Friday, February 20, 2015

The final Seattle blog...I hope.

Donna's treatment is done for now in Seattle and she is being    sent home, or near to home since her oncologist is in Spokane, for continued care.

Our last day at SCCA was with the typical Seattle weather. While snow is scarce in Washington this year, rain was least in Western Washington.
I was hoping to get an early start on Thursday but things just didn't work out that way. We didn't get back to Issaquah until 6 pm, so some sleep was first order of business.

We left about 5am Friday morning and after rain the first 70 miles, we then had fog all the way to Spokane.
Spokane is just a small Seattle...people, people, traffic traffic!

Soon after leaving Spokane the countryside opened up and so did the sun...why do I like Eastern Washington?

Coming down the hill, with Chewelah in the distance some may appreciate the beauty of the Colville Valley.

The closer we get to home, the forest starts to encroach upon Hwy 395.

The mountain where we live is to the left about 4 miles away. Hard to see but the town of Colville is straight down to the end of this valley, Canada in the distant mountains.

As we turn onto our two mile dirt road to home I see one of my neighbors property about 1/2 mile away, with Xmas decorations up...really?

Ah...home at last, home at last!

While we were gone, our neighbors, all of which we only met when we bought the house 1 year before we had to leave for Seattle, took extra care in keeping a watch over our house. I know when doing a blog that you shouldn't tell people that you are gone, but with 6 "gun tot'en" wonderful, god loving neighbors... we have no worries at all.

Banners on more than one fence welcome Donna home.

Ballons and cards welcome her.

Flowers, in more than one spot...

Red wine (my favorite, they like me)  and chocolates...Who does these things, not in Vegas after 24 years or Reno after's just unprecedented to feel the warmth that this community and neighbors have given us. I thank my lucky stars that after 65 years we found a place where we belong for as many years, is up to someone else. (or as my father would say when he was in his 80's, "don't buy me green bananas"!

REALLY? We have been home ten minutes and the begging starts?

Oh Crap, now they are stalking me? Could you please give me a few minutes to unload and run to the feed store for some alfalfa ...jeeeze! Been gone for 6 months and they remember...a fast moving lumber truck roaring down the Hwy, they'll clueless!

As I went into Colville to pick up some groceries I passed the "mighty" Colville river. I love this really, I do love this valley so much. When we got to within five mile of our turnoff we spotted two sets of bald eagles flying about... you can have the bright city lights, the mediocre weather, traffic, congestion, Whole Foods and Costco's on every corner, (I do like Costco)... me? I love this valley and people in it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Seattle's Container Port

I have wanted to see how close I could get to the Port of Seattle, not where the cruise ships berth, but where the "real" longshoremen work. Since we have been in Seattle, there has been a slowdown by the longshoremen because of contract dispute...unfortunately the disagreement has cost a lot of businesses large sums of money because goods aren't shipped or perishable items are ruined, sitting on the docks. (of the bay) :-)

While Donna was getting a pint of blood, which takes about two hours, I slipped out of the clinic and tried to find a place where I could see and photograph the port industry. As usual it was an overcast day, but I thought the fog bank between the ships and downtown buildings was interesting. I never did figure out if the ships were loading or unloading.

This channel held six container ships that I could see, and nearly 50 container cranes. The Duwamish Waterway is fed by the Duwamish River, so the port is a mixture of fresh and salt water between 45 and 50 feet of depth. 

Because the port is a mix of fresh and salt water, these Barrow's Goldeneye are equally comfortable in either type of water. Recently the ports of Seattle and Tacoma formed an alliance to reduce competition, I imagine some job reductions will also take place.

This piling in the middle of the river looked like it had cilantro or parsley growing out of it. Most likely seeds deposited by a bird.

Trucks that are delivering containers and trucks such as this one, picking up a container, must first pass a manned booth before enter thru this little building. I'm going to make an assumption that it's either a bomb or radioactive sniffing machine in the green garage. I didn't get a photo of the manned booth but there was a cop in it who waved me over to him. He said "who are you with"? My answer one, just a tourist. He then takes out a camera and photographs me...I'm thinking like "WTF", do I fit the current profile of a terrorist? Not wanting to get hassled I just waved while he took my picture and moved along to the next photo opportunity. 

Hundreds of trucks are staged to unload their containers while I imagine they would then picking up a container that is just off a foreign ship.

I have no idea whether these containers are full or empty, but there are 1000's of them. Also in the forefront are the 100's of trailer extensions that allow the trucks the extra weight.

Little boys fascinate about cranes and that doesn't end when girls enter the picture. From the age of 2/4 little boys start building elaborate Lincoln Log cranes, now I guess they use lego's but no matter, us kids never lose the love of cranes.

Some like "lonely" cranes, don't ask why it's all by itself...might be a type of crane that lifts boats or barges for repair.

Different and older container cranes.

My favorite...very old rusty cranes, just like the author. I really don't know if they are still in use, but if not...why would they leave them up?

The Duwamish River splits at the port to encircle an island, called Harbor Island, (makes sense to me) with both channels of the split harboring container berths. Also on the island is a large oil tank farm that either feeds these trains or the trains feed the tanks, whichever...there are a lot of tracks and tanker cars.

