Thursday, August 30, 2012



I got rear-ended in a car wash, of all places. It was one of those automated affairs where you put the car in neutral and rollers on a track push the car forward as brushes and high-pressured jets swirl around you. I was trying to clean the dash with a moistened towelette (similar to the kind of thing you might receive after eating shellfish at a restaurant) which only served to collect the tiny dust particles into larger dust pills. I'm not really sure I accomplished anything, interior-wise.

Just as I was nearly through the soapy tunnel, I felt a bump from behind. I think it was hard enough that I hit my head on the headrest although these things happen so quickly it's hard to remember. In fact, the first thing I thought was that I must have imagined it. It felt like I had been rear-ended but who gets rear-ended in a car wash? All I could see in my rear-view mirror were long-fingered, swirling red brushes.

Some emergency mechanism activated which shut the whole car wash down. The brushes slowed and then stopped, revealing my aggressor - a gold Chevrolet Malibu. I drove out of the tunnel and back to the office to report the incident and check for damage. The Malibu was trapped inside the car wash and I wasn't sure who I was more worried about at that point.

There was no damage to the car (which was Hubby's, not mine) that I could see but the car was still dirty because the car wash shut off before I was through it. They let me go through again but I made sure the other driver was out before I went in again. I certainly didn't need to be rear-ending anyone!

I chatted with the other driver afterwards and she thinks she just didn't get the car into neutral before her descent into our slippery slope. She didn't have her foot on the gas, but she unintentionally drove through the drive-thru wash. And, maybe she was trying to clean her dashboard as she wondered, "Gee, this wash is fast!"

I'm not hurt and the car is fine. But I might need to find a new car wash.

UPDATE: Hubby saw the car this morning and was not happy. He said he could see the outline of the other car's license plate in the bumper. I knew what he was talking about. There are two little holes in the bumper but they are so neat that it didn't occur to me that they weren't there by design. I didn't know what purpose they could possibly serve but there are many things I don't understand.

From Drop Box

In the following image you can see little dents in the bumper outside of the dimples. You can't really tell from this view but from a straight-on view from the rear you can make out the shape of a license plate.

From Drop Box
I should have known that a BMW-owner would be picky about his car. I guess I need to locate this other driver. She gave me her first name and place of employment so I'm headed there now to get her contact information, at least.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Edge of Seventeen

I heard a story once on the radio of how Stevie Nicks came up with the title to this song. She was friends with Tom Petty and was asking his wife how the the couple met. Jane Petty replied that they met at the age of seventeen but in her southern drawl it sounded like "edge" of seventeen. Ms. Nicks thought that sounded like a cool idea for a song and there you have it.

As it happens, Blake Island is also on the edge of seventeen, that is, if you look at the Maptech Chartbook of Puget Sound. It's right there on page seventeen, just at the edge. See it there?

Something to keep that in mind the next time you're in Puget Sound.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Team Cornholio!

From Drop Box
Meet your champion of the first annual Cornhole 4 Cash Tournament at Blechschmidt Meadowlands!

The coed teams were drawn at random for the double elimination tournament to crown the the first Cornhole Champions. I drew an Ace and met my teammate, Anthony, and immediately apologized as last year (at the Cornhole Amateur Invitational) I was a liability on my teammate, Chris. Even though I have the advantage of being close to the Meadowlands and have practiced on the home court, I have never really mastered the game - not that it really needs mastering. What it really needs is consistency - an element from my technique that, until now, has been sorely lacking in my cornhole, bean-bag tossing career.

Team Cornholio received a bye in the first round so Anthony and I were able to scout the other teams as the tournament kicked off on side-by-side courts. The weather was perfect for the event with temperatures in the mid-seventies, with clouds giving way to sunshine, and winds out of the west-northwest. As the temperature heated to near-80 degrees, the palpable fervor of the tournament elevated past "friendly" and moved into the arena of intensely competitive. Favorites were chosen and lines were drawn as smack talk could be heard on the courts.

