Thursday, November 30, 2006


We’re in a meltdown of snow and ice.

Our weather warmed overnight, and the five or six inches of snow – which covered a thick sheet of ice – is slowly disappearing.

By this afternoon we might even be able to get out safely. It was in an unsafe mode that I drove out and back the past two days.

Our driveway consists of a steep incline. Getting out is not too bad; you just aim the car and hope you can make the turn at the bottom that fortunately heads up hill again to help slow you down.

Getting back in is another matter.

I had to get the car moving – not too fast – on the snow and ice-covered gravel road in front of our house to at least get some momentum in order to make it up the frozen incline. The left turn into our paved uphill driveway provided the first thrill (to somehow avoid a side skid). Coming out of the turn into the driveway, I then had to “gun” it all the way up and let my “on demand “ AWD take charge. Right.

In spite of the AWD, I still fish-tailed precariously close to the drop off edge while ascending, and then I had to hit the brakes in an (un)controlled skid at the top so as not to crash into the garage. A hair-raising experience – but fun in a sick sort of way.

Well, I somehow got the MDX into the garage twice without damage. Thankfully, it’s over for now.

But I think I now could maybe qualify as a stunt driver.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Morning After

The scene above is what it looks like this morning from our vantage point as the sun is trying to make its way above the horizon. You can see the beautiful fresh snow cover on the Olympic mountains in the distance as well as in our driveway and yard in the foreground. (You can click on the photo for a larger version.)

Just a typical November here in the Northwest. Not!

If you were watching Monday night football last night, you saw the snow coming down at Qwest field in downtown Seattle. It was a great game, and the good guys eventually won. But the weather was more Green Bay-like than Seattle-like.

We get a respite of sunshine for most of the day today, but they say another storm is powering up just off the coast. So more of the white stuff is on the way, but after that it’ll all change.

Warm air is behind the next storm, so all the fallen leaves will be soon visible again. Guess I better give the leaf blower a test.

Monday, November 27, 2006

SPU’s “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas” Provides Glorious Launch for the Holy-Day Season

Here’s a holiday recipe: Take a choir of more than 100 voices, add a full symphony orchestra and complement with a resounding pipe organ. Blend the ingredients in a presentation of the finest Christmas music from past and present. Accent with both male and female narration and stage in a setting of Christmas poinsettias and greenery.

The result? Last night’s musical production, The Sacred Sounds of Christmas, presented by the music department of Seattle Pacific University, and held in Seattle’s renowned Benaroya Hall (exterior pic above).

For my wife and me, it was a glorious launch for the upcoming “holyday” season. And to top off a virtually perfect evening, as we exited the building, large, beautiful snow flakes were floating gently through the seasonal lights to the street below.

As SPU President Phil Eaton indicated in his introductory remarks, with all the societal “pressures” currently on Christmas celebrations, this concert affords at least one marvelous opportunity to enjoy the true meaning and splendor of Yuletide expressed in melody.

And so we did.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Time For Thanksgiving

With Fall colors emblazoned across our landscape, we are reminded that it is the time of year when we express our Thanksgiving for the blessings of life.

And so it is with deep gratitude to God, the creator of all and the author of our faith, that Kay Lynne and I wish you a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving. May you and yours be richly blessed at this holiday season.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buddy Is Set For Football Playoffs

Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Buddy, is now set for football playoffs and the Super Bowl, even if the weather is chilly, thanks to my cousin Jim Narva and his wife, Kay, who live in Sunnyvale, California.

Today the mailperson delivered Buddy's beautiful turtleneck pullover sweater, in Seahawk colors no less, from Jim and Kay.

The note in the package indicated it was a thank you gift for when they stayed with us the first weekend in November.

We, in turn, thank them for their perceptive thoughtfulness, and we thoroughly enjoyed having them here as well.

Buddy is ecstatic about the sweater, as you can see in the top photo. In the second photo, Buddy is showing off the cool football on the back of his sweater. His gait has taken on an added swagger when the sweater is on.

Also included in the parcel was a gorgeous, colorful 2007 photo calendar of Cavalier KC canine specimens which we'll hang in a place where Buddy can also see it. In looking through the calendar photos, it's obvious Buddy's markings are classic for the tri-color Cav.

