Excursion to Snoqualmie Falls

On Friday, Hubby and I took a drive up to Snoqualmie Falls Park, near North Bend (in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains).  We went late in the day, and the sun was nearly setting, but the Falls was well-lit from where we stood.  It was a beautiful, crisp Autumn day, and the drive up was quite pleasant.  We actually found a parking space easily.

I have always been in awe of what humans can do when they put their minds and backs into a project.  And the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Station required copious amounts of strength, and human ingenuity.  The first part was built in the late 1890s.

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I was very impressed at how quickly and well the project was built.  Nowadays, the project would be held up for years by “environmental impact” garbage, and the cost would be in the billions.  Here’s a diagram.

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Here are some of the pictures I took, of the mighty power of Nature, somewhat harnessed by Human Ingenuity.  The plant is now owned by Puget Sound Energy, and residents of the East Side of Lake Washington get their electricity from this complex.

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This is the top of the falls, and you can see some of the power plant buildings.  Most of the apparatus is actually underground, hewn out of bedrock by people wielding drills.

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This is the Snoqualmie River below the falls.  You can see in the lower left corner the outflow of a portion of the falls that is directed through the power turbines.

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It’s a pretty steep drop from the observation walk, to the bottom of the canyon!  Solid granite, too.

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Compared to earlier this fall, the Falls is at very low water.  There was a lot of rain in September, and the Falls was very high, and there was extensive flooding in the Snoqualmie Valley below.

Here’s some video.  You have to hear it to believe it.

We are so very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of America.

A Bullet Dodged: Thanks Given

Ferry-wake

RushBabe dodged a bullet recently.  I had a health scare, which started in June with an itchy place on one shoulder.  Where it started was easy to remember, since it took place on the street in Leavenworth, when Hubby and I were there in June for the International Accordion Celebration. Gradually, that itchy place took on the appearance of a blood-blister.  It was a red, spongy blister-like thing, and it sometimes itched a lot.  It didn’t worry me too much, since I assumed that it was the result of a bug bite (quote common in the mountains of Washington State).

It didn’t go away, and it sometimes interfered with my bra strap.  So, I decided to make an appointment with my personal doctor, to see if she could lance it (drain it) and make it go away.  She agreed to see me, and I went to her office.  She did poke it, and drained off some blood.  She gave me a big bandage to wear for a while, and I went home.  Well, that thing didn’t go away.  So I went back, and she took a big piece of it and sent it to her lab just to see what was inside.  This time, she had to put in some stitches.  Again, I went home with a bandage on.  When the lab results came back, I went back to have the stitches out and get the results.  The lab found some Lymphocytes, but nothing definitive.  And the darn thing still came back.

So, next step was to make an appointment with a dermatologist.  I did that, and went in for an exam.  The Dermatology Doctor read the lab report from my doctor, and she looked worried.  So, she took another big biopsy sample, and sent me home with some more stitches.  And something about T-Cell Lymphoma.  Oh, and she also told me not to do any “internet research”, since I might not get the right information that way.  I took her advice.

About a week later, she called me on the phone, and asked me to come in.  It turned out that they found two different kinds of T-Cells in my sample, and I might have a lymphoma, though she wasn’t very informative about what that might mean. [OBTW, that lesion on my shoulder had mostly gone away-maybe the big biopsy sample scared it!]  She asked me if I would approve her sending my sample for evaluation to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which works with the University of Washington.  I told her to go ahead.

So, yesterday I braved the I-5 freeway at morning rush hour, to visit the SCCA and speak with a Dermatological Oncologist there.  It took me an hour and a half to drive the 25 miles in to Seattle.  The office was on the fourth floor of their building in the South Lake Union neighborhood, and had a gorgeous view of the lake.  I spoke with two doctors, one an Internal Medicine Resident, and one a Dermatological Oncologist.  They had had time to look at all my records, and the bottom line was, I probably did not have a Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, but  “Pseudo-lymphoma”.  Weird, but I was happy to hear it.  They did order a complete blood count, just to make sure.  On the way out, I went to the Lab, and had a big blood sample drawn.  The crowd waiting in the lab area was large, but I only had to wait a few minutes.  While waiting, I was internally giving thanks that my health scare was probably just that, a scare.  And I was impressed by the mood of all the patients waiting for lab work.  I could see that many of them obviously had cancer, but they all looked pretty optimistic, and all the staff were very encouraging.

