Wednesday, May 31, 2006


We've been watching a young energetic tree swallow build her nest. She isn't satisfied picking up one dried piece of grass at a time. If she's got one, she wants two. When the grass is too wide for the nestbox opening, she flies in from every angle she can think of until she is successful.
She knows exactly what to do. Her mate waits on top of the box for her. They do not flee when we walk around with wheelbarrels full of shingles, or when they hear the sound of compressed air shooting staples into those slices of cedar. There is no question for them. They are doing the things that are written into their cells, and they know how to read that message.
Here on a bigger nest, the eagle dries her feathers. She has probably just come from the bay after finding a meal for her babies. Her mate flies the shoreline. They will know at some point when it is time to leave their babies. Just abandon them. The eaglets will have already stood on the edge of the nest testing their wings. After they have wailed and cried for a two or three days, they will leave the nest to find food for themselves. They will have no choice. We heard David Hancock, an eagle biologist, on NPR today, say that the timing for the eaglets is just perfect because it coincides with the salmon spawning. There will be plenty for them to eat, even if they can't really hunt yet. Perfect timing.
We took a break from shingling and walked the minus tide today. It's where we saw the eagle. There were also hundreds of tiny silvery fish jumping everywhere along the shoreline. I asked dpr if he thought the eagles might try to grab some. He said no, but he offered that it was likely something below the fish was hunting them and making them leap that way. Sure enough, a little further down the beach I notice this little fellow sticking his nose out of the water.

I started college when I was 30 years old. I tried to imagine a seal explaining that to her parents.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Our True Country

We walked quietly through Fort Worden on Sunday, contemplating Memorial Day, and what's expected of us as citizens of our country, when something swift and bright caught my eye. What could possibly flit so quickly and energetically but a hummingbird? It landed on a tiny tip of a twig that extended off the dead branches of a madrone. We both tried to photograph the little thing, lost ourselves in the moment and were distracted from our somber mission.

Later when we arrived at Memory's Vault and took the time to read all the poems there, we found these few lines from a poem by Sam Harris called A Lover's Quarrel:

When I remember the sound of my true country,
I hear winds
high up in the evergreens, the soft snore
of surf, far off, on a wintry day,
the half-garbled song of finches
darting off through alder
on a summer day.

Lust does not
fatigue the soul, I say. This wind,
these ever-
green trees, this little bird of spirit--
this is the shape, the place of my desire. I'm free
as a fish or a stone.

It was then we remembered that discovering the sound of our true country has been our mission all along.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memory's Fault

Entrance to Memory's Vault
We've been thinking about what to say on this Memorial Day. We know that many other blogs will have eloquent and moving tributes. We'd like to, as well, but we are so far removed from this war. We have not lost any loved ones. Our families have not been asked to sacrifice. Nothing at all has been asked of us. Our lives have not changed. How do we memoralize an abstraction? So we took a walk through Fort Worden to look at gun batteries, and to walk the same paths where soldiers have walked. We make ourselves remember that our country is at war, because all that has been really asked of us is to not think about.

Names are still being added to the list of the war dead nearly everyday. Blood is shed. Tears are shed. Names and dates are hammered on a stone. A folded American flag is handed to a loved one. Someone raises a horn to blow.
Fort Worden, Memorial
At least we think that's how it still happens. We are not are allowed to see our fallen soldiers. Their dead bodies are our country's secret, and we are complicit in keeping it.
Do you remember that soldiers are fighting and dying everyday?
We say to all those soldiers: They may hide you, but we will remember.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Shingling in the Rain

Nearly complete entry way
The job ahead
Yes, we're channeling Gene Kelly, and shingling in the rain. What a glorious feeling. It's been wet wet wet. Surprisingly wet. Endlessly wet. Wet from sun up to sun down. Wet in the dark of night.

The flowers love it.

We love it too!
Hope you're having a great Sunday on this Memorial Day Weekend. We're heading out to Fort Worden later today and maybe walk quietly through the soldiers' cemetary. It seems like the right thing to do.

