Sunday, July 30, 2023

Thank You Aubrey L. White

Saturday we did a new to us bike route.  New vistas!  New things to see!  Way fewer steep hills!  Yay!

We parked at the parking lot by the grass air strip.  It's not paved, and given how dry it's been, the dirt has achieved a powdery consistency which gets all over the flip flops and one's feet.  Next time we won't go on a weekend and hopefully we'll be able to park on the graveled side of the lot.  Notice how far apart the trees are, these forests are managed extensively to avoid catastrophic fires.

We set out along the Aubrey L. White parkway.  Mr. White was one of the early movers and shakers in Spokane.  After he got rich, he set out to preserve open space for the use of the citizens.  The quote below is from this article.  There is a much longer article which covers more of his life and times.  His goal was not to let Spokane go the way of the eastern cities, with their lack of green space.

Aubrey L. White is the known as the father of Spokane’s Parks. He arrived in Spokane in 1889 and spent a lot of time mapping, marking, and noting the incredible views and features in the Spokane area. He was instrumental in bringing the famous landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers to help design and make recommendations for Spokane’s parks, parkways, and play fields. “Spokane’s Civic Horse Trader,” one man park board, gardener, early Spokane pioneer, president of a “City Beautiful” organization called the 150,000 club, and garden editor for the Spokeman Review are just a few of the many hats worn by Aubrey L. White during his life in Spokane. He served as the first park board president in Spokane from 1907 to 1922. Once he left the park board his work did not end. He worked tirelessly to secure land around Mt. Spokane and the Bowl and Pitcher area.

The parkway runs on the other side of the river from where we usually park.  Along the way, there is a beautiful neighborhood on the non-waterfront side of the road.  The houses and the waterfront access there are private property.  It's high bank, so it's not really usable water front.

There are some small rapids for people who would like to kayak through them.

There is also a shooting range.  It has been there since 1925.  I would like it to be gone, but people like that sort of thing.  Those people are skeet shooting, it's very noisy.

Awhile back I posted about the Bowl and Pitcher rock formation.  This is it from the other side, it's way harder to see through the trees.

There is a campground there, as well.  It's small, and there are no hook ups.  It's rustic.

We've ridden to the lake a lot.  It's nice to have a new route to do.  It's just lovely and bucolic riding along and looking down at the river.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Grass, SUP, Plants and More Forms to Fill Out

Ho Hum, it's back to being uncomfortably warm.  It's not like Phoenix, but warm enough.  We're feeling somewhat enervated by the afternoons.  I think there's too much staying in the house.  The grass is really taking it in the head in the western side of the yard.  Parts are now bare dirt.  We had thought to get a cultivator for in the fall, but the dirt is hard and full of grass roots, and those things are really designed for dirt that has been worked into some degree of softness.  Perhaps we'll see if we can pay someone to come and do it for us.  I think the root cause of the grass problem, is that when they landscaped the yard, they did not put in enough dirt.  It's aggravating, we're supposed to have a good green monoculture out there.

There has been riding to the lake.  Yesterday we learned of the existence of inflatable stand up paddle boards.  Who knew?  We've seen the kayaks, but not the SUPs.  The woman foreground is running her battery powered air compressor.  I was impressed by the volume of the noise that thing made.  However, it's better than a floor pump.    Notice the absolute cuteness of her dog off to the right.  He does have a life jacket.  Then in the distance, we see a fishing SUP.  He has a cooler to sit on, a net, and a bucket for any fish he might catch.  

Next door there is what appears to be a member of the hibiscus family.  It's bushier than the Rose of Sharon.  He cuts it to the ground in the fall and then it regrows and is now blooming.

I think this is a blackberry.  Seattle and environs has been over run by blackberries and morning glory.  We don't like to see these next to our yard, they're evil.

For those of you who want to travel from Europe to here, or in the other direction, here is more news you can use.  Apparently the bureaucrats on both sides of the pond have been busy with more things to pay for and fill out.

Other than this paltry offer, I have shockingly few things to report.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

La Tomate est Morte

Today we are much improved from the Shingrix vaccine.  The injection sites are still sore, but arm mobility has been restored.  I can once again reach over my head.

