Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We like to start our holiday with dinner at The Rock the night before Thanksgiving.
A wonderful time at Brian's in Rock Island!
On the grill.
Basting the ham. ~~~~~
All is carved.
And ready to serve.
~~~~~ ~~~~~
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lo Ma Shi

Treats most honorably presented to me by Zhangpeng and Pan Ling have yet to be identified. Lo Ma Shi they called them. I searched Google, then Yahoo, both with multiple spellings, yet was not successful at identifying these goodies. Next, I took a pencil and paper next door to Zhangpeng and asked him to please write out the name of this treat. To my surprise, he spelled it the same way I had. I eventually gave up on my quest to learn more about them through the Internet and decided to examine these goodies myself.
  • Each appeared shaped a little like my dog's ear.
  • Each was made of some sort of jellied, glutenous mixture.
  • Their base was a leaf - cut to shape (perhaps a banana leaf?).
  • They smelled like previously used vegetable oil.
  • They were flexible and springy when bent.
  • They grow fuzzy on the bottom after only a couple of days.

These treats are given to me on an annual basis. I must remember to ask to hear of their history and significance as I gratiously accept them next year.

Don't worrie, Torrie, they really were not made from dog's ears!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun with Frames

It is near time for Steve to get new frames. Joining Kriss and I for lunch and always interested in the opinion of the ladies, it was fun for us to help him find a few updated looks to try on.
Here he models a new, trendy looking frame.
Here he is, sporting a very stylish Nike frame.
Here he models a very smart looking frame.
Which frame will we see him wearing in the not-so-distant future? That is totally up to him- so for now, we'll like him just the way he is!

My vote, that sporty looking Nike frame!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pretty Bird, Pretty Bird

A guided tour led by a volunteer of their facility seemed most appropriate at the conclusion of our meeting at the Mollywood Parrot Rescue and Sanctuary. The tour was most timely as another volunteer had pulled her car into the driveway to deliver three large bird cages filled with abandoned cockatiels to the person with whom we had originally been meeting.
Most birds are kept in cages.
Colorful birds in an outdoor avery seemed friendly and happy to see us by coming right up to our side of their cage and competitively chirping for attention.
Row after row of caged birds filled a three-car garage.Loud chirps (very loud!) seemed to come from all the cages as we passed - their combined volume, extremely hard on our ears.
More photos from the tour.

Some birds compulsively pick at their feathers. This behavior can become so compulsive that a special collar must be worn as protection so that they do not cause harm to themselves. I wondered if this bird, with its feathers spread so neatly over its collar, was perhaps making some sort of bird fashion statement.
More information about the Mollywood Parrot and Rescue Sanctuary can be found on their website at -

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wannabe Guard

Much to my surprise, we have a wannabe guard in residence here. Needing to take the dog out rather late one night, I was surprised by what I saw once I had walked down the three flights of stairs to the ground floor – so surprised in fact that I walked back up those stairs in order to retrieve my camera, then back down, so that I could take photographs before proceeding any further.

There was one rope tied to the door at the bottom of the stairs which ran the entire length of the hallway, securely attached to the main exit. Another rope was attached to the railing across from the door at the bottom of the stairs, also running the entire length of the hallway and also attached to the main exit. There was no signage along the hallway, nor along the ropes, to alert residents that their ability to pass through our hallways was obstructed, and there was no sign to warn us that our main exit was securely tied shut.Earlier in the week, I had discovered that this same door had been barricaded shut. Our wannabe guard was sitting in the lobby that night, as if on duty, and had placed two large boards, and a chair, in front of the main exit as a barricade and forbid my exit through that door. Yet another night, I found our wannabe guard sitting there, once again guarding our exit - this time, he had set the doorstop at the bottom of the door in such a position that it restricted the door from opening. He did come to my assistance and released the doorstop for me that night so that I could at least exit the building.

Our wannabe guard is getting old - most likely well into his eighties. I suspect perhaps a touch of dementia creeping in. In his mind, he sincerely feels that he is protecting his neighbors from the possibility of "bad guys" sneaking into our building in the middle of the night. He really does think he is doing us all a great service! Yet he is actually doing quite the opposite and endangering our lives as our emergency exits and hallways are blocked. Perhaps it is time for him to move on to one of those other "homes" where he could receive adequate supervision.

Neighbors have complained, I have complained, to our powers-that-be about this wannabe guard and his nightly shenanigans - yet he persists. This time, however, I put my concerns in writing and sent them off to those powers-that-be. Sent them off, in fact, with a nice selection of big, glossy photographs!
Let's see if a picture really does say a thousand words - these pictures, perhaps a million! If our powers-that-be do not resolve this issue, it will be the Channel 5 news that I contact next.

Don't worry, as our wannabe guard was not standing guard the night that I discovered those ropes running throughout our hallways, I tugged and pulled, tugged and pulled with all my might, taking it upon myself to remove those ropes from our exit so that my dog and I could finally step outside . . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Great news on the benefits of exercise for heart failure patients once again found in the some recent heart studies through the American Heart Association!

