Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope your Mother's Day has been a very good one!  Jim & I went to Bellingham & had lunch with Ty & Nicole & Nicole's parents Tim & Tina.  We were treated to a yummy meal of oyster mushroom/swiss chard or kalamata olive/artichoke quiches, fruit & either mimosas or bloody mary's before lunch.  The kids had even made strawberry ice cream!  After lunch we visited & took a walk, then Jim & I headed south for home, stopping at Trader Joe's on the way.

I called my Mom & we had a good visit & I talked with my middle son Nate & my oldest son Eric!  All in all, a perfectly wonderful day.

Jim's sweet Mom, Mary, at her 90th Birthday!  She passed March 21st, 2013.  Mom had celebrated her 92nd birthday 6 days earlier.  I loved Mary so much and think of her every day--she treated me like the daughter she never had.

And here's my Mom, Arlene (the woman in the middle with the calm smile).  Mom will celebrate her 85th birthday in May.  She is the foundation of our family & raised all 5 of us with love, kindness and a whole lot of patience.

I hope this finds all of you well and happy.  Safe travels and thanks for stopping by.  Cheers from the oldtimers at the end of the road.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lilacs, Groundhogs & Grad Students

I haven't been here for awhile.  Was really busy last weekend cooking for the breakfast I'm hosting this Thursday morning at the clinic in honor of my current--and final--grad student!  I have been a precepter for 10 grad students & enjoyed nearly every second.  I feel that this is my legacy to my profession.  My grad student is also applying for my job.  Way cool.

Everyone I talk with in our area is raving about how nice the lilacs are this year.  Our next-door neighbor has a huge lilac bush bursting with blooms.  They literally scent the entire area here at the end of the road.

I had an interesting moment early this week.  The alarm on my phone went off.  The dog woke up, walked over to the bed wagging her tail & walked with me to the door of the bedroom.  My thought was 'This is a Groundhog Day moment'.  I think Ari & I have played this scene out every day for more than 7 years (since she was a pup) and we would do it again the next morning and the morning after that and well, you get the picture.  It was endearing mostly but also a little disconcerting.  It was as if my life had become very routine--rote really.  I thought about it for a second & then found the comfort in knowing that things were going to happen in a specific way at a specific time.  It won't always be like that but for now, it's fine.

I hope all of you are safe, happy & enjoying your present location.  We're all fine smellin' the lilacs here at the end of the road.  Next up--rhododendrons. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The End of a Work Week

Gosh, I'm tired tonight.  Have been waking up about 2 AM the last few nights & then unable to fall asleep again.  We got a pizza for dinner last night for the first time in years & we both decided never to do that again.  The gluten & cheese definitely came back on us.  So we had simple food for dinner tonight--vegs & hummus, red lentil dal with Indian Fried Rice.  Good stuff.

Jim had quite an adventure today.  We got a good deal on upgrading our network speed with Frontier. We were told it would be "blazing fast!"  Who can refuse that?  The technician came today to do the work.  I sure wish you could've been here to hear Jim's stories about this guy!  Jim described him as "twitchier than my nephew with ADHD!"  Then my darling husband proceeded to demonstrate how the tech would slip his tools off his belt, click them off & on rapidly or play with them & then put them back in his belt & then exclaim that "there has to be a splice somewhere!  I'm going to have to re-wire the whole *@% house!"  Well, that didn't happen.  He found it--right where Jim told him it was!  He also dinked something with the phone jack--the buzzing noise is GONE!  And best of all, we went from 6 mb per second to 23--"blazing fast!"

Jim's de-winterizing the trailer & cleaning out the fresh water tank for its' first fill.  I might start putting things away out there this weekend.  Our gorgeous weather is due to end Saturday at the latest.

I think that's just about all the news that's fit to print from us at the end of the road.  I'm goin' to bed.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

A Rescue Dog and Her Little Boy Share Hats
Meet Zoey and Jasper--a rescue dog and her little boy.  Jasper is a spunky little 10-month old Chinese-Korean kiddo with loads of character and a big happy smile.  Zoey is a rescue dog that had a rough start.  Born in front of a small store in Taiwan, she was literally washed into the gutter before a schoolgirl rescued Zoey and her siblings and put them up for adoption with Animal Rescue Team Taiwan.  Soon she was transported to Los Angeles and a happy new life, with a new mom--commercial photographer Grace Chon.  For more photos of Zoey & Jasper, go to Grace Chon's web site.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy Wednesday from the oldtimers at the end of the road!

