Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Feeling pretty worn out today

Some of the beautiful mountains we saw
We had our first "extra" hike of the season yesterday, heading out for an all-day outing south to the Mountain Loop Highway, to Mt. Dickerman. It's my third time to hike it, having gone last year and the year before. The first time was in mid-September; last year in mid-August, and this year at the end of July. However, this one was by far the driest and the one with the least snow.
Glacier Peak, with its top hidden in clouds
We counted the switchbacks this time: there are 71 of them, and after the 68 of last Thursday's hike up Welcome Pass, I have to say my legs are feeling very well used. Yesterday we climbed almost 4,000 feet from the trailhead to the summit, and it is so worth it, since you get the payoff of 360-degree views of all the mountains for miles and miles around.
Our lunch spot
We lingered up on top for about an hour before heading back down to the cars. Although we started the actual hiking at 9:30, we didn't get back down until 4:30. It made for a very long day, and I was plenty tired by the time I returned to the trailhead.
On the trail, with flowers and views (thanks for the picture, Diane)
We headed off to Granite Falls, where we stopped at our favorite spot from past excursions. It's a pizza place, but it also has plenty of other fare. The one that was most appreciated (by me, at least) was the Mack and Jack beer! Cold and refreshing, served in frosty glasses, I was happy to stray from my usual glass of wine and steamed veggies to enjoy beer and pizza! And the company was just the best.
An appropriate place for day's end
I pulled into my parking spot at the apartment complex right at 8:00pm, after having left home 13 hours before. The two hard hikes this week made me realize I've reached my limit: when I went to my exercise class today, I became aware of the fact that I had zero energy and went home after an hour. In a few minutes I will leave to get a massage, which is very much needed today.

And as a final note, I'd like to wish my mom a happy birthday, wherever she is. She would have been ninety years old today, but she's been gone for twenty years now. Birthdays can still be celebrated, though, even when the recipient has moved on. Without her, I wouldn't be here at all!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

It's almost Lammas Day

Nasturtium seeds, snap pea pods, and beautiful zucchini
Have you ever heard of Lammas? It marks the first of three harvest festivals, and it's celebrated in many religious traditions. From Wikipedia:
In some English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere, August 1 is Lammas Day (Anglo-Saxon hlaf-mas, "loaf-mass"), the festival of the wheat harvest, and is the first harvest festival of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop, which began to be harvested at Lammastide.
I just spent some time out in my garden, pulling up bolted butter lettuce, as well as harvesting those three things in the picture above. I was pleased to see the nasturtium seeds, which I will use for next year, and the snap peas as well. And you know what I'm going to do with the zucchini, don't you? Eat it for dinner tonight!
The biggest of my six cabbages
I'm not sure when I should harvest this cabbage, since every time I go out there it looks more enticing. I also have been adding nasturtium flowers to my salads, but I just learned that the leaves are edible as well, so I tasted them. They are spicy, too. I found that the seeds can be dried and ground as a substitute for pepper. I think I'll try all those things. I love these plants!
Carol's scrumptious strawberries
After that, I spent some time wandering around looking at the things growing in my neighbors' gardens. Carol is out of town, apparently, and her strawberries are incredibly ripe and ready to be eaten. I snuck one and it was really good. Don't tell!
Colorful sweet peas
Joan's colorful sweet pea flowers grace the fence in her garden section. They are even more brilliant than they appear in this picture. It's definitely time for the first harvest of the season; I've been eating summer squash every day and my beets are ready for harvesting, but I'm not quite ready to eat them, so I hope they won't suffer from being left in the ground. I'm such a neophyte about gardening. Maybe Linda Letters will give me a tip or two.

