All That’s Missing is Some Music

These two are looking playful — what do you think, friends or are they making some baby raccoons?

Last year at this time I started working from home at some point during the spring I noticed a raccoon hanging out in the hedge outside my window. At first it was cute and fun but I was worried about a family of raccoons nesting right there next to the house. It appeared on and off for a week or two and then disappeared. So hopefully it found a nice place somewhere else to make a home and not someone in the neighborhood moving them out “to a farm.”

I get a digest of posts to NextDoor every afternoon and some people freak out about wild animals going through their yard.

I still haven’t managed put in a garden or gotten photos of my daffodils yet. There are no tulips yet. I’m not sure there are even tulip buds. It looks like nothing but lots of greenery. It seems like when I have time to get out there it’s raining or I have some other critical thing to take care of. Like taxes.

Ugh. I hate doing Oregon taxes so badly. When I retire the first year I don’t have to do Oregon taxes I am going to hire a plane to fly over Salem and with a banner that says: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

This year I can make a calculation for the days I worked from home. I don’t have to pay Oregon for those days. And I kept a very careful record of how many days I worked from home. Except Oregon has some whackadoodle quadratic equation to figure out what you owe them. “A train going 100 km/hr leaves Chicago at 3pm….” I would let them keep the refund if I didn’t have to fill out the form.

Did I report here about the mustard of the month club? One of our mustards was root beer and I tried it this weekend and did not agree with Bob’s assessment that it “wasn’t too bad.” It was like eating candy and mustard together and I made a face then switched to a spicy brown.

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Hello Daffodils

I haven’t gotten around to my usual endless photo session in the garden. These are few half-hearted snaps from my phone when I was waiting for Bob out front.

Dad had cataract surgery and there was a wee complication (don’t worry, everything is fine) but we ended up doing an emergency trip to the clinic on a Saturday when it was normally closed.

We arrived and waited in the lobby. The doctor showed up and stuck his head out the door and said, “It looks like our offices have been ransacked. I’m going to ask you to wait outside while I call security.”

It was kind-of exciting but Dad was glum about his eye so we were also: Really? Not one thing can go smoothly?

A single security person arrived and wandered through the suite and we had our check-up and left.

When we went back for our next appointment I asked the medical tech checking us in what happened.

Someone(s) broke in sometime Saturday morning. They took “stupid stuff, our broken scanner, our laminator, equipment made specifically for the surgeons that would be useless to resell.” The went through all the lockers and drawers and cupboards. Mostly they made a mess and inconvenienced everyone. They said it was good that the doctor was called in so they were aware of the problem but I’m sure the doctor didn’t feel that way. hehe.

They arrested one guy and we did not hear of any further developments.

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Bucket Bad

Here’s the unhappy customer from the weekend tossing the bucket over.

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I Still Can’t Spell Opossum Without Looking It Up First

I really admire this guy’s devotion to his feet. Or her feet.

I looked up how to tell whether a raccoon is male or female and the Internet says females are smaller. Seems like there would be other clues.

Yesterday colleague came over to rototill and while I was out in the backyard I cleaned out the water bucket which was filthy and had some green in it.

Already last night one of the visitors tipped it over.

During the snow for and for several days after I did not have a single opossum sighting but it’s been back through.

Bunny has been the biggest performer, hanging out right in the center of camera range and twitching every couple of minutes so I end up with 50 video clips. He’s also been busy nibbling on the Jerusalem artichokes that I grew, harvested, and then left sitting in the shop for months before throwing them into the garden.

I finally ordered seeds and was momentarily distraught when they were sold out of some items except I remembered that I am a minimalist gardener who often fails to even harvest things so basically I was distraught about my future composting.

I started 4 cherry tomatoes on the windowsill plus ordered 2 regular tomato plants since I have had such terrible luck with tomatoes for the past many years. Who wants to be this year will be great and we will have tomatoes everywhere? (I hope this is what happens.)

Did I ever mention that the renters next door moved? We were so relieved. They were pretty quiet the past year with just a few loud nights. Rumor is that the house will be put on the market. It is perfect for a flip house or rental property so fingers crossed that nice friendly people who actually want to live there buy it.

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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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