Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Have a safe, sane and happy New Year!

We'll be staying in touch.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Life moves forward from here...

An interesting test...

Now, I'm not a Dungeon and Dragon player though I admit the game's always intrigued me a bit...

Anyways, someone sent me a link to a quiz on a Dungeon and Dragon website. I caved and took the quiz. In the end my answers were used to generate a Dungeon and Dragon character.

Here's the results:

I Am A: Lawful Good Dwarf Ranger (7th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Dwarves are known for their skill in warfare, their ability to withstand physical and magical punishment, their hard work, and their capacity for drinking ale. Dwarves are slow to jest and suspicious of strangers, but they are generous to those who earn their trust. They stand just 4 to 4.5 feet tall, but are broad and compactly built, almost as wide as they are tall. Dwarven men value their beards highly.

Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Now I have no idea what any of this stuff means. It's gibberish to me. However, those of you who might be players of the game, well you might just want to give it a try yourself. If you get the urge, jump on over there and take the test. If you feel even bolder post the results on your blog.

Everyone, take care and have a safe and merry Christmas and New Year.

It's not the same around here but we're regrouping.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

not up to it lately...

I'm just not up to posting anything on here lately. I guess I'm still trying to get some things behind me.

I'm writing this just so everyone knows we're still here. Just not quite ready to post things yet.

We're still out here though. One day at a time, eh?

Take care.

Friday, November 09, 2007

November 04, 2007...

At approximately 01:09 a.m. on what would have been Mom and Dad's 66th. anniversary Dad passed on. He held out for their anniversary.

It's amazing how death can unite.

We buried his ashes with Mom's yesterday, November 08, 2007.

I'll post a more detailed post later.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Judging from what our son and daughter in law are telling us we have twins on the way!

They're a bit crowded in this pic but hey, there's definitely two little folks there!

Yup, two in the hangar... launch date sometime in March, 2008.

Twins certainly aren't unusual in our families. Jackie and I both have twin brothers and there's twins running around everywhere in our family trees.

Regardless though, this is going to be so cool!!! Hah! They're going to have their big sister to show them the ropes and she's definitely getting smarter, stronger and wiser by the day...

...not to mention cuter.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share the latest news with everyone.

Monday, October 01, 2007

He's back in the hospital...

Well, this has been a pretty busy couple of months here in our house. Actually, it's been two or three very busy months... personally and professionally... and the only let up in sight is on the professional side. We're starting to get our fall rains so the fire season is drawing closer to a close.

On the personal side... still hectic.

We took Dad to the emergency room this past Saturday morning (September 29). His face was very swollen, his eyes almost swollen shut, his skin extremely taut and hot to the touch, he had a head to toe rash that wasn't getting any better and, in short he was just plain miserable but he still didn't want to go to the hospital.

He didn't really have a choice though. He went.

After sitting in the emergency room with him for a couple of hours I noticed he was losing some of the "puffiness" in his face and neck. When the emergency room doctor came in to see him he did his usual doctor/patient interview and picked up on a previous prescription of the drug "predesone" to my Dad right away.

The story kind of goes like this... When Dad got nipped by a spider a month or so ago (that incident prompted my previous post) his doctor prescribed "Predesone" to him along with some super powerful antibiotics. I guess steroids and antibiotics are common tools in the doctor's arsenal when treating spider bites.

I know when I got bit by a Hobo a couple of years back my doctor prescribed some powerful antibiotics and a topical (and powerful) steroid laden salve that I was to apply directly onto the opened sore. After a couple of weeks the salve and antibiotic treatment had reversed the effects of the spider's venom and things were well on their way to healing with me.

But with Dad things didn't fall into place that fast. After the spider bite his hands, arms, legs and ankles puffed up tremendously. The treatment didn't seem to be working and a couple of weeks later he had that stroke!

While he was in the hospital for the stroke they took him off of all of those medications and treated him with meds via an IV. Everything started falling back into place for him. His swollen arms, hands, feet, legs were looking better, he was more alert, he was getting his strength back, his breathing was less labored... things just seemed to be getting better.

He got released from the hospital with a couple of prescriptions. We noticed a cough that he's had for over a year was still lingering and appeared to be happening a bit more frequently. It's one of those persistent, deep lung type of coughs that never sounds good and never seemed to go away. It's had us all concerned for quite some time. Even the doctors couldn't figure it out.

Finally, one doctor in particular took it on. After a lot of research, poking, prodding, bloodwork, etc. he determined the cough to be directly related to Dad's reaction to a blood pressure medication (Lesinopril) that was prescribed to him and that he quit taking over a year ago.

So, with the hopes of countering the reaction he prescribed some new meds... Predesone being one of them. The prescription was a short term type prescription that would run out after a couple of weeks of use. The doctor was hoping to get a handle on the cough and the still lingering effects of the spider bite. He also threw in some super heavy duty antibiotics... again, short term stuff.

At first, everything seemed to be going well for Dad then one day I stopped by and he was going nuts rubbing, scratching his arms, head and chest. He'd evidently acquired one helluva rash over the past couple of days. The rash was so bad that I thought it was a huge outbreak of shingles. After another visit to the emergency room and a diagnosis of the rash as "Echo Virus" he was precribed another "short term dose" of Predesone and some antibiotics.

As it ended up, the rash wasn't Echo Virus afterall (we had to Google "Echo Virus"). It was a bad reaction to the prescribed medications he'd already been taking...

That coupled with a new prescription of Predesone sent his body over the edge. The latest reaction included the facial swelling and distortion.

So, he's sitting in the hospital as I write this. We're hoping he gets released today but if they want to keep him longer to fix things then "so-be-it"... just get it right this time!

I visited with him yesterday and noticed a remarked improvement. His face was getting back to normal, the "hives" seemed to be going away, he was still "itchy" but he seemed to be in much better spirits. He was tired and far less miserable then he was when I took him there.

In all, he's making progress... again.

I'm heading out to see him here shortly. We'll see what the doctor says but we're not pushing for any "early release".

Update: October 02, 2007.

