Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

  • Stuff posted on these days

    September 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
  • Meta

  • Joe Abbott Musings

  • RSS Cat Cartoon w/o the Cartoon

    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Archive for the ‘Suzy’ Category

The other Green River stuff

Posted by joeabbott on July 20, 2018

I made mention of a few things we saw besides bridges on our most recent biking trip down the Green River Trail … here they are, in no particular order.

BMX Track

A biking company in a business park adjacent to Briscoe Park installed a BMX biking track. I only have a mountain bike so I gave the trails a trial and just about killed myself. I wasn’t going fast but the severe and numerous rises\falls had me feeling out of control.

While having this sort of facility is great, the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Rather than an enjoyable alternate use for the park, the initial appearance is one of neglect and the dumping of refuse: weeds festoon the perimeter, the track has no shoulder or separation from the land around it, and lack of supporting facilities (bike rack, bench, or shelter) all make this an odd “enhancement” to the Briscoe Park.

WP_20180715_10_02_17_Pro

Sculptures

Somewhere along the way I came across this biking sculpture (picture on the left) … I would have loved to dismount my bike and pose alongside them (it’s the sort of thing I do), but Suzy had put a little distance between us and I was hurrying to catch up!

WP_20180715_09_45_26_ProWP_20180715_09_15_23_Pro

Further south, we came across a bench in the shape of a canoe (picture, right). Various photos on the side acknowledge the cultural debt we have in the Pacific Northwest to some of the First Nation tribes, but I wasn’t able to spend much time looking at them: again, I was lagging behind my biking partner! And, yes, it is a typical trend.

Pruning 101

Here’s a tip: if your tree or bush requires a bit of pruning, do not ask someone from a power line company to help you with that! Look at what they did to this poor tree we saw somewhere adjacent to the trail:

WP_20180715_08_21_59_Pro

Yup, yup … I’m not sure what choices they had but this beautiful, full tree has a quarter of its top removed, making it look super-odd. I was also surprised to see one of the wires still threading through the canopy, but someone told me this was a phone line … and the power company (who trimmed the upper branches) will not tend phone lines; and I guess the phone company doesn’t share the electrical power company’s concerns!

I’m assuming that cutting the tree down was out of the question, as there’s a memorial plaque at its base and a few picnic tables. I really can’t imagine anyone ever having a picnic here, it’s fairly out of the way, but it might make a nice, shady rest. And from the tables, you might not even notice the hack-job done to the tree.

Fore!

I mentioned Julene Bailie in my last post: she’s an author who has taken to watching a family of eagles living above the Green River near this stretch of the trail. Here she is, on the left, sheltering herself from the sun with a shirt she’s draped over her head. She has a camera with a powerful lens, a set of binoculars, and a few other items to offer her comfort on a long day of bird watching. She and I chatted a bit and I could have spent a lot longer with her: she knew the area, the eagles, and was happy to share what she had learned.

The shadows just behind her are cast by a 16’ fence separating the Trail from a golf course that abuts it. A bit further south you see the sign shown below, right, which warns bikers\hikers to “please use caution, errant golf balls may cross the trail.” I’m not sure how much caution I can muster but I’m sure hoping the golfers exercise some!

WP_20180715_09_28_42_ProWP_20180715_09_24_15_Pro

Lovely views

Whether you are looking for river scenery or wildflowers the trail has plenty of both. While some stretches are more wonderful than others, the entirety of the trail seems to have something to offer to everyone.

WP_20180715_08_37_42_ProWP_20180715_08_06_01_Pro

I think it’s an educational sculpture

Suzy and I came across this marker along the trail and I’m not 100% certain I know what to make of it.

The various horizontal markers around it denote a footage and and the words “Flood level”, leading us to believe water had, at one point, risen to the various levels … however, the distance between the bands is not consistent with the difference in the noted flood levels.

There are a number of dots on each pole and lines connecting them; some lines are solid, some are dotted. And some have either dates or words (e.g., “Completion of Howard A. Hanson Dam”) on them. I just can’t put together a consistent pattern to understand what logic they’re using.