Buddy really enjoyed Jim & Kay's attention while they were here, and we could tell he missed them after they were gone. When he smelled the sweater this afternoon to check it out, he wagged his tail. I think he knows the pullover is from them.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Banquet Buffet Feast Amidst Famous Historical Aircraft – All For A Wonderful Cause

This past Monday night my wife and I enjoyed one of the most interesting events we’ve ever attended. We had a banquet buffet feast under the wings of the Spruce Goose. Yep, THE Spruce Goose.

Howard Hughes’ famous eight-engine flying boat and dozens of historical aircraft from WWII and before, provided a fascinating ambiance for the banquet that was a primary fund raiser for Twin Rocks Quaker Camp on the Oregon Coast just north of Garibaldi.

The affair was held at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, now the permanent, weather-proof home to the Spruce Goose, an SR-71 (the world’s fastest airplane), several WWII bombers and a myriad of other flying machines going back to WWI.

In the photo above, you can get an idea of the immensity of the “Goose”. This is just the nose and cockpit, taken from eye level.

The gargantuan, glass-front hangar had enough available floor space to easily house the 900-plus attendees who were seated at circular tables accommodating ten persons each.

Most everyone arrived early to gawk at the famous aircraft specimens. Just about everyone got an up-close look at the impressive Spruce Goose, which is actually made mostly from birch wood. (Wags in the press tabbed it the "Spruce Goose".)

The gigantic craft flew only once, in 1947, piloted by Hughes himself, for only a mile, getting just 70-feet off the water in its short check out flight. (Have you seen the movie, The Aviator?) The jet age made it obsolete before it was completely ready for commercial use.

Pic at left, taken with available light, is a Boeing B-17 Flying fortress, a workhorse bomber in WWII.

My favorite aircraft was the sleek, dart-shaped, black, stealth-like SR-71, a piloted plane capable of speeds in excess of 2,000 mph. It’s an awesome spectacle at rest, but it was even more incredible in flight.

When I was doing my cross-country work during my private pilot training in the 1960s, I happened to fly over Beale AFB in northern California and watched an SR-71 take off below me and off to my right. As it left the runway and rocketed into the stratosphere ahead of me, my little Cessna 150 shook from the sound waves. I’ll never forget it. To the chagrin of many, including me, the SR-71 is no longer in active service.

Of course the focus of the evening was on the exciting future of Twin Rocks Camp. Our son Gregg’s family and our granddaughters have already benefited a great deal from this wonderful place, and we were interested in seeing the future plans.

The outstanding multi-media presentation on the $1 million first phase of the expansion was perhaps the best produced we had ever seen. Work has already begun on the initial phase that will soon create a green belt, add and upgrade cabins and re-invent the entire maintenance processes. Of course we participated in the campaign in our small way, as we have personally enjoyed activities there, and we believe completely in its potential.

This was one occasion that will long be remembered for its unique setting and effectual presentation. Unfortunately, my dear wife had to endure an on-coming migraine during the evening, but she still enjoyed the proceedings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Too Much Going On – Blog Takes the Back Seat

As my readers (whom you can probably number on one hand) know, I blog for my own (self serving) interests more than anything else.

Blog posts enable me to exercise what few writing skills I have, and the composite blog then provides a nice chronology for events. (At my age I need assistance later in remembering in what order things happened and in keeping everything in perspective.)

Fall colors are now in bloom, as you can see, but lately I’ve not added much to these pages. Maybe for good reason.

During the past 10 days we’ve had the wettest five days in our State since records have been kept. Our kitchen renovation was finally completed after more than 12 weeks of semi-disarray. And we had house guests from California over last weekend while celebrating my cousin’s 60th birthday.

Additionally, due to some of the above, I missed out on a salmon fishing excursion to the Oregon coast with my California buddy, Ed Wall. We’ll have to do it next year.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the days will stay busy. We’ll likely spend Turkey Day with relatives, enjoy a day or two in Oregon next week with our granddaughters and then look forward to an early December week in California with cronies.

Hopefully, I’ll have time to add posts for most of it (not that anyone’s interested but me).