I went over yesterday morning and "sprung" Dad from the hospital. It's amazing what will happen when a doctor who knows what he's doing gets involved in Dad's health care! His "hives" are almost gone, the doc's cut back on Dad's medicine and his "edema" (yes, water retention around his face, neck and head) is much less now.

So, I went over yesterday and brought him home. He stopped by last night for dinner and looked even better than he did a couple of hours prior.

Amazing! I think this particular doctor figured out what's been causing Dad's ailments over the past year and a half. It only took the doctor a day and some tests to get it right. Once he got it right everything started falling into place on Dad. The hives started disappearing, the edema started receding, Dad's cough has all but gone away.


Thanks Doctor Smith.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's SPIDER time!

It's that time of the year. The Hobo spiders and all of the others are crawling about getting ready for the coming fall and winter weather. I've killed a couple good sized ones already.

Trust me they're aggressive, agitated and they do bite. I don't subscribe to the discussions by some that Hobo spiders are relatively harmless. Nope! I've been bit a couple of years ago, Dad's been bit this year and the bites aren't fun. They are NOT harmless. I have a scar on my leg that's the size of a silver dollar from where I was nipped by one.

Here's a bit of info on them.

Oh, Ed and Sue... although you're not directly responsible I'd like to thank your country for sharing them with us. The Hobo isn't native to the United States but has certainly taken hold in the Pacific Northwest after having been introduced here from the UK (and other European) trade vessels in the 1920's... or so the story's told.

After the spider's introduction it seems to have adapted quite well, given the perfect habitat for it that the Pacific Northwest offers. Even Oregon has it's moments with the Hobo.

We also have the Black Widow spider that occasionally sneaks in an appearance or two. Moreso on the more arid east side of the Cascade Mountains... you know, where the rattlesnakes, scorpions, cactus and other things that bite and prick you reside.

But, just when we thought we had a bad spider situation we get this story fresh out of Texas! It makes you want to move further north... to Alaska or the north part of the Yukon.

Ah... leave it to Texas!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The "Ol' Man"...

...Dad, he has some ailments.

Our son and my brother had to give him CPR yesterday. I was across the state about 300 miles away in the Cheney area working on a fire when the wife called me. I just arrived at the fire after making the 5 hours drive from home earlier in the day. She told me Dad "wasn't acting right". One of my brother's had made his usual stop by Dad's house Sunday morning and while there he noticed Dad was acting a bit confused, pre-occupied... lethargic.

He called our house to try to get someone to come over and help him with Dad. Dad's stubborn as all get out and didn't want to go to the hospital. I wasn't home so my brother called our son. After receiving the call Justin headed for Dad's house to see what he could do.

The wife also went over there after calling me.

By the time I got word and got someone over at Dad's to answer a phone everyone had arrived. I spoke with my brother who told me Dad was "very confused, not himself" then I talked with Dad.

Wow! He definitely wasn't himself. I immediately thought "stroke" and urged everyone to call the medics. Either way, he wasn't well at all.

Eventually someone called 911.

Dad quit breathing. Justin and my brother had to perform CPR on him until the medics arrived.

When the medics arrived they tended to him in their normal, professional manner.

They carted him off... to the hospital, to the place he didn't want to go but had to. They had to zap him to get his heart back once as they were taking him out of the house to put him into the medic unit for transport to the hospital. I guess that didn't sit well with The Old Man.

But what he said made the medics laugh. He had his wits at least.

Yup, the Old Man... he has some ailments. And his chest hurts a little this morning too.

I drove home from Cheney as soon as I heard what was going on. He's doing much better and today the doctors will be trying to figure out what happened to him yesterday.

I'm taking the day off today and will be running Andrew up to see him. The little bugger is worried about him... we all are. All in all, yesterday was a very busy day!

Just another one of life's precious moments.

A postnote re: strokes. Don't hesitate to get medical attention if you suspect someone is having a stroke. Get immediate medical attention. Time is everything when a stroke is suspected.

We were lucky with Dad. We're not even sure that's what happened but the doctors are leaning that way. Either way, it scared the crap out of all of us!

Update! August 14, 2007
It seems Dad had a stroke previously that led to a couple of "seizures" on Sunday... the day all of this came to a head. I visited him this morning and he's doing much, much better. A bit irritated about a couple of things but hey (no driving for 6 months, cat scans, probes, etc.), but HEY, he's here with us. That's the good news! I was comfortable enough with his condition to head out for some catch up work in Northeastern Washington. I'll be back home Friday to see if we can get him out of that hospital and get him back into his comfort zone.

The wife, the son, brother Dan, Andrea... hell, all of them heroes and heroines of this latest "adventure". Thanks for being there!

Update!! August 16, 2007
Okay, he's been released from the hospital and is in the comforts of his home. He's doing much better. Thanks everyone for your comments, concerns and prayers.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Devil's Club...

...a seemingly wicked little forest friend.

Devil's Club (Oplopanax Horridus) is a large shrub native to the northeast Pacific Ocean seaboard including the Pacific Northwest and reaching up into Alaska.

In Washington State it's normally found in large quantities along the floors of mountain drainages in the dense, temperate rain forests of the young coastal mountains, the Olympic Peninsula and the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Given the ideal growing conditions found at those locations, i.e. dense deciduous and conifer overstories and damp, rich soils the shrub will reach heights of 15 feet or more and will grow in huge seemingly communal "patches" making much of the forest in those areas impenetrable... unless you're insane or armored with a good hat, thick leather gloves, chaps, long sleeves and a very sharp machete.

Devil's club, affectionately referred to by some as "mountain cactus" or "Alaskan Ginseng" isn't all that hiker friendly.

From a distance the plant itself appears... errr, delicate.

It's tall, thick stalks curl outward and upward from the ground. As they continue to grow their many branches shoot for the sky in all directions.

The huge, innocent, delicate leaves invite the uninformed forest visitor to take a closer look. However be careful, the veins of these huge leaves are covered with spines top and bottom. Sinister, wicked, vicious little spines... brittle as all get out and filled with a chemical type of spine that, when embedded and broken off under your skin definitely will make you wish you were somewhere else doing something else rather than dealing with this particular shrub.

