Friday, December 30, 2016

Brownie Caramel Creme Root Beer

My order of 48 bottles of Root Beer from the Root Beer Store in Sand Point, Idaho has arrived.  Two large cases were on my porch this afternoon as Honey made a fuss over the delivery person.
Inside the four boxes taped together to make two larger cases are the 48 individual bottles of various Root Beers that I ordered this past Tuesday.  Of course, I could not contain my excitement and open one that sounded like it might be tasty.

Brownie Caramel Creme Root Beer sounds like a wonderful thing.  The first thing you notice is the lack of foamy head when pouring into a glass.  The second thing you notice is the strong vanilla smell when you raise the glass to your lips.  What sounds like a good thing really isn't if you are a lover of old style Root Beers.  Attempts to add other flavors to the base Root Beer usually doesn't impress my palette.  This one is no exception.  While I finished it, I cannot strongly recommend it.  Mia loves caramel but she agrees, don't put it in Root Beer, at least not this much.  This one is bottled by my recently discovered bottler in Mukilteo, Washington, Orca Bottling.

More Root Beer

Here is another Root Beer, Red Arrow

Bottled locally by Orca Beverages in Mukilteo, Washington it is a good Root Beer.  Not overly sweet with an aroma of licorice and wintergreen.  It pours fairly flat with very little head foam.  Flavor is good.

Also bottled by Orca Beverages in Mukilteo, is Anchor Ginger Root Beer.  "As a tribute to all the Sea Dogs and Scallywags looking for adventure on the high seas".  A tasty, foamy root beer that first fills your taste buds with a strong Ginger taste.  Midway through the drink, your taste buds find some of the other flavors.  Alongside the Red Arrow I like the Anchor better.
More root beers are on the way.  Forty-nine to be precise.  I will try to review each as I drink them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Since We Aren't Traveling

We'll do Root Beer evaluations.

Today is a brand out of Abita Springs, Louisiana called Abita Root Beer.  Bottled by Abita Brewing Company formed in 1986 just 30 miles north of New Orleans.  We might have to visit on our way to Orleans.  Anyway this root beer is full of flavor but it is also full of sugar.  I don't like my root beer overly sweet and this one is one I likely won't buy again.  I will, however, visit the brewery if I remember as I pass by on the way south.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Down Memory Lane

As some rather wet snow falls out of the sky this morning and Christmas music is playing on Pandora, I find myself reminded of years gone past.  Days, when I didn't have a care in the world outside of trying to stay in my parents good graces.  Back to the days when dirt was invented; well, maybe not that far.

Painting by Terry Redlin
I only wish I could live there

As a young child, Christmas was always an exciting part of the year.  While we did go to church and I did understand the true meaning of the day I found myself enjoying the anticipation, food, decorations, food and trips to visit family and friends, oh, and more food.

My mother was a very capable baker.  She usually started Christmas preparations sometime in October by making a batch of fruit bread for the holidays and gifts.  She would combine candied fruit, nuts and rum with her homemade, for lack of a better word, dough.  She would put the ingredients in little tin bread pans.  I can't remember if she baked them before she froze them or not.  I suspect not because her sole reason for starting so early was to allow the rum to infuse itself with the other ingredients.  Sometime after Thanksgiving, she would begin the process of deicing the cakes and baking them.

Being a baker mom couldn't help herself around the holidays.  The kitchen was usually the warmest room in the house because the oven was going constantly.  She would prepare and bake all kinds of cookies.  Candies were one of her favorite things to make and she usually had two or three different ones.  What she called butter horns, breads and something called a Christmas wreath were always welcome additions to our holiday food fair.  I especially waited with baited breath for the Christmas wreath.  It was bread like dough with candied fruit and nuts inside formed to look like a wreath and the inside edges were cut with a knife.  Baked in the oven until golden brown and drizzled with homemade icing and I was pretty sure that I had died and gone to Heaven every single Christmas.