I was surprised, and a little cautious, after reading this sign. I've heard about flying drones but not track drones.

I may of been a little cautious, that is until I saw this cute little "auto-engine". This one was stationary at the time with ten or twelve cars attached. I wish I could of seen it move, hard to believe this toy would have the traction to pull more than one or two cars. I think maybe the rubber tires drop down to help with traction, but that's just a guess on my part.

This large granary (and it's huge) on the island has a sign for a company called Puratos and Pendleton Flour Mills LLC. We have been to Pendleton in Oregon on the Washington border, and I remember seeing thousands and thousands of acres of wheat growing.

Along the Duwamish River were many marine repair businesses. This barge, flanked by two tugs, seems to be sitting lower in the water at its aft... might be the reason they are working on it.

This train drawbridge is the only one I found that connected Harbor Island to the mainline. 
This concludes my short tour of the port, if I had more time I would of made a better attempt at sneaking into area where I wasn't welcome. 

Time for lunch.

Last night I cruised the net looking for a highly rated asian restaurant that served "garlic noodles" which I love. 

Chef Liao was nearby and rated very high so I got its "signature" Chicken Garlic Noodles to go and took them back to the hospital to savor.

If this kitchen doesn't look like it's straight off a Shanghai street corner, than I'm not the politically insensitive American I think I am!
While the noodles were good, but could of used a lot more garlic, I'm hoping I won't wake up in the morning with dysentery.   They don't come close to Thanh Long's or Crustacean's in San Francisco...they are to die for! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day tripping.

Well, it has been a while since my co-pilot was able to join me on a short drive. I have done a few trips without Donna... but it's just not the same without her company sitting next to me. 

We didn't travel more than 10 miles from the motorhome, not knowing how well Donna would tolerate the car, sort of a test run for the patient. 

North Bend has an elk herd population with between 400 and 600 animals to its name, so I thought we might get a glimpse of them. I miss my buddies at home (deer) so much, this should of been been a quick fix for me.

The only animals we saw were these bovines following a truck because it was dropping piles of alfalfa. "FEED ME SEYMOUR, FEED ME"! (ten points if you know this reference)

Being that we needed to keep our trip close to the RV park, North Bend was a logical spot to explore...only problem was without the elk, the cafe was it. Kind of limited so I took two photos of the "famous" landmark just to fill space.��
The cafe is known for its cherry pie and "damn fine cup of coffee", neither of which we sampled.

Apparently the cafe was a famous backdrop for a TV show called "Twin Peaks". The show was never on my radar but if you google North Bend you'll see they are very proud of their landmark.

 Issaquah, Snoqualmie and Fall City have many trails or bike paths and North Bend is no exception. This old railroad bridge and tracks that spanned the Snoqualmie River were turned into one of the exercise trails.

The West Fork of the Snoqualmie River was running high but nearly twice this flow three days ago.

The 100 plus inches of rain per year and heavy, dark forests, allow moss and fungus a good hold on life.

There is so much standing water along the sides of the road because the ground just won't hold anymore. I guess even here in the Northwest there are limits to how much, or how fast rain can fall, before rivers overtake their banks and the ground gets  saturated. Just think of how varied the active environmental growth is in each of these puddles, must be millions of unknown organisms in there. 

So much for our first outing, I hope there are many more in the future.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Past title was interpreted fault.

This is just a few images of the house, most just recently sent to me by my neighbors.
The last photo is Donna, dogs and myself 2013. Seeing that Donna is still in the hospital as of today, day 88, I thought the images would encourage her to get stronger.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The ugly side of a blood disease

Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a blood disease no one wants to face. After battling the disease for the last 9 months, my wife gave me the okay to blog it. I only blog it to show the determination, courage and fortitude that my wife has shown this year...and every year I have known her. Me? I would of asked to be dropped off in the middle of the desert and left alone.

It's amazing that my wife can on occasion, find a smile...the same smile that melted my heart 39 years ago at a Denny's restaurant  The crazy monkey hats have nothing to do with it, right?

Donna is starting to acquire a substantial number of fun hats to wear in the hall of the hospital. Her stay this time is now 9 weeks longs, so anything that can flip a frown upside down is cool with me.

Unfortunately, most of Donna's journey... is a lonely one.

The reality of this blood disease is what the doctors treat it with, a witches brew of some of the most toxic chemicals on earth. All applied with the certainty of flipping a coin, their constant adjustments at times will cause the patient having to fight for their life...but in an imperfect world, the experts with chemicals can, and do make mistakes. 

To better inject the poisonous brew, the surgery unit places a Hickman catheter, which allows for multiple IV's to feed the toxins straight to the source...the body. 

The once beautiful hands of my wife have been starved to the bone while bruising with the slightest of touch.

The legs aren't immune to the ravages of chemo, radiation, and  chemicals either. One quote the doctors seem to agree on is...if you get leukemia, you will die from leukemia...even if it's 20 years after transplant.

There is always hope... but sometimes, even with a loving caregiver to help you on this journey,  it still feels like you are on this trip alone, partly because there is no one who really knows the uncertainty, the pain, the hopelessness or the loneliness as that of the patient.

Why is this blog shot in "black and white"? 
No amount of color, prose or gloss could put any beauty in a dreadful disease as this, courage no!