It's not so much the burning of the chemical that becomes the problem after getting in the shrub's way. Nope it's that darned prolonged itching, festering and burning of the spine itself as your body resists the invading, severed spear while trying to push it back out from under your skin in the days, weeks or months that follow... depending upon how intimate you got with the shrub.

I've had friends (and relatives) who have had their gloves "stapled" to their hands because they've reached out and grabbed the shrub's stalks or branches (the wrong thing) to slow them down as they tumbled or slid downslope through a grove of Devil's Club. Now that's quite a bit more than that annoyance you'll get when you encounter nettles or thistles.

The sight of a clenched, stapled glove and fist isn't a pretty sight for anyone involved... it's memorable but it's not pretty!

Either way, empathy reins!

However, in a morbid sort of way it can be a humorous sight if you're trying to put a humorous spin on things. It's certainly something to chat about around the campfire or to revisit as a "war story" over the years... after the trauma wears off. A good chat, a fun laugh, a memorable moment to be revisited in chatter but never again to be repeated in life.

I should caution everyone it's only humorous AT THE TIME if it isn't you trying to peel your glove off of your infested hand. So, reserve your laughter for a later date. Tend to the person in need of assistance at the time of the "encounter".

Laugh later.

Devil's Club has particularly delicate little flowers found hidden amongst it's leaves and stalks in the spring and eventually generates clusters of small, bright red berries in the late summer and early fall.

During this "growing season"... spring flowers to fall berries... the plant itself, all parts of the plant is particularly toxic. Hence, the discussion suggests that an invasive little prick from one of those brittle, little spines during this particular "growing season" is a bit more painful than those encountered in the "off season"... if that's possible.

It's been my unfortunate experience over the years that suggests those little spine "invasions" are as equally intense no matter what the season is...

The berries are toxic. The bark's toxic, the flowers are toxic... the whole plant is toxic.

So, what brings me to the point of writing about Devil's Club? Well... it's that time of year. As I drive through my office in the Pacific Northwest I take in the sights along the way... and while I'm there.

I've seen and dealt with Devil's Club all of my life here in Washington State. Not every day but a lot! I'll most likely be dealing with it for quite awhile longer too. It's not going to go away. But, I've learned some things about this Mountain Cactus... this Alaskan Ginseng.

I've learned that Devil's Club has a far less sinister side to it as well. It's a plant revered by the native people of this particular area. It's known to have healing and spiritual powers and is still used in particular tribal rituals throughout the region.

The healing qualities of the plant includes treatment of diabetes, fever and upset stomachs. Here's a great article on the shrub and it's uses.

The bottom line is this... Devil's Club is to be respected. Respected for it's attributes, respected for it's healing powers and respected for it's natural defenses.

People actually harvest Devil's Club after the berries and leaves fall and before the flowering begins. The stalks are severed, the spines and bark peeled and the cambium scraped to be dried and made into teas, powders for salves, etc.

Just when we think we've found the most sinister plant in the world we learn it's not at all as bad as we thought it was.

Isn't that the way life is?

Monday, July 23, 2007


I know you are there: in the beauty of the pansies, the peacefulness of passing a summer field with cows sleeping in the shade. A blue Jay come to snack on the porch, a bunny next to the road, the troll hanging in my car, the crossword in the Sunday paper that catches my eye, the cool breeze come to relieve the heat, The lasagna I make for supper, the color of my daughters eyes, the pride for my son, the deep Love of my family near and far.

I will miss you, until you come to lead me over.

Take a quiet moment to remember all the love..

and give her the gift of being your most amazing you!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

As things heat up...

...globally and around here I get the opportunity to travel around the state.

Last week during one of our unusual "hot spells" I ran up to the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula to have a looksee at a couple of wildfires. The weather was very hot and very dry for this time of the year and these little fires had some of the local folks a bit on edge. I can't say that I blame them though.

On the way back from my little trip I happened to catch one of our nation's submarines making it's way back to it's port. It was being escorted down Hood Canal by a Coast Guard vessel that ensured all vessels in the sub's path keep their distance.

I watched as the Coast Guard vessel led the sub through the opened passage of the Hood Canal bridge... vehicle traffic lined up on both sides of the opened bridge for miles.

The heat waves above the water distorted the views.

It was HOT.

Hot for around here... Hot for anywhere.

We have family in Arizona, Colorado and many other states where temperatures climb into the triple digits quite often throughout the summer months so I guess they're all going to claim they're "used to it".

But take away that air conditioning, that little pool, etc. and see how "used to it" they'll be then. In western Washington we don't normally use air conditioning in our homes because the weather only gets up into the nineties five to ten days a year. Our problem with the heat is the humidity!

Most folks know Washington State is a "wet" state. It rains a lot here and the rain keeps most everything green and moist throughout the year. It's those rare summer days when things heat up and the humidity is high that makes me remember my days in Fort Polk, Louisiana back in June through August of 1972 and several other wonderfully hot, moist locations that my fine Uncle Sam sent me to visit.

The bottom line is I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

So, when I got home to our empty, sun baked house without air conditioning I checked out the temperatures in the shade and direct sunlight. Once at 4:00 p.m. and once again at 5:00 p.m.

The first picture (above) of the Kestrel was taken at 4:00 p.m. It shows the temperature in the direct sun (102 degrees Fahrenheit) that day, July 11, 2007 in our backyard.

The next picture (above) of the indoor/outdoor thermometer shows the temperature in the shade (100 degrees Fahrenheit) at 4:00 p.m. on July 11. Note the "inside" the house temperature is climbing past 90 degrees.

This next picture taken at 5:00 p.m.is showing the "in the shade" temperature at over 103 degrees fahrenheit and the "inside" of the house temperature at over 90 degrees fahrenheit.

