Archive for December, 2016

Photo Test #2

Posted: December 26, 2016 in Ramblings

This is after the WordPress people gave me some pointers.

Inserting this from the "WP Admin" page works.

Inserting this from the “WP Admin” page works.

Photo Test

Posted: December 26, 2016 in Ramblings

Formerly, a reader could click on one of my photos and see it at its full size.  This doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.  Am examining settings to see if I can get it back to that.

An oldie but a goodie.

An oldie but a goodie.

White Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2016 in Ramblings

Not exactly the traditional kind…but interesting nonetheless!  Hope everyone’s is merry and a bit brighter than this.  Ha.

wp_20161225_08_00_35_pro

Foggy view from our bedroom window (which is basically the same as the view you saw last week from the kitchen).

Lake Louise

Posted: December 21, 2016 in Ramblings

Well, our vacation has come and gone much faster than planned.

wp_20161217_16_50_23_rich

Heading west on the TCH.

We arrived in Calgary on Saturday with no incident except a slightly-delayed flight, and began the 2+ hours’ drive to Lake Louise.  We were all very hungry, and the Trans-Canada Highway had no rest stops or anything like that for a long way, until the town of Canmore, where we stopped and had “Canadian McDonald’s.”  I didn’t think it would be too different from US McDonald’s, but they had waffle fries (which the excited Alex got) and a burger with a hash brown patty on it (which he also got).  Re-fueled, we drove the final hour to the chateau.

wp_20161220_13_03_44_rich

Canadian McDonald’s (at right).  This is in Banff.

The setting is beautiful.  The lake is surrounded by mountains, and everything was snowy and delightful.  (The temperature was -28C that day!)  We checked into our 7th-floor Fairmont Gold room and basically went to sleep, because it was late and we’d crossed time zones.

bestlake

View from our room!

A strange thing happened to me over this vacation.  Whenever we were in the room, or in other areas of the 7th floor, I felt a tightness around my chest, and my heart thumped dramatically.  Not fast, just really hard!  I was quite worried but Chris listened to it and said it sounded good and strong.  So I tried to ignore it.  We wondered whether this might be due to altitude sickness but the feeling went away when we were on the ground floor, and it didn’t seem like there was enough drop in altitude to account for that.  Lake Louise is, however, 1750m (5742 feet) above sea level…and Redmond is a whopping 13m (43 feet) above sea level!  So there was definitely a difference.

Anyway, on our first morning we got up and went on the Johnston Canyon ice hike.  I was kind of misled on this.  The descriptions say “walk on suspended catwalks across Johnston Canyon” but really they were fenced pathways going up and down the side of a mountain, and I got really winded (and this very likely was due to altitude sickness).  Our guide was a super hiker type of guy and kept pushing everyone to go pretty fast, too.  Alex complained of his feet hurting, so after we reached the Lower Falls, he and I turned back and waited in the parking lot.  Chris soldiered on to the top (another .5 mile) and came back (he said the Upper Falls looked just like the Lower Falls so we didn’t miss much).  He saw a fox.  This fox and some deer on the side of the highway are the only wildlife we saw during the whole trip.

Our guide went on to say that snowshoeing (which we had planned for Monday) would be even tougher to do.  So we cancelled it!  That day we spent walking around the lake on the ice, until we noticed the “Thin Ice” signs, at which point we scurried back to the hotel!  We also cancelled the dogsledding (planned as a Chris-Alex joint venture) because they recommended ski goggles, which we did not have and did not want to buy.  That was a Wednesday activity.

Tuesday we drove to Banff, which is the closest town to Lake Louise, and walked around in the snow, shopped a bit (I bought a qiviut hat because my fake fur hat was very loose and kept sliding around my head), and had lunch at a pub.

But I continued to suffer this weird heart thing.  Each night I had difficulty falling asleep because it made me so nervous.  Last night (Tuesday night) I asked Chris whether we should cut the vacation short; he didn’t think it was serious enough to do that, because this was only affecting me on the 7th floor.

And then this morning he woke up with a sore throat and said “I’ve changed my mind about going home early!”  We scrambled to get new flights, reschedule the shuttle, cancel the remaining cat care, and got to Calgary Airport with 6 hours to spare.  Flew home on a propeller plane (a Bombardier Q400) and got back here around 8PM.  I suppose we will never know what was wrong with me.  It stopped as soon as we got in the car to drive back to Calgary.

wp_20161219_13_42_07_rich

Still wearing a hat he got in Portsmouth, despite all the lovingly-handknit ones I’ve made for him over the years…sigh…

 

Have you ever vacationed with us?

Posted: December 16, 2016 in Ramblings

I am trying to put together a comprehensive list of all the trips/vacations the USP’s have taken, ever since the first one Chris and I took together at Christmas 1998 (to Rudgwick and then France with Maddie and Brian).  I have a pretty detailed list from 2010 onward, because I saved all the Expedia and Amex emails about itineraries and charges.  However, I would like to fill in the gaps.  If you have any info about vacations we took (whether you came to us, or we all went somewhere together), please advise!

These trips, I know we took, but can’t remember the dates.

While we lived in Virginia:

  • Chris and I, to Dallas to visit Diane.  Chris thinks Alex was present for this but I think it was before Alex was born.
  • Charleston with the Valleres (just me and Alex).
  • Ocean City, NJ, with the Valleres

After we moved to Sammamish:

  • Cannon Beach and Seaside with the UK Picks
  • Driving trip to Anacortes/Olympic Mountains with UK Picks

 

And then, these are the ones that appear to be “someone came to visit.”

  • Summer 2004 (?) – UK Picks and Ant came to visit our new home
  • Xmas 2007 – all Valleres came here.  That was the year of the big storm with the 4-day electrical outage.

I know there were a lot more visits to Sammamish but can’t place them by season or date.  Please help!  I’ll probably spend some time rereading the blog to place these things.

Xmas 2009, Xmas 2013, Xmas 2015, it appears we stayed home and had no guests.

There were a lot of “The US Picks went on a trip by themselves” which I will have to research on my own.

Should I post a list of the trips (either ours or yours) that we do know about?

 

Merry Christmas

Posted: December 14, 2016 in Ramblings

Here is our little setup.  Fire courtesy of Netflix; tiny tree and lights from Safeway.  Some cards that have already arrived, and our quintessential Christmas stockings made by Mary.

xmas2016

The tiny pink fish in the center is a catnip toy for Max and Bickie.  The PC shown is a Microsoft Surface Studio, one of our family gifts to one another.

It’s Brain Fail. Definitely.

Posted: December 13, 2016 in Ramblings

Our cats are on prescription food because they have delicate digestions.  We have two prescription cards that I usually carry in my handbag.  I took them out to prep for vacation and “put them in a safe place” (this just happened last week).  Can’t find ’em.  We need to stock up on food for the cat folks to feed them, and I can’t find the cards!  Can’t even think of anywhere else to look.   This time I know it’s brain fail because we have used them twice since moving to this new apartment.

(And those keys haven’t reappeared, either.)

Okay…ten seconds after publishing this post, I looked at the fridge, because we often stick important things on there with magnets.  (My prescriptions, apartment emergency numbers, barbecue restaurant menu, Ankh-Morpork postcards, picture of Diane’s bear in a yeti costume, 2 purple mink balls, and…cat food prescription cards.  Yay.)