Finally, there’s a big arrow superimposed over the four posts that requires you to stand back to see properly. Why it’s pointing north is a complete mystery to me.

WP_20180715_08_42_57_Pro

Coda

That was our trip. While the overall outing was well over 20 miles, it seemed I couldn’t go more than a mile or two without stopping to snap a picture of something; it’s just wonderfully busy with things to look at.

On our next trip I want to take a dedicated camera, as I imagine it’d be easier to grab and shoot, but I would likely risk wiping out or taking a spill into blackberry brambles … and that would not be welcome. So, if you’re up for a good workout, the trail is long; if you’re more interested in finding diversions, there’s plenty of that, too! Thanks to the cities of Tukwila and Kent for keeping this stretch of the Green River Trail in good condition!

Here’s hoping your trails are smooth and interesting!

Advertisements

Posted in Hiking, Suzy, Travel | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Bridges of the Green River Trail

Posted by joeabbott on July 18, 2018

imageOK, the title may prepare you for a comprehensive review but these are just a few of the bridges spanning the Green River that Suzy and I saw while on a recent biking excursion.

Last Sunday, before the heat of a 95°F day set in, we tossed our bikes into the back of my truck, drove down to a parking spot just off the Green River Trail, and headed south. Our destination was somewhere around “where we turned around last time”, but we’re always game to learn some new things so we went just a bit further.

We were on the east bank of the Green River on the way down, but crossed to the west on a pedestrian\cycling bridge just south of the Green River Natural Resources Area (the brown splotch on the map to the right). From there we continued south on Frager Road until that thoroughfare ended, at Foster Park at the extreme south … probably 15 miles from where we started.

Along the way I was taking pictures of anything that caught my attention: a tree that had been curiously pruned, wildflowers, sculptures, and even a bird watcher (Julene Bailie, an author of a number of books about a local family of eagles … see her photography work here). I also found myself snapping pics of a number of bridges.

Some of the bridges were cool, others attractive, and some just utilitarian; but all caught my eye. Unfortunately, I can’t remember and didn’t write down the names or locations of the bridges, so, for now, you’ll just get snaps of a few bridges, my guess at where it is, and maybe word or two of why they caught my eye.

First Bridge

While we navigate under South 180th St bridge before we get to this walking\biking trestle, I’m considering this one the First Bridge. Mainly because we actually used it to cross to the east side of Green River, but also because it’s attractive.

WP_20180715_10_09_36_Pro

Utilitarian Bridge

I think this is the South 200th Street bridge but I only caught a portion of the span … the rest is the same: concrete and straight lines.

Not a “bad” bridge, but nothing to set it apart or recommend it as a destination.

WP_20180715_09_53_50_Pro

Copper Dome Rounds Bridge

This bridge always catches my attention. When I first saw the copper-colored sphere decorations on it, I thought they were copper … upon closer inspection it’s just colored concrete, but it’s a neat feature and makes for an eye-catching motif. While it’s mostly just another big, concrete bridge, the exposed aggregate upper portion does lend a break from the otherwise smooth surfaces.

I’m guessing this bridge takes Veteran’s Drive over the Green River, but I am (again) guessing. It seems right but even with a map (both Bing and Google), I can’t tell exactly where this might be.

WP_20180715_09_36_41_Pro

Green Truss Trestle

We had just turned around and were coming back when we were directed beneath the West Meeker Street Bridge. This fella is a throwback to the past, with little more to see than industrial-green iron beams riveted together. While it’s a bit ugly, the large open areas attempt to make this trestle light and airy; I’ll let you decide if you think it succeeded.

WP_20180715_09_23_25_Pro

Bridge Under a Bridge!

This one has got to be my fave … not because it’s beautiful or well-kept (and maybe a bit of the opposite in both cases), but because it surprised me and gave me a smile. This was the Hwy 516 (also known as the South Kent Des Moines Road) Bridge over the Green River, and beneath the solid car overpass, a bridge for pedestrians and bikers is hung! There’s even a little nook with a bench for sitting down and watching the river.