In all, the direct sun temperature peaked out at over 104 degrees fahrenheit in our backyard and another reading with the Kestrel on the deck showed the temperature at over 112 degrees fahrenheit... most likely because of the deck's dark color.

Not what we're used to, not what we planned for and certainly not fun!

But around here if you don't like the weather wait a day or two, it'll change.

Within two days the temperatures had dropped from triple digits to the high 60's, low 70's and the rains came.

Ah, back to that good ol' western Washington summer.

Those dog days of summer behind us for now. We're getting those comfortable Pacific Northwest summer breezes and cooling rains.

Something we all tend to enjoy around here... on the west side of this fine state!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

HI! I'm so glad you posted Denise! This is a great way to stay in touch. We also have a big garden, our corn is already up to about my shoulders, and we have tassles! We should be eating corn in the next month. Brian is doing most of the yard stuff also, but he loves it, besides, imagine being the only man in a house of hormonal women! I would be outside all the time too!!
I'll post pics of the garden when I can. I take them every week, but Brian hasn't shown me how to upload them yet. I know enough to be dangerous, that's all. So I stay away. It's been very hot here, we had 11 straight days of over 90, today we have some wet and grey weather, finally. Of course this is the day Andy was supposed to take his new girlfriend to water world! Sorry bud, no bikini watching for you today!
Our little pico dog was attacked the other week by a neighbors dog who got into our back yard via a small greenbelt. She attached Pico ( who by the way thinks she's a german shepard) but Buddy and Minne attacked the dog, and chased it off. Funny but when the dog dropped Pico, she took off after it like any good Dachsund-wanna be shepard would. We took her to the vet, turns out a very bad one, who gave us very bad advise, and wrong medicine, long story short, she chewed a whole in herself down to the muscle the size of a 50cent piece where it turns out she had a 2" puncture wound. Our new vet fixed her up, and while it was pretty bad, she is now healing quickly, and it is now the size of a dime. So here is a pic of her before she got hurt. She hated the cone they tried to put on her, she couldn't even walk, but she was very entertaining! She is back to her old self now, funny as ever!
Everybody take care, we love you all!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hi Guys

Just a note to let you know we are still out here hanging in there and laying low. Bill and I have been working in the yard, especially Bill. I have a herniated disc and 2 bulging discs and had a epidural sterioid injection on 6/1/07 which has helped the pain considerably, but still don't want to over do it. He has really done a lot! Still both working, working. If we didn't, what would we do? I can think of a million things! Bill has also planted a vegetable garden and it has been slow starting but with the recent temperature increases and sun, it is starting to do better.
Bill took his grandson, Ryder (Rhonda's son) out fishing last weekend at St. Clair. They caught quite a few fish. Wish I knew how to post pics, but haven't figured that out yet. Ryder is almost 12 now and those were the first fish he has ever caught. He caught the 1st, the biggest, the most and the last. Needless to say, he won the money pool.
Jacob is almost 20 and still trying to "find himself" and has had a rough road of it. We are hoping he finds himself soon before we have to choke him or something.
So, we still have our 5 doggies, Jeannie, Gypsy, Angel, Joey and Leroy. We love them but they do act kind of crazy.
We also have 2 piggies. They are so cute. Brother and sister, Wilbur and Charlotte. Little black fellas.
Best of all, some guy came and scooped up all of our geese, he actually wanted them. Thank goodness cuz we were really tired of them and their shenanigans.
This week, my Aunt Rachel and 3rd cuz from NC came to visit. Love those accents and so good to see them. Bill and I really want to vacation there on the coast of NC next summer. The beaches are great there. I have not been back of NC for over 30 years. Oh and I turned 50 in May. So bizarre, I don't feel that much older mentally but physically, I am definitely there.
Jacob and I plan to go salmon fishing at Westport in August. Love it. We do it every year on his BD.
Angela, I loved reading your update and the pic of Katie. She is so pretty.
Ok, I'm finished. Ya'll take care now, ya hear! Denise

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day!!!

Everyone have a safe, sane and happy Independence Day!!!

Enjoy this day with your family, friends, neighbors and give thanks to all of those who have helped secure, defend and preserve our independence.

Have fun and enjoy the shows!!!


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th

Hi! Just a quick note to wish everybody a wonderful 4th.
No much happens here in Denver for the 4th. Fireworks are illegal except for professional shows, where there is now valet parking. And there's a marathon to run ( yea right- not for me! ) I think we'll be sleeping in, taking in a movie, and grilling, then driving up to the top of the hill to watch the fireworks over Denver. No Valet parking needed! I hope you all have a great Holiday, stay safe, and enjoy each other and the wondeful traditions for the 4th.
Love ya

Saturday, June 30, 2007


A quick note to Angela.

She's our niece and I invited her to post to the blog whenever she feels the urge. She and her family are living in Colorado (as you can probably see from her post). When she was just a little tyke she couldn't say her name... she'd call herself "Ahha" so I've called her "Ahha" ever since hearing her say it way back when.

Angela, thanks for the post! As mentioned in my comments to your post I'm tickled to death you're able to.

Come on back and keep posting whenever you feel like posting.

Now if we can only get grandpa to start posting here.

Later Kiddo!

The boat...

...it works. It finds fish!

This one here's not the biggest fish in the lake. Not nearly the biggest fish Andrew hooked that day but it was the one that we took home. It was his first fish and it swallowed the bait and hook so it wasn't going to survive.

It ended up being just a smidgen over 10 inches long. A nice little rainbow that put up a pretty good fight. I got the crap beat out of me while he pulled the tip of the pole up. It was pretty funny to watch, I'd imagine.

Jackie got a huge kick out of it. Andrew would lower the tip of the pole and then crank on the reel. I'd tell him to get the tip up and keep reeling. He'd whip the tip up... not once, not twice but five or six times in a row... beating me up with it as I stood behind him "helping" him land the fish.

What a day.

A bit later we moved to another area of the lake and got into a jackpot of trout. I couldn't get the worms on the hooks fast enough. One time in particular I'd baited my hook, left it dangle over the side while I baited Andrew's. A fish came to the surface and took my hook right next to the boat.

