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Blah Blah Blog - LiveJournal.com

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  • 04/16/16--09:30: Polester
  • I knew all week that I would for sure be visiting Japanese Gulch to try out my new walking poles. I wish I'd had a little more time to do some research about them before heading out, though. Coincidentally, the only video I saw beforehand gave advice nobody else does. She said not to use the wrist straps, whereas everyone else says you definitely want to use them almost all the time. Since I wasn't using them, my hands got very sweaty the whole time, and I wondered if I would have to get some sort of fingerless gloves. But as I've learned since then, you barely have to hold on at all if they're strapped on, so the next walk with them should be much easier.

    20160415_062317



    I was a bit surprised to see the main path from the parking area to the center was completely blocked!

    20160415_060520
    20160415_060558

    I could tell just by looking that the project had nothing to do with the usability of the gulch. My guess was that they had to update the culvert or whatever drainage system takes the creek under the road, but I found more info when I got back to the car. Water main stuff.

    20160415_081529

    It was a very strange coincidence, that as soon as I got out of my car, another guy showed up, also using poles! He went up the OG trail to the West, which was perfect because my plan was to head East. I was originally going to practice with the poles heading up via the tracks and then back via the Eastern trails, but since I had to enter from the Eastern trailhead, I just walked that way instead of going back down to the tracks.

    I really like walking with the poles! There are a lot of advantages to using them, especially this time of year. The plants along the trails are making a huge comeback, so much that my right foot was completely soaked just by wet grasses and leaves brushing up against me. There are tons of vines and branches creeping in, and having poles to push them out of the way is nice. The main benefit is all the added stability, but having an extra tool for investigating things is quite handy. The path I followed is one of the muddiest, but I was able to tell that a lot of the mud was perfectly fine to walk in by poking at it with a pole. Sometimes it'll look really deep, but will just be a half inch or so on top of very firm gravel. Quite nice. I eventually had to turn back because of mud, but it was nice to find out just how deep it all was without having to sink into it myself.

    I made my way up to Garbage Fire Plateau for the first time in a while and confirmed what I've suspected from seeing it above: someone has cleaned up all the garbage and even removed the garbage can!

    20160415_065740

    I was about to say a disadvantage of the poles is how long it takes to put the straps on, take a picture, put the phone away, and then take the straps off, but now that I know I'll be using the straps, that's no longer the case.

    20160415_062345
    20160415_080632_HDR

    Since I was forced by the trail mud back to the center trail sooner than I planned, I decided to investigate some crossings I've been avoiding. First up, the scary old bridge I spotted recently.

    20160415_074042

    If you remember the closer picture of it from the last time I mentioned it, you will not be surprised at all to find out that a board snapped and I fell through. Luckily, it didn't hurt at all because the sand wasn't that far beneath. So, if I ever go that way again, it'll be if the creek is so dry that I can just walk across. I don't know if that ever happens.

    20160415_073610

    Next up, the rocky crossing at the bottom of Bowling Ball trail. If I could add a bridge anywhere in the gulch, it'd be here. I suspect the mountain bikers ride right through here, but it's really hard on foot. I surveyed it and decided I would definitely go across the the poles without worrying about it, but decided not to yesterday because I didn't actually feel like walking up that trail, so I'd have to cross it twice for no reason. But I'll do it soon.

    20160415_075057

    The poles emboldened me enough to tackle one spot I've never had the guts to try. You've seen me post it again and again hoping it'll be improved, but it never is.

    20160415_080059

    It was easy! I took it pretty slow and went sideways a lot, but I never had to worry about falling down because I was propped up the whole time. And I'm glad for that, because that's the second to last way from the center to the West, which is how I wanted to approach the car because of the construction at the bottom. And the last way is another rock crossing in the creek, surrounded by tons of overgrown bushes. I've never gone that way without getting covered in burrs and pollen and stuff. And there's never been a reason to go that way because it's a boring path through a meadow that can also be quite muddy. But I would have tried it yesterday just to get back to the car.

    Yesterday"s awesome walk, 4.45 miles in 2:12, 9,569 steps, 573ft gain
    4.45 miles in 2:12, 9,569 steps, 573ft gain

    Every video I can find shows people advancing a step with their poles for every step they take with their feet. I did that some, but I walk pretty fast and that was a bit too much arm movement. It made my normal walk into more of a march. I'm a lot more comfortable if I move each pole far enough that they go half-time as compared to my steps. I think most walkers who keep pace with the poles probably walk a little slower than I do.

    Oh yeah, another awesome thing happened. I've been trying to get a video like this for ages.