Friday, May 26, 2006


i didn't misspell gigi. i mean Garbage In, Garbage Out. a computer acronym, but often useful in wider circumstances: congress? tv? blogs?

all packed and ready to go. the garbage can has stuff we can't compost or recycle, and animal product waste because the raccoons can smell it in the compost and will dig it up. for us that means eggshells and chicken trimmings. also in the can is cat shit. i am bothered about taking catshit in plastic bags to the landfill, but haven't worked out a home disposal system yet. at one of the last projects i did in santa cruz before moving to the great northwest, i found plastic bags in the ground when i was digging holes for concrete footings for a small outbuilding. the bags were at the bottom, i poured the 'crete. later, i asked the owner if he knew anything about what the bags might be. he got a rather sheepish look and allowed as how he had buried bags of cat shit and forgotten about it. he apologized profusely. as i had only touched the bags with my shovel and had not noticed a smell, and the whole thing was under concrete, i was ok.

first stop: recycling. where the elite meet to sort garbage. a bin for plastic water bottles and such (we donate our fizzy water bottles. a strange habit, fizzy water) a place for brown and green glass (wine bottles, one a day adds up), another for clear (jam jars). a place for "mixed household paper," for us that means mostly junk mail. there is a bin for cardboard, not a big thing from us. a bin for aluminum cans (cat food, one every other day) and one for tinned cans (small cans of coconut milk, used in curry dishes. we might use 3 per month). there is also a bin for newsprint. we have no newsprint. we read from the internets on the glowing screen

the gate. drive onto the scale, get a credit card sorta thing with my vehicle weight encoded on a mag strip. go dump the stuff. another scale on the exit side weighs me, and my truck, compares the weight to what's on the card, and i am charged for the difference at $4.95/ton. i usually pay the minimum of $4.95 once a month. a good deal. it should cost more.

the ne plus ultra of dumping stations! paved approach, concrete floor. and covered! dump in the rain and stay dry. when it fills up the operator pushes it all to the end with a skip loader, the bucket of which has a derelict mattress attached to its lip so as to act as a mop. from there it is loaded to trucks and dumped in a landfill. yard waste goes to another area and is composted.

for many years, one of my markers of a civilized society was affordable, drinkable red wine. i have added to my list a well run, fully recycling garbage depot staffed by nice people, and at least these two indicators are satisfied here locally.

update::::::: i saw this comment over at firedoglake. in response to this post. thank you rwcole, for putting it so well.

So far the american people have gotten a free ride for the havoc that their disinterest, lack of attention, wishful thinking, greed, and buffoonery have cost themselves and the world. That should stop.

You caused this mess you dumb fucks. You listened to the brain damaged son of a guy you booted out of office as he blew smoke up your asses- told you you were God’s chosen people- that you didn’t HAVE to pay any taxes- and that laws or no laws- you could invade any fuckin part of the earth you wanted with impunity. You were there when the craven idiot amended the laws of physics and told you that you could pollute at will and it wouldn’t cause any problems. You stood there silently when the criminal told you that energy conservation could not be a part of public policy and that you had a God given right to burn up as much gasoline as you liked and fart it back out your tailpipes.

You have behaved irresponsibly- you even elected the insane motherfucker to a second term. Now when he breaks the law by spying on you- endangering the constitution you elected him to defend- you nod along silently sayin “yeah- you need to protect us from terrorism” and go back to “American Idol”.

You deserve everything you are getting you ignorant putzes!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Second String

Right now I have over 4000 images in my iPhoto folder. How many of these will I ever post? Not many. Something beautiful yields to some other beauty. A Cinnabar Moth happens by and a Caspian Tern loses it turn. An eagle catches my eye and I forget about the snail trail in the sand. Is there anything special about a raven in the rain? I am not sure, but when I saw one, I thought it looked so damp and dejected. I lose myself in the wings of herons, but does everyone?

Here are a few things that should have appeared here but didn't. Like the second string on a team, they now get their time on the field.
Caspian Tern (Sterna caspia) a migrator to Washington from Mexico
Snail trail in the sand and sun reflection
Raven or crow? What do you think?
Great Blue Heron trying to get away from us
Do you have any second string things that call to you from your folder of photos and ideas?