I cast Andrew's line out for him, grabbed my pole and released the 8 incher that happened to take the hook. I no sooner got the fish released when Andrew's pole bent hard. He had a NICE fish on this time.

Remembering the beating I took before I just sat down behind him and told him to keep the tip of the pole up and keep reeling the fish towards the boat. He was doing great at first. The fish rolled once... a nice fish! When Andrew saw the size of it he got real excited and kind of forgot about that "keep the tip of the pole up" thing I'd been reminding him about. Oh yeah, he forgot about cranking the reel too... a critical part of landing a fish.

No problem though, he was playing a very good fish and was enjoying the heck out of it... in his own way.

We watched him and offered advice. Finally, the fish rolled again and the hook popped out about ten feet from the boat. Either way, Andrew was ecstatic! You'd thought he'd battled Moby Dick! It was a large fish, much larger than the 10+ incher we had on the stringer but then again, you're going to have to take our words for it, eh?

About an hour later the weather took a turn for the worse. The clouds began to build, the wind kicked it up a couple of notches and the rain began to fall.

I fired up the motor and headed back to the launch... in all it was a great day!

Yah fun, impromptu, relaxing, humorous... a great day.

As a side note, I've been focusing some energies on another blog and haven't paid much attention to this one lately. The other blog is complete so now I'm back. Thanks for the emails. Everything's okay here... I was just a bit pre-occupied.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hi from Colorado!

Hi, I was finally able to get on here! Yeah! Thank you Uncle Dennis for staying with it, and not giving up! We here in sunny Colorado are all doing well.

Katie will be a freshman next year! Wow how fast they grow up. This is her and a couple of her friends in front of our house going to her 8th grade dance a few weeks ago.

Andy is living on his own with 2 other friends, and is of course loving it. It took awhile, but he is starting to appreciate at least some of the little things Mom and Dad did for him, like feed him and buy milk!

I realize it's not fun getting old, and why some old fogies are just that- old fogies. I have arthritis in my hands, and my body is just well... lets just say, it's feeling it's age. I also have daily epiphanies, that cause me to know why adults said things, like: "Oh well, your still young" when I was in my 20s and 30s. Funny how your kids getting older ages and enlightens you.

We do have a new addition to our family. We have adopted a little black dachshund that somebody had used as a baby factory before she was a year old, and literally threw away. When she was found, she was very, very sick. She was nursed back to health by a vet who could not keep her. A friend told us about her, and she is now a happy, safe secure little girl. She is 2 1/2 years old, and very sweet. She gets along with everybody. We have named her Peeko.

I hope all is well with everybody back "home". I will try to post more on here now that I can get on!

We love you all!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

From one boat...

...to another.

We sold our 20 foot Bayliner Capri (cuddy) and bought a 15 foot Livingston.

We just weren't using the Bayliner as much as we'd hoped. It wasn't really fishing friendly given the cuddy cabin, sloped windshield and low cockpit canvas so we sold it.

It took a day and a half to sell on Craig's List. We bought the Livingston from a guy who posted it on Craig's List too.

The guy who bought our Bayliner got a good deal and we got a good deal with the Livingston. There's no doubt we're going to get far more fishing action out of the Livingston than we did with the Bayliner.

It's easier for people to get in and out of, easier to launch and retrailer, can be fished out of from all sides, has canvas so we can get out of the weather if we want, has a nice 35 hp Tohatsu outboard, can be launched in smaller lakes and can be towed just about anywhere.

Yup, we're going to have a lot more fun with this boat.

The nephew, wife, son, Dad, daughter in law, grandkids, daughter... friends and family... we're all going to use it! We're all going to be having fun!

The last time we took the Bayliner out we went to Black Lake, west of Olympia, WA. and ran around on the lake for a couple of hours just blowing out the winter blues. It was a bit windy when we came to shore to trailer the boat. We had a heckuva time fighting the wind and getting it on the trailer straight. Eventually, my son and I got it on the trailer but we got pretty wet doing it. So I decided then that it's time to get one that we can launch and retrailer in the lakes with relatively little effort and also get one that we could get in and out of at the lakes without having to porpoise our way through a windshield and under handrails.

Hence the dual hulled, stable as all get out, catamaran style Livingston. One of the best fishing platforms made.

I have some things to do to it yet. You know, install pole holders, a fish finder, seats, steering console, throttle and shift levers, etc. But that's part of the fun of having a boat... setting it up the way you want it set up.

The guy who sold us the boat is one helluva nice guy... his whole family is. They live in Bremerton, WA, about 60 miles north of Olympia and he builds boats for a living. Big boats. Boats for the Coast Guard and tenders for the Navy. So he knows something about boats. When we went to look at it and then to pick it up we felt like we'd known their family for years after we left. They're just genuinely nice people. The trip and visit alone was worth it.

He got the Livingston a couple of years ago and was restoring it. He'd also pull his kids around on innertubes on the lakes in the area and in Puget Sound.

The Livingston spent it's first 11 years as a lifeboat on a commercial ferry so we're guessing it probably didn't touch the water more than a couple of hours while in the ferry service. At least, I don't recall any ferries sinking in Puget Sound or anything that happened to the ferries that necessitated launching the lifeboats in the past 20 years, let alone 50 years.

After he got the boat he cleaned it up, painted the stripe on the sides and painted the inside with top of the line marine paint. He installed grip rails, installed the three quarter canvas that he had from another Livingston he owned, threw in two brand new padded swivel seats, a center stearing console and cables, trailer bumper guides and a ton of other goodies when we bought it. He told me he wasn't all that familiar with the "Tohatsu" brand motor but said he got a good deal on it so he bought it after he got the boat. It ran great when I picked it up.

So, how could we refuse. Besides, we bought it for far less than what we sold the Bayliner for and the extra money helped us out with some of our other little bills.

As soon as I get some free time we're going to go fishing! I'll grab Dad, Andrew and anyone else who wants to go and we'll go drown some worms.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

A quick note...

