27 February 2008

time flies

The Guest Dog (from my previous post) and Finn had met before, and it was these folks who had introduced us to the Marymor Dog Park. So we didn’t have any reason to believe that the dogs wouldn’t get along. And they did get along, only “having words” when they both attempted to chase the same toy. But I swear Finn would look at Guest Dog and then look at us as if to ask “this guy isn’t really staying here, is he?”

Finn giving Guest Dog the evil eye....

Finn posing in the garden.

We took full advantage of Swanson’s Early Spring Sale and bought a bunch of bare root plants, in addition to a few potted numbers. We removed the camellia over the winter and replaced it with a trio of vine maples, and where we removed a cotoneaster, we planted a hydrangea, and Eric planted a heather garden. Then last week we removed a couple of scraggly unidentified bushes from the back yard, and replaced them with three dogwoods: Ivory Halo Redtwig, Ivory Halo Yellowtwig and Cardinal Redosier Dogwood. Thinking about the garden already, we (finally) pulled out the roses and planted two raspberry plants and a dwarf honeycrisp apple tree. The blueberries have buds that are about to pop, as do the clematis that surround the front door. The crocus have been showing off for a bit now, and the garlic bulbs are popping up. We’ll be starting vegetable starts this week: scallions, spinach, peppers, and herbs.

Eric's heather garden

garlic sprout

clematis by the front door

crocus and bearded iris

a veritable dogwood forest

Just for fun, I took a photo of the lunar eclipse, though it pretty much resembles a cottony, half -eaten blob….

After much hemming and hawing and generally avoiding the tiny yarn and swizzle sticks, I am attempting my first sock. I flew down to Irvine this weekend (business trip, really, but I only had to work on Monday, so I flew down early to spend the weekend with Zoe and her parents [and grandparents!]), and as I awaited my outbound flight, I cast on and got to work on the Yarn Harlot’s Basic Sock Recipe. I was seated facing east, and as the sun rose, I basked in the sunshine and took more pictures than was really necessary of my meager progress. Mind you, all this photography was not an attempt to brag—I didn’t even think the subject matter was so spectacular, but the lighting was great. I have been forced to take so many photos for the blog with a flash or with terrible artificial lighting over the winter (since we’re typically not home during daylight hours), that I jumped on the chance to take about twenty.

My photo fervor continued on the plane, where I took pictures of Mt Rainier (as usual). Being a land use planner and a quilter, I always study the land uses and landscape patterns in a quilty context when I observe the earth passing below, but I was especially intrigued this time with the patterns created both by nature (topography, waterbodies) and by man (straight property lines), and then man trying to imitate nature (the “freeform” clearcuts). These features become especially salient during the winter, when the remaining snow—that which melts out of the snow and water but stays on the ground— highlights these aspects.

just south of Mt Rainier, Washington

A clearcut is where commercial forestry removes all or most of the standing timber on a tract of land. Companies justify clearcuts because Douglas fir, the most desireable replacement tree over much of the West, grows best in full sun, but the practice is driven chiefly by economies of scale and maximum short-term profit. Unless ecological costs are factored in, it is easier, cheaper and more cost-effective to fall every stem on a given timber sale than to cut selectively. Square-edged clearcuts give a checkerboard or mangy appearance, most visible from the air and in winter when snow accentuates the cut. Molding the cutline to the contours of the land gives a softer visual aspect than rectilinear clearcuts, but it's more difficult to survey, cruise for stumpage, and carry out. While clearcuts promote forest fragmentation, they can develop into vigorous plant and animal communities when neither sprayed nor eroded. Related terms are logging side and logging show, and a current euphamism is "active stewardship." In "Elegy for a Forest Clear-cut by the Weyerhaeuser Company," poet David Wagoner describes "the slash and stumps" and "the cratered/Three square miles of your graveyard."
by Robert Michael Pyle, in Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, Barry Lopez, Ed. 2006.

Aw shucks, this girl is just the cutest thing ever…I’ll just give you some photos….