I did have an idea that I was going to post about in response to a comment someone left for me a few days ago. It said that I should stop obsessing about death, that I should do something with my life. I was a little taken aback by it. Has anyone ever left you a comment that made you wonder if people think they really know you because they read your blog? Do you ever wonder how much like or unlike your blog personna you are in life? Are we sure of what we project, or how we will be perceived? Blogging presents such a contradiction: we are both veiled and unveiled.

But I decided not to do that post.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

turf war

there are two areas of lawn around our new (ish. 2 years in july) house. both are full of "broadleaf plants," the bane of lawnkeepers. we don't really go for lawn. we removed, bit by bit, all the lawn around the last house we owned and replaced it with flowers and trees. we will eventually do the same here. i have to assume that the previous owners controlled the "weeds" with selective poison, which won't kill grass, as the lawns were weed free and lushly absent of bare spots. we round up our weeds the old-fashioned way. physically. i don't care about the lawn, but it is semi-vigorous, low mental requirement warmup exercise to go at the broadleaf plants. we have enough projects going to cut into retirement time already, so the lawn replacement thing will wait a bit.
here is two days (15 minutes a day) of weed harvest. this might be about ten percent of the total dandelions and such growing in the lawn. my main tool is visible on the wheelbarrow. it is a forked metal prong on a wooden handle. i jab it under the perceived center of a weed crown, severing the root, and flip the plant up. doesn't work on the first try every time, but often enough to pile up a barrow full quickly enough.
this is an area of lawn about eight feet square. "weeds" are visible in the upper corners, where i haven't yet exercised. i have come to notice that mowing the grass facilitates the growth of broadleaf, low-crowned plants. mown grass never produces seed, and provides a nice place for dandelion seeds to germinate and take root. unmown grass, as i have observed off in the corners of the veggie garden, crowds out the broadleaf plants, and after seeding falls over to mulch itself. so the poison-free, weeding-free way to get a pure grass lawn is to not mow it.

all this lawn stuff reminds me of my first non-family paying jobs, when i was probably fifteen. mowing lawns. raking. weeding. suburban yard care after school. i don't recall seeking this work, as in knocking on doors, but i was eager, ok, willing, to work to get spending money, and urged on by my parents. neighbors and neighbors of neighbors always knew someone looking for lawn care. no one whose lawn i mowed had a power mower. i had barely heard of a power mower. leaf blowers hadn't yet been invented.

what was your first job?

A very silly update from Robin: I hadn't thought about this photo for years, but here is a picture of my siblings, neighbor kids and me from a newspaper dated August 10, 1961.
The caption reads-- ENTERPRISING YOUNGSTERS: These children raised $33, which was equally divided between the Fords Fire Co., and St. John's First Aid Squad, by conducting a three-day fair in the back yard of the "Z" home. In addition to games of skill with prizes for winners, they sold corn on the cob, watermelon, candy and drinks.
I am the one seated on the right. I'm wearing black pedal-pushers with a white fringe. My adorable little sister is sitting next to me. My twin brother is standing in the back row on the left, and my older brother is tall kid standing next to him.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Spring Colors

First beets harvested from the cloche
We spent some time in the garden on Sunday. It was a cool day, and not particularly inviting for standing on the north side of the house working on the shingling project. It was much warmer in our south facing backyard, so we planted the last of the starts that dpr had begun several weeks ago. More kale, broccoli, tomatoes, basil, and onions. Our timing was perfect because a gentle spring rain started to fall in the early evening after we had finished.

While we were out I noticed a very brightly colored moth flitting about near the greenhouse. Fortunately I was finished with what I had to plant, and ran to the house to wash my hands and grab the camera. When I returned the moth was still hanging around. I got a few shots of it, before it disappeared.
I looked at a few of the online databases to ID this moth. I couldn't find a good match. So, I sent an email to Bev at Burning Silo. (If you haven't been to her website you are really missing out. Bev is truly a fantastic photographer, and she writes about her subjects thoughtfully, knowledgeably, and warmly. I highly recommend taking a visit and looking around. You will be glad that you did.) So, I sent her the photo and asked her if she could ID this moth.