I can see the house in my mind, the kitchen lay out and mom kneading bread on the table as something bakes in the oven.  I remember the smells and all the dirty pots and pans she had to clean after each round of baking but the thing I remember the most is the love of what she was doing.  She spent so many hours working dough to make it just right.  She put a lot of love in all that she did and I am truly sorry I didn't recognize that until after she passed away.  One thing we never lacked during the holidays was goodies made by a woman who obviously enjoyed bringing joy to others.

I will head back down this lane later but for now, I hope all is well with you and yours.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catch Up and Root Beer

Just thought I had better post a blog in case any one following it had come to the conclusion that I had passed on to another dimension.  Actually I went back to work for a few months and haven't really been doing anything but that.  We haven't taken any trips or done much of anything lately but the good news...we have left this dimension yet.

I got an email from one of my favorite stores in all the world, the Root Beer Store.  Seems the cost of obtaining product coupled with the newly voted minimum wage law here in Washington State has forced them to close all but one of their local stores and it closes in December.  Yesterday, Mia and I dropped by the flagship store in Redmond, Washington and purchased several different bottles of my favorite liquid and I have already enjoyed three of them.

The first asks you to Judge For Yourself.  I gave it an 8 out 10.  It is very good but not the best every.

The second is Avery's.  The logo says you should "Always ask for Avery's.  I gave it a 9 out of 10.  It is one of the sweeter versions.
Last but not least is Cicero Beverage Co. Salted Caramel Root Beer.  Very good with a pretty strong caramel presence.  I don't get a salt taste.  9 out of 10.

There you have it.  Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Things Are Changing

Several years before retirement we chose to downsize our lifestyle and move from a house to a condo.  During our search for an established, well run campus we made a list of things we wanted.  We figured this would be our last move and wanted to be fairly close to the things that we needed.

At the time, the Metro transit line ran right down the main street in front of our campus.  That changed a couple of years ago when there was a shuffling of routes and we now must walk several blocks to catch a bus.

In the beginning, we had a Balley's Fitness Center right out our back gate and across the street.  That changed in December 2011 when Balley's experienced financial issues and they closed down and LA Fitness purchased most of their memberships.  Unfortunately for us, LA Fitness already had two big facilities in Federal Way so ours was shuttered.  Earlier this week, work began on the old Balley's Facility to transform the property to multiple family dwellings.

I guess change is good.

Retirement is good for sure.  I get fewer phone calls and emails and the best part, I don't have to answer them within any time constraints.  I can sleep in but Honey has decided that I shouldn't do that cause she needs to get up early.  I can do or not do anything, anytime I want.  So life is good at the moment.  We are looking forward to tripping next year after Mia's surgery and recovery.

Hope all is well and thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

So Apparently We Do Reincarnate

Atoms are the building blocks of everyone and everything we see.  They are everywhere in multitudes that cannot be comprehended by our current abilities.
It has been stated that atoms that are currently forming our being may have come from universe billions and billions of years ago, shaping new forms.  Those forms cease to exist and the atoms move on to be something else.  We could have the atoms of many of those that have existed before us.  Think about the possibility that you might have Einstein, Jefferson, Washington, John Wilkes Booth, or any other possible combination of atoms from some other entity.

Reincarnation at the very basic level?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Awaiting Results

Went to our regional health facility on Monday as requested by my Dermotolgist.  Since I have been having so much trouble he wanted me to come in for a biopsi of my skin for analysis.  I was injected with a deadner that makes the skin pop up on my right forearm and left outer thigh.  Using a punch tool the doctor took what looked like a "core sample" of material from both places.  Since this process digs a half inch deep hole in you there is blood and a big enough hole that a single stitch is required to close the wound.  I didn't feel a thing and I was happy for that.  I hope that I will find out what has invaded my body and get something to make it finally go away.
The doctor prescribed Doxepin to help relieve itching and the insomnia that comes with the constant itching.  I took one last night and fell soundly to sleep.  Mia said I was scratching but I didn't know it cause I was out cold.  Today, I have been in a fog and a little spacey.  A very powerful, small pill.