WP_20180715_08_55_35_ProWP_20180715_08_56_10_Pro

And you can file this under the “why can’t we ever have anything nice”, the seating area was rife with litter, graffiti, and grime … neither Suzanne nor I wanted to sit there. But, she gave me a nice smile as she posed for a pic mid-span!

WP_20180715_08_57_17_Pro

Coda

That’s it … it’s not all the bridges but a lot of them. Some were fun, some were nice to look at, and others just got you to the other side of the river. Thanks for touring along with me!

Posted in Hiking, Suzy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Stick a pin in the map (local edition)

Posted by joeabbott on July 3, 2018

Suzanne and I plan on moving at some point in the next year or two, but we’ve enjoyed living in the south end of Seattle. While not the most desirous of zip codes, SeaTac has been our home and launching point for many adventures, both local and not so local. As we consider leaving a place that’s become comfortable, we decided to spend an afternoon looking for smaller gems in these parts.

Upon heading to bed the other night, we agreed to head to “a park” and I offered to find one. The next morning I offered her a map and, rather than just visit one park, we headed out to try a bunch!

image

Kent Memorial Park

This would have been our first stop, had we stopped, but Suzanne recalled this place as we neared it and it was comprised of a set of three baseball diamonds. Interesting for ballgames, less so for leisurely walks. And so we passed without stopping.

image

Kiabara Park

We continued on to Kiabara Park but had a hard time finding it; so hard we were actually at the park before we knew we were there. The Park lies along the west side of a railroad track, roughly a block long and half that in width. It contains a koi pond and some statuary, along with lots of trees, paths, and benches for those looking for a rest. As the Kent area has built up around it, the Park appears to be home to those with a bit more time and a bit less house than they’d probably like.

image

We didn’t get out here, but parked alongside it and recollected a time a few years back when we’d walked this area and enjoyed a small, local fair that was going on. Suzanne tried to spot the bakery we’d visited, while I counted the cars on a passing train (65, including 2 engines). When the train passed and the crossing guards lifted, we headed east to our next objective.

Mill Creek Earthworks Park

While neither Suzanne or I had heard of this park before, it’s well-known enough to have its own Wikipedia page! We parked at the west end and started our walking tour, wondering if it was a bad omen that the QR code on one of the informational plaques resulted in a 404 … page not found. But, soon enough, in spite of a background of traffic noises, the spell a well-designed park can have was cast upon us. We walked past a few minor hills created for the sake of visual interest, noted the flood control vault created to weather a 10,000 year flood/storm, past the circular retention pond and through the split-mounds, and onto a pond where a mallard duck shook her tail feathers at us in anticipation of a crust of bread … that never came. She was interested enough, however, to follow us to the far side of the little pond where we rested on a bench and took in the views.

image

From there we wandered farther east to the end of the paved trail and looked down the damp earth trail in its tumble of trees and vines. We didn’t have the shoes for a wet trek and the mosquitoes were already letting us know our short sleeved shirts were just what they were looking for. So, we walked back to look over the earthworks from atop a small building housing the restrooms, then over a bridge to inspect a now-defunct set of stairs leading up to the roadway above us, and then we spent a few minutes watching a man playing with a boomerang as he launched his toy into the circular retention pond. I tried to determine if, with my help he could retrieve his boomerang, but it would be a wet endeavor for someone and it didn’t appear that he had an interest in wading in. And so it was back to our car and on to the next park.

Morrill Meadows Park

We arrived at Morrill Meadows Park and were immediately deterred by an orange, plastic fenced blocking us from the park proper. A family had already setup for a picnic at the shelter but there was an unwelcome look to a place under construction. image

And so, we circled the lot, noted nothing on the west side that looked like trails, and continued on to our next venue. On inspection of a map (at higher resolution), there would have been a bit of trail-walking opportunities beyond the orange mesh barrier, but we passed this time.