So far this year (knock wood) I've had much less of a pest problem, although the slugs continue to snack on our goodies. The fence has kept the deer out, and this year I stayed away from the plants the bugs devoured the most (kale, collards, and brussels sprouts). I'm happy to pay for them in the organic section of the grocery store and let the experts do the work. Or get them at the Farmers' Market. The last two weeks we haven't bought anything there, since we are working hard to keep up with the food from our very own garden: summer squash raw, sliced, steamed... it's a hard job but someone's got to do it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome Pass 2013

Mt. Shuksan and wildflowers
Today, nine Senior Trailblazers hiked up one of our usual summer endeavors, Welcome Pass. I have done it three times now, twice when it was nice (one of those was today) and once when it was rainy and cloudy. We didn't have it on our regular schedule last year, although some of the Trailblazers went up on a weekend day last season when I was otherwise occupied. But in 2011, I wrote about our August 18 visit up to Welcome Pass. It was almost a month later, but there was much more snow than we saw today. I was amazed at how hot it was, but also how beautiful all the flowers were.
More UP to get to the views
After climbing 68 switchbacks (fortunately, mostly in the forest where it was shady), we gained the ridge and climbed another quarter mile or so to get to the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Mts. Baker and Shuksan to the south, and the Canadian and Olympic mountains to the north. There was not a cloud in the sky.
Mike cooling off
This was the first snow we saw, which was very unusual. Mike was hot, even with his minimal dress, and he laid down on the snow to cool off. I think he also stuffed snow into his pants pockets so it could continue to cool him as we pressed on to get to our lunch destination. Finally, we found some minuscule little dabs of shade so we could have our lunch.
Rita, with lupines between us as we settled in for lunch
The shade was very sparse up on the ridge, above the treeline, but we managed to find a little bit before we strolled along the ridge a smidge farther. The views were beyond spectacular, really, but I do have to show you the view we had of Mt. Baker as we dined.
Rita, Mt. Baker, and Steve
Although the sunshine was intense, there was also a pretty nice breeze blowing most of the time. It didn't seem to matter much to the bugs: we had mosquitos, big black flies, and other pesky critters bothering us most of the time. Amy, however, used her fan as well as her head net. I have one of those stored somewhere inside my pack, but I never got it out, using bug spray for protection instead. I set up the self timer and got this picture of us:
Al, Steve, Doug, Richard (behind me), Rita, Peggy, MIke, Amy
This was Richard's first hike with the Senior Trailblazers. He did quite well, but I had to run to get into the picture and I was sorry he didn't move a little so he could be included in the group shot. After this was taken, we began our return trip, which was MUCH harder on most of us because that steep terrain on the 68 switchbacks meant feeling our knees complain, leaning hard on our trekking poles, and wishing it would get over with!
Almost back to the cars
All in all, it was a wonderful day, which I can easily say now that I am back in my own comfy home with an almost-finished glass of wine. I learned today that our first "extra" hike of the summer is next Monday, an all-day trip to Mt. Dickerman. I'm hoping that I will be recovered enough to go on that one. I've got three days to decide!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

We did it!

Jonelle and her instructor, Vlad, on the way to altitude
Well, the day was just about perfect, and Jonelle and I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane together. She wasn't even nervous! Look at this picture of her and Vlad, her instructor, just a few minutes before that door would open. (It's the horizontal striped thing to their right.) I tucked my camera into my jumpsuit just after I took this picture. Vlad had already told me what his count would be like, so that I could climb out and hang on the side of the door while they exited. The video shows how she felt when she experienced freefall for the first time, and take my word for it, she was simply amazed.

I flew in front of them but getting her attention wasn't easy, as she was concentrating on the ground, and what it looked like in freefall. The grin on her face told the story. I know what she was feeling; I well remember the first time I ever stepped into that world: from the time you exit the plane until the canopy opens, it's a different universe. Once the canopy opened, she helped to steer it to the ground, and she and Vlad had a perfect landing.
I took that picture and then went over to the two of them. She kept using the word "awesome!" over and over, and I realize that there is really no way to convey what the experience is like; words just fail to communicate it. You just gotta do it to know it. I think she will be back, maybe next time with other family members.
DJan and Jonelle, skydivers
She watched as I packed up my parachute, sitting in a chair while she read all the emails and texts that her family sent her. She wanted to make sure everyone knew she was all right and that she really enjoyed it. Her grandson said to her mom, "Is Grandma still alive?" She laughed over and over and continued to text back and forth while I packed.
Reassuring her relatives, laughing at their responses
Why do I think that she might be back? I suspect that when some of her relatives see that video, they might decide to see just what it was that Grandma was looking at when she had that look of ecstasy on her face! Thanks, Jonelle, and Skydive Snohomish, for the great experience!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thanks to the Internet

Hadas Yaron in Fill the Void
I was just minding my own business this morning when I read a couple of things in my e-mailbox that changed the course of my day. I subscribe to the Pickford independent theater here in Bellingham, and they sent me a plea to go and see a movie that is playing at the Limelight (their old venue) that will be here through Thursday and then gone forever. Only a few people have shown up to see it every day, and the information they sent me about the movie made me decide to go and see it myself this afternoon, alone.

