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Pimsleur Spanish I 30-day challenge

For my first round of 30-day challenges, I don't think I did that bad. I used the Pimsleur language Spanish I program and only missed about 5 days out of the month. The days that I missed were mostly early in the month, as I was adjusting this new idea of these challenges. Not only was it difficult to remember this specific challenge, but I forgot that I was even doing these challenges a couple of times. Hopefully, it will get easier as time goes on.

30-day challenge

While I'm not a big believer in New Year's Resolutions, I have experimented in the past with attempting to do something for a month to see if I want it as a new habit. Apparently research suggests that you should attempt something for three weeks to develop a new habit, though I have never bothered to look up the original articles. One month I tried to eat only homemade bread, cooked either in the oven or bread machine.

New Year's resolutions

I never did understand why people celebrated the incrementing of the year. It really isn't any different than any other midnight, where one day passes to the next. It also made no sense to me that people would make resolutions every year, even though they would almost certainly fail at keeping them. Why would people set themselves up for such failure?

Graduated!

After 5 1/2 years, I've finally officially graduated from Evergreen! If Evergreen had grades, I would even be graduating with a 4.0 GPA, but since they don't, I have a transcript full of some pretty incredible evals. The weird thing is, that since I'm going to graduate school for my Master of Environmental Studies at Evergreen, it just doesn't seem like there is any finality to it. One of my friends, who graduated a couple years ago and went to law school immediately after, also found that it was somewhat anti-climactic.

Nice walk on the Nisqually boardwalk

I just went for my first walk out on the new mile long boardwalk at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in the Nisqually delta. They restored a lot of the wetlands a couple years ago, by removing the outer dike, which was a really nice 5 mile walk. I really miss that walk, but it was for a good reason. The new boardwalk goes from the northwest corner of the inner dike, and follows McAllister creek up through the tidal mudflats to the north.

The end of the Christmas break

Why is it that I never accomplish half what I plan during any of the breaks from school? Oh well, it is what it is. Tomorrow I start back at Evergreen for the second quarter of my Food, Health and Sustainability program, with this quarter concentrating on nutrition.

Red-breasted nuthatch nest

A red breasted nuthatch made a nest in a little basket hanging on the wall outside our back door. She laid five eggs, but only two hatched, which is a good thing, because a week later the two chicks are taking up the entire nest! They have most of their feathers now, and if you so much as walk by the nest, their little mouths open up and the cheeping starts.

Mamma stopped sitting on them a couple days ago, and is pretty much spending all her time fetching them food.

Hanging clothes in February

Out on the east coast this winter, they may not believe in global warming this winter, but out here we do. Here it is in mid-February and I'm hanging clothes out to day on the washline while wearing shorts.

Bryan Bowers concert at Traditions

Last night, we went to a Bryan Bowers concert at Traditions Cafe. I've had a couple of his CDs since I first saw him on The Nashville Network back in the 80s. Up until that point, my only experience with autoharps had been elementary school teachers using them as an easy instrument to play. Bryan on the other hand is a true artist!

Pressure canner lust

One of my big complaints about home canning is that I have to do it inside in the summer. Electric hotplates don't heat up enough, and most outdoor gas burners get too hot with too little control, or they can't handle the weight.

Maya Angelou at Evergreen

I went to see Maya Angelou speak at Evergreen the other night. For a 78 year old with bad knees, that lady still has a lot of kick in her. I've heard several civil rights activists speak over the years, and I have to say that there is no comparison. There is a reason that this woman is so loved.

Fine Times at Our House

Laurie and I went to see the show Fine Times At Our House with Joe McHugh, Paula McHugh and Forrest Newton at Evergreen last night. The show was great, and the price was right, $10 for Laurie and free for me with my student ID.

It was a combination of old-time music, storytelling by the fiddle player (Joe McHugh) and paintings (Paula McHugh). I was having trouble imagining how they would work the paintings into it, but it worked out really well. Paula did her series of painting based on the titles of some of the old-time fiddle tunes.

Amish Freindship Bread

What is the point to Amish Friendship Bread?

You make a sourdough starter, mix and feed it for 8 days, then you make a frigging quickbread with it?!?!