One by one, teams were eliminated as Team Cornholio remained undefeated in the Winners Bracket. Relieved again with a bye in the semi-finals, we watched the Fluffy Bunnies battle it out with the Cornhole Ninjas. Team names notwithstanding, the Fluffy Bunnies were serious contenders with Cliff and Cassie. Although a newcomer to the professional cornhole circuit, Cassie was a serious contender and would have been a dangerous opponent. We cheered for the Cornhole Ninjas even though they represented the home team and crowd favorites because we felt they had a weakness: One of the Ninjas was also a newcomer, one we felt we could out-toss.

The Ninjas prevailed in a two-out-of-three matchup over the Fluffy Bunnies who took third and a cash prize. It came down to the final round - a best three out of five games.

Out of nowhere, I found my "zone." I was on fire and couldn't be stopped. I felt it in every heartbeat, in every toss. I found a rhythm, a pattern, a style and technique that I've crossed paths with before but could never hold onto. I was outside my own body as I watched Team Cornholio take the Jack Daniels court for the first game.

We prevailed as I drove our team to the finish line, now relentless in my quest for a win. We would be in the money no matter how it turned out, but I wanted that trophy!

For the second game, we had to either switch sides or switch courts and it was our choice. The Jack Daniels boards made up the home court and I was having great success. We decided to stay there and go for win number two.

But the Cornhole Ninjas smacked us hard with a win in the second game. Beero - host, chef, Cornhole Commissioner, and hometown favorite - had been carrying his team until this point but his teammate, Sheri, was finally finding her game and was presenting us with an unexpected challenge. We were nervous as we prepared for game three: The Ninjas were vying for a comeback out of the Losers Bracket and we now had to switch to the CWU court which presented Team Cornholio with challenges in earlier rounds.

Team Cornholio took game three just as the stadium lights came on in the Meadowlands. The crowd, now mostly populated with defeated cornholers, were making side bets. Who would win? Team Cornholio with only one loss and a one game lead? Or, the hometown hero?

After a break for last minute coaching and encouragement, game four began. The score was two to one in favor of Team Cornholio who needed only one more game to win the whole enchilada. The Cornhole Ninjas needed the win to tie it up and force us into the fifth game. The stadium lights were now a factor, shining into the athletes eyes and casting long shadows across the CWU court. Bugs took flight, dogs and children became antsy, the crowd was anxious, and yet the athletes were able to tune it all out in the quest for cornhole glory.

I don't even remember the final score. I just remember the cheering as the crowd swelled to congratulate us after our third win, breaking my cornhole trance. The Ninjas were gracious in their defeat and it was a sad day for the home team - particularly as Beero was responsible for putting on the entire event.

I plan to display my trophy proudly and hope I will have the opportunity to defend my title in 2013. I would like to thank my coach and sponsor, Hubby, and Beero and Punky for putting on such a fine event. My appreciation to my teammate, Anthony, for his fine cornholing skills and tips on cornhole technique. And, finally, I offer my congratulations to all the cornhole teams who did their darnedest.

Team Cornholio. The winningest.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

French Fried Dreams

I used to live across from a burger joint (the burger joint, if you've from Vancouver) and it was heaven or hell depending on which way the wind was blowing, and it's always blowing near the Columbia River. Actually, I like burgers and fries so it didn't bother me, french fried dreams, although it stirred up cravings for anything non-vegetable. Since then, my dreams are less passionate and I think I might be losing weight.

I miss that smell like smells of food that bring you back to another place and time, another dimension if you're really into it. Like bacon and maple syrup, oh my goodness, or steaks on the grill. The smell of a burger joint isn't quite as sexy as that. It's a greasier smell, a layer that gets trapped in your clothes, like smoke. Still, there's comfort in it. Like Grandma's house: smells a little funky but love is funky too.

The burger joint is gone, razed, evaporated into dust. The lot's been empty for months. Seems lonely. Doesn't smell like anything.

I used to work across the street from a restaurant that roasted its own coffee. Roasting coffee doesn't smell as good as brewing coffee but it was the smell of family, neighbors really - of people doing what they love to do. (Good thing they didn't love recycling manure for fertilizer.)

I still work and live in the same places. It's the burger joint and the coffee roaster that moved.

Olfactory memories.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I don't need to do that again. Cinetopia is a movie theater where you can pay up to $18.50 (per person) to watch a movie. For this, I can eat and drink while I watch a movie and snuggle with my honey on a couch as if I was in my own living room.