I was so surprised when she sent me an email me a few hours later. Surprised that she had come up with an answer, and to learn what that answer is. The moth is a Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae), and it was introduced into the US from France specifically to control Tansy Ragwort.
This photo was taken off a Noxious Weed Website
Every year we receive a flyer in the mail with information about Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). It is on our county's Noxious Weed list. All parts of this plant are poisonous. It causes liver damage to cattle and horses. We have found some on our property and always yank it out. The beautiful little Cinnabar moth that we saw feeds on this noxious weed. Their beautiful coloration acts as a warning to other animals that they contain toxic alkaloids. That lovely flash of intense red that caught my eye also sends a message. I find that so satisfying, what a great way to convey information.

The rest of the day we spent watching the birds around the bird feeder. With all the nesting going on there seems to be quite an upsurge in eating. Everyone is hungry, and after they have filled their stomachs, they fill their mouths with as much as they can carry and fly off to feed their little ones. It's been very interesting to watch.
Here are a few American Goldfinches waiting for their turn at the feeder.
After the goldfinches, the female Black-headed Grosbeak waits.

Suddenly as often happens, all the birds flew away. There in one of the mock cherry trees among the flowers was a Cooper's Hawk. For the first time ever, though, we noticed a smaller bird diving at it. Twice the small and fearless Tree Swallow dove at the predator, and twice the predator dodged it. The hawk must have decided it was not going to stay for a third try because it flew off as quickly as it had arrived. What a display by that Tree Swallow. We have no photos, just our admiration for such toughness.

Monday, May 22, 2006


i was stirred to consider these things by the second one shown when i came upon it a few days ago, but the first is much older so i led with it. i do have older things, but not that i made. presenting them here did of course bring up memories of the times they were made. i was just beginning to see the bigger outside world in 1951. commies and the bomb. i got up in the middle of the night once to watch an atom bomb test on tv, and then ran outside to see the flash in the night sky from nevada. i was a doofus college kid in 1961. there was still the bomb, which seemed more threatening, and still commies, who had the bomb too now, but the new young president gave us all hope, for while at least.

this is a picture of a relic from my yoot ( as joe pesci says it, in his character of vinnie the new lawyer in the movie "my cousin vinnie," to fred gynne as the judge; "yoot, yoot, you know, when you're young.")

i carved this from a wooden peg that may have been, in my memory at least, a part of a set of bunk beds, to join the lowers with the uppers. as best i can recall it was maybe 4th grade. nine years old. san carlos, california, 1951. carving a tiki god. musta been some impression from a polynesian themed restaurant, mixed in with those easter island island statues. i think i finished it with "old english" furniture polish. it has stuck with me for a while longer than most stuff of my yoot. doesn't rust either. (see next relic below) it did lose part of a foot somewhere, sometime.

this is a hole punch. for paper. it makes, rather obviously, one hole at a time. it isn't designed to be efficient. it's a college machine shop assignment. i made it in 1961. we had to make each piece: base, top, shaft, handle, spring, washer: from stock metal. "machine shop in college?" you may be asking. i also took a foundry course, in which we made molds and filled them with molten iron. i had to go home and shower after class to get the black soot out of my hair, nose, eyes, ears, and everywhere. another part of my "production technology" minor was a welding class.

i have lived an interesting life of many moves, mostly in northern california, where it is often damp. as neil young sez "rust never sleeps." when we unpacked after our last (not merely latest) move i found this relic rusted immobile and unusable. after long soaking in the elixir of the rust solvent trade, wd-40, and the new kid on the super-lube block, silicone lubricant, the punch yielded to my urgings to poke holes in paper.

what sort of handmade things from your earlier life do you have?

Friday, May 19, 2006

What We Miss When We Work

We spent all day Thursday working on the house shingling project. When we have big projects we don't take as many walks as we'd like to. But just knowing there was a minus tide a few short miles away made it so hard not to drop everything and head out to see what the sea had left on the shore. We were good, though, we stayed on task. In fact, we were so single-minded we lost track of time, worked straight until dinner, and then realized we had not a single idea for a post, except for these photos of other minus tide walks. This is where our hearts were, while we were slamming staples through shingles with a pneumatic stapler.
Here's an update to yesterday's piece on presidential politics for 2008-- If you haven't already read Arianna Huffington's piece on Gore and Clinton, I highly recommend it.