...to let you know I'm pretty busy lately and haven't been able to post as frequently as I prefer to.

I've been travelling all over the state getting ready for the "season" and am busy closing out certain winter and spring projects. I've also decided to start a new blog elsewhere and have been working on that off and on.

I'm not closing out this one, just building another one for fun and games.

Enjoy the summer, it's not here yet but it sure feels like it is.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In memory of all of those close to us.

On this memorial day let's remember those who are no longer with us but meant so much to us in our lives.

Let's remember those who impressed upon us the need to do things right, to understand, to forgive, to be patient, to persevere, to love, to trust, to become.

Let's remember the love they shared.

Let's remember their so many contributions to the lives of all of those they met. Their patience, their love of life, their influences.

Let's understand them for who the were.

Let's keep them close to our hearts and find even some of that grace and goodness that they always seemed to come by so easily.

Let's remember the impacts they made during their stay on this earth and continue to learn from those lessons they taught us.

Let's try to understand even a portion of what they understood and let's share those understandings, those thoughts with others so we can all live life just a little bit easier than before.

Let's pass along to our family, friends, acquaintances... let's pass along to all we meet those attributes, that kindness, that humanity, that love of life they passed along to us.

Let's understand their roles in our lives, their influences regardless of the length of time they spent with us...

Let's remember them on this Memorial Day and thank them for all they've shared with us. All of their wisdom, their love, their knowledge...

...their patience, understanding, insight.

I remember, I'm thankful and I miss them.

I also want to thank those who gave their all to keep us safe, free and strong.

If not for them, if not for their sacrifices then who?

Thank you to all of those fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents... friends and strangers who can't be here today because they selflessly paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, our freedom.

Have a safe Memorial Day all. And take a moment to reflect on those who are no longer with us but who mean so much to us!

Take care.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


...they love unconditionally.

I had my heart broke yesterday... again. Andrew's mother had called earlier in the day and left her rare but generic message. We listened to it. It was her "Hi Andrew, it's mommy. I just wanted to tell you that I miss you and love you. I'll call you again. Bye."

My first thoughts were "she must have something planned for the weekend and is getting this phone call out of her way".

It wasn't a series of messages. It wasn't like she was REALLY trying to talk to him. She could have called back a bit later and could have talked to him but she didn't. So I asked Andrew if he wanted to call his Mom. When he told me he did I dialed a "1" in front of her number on our caller i.d. and pushed the redial button.

When I heard it ringing I passed the phone to Andrew.

His face beamed with anticipation, excitement.

As a side note, I can't talk to the... woman. I don't like her, I don't respect her, I don't appreciate anything about her or what she does to Andrew. She's all about her. Even the "gifts" she sends to Andrew on his birthday and Christmas are giftcards that were sent to her address for Andrew by his step Grandmother who has no idea Andrew is with us now. It's our belief that she, (Andrew's mother) opens the cards and boxes that "Grandma" sends to the errant address and repackages them so they'll appear to be coming from her. Otherwise he'll get nothing. Now that's pathetic. This woman, his mother thinks she's a social butterfly, God's gift to man. In short, she's not! I'll be polite and leave it at that.

Alright, I said I'd "be polite and leave it at that" but I have to say one more thing then I'll leave it alone. She's actually said in court several times that men simply adore her. We laugh each time we hear it. Us, the attorneys, other witnesses, the spectators, the others in the courtroom... even the judges. She's her own little freak show and it's funny when she starts talking. Funny to a point and then it gets sickening, pathetic. During her recitals, diatribes, testimonies there comes a point where you realize she actually believes this stuff she's saying... and pity for her rushes to mind. It's fleeting though. There's no pity for her. None. She's her own person. She made herself this empty, soul-less, self-serving sick excuse for a human being. She's certainly not a mother to any of her children... the four that are alive and the several that were either aborted or otherwise died.

She never was, never will be.

I'm sorry, I got side tracked a bit but I wanted to paint some sort of portrait of Andrew's mother for you. Biased? Yes! But a factual, educated, well deserved biasness.

So, back to the phone call. When I dial her phone number for Andrew or when she calls the best thing for me to do is to ignore her. Nothing positive has ever come out of our conversations, hers and mine. She's always accusatory, always "amped up" on something and always threatening. I'm not playing games with her and won't step into that mess with her.

Like I said earlier, she'd called yesterday and left one of her few but very generic messages. Later in the day I asked Andrew if he wanted to call his Mom. My son, daughter in law, my grand daughter and Jackie were all here for dinner. Dad was on his way. It was around 5:30 p.m., our time. That would've made it 8:30 p.m. Georgia time. I was hoping Andrew could talk to her before she got into whatever state of stupor she gets in every day, night, whatever. He said he did so I redialed her number for him and handed him the phone when I heard it start to ring.

He wandered off into one of the other rooms where it was quieter. I watched his face as he started to talk to her. He was beaming! I thought "connection made" and went back to what I was doing. A short time later Jackie noticed there was no noise in the room Andrew went into with the phone so she went to check on him. She found him curled up in the corner crying... the phone cradled in his hands, pressed to his shoulder, still active on our end... his mother had hung up on him.

She'd hung up on her 7 years old son. She never let him talk other than to identify himself.

According to Andrew (who just turned 7 yrs. old) his mother answered the phone and he said "Mommy". She immediately told him "I told you before, I don't want to talk to you! I don't ever want you calling back here again!" '

Now that crushed the kid. He told us he tried to tell her it was him and she told him she knew who it was. After that all she said to him, all she shared with him was her hate! Her self serving, bitter, vile hatred for anyone and anything around her.

Especially him.

He was so hurt yesterday after that call. Very hurt. Oh sure, we got his mind off of what she said shortly after we realized she'd rebuffed him but he'd go back and revisit the call throughout the evening. He'd bring it up again as Jackie, Andrew and I sat together on the couch watching television.

Somehow, we got him smiling again. He's resilient but he remembers.