Wait. I can do all that for practically nothing in my own living room. So what's the point?

The food was pretty good and at a good price in both locations that we tried. One had a good special on wine the night we went but the other location offered no specials on drinks even during happy hour. (Not very happy, is it?)

Last night we saw The Bourne Legacy (good movie) in a Living Room Theater (not so great). We sat in a divided love seat, which is to say two easy chairs connected by a retractable center armrest, with foot rests. The Living Room we were in was a row of five such love seats in the back of a regular theater which, on a Monday night, was otherwise empty.

Table service was available in the Living Room. A waiter would come and go with orders, each time having to navigate the foot rests which, naturally, took up the space in the Living Room's one aisle. This became more interesting once the theater lights were lowered. Of course, after everyone had their fill of food and drink, nearly every one of the other eight people watching the movie with us had to use the restroom. There was a steady stream of traffic between us and the movie screen throughout the movie.

I've been to Cinetopia twice and used a Groupon both times. I'm glad I didn't pay full price and I don't really need to go back. Been there, done that, not sure it was worth it even at a discount.

At least when I watch a moving in my living room, I can pause it when I have to go to the bathroom.

Laundry Day

From Drop Box

Saturday, August 18, 2012


We couldn't stay away. Back on the boat, this time in Portage Bay, Seattle. Last night, we spent the night on the dock in Bellevue. It was so hot that we ran the A/C all night. I'm just glad we had it! Much cooler today, much more pleasant.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Of Course Not!

I was only on vacation for two weeks but that was just enough time for me to forget a few things. I forgot one of my log on routines and I forgot where I keep one of my files, for example.

I didn't forget how to use the coffee machine, though.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Fiction] Blonde and Bouncy

"What took you so long?"

"He wanted to play bocce! Can't you believe it?"

"Quick! Get in the van!"

"He was at the bar by himself most of the time," the big blonde continued as he sped from the curb, "a perfect mark. Looked like a loner, you know? Every once in a while someone would try to start a conversation with him but then they'd wander off, bored."

"What did you get? He must have something - he's a member of the Golf & Tennis Club for chrissakes!"

"Get? I didn't get anything, you jerk! These things take time, finesse. Ever hear of finesse, you unsophisticated jackass?"

"Jackass?" His hands gripped the wheel as he drove faster. Each bump in the road was registered as a rolling gallop in the used minivan. "I'm just trying to provide for you, baby."

"Then why don't you fix the shocks in this piece of junk?"

He took a deep breath. "Baby, it's the brakes not the shocks, okay? How many times to I have to tell you? And, if you could just get the fish on the hook we could get enough to take care of a few things, alright? We gotta work together here."

The light turned red but that didn't seem to matter. He drove faster, his rage at a boiling point.

"Slow down! You're gonna kill somebody!"

"The only one I'm gonna kill is you, f'ya don't be quiet."

The only sound that immediately followed was the engine revving as if it was going to burst from the low-end family van itself.

"Sweetie, slow down," the squarish woman tried to soothe. "I'll go back to the club and I'll make nice-nice and get enough to fix the shocks."

He had just taken a can of soda from the cooler on the floor between them and, at this remark, glared at her - so long that she was afraid he had forgotten he was behind the wheel and racing nearly out of control. "It's the brakes," he said with an icy calm.

He rounded the corner, nearly knocking down a pedestrian. It was all the big blonde could do to hold on.
"It's got nothing to do with your fucking brakes!" she yelled half as much to make her point as to have something at all to yell as the van leaned precariously in the turn.

As the wheels made solid contact with the pavement once more, he hurled the soda at her, barely missing her head. It sailed out the passenger window and hit the curb, bouncing straight up.

(Inspired by [Fiction]Blonde and [Fiction] Bounce.)

Boating Hangover

Boating hangover
These are before and after photos ... cleaning up after arriving back on land. This photo: The side with the junk on it is my side. The other side is where I slept last night....


From Work
Which of the following is a buzz kill?
     a) Top down
     b) Radio on
     c) 75 degrees
     d) Going to work

Back To Work

Work is not nearly as interesting as not working. I mean, I could tell you about the tax returns I'm working on  but, see? I've already caught you dozing - which, as a matter of fact, I'd like to be doing right now, come to think of it.