Have a great weekend. See y'all on Monday.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I said to dpr, "Could you go check the nest, I think the crow has gotten into it." He checked. I couldn't bring myself to go look first. Even though I suspected it was over for the eggs, I didn't want to see it, to confirm my suspicions. I didn't want to make the discovery. I could only go and look when I was certain of what I would see.

Which culprit savaged the nest, overturned it and left it empty in its little hiding place? Was it the crow that cawed and cawed yesterday afternoon and flew from the willow to ground nearby? Was it the raccoon that we watched prowl our yard the other night, grubbing and poking everywhere, dipping its clever little paw into the pond or into anything that caught its eye or nose. Was it the squirrel that hopped across lawn and headed straight for the bird feeder where it finds all the seeds the birds have tossed in their eating frenzy? Any one of them could have done it and had a tasty meal: four small bluish speckled eggs. Nothing more, nothing less.

When dpr found the nest just a few days ago I wrote that those four eggs conveyed that something was right with a very small part of the world. A very brief respite it was.

My first husband would often say, "My mind is a hodge-podge of half-baked ideas." He was joking about himself, and he was right of course. It was. But today, I feel that way about myself.
After the tide, after the hunters, after the scavengers
I've been thinking about Hillary Clinton. I'm sick of her already, and I don't want her to run. I would never vote for her. She displeases me immensely. Yet, I hear an overwhelming media drumbeat for her. Where exactly does this drumbeat come from? Do you know anyone at all who wants her to be president? Anyone who thinks Hillary is the best thing that the Democrats have to offer? Anyone who thinks she has really smart political instincts and a solid internal compass? It's so obvious that the right is eager to the point of drooling to run against her. That bothers me. Why is she the presumptive front runner? What has she done to garner such speculation?

I took a Zogby poll Tuesday morning that was specifically about the Democratic ticket in 2008. Here's the list of contenders they came up with:


Notice who is not on that list?

Al Gore.

You remember him, the guy who won the election in 2000 when it was stolen from him and us by the worst bunch of psychopaths our country has ever seen. I still like Gore. I think he would make a good president. I don't know if he would be a great president. I suspect that greatness and authenticity have been de-selected by our election processes, but I would vote for him. Most importantly for me, I think Al Gore can erase the past few years in a way that no one else can. And I really want these Bush years to be erased, expunged, repudiated, and soundly defeated. Electing Gore would be like having a do-over and making the cheaters leave the game. Then, we can start to repair all the damage they have done to our country and our constitution.

Hillary, on the other hand, keeps all the players in the game. She keeps the polarization utterly intact. She fuels the right wing psychopathology. She's the one anointed by the media. Why? It makes me very suspicious, and it drives me a little crazy. Okay, not a little, a lot, which is why I wish she would just go away.

Thinking about Hillary Clinton running in 2008 is like having to go look at the empty nest. Someone else needs to go look first, so I can steel myself for what I am about to see.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An Old Owl Goes Home

Over a year ago the pirate and I found a dead Great Horned Owl.If you look at the photos, you'll see that it was really quite beautiful. We found it lying just off the trail on one of our regular walks. We thought it would be good to take the owl's body away from its very public place, and place it in the bushes where it would just decompose the way all things do. We blogged about it, and a friend and commenter, grrlscientist recommended that we go back, pick it up, and put it in our freezer until it could be brought to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, where its body could contribute to the body of knowledge about Great Horned Owls. We thought that was a fine idea, so went back a few days later to retrieve it. It was definitely worse for wear, but we brought it home and put it in the guest-house freezer. We intended to take it to the museum. I even emailed someone at the museum and told her about the owl. She was quite agreeable and inviting. She said it would be fine for us to bring the owl because students could work with its skeleton, and they needed a Great Horned Owl skeleton.

That was a year ago.