Our Daughter-in-Law Nancy--Nearly a Pharmacist!

I am proud to report that my daughter-in-law, Nancy, has completed the academic work for pharmacy school!  Just completing the prerequisites would be challenge for most of us.  It's very science-heavy and takes about 2 years to complete all the required pre-req courses.  Nanc has always made every step of her journey look effortless!

Once Nancy was accepted to pharmacy school, the academic rigor increased ten-fold.  Every two weeks she & her cohort had a new unit.  One unit might be neurology, the next endocrine, the next behavioral.  Each unit is two weeks long and there is an exam on the content studied at the end of each unit.  If you pass, the weekend is yours (Nancy spent most of those weekends preparing for the next unit).  If you fail, you study your brains out over the weekend & retake the exam.  Life is much easier if you pass the second time.  I am very proud to report that Nanc had to re-take only two exams!  Students endure two years of this challenging, demanding schedule.  The longest break you have is one week.  This is the academic work that Nancy has just finished!

In about 10 days, she begins clinical rotations.  Most of Nancy's rotations will be in Oregon with the exception of one rotation at Yakama Nation next spring.  Each rotation is six weeks long.  Approximately one year from now, Nancy will be graduating from pharmacy school and we will all be there to cheer her on & celebrate this huge accomplishment with her.  Nancy is brilliant, persistent and has remained remarkably calm as she achieves all of her goals.  I know she will make a world-class pharmacist & will carry on the fine traditions of her chosen profession including education, conscientiousness, professionalism & integrity.  Nancy carries all these traits and more in her.

Here are Nancy & Nate (my middle son)--

This card reminds me of Nancy & her journey:

Warm congratulations, Nanc!  We are so very proud of you & all you've accomplished!  With great love from two very proud Parents-in-Law at the end of the road!

Thanks for stopping by.  Take good care, safe travels & be well.  And hey, if you have any questions about your medication, ask your pharmacist!  They're a wealth of knowledge!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebration Day

We've had several very cool things to celebrate lately!  Yesterday we celebrated our granddaughter Emma's 16th birthday.  Emma is creative, smart, and very much her own person.  Among her gift requests were any of the seasons from the TV show "Supernatural".  We have no idea what it's about but she loves it.  She also requested "anything with the British flag on it".  Note her shoes--Doc Martins that we did not purchase for her but which she is completely in love with!  The messenger bag has a British flag on the front and I even found Duck Tape printed with British flags!  Emma was a very happy girl!
We were also celebrating Nicole & Ty's 2nd anniversary.  They were married two years ago today on Orcas Island up in the San Juans, which has always been a special place for them.
Their wedding day

And on their 2nd anniversary

And a third cause for celebration--after I saw my first patient this morning we went out to the front desk & I was just about to ask Vicki to schedule them for 4 weeks as is typical.  Before I could say a word, she said "I have to schedule 5 weeks out--4 weeks from today is Memorial Day."  Really?!  Wow!  We're entering what I lovingly call "Holiday Season'.  Here's the lineup--Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years & Retirement!  Life is so great!

Time for bed...we call it a day early here at the end of the road.  Thank you for stopping by.  Safe travels & much happiness.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Weekend Update

Good morning!  We're cruisin' right along on our weekend here.  I look forward to the time when every day will be Friday or Saturday but for now, there's a lot to do on the weekends.  Take this weekend, for instance.

Friday I got a haircut, cleaned the bathrooms & dusted the house.  We went out for dinner with our friends Sharon & Mike.  This is the weekend of the Tulip Festival street fair so we hightailed it up to Mount Vernon first thing Saturday morning to do our grocery shopping.  We're really very fortunate to have a fantastic food co-op in Mount Vernon.  They have nice fresh produce--local whenever possible, a stellar deli (say that fast 3 times!) & the friendliest staff you could ever hope to meet.
It's time for vegie starts & bedding plants.

The produce department 

Our friend Sharon gave us rhubarb from her garden & we had purchased fresh strawberries at the co-op so I made strawberry-rhubarb crisp.  We typically don't have dessert but we made an exception yesterday!  We love pie but crisps are a great alternative now that we're gluten-free.  Here's a link to the recipe--it's fast & easy, very delicious & exceptional with a scoop of Naked Coconut flavor Coconut Bliss ice cream.