Not to mention, the one we got recently seemed like a rather disgusting idea if we had followed the directions from the start. White flour, milk mixed in to the starter, add pudding mix. Not very friendly if you ask me.

Animal products such as the milk and eggs should only be added right before the final mixing for the bread or cake, not in the starter.

Finally admitted to Evergreen!

I've been attending The Evergreen State College for a year now, and I finally became an admitted student today!

I'm sure that sounds odd, but they allow you to attend up to 8 credits worth of classes a quarter as an unadmitted student. The reason that I didn't apply for admission earlier has to do with the admission policy that you have to be in good standing at your previous school. Well, 25 years ago I attended the local Junior College and achieved the distinction of making it to academic probation. Oops.

An eventful few weeks

During the break between fall and winter quarters, I had high hopes of getting in a lot of work on my new websites, as well as some of the old ones.

Of course, immediately after school was out, the plan was to just crash for a few days, and I accomplished that with no problems whatsoever. I didn't even want to go snowshoeing with Laurie.

When the Pineapple Express hit us in November, it dumped 18 inches of rain on Mt. Rainier in just 36 hours, and the damage has kept the park closed ever since. So Laurie had to find an area to go up near the northwest corner of the park, where she could walk in till there was enough snow on the ground.

Lacey Athletic Club

Our quest for a good local gym continues. Today we stopped by the Lacey Athletic Club which just opened. It was disappointing to say the least.

As soon as we walked in we noticed that all the cardio equipment was by one company, Star Trac. Neither of us are huge fans of the Star Trac cardio line; they just don't fit us all that well. At our last gym, no one ever rode the star-trac bikes because of their bad fit.

First hard frost of the season

We had our first hard frost of the season last night, it looks like it dropped down to around 29 degrees. The weather service is saying that it will be down to about 26 tomorrow morning.

The chile plants that weren't under a tunnel have been pulled up and aging in the garage for a couple of weeks now, and the tomatoes and tomatillos have been looking pretty sad as well.

This year I got low tunnels over 2 of the chile beds, and it looks like most of them survived last night, but I kinda doubt that I will be as lucky tonight if it makes it down to 26.

I'm not complaining about the frost though, for the last 2 years, the first killing frost was in September.

Cheryl and Kaeli are moving to Tacoma!

Laurie's friend Cheryl and her daughter Kaeli are moving up to Tacoma from Portland! Cheryl just accepted a job as a small public library director in North Tacoma, so they will be moving up here by the end of August.

Two years ago at Christmas, Cheryl adopted Kaeli in China and Laurie went along as Cheryl's support person. We've gone down there as often as we could, but we still feel like we are missing too much of her growing up.

Kaeli just turned three in early July when we got her a sleeping bag and a pillow for camping. We were going to try and arrange a camping trip with them sometime this summer or fall, and now it looks like we will have a lot more opportunities to test out that sleeping bag. There is no doubt in my mind that she is going to love camping out, and later on become quite a little backpacker. Before her second birthday she was laready going for walks in parks of over a mile.

The city of Lacey water department sure is special

We just got a card from the City of Lacey Water Utility in the mail that really has me baffled (well, not really). they now have an odd/even outdoor watering schedule going through the summer months.

This really isn't all that strange, many communities around the country implement something similar during droughts. The thing is that we aren't in a drought! We actually had above average precipitation this year and there is still a deeper than average snowpack.

What has me confused, is that that really annoying development to the south of us had to get approval from the water district, verifying that they had enough water to serve all those new houses. In fact, just along Marvin Road there are probably over 5,000 houses in the various developments out there. All these had to be approved by the water district!

Nightshade is all in

Well, I finally got all my tomatoes, chiles and eggplant all in the ground, and only a couple of weeks late.

I had far more plants germinate and survive than I had expected, so I had to finish up a couple of planting beds. Between Laurie's dad dying and a whole lot of rainly days, those beds just didn''t het done in time.

And now that the beds are in, I need to build the low tunnels over them and put in the drip lines. I also have to cut up another roll of remesh to make another batch of tomato cages. Oh yeah, there is still plenty of weeding left to do as well.

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