buildings going up.  The shape is interesting.  The balconies on the lower levels are better than the upper levels.  However, the lower level are going to have a lot more road noise.  It's on the corner of two really busy streets.  Seattle has seen a decrease in number of apartments rented, it may be that they've over built the market. 

So, the whistle blower report is out as of today.  I think it's pretty damning.  I'm also really pissed at the NYT for identifying the writer as a CIA agent assigned to the White House, particularly in light of the president making threats against the person.  I think Ted Lieu said it well.

Here in Seattle, hackers are attacking the electronic road signs.

We're now left with three sleeps and a get up.  It feels pretty weird that we're finally leaving.  It's time, low temperatures at some of our stops will be in the low 30s.  Too cold!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Weather!

This was yesterday on the three mile walk.  It was a good walk, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

This is a huge apple tree in someone's side yard.  I couldn't get a picture of all of it because it was too backlit by the sun.  You can see there are a lot of apples, the tree is just loaded.

There are many on the ground.  I'm surprised the woodland creatures are not eating them.  Actually, although there are many deer in Bellevue, we don't see any in Issaquah.  They're probably afraid of the lunatic drivers here.

The Darigold milk facility.  They repainted a year or two ago, they still look good.

Today we woke up to this.  It has been raining all day.  It was supposed to taper off early afternoon, but that's not happening.  Fortunately we got the grilling of the pork tenderloin done last night.

The phone's weather forecast.  It tickles me when it uses "dreary."

We watched Pompeo on one of the Sunday talk shows.  He actually sat there and accused Joe Biden of interfering in the 2016 election with the help of Ukraine and demanded that Biden be investigated for this.  This is how the corrupt administration is going to try to jump out from the president pressuring Ukraine to "investigate" corruption on the part of the Bidens.  Later Mnuchin said that turning over the whistle blower complaint, as is required by law, would set a "terrible precedent."  These people truly have no shame.

One of the (many) things that's making me nuts is the fact the Democrats are being defeated by these people who have no respect for the rule of law.  As I frequently say to Jim, they need to charge these people with contempt and put them in jail.  I wonder if there's a holding cell within the capitol building.

The following is a note to future me, because I can't remember much of anything these days.  We replaced the shower door sweep yesterday.  After doing that, it wouldn't close anymore.  The reason was that I left the hinge end of the sweep too long.  It must be cut so that there is a gap between the end of the sweep and the hinge.  Please make a note of this.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Boredom and Politics

Greetings Earthlings!  I have not fallen on the face of the planet, there has just not been that much of interest to report.  I will say, we're beginning to hate the Seattle metro area.  Yes, it's pretty in the summer with the trees and all, but we're bored spitless.  One of the (many) questions we can't answer is why are we so bored.  Is it because we are waiting for Jim's recovery to be complete, or is it because we lived here for a long time, and we've been spending summers here since 2010.   Many of the summers have involved someone recovering from something.  First it was me (heart, ear, feet) then it was Jim (back).  Perhaps we're not being fair to the region, it's not its fault that it's always something.  Recovering in an RV is a pain, it's small, there's no where to be.  However, early on this summer before we knew there was to be another back surgery, we were bored.  The trail is boring, Carnation Valley is boring.  We've done all of it too many times.

Additionally, Jim is tired of driving the RV.   We consider selling the RV.  Then what would we do?  Summers in Tucson are really hot.  Unlike cold weather, when you can put on more clothes and go do things, one can not really adapt outdoor activities to 105 degrees.  However, if we don't sell the RV, we'll keep coming up here because it's easy and familiar.  Plus it does have the best summer climate, except for the last two years when it was really hot and we were suffocating from the fires.  I don't know.  We need a life coach.

This is a terrible picture of a cool fish we saw in a doctor's office.  He would move his lips like he was making a kissing motion.

The weather turned bad this week.  There was a lot of this.

Tuesday there was this.  We were under the red part of the radar.  It was enough to take the satellite out for an hour.

Today was gloomy, but no rain was in the forecast.  We decided to go downtown and look at the new pedestrian bridge for the ferry dock that replaced the old one when the viaduct came down.  That was a really bad idea.  Today was the planet wide protests against inaction about climate change.  We forgot!  Traffic in Seattle was at a standstill due to all the people in the streets.  We were able to bail out of the exit lane to downtown, which was not moving, go north on the freeway and take the other floating bridge back to the east side.  So once again, there was walking in Bellevue.