Gary Grant Park / Arbor Heights Park 360

Noted as Gary Grant Park on our map, it was labeled Arbor Heights Park 360 on the signage at the actual location and Suzanne and I immediately recognized this location from when we drove past earlier in the week: it’s a skateboard park! Nope, we didn’t stop as we didn’t have our boards but we continued on to the nearby next location …

Clark Lake Park

Our final destination was a good one. We pulled in to see an animal control vehicle at the entrance but were relieved to see the driver was just stopping there for a bit of a break. A sign told us the dock at the lake was under reconstruction but we headed in using the “left hand rule”.

image

As we didn’t have a map I chose to always take the left hand option or path, reasoning that if we got lost, we could turn around and take only right hand paths to return to our car. Suzy immediately recognized this as the strategy I use for finding my way through a dungeon maze in video games and proceeded to taunt me. It was all in good fun and our paths led us across fields, past disused barns, to the quiet end of the lake where more ducks approached us, and back until we finally found the out-of-commission dock. A young couple must not have read the sign … and didn’t find the barrier a deterrent … and were sitting on the dock; we took in the views from the end and then made our way down the west side paths.

Before getting too far, about where the paths turned south, we turned around and walked back to the cars; the day was getting on and dark clouds announced potential rain. Upon passing the lake on the way out, we heard a tremendous “whoosh” … sounding like an airplane was ditching into the lake! A quick peek noted it was only a large flock of ducks alighting into the water. We both smiled as we’d never heard so big a sound from some ducks.

Coda

And that was our day. While there are plenty more parks to discover and enjoy in the South End, we found a couple we’ll likely visit again when opportunity presents itself. It was a good afternoon of toodling lazily about.

Thanks for following along on our afternoon of strolling!

Posted in General stuff, Hiking, Suzy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

It’s all in the context

Posted by joeabbott on April 27, 2018

When I hear Suzy utter a “Gah!” and we’re on the streets, I look for an exceptional interaction or individual somewhere in the crowds. When she gives that same “Gah!” at home, I reach for a newspaper or magazine to usher whatever bug, beetle, or critter outside that’s somehow made its way inside.

When I heard “Gah!” earlier today, I replied with, “I’ll go get a cart.” You see, we were at a place that was selling plants and I knew my miss had espied a must-have something or other. When I asked about her current find she proclaimed, “It’s on my list,” then added, “The undersides of its leaves are fuzzy.” Reading my expression she finished with, “That’s all,” all the while sympathizing with an individual who might need more to make a plant special than the fact that it has fuzzy undersides to its leaves.

As a side note, somewhat related, we expanded the plant storage we built a few weeks back. That’s all … thanks for dropping in.

Posted in Garden, Me, Suzy | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Speaking of books …

Posted by joeabbott on March 10, 2017

WP_20170305_14_45_21_ProFor about 10 years now, Suzy has been compiling our annual photographs into a “best of” printed volume. The books are 100-ish color pages of glorious us. Yup, we have all these images digitally; yup, we lived that life so there’s nothing new here; and, yup, it’s just a photo album … but I look forward to paging through these every time I find one on a coffee table or on the bookshelf.

I’m not sure what makes these books special; as I noted, we have the digital images. But, there’s something about the tactile quality you can get paging forward, dropping back, and seeing the various instances of our lives in a curated fashion. And it’s not the many thousands of pictures you might get clicking through something on a computer or flicking through them on your phone: they’re just the select, best-of moments that are special in so many ways.

Take for instance last year. Suzy chose a picture of me in the bed of my new-ish truck, arms wide, grinning madly at a tilted rhododendron we were about to plant in our new property. New truck, new property, a plant that a buddy gave me that will grace our new home for years … and that smile that says, “I’m enjoying life!” It’s hard to beat seeing that printed on the cover of a hardback book!

And so, sure, we lived that life so there’s nothing new or truly surprising that we’ll bump into in the pages, but she was a little late on the 2015 book and as we sat side-by-side paging through it when it arrived, we continued to say, “was it that long ago that happened?” or “I thought we had that <insert name of thing here> a lot longer than that!” It’s just fun to relive the very best moments of your life with a quick flip-flip-flip. Even those photos that won’t be meaningful to anyone else.