Early this morning I made raspberry freezer jam and some raspberry topping for ice cream.  It is so easy to do and I love raspberry jam.

Beyond that I have done very little.  Actually found myself taking a nap this afternoon.  I am thinking I won't take another pill tonight.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Difficulties in Canada

We spent a day roaming around Canmore and Banff as well as heading up to Lake Louise.  Our son had told us of a tea house a short hike from a huge parking lot.  We had hoped to take that hike but it became very clear,  early on, that the weather conditions were not going to allow us to make the trip.  Overcast and raining we chose not to take the hike.  We had not packed proper clothing for such a hike as it was over ninety degrees when we left.  Weather conditions can change in the mountains and they did.  We spent time around Banff and Canmore enjoying the scenery and just relaxing.

We found a quilt shop in Canmore that Mia said was fairly well known in the quilting community.  She investigated their wares while Honey and I waited as we usually do.

Canmore was a coal mining town before it closed down in 1979.  Named after the town of Ceannmore in northwest Scotland.  It is a Celtic word meaning "Big Head" and was titled in honor of King Malcolm III of Canmore who killed Macbeth in a fight for the Scottish throne in 1057.
The last mining town left in the Bow Valley area the city soon learned that it needed to make some adjustments in order to survive.  In 1980 Canmore became the site of the Nordic events for the winter Olympics in 1988.  Since then, Canmore has continued to be a vibrant community.

We took a short road trip while awaiting the check in time.  Following Three Sisters Road east out of town along the Bow River we come around a corner and look off in the distance to see what looks like a domed building sitting on the moon.  The Lafarge Concrete plant has a store dome that gives you the impression you are on another planet.  There is a lot of rock mining and gravel and concrete companies along this stretch of highway.

 Unfortunately Mia continued to have difficulties with her digestive system and my rash was moving around my body like a marathon runner.  The constant itching and scaling was driving me crazy.  Numerous emails to my medical provider got several different responses.  One response suggested I start taking bleach bathes.  Simple put, fill the bathtub and put a half a cup of household bleach in the water and jump in.  Supposedly it will kill bacteria if the rash is some kind of infection.

It didn't do much and I have continued to take one daily since the first.  The scaling seems to be better but the itching is almost non-stop.  The good news is the doctors made an appointment for me on Monday and I will be going in to have a biopsy taken.  Hopefully we will soon learn what it is and what it will take to dispose of it.

We saw a lot of great scenery in Canada and learned that it is illegal to panhandle.  Signs say it is also unsafe for motorists.  We discovered that Alberta has many economic issues with both a provincial and city governments that are taxing many businesses right out of business.  So everything isn't rosy in Canada.

Hope everything is good and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Canada and Beyond

We spent last Sunday night in Post Falls, Idaho and got up and took a leisurely trip to Kalispell, Montana.  As I said before, one reason for stopping in this area of Montana is the Polebridge Mercantile Bakery and one of my favorite things, Huckleberry Bear Claws.  I was not disappointed.  We had very little trouble locating the bakery in Whitefish.  To my surprise, the Whitefish location makes a bear claw nearly twice the size of the one in Polebridge for the same cost.  Definitely satisfied with that.
I have had an old leather belt for as long as I can remember.  I have punched holes in it and used it to hold up just about every kind of pants you can imagine.  Lately it has been getting a bit tattered.  I have purchased new belts from department stores but I find myself very disappointed when they fail because they are not pliable and tend to crack and fall apart.  My old belt is one piece of leather that is soft and hasn't cracked.  I went to a clothing store in Kalispell and found a replacement (haven't tossed it yet) belt.  It was expensive as belts go but if it last anywhere as long as the one it is replacing it will still be usable after I am dead and buried.  I highly recommend this store if you want good outerwear with a western flair.
We left Kalispell and head up to cross the border into the Canadian Rockies.  The border is just a short trip north and the crossing was not busy at all.  We were in Canada on our way to Banff in no time at all.  I had to adjust to the speed being in kilometers and thus a little slower that the U.S. equivalent.  In fact, we didn't see a speed limit above 120 kilometers per hour (68 mph) during our whole trip.  We cruised into the Canadian Rockies and I have to admit my son was right.  The Canadian version of the Rockies is better than the American version.  I can't really put my finger on it but I think it has to do with the speed of travel (much slower), the roadway (not a freeway) and the scenery.  The magnificent vistas catch you at every turn.  As you climb and head towards their Trans Canadian Highway you soon learn you are about to enter the Banff National Park.  You arrive at Radium Hot Springs and soon learn that you need a pass to transverse the park.  The purchase is simple.  Just tell them how many days you expect to be visiting and they charge you accordingly and give you a pass to tape to your windshield.  Low the poor individual who happens to stop anywhere in the park with no pass taped to the windshield.  Park workers are everywhere and they write tickets for not passes.
Amazing Vistas