We're on our way this afternoon for lunch at our favorite restaurant, The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive.  We're celebrating our granddaughter Emma's 16th birthday along with her mom Elisabeth & our youngest son Ty & his wife Nicole (yes, the painting helpers). It's amazing to think that Em, who was born 12 weeks early & weighed 2 pounds 12 ounces, is now 16!  It's funny--Em is still a little peanut.  She referred to herself for quite some time as "a premature".  She is sweet, funny, smart & delightful--just can't wait to sing Happy Birthday to her in the middle of the restaurant.  When we celebrated Em's 15th at the Oyster Bar last year, we sang Happy Birthday to her quietly (it's that kind of restaurant) & when we finished, everyone there clapped.  I wonder how it will be this year?  I'll post photos tomorrow.

Safe travels out there--the weather is quite dicey in some areas.  Jim told me this morning that there are even tornado warnings in the South.  Thank you so much for stopping by--

Happy day from the folks at the end of the road.

Friday, April 25, 2014

This is a Fine Mess You've Gotten Us Into...

When I began reading RV blogs about a year ago, I began taking notes.  There was so much essential information there!  Pretty soon, my desk was covered with pieces of paper, pages I'd printed--it was just one big mess!  Jim remembered that he'd gotten a nice bound notebook at a conference.  It was perfect!

I began taking notes--lots of notes.  I even went to and took notes--lots of notes.
After reading about the tragic loss of Dave & Marcia's rig in a fire, I began tracking all of our expenses for the new trailer.  That section is behind the little pink tab:

I have about half of the notebook filled.  Now the big question--how do I organize all this information?  This is a fine mess I've gotten myself into!

Today is my turn for a haircut & tonight we're going out to dinner with our friends Sharon & Mike.  Jim's going to build another birdhouse & I'm going to shop for pillow fabric for the trailer.

All in all, a very good day ahead here at the end of the road.  Take good care.  Safe travels & thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slow Days

Jim went into town today & got a haircut.  He's at the age where he needs a trim on his ears too.  He told me not too long ago that he thought it was a shame that all the hair on his head is falling onto his ears & chest!  That cracked me up!

I had a slow day at work today.  One no-show and one cancellation.  My grad student, Ward, was with me today.  He conducted the last appointment & started to do the paperwork but I shooed him out of the office so he could go pick up his little one at daycare.  We had plenty of time to talk about his work after grad school and he even took me out to lunch--we had Thai food & it was delciious!

It's odd how the slow days like today just wear me out!  I keep myself busy but there's nothing like back-to-back appointments all day to keep me on my toes.  On days like that, I get into a groove & it feels great!

Jim had dinner all ready when I got home.  We had chicken thighs that he had cooked earlier in the week & steamed carrots.  Ari got her share of carrots too--she loves them!  For dessert, I had 3 Brazil nuts!

We're having a baby shower tomorrow for one of the therapists at work--one of the pluses of working with younger people is that you have the privilege of sharing these wonderful life experiences with them.  The theme of this baby shower is Peter Pan.  It should be a lot of fun!

Party on, Wayne.  Party on, Garth!  Cheers from the end of the road.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

President Obama Visits Oso

President Obama stopped on his way to Asia to see the devastation of the Oso mudslide and to visit with families, first responders, and those working on 'the pile'.

I happened to be seeing a patient when Marine One & another helicopter flew over our office.  Fortunately for me, she's a fellow Democrat & we both jumped up, looked out the window & exclaimed "There's the President!"  It was really nice to share that moment with her.

I heard nothing but expressions of gratitude from folks today that President Obama came to support folks affected by this tragic event.  Thank you, Mr. President.

The end of the day at the end of the road, where the pollen count is high and the windshields are yellow!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grateful Here!

I'm happy to report Jim's feeling much better.  He slept well last night & felt good all day today!  He's even talking about un-winterizing (is that actually a word?) the trailer!

I had a great day at work.  Word of my departure December 31st is getting out & I've had some really nice conversations with people about work & leaving it, boondocking (most people don't know what that is) and knowing when it's time to leave (I love that scene from Fried Green Tomatoes--remember it?).  I won't miss work but I will miss many of the people I work with.

It's almost time for bed--will finish last night's episode of 'Call the Midwife'.  Do you watch it?  Take good care.  May you rest well tonight & wake up tomorrow morning full of hope & joy.

Thank you so much for checking in with the folks at the end of the road.