    Full version on flickr:

    20160415_071548


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  • 04/17/16--19:57: A twist on a tradition
  • Dina Martina is a Seattle institution, and one of the best things about living there was being able to walk down or take a ten-minute bus ride to see her. The 90-plus-minute ordeal to get down there from Everett on the bus once we moved away really sucked the joy out of it, though. I'm glad I drove us down today. The drinks were $14 so I didn't mind that I could only have two before the show started, and it was nice to be able to get back home quickly. Not sure why it took 45 minutes for us to get a pizza to go once we were back in the neighborhood, but it was nice to be back.

    Dina Martina!

    It was shocking to see the rest of the block that Re-Bar is on is being developed. Not that it wasn't obviously going to happen, but I always figured if it did, it'd be the whole block and that nothing that's already there would be spared.

    I had a really great hike with the poles this morning but I'll write about it tomorrow.

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  • 04/18/16--07:09: Strapping
  • I was very much looking forward to going to the gulch again after having watched some more videos about trekking poles. It was surprising to end up behind a truck that was also heading there to work on the water main construction since it was not only Sunday, but quite early on Sunday. You can see in the video that I wasn't sure he was going to pull into the lot, so I did a loop around the block to confirm, then drove on up to the business park by Paine Field. I won't be using the parking area at the gulch until they're finished with their work because they've been triple-and-quadruple parking and are probably expecting to use the whole thing. It worked out fine, there was a nice sunrise to see when I parked.





    It occurred to me as one of my poles started collapsing that I need to tighten them every time I set out. Thankfully that happened when I was on a service road area and not on a high, steep trail. It took a while to get the straps adjusted, but once I did, the poles were so amazing to use. I previously said that I didn't like advancing the poles with every step, but I take that back now that straps allow a looser grip. One of the advantages of using poles is that you can really feel them propel you forward. The second and third videos I watch mentioned that, but I had my doubts. Those doubts are completely gone now. It almost feels like a turbo mode. I also feel a huge difference in my posture. I can tell I'm standing up much straighter when I use them, which feels great. Especially toward the end of a hike when it's normally so hard to keep going.

    Anyhow, it was a pretty morning.

    20160417_060810

    And I almost immediately found this awesome gear on the side of the road! I'll probably use it for an air plant display.

    20160417_091906

    I decided to hike the entire length of the gulch via the Eastern side, and took a break partway through to investigate the recently-expanded mountain biking area. I was mostly curious if the trails I could see leading off from it connect to bring riders back up via a loop or if they both trail off. What I ended up discovering was an alternate way up from the level below that may come in handy sometime. There might be a second one, but the trail dropped several feet and I didn't feel like sitting and lowering myself down.

    They've marked the direction to follow on their course, it'll be interesting to see how long that lasts.

    20160417_070042

    I could swear I smelled weed and it honestly wouldn't shock me if someone has planted a little bit here, disguised among all of this. Weed is legal here, but you still have to be 21 to buy it.

    20160417_070611

    Such nice surroundings for a mountain biking stunt course.

    20160417_070647

    It's headband season again, and also time to switch to the lightweight hoodie. It's a shame, because the one I'm wearing in this photo is my only pullover-style one, and therefor the only one with a kangaroo-style center pocket. I prefer to keep my phone there since it's more secure, but it also gets a bit sweaty.

    20160417_075249

    Today"s awesome walk, 6.08 miles in 2:42, 13,064 steps, 323ft gain
    6.08 miles in 2:42, 13,064 steps, 323ft gain

    I know the total time of this walk seems pretty long since I said I was going faster using the poles, but I took quite a bit of time exploring. After making my way up to the ballfields, I followed the nicer trails nearby, then the road, as far North as I could go. After making my way back down to the center, I decided to continue with my theme of going to more difficult areas with the help of the poles. I chose to climb up to the Western side via the Southernmost trail on that side, which I call Scary Campers. That name comes from the last time I was there, when it was still pretty dark and a dog started barking from somewhere deep in the shadows. I assumed some people were camping there, though I never saw them or even the dog.

    That trail's really scary, even with the poles. Very narrow and precarious, and old bridges that look like they'll collapse at any moment. And there's a lot of space between the boards on the bridges, so it's hard to place the poles without them going right through. There's also a ton of garbage down there. Old tires, especially. My curiosity is gone and I don't need to go back on that trail again unless I hear about improvements and a cleanup.

    Looks like someone's trying to do a little cleaning. This at the top of the trail. Good for them, but it's really a drop in the bucket and almost pointless.

    20160417_083405

    Back at the car, I liked this strange little cloud formation.