Sign flashes to warn of bears in the road


Wild flowers

Wild life

Wild river

Wild rapids

We arrived in Canmore, BC just east of Banff a few kilometers and made our way to our motel for the next two days.  So far so good.

I was still suffering from what I thought was psoriasis but I was becoming more aware that it might be something else.  The itching and rash was terrible.  There was burning combined with constant itching and some skin scaling over a good percentage of my body.  My medical staff worked with me as we traveled but as I will tell you later, nothing seemed to help give me any relief.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.  I will continue the update over the next couple of days.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

First Day Out

We left Yakima fairly early this morning heading for Palouse Falls State Park outside Starbuck, Washington.  While some of the water comes from mountain run off, the vast majority of it comes from inside the earth through balsamic rock.  In the middle of pretty much no place, this park is at the end of what looks like someone driveway.  It requires a state issued Discover Pass.
From there we drove towards Spokane and stopped at the first Washington State Department of Transportation rest area at Horn School on US 195 north of Colfax, Washington.  Built in 1967 from money provided by the Johnson Presidential administration.  A very nice respite.
Then it was on to Post Falls, Idaho where it only managed to get to 95 degrees.
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Update On Too Many Things To List, Thoughts On Bison

The psoriasis has not died down with the medications I have been given and it appears that the Dermatology department of my health provider will do nothing until the original prescribed treatment  is up in another 17 days or so.  It is really bad with flaking skin in a lot of areas while others have blemishes and spots that itch like hell.  There are some, especially on my neck and face, that burn.  To say the least, it is very distracting.

The water leak in the basement garage turned out to be a broken line from our main water supply line out through the foundation and into the yard area.  After digging a  large hole next to our porch the leak was found on the outside of the foundation and was seeping back into the hole that the pipe ran through.  Our maintenance crew did a great job and called a plumber to fix the pipe once they uncovered it.  The hole has been filled and we are back in business.

Recently our Home Owners Association lost their Vice President due to some health reasons.   The Board was seeking volunteers from the residents to fill the position.  Now that I am retired I figured I had the time and desire so I went to their most recent meeting and was voted in before I sat down.  Our condo is well run and kept in decent shape.  Most residents understand the value added from a nice facility.  Doesn't look like it will be too much extra work.

An update on our burglary and my laptop.  It appears that Verizon will not reset the illegally appropriated data that was used by the two gentlemen who chose to live in our trailer for a few days.  We are getting what we think is the correct paperwork along with letters advising Apple that the laptop belongs to us and hopefully we will get them to fix it back to the factory settings so we can restart, update and wipe the hackers info from it.  I am just waiting a letter at this point.

There has been a huge discussion in the media and on social media about the Canadian who decide that a bison calf was so cold that it needed attention and they decided to put it in their vehicle to warm it up.

There are approximately 500,000 bison roaming the plains today.  Mostly in State and National Parks.  There were millions a little over two hundred years ago.  Greed, migration of settlers and indians, traders and the railroad have a lot to do with the massive losses of these creatures.  They are magnificent to look at and can weigh up to a ton.  Not something that you should even want to consider messing with.  And messing with their children can cause significant issues.