We were up and out early (for us) to ride to the lake.  In hindsight, maybe 30 minutes earlier would have been good, but we survived.  It's hot!  Today is supposed to be 98F.  Other places are worse, but this is hot enough for me, thank you very much.  The grass next to the parking lot is setting seed.  Soon it will be autumn.  Fall in Spokane has been really nice in the last two years.  It's dry, it's not hot, and the light gets less harsh.

The tomato plant met his demise today.  Many tomatoes were produced, but by the time the top ripened, the bottom had over-ripened and turned to mush.  It became a question of which end to cut off and throw away.  So, off with his head, and in to the yard waste container.  Next year petunias are looking good to me.  If we try tomatoes again, it will be cherry tomatoes.  Our neighbor grew them last year and they were good.  

So, this has been my reportage on the Shingrix vaccine.  I think it's not out of the question to expect to lose a day from it.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

First Day After Shingrix Vaccine

The pharmacist was right, the second shot is worse than the first.  We had planned to get up and ride before the heat - HAH!  Double HAH HAH HAH!

After reading other peoples' accounts of their Shingrix reactions, I think we're not too bad, but bad enough.  We're both feeling thick in the head, a brain fog, if you will.  Both of us have a headache.  Our arms hurt at the injection site.  My arm is bright red and warm to the touch.  Both of us feel like space cadets, just loopy.  Jim has body aches, I do not.  The thick in the head is the worst for me, I'm uncoordinated.  Riding would have been dangerous.  My typing is not good either, there has been much back spacing to remove typos.

We're hoping tomorrow will be better. 

Here is a photo of the otter that has been stealing surf boards out from under the surfers.

Ok then - carry on ya'll!

Friday, July 21, 2023

Shingrix, Bike Rack Progress, and a Biden Ad

Greetings and Salutations.  Today's key learning is not to go to the Spokane Costco on a Friday.  It doesn't matter if it's a holiday weekend or not, just don't go there.  The aisles were full of people walking slowly, draped over their carts, stopping suddenly to gaze at some product from the center of the aisle.  The aisles become impenetrable.  I think, hence forth, we shall go on a Tuesday.  Perhaps that will be better.

We were there for the second Shingrix vaccine.   After further reading about Ramsay Hunt syndrome and its devastating effects on Justin Bieber, we wanted this done.  It's a rare palsy that happens when the herpes zoster virus attacks facial nerves.  From this article we learn the following.

Unlike the sudden onset of a stroke, the facial paralysis with a palsy develops gradually. The key symptoms that make Ramsay Hunt syndrome stand out from Bell’s palsy are, Nduka says, ear, face or head pain, a rash or blisters – often painful – in or around the ear, scalp, hairline or inside the mouth, altered taste on half of the tongue, hearing loss or tinnitus on the affected side and dizziness or vertigo. Sometimes, however, the rash may be hidden internally, and the facial paralysis appears first, meaning that, even if the doctor is familiar with the syndrome, they might disregard that diagnosis. This is why Nduka encourages treating any new facial palsy with antivirals – which he says are cheap and have few side-effects – to be on the safe side.

Both forms of sudden-onset facial palsy – Bell’s and Ramsay Hunt – are treated with steroids, too. “The facial nerve runs through a bony tunnel in the skull, so if it gets inflamed there is no room for it to swell, so it will cut off its own blood supply and stop working,” says Nduka. “The steroids are there to reduce the inflammation and therefore reduce swelling and allow the nerve to recover earlier.” Early treatment with antivirals and steroids, he says, increases recovery rates in cases of Ramsay Hunt syndrome from about 50% to about 70%. 

So, there you have it.  Facial palsy is bad.  Early treatment for Ramsay Hunt is within four days. We're told the second Shingles vaccine in the series is worse than the first, we are hoping it won't be bad tomorrow.

It's hot, it will be 97 today.  Phoenix is really hot, but we're hot enough.  Wednesday there was a delightful ride to the lake quite early in the morning.  The milfoil is in bloom once again this year.  I talked about it here last year.