    20160417_085141_HDR

    I decided to take the Boeing freeway home as it's pretty fast. I don't like it on weekdays because of the traffic, but Sunday morning is fine. The Boeing plant, which is the largest building in the world by volume, is the one you see from :09 to 0:13



    We had a couple of hours before time to leave for the Dina Martina show, so I made us lox and bagels, one of my favorite meals. I think I'm done trying to buy red onions, they always seem to have gone bad by the time I cut them open, no matter how soon it is. And if you've never tasted a red onion that's gone bad, you're lucky. White and yellow will have to do. Or maybe I'll just start buying red onions and pickling them immediately.

    Lox and bagels

    I might buy myself a nicer pair of walking poles soon. Mine absorb shock, but feel like they could absorb a little more. They're also louder than I'd like them to be, and have rubber tips instead of the fancier carbide tips. Though I might be able to swap those out. But I should hold off a bit. I like walking with them so far but want to make sure I keep up with it.


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    Yesterday was busy with work and we also had a vet appointment, so I decided I'd do some afternoon yoga. Sam's had a bump on his tail for years and it's never been an issue, but recently he's started chewing on that area and has licked the fur off. So we scheduled an appointment for him, and the confirmation email indicated Steve was due for annual bloodwork. We packed the boys up and went to their least favorite place.

    Grumpy boys



    We left Sam behind for a while so they could get a sample from his tail, and do an x-ray. I'm bummed to report that my phone never rang when they called less than an hour later, and I didn't get their voice mail until after they tried me again. He ended up waiting two hours to be picked up. Poor guy. To make matters worse, their test was inconclusive so they wanted him back again for another sample, free of charge. I did that this afternoon.

    I'm pretty sleepy because I did a home sleep apnea test. Lab tests are pretty expensive, so they have a home version that they use to try to pre-qualify people with. My doctor said I'd be getting a CPAP no matter what, so if my test is inconclusive, I'll be going to the lab. The home test made for a pretty miserable night. There was a box strapped to my chest, a rubber sensor for my finger, and a tube for my nostrils, which was secured to my face with band-aids. I woke up so many times and had strange dreams. The only one I remember was about new seasons of The Real World and Road Rules filming simultaneously in Houston, which was a stark desert with skyscrapers and awesome amusement park rides.

    In spite of my exhaustion, I headed out to the pool for my normal hour of treading water, which was really nice today because I went a little later and had the pool to myself a for a lot of it. As I was climbing out, one of the lifeguards came over and asked, "How do you tread water for *so long*?" I explained that I think I'm pretty buoyant. She said all the lifeguards have been talking about me and that the most any of them can do is half an hour, and her jaw dropped when I told her I did 80 minutes one of the days last week. It was fun to hear that they're impressed.

    It was a nice day for it, so I went out of my way a bit after the pool to drive through the neighborhood surrounding Howarth Park. This route goes through the heart-shaped portion of that route that I was walking a lot when I was leaving on foot from home because it was too dark to go to the gulch. Stupid dirty windshield.



    When I got back, I decided to have a look around our yard. I always enter the house via the garage and don't really see much of our yard sometimes, so it was time to check in. One lonely yellow flower in the front:

    20160419_083527

    There were a few irises here last year, I hope they come back.

    20160419_083542

    Simon, Nick, Roger, Andy, and John looking great. I wouldn't mind if they had a little trim, but I also don't want to pay for that.

    20160419_083559_HDR

    These grassy things in the planters by the front door are out of control. As usual. I should try cutting them in a zig-zag or something.

    20160419_083619

    Garrett's garden's looking great.

    20160419_083703

    Pink snow from the tree in the center of the back yard, and the rhododendron is starting to bloom.

    20160419_083804

    And this red one by the neighbor's house is looking fantastic! Off in the upper right of the photo are their very productive apple trees.

    20160419_083837

    Decided to have lunch out today because I also wanted to shop for shoes. This is a pizza roll (California roll with seafood baked on top) and a spicy sashimi salad.

    Pizza roll, spicy sashimi salad

    And here are the shoes I got, which are the first non-athletic shoes I've picked up in five years or so. I wore my LA Gear Paramounts all the time, with separate pairs designated for walking and for other times, but those were discontinued and I don't like wearing their replacements for anything other than walking and hiking.

    First non-athletic shoes I"ve bought in five years or so.

    Unfortunately, those are very warm. I need to find something else.

    I'm also excited to report that one of the new air plants I ordered for the display I'm going to create in my bedroom is blooming! Since it'll be a while before my room's ready, I decided to display that one in the kitchen.

    Swapped the air plant out of this holder because one of my new plants is blooming :D

    And I finally put the ribbon fish I got at the Kauai Coffee Company's gift shop up with the beaded seahorse I got from the Kona Seahorse Farm.

