Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slo-mo holiday week

I like this week in between the holidays. Te roads are quieter during the commute. The phones aren't ringing to much. It's nice and quiet here at the office. I was able to recreate the prior week from all the notes I took while working from home. It was a big old hair ball to get all those scribbled notes in to the systems at work and make sure all the invoicing was done and other details where captured. It made for a crazy Monday but now I can sit back and relax pretty much.

We had a great Christmas. Janta brought me a new camera amongst other tresure. God love 'em. It's the same make I had before but one model up from it. I'm liking the bigger display screen. I'll bore you with pictures soon. We spent a quiet Christmas Eve dinner with my Mom and Christmas day with Jay's family. Somewhere in there one of the vertically challenged (and sticky) relatives passed on their germs and I'm incubating a cold right now. We did have a moment of worry Christmas day as a 25' limb off the doug fir on the corner of the house gave way under the snow and crashed down on the rockery. If it had been on the other side of the tree it would have taken out the power, phone and cable. - Whew! close one.

The week wasn't all joy and light, Lolli's nephew committed suicide a few days before Christmas and it certainly affected her holiday. There's more than a little strained family dynamics going on there and having to pull the whole family together for this is a challenge. The funeral is today, a few hours from now. Hopefully differences can be set aside for the poor grieving mother. Jay & I will check in on Lolli at the end of the day. Send her a prayer if you would.

One of my favorite gifts this year was a Russian samovar. It's kind of a long story. When Jay's Sister & BIL got posted to Russia years ago I told them I'd always wanted one and asked them to find one for me. I'd expected to pay for it myself. About 5 years ago the samovar was found and purchased but need export licenses as it's considered a piece of heritage. Long story short, it finally made it's way out of Russia this year. It's an interesting piece. I'm still trying to decide if it is indeed a 'heritage' piece or not. It doesn't matter if it is or it isn't I love it all the same. However it's got some interesting clues. There's no double eagle mark on it so it must have been made after the revolution. There are what appear to be tax stamps that have been pounded on to the sides but since I can't read Cyrillic I'm not quite sure yet. The fixture is brass, but it looks like it's brass plated over copper with some copper showing thru in places where you'd expect it had a lot of handling. I'll need to do a little research of production methods. Again I love it as it is but I can't resist trying to figure out if it's from the early Soviet period or a very well done fake. I love this kind of stuff.

Hope your having a great day!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Find Me

A friend sent this picture to me this morning. I'd never seen it before. My sister and I, with the Houghton children. They'd just emigrated from England. Their family had come to live near their aunt, uncle and grandparents. Their grandmother "Nanny" took care of my sister and I growing up.

Can you find me?

UPDATE: I'm behind my sister with the long brown hair.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Well, it's day 8 of the big snow and more is coming down this morning with more to come. I was able to get out twice in the past two days to finish up shopping and stocking stuffers so were all ready.

The plan is to go to my Mom's tonight for dinner. It's only about 3 miles but unfortunately it's all hills, but with the jeeps 4 wheel drive it shouldn't be a problem. Tomorrow we plan on driving down to Lacey to Jay's folks about an hour south of here where the snow is deeper and they're house is in a rural area that most likely won't be plowed. We'll have to see how that goes and if we can get there.

Lolli's with us. Jay was able to get down to her house and get her last week. So our little family is complete.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, doing exactly what you want to do. Thank you for sharing the gift of your time and thoughts with me over this last year. I treasure your friendship.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Saturday, In the park, I think it was the fourth of July"

Or, Saturday in Seattle with 19*

We woke up cold this morning. The temp dropped down below 15* over night and exceeded the heat pumps limit. Luckily we've had the new furnace on the back of Jay's truck all week so it's ready to go. We never got it installed since everyone was busy. The weather guys are predicting a record storm coming in so we only have until about sundown to get this baby in. Jay got the old unit cut loose and we both got the new one in place. One natural gas to propane conversion and about 100 other connections and we should be golden. warm. heated.

Weather here is hard to predict so we cut our weather folks a bit of slack. We live weather wise in what's called the Puget Sound convergence zone.

You can see the weather comes in off the Pacific and splits going around the Olympics and converge right over us. If that weren't enough we have the Cascade Mtn's to the east which acts as a wall for the clouds to 'stack up' on dumping the precipitation on Western Wash. That's why the state is basically a rain forest on one side of the mountains and near-desert on the other. Normally this would mean wet and soggy but with the cold air (Thanks Canada) today it means snow. Downtown Seattle, for what ever reason is always the last to get snow. The prediction is 3 - 8" tonight. When 'they' said trace to 3" earlier this week we got 8" up here on the hill. Nothing to do but wait and see. If it happens it will be like a 20 year record.