When we packed my mother's suitcase and laptop in the trunk of the car on Tuesday, they were placed next to our ancient Coleman Cooler. In the cooler was some ice and a long-dead Great Horned Owl. On the way to the airport I joked with my mother about not taking the cooler on the plane with her. It became one of those ongoing jokes that helps to ease the tension of airports and flying. We took the ferry to Seattle and then headed south to the airport. The pirate, my mom, me, and the great-horned owl on the Bainbridge Island Ferry to Seattle--you really never know what people are bringing on the ferries in the trunk of their cars.

After we got my mom to the airport we drove north to the Burke Museum. We pulled right up and parked directly in front of the Do Not Park signs. We took the cooler out of the trunk and walked up those lovely museum steps and stepped inside. There on the right was a young man sitting at the entrance desk. He did not seem surprised to see two old funky, Port Townsend hippies walk in with an old cooler. He even motioned for us to just put the cooler on the counter. I told him that we had a Great Horned Owl in if for the museum. He was quite delighted. A few students were milling about, and a couple came over and asked if they could see it. Of course, we said. We took the owl out of the cooler. After all this time, it still looked like itself, you could easily see its eye and magnificent talons through the plastic. One of the students asked if we had seen any Spotted Owls. Nope. Just this one Great Horned Owl.

The young man at the desk made a few phone calls, and right away someone appeared and identified himself as the curator. He took the owl into his arms. Everyone seemed pleased to have such a bird to work with. They asked us if we would like to explore the museum. We said, Yes, absolutely, but we're parked illegally. The young man said he was sorry but he couldn't help us with that. Oh well.

We left and headed north and took a different ferry home. The one that goes between Edmonds and Kingston. When my mother's plane landed in southern California and she was safely on the ground, she called us from her cell phone. Her first question was, "So, where's the owl?" We told her the owl was in its new home.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Great Tomato Race

we participated last year in a tomato growing contest sponsored, hosted, created, by the eminent dr charles. we have accepted his challenge to join in again. it's free. it's fun. just post a tomato report the first sunday of the month. we missed the first sunday in may to post our tomato report, but the rules are lax, so here it is. as you can see from the award displayed prominently near the top of our blog, we were awarded a most prestigious graphic to honor our entry in the sexy category.

i decided to add some other garden reporting.

there are three tomato plant clumps along the right, all early oregon. there are two brandywine tomatoes in the rear left. the other little plants are basil. all of these were started april 8 and transplanted may 13. the plants in the container are blue potatoes.

these are volunteer tomatoes. we'll see what sort when they set fruit.

looking under a 25 foot tunnel cloche. in the foreground are carrots, then beets, which grew from seeds planted february 11. beyond, not very visible, are zucchini, broccoli, and tomatoes, all started in the greenhouse april 8 and transplanted may 6.

flowering kale. this was planted last fall. we have eaten a lot of kale.

today's mystery. what sort of plant structure is it?

clue: a different view of it. small picture, for dialup. large picture.


bonus flower picture!!! the first waterlily blossom of the year.

we are off to the airport this morning to deliver Bea, my wonderful MIL to alaska airlines for her trip home. it was a grand visit. we walked. we cooked. Robin Andrea and her mom talked and laughed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yard Secrets

We're having such a nice visit with my mom. The weather has been spectacular. We can see both mountain ranges, east and west, Cascades and Olympics, from just about everywhere. It's quite intoxicating and seductive. Visitors are often fooled by such sultry temperatures and heart-stopping blue skies. We try to remind them that it doesn't last. Still, it is magnificent.

When the weather is like this, every weed behaves like it inspired the simile. Where once we could discern cedar bark, now it's green everywhere, abundant, tenacious, unwanted.
The pirate went out to whack weeds and thistles. They're easy to pull right now because the ground is still soft from spring rains. He was whacking away, when he saw sudden movement and a bird fly out from beneath the thistle and tall grasses. So, he went to investigate.
What was he seeing? He stood and stared through the thistle and weeds trying to see what was there. Then he saw it. A nest. Really small and well-hidden, on the ground, with four bluish speckled eggs. As beautiful and simple as every promise in spring. He called my mom and me over to show us what he had found. I ran for the camera and took two photos. We worried that we had upset the momma bird with our five minutes of activity, but the pirate went and checked a little while later, and she was back on her nest.

