Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Euchre anyone?

Happy Un-Thanksgiving!

We had a great time and enjoyed visiting and playing games with all of the kids.   

JP taught us all how to play a new card game called Euchre. Well, at least it was new to us.  There was a lot of squabbling, whining, complaining and bickering, but we all learned how to play it AND we played it every day, I mean to say every afternoon and every night.  We played four-handed, six-handed, three-handed and two-handed before it was over.

Miss Rylee, the crafter, gave each of us a Christmas ornament.   Some chose to display their ornament immediately.

Dave worked very hard hunting for three days over in Montana in the cold pouring rain. (I think we had about 4 inches of rain in three days)   We were all very happy to spend part of the day Friday processing burger and now everyone has some meat in the freezer.

These two spent a lot of time on the computer in their hide-a-way downstairs.

This was one of the quiet moments for Ben, a.k.a. Awesome Man, the Super Hero.  Awesome Man rarely sleeps or slows down his pace.  In an instant his blue blankie becomes a Super Hero cape and he is off to save the world from the Flaming Eyeball or other horrific monsters. 

Ben saving up his positrons.
Grandma needed to recharge her positrons after it was all over, but now I am ready to head full force into the Christmas season.  Sha-bam! (That was a positron) 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meet Sam

Or I should probably say, Ben meets Sam.  Sam is Retired Mountain Man's favorite toy.  He bought Sam back in 2002 and has enjoyed many years of terrorizing people with it, including the librarian at the middle school.

Sam has a remote control that moves him forward and backward.  His head snaps up just like a cobra attacking and his back end swings around and slithers.  His orange eyes light up and he actually is quite scary.

Ben absolutely loved controlling the remote (by standing in a chair) and making him attack daddy or attack mommy or grandpa.  He did not like Sam moving toward him though.

There was lots running and squeals of delight as Ben and Sam conquered the world.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hurricane warnings for Hope!

Yes, there is one on the way.  In preparation I have already made the pie crusts for Thanksgiving and put them in the freezer.  I spent half of the day Thursday buying groceries and stocking up.

Even with a hurricane on the way it was no excuse for Maggie to get out of her Thanksgiving bath.

Maggie curled up and drying out after her bath.
Maggie is a very sweet dog.  When I say to her "it's time to take a bath", she goes down the stairs, into the bathroom and jumps into the bathtub.  She isn't crazy about getting a bath, but she's very polite.  She also knows she is going to get a towel rubdown after the bath and she really loves that. 

According to David, even though Ben is only three years old he is already a Category 5 hurricane and we should expect a major storm surge, rain, high winds and possible tidal flooding.  (something to do with toilet training?)  Retired Mountain Man is definitely afraid and is thinking about fleeing farther inland.  He might get as far as Clark Fork.  Hurricane Ben is expected to make landfall at about 8:30 p.m. tonight. 

 Bring on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oooh baby! You need a pair of these!

There's an article in the latest issue of Newsweek  about vintage Ralph Lauren designs.   I have a friend who should definitely own a pair of these boots and maybe the vest? 

Dear Banjo Man, please put these on your Christmas shopping list. 

Photo: Courtsey of Ralph Lauren (3)

I can picture her singing "I'm Just an old Chunk of Coal" decked out in the hat, blouse, vest, boots and I'm sure R.L. has some designer jeans available.

Happy Holidays, Banjo Man!

Go Big Red!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

You're going the wrong way!

I love Thanksgiving.

I like to take my time to enjoy this holiday with family and friends.  There's time to relax, play games, visit a lot and love up the grandkids.  There is no holiday stress like there is when I am trying to get ready for Christmas.

My favorite Thanksgiving movie is "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", starring Steve Martin and John Candy.  It makes my laugh a lot!

I am ready to make some popcorn and watch the film.

Those aren't pillows!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


On Saturday night we went to dinner and a concert at DiLuna's Cafe featuring my guitar teacher, Doug Bond and his wife, Kim.  The opening act was Wild Honey, a group that formed when their kids had grown up and left home.  Go figure.

For 30 years Retired Mountain Man taught physical science to almost every 8th grade student in Bonner County.  It turns out that one of them was Kim Bond, who gave "Mr. Burkhart" a big hug after the concert was over.

Kim and Doug performing Gillian Welch's "Wichita".  The band gals have been working on that song for months.  I will be very happy when I can play the guitar licks without a mistake.  (RMM will be very happy too as he has had to listen to the same lick over and over and over again.)

It's a possibility that my 1977 trip across Kansas in the snowstorm has left me with a mental block?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we know what to do with it. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I have always thought it was a waste of my time doing the following:

1.  Folding laundry
 2.  Dusting
 3.  Drying dishes

Fold or play?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Water, water everywhere!

We added another member to the Disaster Response Team, Andy and his backhoe.  Only in Hope can you phone a neighbor with an emergency and he is here in fifteen minutes.  He made fast work of this part of the project.

Travis and Adam having "fun" in the mud.

The next morning we had fresh snow.

There are still a few water issues to be solved, but we are now back to normal. 

We discovered that loggers at the neighbors have built a road across the creek right above where our upper water system intake is located.  They have also dumped tree stumps near the valves to the holding tank.  Retired Mountain Man is going to deal with that issue on Monday. 

I am very glad to have water flowing from the faucets once again.  Thanks, Travis, Adam, Andy and Mike.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Grandpa's got big trouble!

In April of 1977 we headed out on a road trip from Hope to Tulsa during our week of Spring vacation with Retired Mountain Man's parents, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Lois.  We were going to celebrate Easter with his sister, Linda and family.