We did make it out for a while yesterday. We headed out to the mall thinking we'd be one of the few foolish enough to try. Um, yeah wrong on that one. It was crowded. But we had a great lunch and got some presents. I was able to find Jay some toys. Can't say what as he does poke around here on occasion. I always try and find him some big boy toys because part of Christmas for me is getting back to being a kid and all kids should get toys for Christmas.

Well, Wonderboy has the heat pump back online and the furnace unit in place ready to be hooked up. Finally the house is warming up. I'd better go help.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day!

I bet we get more snow days here then the rest of the country. Not that we get more snow, we just give up and the first sign of it and take the day off. Maybe it's just me, there are plenty of people sitting on the freeway trying to get somewhere.

Bear's a bundle of puppy energy wanting to get back out and dance in the snow. He's discovered he can eat it and has been hoovering the driveway. Well it's too cold for me little dog. We're both home and warm. Luckily we were able to sort out the worst 'no heat' cases yesterday. The phones are forwarded to me but their quiet so far. Knock wood.

Mo was kind enough to take pics of our Christmas tree for us. I'm still with out a camera. Looks like Miss Lilly's been playing around the bottom there. She's typically ensconced on the tree skirt surveying her domain.

The weather is suppose to stay with us through the weekend which kind of mucks up my shopping plans. My family has decided to for go gift giving to the adults which takes a lot of pressure off. The downside of that is I haven't been too worried about getting the shopping done because I thought/am thinking it will be a breeze. Now it looks like I may have to fight the weather or not have as much time I thought i did. Typical of me to procrastinate.

I've been thinking about my posts lately. I used to get ideas about a post and they'd kind of percolate for a day or two before I'd right them out. I think the used to have something to say. Lately I just seem to ramble. I want to get back to more thoughtful posts. I don't normal look at my archived posts. I'm too self critical and it makes me cringe. But maybe re-reading some will get me motivated. Thinking outloud here. outtype? Well, you know...

It's nice being hold up in the house here with Jay. That man is so full of joy normally, a snow day about puts him over the top. I'm so lucky.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You want that when ?

The Pacific Northwest rarely gets below freezing and when it does we all go bonkers. This week so far has been pretty nuts trying to keep up with all the customers and non-customers who are with out heat. The trick is to balance it all so you keep techs in the same general geographic area while trying to balance who called first, who is a regular customer, residential takes priority over commercial to some degree, families with kids come first. You may or may not be surprised at how angry someone can get because your choosing to send the tech to a home with children over their business. Monday morning I had the patients to reason with them. That's wearing thin very quickly. My favorite call so far was a lady yesterday who called and said they'd been remodeling their house and they needed ducts and registers added for the party their having on Friday night. She 'HAD' to have a bid on the job that day and she wanted the work done by Thursday. HA! ha ha ha ha

and Ha!

Our new furnace will be installed as soon as we can free the guys up to do the work. We still have the heat pump so we're not with out. It's still a bit chilly in the house. Bear and Miss Lilly are coming up with new and creative ways to spoon each other. Very cute.

Well that was my 15 minutes of fun - back to the phones - Hope your all doing well!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The snow held off long enough for Fiwa and Mo to come to brunch yesterday. It was great to spend time with those two and just hang out. Our buddy Ace put in a guest appearance via cell phone and chatted for a few minutes. I made fruit salad and omelette's. Omelette's were not a very good 'brunchy' choice as you end up making them instead of sitting down to talk. After we ate we painted ceramics. It's like our new hazing ritual around here.

It started snowing at about 8:00 last night and made it a perfect night to hold up and watch old movies. Bear & I stayed up till after midnight watching it snow.

I woke up around 3:00 to what I thought was Jay's alarm clock going off. I remember thinking it wasn't that loud and I could blow it off and go back to sleep. Which I did. I think that happened twice. The next thing I knew Jay was waking me up and telling me the CO2 detector was going off and I needed to go downstairs. Turns out that the secondary heat exchanger in the furnace fried and was sending CO2 into the house. Great. Really not good. The alarm on the fire detector is about 5 times as loud. You'd think the CO2 thing would be as loud. If I'd have been alone I could have slept through it and... well not slept through it. So please check your detectors so you at least know what they sound like!