Imagine for a moment that someone has taken your child away from you because they think you are mistreating them.  What is your reaction?  What will you do?  Anything you could to keep your child safe.  Then what, exactly, do you expect an animal to do when one of its young is being molested?  Lucky for these folks, it appears that perhaps the mom and dad weren't near by or it happened before they realized what was going on.  How do we know that the officials presented the calf to the correct herd?  Herds move constantly and it is possible that the herd of this calf was miles away by the time they got around to bringing it back and of course another herd would reject that which isn't theirs.

While there is a lot of discussion about the possibility of sending the calf to a rescue facility, the calf would have been required to be in quarantine for months before being introduced to a new population.  I feel bad for the calf and wish that it were not necessary to put it down but I don't see an alternative.

People are stupid around wildlife.  I watched people get out of their cars in Custer State Park and Yellowstone National Park to get a selfie with one of these one ton animals.  My pictures were taken with a zoom lens and I wasn't about to take any selfies.  These animals are huge and at least twenty-some folks have been injured trying to get pictures or pet them.

Please enjoy the outdoors and the wildlife around you but let them be.  They have a life to live that is uniquely theirs.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Psoriasis, Burglary, and a Water Leak

It has definitely been an interesting few days since my last post.  Prior to my last post I discovered what I thought was a flare up of my psoriasis.  I had never had anything this bad before.  The occasional flare up on my face and in my scalp but that is generally where it remained.  This time it spread to parts of the body that don't do well with lesions due to thinner skin as well as other areas along my legs.  I won't go into the gory details because this is a family blog, but suffice it to say that the itching and burning that accompany these flare ups can be a serious detriment to continued happiness.  I went to my doctor and got a diagnosis exactly as I had suspected and was given several ointments and shampoos that I have used over the last week.  Things got better in some places while other areas became involved and don't seem to be reacting well to the treatment.  Needless to say I have made an appointment with a dermatologist to seek relief.  I don't know for sure when they will set me up but I hope it is soon.

Mia has been having stomach problems for several months and was diagnosed with some kind of hernia related to her digestive system.  After several test is has been discovered that a good portion of her stomach is residing in her esophagus and she is likely to need corrective surgery.  This is not a fun condition for her and this morning she was have some difficulty and we almost called the consulting nurse but she managed to get it to calm down.  I don't think I want to go back up to the trailer with her having this much of an issue.

On 05/10/2016 while enjoying a quiet afternoon with my wife binge watching Hell On Wheels, my smart phone announced the fact that I had used 50% of my available data.  I looked at it but didn’t do anything right then.  Later, at approximately 7:00 o’clock p.m., I noticed that I had used another gigabit of data.  I checked our phones and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.  I checked my Verizon account and discovered that my Verizon Jet Pac located in Gold Bar was active.  Since both my wife and I were home, I began to suspect there might be an issue since no one we would normally allow to be at our trailer should have been there.

I called Verizon and explained my dilemma and asked them to discontinue service to the Jet Pac until I could find out what was going on.  When I got off the phone with Verizon I called GBNT Security (7:33 p.m.) and requested that they check the trailer as I suspected there may be a problem.

At 7:40 p.m. the security person, Irene called me back and said that there was an individual in the trailer named ****.  She wanted to know if I knew someone named ********.   The name didn’t register at first so I said no and told her to call the sheriff because they did not have authorization to be there.  Shortly after 8:00 p.m. my wife and I left Federal Way and drove up to GBNT.  During that time we had two phone conversations with officer Jon Barnett of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.  During those conversations we learned of another adult also residing in our trailer.  