It's a new movie made in Israel that is set in the world of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Tel Aviv: Fill the Void. The writer and director, Rama Burshtein, is herself a member of this community, and she transported me into this world that is so foreign to my own. But while I was there, I identified with the young protagonist, 18-year-old Shira played by Hadas Yaron, and wanted only the best for her. By the end of the movie, I wasn't sure that what finally played out was right, but I walked out of the theater happy that I had seen it. And glad that I don't live in a community like that! See it if you get a chance, though; you won't be sorry. It's beautifully written and produced.

I try not to get too caught up in Facebook, but since so many of my friends post there on almost a daily basis, I check the news feed once a day or so to make sure I'm not missing anything important in the lives of my distant friends and family. One of the women I worked with at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder put up a link to the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest, and I was mesmerized by the fantastic pictures displayed there. The link will take you to the site on The Atlantic. Just scroll down to see dozens of fantastic pictures.

And of course the other major event of the day was the birth of the latest royal, Kate and William's baby boy! I wasn't one of those watching every minute, but I was so pleased when I heard that the baby had been born. A new possible King. What a great day, huh?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

No skydive yet, but maybe next week

My magnificent nasturtiums
My garden is doing very well, but the weather in the Puget Sound area (where Skydive Snohomish is located) seems to get a fair amount more marine fog and low clouds than we do in Bellingham. Yesterday we set out at the designated time to head to Snohomish, but Jonelle had already gotten a call from the Drop Zone cautioning her that low clouds were still around at 10:30 (when we had to leave to get there by noon) but were projected to clear somewhere around noon.

I called after a half hour on the road, since I knew that they would get a weather update around 11:00am, and sure enough, the forecasted time for the clouds to lift was pushed back until after 1:00pm. We rescheduled and turned around and headed back to Bellingham, where the sky was clear blue. The next chance to make this jump together will be next Wednesday. If it doesn't happen then, we might have to wait awhile longer, since she's planning on going out of town at the end of next week. Sigh. It looked so simple, but I'm aware that it's never simple when it comes to skydiving.
Gene's granddaughter with a catch
On a happier note, my fisherman friend Gene is back from his salmon fishing expedition in Alaska! I saw him yesterday, and he had sent me this picture of a member of his crew (his granddaughter) and the largest fish she was able to hold. There were many larger ones, but she isn't all that big herself! This was taken on Gene's boat; she had fish all around her feet, according to Gene. The season was a good one for him, but the salmon came early and the season was over quickly. He said it was profitable for him, though, as the price of salmon had a significant increase just as he was catching them. It's good to have him back.
Cabbage is coming along
Back to my garden. I was worried about whether or not my cabbage would survive the slug onslaught, but they did, and they will be very tasty if they are anything like last year's. I've harvested the last of the sugar snap peas, and the butter lettuce is bolting, so I've only got black beans and beets to look forward to, along with the plentiful squash from the community garden. I don't know enough about gardening to figure out whether I can put in some other starts at this time and have a fall crop and if so, which ones.
The last of the sugar snap peas
I was really hoping to put in some pictures of the excellent skydiving adventure of Jonelle and DJan, but that will have to wait for later. It's quite cool here right now, and there's no telling whether or not I'm actually going to have a chance to get in any skydives of my own tomorrow, but I'm hoping for the best. I walked with the Fairhaven walkers this morning for an hour and a half, burning enough anti-calories to allow myself a treat today.