He brought up the 8 phone calls I'd dialed to her number for him on Mother's Day and how she never answered the calls, never acknowledged his messages he'd left and never called him back until yesterday. He mentioned how she said she was going to "be here" for Christmas last year and never showed up, never called and never wrote. Oh, she did call a couple of days later and said someone had stolen her purse and cell phone so she couldn't call.

He remembers when she said she was going to "be here" for his birthday and even asked if I minded if she would attend his party we had planned for him. Of course, I knew better. I did tell her she could attend the party but I knew better. She never called, never wrote and certainly didn't show up. A couple of days later Andrew got his usual $100.00 Toys-R-Us gift card from his step Grandma (which is great! Grandma is a wonderful person!)... the card that his mother undoubtedly intercepted and put in an envelope with a letter from her, not grandma.

Yeah, although she broke his heart again yesterday he'll still be calling her "mommy".

Kids, they're so innocent, so honest, so forgiving and so loving!

How can anyone turn their back on that?

I can't even begin to explain how I feel let alone how Andrew feels.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sometimes we just drift away...

...and let life get in the way!

It's tough to keep up on everything happening. I know all of you know that but somehow you keep on top.

Somehow you keep making it work.

We're having our moments here and we're working through them.

One day at a time.

Andrew did an "Old McDonald Had A Farm" skit the other night. Justin, Andrea, Reese, Jackie and I went there to watch him. I have to admit, it was fun!

In a "fun" way.

I remember when Justin and Kerri were doing their skits. We'd go, watch and video... oh thank God for the Camcorders, eh?

Where are those tapes now?


So, Andrew, our little chick in McDonalds farm was tossed to the sheep and pigs as the show went on.

He laughed, danced, sang, shouted...

He had fun!

So did we!

In the end, all of the critters got together to sing the grand finale. They sang their hearts out in tune and eventually, eventually the actors signed off!

What a night!

Oh yeah, and the cow did finally "Mooooo".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's not my game...

...it never was this "round ball", basketball thing!

I played it. When I was younger I played it but not with much vigor and I certainly lacked the talent to play the sport poorly, let alone well.

I'm not a huge fan of it nor am I all that well versed in it.

So, when Andrew got a new basketball I saw the handwriting on the wall. I knew I was going to be asked to play the darned game with him, to teach him, to mentor him. I had to hone my skills... or at least pretend I was honing them.

To put it mildly I have no basketball skills to hone!

I never could understand why a person (or people for that matter) would want to get a big, round ball that can't be held in a hand and run up and down a "court". All the while bouncing the ball in front of themselves.

It's called "dribble".

Me, I'd invent new ways to "dribble". They weren't always within the rules but hey, I thought my way of dribbling was a far more effective way of transporting the ball from one end of the court to the other than that conventional method of "bouncing it once for each step and, when you screw up and stop without bouncing the ball you have to pass it" method.

A ridiculous rule!

I mean, that method sucks! Who thought that crap up?

It defies nature! At least my natural abilities.

Bounce a ball and run at the same time... and keep the ball and/or running under control! Try to master that then throw nine other people into the mix... five of them wanting to get that ball away from you.

That's not a natural act, it's simply not right!

Besides, I was always told that most unnatural acts were immoral!

Nah, I'd do the "modified fullback" method... you know, take a bit from one sport and apply it to another.

It was effective, it worked but it would tend to upset those "conventional" folks who seemed pretty set in their ways.

They had no sense of humor.

Anyway, Andrew and I went out to play some 'hoops at the local elementary school today.

I taught him all I know about the sport.

Me, this 6 feet tall, out of shape (well actually, round is a shape), rigid as all get out, clumsy oaf tripping, bouncing, dribbling, "shooting" (that's another story! this "shooting" stuff), passing and falling down all the way from one end of the 'court to the other.

Well, let's just say at the end of the day I think he caught on to my way of "playing" this sport...

...this basketball stuff!

I could tell by his confounded look during our rather candid "post game" discussion that something just wasn't sitting right with him about our first "hoops" day.

"You were showing me what not to do, right?"

Innocent, direct.. you gotta love it!

"Yah right kid!"

Now, where'd the heat balm go?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moving forward from here...

It's difficult to move forward at times. Things don't seem to feel right, don't seem to fit.

Senses are numbed, spirits dampened, energies wasted... gone.

The tragic passing of a friend will do that to you, to anyone.

The Wyrsch family will be in my thoughts and prayers but please understand I have to move forward, take a step from this place in my life and tend to some pressing needs myself.

I'll always remember Shane as a friend, as a fellow cop and as a great human being.

Farewell Shane, you will be missed!


As mentioned, several months ago our lives were turned upside down in this household.

We took on long term responsibilities and traded a lot of certain opportunities, matters of facts for others that may or may not lead us to where we planned on going.

Either way, we're committed.

We're going to do what needs to be done to give Andrew, our nephew a proper place to live and grow up.

Given the circumstances our plans have changed considerably. We no longer own our home, we're downsizing our income and budget, we're cutting back on recreational opportunities for the immediate future and are focusing more on those opportunities that a young, very active boy can enjoy and benefit from.

He loves his little cousin and she adores him.

He loves the family environment.

He's adjusting... fitting himself into his new life with us.

Oh trust me, J and I are adjusting too. We have to.

It's not a new thing for us, the raising of a 6 yrs. old boy.

Nothing new, it's just that it was not all that practiced in the recent past until December, 2006.

So, we're moving forward from here.

A different house, a different life...

...different opportunities.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Shane Wyrsch Family Benevolent Fund

For all of you who have inquired...


For those wishing to make a donation, an account has been set up at Bank of America. The account name is the Shane Wyrsch Family Benevolent Fund. For out of state donations, please specify to the bank that this is a Washington account.

Thank you.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Shane's memorial service...

...will take place today, Friday, March 23, 2007 at 1 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Parish, 1614 Farrelly Street in Enumclaw. A reception will follow at the King County Fairground Log Cabin in Enumclaw.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In Memory Of...

USFS File Photo.

In memory of Shane Wyrsch. A devoted United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer, husband, father and friend.