    Bead seahorse from Kona, ribbon fish from Kalaheo.


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  • 04/20/16--16:47: Wrong turns
  • I've been thinking about how the beach's walking area's days are numbered, and wanted to start there today. It also would have been a convenient place to park since I'm not using the gulch's parking area until the water main work is complete. I tried to drive the most direct way there, and you can see in the video that I took a wrong turn, and that the beach parking area was closed.





    Parking up on the road near the Eastern trailhead turned out to be pretty nice. It was quite sunny and warm by the time I returned, but that area's nice and shady, so the car was cool. Thankfully I also have switched to the my thin Summer hoodie. The plan today was to take the Bowling Ball trail up West for the first time in ages, and I used my poles to cross these rocks in the creek quickly and easily.

    20160420_062227

    Clear mornings make for boring sunrises, but the light in the woods is pretty neat.

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    20160420_063521

    I really like these orange flowers at the Mukilteo Community Garden, and I especially like how many stages are represented in this particular bunch.

    20160420_065052

    There were also some very lovely mushrooms.

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    I didn't originally plan to spend so much time out this morning.

    Today"s awesome walk, 5.4 miles in 2:30, 11,607 steps, 509ft gain
    5.4 miles in 2:30, 11,607 steps, 509ft gain

    You can see between miles 4 and 5 that I went on one path I like but forgot how far it goes back the way I came. I also forgot how muddy it can be. Still had a lot of fun.


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    My strategy for a long time has been to go to the pool as soon as possible, then to the grocery store. But the pool is less crowded later, and the store is less crowded earlier, so I swapped the two. I was also planning on driving to a vet office for pill pockets for Sam, so it made sense to be heading back from WinCo a little later. But I ended up popping into the emergency vet which is open all night, so it didn't really end up mattering when I went there.



    Nothing very eventful about the store or the standard 60-minute swim. Here's the morning in videos and photos.



    Fast food majesty0
    upload
    Fabulous prizes
    I love a good wall



    Ended up having an impromptu lunch with my friend/coworker and her husband, and it happens to be his birthday! We finally checked out a bar/arcade in Lynnwood we've been wanting to go to, which would have been much nicer if we hadn't beat their food delivery there. Their tacos that were on special for a dollar each were pretty good, though. The video games and pinball are free to play, which is neat. They have a few classics. I forgot how hard Zaxxon is.

    When I pulled up to their place to meet them, their cat Vera was watching from the window, and I finally got to meet their newest kitty, David Bowie. Both are Bombays, and they have one more Bombay and yet another black cat.

    Vera standing guard
    David Bowie, a tiny bombay


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  • 04/22/16--05:44: SchadenFriday



















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  • 04/23/16--06:41: CATURDAY


  • RIP chetchez :(


















































































    BONUS Saturdogs






































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  • 04/23/16--10:29: Lake Twenty-two on 4/22
  • I recently learned that I have 4.5 vacation days to use up before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, or I'll lose them. I didn't really want to take a week off all at once right now so I chose various Fridays off, as well as a Thursday. A few three-day weekends and a four-day one sounds pretty great right now because I'd like to get some local hikes in, on weekdays, before the weather warms up too much. I've had my eye on Lake Twenty-two for a while, and someone I know on tumblr was there recently, so that sealed it.



    Lake Twenty-Two is very similar to Heather Lake, which makes perfect sense because they're right next to each other and the trailheads are even on the same side. So I was glad to be going up with poles, which I didn't have back at Heather Lake. There were even more water crossings yesterday, and they were so much easier to get across. But first, there were a couple of these weird bridges I really didn't like.

    20160422_072707

    The trail starts off innocently enough, but there wasn't much more easy stuff like this.

    20160422_073534

    Thankfully the bridges are nicer higher up, and there are tons of sections of wood steps. I'm sure I've already said it, but I'd love to how these get built. It's hard enough to get oneself up these trails.

    20160422_074410
    20160422_075029

    One thing this trail has that Heather Lake doesn't is lots of big waterfalls. Pretty neat.

    20160422_075749


    There's that point when you emerge from the mountain's shadow for a bit and everything becomes so vibrant.

    20160422_081852_HDR

    Here's where the switchbacks come and you climb a zigzag higher and higher. It's a little frustrating that the GPS isn't detailed enough to really show just how many turns there are. The nice thing is that the view gets incrementally better.

    20160422_082233_HDR
    20160422_082854_HDR

    And since we're in Washington, there are tons of huge trees and muhsrooms.