So, that’s it. If you keep scrapbooks, you’re probably ahead on this score but if you’re use to just cataloging your vacations and days by snapping digital pics and saving them on a hard drive somewhere, I strongly recommend spending some time making your own best-of.

Thanks for dropping in.

WP_20170305_14_46_00_Pro

WP_20170305_14_46_19_Pro

Posted in Home projects, Me, Suzy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Suzy

Posted by joeabbott on March 5, 2017

imageMy wife does many things well but in one of her many exemplary qualities, she shares of herself; and as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, she handed me an envelope to get into the mail to her father in a distant town. Yup, good old USPS mail for a family member who lives farther away than is easy to share our day-to-day events with.

In addition to a newsy letter and some pics from recent gatherings and to-do events here in Seattle, she had created a St. Patrick’s Day greeting card for him. While the original art is based on the Farmville game, she spent the time making a quick recreation rather than just cut-and-paste from a web search. The clever design gave me a bit smile (perhaps you have to be a chicken owner), but I really liked that she continued to keep family in the loop and put time and effort into that connection.

So, for those of my family members who aren’t receiving a St. Patrick’s Day greeting in the mail, this post is for you!

Smile

Thanks for dropping by!

Posted in Me, Suzy | Leave a Comment »

There’s a lot going on in this part of town

Posted by joeabbott on March 5, 2017

Image may contain: tree and outdoorOK, maybe not so much going on but I’m feeling chatty. And, rather than try to ram it all into one post, I’ll drop a couple to make things a bit more digestible.

The first order of business is recognizing that I’m pretty tired and sore. Yesterday Suzanne and I spent 7-hours putting up fencing but, sadly, it wasn’t on our property. The good news is that it was for a charity so an organization in need benefited from our time and efforts; and that’s always nice.

Suzy volunteers at the Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR) and I’m very supportive. Supportive to the point of thinking we have an obligation to contribute some of our time to a worthy cause; and, as it’s easier to think someone else should be volunteering their time, I make a point of committing some of my time when I’m able. So, when Suzy mentioned the PSGR was having a “fencing party” … and it didn’t have anything to do with swordplay … I signed up. Hearing that a fellow co-worker of mine had signed up helped!

Aaron and I worked together ages ago and as he’s one of the Nicest Guys in the World™ (and, really, he is), I was happy to drop in if only to catch up. So, at 7AM on our Saturday morning, Suzy and I drove across the valley to Aaron’s home and, along with his lovely wife Jane, they showed up their setup on 15-acres in Maple Valley. After a half hour of seeing their goat runs, deluxe chicken coop, barn and the beautiful outdoor setup of their home, we headed into the bramble-covered PSGR area we were going to fence … which, conveniently, was right next door!

If you’re a “Facebook person” you can read about the project here, but the post talks more about the many events of the day … and while I think I had a busy day, the Goat Rescue had it going on!

While we took a half hour break at noon for pizza, chips, fruit, and water, the rest of the time was doing heavy manual labor. Aaron and Jane were in charge of using his tractor to dig ~2’ deep holes, insert a 6×6 timber, and shore it up with crushed rock. Suzy and I would follow ensuring the posts were plumb and then laying in cross bracing. For all sections we’d lay in two horizontal members; one high and one low. For the corners we’d install a single diagonal beam; and for other sections that would be in the middle of the fencing, we’d put in two diagonal members.

The corners were the trickiest because the field failed to follow a strictly rectangular shape, leaving us making cuts that had several angles to them. A couple sections gave us problems trying to get the right fit but most of them went into place relatively nicely.

The Seattle weather held off until the end but we eventually took a few splashes of rain and by 4PM we were done. The fencing wasn’t completed but we were DONE. Lots of hours stumbling over roots, carrying heavy loads, and trying to figure out how to look competent doing something for the first time. Tiring though it was, we really enjoyed the experience.