But, I digress.

In order to keep posting lively and interesting around-the-water-cooler conversation starters such as this and more recent posts, I have challenged myself to take photos of my work space and to post them here.

Let's just see how interesting work can be.

(No compromising information or images will be taken, recorded, or posted - in case you were concerned about that kind of thing.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home Again

We made it back to fresh water yesterday which meant back to work today for us mere mortals. By the time we got the boat put away and cleaned up it was late so when we got home we dropped our bags wherever we were and ate Chinese take out it front of the Discovery Channel.

The boat's clean but the house is a wreck. In fact, there's a trail of laundry, clean clothes, non-refrigerated food (the refrigerated stuff is the only thing we put away last night), and various other items that leads from the back door all the way to my side of the bed. Don't ask me how it got there - I slept there last night but somehow more materialized after I got up this morning. Maybe the stuff is multiplying which would be bad news because that would just mean more cleaning up!

When I travel a lot, I have a little game I play with myself: I try to guess which city I'm in before I open my eyes. This morning, I had had to peek a little before I got it right. I didn't realize I was in my own bed!

But things improved quickly as my first appointment for the day was the same spa where Dorothy and her friends went to upon arriving in Oz. A little buff and polish and I felt nearly new again. Boating is hard work, I tell you! It is impossible not to break all ten (if not all twenty) nails and come back with more than a few unexplained bruises and minor scrapes. Oh well, at least the swaying has stopped.

It's hot here - hotter than it was in Puget Sound. It was pleasant enough, though, for me to drop the top this morning and wear a light jacket. (No jacket was required later in the day!) I went to the opera this evening (Turandot) and the top was up to protect hairdos and run the A/C but it was down on the way home. (It was about 78 degrees around 11 pm.)

My side of the bed is still piled with stuff that needs to be put away but that can wait. I'll just sleep on hubby's side of the bed. (He's already in Portland.)

Tomorrow, I think I'll be able to guess where I am before I wake up. I think.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


One last stroll into town before heading back thru the locks.

Midwest Bureau

To protect the identity of the Midwest Bureau Chief, we are using this photo from our archives. We met with the MBC and the ever elusive M (which apparently stands for "mulling") in an undisclosed location in the Winslow area. They were guided by a secret agent over sea and land to the rendezvous point where we opened various electronic gadgets to view pieces of each others lives. Very enlightening.

To avoid being detected the MBC, M and the secret agent sailed away into the sunset last night and we will sail away later today.

Be safe in your travels, my friends, and continue to love life. We will miss you.

Monday, August 13, 2012



It turns out our traveling companions only suffered from pilot error. (You can't start the engine unless it's in neutral.) The day's Moment Of High Anxiety was over and they left for home.

We had crepes for breakfast in town and then cruised a short while to Winslow in Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island (just west of Seattle). It's nice here - restaurants and a very good grocery store within walking distance.

I got some pictures which I'm trying to upload now but it's taking a while so I may just post one for now, if I'm lucky. I'm sucking up a lot of bandwidth trying to upload several to Picasa. I may just ditch that in favor of just getting one posted.

We expect contact with the Midwest Bureau today.

Otherwise, no news to report which, in itself, is good news.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Didn't do much but hang around Kingston yesterday.Went to the farmers market and I bought two balls of home-spun yarn and, later, some vintage buttons. Should be some good ingredients for a future project.

We made a giant crab salad for lunch and then wandered up to the local pub in the evening to shoot a little pool and watch the Seahawks preseason game. We tried to stay up to watch the meteor shower but pooped out around 11. We saw a few shooting stars and that was enough for us. (Seen one shooting star, seen 'em all.)

Our traveling companions are just getting ready to go but can't get their engine started. It's always something! The guys are fiddling and tinkering and, hopefully, they'll find it's something simple.


Saturday, August 11, 2012


Yesterday, we ended up cruising further north than our original destination. We are in Kingston which is northwest of Elliott Bay (Seattle) and just southwest of Whidbey Island. There's a webcam here but it is of the parking lot for the ferry terminal here. I'll let you know if I plan on waving at it.