    20160422_081307
    20160422_082457
    20160422_102215

    Lake Twenty-two's trail turned out to be much more difficult than Heather Lake's, due to the huge section of sharp boulders you have to go over. You wouldn't look at this and think it's the trail, but it is. And I think this covers six or eight switchbacks, too. At least some of the rocks are interesting.

    20160422_082957
    20160422_082953

    At one point, I looked down and noticed the rubber tip was missing from one of my poles, revealing the fancy carbide tip I didn't think mine came with. Instant upgrade! It was pretty difficult to get the other tip off, but I got to spend the rest of the hike getting used to the change.

    20160422_082452

    I wish I would have gotten an even earlier start heading out, but it's hard to rush on a day off, and let's face it, you have to listen to your body if you're stepping outside of your normal routine. I still managed to be just the second car to arrive, and I was hoping that by taking a few minutes to eat a banana, stretch, visit the restroom, and gear up, that the other party would hurry up and head out. But as it turns out, they were two quite flamboyant guys, and they were posing for photos and smoking cigarettes, so I ended up being first up the trail. And I gotta say, being on the otherwise-pristine mountain makes a cigarette smell that much grosser. Starting out, I saw them down below every once in a while, but eventually I was convinced that they turned back. One of my poles collapsed, and it took me a while to fix it, and that's when I saw them again. I wanted to be first, and got a pretty good second wind.

    There was a little bit of snow, but nowhere near as much as I saw at Heather Lake. One of the scarier parts of the hike was walking over the snow onto the boardwalk, and I actually fell through the snow on the way out. That boardwalk might go all the way around the lake! It was completely snowed over for about half the length around and I saw that people had walked on it, but I wasn't in the mood to try.

    20160422_090920
    20160422_091449

    The lake is completely gorgeous and I'm glad it was a clear day so I could see it.

    20160422_091558_HDR
    20160422_091622_Pano
    20160422_091902_HDR

    The guys caught up at the lake and sat down to have their lunch. I didn't stay very long because I always like to get the whole thing done and get home and shower, but I think for longer ones it's time to start bringing something to eat. I had a granola bar and an apple waiting in the car and it would have been nice to have something sooner. I don't really want a huge backpack like I see people hiking with, but maybe a water pack with more storage than mine is in order. The pocket is really only big enough to hold keys. I suppose a little more food could fit inside next to the bladder.

    While the walk up was tough because of the climb, going down was a lot more nerve wracking. It's just hard to look at something like this and not picture myself tumbling down the mountain.

    20160422_095849

    This is where the trekking poles really help, though. On the way down from Heather Lake, I kept having to come down with all my weight onto my right foot and worried about my ankle the whole time. By putting the poles down first, I can lower myself down more slowly so there's not that crash. They're kind of annoying to carry sometimes, especially when climbing over or under a fallen tree, but it's still totally worth it. I'd say about a third of the hikers I saw yesterday were using them.

    Today"s awesome hike, 4.94 miles in 3:59, 10,616 steps, 1,350ft gain
    4.94 miles in 3:59, 10,616 steps, 1,350ft gain

    I was the first to make it all the way up and the second to make it down. The third person I saw, a guy who was running up, made it to the top and was the only one to overtake me the whole day. It was a little scary watching him run down, jumping from rock to rock without even slowing down. After him, it was a pretty steady stream of people and dogs heading up. Several asked how much further they had to go, and one woman asked about the poles. It was so nice to get to the bottom.

    I left the dashcam on the whole time I drove, but there's no way I was going to process almost three hours worth of driving, so here's the last part. I ended up on a residential street because I was trying to get home from memory and took a wrong turn and had to turn around.



    This post is pretty photo-heavy, but there are still a few more pictures in the album. I'm surprised I got so many with how awkward it is to get and use the phone while also handling the poles.


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  • 04/23/16--10:56: Schmupdate
  • I'm so thrilled with how well my air plants are doing. My original one almost looks like a sea creature that could swim away any moment.

    This air plant is doing so well, I love it.


    I'm putting together a big air plant display for my bedroom, and now everything I need has arrived except for the first thing that needs to go up onto the wall. Of course. They're mirror wall decals, on the way from China, but so were the wall terrariums, so I figured everything would arrive at close to the same time. My guess is that the decals are in an envelope and are being treated more like a letter. At least when they get here, tons of air plants are already waiting!

    Air plants

    I had two a couple of weeks ago, and I think I now have 28, plus a living piece of moss. I may get more of that as well, but I wanted some different colors, so I got some preserved and dyed moss in pink and blue.

    Preserved and dyed moss

    I don't want to give it all away now, but I've gotten other supplies from craft stores and pet stores, and the neat thing about these wall-mounted globes is that there's plenty of room to put all kinds of things in them. Another chance to display little things I find. Though I'm still not sure if I want a more unified look with just a couple of colors, or if I should try more variety. At least everything can be switched out on a whim.