So there you have it. The HVAC guys furnace doesn't work on the coldest day of the year so far. We do have the heat pump but it has to be manually over-ridden every couple of hours. We raided the goats heater and have the house up to 64* right now. It's about 25* outside. Jay's trundled off to get another space heater for the goats.

We're suppose to be going down to Jay's folks house for a family early Christmas with their extended family but I'll be staying behind to 'tend the home fires'. For Jay it's a command performance regardless of ice & more snow coming. I'm not happy about him driving an hour each way but at least his brother will be with him.

I happened to pass the closet in the dining room this morning and noticed two boxes of those little Christmas village ceramic building thingies. I asked Jay about them and he said that he had either got them for us 'If I wanted to have them out' or their for his mother. Mother already has a small Christmas city and I'm sure that unless he went to a specialty shop, which I know he did not, these would be duplicates to ones Mother already has and he knows it. He knows their not my thing but this is his coy way of testing the waters. I'll set them up while he's seeing his folks.

Happy Sunday!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

13 shopping days left!

Jay and I both took last Friday and Monday off work and made it a 4 day weekend. We were able to get all of the Christmas decorations up and the house is ready. We had originally intended to head for Cannon Beach for a few days but I just couldn't justify spending the money. Watching the nightly news gives me a bad case of the "what if's"

The lack of daylight is taking it’s toll on me yet again this year. Not in a big way. I just kinda feel like a reptile, you know how their whole bodies slow down in the cold? That’s about me right now. I’m not depressed or anything just about two steps away from hibernation.

Nothing much new to report. Work is going along just fine. The new approximate move in date for the new office is mid-January. My anticipation for that date is really just all about having room in my office for Bear to come hang out during the day.

I’ve been dealing with bad skin on my face for like the last year or so. I read about Shea butter about a year ago and have been using that for a while and it’s helped a great deal. However I have still had these damned red spots on my face that just won’t seem to go away. They don’t really develop like pimples per say but just red spots that seem to move around. I’ve been noticing people who used a product called Pro-Active had really good skin so even though I’m pretty sure I don’t have acne I thought I’d give it a try. My niece uses it and has great skin so I thought what the hec. Well I used it twice following the directions (I think) and by the second application I’d done quite the burn number on my skin. Luckily I had the 4 days off to let it heal. I looked like hell there for a while. But once off the dead skin peeled off, guess what? No more spots. I guess I’ll just have to find the right amount to use as to not burn myself again.

At least I’m looking good for my hot date with two ladies on Saturday. Barring any extreme weather, Mo & Fiwa are coming over on Saturday to see us. I’m really looking forward to it. Snow is in the forecast but I doubt it will amount to anything. But a little of the white stuff would be nice!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fine Tuning (Ode To A Dead Camera)

I did a stupid thing. I was using my camera on Sunday and the lens got stuck in the out position. So I did what any man worth his salt would do. I smacked it. Well the lens went back in. You can probably guess the rest.

Every time Cheryl mentions buying electronics she nearly always advises to get the warranty. A little voice in my head always say 'that's a really good idea'. Now if I can just find that little card.

Here's the last of the picture out of that little cam, at least for a while.

This is the lamp Jay's been making. Just off the form and on the light box. He's got another row acrossed the bottom on, kind of rounding it under. He's putting on the hardware now and picked up a cool bronze base for it. My favorite part is when he puts the patina on the solder and it ages.

Here's Bess (with the horns) and Belle. Both pregnant but not yet showing. Those would be their normal figures. Such ladies. Bless.

Painting ceramics with the kids.

The Christmas Carousel downtown

Seattle Center

I'd walked out the back door, acrossed the feild and down around the front of the house. I was trying not to set off the motion sensor for the light in the drive way. Bear followed me and then walked right into it.



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Right Now

Right now I’m sitting in my office overhearing Jay in his office talking to one of his guys. The guy is kinda hanging by a thread and Jay’s been coaching him for sometime now, with only marginal progress. It gives me mixed emotions. I’m proud of Jay for how he handles his guys and what good of a leader he is. I’m glad that it’s not me that has to have these tough conversations with the employees. I feel sorry for the dude he’s talking to. He’s another one of our 20+ year olds that wasn’t really well equipped for the job market when he came out of school. He has the typical bravado of a man his age. I think the ladies might call him a ‘player’. He’s a good kid at heart but just seems to be under the impression that he can get a head in life while only putting out minimal effort.

