Photo Challenge…….Waiting

Kikyo, our aristo-catKikyo is looking up through the clerestory window high up in the east wall of our family room.  She sat like that for 15 minutes without moving a muscle, waiting for a bird to appear in the vine maple tree just outside the window.  One never did.  Waiting in vain.

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On This Labor Day…Proudly Working and Supporting Myself at Age 68

On This Labor Day…Proudly Working and Supporting Myself at Age 68

Today is a holiday for me.  At age 68 (two years past my full retirement age of 66), I am working full-time (actually, more than full-time with all the overtime I put in), at a job I love, and with a side interest for my professional association.  As a Planner/Buyer for an aerospace company, my job is vitally important to the smooth functioning of my company, and I never worry about becoming irrelevant or being laid off. Yes, even at my advanced age, I make a difference every single day.  There have been layoffs large and small since 2008 when I was hired, but after I survived the bloodbath at the height of the financial crisis, I think I’m pretty safe.

There used to be three people with  my job title at the company, and over the years the other two left the company, and I took on their work.  So I am literally doing the work of three people; very competently, I might add.  One of the principal values I live by is being a productive member of society.  I made a mid-life career change (from hospital pharmacy technician), and I feel like I’m just hitting my stride, with many productive years ahead of me.  I don’t feel old, and people tell me I don’t look my age <grin>.  My boss appreciates my work, which is gratifying.  And I can guarantee that my coworkers and other internal customers will miss me while I’m on vacation next week.  As of today, I have no intention of retiring any time soon.

Since 1999, I have been the Business Survey Chairman of ISM-Western Washington, the association of purchasing managers.   Putting out the Survey every month keeps my finger on the pulse of the local economy, and provides excellent economic information to the local and national press and economic community.  I get enormous satisfaction out of this work, and I intend to keep on doing it, even if I retire from full-time employment

So, on this Labor Day, give a wave and thanks to those who keep the world turning around, food on the table, and planes in the sky.

Photo Challenge Structure

This is A Structure.  To wit, a city apartment building, seen from about a block away.  Seems pretty ordinary.

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But move closer, and its fine structure becomes more visible.  And more pleasing.

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The bow windows lend a bit of class, and make the room inside bigger, and bring more natural light into the room.  Then, move closer.

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Now, you can see even finer structural details, like the individual panes of glass in the French doors.  Doesn’t it make you want to see what’s inside?

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A Weekend at Jazz Port Townsend

Back in March, Hubby and I attended the After Midnight Gala auction for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, a wonderful jazz Big Band.  At that auction, we bought a weekend package that included two nights of lodging, and tickets to Friday and Saturday concerts, the weekend of July 31.  Port Townsend is across Puget Sound from our home in Everett, so the weekend started with a beautiful ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston.  We just love this ferry, and sometimes we just go for a day trip.  It was sunny and warm.  Here are some pictures of what we saw from the ferry on the way over.

This one was taken from the ferry before we even left port!  The State is doing some upgrades to the dock, and I am always impressed with the big machinery.

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Next, I turned my camera in toward the car deck, and I just laughed to see this vehicle parked next to us.  Check out the license plate frame.

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We really do live in one of the most gorgeous places in the world.

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That’s Mount Baker, which is north of us, nearly on the Canadian border.

We drove on west through Kingston and Port Gamble, and reached Port Townsend in the late afternoon.  Here are a couple of pictures of the place we stayed.  This is a private home, which was donated by the owner for the auction (one of the SRJO board members had stayed there and loved it).  We had our own little suite with a private entrance at the back.  Beware that monster!

Friday night’s concert (and all the rest) was held in a former blimp hangar at Fort Worden.  Here are some shots of the outside and the inside.  No photography was allowed during the concerts, of course.

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Friday night’s performers were two groups.  The first group was called “Keep on Keepin’ On”, with Justin Kauflin (an amazing blind pianist), Doug Weiss, Bass, and Kendrick Scott on drums.  The second group “The Haris House”, consisted of Niki Haris, a wonderful singer, backed up by Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Sullivan Fortner on piano, John Clayton on bass, and Joe LaBarbera on drums.  They were all fantastic, and had the audience captivated.  Jazz musicians tend to have a great sense of humor, too, and we all got lots of laughs.

Saturday had two performances, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.  Outside the hall in the afternoon, there were groups of student musicians who had been at the week-long jazz workshop, showing their stuff.  These kids are awesome!

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Saturday afternoon’s concert was incredible, featuring a lady who really screamed on her saxophone.  You don’t often think of sax players as ladies, but this one, Tia Fuller, really knows her stuff!  She was backed up by Sullivan Fortner on piano, Doug Weiss on bass, and Kendrick Scott on drums.  Beautiful woman, great music, and lots of laughs-what more could you ask for?

Next on the program “Lifting Voices”, consisting of Cedric Dent and Niki Haris vocals, Sullivan Fortner again on piano, Jon Hamar, bass, and Joe LaBarbera on drums.