I suppose when you get to be 70 years old, you begin to think that your time left is shortening.  This incident really brought it home for me.  I thought about all the things that I might need to get done in a short amount of time.  And I gave thanks for being pretty healthy for an old lady.  I almost never get sick, and I don’t remember the time when I last called in sick to work.  Geez, I’m still working more than full-time!

So this Thanksgiving, I will really have something to be thankful for.  My life, my Hubby, my Kitty, my job, my friends.  And I especially am thankful for being born in America.  If I really had had cancer, there is no better place to be than the Seattle area, with all its health care resources. We really do have the world’s best medical system here in America, and I hope that we will never be subjected to the “socialized” system like in Europe, where outcomes are never as good as they are here.  I never take things for granted, and I thank God that I can still be a productive member of society.  I’m thankful for all of my followers and readers on my blog (and the Freedom of Speech that allows me to express myself without being censored), and I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving this year.

 

 

I am Owned by a Cat…

And I find this story quite alarming.  Last Friday in the Wall Street Journal (sorry, behind a paywall so I won’t link here), there was a story about cat owners making their cats vegan.  Now, I think that people who adopt the vegan lifestyle are a bit deranged (since God made us omnivorous for a reason), but I don’t deny them the right to eat whatever they want to, as long as they don’t make me adopt their lifestyle.

But this attempt to make an animal that is designed by God to be an “obligate carnivore” into a vegan sounds to me like animal abuse.  When we got our aristo-cat Kikyo,


we went to a kitten class at our vet’s office for tips about how to best make her a member of our family.  One of the things we learned in that class was that cats do better on an all-wet-food diet, with as much meat protein as possible.  We learned that cats normally do not eat vegetables, and should not be routinely fed vegetables.

That’s why this article alarmed me so much.  Especially, when I read this paragraph in the article:

Hank Rothgerber, a social psychologist at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, conducted a survey that found high levels of guilt among vegan and vegetarian pet owners who feed their pets meat.

So these pet-owners are taking their own guilt out on their pets!  These people are responsible for the well-being of their feline companions, and they are knowingly feeding them food that the animals are NOT designed to be eating if they want to maintain their pets in the best of health!  This sounds like animal-abuse to me!

I prefer not to be a participant in others’ delusions.

The first Delusion in which I do not participate is the delusion of “man-made climate change”, and the corollaries that demand that we abandon the benefits of plastic items like grocery bags and straws.  It makes me angry when the all-powerful Government decides for me which light bulbs I must use (and no longer may use), and insists that I from now on “bring my own reusable bag” to the grocery store, since it is banning retail stores from providing plastic bags to their customers.  This came in my utility bill recently.

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The worst part of this is that the Government is Requiring retail establishments to charge a FEE for providing paper bags!  This is so ridiculous!  So, what does the retail establishment do with all the fees they collect?  Are they required to remit those funds to the City Government?  This flyer does not say.  I hope they do not have to.

In any case, I refuse to participate in their delusion that banning plastic bags will help “save the planet”, since the Planet is not in need of saving.  And, just in case they need to know, I re-use lightweight plastic bags to take out my home trash, so every bag gets re-used.  I have purchased a big box of lightweight plastic bags, which I will use at my grocery store, every time I shop in the city (which I will try my best to avoid in the future).  If they think they can prevent me from using lightweight plastic bags, they are sorely mistaken.  Maybe they should train their sights on the real culprits responsible for all the plastic waste in the oceans…Asia.  Asian countries put thousands of times more plastic waste into the oceans than the United States does.  Go ban bags there!

The second delusion in which I refuse to participate is that someone born Male can decide that he is really Female, and must have his God-given body altered.  The so-called “gender dysphoria” syndrome (funny, it’s so newly-popular) is a Mental Illness, and cannot be treated with surgery.  Just check out the statistics on suicide by “trans-gender” people who have had that bizarre surgery.  Near 40%!! It is plain to the eye and the mind that a person born with two X chromosomes is Female, and someone born with one X and one Y chromosome is Male.  Removing the male body parts does NOT make a person Female.  So I refuse to call the admin at my place of employment by His chosen new female name.  And HE had better keep out of MY Women’s bathroom.

A Day at the Fair

Starting this past weekend, is the Washington State Fair in the Pierce County town of Puyallup (pronounced pew-allup).  We drove there from our house in Everett, which is a long drive, but it was a nice day on Sunday.  Lots of homeowners there allow their front yards to be used for parking, and local civic groups have lots they use for Fair parking too.  We didn’t even try to find a place on the street.