I will note that while I was asking questions and learning how to install a fence (Aaron and Jane were old hands at this by now), Suzy was scouring the understory for decades-old barbwire and various other metal accoutrements that were used in a fence long-since neglected. It was rusty and vicious but a pair of thick gloves and some bolt-cutters took care of the problem

While I’m looking forward to today and my light-duty garage projects and some sitting about, I’m happy to have had a chance, to be physically able, and give back a bit to a world that’s if not better, at least tidier and with the prospects of a bigger pasture to roam in.

Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in General stuff, Suzy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Love this pic, love this fam

Posted by joeabbott on August 13, 2016

A great snap from our recent gathering in North Carolina. This wasn’t all of us, but a goodly number. Those not present were missed; those who attended … well, we enjoyed our time with you.

Emerald Isle Family 2016

See you all again in three years or so!

Posted in Me, Suzy | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Long road, good company

Posted by joeabbott on April 10, 2016

We erected the shed on our new property this past weekend and it was a bit more work than I thought it would be. The first day was muddy and dirty, as we put in the base, and the second day we got some good sun (meaning a stinging burn) because it took long enough to assemble. While I very much wanted to build my own shed, I have to admit this one went together in a short afternoon and that wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t bought a kit.

The base design

We knew that we weren’t sure where our house will be built, so we didn’t know if the shed will ultimately need to be moved; so we we opted to build it on runners. This way, when we do have a final spot the shed will be in, we can tow it to that location. It won’t be easy, but it will be possible.

Then I worked with combinations of various interlacings of pressure treated 4x4s to get a based that was solid, but not too massive. The following design is what we went with:

image

Initially I didn’t have the center beam (the center one perpendicular to the runners) but without it, the center parts of the floor seemed fairly squishy. It would absolutely hold up, but just felt less robust than something I would built. So, we added the other support and I was much happier at the rigidity that it added.

And, after we had the lattice of 4x4s, we’d add some half-inch chip board plywood on top.

Installing of the base

At the property, we started by building the base … which I thought would be easier than it was. Getting the base right is always harder than it looks and the first parts, making sure you’re building on something level, always takes the longest. And that proved to be true in this case, as well.

We found some relatively flat ground, laid out the base to get an idea where we’d need the runners, and then started leveling. It took a LOT of work and I wish we’d started this when I was a younger man! Phew!

The only place we deviated from the original plan was that I used a number of the cut-off ends of the 4x4s to rest the runners on. This way, when we go to move the shed, it won’t have been able to sink into the earth. Or, that’s the hope. We still dug down a bit farther than I’d like, but, in the end, it was flat and level.

2016-04-08 11.42.262016-04-08 11.42.162016-04-08 11.52.002016-04-08 11.51.31

2016-04-08 12.28.272016-04-08 12.27.252016-04-08 12.26.492016-04-08 12.57.26

image

Putting up the shed

One of the hardest parts of putting up the shed was hauling the stuff to our property. We couldn’t lift either of the two boxes the shed came in into our truck so we pulled the pieces from the box and packed the truck. To keep all the parts in, we wrapped the back in a tarp. I felt like we were driving the Beverly Hills Hillbilly truck the way that thing was packed up. Happily, and with ample use of the many straps I carry in the car, we got to the lot without a single piece moving out of place!

Now, the bottom line is that it’s a plastic shed, and while there are a very few things I’d like to have done differently, it went together smashingly and looks respectable. The instructions were clear, we had all the parts, and nothing was broken or defective. While I will opt to build my own in the future, if I have to … or if someone else is looking for a recommendation … I’d gladly point out the Keter product as a fine choice.

Here are a few shots from putting it together:

WP_20160409_10_35_02_Rich_LIWP_20160409_10_38_45_Rich_LI

WP_20160409_11_11_34_Rich_LIWP_20160409_12_08_00_Rich_LIWP_20160409_11_14_06_Rich_LIWP_20160409_11_55_39_Rich_LI

In short, you screw the two bottom panels together that have a channel in them for the walls; slide a wall in, connect it to another wall part, and repeat! There’s a window on one side that asks for a few extra steps but it all pretty much just butts together and is held in place with screws. A few times there are reinforcing steel members added, but they all fit together surprisingly well and with more precision than you’d think!