In addition to benefiting by the exercise I gain through a regular walking and hiking routine, adding an exercise workout at our local City Gym seems a good idea. City Gym offers what I consider to be the best deal locally - no membership fees or contract requirements, lots of excellent classes included with their month-by-month membership, a modern facility fully equipped with high-end equipment and a special, low-monthly rate for those age 55 and over.


Medical news:

In medical news today; some surprising findings are coming out of the American Heart Association's annual meeting. One study showed although exercise can do good for a lot of people, it isn't much help to those with moderate heart failure.

Researchers studied more than 2000 people with moderate failure and shortness of breath.

The results - less one fourth of the patients were able to continue exercising because of their conditions.

"His study simply showed those with heart failure may not benefit. Let's make this clear; exercise is good for most people. It can prevent heart disease if you're healthy or your doctor says you have a condition that it will benefit," Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.

More information: - In other heart related news, a study shows many kids are not exercising, and their arteries are paying a life threatening price for it.

They may be kids on the outside, but take a closer look inside, and it's a much different picture.

The arteries of obese children often look more like those of a 45 year old. Doctor Kevin Niswender of Vanderbilt University has looked at the study.

"To see this degree of what is called atherosclerosis or blood vessel disease in what's essentially 13 year old kids is very surprising," Niswender said.

In the new study cardiologists used ultrasound to look at the neck arteries of 70 obese children with an average age of 13.

They found most already had the fatty buildup of plaque associated with heart attack or stroke.

The kids also had abnormal levels of one or more types of cholesterol; And an overall "vascular age" some 30 years older than they were, putting them at high risk for future heart disease.

So what can children and their parents do? Doctors can prescribe medications to help...but most think an old fashioned solution - a healthier diet and increased exercise- may be the best medicine of all "These two things can have a huge impact on the progression of these blood lipid problems and on the progression of this disease in the cholesterol wall," Niswender said.

The study's authors hope those steps can still reverse the threat...but they urge parents and take action before it's too late.

"That means get your kids cholesterol checked; if its high and there's a family history of heart problems, you may want to get this ultrasound test too. Its painless. If blockage is found there are many ways to reverse it; that may save your child's life," Dr. Hensel said.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Among the Leaves

When I stumbled upon those apples scattered among the fallen leaves the other day while out walking, I decided to gather some to enjoy later at home. What a treat to have warm applesauce today!
Apples found among the leaves.
Washed, peeled, diced, then washed again.
Cooked on the stove.
Boiled, simmered and cooked until creamy.
Sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg added.
Stirred, boiled and simmered some more.
Cooked until creamy.
Poured into containers.
Kept fresh in the refrigerator.
Really Rose's Fresh Applesauce
8 Cups Chopped Apples
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Wash, peel and chop the apples. Put in a large pan and pour in the water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft and creamy. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil again, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Store in containers in the refrigerator for several days, or freeze to use later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Parking the car next to my favorite place in Anacortes, Causland Memorial Park, and then walking over to the church to attend the memorial for Catherine, I knew that after the service Torrie and I could enjoy a walk around those massive decorative rock mosaic walls in the park in the remaining daylight of our afternoon.A closer view of the mosaic design on the back of the gazabo in Causland Memorial Park.Leaves cover the entrance steps leading into the corner of the park.
Before leaving town for my drive home, I decided to take one more walk. This time, along the Anacortes Marina to enjoy the beautiful view as the boats and clouds reflected in the calm water.
More photos from today in Anacortes.

From the City of Anacortes website: Causland Memorial Park (8th Street and "N" Avenue) was built in the 1920's by Louis Lepage and is on the National Register of Historic Places. A portion of the park is dedicated to Anacortes veterans from World War I to the Vietnam War. The 2 acre park is unique in its use of decorative rock and black and white mosaic for structures and walls. Low, serpentine mosaic walls surround the park, and a bandstand, amphitheater and terraces are similarly made of colored pebble and rock mosaic. Other park features include picnic tables, mature ornamental plantings, a small grassy lawn and many terraces. The park is visited frequently by tourists enthralled by its lovingly detailed decorations.

After the Rains Came

Heading out for our walk this morning, I could feel a bit of calm in our air between that last storm and our next. With the rains reduced to only a light sprinkle now, I could safely leave my hood down without getting drenched. Pausing to look over the fence and on down to the creek flowing fast below my driveway, I wondered how this tree had managed to hold onto its beautiful leaves through that last storm.
The path through the park today, blown almost free of the downed leaves.
Huge piles of leaves remain under all the trees now.
Giant piles of leaves blown up against the fence line.
Someone had raked these leaves into piles only to watch them blow around again.
More piles of leaves left throughout the leaf-scattered yard.
The other side of the street dotted with snowberries and drenched with downed leaves.
Gathering some windfall apples, I decided to make more fresh applesauce for dinner.