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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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beach grasses

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Springtime in the Skagit Valley of Washington State

See the header picture on my blog?  That was taken a few years ago in the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley in Washington State.  Hubby and I took a drive up there this afternoon, and it was a perfect day for it.  Sunny, but with beautiful clouds in the sky, and temps in the low 60s.  All of these pictures were taken out the window of the car where I was a passenger.  There were fields that were plowed and ready for planting.

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We saw some beautiful barns, no two exactly alike.  We Washingtonians tend to be free thinkers and idiosyncratic.

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Given that it is the last week of the annual Tulip Festival, there were the roads, with cars parked along every side.

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And this is what everyone was looking at, and taking pictures of.

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We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and to have these farms and fields so close to our suburban home.  It never gets old, ever.

A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

This week, we went to Southern California for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, the subject of which was Politics and Principles.  The venue was a nice Hilton Hotel  near the John Wayne Orange County Airport.  Over two days, we had a President’s Club reception, a nice dinner, with remarks by Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of the college, and an excellent lecture by Andrew Roberts, on The Importance of Churchill for Today.  He brought, and signed, copies of his book on Churchill.  Which weighs about 5 pounds!  I bought one, and from just the first few pages it is going to be a joy to read.

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The second day, there were talks by Peter Schweitzer, who spoke on the corruption of America’s political elite (which we are all familiar with already); Dr. Arnn, who discussed American Principles and Public Policy;

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Christopher Bedford, on Trump and the Media;

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And Dr. Shelby Steele, who discussed the current state of race relations in America.  I know of him through his excellent writing in the Wall Street Journal, and I was excited to hear him speak.

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I was very lucky, because on Saturday as we were just packing to leave, I actually met Dr. Steele in the hotel corridor, so I got a chance to exchange a few words with the man, who is very gracious.

The Hillsdale program ended Thursday at 3:00PM, so we had the rest of the day free.  We headed over to the nearby South Coast Plaza Mall, which is any shopper’s dream.  Inside the main court, we saw their wonderful Chinese New Year display.  They did the Year of the Pig proud!

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That’s a pretty happy pig, sitting on all that gold!  But you really have to look up to get a real feel for the holiday.

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The epitome of Festive!

On Friday, we headed up to Santa Monica, to meet a Ricochet friend of ours.  Ray really wanted to see Venice Beach and its Canals, and our friend offered to take us on a stroll, and then out for lunch.  It was a bit later than we planned, but we had a nice walk.  Just in case you are not familiar, the “canals” of Venice, California, are narrower, and much shallower than the real Venice!  But one of the canals is named The Grand, and people whose houses back up to the canal milk it for all it’s worth.

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That’s their house number on the left!  Very creative painting on their wall.

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Very pretty, but that water is about two feet deep.  No danger of drowning if you fall in.

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We figured that the owner of this yard was a modernist type of artist.  Both the tree with the crows, and the legs above, are in the same big yard.

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When was the last time you saw a dinghy with a figurehead?

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This is definitely Southern California!  Ripe lemons!

Of course, when we were done and back to the car on the main road, what should we see across the street?

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Yep, the homeless encampment.  It was like we’d never left home.

 

 

Snow-Capped

I got out this afternoon with the camera.  There are a lot of plants and structures that are snow-capped.

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That Japanese Maple in the back yard sure looks funny with its tiny asymmetrical cap.

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Our neighborhood has a surfeit of dentists.  The office has some nice landscaping, all capped with snow this week.

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These concrete structures are found at Silver Lake Park.  I have no idea what they are, but they look like raised mausoleums at a cemetery.  Capped with snow.