And here’s the final product!

WP_20160409_14_39_53_Rich_LI

Just a bit more

We had a few more steps before we called it done: we added the smallest of “ramps” to the front and Suzy painted the base a nice black that tied in well with the shed floor color. Not a bad weekend’s work and now we can get on with working on the lot itself!

Thanks for dropping in!

Posted in Suzy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

2014–all over but for a lot of yawning and a good-night kiss

Posted by joeabbott on December 31, 2014

P1070153Well, I woke up today knowing it was the last day of 2014 but hard pressed to account for the time. It’s gone like a whirlwind. And yet, there have been some standout moments, both good and less so, that have become part of the fabric of the year. Time to reflect and not necessarily in the order of the year … just as they occur to me.

Suzy retires

We’re not sure if this “retirement” is a forever deal, but it could be. We have enough going around the house and in our lives that we shelve and have said “when we get time” that we decided it was time to free up some of our day to attend to these things.

As we looked at our options, freeing up Suzy from the 9-5 routine made best sense and so we did that. It was a many-year plan but I’m delighted for it: for the tidy yard, the clean house, the good meals, and someone who can plan trips and entertainment without squeezing it in during lunch hour.

Uncle Joe passes away

Uncle Joe and I shared monthly letters, each trip back to MN included a trip to see him, and he was an inspiration in so many ways: a generous heart, a sharp intellect, and a patient soul. He embodied so many good qualities and was so approachable and pleasant, it’s hard to believe this is a description of a real person, and not some fiction. But that was him. He liked fishing in his youth, sports his entire life, and while you sat with him, he listened, shared, and left you feeling good.

Over the past few months I’ve missed our correspondences and thought of him often and, in that small way, he’s not really gone. Not completely.

Trips to MN

Getting back home so many times this year was great, but there was sadness in that one of the trips was for UJ’s funeral. While all of the events were special, I liked our road trip back. We got to spend some great time together, listened to a wonderful book on CD, and saw some fantastic National Parks and scenery. It was a wonderful trip and made for a lot of grand memories.

I’ve been busy

Work this past year has been a blur of change and intensely focused; more so in the last six months but it feels like it’s colored the entire year. It means I’m feeling a bit more stress (and wearing my night-guard to avoid problems from grinding my teeth at night), it means I escape into video games a bit more (like now), and that I’m gaining a bit more weight (I’m a stress-eater), but I have to say that I like being on a project that matters and I understand its relevance to the marketplace. I just wish we weren’t coming in so hot!

I’m getting older

When I hit 40 years old, I didn’t notice a thing different from when I was 39 … at least in terms of physical capabilities. About the time I hit 44 years old I did notice a few things that were harder or took me longer or more committed effort to accomplish. This past year I’ve seen more instances of “this is new” that I chalk up to aging than I have in the past … I have to face facts: I’m getting older.

Some of it is weight-related … the pains after the 5K race, the discomfort when tying one’s shoes … and some is just getting old: the dizzy spells, the “man I don’t feel great this morning”, and the naps that feel so delicious on a weekend afternoon. I’ll do what I can to hold the forces of nature at bay but as the year ended, I submitted to eating a bit more than I should, sleeping in more than I used to, and generally being OK with not applying myself to stuff that should be getting done. I better bring my A-game to 2015!

And some other stuff

We had a leak in our roof, we spent an entire day watching the three Hobbit movies back-to-back in a theater, we rode a lot of miles on the stationary bikes at the Y, we got some new furniture, and I got some great books (and read a few, too!). There were stand-out meals both at home (Suzy cooks a wonderful steak sous vide) and at some five-star restaurants (Copper Leaf), there were fun times with family and friends.

I didn’t climb any mountains this year but did get in some good hikes. My car died but I got a new truck. I built very few things in my shop but I got some new tools.

The year was a bit of a seesaw with fewer true highlights to offset some of the pains and troubles; and yet there’s hope, harmony, and happiness to take us with confidence into the new year.

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Posted in Me, Suzy | 2 Comments »