Here we have Lake Washington as seen from the 520 floating bridge.

There was an article in the Guardian this morning, written by a foreign reporter.  She happened to see the president talking about a new section of the wall.  He was incoherent.
 I joined as the president was explaining at length how powerful the concrete was. Very powerful, it turns out. It was unlike any wall ever built, incorporating the most advanced “concrete technology”. It was so exceptional that would-be wall-builders from three unnamed countries had visited to learn from it.
There were inner tubes in the wall that were also filled with concrete, poured in via funnels, and also “rebars” so the wall would withstand anyone attempting to cut through it with a blowtorch.
 In closing, she said:
I’d understood the dilemma of normalising Trump’s ideas and policies – the racism, misogyny and demonisation of the free press. But watching just one press conference from Otay Mesa helped me understand how the process of reporting about this president can mask and normalise his full and alarming incoherence.
She makes an interesting point.  He does tend to ramble, stringing non sequiturs together.  How do you quote this speech pattern?  The press has taken to paraphrasing, it might be better if they didn't.

In other news of the administration, the event the whistle blower wanted to bring before Congress has been identified, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.  In a telephone conversation with the leader of Ukraine, the president pressured him to investigate Joe Biden's son; hoping it would give him ammunition in the coming election campaign.  This is an illegal act.  Worse, AG Bill Barr directed the acting Director of National Intelligence to deny Congress the whistle blower complaint.  There are laws that spell out how these things are to be dealt with.  Barr and the DNI have broken these laws.  Apparently this is just fine with the Republican party.  It's another sad day for the democracy.

That's it - that's enough.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Surgery Update and Even More Walking

We saw the surgeon's PA on Tuesday.  Jim's initial good days were replaced by some really awful terrible horrible days.  It was very demoralizing.  I think the bad days were actually worse than the bad days after the spinal fusion.  Mr. Swaims addressed our concerns by reiterating that after a nerve has been pinched for some time, and then it's released from its prison, the brain once again becomes aware of the nerve's presence.  The brain wants to check on things.  It does this by sending pain signals.  A simple hello will not suffice.  No.  Lightning bolts and a deep penetrating ache are how the brain assesses things.  Thanks brain!  Tuesday was actually a good day.  The take home message was "all of this is normal, it will take some time."

Wednesday was not a good day.  We did a flat walk in Issaquah and then went to Target.  There are more fish in the hatchery.  This is a big fish.  He's not moving much, he appears to be tired.

There are now fish beginning to collect at the bottom of the weir.  They're tired, too.  They didn't have the fish ladder open so they're just hanging out, waiting.  None of them were throwing themselves at the weir.

We continued on through the neighborhoods.  This is a really nice back yard.  They have attractive raised beds.  On the left is a patch of clover for the pollinators.

The hydrangeas have pretty much peaked for the season.  This one is hanging in there.

Today we went down to Renton for MLS Laser Therapy on my left foot.  My foot hurts enough to try things that I'm not convinced aren't snake oil.  The theory is as follows.
MLS Laser Therapy uses specific wavelengths of light that have a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-edema effect on tissues that are exposed to the laser. Painful conditions accompanied by swelling or inflammation benefit from this technology.
Photons of laser energy penetrate deeply into tissue and accelerate cellular reproduction and growth. As a result of exposure to the MLS Laser, the cells of tendons, ligaments and muscles repair themselves faster. As inflammation is reduced pain subsides very quickly. In simple terms, laser energy kick-starts the healing process, thereby speeding recovery.
It has something to do with increasing oxygen uptake by the mitochondria.  Generally twelve treatments are recommended.  I'm really hoping we won't be here long enough to do that many.

Then it was off to Bellevue.  Jim was perfect today.  Nothing hurt.  We walked for an hour and a half, with stairs, and it was good.  It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings.  Thus far there is no steady climb towards good.  As I said after the last surgery, the arc of recovery is curvilinear.

The blue buildings in Bellevue are pretty cool.

Rain returns tomorrow, yay!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Walking Here and Walking There

Yesterday we went to the fish hatchery to see if any of the fish are back.  It's too early.  There were three in the creek.  The one I couldn't photograph because of the reflections on the water was just huge.  The two are pretty good sized, but the other one was huge.