It was a long cruise. Even though we can cruise comfortably at 28 knots, we've been practicing cruising at slower speeds to see if we have the patience to own a slower boat. We're also towing our tender and 28 knots vastly exceeds the hull speed of the dinghy. Overall, it took about 3.5 - 4 hours.

We ended up docking next to some fishermen who hauled in more crab than they wanted so they offered us two. They were live and these guys also offered to clean them for us. How perfect is that? We hustled up a pot and boiled them up right away and then picked out all the meat. We had already eaten dinner so we saved it for today. (Crab Caesar, anyone?)

Today is the farmers market on shore and they have live music in the park tonight so we plan on sticking around another night in Kingston. Our traveling companions (hubby's brother and his fiancee - another Lynn) will need to go back through the locks tomorrow. I don't know if we'll go through with them or stay out here another couple of days. We're making it up as we go.

The Midwest Bureau has made contact and we plan to rendezvous on Tuesday so we'll be back to Meydenbauer Bay, Lake Washington, by then.

The fishermen went back out early this morning so maybe we'll have more crab but don't count on any of it making it back home.

Glass museum, Tacoma

Friday, August 10, 2012


From Drop Box


I have my sway on. In fact, can't turn the sway off. It's worst in the shower when I close my eyes but that's par for the course. It'll wear off after I get on land for a few days.

Yesterday, we cruised from Gig Harbor to Tacoma which was a relatively short cruise. The marina happens to be within walking distance from a Starbucks so that's where I am, getting a little WiFi to go along with my coffee, and hoping I'm not swaying so much on my bar stool as to attract attention (or fall off). The sway is countered by wave action so all I have to do is hike back to the boat for a reprieve.

Not much else to report. It's sunny. I'm drinking coffee. I'm swaying.

Still having trouble with one of the engines but we should be able to get home okay on one. We'll have to get that checked out when we get home. Sometimes, getting through the locks can be a little dicey - even on two engines - but we've been through on one engine before and I have a very capable Captain so I think we'll be okay.

The plan is to motor back to the Seattle area and spending the night somewhere in Elliott Bay. Bell Harbor is a marina right downtown but there's a Seahawks preseason game into town this weekend so we might not find space there. There's also Elliott Bay Marina, which features beautiful views and excellent restaurants, and Shilshole Marina, which is within walking distance to nice restaurants and is right outside the locks. Eagle Harbor is just across the way and inexpensive (also within walking distance of restaurants) so we have plenty of choices.

We're thinking we'll lock through tomorrow and spend a night on fresh water before putting everything away. Our traveling companions have to be back to work on Monday but we don't have to be back until Wednesday. Either we'll stay outside the locks for a couple more days or we'll spend a few nights on the hook in the lake. It's kind of a loose plan at this point.

A shout out to the Grump for capturing a picture of the Double Jack on the Gig Harbor webcam. I heard a rumor that the Midwest Bureau is on assignment somewhere nearby - or will be sometime soon. Travel safely!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This is the site for the Gig Harbor webcam. We should pass through there tomorrow - probably around noon. We'll be on the Double Jack (blue hulled Formula with white bimini top) and will be traveling with Sunlover (a smaller Searay with a black hull and black bimini).

I'll tweet when we're leaving the dock.
We cruised from Blake Island State Park to Arabella's Landing in Gig Harbor yesterday. The weather had cooled considerably and we were forced to wear jeans and sweatshirts. Had a problem with the port drive just as we were trying to dock which is naturally when these types of things happen.

We met some people on the dock who tipped us off to a bakery that makes great cinnamon rolls which is something that I'll check out momentarily. We just tested the port engine at the dock and it seems to be functioning properly. We'll be here another night so if we decide the engine needs service we should be able to find it here.

Already, the weather is shaping up to be a nice day.

Time to get some rolls.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The bottom of Lake Washington is now the home to my prescription sunglasses. Bad timing, as we plan to be on the boat another week or so. I can see pretty well without them but I'm going to want to pick up a pair somewhere just for the eye protection.