Since I decided to use The Old Reader to replace Google' defunct Reader, I'm without a blog feed today, as they are down for maintenance the whole day. If you don't hear from me, that's why. But I'll be catching up tomorrow as soon as I can. I love my friends out in Blogland!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sauk Mountain and Sauk Lake attempt

Trailblazers on Sauk Mountain, taken by David Ragozin
(Update 19 July) Well, will you look at that! A picture of the entire group sent to me by a passerby, who had a wonderful camera and offered to take a picture of all of us with it. I have two taken on my iPhone where we are all in shadow. I added this after I wrote the post because it's so good! Thank you, David! Here's the description of our hike:
Foggy start with my fancy new hatband, pic taken by Rita
Both of the Senior Trailblazers groups headed up to Sauk Mountain today, 12 in our group and 11 in the other one. We drove for almost two hours to get to the trailhead. This is a beautiful hike, but it's very short one after a very long drive from Bellingham. Today, however, was incredibly special, even though I realized that I had forgotten my camera! All pictures are taken with my iPhone. We started in dense fog, as you can see from the picture above (at the trailhead), which lifted rather soon. We haven't actually done this hike since 2009, and it was foggy then, too. Here's a link to that hike.
Coolness evaporated with the fog
It was very pleasant hiking steeply uphill over 28 switchbacks... until the fog lifted and the sun came out. The dew on the plants and the fog made it very comfortable, since one traverses across the steep hillside with little letup for almost two miles. The dew on the flowers made this lovely little spiderweb catch my eye:
Dew-enhanced spiderweb
I moaned about having left my camera at home, but I kept snapping shots right and left with my iPhone, hoping for the best, and I'm quite pleased with what I was able to capture. As we continued our upward climb, we gained a view above the fog layer, and then beautiful Mt. Baker appeared!
Peekaboo Mt. Baker at the edge of the clouds
The views of the mountains continued to become more and more stunning, as we climbed closer to the summit. And then when we reached the place where we would descend more than a thousand feet downwards to Sauk Lak. We began heading down, down to the lake. We knew we would be leaving the views behind, but our plan was to make it to the lake and then head back up to the summit for lunch.
Heading down towards Sauk Lake
But it was not to be. After we had lost about 500 feet of elevation, we were in steep snow-covered terrain, slippery and not easy hiking at all. We had a conference and decided to head back up to the summit of Sauk Mountain for lunch, skipping Sauk Lake for today. Everyone was in agreement. Although it was already noon, nobody wanted to hike back up 500 feet of elevation on a full stomach, so up we went.
Views were astounding everywhere we looked
By the time we climbed back up and got to the top, some wanted to stay right there for lunch (which they did), but four of our members went on to the actual summit, where an old Forest Service lookout once perched. In 2009, I didn't go to the top, but this year I gathered my courage and went to the actual summit with Jonelle to join the other four. Everyone else stayed just where I did last time. I'm glad I went, but it was really a bit scary crossing the snow with nothing to stop me if I fell. The views were tremendous, and I got to stand at the summit with Jonelle.
The three of us: Jonelle, me, and Mt. Baker
After we rejoined the others and descended back to the cars, we had an incredible view of the Sauk/Skagit Rivers below us in the Sauk Valley. The last time I did this hike I didn't appreciate the incredible views like I did today. Today the views were stunning, just stunning.
The Sauk and Skagit Rivers converge here
Although it was a long drive for a short hike, I don't think there was anybody who was unhappy about having made the decision to join the Trailblazers today for this hike. I know I am very happy to be sitting here, wine glass empty and post almost finished, after the day's activity.

Those who are wondering about yesterday's skydive with Jonelle, we got weathered out and will make another attempt tomorrow to jump out of a perfectly good plane together. To think that we could have this adventure today, and tomorrow a completely different one, well life doesn't get much better than this!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A movie, a beer, and a skydive

Judy with her Ayinger Doppelbock beer
Judy and I just returned to our respectives homes from a trip to our independent theater, the Pickford, after seeing a delightful coming-of-age movie called The Kings of Summer. It had interesting and quite good performances from three young teenagers, and a premise of them running away from home and building themselves a home in the wilderness to make their own way without parents.  Funny and touching, I enjoyed it but would only give it three out of five stars. The link to Rotten Tomatoes (above) will tell you more about the movie.

