Author Archives: Pamela

Wildlife Everywhere

Dad had cataract surgery last week. The recovery wasn’t quite as smooth as we anticipated but the healing continues.

I spent some time in his room at the retirement home with him and there is this high-pitched whining sound that goes on for extended lengths of time.

I finally asked Dad if it bothered him but whatever the frequency is, his hearing is gone. When the nurse came by for the covid check she made a face: “What is that noise?”

She poked around trying to figure out its source. (I think it has to do with water use upstairs.)

Dad said, another care worker at the retirement home heard the noise and sent maintenance and the maintenance guy couldn’t hear anything.

The nurse said: “Maybe we can get one of his younger helpers who hasn’t had his ears blown out by working around heavy machinery come up here and listen.”

I laughed because Dad also worked around heavy machinery. As of right now, there is no resolution.

Once or twice a day Dad likes to take a lap around the retirement home and he feeds nuts to the squirrels. As soon as we appeared the squirrels scampered closer.

Dad had emptied the storage pouch on his walker because we were getting it in and out of the car for our doctor appointments so sadly we had nothing for the critters.

Meanwhile, they were following along the path.

Every time I stopped to take a picture they would run closer. I repacked a supply into the walker for next time.

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Burbot Factory

I actually went to a burbot hatchery but I keep calling it a factory in my head.

I am never in Idaho in February so this is the first time I was able to see the burbot and it was really cool. They are pretty. The Fish & Wildlife staff gave us a ton of interesting information that I am not smart enough to convey except to say, the hatchery is doing great and they are learning a lot about this species.

When your job is mostly paperwork, it’s fun to see that paperwork translated into a real life successful project.

Back at home I caught some fun wildlife action during the snow but nothing that would look great posted. Bunny came through at least twice. I never spotted the opossum but there are a couple of a raccoon galomphing across the yard.

I had the camera too close to the bucket so there were a number of not great clips. One of the raccoons was on the deck for about a half hour maybe cleaning a wound? I couldn’t see well enough to be sure but it seemed awfully detailed for regular grooming. I have another clip of one stirring the slush in the bucket.

There’s an open space in our neighborhood where the powerlines go through. There is a row of houses where the backyards face this open space. Yesterday we were walking and two pooches (Bailey and Igor) spotted us. They ran part way and I thought they would go back but nope, we had two friendly dogs very happy to see us and completely ignoring their people hollering for them to come back.

They eventually went back to their people. Then ran back to us. Wandered back to their people. Then ran back to us. We kept encouraging them to listen to their people and they cheerfully licked our hands and jumped on us to assure us we were friends.

Finally, Bailey had to be carried back home in disgrace and Igor happily followed.

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Wildlife Update

I set-up the wildlife cam to get some blue jays. This one is rage eating the sunflower seed chips because all the peanuts are already gone.

They are really cute but I’ve already created a monster. They hop around on the back porch screeching for their peanuts early in the morning.

So many hilarious clips including several with me in the window, trying to get a good view of what they are up to.

Obligatory shot post ice storm. Ice storms are terrible and really pretty.

The only sign of raccoons since the bad weather started. Someone took a little detour.

He dug through the snow and ice for a drink. Sorry I didn’t get it but I had the camera set up for blue jays.

Little paw print and looks like a blue jay up in the corner, too.

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Old Lady Status


Photo from one of the main medical buildings looking out on what’s left of the barge building business that closed a couple of years ago.

A couple of weeks ago I went to OHSU at the South Waterfront to get some doctor tests. (Everything is fine!)

Part 1 of my old lady status is that for my tests I wasn’t supposed to wear any metal and I was unsettled about the idea of wearing sweat pants downtown. (I did but changed into real clothes as soon as I was back at the office.)

It was my first time down there. It’s quite a complex.

Part 2 of my old lady status is to mention that when I first moved to the PACNW 30 years ago I worked not far from this medical center only then it was all industrial. No high rise condos, no medical buildings.

My final old lady observation is that an awful lot of people venture out in the world in sweat pants and slippers — like the kind of slippers you would wear around the house.

The medical center was hopping. That was the most people I’ve been around in almost a year. Should we believe that a medical center is going to be safer or a bigger risk?

I attempted to nostalgia watch Grease the other night and did not get far. That movie came out when I was about 15 — the perfect age to LOVE it. We would have seen it numerous times if we could get someone’s mom to drive us to the mall. I had the soundtrack. The dancing! The story!

What a messed up ending. Was I supposed to think could find a dreamy guy, if I put on some black spandex pants and smoked a cigarette?

My nostalgia watch didn’t make it past the first musical number.

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Green Light Test

I went to the airport a couple of weeks ago.

As I arrived at the parking garage I passed a parked airport police car.

All the parking gate arms were open with a green light.

Obviously, this was some kind of test. I stopped my car and tried to take a ticket. The machine would not give me a ticket.

It seemed absurd that the airport would be offering free parking but it’s The Covid, who knows? Then I thought the police were laughing at me because I didn’t even know about the Covid free parking.

I parked my car.

As I exited, I saw people at the parking kiosks, paying. Uh oh.