They had been falling of my head all day but I was mindful to take them off every time I jumped in the lake to cool off, which was often. After the airshow, we moved over to Andrews Bay to drop a hook for the night. I was standing on the side of our boat with my glasses on top of my head, untying a line to move a dinghy so that another boat could raft alongside. I was bent over, my hands occupied, when my glasses plopped into the drink.

I hesitated and that was my mistake. I should have gone right after them but my mind took a moment to consider whether they might float (they didn't) and whether there was too much boat traffic for it to be safe (maybe). That moment's hesitation was all it took for my sunglasses to sink beyond reach even if I had jumped in and so they decended.

Oh well. It was probably time for a new pair anyway.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Since I Can

The air conditioning is running which means the generator is running. So I fired up the laptop and the hotspot on the phone, and we're off and running.

I updated the video so it should work now but I see it's not oriented correctly. Now I know which way to shoot it so it will play back right side up. (On the To Do List for today.)

We are anchored just outside of Andrews Bay waiting for friends to join us for today's airshow. Yesterday, we had four boats rafted with us and we'll have at least that many again today. We always arrive first because we have the biggest anchor and the most chain to lay out.

Two nights ago, out here on the water, I met a woman who is a concrete finisher with a nickname of "The Four Foot Assassin." Don't know how she got it but that'll make it's way into the Now & Then pages for sure.

Besides the hydroplane races (which we never get close enough to actually see), Seafair is mostly an excuse to party on Lake Washington. Women are compelled to bare their breasts in exchange for a few pennies' worth of plastic beads made in China and men are driven to heave water balloons at one another between boats.

Two of the boats that were rafted with us yesterday provided us with both: Women in pasties and 450 water balloons. Generally speaking, it's good natured fun with an x-rated component.

It's all fun until someone gets poked in the eye, that is.

Last night, we had a friendly water balloon exchange with another boat which turned not-so-friendly when they launched a tomato. Conceptually funny, it could have proved dangerous and was very not cool. As it lobbed towards us, it looked like a red water balloon headed pretty much straight for me. I was sitting on the swim step and figured I might have to dodge to avoid it but, other than that, figured the worst that would happen is I would get wet.

The tomato landed hard on the trunk a few feet from me and we assumed it was a dud - a water balloon that didn't explode on impact. But, it didn't take long to figure out what really happened and to find the bulk of the fruit floating in the water. Not cool, we had a small mess to clean up but there wasn't any damage.

However, a few feet in one direction and I could have had a face full of tomato sauce and a pretty good concussion. If the tomato landed a few feet in another direction it would have landed in the interior of the boat and been considerably messier. (It was actually launched by catapult.)

The boat's name was "Her Idea." I'm betting it wasn't.
I don't know if that video posted correctly. I'll try to get more today. It's going to be a hot one today. Fortunately, we have air conditioning. Unfortunately, it's already running at 9 am.

Friday, August 3, 2012


We're planning some time on the boat. The plan is two weeks but it's hard to say how that will really play out. We are expecting the arrival of a new granddaughter in September but the baby may have other ideas. Our "daughter-in-law" started contractions Wednesday and went to the hospital. They kept her overnight but discharged her Thursday with instructions to start maternity leave and take it easy. She's already dilated to 2.5 cm but contractions have slowed and this is a condition that could last for weeks.

So, we'll start our trek on the lake which is practically in our back yard. If she goes into labor, we won't be far away. The Blue Angels are in town for the weekend and the lake is a great spot to watch their air shows. This weekend is also the great Seattle bacchanalia also known as Seafair. In addition to the airshow, we'll have front row seats to the mayhem that surrounds the hydroplane races on Lake Washington.

On Monday, theoretically, we'll travel through the locks and head south. Most boaters head north this time of year but the South Sound generally provides smoother waters and less boat traffic. Besides, we've never cruised the South Sound before so we'd like to try it. Coincidentally, it would also be easier for us to get home quickly from the South Sound.

I don't know how much I'll write while I'm on the water although it would seem the perfect time. We'll be traveling with two other couples so the romantic notion that I can conjure up magical prose whilst sailing the seas is likely just that - a romantic notion. But, we'll see. It's harder to post when I'm mobile, not having an iPad and all. I'll try to post pictures, if nothing else.

Bon voyage.