Shane was killed two nights ago (March 19, 2007) while driving home on Highway 410 just outside of Buckley, Washington.

He was killed by a drunk driver with a suspended driver's license. A person who should never have been on the road!

Shane and I were friends, fellow "timber cops". Quite often our professional paths would merge on "assignments, details" that necessitated the U.S. Forest Service and State of Washington's joint participation in law enforcement functions on state and federal lands. Many of these functions lasted weeks without interruption on the hottest, muggiest or the coldest, wettest days of the year.

We'd chase "bad guys" around in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest who were doing things not allowed by law on public lands and we'd have a ball doing it. Shane was always up beat, tireless, tenacious and focused.

I first met Shane when he attended a man tracking course I was co-teaching with David Scott Donelan in the mountains of Morton, Washington. I brought my son, Justin along with me to help teach.

Shane immediately hit it off with him. He was impressed by Justin's youth coupled with his knowledge of the outdoors and his overall wilderness abilities. Over the years when I'd meet with Shane... when we'd call one another to share some information or simply to check up on one another he'd always ask about Justin. Not about "your son" but about "Justin".

When he learned from me that Justin was being deployed to the Middle East shortly after 911 he shared his concern. He was relieved when I told him Justin was "out" of the military. Shane was always trying to recruit Justin (through me) into the United States Forest Service as a Law Enforcement Officer... not a bad idea.

Shane was a friend. He was a fellow cop and he was always there if I needed him for anything or needed information.


I drove past the accident site yesterday while I headed north to meet with some folks. In fact, after the meeting I was going to see if Shane was available for a visit, a brief chat... being as I was in his area.

I didn't know it was Shane's accident site when I drove through... I just knew it was the site of a recent, serious accident.

You can tell. There's gouges in the pavement, reference points painted on the road's surface by the investigators, skid marks, shards of glass, un-collected plastic, chrome... spent flares. I remember seeing the remnants of the flare pattern that suggested the Highway was blocked for a period of time while the investigation was completed.

I remember seeing those spent flares and thinking to myself that the accident must have been "pretty serious". I hoped for the best for those who were involved, not knowing who they might have been at the time.

When I arrived at where I was driving to I was told by another good friend that Shane had been killed "...last night. A drunk ran into his truck on the highway outside of Buckley."

I remember hearing Chuck tell me... remember how he said it. Almost not believing what he was saying.

I didn't at first. It didn't register. I asked him "Shane who?"

"Shane Wyrsch, the Forest Service officer".

Then it all came together. Shane, the accident site, highway 410, Buckley, drunk driver, flares... serious accident. It all made sense!

But didn't. It never will make sense! Never!

Here's the story as told by King 5 News:

U.S. Forest Service officer killed in crash
06:16 PM PDT on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"BUCKLEY, Wash. – A suspected drunk driver involved in a horrific crash that killed a respected law enforcement officer should never have been on the road.

The Washington State Patrol says U.S. Forest Service Officer Shane Wyrsch was driving home on Highway 410 near Buckley Monday night when a pickup crossed the center line and slammed into him head-on. Witnesses say the man who hit Wyrsch was driving very erratically. Troopers say he was likely drunk, and driving with a suspended license.

All that's left of Shane Wyrch's truck is a mangled pile of metal.

Shayne Wyrsch was killed in a head-on crash near Buckley Monday night.
The 16-year veteran patrolled the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and the communities nearby.

"Each and every one is like a brother, and losing Shane will be very similar to losing a family member," says Enumclaw Police Officer Don Banner.

"He lived in this community and anything he could do to further make it a good place to live, he never hesitated."

Wyrsch died Tuesday morning, leaving behind a wife, two children and countless colleagues.

A spokesperson says the entire U.S. Forest Service family is devastated by Wyrsch's passing. The State Patrol plans to investigate this as a vehicular homicide."


I HATE drunk drivers!

You're going to be missed! Rest in peace Shane.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A day with Reese...

Hey Papa... let's talk.

Let's have a chat, a conversation, let's have a dialogue.

Let's get together and chat about things.

Well, it kind of worked for Hillary... kind of.

So anyways, where'd you go today Papa? You left me here with Grandma J all day and we had a ball. I showed her a bunch of things.

We visited for a bit and then I took a little nap.

It wasn't all that long... just long enough to recharge my little, new battery and get her to pay attention to me again.

Actually Papa, Grandma is fun to mess with.

Just when she thinks I'm drifting off into slumber land... just when she thinks she might have an hour or two of "quiet time" I let her know I'm awake and ready to chat, talk, have a dialogue.

She makes the funniest faces when she talks.

Come to think of it you do too. All of you do.

Why is it that you "adults" make such fools of yourselves when you interact with us little folks?

I mean, it's not like I'm complaining because I'm not but when I talk to my cousins they all tell me "it's a grown up thing".

I'm guessing you think I can't understand a word you're saying.

Nothing could be farthest from the truth.

You know, us kids... we have our ways of communicating. You all pick up on it pretty fast though, I'll give you that.

Papa, when Grandma sees my face turning red and there's nothing but grunts coming out of me she knows exactly what I'm doing and exactly what to do...

... she gets a dry, non soiled, comfortable thingy and puts it on me after she takes that sticky, wet one off of me. And I get a warm, cleansing, sink bath to boot.

Now that's body language!

You now, you're a bit slow on the uptake. You've gotta pay a bit more attention to Grandma about these things.

Take a few pointers from her.

You can be hilarious sometimes... concocting ways on how to get around the "change poopoo thingy" moment.

But one of these days, ONE OF THESE DAYS it's just going to be you and me...

Grandma's going to be out somewhere, Mommy and Daddy are going to be out doing something, you're going to be alone with me for a bit of time and I'm gonna let one go.

One I've been saving just for you!

And then... and then I'll give Grandpa Jerry the same present. Or maybe he'll get the present first.

I really haven't decided.

You Papa's seem to think you're below the radar... you're not. At least not mine!

It all involves timing, opportunity and... well, you know what else.

I'll see ya' later Papa(s).