Is it safe to say all is well with the world? Well, at least in this very small part of it, yes.

Friday, May 12, 2006

George Bush Turned My Mother into a Lawbreaker!

After we picked my mother up at the airport, while we were waiting for the return ferry to Bainbridge Island, she handed me an envelope with a letter she had just received from Customs and Border Protection. She said, "Here, read this."

My mother has been using the prescription medication Fosamax for her osteoporosis since 2004. With the new Medicare D prescription drug benefit, she thought she'd fill the prescription at a local pharmacy where it costs $200 (for 12 pills, a three-month supply). Medicare D pays approximately $70 for this medication, and my mom pays the difference. Her $130 out of pocket expense is added to the $70 from Medicare and both are applied to the first level of allowable prescription expenses of $2500. What that means is that even though she is paying most of that expense herself, the full $200 is used to build toward the first ceiling, when Medicare D stops paying and she has to cover all of her prescription expenses herself, until she reaches the next magic ceiling. In addition, she pays $22 a month to have this GREAT program.

Back in 2004 she started using a Canadian pharmacy to fill her Fosamax prescription. For the same drug, her out of pocket expense was only $100. Today that cost would not be applied to her $2500 Medicare D ceiling. So, she decided to go back to the Canadian pharmacy for her prescription. It is simply more cost effective for her. Unfortunately, she did not receive her medication, she received this letter instead from Customs and Border Protection.
Click to read the letter from Custom and Borders
Do you feel safer knowing that your tax dollars are being used so that my mother can't fill her prescriptions at a Canadian pharmacy that she had used for years? This is how our government protects, um, Big Pharma.

Here is the flyer they included with the letter. Pretty scary, huh. There is something so wrong with our elected government these days, I can't even think of a single thing they are doing right.
Click to enlarge

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Airport Bound

If you read this on Thursday morning, you should imagine us driving to the SeaTac Airport. Picture us on the ferry between Bainbridge Island and Seattle. From there we head south for a short drive along the seaport industrial side of the city to get to the airport.

We're going to the airport to pick up my birthday present. My mom is coming to visit! We are celebrating my birthday on Saturday and Mother's Day on Sunday together. I can't tell you how lucky we feel to have an opportunity to do that. My mom who long ago named me Robin Andrea (not Rexroth's Daughter) will be here for a long weekend in the pacific northwest. It's been almost year since she was here last.
This photo was probably taken in 1928, my mom, on the right, with her older sister
Once we get back here to the peninsula, you should imagine us laughing, talking politics, reminiscing, eating, birdwatching and walking minus tides. Sometime over the next few days, we may even get some shingling and blogging done.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wall to Wall

we have turned a corner. we heard that phrase a lot during the viet nam war. at least the "authorities" at the time acknowledged some of reality and felt the need to assure and reassure us that it would all turn out well. now we have rulers so divorced from reality that they glibly assert that all is well with our adventure in iraq. in a larger picture we may have turned some corner in terms of global climate, by burning too much hydrocarbon stuff too fast. there are no more "snows of kilimanjaro." who knew?

the shingling project began with the wall on the right.

and made our way along a wall. we know how the war in viet nam worked out. we didn't turn any corner. we hit a wall. dominoes did not fall. our leaders tell us that the corner they want to turn in iraq leads to iran. out of the quagmire into the abyss. on the weather front, we face bigger fronts, better hurricanes, faster tornadoes, and rising water. the trade winds and ocean currents might stop.

the pirate's girlfriend robinandrea (the blogger formerly known as rexroth's daughter) mastered a pneumatic shingle stapler to fix these in place.

now we have reached another corner. viet nam vets have returned there to help rebuild that country. will we nuke iran? will the humboldt current fail, plunging europe into an ice age?

we will just go on around the corner shingling. i wonder if the fallout from iran will poison the strawberries. sure will be nice to grow them year round up here in the northwest. at least it will be till the water runs out.