We had our bi-weekly office meeting yesterday and while we’re not feeling the pinch of the economy yet, were positioning ourselves for what may come. This guy is making himself low man on the totem pole.

I hope he’s able to grasp what he’s being told and can turn it around. I remember being that age and the feeling that nothing bad could really happen to you. Like nothing could really hurt you, that only happens to 'other' people. I guess it’s with age that you get more concerned about things like, what if ?

Then I have one of my guys who’s been working his butt off for the last two years to get his life back together after a mistakes he made and had to pay for. He’s done a remarkable job of paying off his debt to society and pulling himself up by the boot straps. I only worry because he’s living hand to mouth and we can’t guarantee 40 hours of work a week. I hope their all smarter then I’m giving then credit for. I hope they see how uncertain things are right now and are planning accordingly. But I kind of know what the answer to that question is.

Lord, I’m glad I’m not their age anymore and have some security.

Forgive the crappy post of unclear thoughts sewn together in an illogical sequence.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pass the Clairol

We had a very nice and quiet Thanksgiving. It was a smaller crowd then we normally have with my sister & BIL in Florida. My niece was there as she’s living with my Mom to complete her final year in high school in Washington. Really pretty simple all around.

Lolli & Jay made a second turkey dinner on Friday so we have tons of leftovers to eat this week. Friday for me, was a perfect lazy day watching old movies on TV and puttering around the house. Jay managed to fit in getting the lights up on the outside while helping with dinner. I was a slug. TMC had a marathon of Betty Davis & Joan Crawford films. What holiday would be complete with out watching Mildred Pierce?

On Sunday my friend Lorrie and I took her son out to lunch and a walk to look at the holiday Christmas decorations. We ate at a sports bar near the Seattle Center. Son had never been shopping downtown for Christmas so this was supposed to be a treat. Unfortunately it seems the retailers have really scaled back on the amount of decorations. There was also a noticeable lack of customers with out any lines at the registers. We walked around Seattle Center’s Center house and looked at the model train Christmas Village (cool) and watched the Japanese dancers (huh?) Next was the gingerbread houses annually displayed at the Sheraton Hotel, this years theme was ‘Superhero’s’, Superman, Batman and the like, which didn’t make for very Christmas-y ginger bread houses. Maybe they were trying to be multi-cultural – I’m not sure but it was strange.

I spent Sunday evening in the bathroom doing some manscaping. Now don’t get me wrong, if you’ve read me for a while you know I’m not a Metrosexual. Hell, most of my clothes are in drab shades of blue, gray or black. If I want to get wild with color there’s always green. I’m considered dressed up if I have nice gray wooly socks on with my sandals. I sat down to read the Sunday paper and noticed the hair on my chest was tickling my chin when I looked down. Now I’m not what you would normally call a hairy man but I do tend to grow quite a bit on my chest. It has at times been referred to as a pelt. So I took myself into the bathroom and whipped out the old beard trimmer and started to trim up my neck. Once I started there it just made sense to thin out the pelt a bit. After trimming off a good inch and a half I stopped and took a look. It seems that the hair on the top of my chest has gone gray. And by gray I mean snow white. So now I look like I have dark hair in a semi circular pattern from nipple to nipple looking like a large smile. The hair above it is white and doesn’t really show up.

The indignities of age.

I think I’ll dye it punk-rocker neon blue and see how long it takes Jay to notice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

When I think of what I have to be thankful for the first thing that comes to mind is my partner Jay. He's big and strong and loving and faithful. He's always sensitive to my moods, good or bad. I never doubt that I come first in his heart and even though he doesn't need to, he tells me he loves me everyday. He's taught me a lot about loving someone unconditionally. He makes me feel special.

He's the Swiss Army knife of partners. Carpenter, Boo-Boo kisser, Electrician, Remover of dead things, Plumber, Glass artist, Baker, Automotive mechanic, Goat herder, Chicken wrangler.

He's warm, caring, noble and true. He's a loving Son, Brother, Uncle, Cousin and Friend.

He makes me a better man.

He is my hero.

I'm thankful for all the friends who populate my life and make my world a better place.

I'm thankful for you.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.



Monday, November 24, 2008

When Babies Shoot Bullets

There was a shooting at the local mall on Saturday afternoon. A group of kids got into a confrontation and somebody pulled out a gun and shot one kid to death. On Sunday they moved the fight a little closer to us and another young man died in a parking lot behind a restaurant in the business district just up the road. Farther north in Rainer Valley they shot up a gas station and hit a 15 year old in the thigh and a 18 year old in the arm. No one died in the last one. The police say both incidents on Sunday were in retaliation for the first shooting at the mall.