Colleague was also at airport and I asked him about it. “That’s weird. I got a ticket.”

Now I’m worried because what am I going to do when I have to leave? Is there some way to go back and get a ticket now? Are they going to send me to the basement to shovel coal until I pay off my parking?

I called the Port of Portland and they were actually helpful. There was a medical emergency and the gates were open for the emergency vehicle to get through. Just go to the cashier window and tell them when you came in and they will charge you accordingly.

I was still anxious about it and turns out they treated it as a lost ticket which apparently they do on the honor system, but also collect all your data, driver’s license, license plate, etc., which I would guess to discourage people from always losing their tickets to get out of paying for long stays.

But I was also kinda mad because I did not lose my ticket.

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We Need to Organize the Sausages

This morning my husband told me he needed a chance to talk to me about organizing the sausages.

After we finished laughing he explained that he bought a variety of sausages when he was at the meat market and he needed to break down the package and wanted my thoughts.

I couldn’t think of any feedback I had on this particular topic so I left him to handle it on his own.

I’m trying to make friends with the blue jays that nest in the hedge.

The other day I saw one out on the power line and I went out and set two peanuts on the top of the fence. The bird flew away but I watched from the kitchen window and it eventually came back for them.

Yesterday I saw the blue jay on the line again and I went out there with two peanuts. It flew away.

By the time I got in the house a fat squirrel was sitting on the fence stuffing its face with one peanut and hovering over the other.

I kept watching and the blue jay came back. It perched on the line for a second, looking down at its peanuts and dive-bombed the squirrel. It landed on the fence and kept squawking and the squirrel ran away with one peanut leaving the second peanut for the blue jay.

One of the best shows I have seen in months.

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The Nature Report

A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of opossum frolicking around the backyard. For a moment I thought it might be a NSFW clip or in the alternative way of thinking, an educational video.

They ended up looking for snacks and continuing on their way.

The bunny also showed up again, paused in the middle of the yard and then headed for the exit in three giant leaps. On the video the bunny was so small it would have been to hard to see in a post but it was a hilarious clip.

We also have cats coming through regularly, often cats I’ve never seen before. They look in the bucket and then possibly shudder and keep going without touching it.

I am constantly astonished by the quantity of TV shows coming out. Who can keep up with all this TV? I try to make notes of things that are up for awards or made by people I admire.

I’m still working on shows that are airing now. Every time I turn around I am blasted with ads for new shows or another season of a show I didn’t know existed. For some reason I am enjoying gloomy international detective shows. Tonight I have the last episode of season 1 of The Break.

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A Raccoon and A Bucket

This guy in the bucket is so funny.

At Thanksgiving we bought so many groceries they gave us a free turkey.

We already had a turkey so we put the free one in the freezer and I made it this weekend.

The free ones were gigantic. This was an 18 lb. bird. I’ve never cooked one that big. It was too big to spatchcock.

I broke it down which I’ve never done before. Afterward I told Bob: I feel empowered but also traumatized.

The legs are in the outdoor fridge doing a fancy brine thing. We roasted the breast and wings on Saturday and shared with my bro/sis-in law. I used the back to make broth. I picked over everything and set aside a bowl of shredded turkey.

It took most of the day. Bob and I were talking about what the next few meals would look like and I kept saying: Turkey! Turkey! We have to eat turkey!

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Smokin’ In the Boys Room

One of our neighbors in the post-holiday spirit.

I listened to an audiobook of Rob Lowe’s memoir last year (recommend!) and wanted to nostalgia watch St. Elmo’s Fire which originally came out the summer between my jr and sr years of college. The movie is available on Prime right now.

It’s really not a great movie but somehow I still like it? Everything is over-the-top. The characters are all terrible. Their relationships are dysfunctional. It’s hard to imagine that group realistically being such close friends in real life.

That said, I enjoyed my rewatch. I owned the soundtrack and listened to it to death. The music is terrible but I like it, too.

But the smoking. UGH, so much smoking. The opening scene is in a hospital and they are smoking. The smoking was distracting.

I also watched the first season of Prime Suspect which came out in 1991. Again, so much smoking. Every scene starts with someone lighting a cigarette.

And both shows, sexism. That was part of the plot in both shows, less so in Elmo.

Man, poor Helen Mirren — getting her big break as Detective Chief Inspector and having to full time emotional labor her crybaby boyfriend who is burnt that she works so much and isn’t home on time to make his dinner.

Things aren’t perfect but they have improved since then.

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Vacuum Cleaner Bag of the Damned

I was forced to buy a new vacuum cleaner last year when my old vacuum cleaner died and the dead part couldn’t be replaced. I can’t remember the exact details or even if it was really last year.

I bought a more expensive vacuum from our local vacuum cleaner shop thinking that if I have problems, I have a handy place to get repairs.

I had noticed it didn’t seem to suck like it used to but my old vacuum cleaner made a discouraged beep and popped open when the vacuum cleaner bag was full so I was waiting for that cue.

I finally opened the canister to check and holy thundercakes — the bag was so big, I wasn’t sure if I could even get it out. I had to wrestle out the filter first and then yank it out.

Lesson learned to check the vacuum cleaner bag much earlier next time.

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