Our through axles (the thing that holds the wheels on to the forks of a bicycle) are 5 mm.  Most accessories for construction of bike racks are made for a 12 to 20 mm through axle.  We bought the axle traps knowing they were too big for our axles.  I called the manufacturer to ask them how to make this work, and the very nice man on the phone sent me a link to this.  I'm still not clear on what its actual function is, but it fits perfectly between the fork blades, the axle goes inside, and then the entire works goes into the axle trap. In turn, that will be screwed to lumber we bought, to make a bike rack to go in the trailer we will rent to go to Tucson.  If the adapter had not fit, I'm not sure how we would have made this work.  We both really miss rim brakes and quick release skewers, much easier.

We have eaten a few more tomatoes.  They're sort of aggravating.  See how the middle tomato is still yellow at the top?  I will have to cut that off because it will be hard and white inside.  Frequently, if I leave them on the plant long enough for the entire tomato to turn red, the bottom of it turns to mush.  We may be one and done on agriculture.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is a representative from the great state of Georgia.  Her first act upon arriving in Congress was to be so awful that she was kicked off all of her committees.  Now that the republicans have a margin in the House, she's back on committees, but the Freedom Caucus kicked her out.  Anyway, she gave a speech at Turning Point, a right wing collection of wing nuts, in which she said President Biden is trying to complete the work that FDR and LBJ started to create a more just and equitable society with opportunities for the disenfranchised.  She said it like it's a BAD thing.  The democrats have lifted the recorded words from her speech and turned them in to a Biden ad that is very good.  Click HERE and you can play it.  She has to be miffed.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Weather and Flowers

Again, long time, no write.  I have a few photos but nothing earth shattering to report.

Saturday we rode to the lake.  We generally try to avoid Saturdays due to crowding, but it was a ride day, so we went.  There is nothing like sitting at a picnic table down by the boat ramp to make a person happy to no longer be a boat owner.  When we were working we had a ski boat, and because we were working, has to use it on weekends.  After awhile it ceased to be fun, and we sold the boat.

This is a party boat, also called a patio boat.  People take them out and drive up and down the lake and enjoy each other's company.  I don't know if people fish off of them.

This is the party boat being held next to the boat ramp.  The owner has launched the boat, and driven the tow vehicle and trailer away to park.  It's Saturday morning, right?  Boat ramps are busy.  Common courtesy suggests that you walk your boat around to the other side of the floating dock so that other people can launch while you're waiting for the boat driver.  This boat is engaged in dock blocking.

The party boat is still there, the people with the blue truck are trying to launch and the people with the boat at the end of the dock are doing something ineffectual with their lines.  It's fun to watch, I'm glad we no longer participate.

The hydrangea is turning pink.  It's such a pretty plant.  The bees like it a lot, as well.

Yesterday's sky was interesting.  Today we are under a red flag warning due to high winds and dry conditions.  At the last HOA meeting the urban fire guy gave a talk about living with trees.  Embers can travel for miles, and land on your house.  If you have an unscreened window open, embers can come inside.  He stressed the importance of a 5 foot fire perimeter which should be maintained, including not having gutters full of pine needles.  That's why we do not landscape with bark mulch, we use rocks instead.  He emphasized the importance of having an evacuation plan given that you may not have that much warning to leave.  Our neighborhood is one way in and out, we can count on traffic being bad, so we really do need to give this some thought, which we have not done.

This is from twitter.  It's a lovely photo taken of a dried up desert flower in Monument Valley. Ken James (@openshutter21) took it.  It's highly saturated, but still a pretty image.

That's it, that's all I've got.

OK, one more thing.  Monsoon started today in Tucson.  Click HERE and play the video of how the storm built up.  The footage was taken from the roof of the Hydrology Department at UofA.  It is pretty dang impressive.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Nothing to See Here

What's shaking in your neck of the woods?  It's fairly warm here.  The outdoor thermometer on the deck is not in direct sun, but it does get radiated heat from the house.  It's 109F out there.  The deck gets the afternoon sun, it's pretty warm out there.  Actually, it's unusable when it's this hot.  I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday of this week that marked the hottest day on the planet, ever.  