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This was about five blocks from the fairgrounds.  We entered at the Blue Gate.

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I had a hunch things would not be going smoothly right outside the gate.  First, the sole of one of my flip-flops separated right at the gate, so I knew I’d have trouble walking around if I didn’t get it fixed.  Also, the Fair has gone “total airline” on bag-checks at the gates, so I was required to empty my water bottle before entering.  As if I was carrying something other than water!  It did nothing to improve my disposition, I can tell you.

Once inside, we had to decide where to go first.  I figured I’d have to find someone with glue, or someone selling flip-flops!  Here’s what we saw just inside the gate.

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I knew there was a big building holding the “trade show” booths, of various businesses trying to sell you something. Well, it just so happened that the Vionic people were there, selling their orthotic-friendly flip-flops, so I bought a pair and wore them for the rest of the day.  One problem solved.

Next stop, Carousel.  This is a very pretty one, with nicely-painted horses, ridden by lots of happy kids (and even a parent or two).

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Next, FOOD!

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RushBabe decided to be somewhat incendiary, wearing the Trump garb in Deep Blue Western Washington.

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But this time, I guessed wrong!  I got about a half-dozen remarks on my shirt and hat, and every single one was positive!  I saw another lady in a pink Trump2020 hat, and got a bunch of thumbs-up and people saying they liked my shirt. Very unusual!

Well, what’s a State Fair without animals?  I, being horse-crazy, headed for that area, and I captured two very nice-looking steeds.  I was very pleased to see that the breed that has to be the most beautiful ever designed by Nature, the Friesian, was represented!  They are coal black and shiny, and very graceful. Too bad I neglected to take his picture standing up.

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Here’s another pretty guy.

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And, the obligatory calf.

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And some just beautifully-marked chickens.

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We dropped by the building with local non-profits.  I just got a kick out of these two organizations, back to back.  The Wildlife Conservation folks.

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Back to back with the Trappers!

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I wondered, did they speak to each other?

We visited the Hobby Hall, and saw all kinds of exhibits of crafts made by people all over Washington.

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A nice model of the Titanic.

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And a nice variety of quilts.  I especially loved this Hogwarts one!  See Hedwig on the shelf?  And the LEGO Harry?  Very cute!

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Very Washington!

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And birds.  These quilts are made by professionals, and this one won three awards.

And by this time, we old folks were getting tired, so we headed home.  A great day at the Fair!

 

A Trip to the Olympic Peninsula

The week after Memorial Day, I took a solo trip to the Olympic Peninsula, to use up some vacation hours, and get away from the constant stress of work.  I jumped in the trusty old RDX (old, from 2008), drove onto the Kingston Ferry (where the fare-taker asked if I was really a senior!), and headed over to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  It was a nice day, and I was going to familiar territory.  No maps or charts needed-just point the car in the right direction and go.  Down Highway 101, west toward Sequim first.  I spent two days in Sequim, and one day in Port Townsend.

I arrived in Sequim around 3:30PM, and checked into my motel.  Then, I took a drive up into the hills south of town, to visit property owned by a work acquaintance.  He is a sailor, and found a nice piece of land near the John Wayne Marina.  He gave me directions, and I found it fairly easily.  This is the view from that piece of hilltop property.

View from Shaun's property

He wasn’t joking when he said he had a view of the water!

I was impressed by the house of one of his to-be-neighbors.  Nice place!

Million-$ house

After that, I drove down to the John Wayne Marina.  I have to say that the name is more impressive than the place.  But it has a nice quiet beach.

Beach-John Wayne Marina

View-John Wayne Marina

I still had daylight left, so I drove back to Sequim, and out to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, where I had plans to spend the next day.  It was too late to go down to the Spit, but I drove along the approach road, and stopped at a couple of the overlooks there.  I actually got some very nice pictures.

There are lots of these bushes at the top of the bluff, with pretty flowers-they are wild roses and are everywhere.

Wild rose

This is the view north over the bluffs down to the Dungeness Spit.

Bluff Overlook

Here’s the view looking south.  All the way to the right (west) is Port Angeles.

Looking South

Straight down below.

Beach and dead trees

This is the Spit itself, to the north.  It is five miles long, with a lighthouse at the end.

Dungeness Spit

And look what I saw!  A Bald Eagle, flying below me.  When was the last time you saw a bald eagle flying below you?