Dawn, Jim, Ari & Slim

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Quiet Day

We've had a nice quiet day.  Last Monday, Jim strained his back while raking up moss after thatching the front lawn.  It's been nearly a week & he's feeling only marginally better.  He may have to go see his PCP if he's not better soon. We took Ari for several walks in the woods. I made hummus (so much better than store-bought) and we had tortilla soup for dinner tonight.

Since I basically have nothin', I leave you with some photos from the state park here on the island.  Two were taken at the beach & the third is the trail at the top of the bluff where we love to go for walks.  Have a happy & safe week.

The folks here at the end of the road.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ari Here--Today We're Going to Talk About the CH Words

Hi there.  I've really had a good day today.  Dad & I took 4 or 5 walks!  I love going down the path into the woods.  There are so many good smells down there.  I took a nap in front of the fire with Mom.  And I had two of my very favorite foods--CHicken and CHeese!  I started with 2 bowls full of chicken broth left over from cooking the chicken.  It was so yummy.  Then I moved on to some actual chicken off the bone.  Chicken off the bone has more flavor than the cooked chicken breast but hey!  A dog can't be picky!  I'll take chicken any way I can get it!

Most days chicken broth and some actual chicken would make me so happy!  But today was a great day.  Mom made tortilla soup & you know what goes on tortilla soup, right?  Yup.  Cheese!  Dad says I can tell when he opens a package of cheese--I don't even have to see it.  I just know--it's cheese.  It's like this sixth sense I have for things that begin with CH!

When there's cheese involved--and chicken too--Mom makes me sit & I do.  I sit like a show dog at Westminster!  Let me show you!

Nice, huh?  Dad cuts a nice big piece of cheese & tells me it's mine.  Oh boy!
But I have to keep sitting...I can do this...oh, it's getting closer...
Woo hoo!  Incoming and Score!  Oh gosh!  It's pepper jack--it's Tillamook too!  I'm in cheese heaven!

I've gotta go & see if I can get another piece of that cheese.  Mom & Dad say Hey! from us here at the end of the road.  Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Night

We love Friday nights!  For me, it's the first day of my 3-day weekend (I work 4-10 hour days).  For Jim it's another Saturday.  And we have dinner with our friends Sharon & Mike!  Mike was on Jim's survey crew for years and we met Sharon when she and Mike began dating.

I'm pretty sure you could count the number of restaurants in the Stanwood Camano area on a dozen fingers.  We've tried all but 2 of them.  Some good restaurants have closed.  Some bad ones should.  Some were good initially but things went downhill when they began hanging on by a thread.

We all love Mexican food and discovered our current and all-time favorite about a year ago.  The staff greet us when we come in & they know our drinks.  We ask one of the waiters how his new baby is doing (latest report, the little man is growing like a weed!).  There's just so much to love about this restaurant--I can see us sharing a meal here for a long time.

But without question, the best part of our Friday nights at this restaurant or any restaurant are Sharon & Mike.  Jim catches up with Mike on how things are at work.  Sharon & I talk about our grandkids and our furry friends (she has a 9-month old Vizsla pup named Stella).  We talk about the world at large and about our little corner of it.  We laugh, eat & enjoy every second!

Mike is having a house built in Casa Grande AZ and Sharon, who is already retired, will be spending winters there.  I'm so happy that we'll be able to share some Friday night dinners with her while we're in Arizona next winter.  Friends are so important to our lives and sitting down to break bread with them transforms us into companions.

Bon appetit!
Good night to all of you from the two of us (and the animules) here at the end of the road.  Thank you so much for stopping by.

Sleep...Ever Elusive

I'm not sure why but every morning this week I've woken up at about 2 AM.  I lie in bed for awhile, shifting positions, trying relaxation & playing other little mind games with myself until I give up and get up.  Jim is sleeping soundly.  He's so fortunate--his head hits the pillow and he's out until morning.

The cat, who sleeps on the bed, scurries out to the kitchen with me.  "Look, Mom.  Ari & I are out of water.  I'm thirsty."

"Okay, Slim.  Here's water for you, Buddy."
I put the coffee on...
and decide to follow the advice I give to my patients--"If you wake up & can't get back to sleep, get out of bed.  Sit in a comfortable chair, read until you're tired and then go back to bed."  Today on Fresh Air, I heard about an article on Edward Snowden in the new issue of Vanity Fair--perfect.  Two other magazines join the stack just in case.
I have a warm fire, my comfy chair & some reading.  You know what--it worked!  I slept in the chair for probably another hour.  Didn't get to the Snowden article but the weekend is ahead.  It's a good thing I hadn't planned to lay my head down at work & get forty winks because I was busy today.  That extra bit of sleep in the chair was helpful.