What a waste. I'm guessing here, but I'd be willing to wager that it all started with words. Someone said something to someone who couldn't manage their anger. What a waste.

I remember being that age. I remember how my feelings were so intense I thought I might go crazy. How passion ruled my mind before logic. How everything seemed so big and so important.
But I didn't carry a gun.

The cops say it's gang related and I'm sure it is, but I'll bet you when the parents are interviewed they won't recognize their own child as a gang member. They'll say that they were good kids and they'll be telling the truth.

These kids are the same age as a lot of my friends children. Just a few years older then the kids who live down the street, the sweet kids who like to come up and see the goats and chickens. Kids that should be graduating in June. Kids that might have applied for a job with us in a few years.

Now their dead kids.

They're dead because it's as easy for a kid to get a gun in this country as it is to get a pack of cigarettes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Ramp Up

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We're having a ceramics painting party and many friends and assorted kids will be over to spend the day. We'll cover the kitchen in old newspaper and let them all go at it. Jay will have the kiln firing all next week and we can watch the wheel on the electric meter spin.

My buddy Norm and his wife are coming. I think Norm and I'll watch them play for a while then sneak off to go check out Second Use Building Materials. It's a store near us that recycles old building parts and pieces for resale. Many a good treasure I've found there. They have lots of weird, odd ball stuff to, this is where I found my 1890's pump organ sitting on a pallet covered with tarps and just to cheap to let it get away.

I figure by the time we get done with that and lunch we can safely head back to the house and all the Jr. painters will have exhausted themselves. It does start to make me feel a bit Christmas-y and ready to go get tree's after thanksgiving. It's an annual event for Jay and I to take Mom to pick out trees, take hers back to her house, get the lights on, then get ours home and lit on the same day. Jay does all the stringing of lights as he made the mistake of developing that skill years ago. My part comes after, decorating the thing. We normally get a big noble so it can take a couple of days.

My sister was up from Florida this week and we had about an hour to sit and chat and catch up. She brought up gift giving this year and I was happy to hear that she's 'over it' too. It's silly for a bunch of adults who have everything they need to be buying gifts for each other. So we agreed with Mom that from now on gifts will be for the kids only. Of course we all know we're going to cheat, at least I am, but the gifts will be small and just fun silly stuff.

Jay on the other hand is not off the hook. I've already worked out commitments on new furniture so that doesn't count as a Christmas present. He is in the process of making me a new Tiffany style lamp shade (I'll post pics as soon as it's off the form and tacked together) but that still doesn't get him off the hook. I'm thinking electronics.

So what do you want for Christmas ?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome to Kuboto Farm

Well this has all been a pain in the butt. I'd forgot how much tweeking it took to set up a new blog. I'll be playing around with it for a bit I'm sure. This whole things seems so silly and juvenile I just want to make the break and move on. So I'll just say this and let it drop. Someone from my real life and work started reading the old blog. Not that big of a deal in itself but it was making it harder and harder to write with out constantly editing myself.

Kuboto Garden is a park down at the bottom of our hill. I've written about it before and posted some pics. It was a Japanese nursery before world war 2 and was made as a display garden originally to showcase their products. The garden was abandoned when the Japanese were moved to concentration camps for the duration of the war. It later became a city park.

I just went to look up a fact on the park and now realize I've misspelled it. Well that's kind of kind of fitting for this whole debacle. Maybe the misspelling well help keep this blog a bit lower under the radar.

A few weeks ago we added Mr. Deeds to the goatie corral and he soon got busy impregnating Bess & Belle. When Jay registered the new herd with the state he had to come up with a name. We have always called this place Bear's farm but Jay didn't like that name so we co-opted the part of the parks name and added farm. And now I've misspelled it so none of it makes any sense.

See the kind of day I've had?

Whatever, it's done. I like the name even if it isn't exactly right.

I've been struggling with posts lately so hopefully this will be the start of something new and better. Thank you so much for wanting to follow along.

Me Again...

Happy One just pointed out to me that you could find the new blog from the old by veiwing my profile there. I've removed it but if anyone knows any ways that people might find the new blog from the old please let me know. I'm trying to cover my tracks here - Grrr - This sucks.


Hello! - Sorry for the quick move here. I'll post later when I have more time. This was put together in a hurry late last night so it's not quite ready and/or finished. Thanks for coming along. I'll try to explain more later.