Last came the “All Star Big Band” of the workshop faculty, directed by John Clayton.  They did get a little snippy with the conductor, but then they’re all stars in their own right!  Soloists were Jeff Clayton on alto sax, Adrian Cunningham on tenor sax, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone, Sean Jones and Terell Stafford on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, and vocals by Dee Daniels and Niki Haris.  The rest of the band consisted of Mark Taylor and Tia Fuller on alto sax; Adrian Cunningham and Alex Dugdale on tenor sax; Gary Smulyan on baritone sax; Brad Allison, Terell Stafford, Sean Jones, Jay Thomas, Andy Omdahl on trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, David Marriott, Dan Marcus on trombone; Greg Schroder on bass trombone, Dan Balmer on guitar, Bill Cunliffe on piano, Chuck Deardorf on bass, and Matt Wilson on drums.  I swear, Matt Wilson looked like something straight out of Mad Men!  Needless to say, they were awesome.

After the Saturday afternoon concert we had some free time, so we went looking for dinner.  We first drove down to the Port Townsend Marina.  Beautiful!

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Saturday night’s concert was just wonderful.  The first act featured someone who I had never heard of before, Hubert Laws, whose instrument is the flute!  You don’t often think of the flute as a jazz instrument, but Mr. Laws is a past master.  Aside from the fact that the flute can get overpowered by louder instruments, the program was very fun, and Hubert Laws is a great musician.  The last act featured a tribute to Louis Armstrong, led by Wycliffe Gordon on his trombone.  All the musicians were really playing out, and we all felt that we had been really “jazzed-up” by the end of the evening.

As usual, we arose late on Sunday for the drive and ferry ride home.  Here are some of the things we saw on the way out of town to the ferry in Kingston.

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The Fort Worden Military Cemetery in just outside the gates.  That is a cannon way over on the edge of the enclosure.

Closer to town, we drove by this old building, being devoured by the vegetation, and I just had to get its picture.

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Most of my readers and followers know my political orientation.  This sign, which we saw all over town, shows the orientation of most of the town.  Opposite from mine.

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Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Here are a couple of photos taken from the bluff just outside the east gate of the old fort.

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That’s the old officers’ quarters, which are now vacation rentals.

We got to Kingston around 4:00PM, and got in the ferry line.  I went hunting with my camera, and this is what I found.

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The newly-legal industry is doing their “good citizen” activity.  Sigh…

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Yes, even expensive Italian sports cars take the ferry.

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The Norwegian Pearl, starting its journey to Alaska from Seattle.  Three cruise lines ply that route, and it’s prime tourist season.

Once on the ferry, I got this one.  Beautiful sailboat, in a brisk wind.  She’s the Mata Hari.

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All in all, a wonderful weekend.

Photo Challenge…….Corner

This structure is in a pretty desolate corner of the world, on the bluff overlooking the Columbia River in north central Washington State.  It also has a multitude of corners, angles, and intersections.  You wouldn’t want to get caught by the sharp tip of one of those blades!  Stationary, it almost looks like a piece of art.  It was stopped the day we drove past it.

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Ooh, Shiny! Look at that cool bird! (Edit: see below for addition I just couldn’t resist)

I love bird-watching, and when I’m outdoors I try to find them.  But sometimes, when I’m doing something else, one will catch my eye.

This guy was on the roof of an accessory dwelling in the back yard of a friend in Colorado.  What a place for a feeder!

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Scrub Jay

We were surprised when a family of quail skittered across our path, down at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  I wasn’t looking for birds, just cactus.  And they have such great camouflage, you have to be attentive to movement!

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Quail foraging under the agave at Desert Botanical Garden

We were just walking the trail along the Sammamish Slough in Bellevue, Washington near where we live, when the sound of this little marsh wren attracted us.

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…SQUIRREL!!

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We knew the managements of Facebook and Google were Liberal

People are probably quite familiar now with the big story of how a Google software engineer was summarily fired for circulating a memo around his company, positing the viewpoint (taking into account verifiable scientific studies that confirm this) that a reason why more women don’t work as software engineers could be that most women don’t want to be software engineers; not that the evil male empire is preventing them from becoming software engineers.  Google circulated memos in opposition, and their reason for dismissing their engineer was that his memo “violated company policies”.  Here is a link to a post on the Ricochet Main Feed.  Maybe you’ll want to join.

Just recently, the Daily Caller newsletter published an article discussing the participation of Google and Facebook in a gathering called “Netroots Nation”, a meeting of a variety of far-left techies.  It seems that this “net roots” group will be ganging up on a pro-life organization.  A Ricochet member did this, which is absolutely perfect:

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[Editorial Comment.  If your organization protests a group that is “pro-life”, what does that make you?  Why, it makes you and your organizations and your sponsors “anti-life”, or “pro-death” (here’s looking at you, Planned Parenthood)]

The Daily Caller story also referenced a video, with the Google name changed to Gulag.  You may never think of Google in quite the same way again.  I have stopped using Google for my internet search.  I use DuckDuckGo instead, and it works just fine.  You already know that I do not use Facebook.  Here’s just one more reason why.