    Spent a few hours putting up glass shelves above my bedroom window. There are four, and unfortunately, only three are lined up very well. I was far from in the mood to re-do it that day, so I'll put up with it for a while. I mention it because the main reason I put them up was to have a place to put some dolls. Recently a friend sold me her MC Hammer doll, as well as the Shaving Magic Ken and the infamous Earring Magic (AKA Cock Ring Magic) Ken. Turns out the space above my window just isn't tall enough for them. I took a trip to Value Village to find various things air plants can go into, figuring I can indulge my thrift habit, list some air plants on Etsy, and display them in my room until they sell, if that ever happens. When you look at the stuff in a thrift store with an eye for air plant holders, you'll be shocked when you see just how much stuff really can. Looking forward to putting all that together. Except for getting all the stupid tags off.

    A plumber just left. Our kitchen sink was blocked completely and our snake wasn't making a dent in it. Turns out that's the last of the old galvanized plumbing in the house and there are six bends! No wonder I couldn't fix it. It would have cost $2,500 or more to tear into the garage ceiling and replace everything, but thankfully the plumber's turbo snake got through and we spent just under $400. But now replacing that plumbing is on the list of things we need to think about doing around here.

    Here's a cute video of Steve from yesterday. When Garrett gets home, he's so excited, so if Garrett goes out to the back yard to have a look at the garden, he gets really frustrated. Usually he does this by the back door, so I'm happy he did it where I could see.



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  • 04/24/16--11:02: Speak of the devil
  • Those decals for my wall display came yesterday. I should have suspected by the price that there was a bit of false advertising going on. The pictures you see in listings for them show them set up on walls behind chairs and couches, but the furniture would have to be about a foot tall for the photo to be accurate. Much smaller in real life. No big deal, I'll just incorporate them in a different way.

    It was windy and rainy all night. The kind of night where you wake up constantly but don't really mind because it sounds neat. I decided partway through the night that I wasn't in the mood to walk in the rain, so I turned off my alarm and slept until 6:40! That's very late for me. We're having a nice day hanging around the house. Garrett made us bloody caesars and I made bagels.

    Bagels

    On the left, a sandwich for him: Onion bagel, a little plain cream cheese, egg, turkey, smoked gouda.
    On the right, my onion bagel has plain cream cheese, sardines packed in spicy tomato sauce and olive oil, and green onions. One half has capers.

    Oh yeah, along with those decals were five more air plants. Spiky ones with a reddish tinge. That brings my total up to over 33, but I gave an air plant as a birthday present yesterday, so it's 32 now. I think.

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  • 04/25/16--17:12: Easy like Monday morning
  • I wasn't looking for a difficult walk today and because it rained all day yesterday, I figured I may as well avoid the gulch entirely. The Lowell Riverfront Trail always makes for nice, flat walk in any weather. I'm glad I've decided to always park in the street above the park because the gate is never open early enough. The park opens at 6am, but I happened to be walking by the gate when truck was pulling away at 6:40.



    Several of the pathways are like tunnels. It's really adorable.

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    It was a cloudy morning and the river was quite choppy, but I took my regular picture at this spot anyway.

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    I've always got my eye on landscaping these days because we could do a lot in the front of our house. I like the subtle pink mixed in with the green here.

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    This barn on the other side of the river is so cute. I've never been a fan of the color red and it's nice to see this teal being used.

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    I'm happy to report that the trail leading leading over to the restrooms is now free of mud! It seems like they may have finally cleaned it off somehow because it just wasn't going away on its own.

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    There were more rabbits there today than I've ever seen before, including a huge dark brown one that looked like a dog. I managed to get video of this one slurping up a dandelion like it was pasta.



    Here's a different view of the bridge and stairs than what I've previously shown.

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    Today"s awesome walk, 4.15 miles, in 1:21, 8,924 steps
    4.15 miles, in 1:21, 8,924 steps

    This was a very nice walk. One thing that made it so great was that I didn't see a single other person the entire time I was there. It was cold and raining and I got pretty wet, but if you keep moving it's not so bad.

    Back home, Steve decided he had to sit with me at my desk for most of the morning.

    My co-worker doesn"t respect my personal space.

    Sam's not very active right now because he's on antihistamines for a couple of weeks. He spent a bit of time after lunch surveying the yard, though.

    Post-lunch ennui

    I had a couple of conference calls today and was in my office well into the afternoon, but I still managed to get the first phase of the air plant display I'm setting up in my room done.