We arrived at the lot in GBNT shortly after 9:00 p.m. to find two GBNT security personnel and two Snohomish County Sheriff’s.  As Officer Barnett explained it our visitor had gained access to the park sometime Sunday morning.  He forced entry into the trailer and had been residing there every since.  He apparently met up with the second individual that day (05/10) and offered him a  place to stay.  Since our first resident had a key he apparently felt it must be okay.  Officer Barnett indicated they really had no reason to legally detain him.  We later learned that he too was arrested on an outstanding warrant from King County.  He asked if I wished to press charges against Mr. ****** and I indicated that we did.

Upon looking at the trailer we found the front sliding door and frame bent and scratched due to forced entry.  Inside of the trailer was a complete shambles.  All of the drawers and closets emptied and clothes tossed everywhere.  A good percentage of our on hand food supplies had be eaten and some remained in pots and pans on the stove and all over the kitchen counters.  Pictures were removed from the walls and some appear to have been destroyed.
The kitchen was littered with dirty dishes, pots, pans

Our clothes and possessions tossed all over

What a mess

The bed...we tossed the pillows

Floor next to the bed

My Apple Mac Pro laptop was accessed by removing and deleting all of my information and replacing it with Mr ******** information and password.  He used my laptop to access the Verizon Jet Pac that triggered my response.  After Officer Barnett talked to Mr. ******** we learned he had deleted me from my computer so he could access it.  

After talking to Apple on Wednesday there is serious doubt as to if I'll be able to regain control of the laptop.  It seems this gentleman is a pretty smart cookie and he somehow overrode me and managed to obtain access to the admin password.  Once he deleted my information he entered his and changed a password on the firmware side of the computer that makes it impossible for me to regain access to or change the operating system.  My plan was to wipe it clean and start over fresh but without that password I can't.  Apple says they can access it but they must have proof of purchase and id.  We purchased the laptop from Mia's ex-boss while she was still working for them.  They had decided to change their office over to Mac from PC and we went in on the deal because Apple was giving them a good deal.  They are trying to locate the original paperwork to help me get Apple to fix the laptop.

Yesterday, as Mia and I were leaving to do some shopping we noticed water on the floor next to the outside wall of the garage.  We called our HOA representative and we are currently having a big dig in front of our condo.  I'll update you once we find out what has happened.

Isn't life fun?

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Nice Couple Of Days

Sunday started out with a beautiful sunrise and my grand daughter and lovely wife working together in the kitchen of our trailer to make breakfast.  I am not a big gravy and biscuit guy but this was damed good.
After that meal I went out and spent a hour or so with my new weed whacker beating up the trailer and the surrounding vegetation.  My new weed eater is pretty powerful and it not only eats weeds it can eat plastic.  I got too close to the plastic skirting around the bottom of the trailer and punched some holes in a few spots.  I managed to get some of the weeds cut off but I still have more to do.

Duct tape repair

It was mid day and I needed to get our grand daughter home so we left Mia and Honey at the trailer and headed south.  I dropped her off at her house and I continued on to the condo after a couple of stops along the way to complete some errands.  I spent the afternoon watching the Mariner game, they lost, and the May Day celebrations in downtown Seattle, more like a riot.  In bed early I was up before dawn Monday and on the road back to Gold Bar.

Monday was hot reaching 86 in the mid afternoon.  It was kind of a lazy day for Mia and I.  Mia worked on a quilt that she is making and I started to spray paint a table that we were given.  I had disassembled it last year and cleaned and sanded all the parts.  I wiped them down and got some of them done.  The paint takes two to five hours to dry even in warm weather like we had  yesterday so I still have a couple of components that need painting.  Those that are done look really good.

The weather is in change mode.  It appears we might get into the seventies today with some clouds.  Tomorrow we switch back to lower temperatures and showers.  That continues into Friday when we are to get more warm, sunny weather.  But then, it could all be smoke and mirrors.

I might be appointed to my Home Owners Association Board of Directors at the condo complex.  The  President of the Board is making a presentation to the group in hopes of my filling out a term vacated by the Vice President at the next meeting in a couple of weeks.  I am kind of hopeful that I will get the appointment.

Hope all is well and thanks for stopping by.