We are not doing much at present. There is ride to the lake, alternating with rowing machine and lifting weights.  There has actually been cooking that requires following a recipe.  I would link to the skillet chicken recipe, but it's firmly behind the NYT paywall.  

So, here is what we've seen recently.

Sunday, these ladies strolled up the street, videoing the houses in the neighborhood.  There was pointing at things, as they continued up the hill.  We've never seen them before, they seemed to be enjoying their outing.  Here they are on the way out to the gate.

The quail have been having babies.  There's a group of adolescents, as well as some new babies.

The babies never stop moving, so it's difficult to get a clear picture of them.

We have eaten three tomatoes thus far.  They're not as good as those in Italy or France, but they're not bad.  Here is a terrible picture of tomatoes that are living in the interior of the plant.

Time was spent cleaning leaves out of the window wells.  The two west facing windows need to be re-caulked.  We hate caulking, a lot.  I took these of the hydrangea.  Google photos tweaked the first photo, it looks like they saturated it some.

Today was very amusing.  Starting about 9 am, there were ravens screaming and yelling.  They were out there all day, screaming and yelling.  The people across the street and down the hill have a giant rock in their front yard.  There is a recirculating pump that runs water over the top of the hill and down into a small pool.  The ravens were hanging out near the water.  I guess it was hot enough that they wanted to keep their feet wet.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Not a Happy Fourth

Here is an excerpt from Jennifer Rubin's recent column in the WAPO.  

On this Independence Day, we should reaffirm the twin pillars of democracy: Voters (not the mob) pick their leaders, and elected leaders (not unelected judges) make policy decisions for which they are held accountable. Just as we need to preserve the sanctity of elections (by prosecuting coup instigators), democracy defenders need to address judicial radicals’ gross distortion of our system, resulting in the current Supreme Court’s subversion of democracy.

Unhinged from judicial standards, the court now roves through the policy landscape, overturning decades of law and reordering Americans’ lives and institutions. It upends women’s health, revamps college admissions, snatches student aid from millions and redefines public accommodations (allowing egregious discrimination). In aggrandizing power, the court illegitimately dominates policymaking, undermining democracy to an extent we have not seen in nearly 100 years. (Ronald Brownstein pointed out that similar constitutional collisions in the 1850s and 1930s took a civil war or threat of court-packing to resolve.)

Something must change if we want to preserve rule by the people’s elected leaders responsible to voters.

It's a good piece, unfortunately behind a paywall.  Between the large number of shootings Jim just read to me, the fires in the boreal forests, the heat domes, the thinning pack ice, the increasing sea temperatures, it's difficult to see any good in the future.

So on that happy note I wish all of you who celebrate a Happy Fourth.


Saturday, July 1, 2023

SCOTUS (again) and Twitter Plus a Tomato

So, the SCOTUS ruling saying that it's ok to discriminate and deny services to LGBTQ people is based on a woman who has suffered no harm because her company has created no websites, and the gay couple she did not want to build a wedding website for does not exist.  This case has been making its way towards the Supreme Court for seven years.  This article details how none of the events happened, the entire case was based on a "what if."  Seth Abramson did a bang up tweet thread on the entire thing.  Go HERE, and scroll down to read it all.  It's too many words to cut and paste it all.

These are screen grabs on the subject that I wanted to save.

The point of the discussion about the facts that none of the events happened, is why did she have standing to bring the case?  There was no harm.

Twitter had a rough day today. "Common knowledge" is saying Elon Musk refused to renew Twitters’ billion dollar contract with Google to use their cloud servers which expired on the 30th June. In other unrelated news, Twitter has run out of storage and is severely limiting the amount of tweets users can see. By limiting the number of tweeps people can see, this also limits the amount of ads that can be served.  Monday morning there may be disgruntled advertisers wanting their money back.  CNN posted this. Now there is this from Business Insider.

In agricultural news, we have this on the kitchen counter.

That's it.  That's all I've got.