    Air plant display, phase 1

    I also unpacked a bunch of stuff I bought recently at a thrift store to use for air plants, and was sad to realize I must have forgotten to go back to the shelf for one of the things I wanted. I'll probably stop by tomorrow and see if it's still there.


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  • 04/27/16--06:19: Bingo!
  • I wrapped up my hour swim just as the ladies were starting their water aerobics. I thought I'd sit for a minute in the newly-renovated sauna that was closed for an additional three weeks beyond the six week renovation, but it wasn't hot for some reason, so I left.


    I'm excited to announce that the air plant display is complete! Here's phases two and three.

    Air plant display, phase 2
    Air plant display, phase 3

    And here it is completed!

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    One major snag was that those metallic circles aren't self-adhesive, and there was probably a package of sticky pads included to adhere them to the wall. If there was, I didn't notice, and tossed it. A glue stick worked pretty well, but was a little harder to use.

    The plants will get moved around a lot because they all have to come out weekly and I'll also be listing some air plant displays on Etsy. If any actually sell, I'll ship out what I have and replace it.

    Speaking of plants, I'm happy to report that our driveway iris is back! I saw no sign of it just last week, and suddenly there it is, tall and proud.

    The driveway iris is back!

    Garrett spent the night down at Sea-Tac to be ready for a very early flight to Mexico for work, so I went to the neighborhood bar for Naughty Bingo/Taco Tuesday. A fun time was had by all, and I managed to tie someone during a blackout round, but he won the tiebreaker drawing. He won a mini vibrator and I got a half-price drink ticket.

    Naughty bingo Prince tribute
    It was a blackout tie and I lost. He got a mini vibe and I got a half price drink.


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  • 04/27/16--17:23: Beach while you can
  • I was pretty tired this morning after a night of bingo and figured a nice mellow beach morning today would hit the spot. Fortunately/unfortunately, I got to see Garrett before I headed out! He spent the night down by the airport but his flight to Mexico was canceled, and because it was such a short trip, so was the whole trip. I had a pretty late start and wasn't worried at all about the gate being closed.



    It was a nice morning down there, and it was my first trip in a while that happened to occur during low tide.

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    The Scotch Broom is out in full force this year. I've been seeing it all over the place, but was surprised to see it's even at the beach. Thank goodness I'm not allergic.

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    The removal of the dock has revealed some graffiti that must have been quite difficult to apply.

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    I did three loops around the tank farm and this guy was there during at least two of the three.

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    I'm curious how they'll remove all this metal when it comes time to clear this area out to make the new ferry terminal. I suppose it'll have to be cut apart with blowtorches or something.

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    You can see in the background, that seagull still chillin.

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    Today"s awesome walk, 3.23 miles in 1:04, 6,936 steps
    3.23 miles in 1:04, 6,936 steps

    My route home went by the gulch because I wanted to confirm my suspicion that they're still doing water main work there. I have no idea how long stuff like that's supposed to take, but I bet it'll be a while.



    I also did a little photoshoot today of air plant setups I'm going to attempt to sell. There are a lot, so here are some highlights.

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  • 04/29/16--07:24: Dark Cloud Approacheth
  • I had a very lovely time spending a vacation day with jameth! He came up from Seattle via Amtrak, and I picked him up at the station.

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    Our first stop was breakfast at the Strawberry Patch Cafe, which I hadn't been to since a new owner recently took over. I'm happy to report that the food was still great and the decor updates they've made are nice. When I asked for hot sauce, the server brought over a crate with 15 or so kinds. James had the ghost pepper sauce, which was hot enough to give him hiccups.



    After a driving tour through the various nearby neighborhoods and the park, we came home to visit the cats and for James to have a look at an orchid that I'm trying to resurrect. Then we walked over for a lovely lunch at the neighborhood bar.

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    We also visited the local geek-and-gamer bar, and did a little cloud hunting on the way back.

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    Garrett was nice enough to bring home Thai food, and we had a lovely evening hanging out in the basement.

    Arms and legs


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  • 04/29/16--07:35: SchadenFriday











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  • 04/30/16--06:46: CATURDAY









































































































































  • BONUS Saturdogs





























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  • 04/30/16--08:03: Article 0
  • I had a really beautiful dream this morning in which Tatiana (suxdonut) and her brother Ian (drinkyclown) and I were having a grand time swimming and taking photos in strange and impossible natural waterways before making our way to the art school we all went to. Turns out I was being "laid off" from school even though I was very successful there and really well-liked. Lots of artwork I'd made was on display around the campus and I was trying to photograph an enlarged version of a page from a test I'd taken. It explained that I chose to draw the assigned cupcakes dancing down a waterfall because I wanted to work at JWT or BBDO and they needed to be dynamic.