Afterwards, we headed over to the Temple Bar to enjoy a Doppelbock together. I had never tasted this Ayinger Doppelbock before, and I found it to be very enjoyable. Although it's after 5:00pm, I'm not hungry for dinner yet, and I found the reason why, when I looked up some information about this particular beer.
Double Bocks or Doppelbocks are huge beers with enough malt packed in them to consider them a meal in itself, generally having a very full-bodied flavor and darker than other bocks with a higher level of alcohol also. They range in color from dark amber to nearly black. Dark versions may have slight chocolate or roasted characters.
I will enjoy a nice meal, but I'll wait until I get a bit more hungry. Tomorrow is the day I will be heading back to Skydive Snohomish to make a weekday skydive with my friend Jonelle. (I made three skydives there last Sunday.) Jonelle is in my hiking group, and she is going to make a tandem jump with her instructor, while I join her in freefall. I've jumped out with tandems before, but it's been awhile. What I remember the most is the difficulty trying to stay relative to the tandem pair, since they will have a drogue chute that shows down their rate of fall quite significantly. It might not be possible for me to stay up with them, but I will jump out at the same time and, in any event, I will be there on the ground when Jonelle lands. (Tandems pull at a higher altitude than experienced jumpers do, giving me a chance to land first.)
Jonelle last Thursday on the Keep Cool Trail
I wonder if she is anxious thinking about it tonight. I know I was a nervous wreck before my first jump and I didn't sleep well at all. But we are not the same people, and I didn't have a friend who did this activity on a regular basis, either. My readers know that you will be treated to pictures and a description of our adventure together. I'm looking forward to it quite  lot. I've had plenty of friends who said they would do this with me, but nobody, until now, has ever taken me up on it!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Farmers' Market Day

Artistic display of yummy fruits
I decided to spend my skydiving day on Sunday this weekend, as both days are forecast to be nice. It would give me the opportunity to enjoy the Saturday morning walk with the Fairhaven Walkers. I've been missing those Saturday walks. It also gave me a chance to visit the Farmers' Market today, which is only held on Saturdays. (There is a smaller market in Fairhaven on Wednesday afternoons, but I rarely make it to that one.)
Color everywhere
Mid-July and the colors of the fruits and vegetables are simply spectacular. After the walk at 8:00am, I was able to make it to the market a few minutes before it opened, so I walked around and took lots of pictures of nature's bounty. The weather was perfect, blue skies and a cool breeze, temperature in the mid-sixties, so everybody was out enjoying it.
Blue skies and lots of smiles
The market is open from 10:00 until 3:00. If you want to get the best veggies, you need to be there right at 10:00. By noon everything is pretty much gone, and people who show up later are there to buy jewelry or pottery, or food. There's lots of good food for sale there, too.
Flowers in the early morning sunshine
Bouquets of flowers are available everywhere. I bought myself a pretty bouquet of sweet pea flowers, which is sitting on the kitchen table. If I would have had more hands, there are many more items I might have purchased. My garden is giving us plenty of good things to eat, so I headed home laden down with lots of other stuff.

On another note, I have a question to ask my fellow Blogspot bloggers: do you use the Lightbox feature for displaying your pictures? (It's a setting under "Posts and comments".) I disabled it, but I notice that I enjoy looking at some pictures on other blogs where it's in use. If you want to look at my pictures in full size, you just click on it, but then you have to use the back button to return to the post. What do you think?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Keeping cool and a new hiker