But boy, I sure am tired tonight.  May sleep tuck you in tonight & wake you up when you choose.  Good night from the end of the road.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Countdown Begins

I met with the Medical Director last Thursday and gave my notice.  My last day of work will be December 31, 2014 & my official end date will be January 2, 2015.  My guess is that Jim will have the trailer loaded & roll on January 3rd!

254 days until I walk out the door for the last time.  I feel very fortunate to be able to say that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Late Start & Beer

All of the schools in the Stanwood Camano School District have late start on Wednesday.  I think the delay is about an hour.  In the large school district where I used to work, only the high school kids had late start.  I don't know why our district is different but hey, whatever works!  The kids love it & based on non-scientific polls conducted in my office, they would all like to have late start every day!

Driving off the island on Wednesday is a dream!  My commute is about 5-10 minutes shorter & there's no chance I'll get stuck behind a school bus.  That is super annoying!

Jim just saw an ad online for a beer delivery service--really!  This brewery will deliver beer to your door--"kind of like milk", Jim said.  We had milk delivery when I was a kid.  Mr. Parrot would deliver milk in glass bottles to the front porch.  If we were lucky, Mom would take the cream off the top & make butter.  To this day, I hold strong to a basic belief that butter is the nectar of the gods.  I know--it's not a drink.  But it's fantastic, amazing, yummy...I could go on & on.  When Jim was a kid, their milk delivery was going out to milk the cow.  Neither of us drink milk now--can't tolerate it.  Jim drinks soy milk & I drink coconut milk.  Jim does love his cheese though--like Wallace of Wallace & Gromit.  Check this out if you aren't familiar with them.

So tomorrow morning, if you hear of someone singing "The wheels on the bus are running late, running late, running late..." as thye drive off the island with a car full of microbrew growlers & coconut milk, that would be me!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Take good care & from the end of the road--Cheers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Have a Seat

During the process of painting the living room and hall, the shelf & rod in the entry way came out.  I had a project in mind for Jim & it's complete--with the exception of adding some pillows.

Here is the space after it was painted

Jim built a bench, added shelves & hooks to hang jackets and we painted.  Ari helped too.

I spent most of Sunday sewing the cover for the cushion.

I just need to make some colorful pillows and this project will be done!  It's so nice to have a bench by the front door.  Thank you, Honey!  Well done!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring has Sprung!

When you live near a small farming community & very near a major agriculture area (the Skagit Valley), you notice the change of seasons.  The first signs of spring here are the daffodils and tulips blooming in the valley.  The Tulip Festival is held during April.  Traffic is horrible on the weekends.  We do our grocery shopping at the food co-op in Mount Vernon and during April we go first thing Friday morning, do our shopping & then high-tail it on home!  Next weekend when the street fair is held we may buy groceries in Stanwood just to avoid the huge crowds.  It's much more pleasant for us to attend the art & craft fairs that are held on the island during the summer.  There's a new poster every year and this is the 2014 poster (I hope the link works).  And yes.  The fields actually look just like this.  They are breathtaking, especially when you're looking east toward the North Cascades.  It won't be long before farmers start plowing and planting their fields too--primarily potatoes and corn with some organic farms growing vegetables.  We also have several farms that grow berries of all kinds--yummm!  I picked Marionberries last year and made jam--it smells so good when I open a jar!

The other harbingers of spring are the chicks, brooders, ducks, turkeys, geese & bunnies that go on sale at the feed store.  There are plenty of optimistic individuals willing to give a good portion of their spare time to raising and caring for these cute little guys.  We are not among those individuals.  We do, however, buy eggs from those optimistic folks when we can.

The feed store will also sell you a beautiful chicken coop for a mere $476!  It's beautiful but really?  It would stay beautiful for about 5 minutes!

The feed store also has horse equipment (are these halters?), very flashy cowgirl boots that no self-respecting farm girl would wear, and some pretty cool riding tractors for the kiddos!

There are onion sets
seed potatoes
 and last, but by no means least, there are farm-oriented tzotchkes!

I hope the snow has melted from your yard and you've mowed (mown?) your grass once or twice.  And if your seasonal hay fever has started kicking up, may you find relief.  Take good care.  Safe and happy travels.  Thanks for stopping by.