    This thing was about the size of a 2-car garage and hung over the main lobby. It looked great in person but none of the angles I tried on my phone worked. This is a common theme in my dreams, the phone or the computer just doesn't work. Tears rolled down my face because I just wanted a good photo and all I could get was a black screen. And it wasn't really clear at the time if all my work was staying up after I left.

    On my way out, I saw Tatiana giving a tour through the student gallery, explaining that a lot of our stuff was going to be switched out soon because we'd all inadvertently used similar color schemes and they not only all looked too much like Instagram filters, but they were especially annoying to colorblind people. The works in question were made from pastel construction paper and hung down from the ceiling like banners, and I was shocked they were even staying together as everyone walked through and touched them.

    And then I remembered I still had an office to clean out that had Zima and other neon signs, and I of course had no idea how I was going to get that all moved to or where it would go.

    ------

    I spent a good half an hour or so laying in bed basking in the amazing imagery from that dream and thinking about how in my real life, I managed to land a job in a JWT subsidiary and work my way from a hellish account service position into my branch's first traffic role, and finally a copywriting job that was what I'd always wanted, and turned out to be a huge disappointment. And I also can't get over how strange and fantastic the things I see in my dreams can be. They don't even feel like they come from my own mind sometimes.

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  • 05/01/16--17:45: Sun-Day
  • I'm happy to report that I listed three air plants on Etsy yesterday and two friends made purchases almost immediately! So I listed three more today and am hoping for similar success. I also ordered some stuff to make very cool setups today and am excited about being able to put those together soon. The only bad part is that I'll have to go to the post office tomorrow. I may even go twice, once to pick up some boxes and envelopes to bring home and pack up, and then another time to drop them off. But it's not far.

    We've arrived at that time of year where sunglasses are recommended for the morning walk.

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    Of course, since it's the gulch, I had to ditch the sunglasses after a few minutes because it was pretty dark once I got down to the Rusty Car Trail, which seems like it's becoming more overgrown than last year. I should check my old photos.

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    The mushrooms are loving the early, wet spring.

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    My mission for the day was to explore the Northwest portion of the gulch. There are lots of trails and lots of ways out, but it'd been a while since I'd walked around the area without just being on my way in or out. It was a fun walk, but of course with the starting point being up top, there wasn't as much climbing.

    Today"s awesome walk, 4.4 miles in 2:04, 11,925 steps, 215ft gain
    4.4 miles in 2:04, 11,925 steps, 215ft gain

    There's one way out that's been flooded for ages now, and it was cool to discover today that there's a new trail to make up for that! It's still new and narrow, so my feet got pretty wet, but it's a cool find.

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    It's got a lot of these funky things like down at the river. I dig 'em.

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    Too much sunnnnnnn, ugh.

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    At least the view of Mt. Baker is nice when it's clear out.

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    Today's the last day of my mostly-lazy four-day weekend. I'm yawning right now just thinking about Monday.




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  • 05/02/16--19:15: The other gulch
  • Every once in a while, I like to cheat on Japanese Gulch with her neighbor down the road, Big Gulch. She's a fancier, simpler gulch, surrounded by even more expensive real estate. There's only one trail to climb up, so I always walk down via the residential streets, which have great views.

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    It was nice to go this way today because I didn't want a second day in a row with the poles. Don't get me wrong, they're great. But it's a pain to take photos or skip a song on the iPod or get a drink of water with them, and they're really loud on sidewalks. So it's good to alternate.

    The trails leading up were nice as always.

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    Of course, there are a couple of muddy spots. But at least at Big Gulch, the muddy spots aren't on scary, steep hillsides.

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    Today"s awesome walk, 4.4 miles in 1:39, 10,368 steps, 387ft gain
    4.4 miles in 1:39, 10,368 steps, 387ft gain

    Today was the first time I walked South on the upper loop trail. At least, I think it was. It looked so unfamiliar in the same way trails always do when I walk them the other way for the first time. I decided to walk back via the road so I wouldn't have to do the stair climb at the park, and was a bit worried because the sun was so bright. Thankfully the neighborhood is hilly enough that it mostly wasn't an issue.

    Completely unrelated, I found a suction cup soap dish at Dollar Tree and decided to use it to put some air plants in the bathroom. Steve might be able to reach it so I hope he leaves it alone. I've got enough plants on hand now to fill my display pretty well, and ten more came today, so the timing for this was good. I've already changed out the plant on the left for an even bigger one.

    Soap dish as air plant holder

    I recorded the drives out there and back today, but I'm not really interested in showing them when it's so bright and clear out. It's really the clouds that generally make for good time lapses.

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