Up until yesterday, the weather has pretty much looked like this.  It was a good summer, not too hot and not too wet.

That changed yesterday.  We had a line of thunderstorms come through for about five hours; 2,200 lightning strikes were recorded during the event.  This is so weird.  We don't get T storms, we don't get storms moving up from the south through Oregon.  Generally our weather comes in from the coast.  KOMO has an article about it with some pretty cool short videos taken through out the area. 

The lightning was really impressive as was the amount of rain.

This morning I woke up to the sound of an alarm.  It wasn't in the bus, so I wondered if something in one of the bays was alarming.  It was getting louder and more persistent, so I got up and went outside looking for it.  It was this.

I dumped and flushed the black tank yesterday morning, and I used the kitchen timer to know when it was time to open the tank.  Then I put it on the power pedestal while I was finishing up and walked away from it.  It spent the night outside and was rained on.  This morning some little circuit went off and it started alarming, and then it died.  I'll miss that timer, it was easy to read and loud. 

Today we went into Bellevue for the walking.  This is a construction fence with pictures of what they are building there.  More retail down, condos up.  Heaven knows we do not yet have enough condos. It's an interesting shape which will provide some residents with balconies.  That will make it easier for them to see the other tall buildings surrounding them.

Work is proceeding on the light rail system.  They were working today which was sort of surprising.

A building downtown.

The lanterns are cheerful in the trees.

It's supposed to rain some more this week - yay!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Cell Phones, Cruel Shoes and Hurricane Tracks

Cell phones are the work of the devil.  I have an HTC phone that I bought in 2016.  It's paid for.  It will no longer give directions in GPS.  The start directions button doesn't work.  The guy at the Verizon store said I'll probably have to do a factory reset, which deletes everything.  So pictures need to be backed up - requiring Google Photos.  Downloaded that, it won't run.  My operating system is too old.  Apparently, Android operating systems don't get upgraded much after the phone is about a year old.  It depends on the brand, and I guess HTC is one of the worst.  Jim has a Samsung (which he hates) but it still gets updates.  I was last updated in 2016, so I guess my upgrades occurred never.  It's just aggravating, a new Pixel 3 costs almost $500.  That's just stupid expensive.  The whole thing just irritates the living snot out of me.  Yes, it's a first world problem, but it's aggravating.  There is an interesting article here if you're interested in the nitty gritty details.

Moday we did some more retail walking.  We need to stop doing that!  Macy's had everything on sale, so we did partake.  We acquired a cast iron skillet for using in the grill.  It was inexpensive, if we don't like it, it won't hurt to 86 it.  I got jeans.  I've been looking for jeans for awhile.  All of the ladies' jeans are full of spandex and to me, they feel awful.  I miss the way button fly 501s used to feel after they'd been washed a lot.  I ended up with men's 514 jeans.  They're only 1% spandex and they feel much better than the women's.

While we were walking in the mall, we did visit the Nordstrom shoe department.  I swear I have lost touch with my culture.  These boots, which I think are just hideous, are $850.  Who spends that much money on hideous boots?

The hideous black boot on the left is $1400.

These beauties from Balenciaga are foot crippling.  Who does this to their feet?

I guess there is now enough tech money in Bellevue to support these prices.

There is a new snack bar in the mall.  It's the Happy Lemon.  They make bubble waffles.  Look on the left, mid photo in the vertical dimension, that is a chocolate bubble waffle. Previously I was unaware of these, but after a web search I have discovered that you can buy bubble waffle irons for home use.  They originated in Hong Kong.  You can read more here.

You can get toppings.   This place is packed, there is always a line out the door and into the mall.

I'm seeing more people on the interwebs wondering about the state of the president's mental health.  Today was just bizarre.  Over the weekend he tweeted that Alabama was in danger from Dorian.  NOAA put out a tweet saying that Alabama was not in the path and never had been.  Apparently the president just can't let it go.  Today he trotted out this week old map with an extra lobe drawn on which extended into Alabama.  Falsifying or misrepresenting an official forecast is an illegal act which carries a fine and/or 90 days in jail.  The Washington Post has it on the front page of their on line edition.  If he had not kept talking about it, it would be out of the news cycle by now.

Who's following UK politics?  I miss most of the finer points, but I thought this picture on twitter was pretty good.  The current prime minister did not have a good day.

That's it!  That's all I've got.