I made special arrangements to bring rain with me to Southern California, then I made Zoe walk around in it.

breakfast at the restaurant at Crystal Cove State Park

working off breakfast on the beach

dress-up at the Santa Ana Zoo

now you see me...

....now you don't!

I just don't understand what it is that mama sees in these turtle things...

14 February 2008

one of those months...

Eric and I are dogsitting for a friend of ours who will be attending her grandfather's funeral this weekend (more on the dogs later). We had barely gotten both dogs settled at our place before I got a phone call from my dad....

My "grand-uncle" Burt, my paternal grandfather's brother, died Wednesday. He was reported by my Uncle Leonard as being fine on Tuesday, but apparently suffered a heart attack on Wednesday and was found by an attendant at the nursing home. He was just a couple weeks short of his 97th birthday. His death was apparently quiet and painless. Those of us that knew him will miss his famous happy nature.

Burt Miner Slusser was born 28 Feb 1911 in Logan, Cache County, Utah and died 13 Feb 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 96. Burt met Joyce Parry in Hawaii while in the Army but didn't date. They met again in SLC at church and later married. Burt served as a Sgt in the Infantry in Tokyo Japan at the end of WWII.

A family photo I am particularly fond of.... my grandfather, Leonard, is the boy on the left. Grand Uncle Burt at top with my great-grandmother Florence.

09 February 2008

gig harbor & caucusing

Eric and I took a drive out to Gig Harbor today (just west of Tacoma) to pick up a serger sewing machine I had found on craigslist. We made a morning of it, taking a walk along the waterfront and having lunch (possibly the best clam chowder I've ever had) at what was obviously a local favorite, Tides Tavern.

The Gig Harbor waterfront -- old boat dock

The water in Gig Harbor was so clean and clear, we got to see lots of thriving harbor wildlife.

We drove back to Seattle just in time to get to our caucasing site. We were a little hesitant about the time commitment (I think I thought it was going to be more like jury deliberation, with everyone in the precinct having to be in agreement on a single candidate), but felt that we ought to see what it was all about. Our caucasing site was at a local middle school, and was actually the site for several different precinct, and as we approached and saw the parked cars all down the street and the sharp increase of pedestrians hoofing it towards the school, we pulled over and joined them. The line of voters snaked out the front door of the school and around the corner, so we stood in it. Inside was a bit chaotic for people like us who arrived without our presinct number, but when we all got to the right place and our precinct leader showed up and got us all signed in and recorded our initial candidate preferences, it went pretty smoothly. We sat and stood in roughly a circle, sharing the school library with another precinct. Our leaders tallied up the initial preferences: the Obamas and the Clintons and the "others": two for Kusinich and three undecideds. Two of those three undecideds were Eric and myself. Then about eight folks volunteered their opinions -- who they were voting for and why -- then the leaders asked if anyone wanted to change their preferences. Still not totally convinced, but swaying enough to write down a name, Eric and I went and changed our paperwork, the leaders retallied and based upon the nearly three-to-one Obama to Clinton ratio, we broke into two groups and elected a total of seven delegates (and a few alternates) to represent our precinct at the County caucus in April. That done, we headed home.

The line to get into our caucus site, when we got there...

I'm glad we went. It was good to get out and feel like we were participating, especially in such a different sort of atmosphere than your basic rickity voting booth.

san diego

Papa's memorial service and funeral were pleasant… the hardest part was seeing Eric's grandmother, Nana in mourning. They'd been married for over 70 years—an amazing achievement by anyone's measure.

On Friday, we went to Balboa Park and I did a little research for my upcoming term paper (on climatically appropriate landscape designs in Southern California between 1900 and 1950, thanks for asking!). Working off a tip from Eric's cousin, we went to the Balboa Park Floral Association's office to check out their library. We happened to wander in during their monthly board meeting, but several of the silver-haired women tottered over fawned over Eric and I, graciously offering their help, from library help to anecdotal stories about not really related to my project.