Six of the eight Trailblazers on the Keep Cool Trail
Eight of us Trailblazers met on a cool and overcast morning, a distinct change from the past few days, which have been on the warm side for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. There was even a 10% chance of rain when we headed into the High Country. Today there was a brisk cool breeze with clouds and sun, as we drove up to the Keep Cool trailhead. This is an old abandoned alternate trail to the top of Yellow Aster Butte. We had no intention of going the entire way, knowing that we would meet snow after a short time.
Mt. Baker hiding in the clouds
This was the only time I saw Mt. Baker all day, although we usually have a wonderful view of it as we climb higher and higher. This trail starts at about 3000 feet elevation and climbs almost a thousand feet per mile. At about 4600 feet, we began to run into snow, and then there was only patches of greenery, and lots of the white stuff.
The views were pretty spectacular
As we gained altitude, the views came and went behind the clouds, and we would be feeling rather cool in the breeze when the clouds hid the sun, then hot when it came out in full force. We would spend time in full snow, like in the picture above, and then it would become green again as we gained altitude. Finally we gained the ridge.
On our way to a lunch spot
Eventually we stopped for lunch and had some incredible views as we spread out our inflatable seats and had a nice repast. The breeze kept most of the mosquitos away, although they were pretty thick earlier, when in the brush. And then we headed down, some of us pulled out our trusty Yaktrax, pictured here. Since they simply pull on over your boots, you can walk in snow, giving you additional traction, and they don't interfere when you run into ground.
Jonelle's Yaktrax
What a difference they made on the snow! Although I had mine in my pack from Sunday's hike, I didn't put them on until I began to slip and slide more than I was comfortable with. And now I'll carry them much more often and use them on any snow that has any kind of slope. Yep, I'm a convert.
Peggy and Linda
Although only a few of us had them, giving additional traction on the snow, I think we all had a good time. As you can see from this picture, we needed to put on some more clothes when we stopped for lunch, and the clouds didn't ever allow us another view of Mt. Baker. But all in all, it was a very good day. We had a new hiker, who joined us for the first time today, Doug.
He is obviously a seasoned hiker, and he kept encouraging Al to go a bit farther than we might have liked. Even though I'm very glad we got to the viewpoint we reached, I was very hungry and wanting to stop for lunch long before we did. Al never needs much encouragement to continue upwards, but we did stop around 12:30, so everybody was quite pleased with our day's accomplishments. Although we didn't hike as far as usual (somewhere around six miles round trip), we had to climb more than 2400 feet in that distance, much of it on snow, so it felt much longer.
Mt. Shuksan
And all day long, we kept being treated with peekaboo looks at Mt. Shuksan, one of the most beautiful mountains I have ever been pleased to get to know from all sides. The summit is not visible in this picture, but it is still just simply beautiful and delights me nevertheless. So the day was a complete success, and we stayed cool on the Keep Cool Trail.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Impromptu hike and garden news

Fred, Al, me, and Diane at Gold Run Pass
Al just couldn't waste this beautiful weather, so he sent around an email to see who might take him up on a hike this past weekend. Four of us did yesterday, and I got to see Fred for the first time in over a year! He went back to work and can only hike on weekends or holidays. I set up my self timer and got this picture; I look a bit wonky as I wasn't sure whether the timer was going off or not, but otherwise it was pretty good. Lots of snow behind us.
The trail to Gold Run Pass is steep but short (Diane's picture)
Al wanted to see what kind of shape the Yellow Aster Butte trail is in right now. We ran into snow at about 4600 feet, and it was very slow going from there until we got to the junction where you can either go up to Gold Run Pass or across to the Butte. We met a couple of strong young guys who were heading back from an attempt at the Butte, and they said they were not able to make it, so we opted for the shorter trip to Gold Run. Being a Sunday and a holiday weekend, there were lots of people out enjoying the weather and the snow. (You can see some of them behind us.)
C'mon, Diane, you can push it out of the way!
This fallen tree in the trail wasn't easy to get around. After trying several different ways, we took off our packs and crawled under. It looks like Diane is trying to move it, doesn't it? It was an incredibly beautiful day, with some high clouds to keep us from getting too warm, even though we were trudging through snow much of the day. It will be gone in a few weeks, considering how warm the temperatures were.

I was supposed to be going to dinner and the movies with Judy this afternoon, but she called and canceled due to catching a cold. I decided I could write this post, even though it's a Monday instead of a Tuesday, and show you how my garden is coming along. I just created this collage from pictures taken a few minutes ago.
Top: sugar snap peas, nasturtiums, my plot
Bottom: beets, budding zucchini, HUGE zucchini plant
My sugar snap peas are so good, and I am snacking on them now whenever I go out to water. The nasturtiums are growing like crazy, and you can see most of my plot in the top right picture. I am watching my beets grow, although I planted them too close together they seem to be doing fine. I picked one and steamed it, greens and all; it was fabulous. A volunteer plant grew up in our community garden plot (you can see it in its full size in the last picture) and we just discovered that it is indeed zucchini (see the little guy behind the blossom?). That means we will have enough for everyone in the entire apartment building! There must be three dozen of them ripening right now.

Well, that's what's going on in my little corner of the universe. I've been enjoying a laid-back afternoon after a workout and a massage, plus a very busy few days behind me. Hope you're having a fine day, now that the holiday weekend is behind us!