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 rvforum.net 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.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


"When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me 'Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.'"  Fred Rogers aka Mr. Rogers

Today at 10:37 AM today our region will observe a moment of silence on the 3-week anniversary of the Oso mudslide.  It seems like forever and it seems like yesterday.

The clinic I work in half-time is in Arlington. We have clients who live in the Oso/Darrington area.  All of us seem to know someone who has been directly affected by this tragedy.  We have all been touched deeply by the stories of loss, heroism and deep tragedy.  This disaster feels personal.

For me, the most striking thing about the Oso mudslide is the helpers.  They are searching the debris pile for victims.  They are moving trees, cars, mud.  They are feeding, clothing & sheltering people.  They have brought their dogs both to search and to comfort the searchers.  They have shown strength, courage, resilience, and compassion that seems limitless.  My friend, Lindsay, tells the story of someone she knows who was assisting in the search for survivors at the slide and came across a victim. In Lindsay's words "He doubted his ability to do the task of unearthing the victim but quickly realized he was in the presence of the victim's young adult son.  At that point, in a selfless and honorable attempt at offering closure, he used his bare hands to excavate the man from the mud and debris.  IT TOOK HIM 3 HOURS."  Lindsay's friend did not tell her this story until a week later.  Lindsay goes on to say "His main concern was that he couldn't do more.  He was heart-broken for the young man who had lost his father."  That selfless push to go beyond what is humanly possible is awe-inspiring to me.  There is so much suffering but so much strength.

With respect for and in remembrance of those lost, the survivors and the communities impacted by the Oso mudslide from Jim & I here at the end of the road.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Our Furry Friends

It's time to introduce you to the rest of our family.  Ari & Slim keep us laughing.  Slim is especially good at keeping our feet warm since he sleeps at the foot of our bed.  Ari is the world's sweetest dog & has us very well-trained.  Slim knows that if Ari is sleeping soundly on one of the dog beds in the office, all he has to do is lay down next to her & she will get up & move to the other dog bed.  Without exception.  Every time.  So this is a very unusual situation--

When Ari wags her tail, she actually wags her entire body.  She really wags if we say the magic words "Ohhhh, you're such a pretty girl" or equally magical "What a gooood dog you are."  Jim is definitely alpha for Ari.  I'm the one who talks to her, fills the water dish & sometimes feeds her...the hired hand.  My cool factor is amped up a bit when I put nutritional yeast flakes on her dog food.  Jim is one who gives her bones, takes her for walks & chose her out of the sweet little puppy pile when she was just a wee one!  Somehow she still remembers that.

Slim came back to our door one dark March night 9 years ago.  He's still a champion mouser & needy boy.  He jumps up on my desk in the morning & I give him his facial.  He loves it when I give him full-on ear skritches like the ones I gave Ari.  Yeah, the kind where you massage ears front & back!  Both pets L-O-V-E this--Ari makes swooning noises & Slim twists & turns his entire body.  After the ear skritches, I scratch Slim's chin & then put my hands on both sides of his face & pet his face.  I think his head & face must be major pleasure zones for Slim--probably for most cats.  Fur flies everywhere & then I put him down.  If I don't he tries to play with my fingers while I'm typing.  Uh, yeah.  My fingers are moving at lightning speed so it's hard for him to catch them...right...
There are often times when it's a challenge for us to be smarter than the pets.  Here's an example.  Slim adores sleeping on the furniture.  I try to discourage that--he leaves lots of fur everywhere!  He really loves my chair next to the fireplace--comfy, soft & near a heat source.  It's a 10 out of 10 for a lazy cat nap.  I thought if I placed the back cushion upright on the bottom cushion it would be difficult for him to sleep there.  Well, here's how that worked out--
Cat "1", Dawn "0".  Again...

We love the beach at Moclips on the Washington coast.  You can walk for miles on the sandy beach & only occasionally have to watch out for cars.  Yeah, Washington allows cars to drive on most of the beaches!  Seems crazy to this Oregonian--they do NOT allow cars on beaches there except maybe at Seaside but it's a honky tonk town (with apologies if you're from Seaside).  Anyway, Ari runs flat out for hours on the beach.  She's a very strong girl & has lots of endurance.  She loves all the smells & only rarely does she try to eat something long-ago-dead.  Ari is what as known as a versatile hunting dog (she's a pointer, flusher AND retriever) and Jim was beyond happy when he & Ari came home after her first visit with our vet.  Jim said that the vet had proclaimed Ari's breed (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon) as the "Cadillac of Hunting Dogs"!  You can imagine our pride.  Ari somehow knows this about herself.  Check out her noble stance.
Bill, our neighbor to the south is putting in a trail around his property & he took Jim & Ari on a tour.  Jim told me later that Ari had the best time ever walking on his trail.  Lots of new smells, new vistas, and new territory.  Jim told Bill not to be surprised if Ari came over for a walk.  Having a new place for a walk-about will also give Ari new trees to sit under.  She is fascinated with birds in trees--makes sense.  She's hard-wired to do this.  Ari will sit under a tree for 15 minutes or more looking way up in the tree for birds. When she's inside, Ari often "watches the Outdoor Channel," sitting with her head on the window sill observing the squirrels & birds at the feeder in the backyard.  She becomes highly offended when squirrels look as if they're going to head for the house.  She insists on going out & chasing them away.  This is a part of Ari's job description--#1: save your people from interlopers.  Ari is looking forward to living in the new trailer.  She's got a spot all picked out on the sofa.

May you & your furry friends have a fun day today.  Happy trails from the folks & animules at the end of the road.