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Actually, they are pretty common here in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s still a thrill to see one.

The next day, after a lazy morning doing nothing at all, I headed down to the Spit for a hike.  I actually got to use my National Park Senior Pass for the first time, as the refuge is part of the Olympic National Park.  It was foggy, and that fog did not lift all the time I was on the path and down to the Spit itself.  Well, I already have hundreds of Dungeness pictures from previous trips, so I took a lot of artsy pictures in the fog, and even captured some wildlife.

The path down to the Spit is through a stand of second-growth timber, and is actually very pleasant.

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I have no idea what these orange flowers are, but they are common around the Spit.  Followers?

Weird trees

I was taken with this apparently-live tree growing around a dead one.

Path to the Spit

Above is the path down to the Spit.

And, of course, what’s a National Park without some guilt?

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I found a nice “nurse log”, where a dead tree nourishes new, living plants.

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As I rounded a bend in the path, I got my first view of the Spit below, in the fog.

First view of spit

Some of the trees beside the path looked positively eerie in the fog.

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Path in fog

As did the Spit itself.

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I really loved all the beautiful driftwood on the beach.  Many of these must have been huge trees when they were alive.  And people have added their enhancements over the years-lots of little piles of rocks in the branches and crevices.

Huge driftwood log

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Doesn’t this one look like a log-shark?  It sure did to me! Or maybe a wolf?

log shark

Beaches in Washington tend to be rocky, rather than sandy.  This is due to the fact that granite and basalt form much of the foundation around us, and what falls off ends up on our beaches.  Even the rocks are beautiful.

Rocks sand surf

Rocks

I took this one-minute video, to give you a sense of the beach that day.

Behind me, to the east, is a small bay, in the crook of the Spit as it winds its way north.  A little white-crowned sparrow was sitting on a piece of driftwood, seemingly posing for me.  I didn’t get too close, but he let me take his picture.

portrait of sparrow

And then he turned around.  What a pretty bird!

sparrow facing

More pictures of the bay, and the grasses along its beach.

quiet bay

beach grasses

I’ve always been fascinated by driftwood, with the bark still on it.

driftwood closeup

And a couple of more sights on the path back up the hill to the car.

tree grows funny

empty nest

The next day, I drove up to Port Townsend.  I first stopped at Chetzemoka Park, overlooking the harbor and downtown.  Here is what I saw there.

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Chetzmoka rhody

Chetzemoka arbor

flowers

Plants

After spending a while at the park, I went to check in to my bed-and-breakfast inn, the Ravenscroft.  It is a beautiful building, and I had a nice room on the second floor.

Ravenscroft

B-n-Bveranda

Here’s the view from there.

View from BnB

In the evening, I took a stroll downtown.  Port Townsend is a touristy place, with lots of nice gift shops and restaurants.  Its harbor is picturesque, and I found some features this time that were not there the last time I went!  It looked like someone had fun piling up the jagged rocks, making “rock people”.

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RockPeoplePier

The next day, I did some sightseeing around the area, where I had not been at all.  I first drove through town, and admired the many old houses around.  PT has a reputation for having many Victorian-era houses that are well-kept (and very expensive).  Many have been re-purposed as apartments or bed-and-breakfast inns like Ravenscroft.

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Then, I drove south out of town, and headed east toward the water.  I discovered Indian Island Park, which consists of Lagoon Beach and Mystery Beach.  They were really beautiful.  I especially got a kick out of the river-pools running into the main body of water, because they were shallow enough to observe all the crabs-dozens of tiny guys under each rock and on top of the rocks too.

Lagoon Beach

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How many crabs?

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This is Nordland, Washington, on Marrowstone Island.

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BlueBoat-Nordland

Pier-Nordland

All too soon, it was time for me to head back to Port Townsend to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.  When I boarded the ferry, I took lots of pictures of the PT harbor, and the fleet of sailboats out that day.

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PT-Harbor

PT-Sailboats

Ferry-wake

Once we hit Whidbey Island, I exited the ferry and headed for the south end of the island, from which I was to board another ferry to Mukilteo, near home.  The last sight of my trip just totally made me laugh.  The car in front of me in the ferry line pushed every one of the standard Progressive buttons, and was not at all shy about advertising its persuasions.  Typical!

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Resist Hate, except for President Trump!

All in all, a delightful getaway.  I had a great time, and came back refreshed.