Jamie was nine and David was just about to turn three years old.  We all packed into Grandpa Jim's big Chrysler and off we went.  Everything went according to plan until we got to Colorado and a late snowstorm  blew in and the big Chrysler stopped dead in the middle of the highway.  We could manage to drive a few miles and then the engine would sputter and die.  We had to keep driving because there wasn't an automobile repair shop for hundreds of miles.  (Fuel filter)

If you have ever driven across Kansas you will understand our predicament.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  It's snowing like crazy and of course, the wind is blowing.  We are limping our way across the flatland.

The level of tension in the car was extremely high due to the nature of the situation and the fact that Grandpa Jim was well known for his "impatience".  David, who had been asleep, woke up, stood up in the back seat, ascertained the situation from a three-year-old's point of view, and said, "Boy, Grandpa has big trouble."

Yes, indeed.  Many hours later we finally made it to Salinas and had the car repaired.  When got to Tulsa, Grandpa Jim bought a new car.

Why this story?  Well, now it's Grandpa Jon's turn for the "big trouble".

No water pressure or at least it's not what it should be due to the fact that we have air trapped in a low spot in the line.  This is not a simple problem to solve as our water line goes up the mountain about a quarter of a mile.  Retired Mountain Man and Travis have been working on it for two days.

Murphy's Law -"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong".

At the end of the day, the pressure is still at forty and we now have a broken 2 inch line.

To add to the day's events, on Monday, our freezer in the pantry decided to "give up the ghost" and the new one was to be delivered today.  (I do not have photos of the furniture moving, chaotic mess this caused)

I was sure that I could handle the freezer delivery while RMM and Travis worked on the water line issue.

The doorway to the pantry is 28" wide.  The freezer that I bought was 28" wide.  At least that's the width  that was advertised, but guess what?  It was wider than that. 

Who was that Murphy guy, anyway?

We had to remove the door, both door jambs and hinges.  The delivery guys couldn't take off the jambs as they were "not allowed" to do that.  After about an hour of trying to figure out what to do, they finally rammed it through the doorway with one minor scratch.

OK then, back to the water line issue.  I drove to Sandpoint to buy one of these.

$270.00?  Really?
It turns out we can't use it.  (I don't mind returning it.)

We have reworked the plan of action for tomorrow and the Disaster Response Team is on it's way.
Mike has a 2" valve that we can use.
Kermit is hauling up the excavator to dig up the line.
Trav and Adam are bringing the trash pump to get the water out of the ditch so we can replace the valve.
Retired Mountain Man has his hip waders out.  (Water temperature, 39 degrees)  
I bought bottled water.

This problem really needs to be solved by the end of the day as we white stuff in our forecast for tomorrow night.

Grandpa has big trouble, but luckily for him, he has a lot of really good people to help him out, he's not in Kansas and Murphy is not a member of the Disaster Response Team.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ben and Buddy's Best Halloween Ever!

Who is Buddy and why was it the best Halloween ever?  The answer to that question in a moment.

First, I want to tell you about my trip to Missoula. 

Now that the canning and freezing veggie frenzy is over, I had time to make a quick trip to Montana.  It was a very enjoyable trip as I got to spend the day with my mom, Griz Eileen, and my sister, Kathy.  We went out to lunch and did a little shopping. We even stopped by the local music store to try out keyboards.  

OK, so on to the Ben and Buddy story.

On Halloween I went to the GSK party with the Hamilton Burkharts.  

Ben was refusing to wear a costume until we got to the parking lot at GSK. He really had no idea what all the Halloween fuss was about, but once he saw the other kids in costumes he decided that he would give it a try.    

 "Why is my mom dressed up like the Tooth Fairy and why is my dad the Cat in the Hat?"

This dad was really excited to see his Itsy Bitsy Spider!

Why do they keep asking me to say "trick or treat"?  

What's with all the costumes?

Why are there scary skeletons and goblins?  Ben wasn't going for any of the scary stuff.  We had to retreat back to the reception area after he saw a very scary goblin and the boiling cauldron with the candy inside.

We circled back around to the cafeteria where they had pizza, cookies and cupcakes.  He met up with a friend there and decided that maybe this Halloween thing was OK.

We left GSK and drove to downtown Hamilton to go door-to-door.  The first stop was the Hamilton Fire Station.

We had an encounter with another "Isty Bitsy Spider".

This is where Buddy comes into the story.

The Cluffs have a very cute, small, white poodle named Buddy.   

Buddy was excited to see Ben until......

He spotted the chickens running loose in the yard across the street.  Yes, it's in the middle of town.  Why would anyone have chickens running loose in their yard in the middle of town?  Buddy was off like a shot!


There was mayhem in the street!  A lot of barking and "bock, bock, brock, brock, bock, bock," as the chickens scrambled around to get away.

The owner came out of his house with a pellet gun!  No way!  He's really going to shoot at a little poodle?  

Put your chickens in a pen, guy!  Buddy is a tiny dog!

A very blurry photo of one of the chickens escaping across the street.

The teenage son ran off after Buddy and finally catches him before the neighbor can fire off his pellet gun. 

Buddy loved Halloween! It was so cool!  Dozens of kids knock on the door for treats and there's a chicken chasing event.

After all that excitement we drove to 4th street.  It was barricaded off for several blocks and everyone who wanted to participate, decorated their houses. They had to have at least a thousand pieces of candy to hand out at each house as there were hundreds of kids trick or treating up and down the street.  

Ben was constantly on the lookout for any goblins or skeletons.

Is there a scary witch up ahead?

This is a very cool house. 

I loved all the stripes!

It was a memorable night for both Ben and Buddy!
They are both already thinking about next year!  

What costume should Ben wear?

Will there be another chicken chasing event for Buddy?