Really Cute Photos From Rachel

A little Perspective

Anna asleep on her rug

Anna asleep on her rug

Anna close up on her rug

Anna close up on her rug

Anna real close on her rug

Anna real close on her rug

Tes the Mess is 8

Calico Ridge Contessa La Messa, better known as Tes the Mess, turned 8 today. We’re very happy she’s still with us.

asking to play

asking to play

Playing in the bushes

Playing in the bushes


We had a very nice visit with Dad and Barbara, including a fun dinner with Mike and Pennie. The sad note is Jenelle Grossman, and what’s happening now with her great kid, Mason. It’s a little to soon to be trying to help with whatever Mason needs, but think we should all get together later, and show him our support in some way.

It’s a Wild Life Around Here

Lots of wildlife. Some, like a raccoon and at least 2 skunks, are living on our property, the rest just pass through. Tes is pretty used to them. Sometimes if the deer come in the yard while she’s on the porch, they ignore each other. Mostly they run off, but she’s not chasing them anymore. Now if they were a cat or a squirrel…

The full couch picture isn’t about Tes. Notice the 3 deer passing by through the window.

Starting the Loofah Harvest

Two of my Loofahs were ready to pick and start drying. About half of them have turned yellow and are getting lighter in weight. Once they’re at least partially brown, are quite light in weight, and the skin feels loose— then you pick them

To get a Loofah ready for drying, you rap it several times horizontally, on a hard flat surface. Then peel the skin and dump as many seeds as possible. They’ll feel a little slimy with their "sap" still coating them.

I power washed my with a hose on had with just a finger over the end. You just keep hosing and occasionally shaking and squeezing until the water runs clear (the "sap" foams up like soap suds), and most of the remaining seeds have fallen out. You’ll have to shake/fish out the few seeds left once dry.

You dry them in the sun, turning every day or two. And don’t forget to keep the seeds for next year!

Be careful not to leave them out in the rain, or in the sun too long, they’ll get real rough. And don’t bag them until you’re sure they’re completely dry. They’ll last a long time as long as they’re kept dry and dust free. If they do stay in the sun to long, will soften up with some use.

If you’d like some seed, let me know and I’ll send you some. And finally, don’t limit yourself to just plain scrubbers, you can attach them to sticks for shower brushes, fill them with soap and make slices, make inserts for you sole of your flip-flop slippers or beach sandals, make cosmetic tools, use as a massage tool or sponge, and lots of other things. If you’ve seen a great Loofah craft out there, be sure to send me the link or a photo!

Inside Activities with the Jones’ of North Carolina

Counterpart to the outdoors pictures, these are things we did inside while visiting.

The Serpentarium has birds in the lobby and a whole bunch of great snakes and alligators. We have tons of pictures of them that I’ll be sending to Jackson.

The pictures of Anna out cold are how we really remember her. She falls asleep before she finishes eating and Rachel can’t wake her up. You can tell when she’s out because she does that limp thing that looks like a classical movie pose.

What’s Up around Here

Tes early morning UCD

Tes early morning UCD

My big news is I finished the Symantec (won’t be calling them Verisign anymore) part-time contract. Like most software, there were some issues, so this time it drug out a bit to get it just right for me to write the VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template). They may be asking me about another bit of part time work at the end of the year.

Tes went back to UC Davis this week, after stopping the Feldene/Piroxicam, and her labs were good enough to have the chemo this time. We did our usual walk around the Arboretum, as far as Tes is concerned, it’s an expected part of the trip. Looks like she’ll be having 2 more and then they stop and assess. Her type of treatment they do for 6 times, though I’m not sure why.

Highway 12

Highway 12

Went to Cloverdale last weekend to see mom and go to the volunteer "wrap" party for the Friday Night Live series. Interesting drive – they’re widening Highway 12 between 8- and Napa and it was 15 miles an hour all the way, on a late Friday afternoon! The party was held at a gorgeous home/estate in the hills of Cloverdale with spectacular views. They had a Cajun band and served Cajun style food. Grabbed the pictures off of one of the volunteers, Chelsea’s Facebook page. Had a nice visit with mom, and picked up the great piece that Frank Miller made for me. Am still trying out spots in the house – hope to have settled one soon. These pictures were the first ones I took with my new iPhone 5… <grin> Will put more pictures up once it’s hung.

My New Frank Miller

Overlooking Cloverdale

Overlooking Cloverdale

Me and Mom

Me and Mom

The Band with a View

The Band with a View

Dad and Barbara have arrived in California, though we won’t be seeing them until next weekend when they’ll stay here for a few days. They had dinner with Ben and Blevins last night, and I’m hoping they took some pictures to post. They’ll also be visiting with Alan, Joel, Jenelle (Cassy is in rehearsals), Debbie, Leo and a whole bunch of Dad’s past class mates since they’re going to reunion activities.

Outdoor Play at the Jones’ of Hampstead

A smattering of outdoor play from our visit. Indoors still to come.

Baby Girl’s and Dogs

Papa Len, Dogs, and babies (with Danny)

These pictures were taken just a few days (2-4) past 34 years apart.

Guess It’s Time

Pleasant temperatures and the sun setting earlier remind me,
I need to get a new quarterly pest contract.

Just Web Stuff Again

mitt smirking

You can always count on tumblr to have the latest in imagery that pokes fun. Smirking Mitt Walking Away From Stuff is their latest group of photos showing, well, Mitt smirking while walking away.

Imugr’s Dinosaurs are gay, which is why they’re extinct single image does give it a run for the money though.

While waiting to order your new iPhone, you might think about downloading the course Earthquake, by the California Academy of Sciences. "What are earthquakes? Find out in this online course, a collaboration between KQED and the California Academy of Sciences developed to complement the Academy’s exhibit, Earthquake: Life on a Dynamic Planet. These activities focus on how seismic processes, including earthquakes, shape Earth’s surface and directly impact people’s lives."

There are a lot of posts out there shining poor lights on Mormonism and Mitt. An interesting alternative read is the site Mormon Democrats. Their letter reply about Mormon progressives in the post Politics and Mormonism Q&A is an interesting read.

PRWatch has a pretty intense expose on privatization of the prison systems in Florida, and it’s republican enablers in Marco Rubio, Geo Group, and a Legacy of Corruption. It’s a complex, but interesting trail to follow the facts that have emerged.

And to end on something funny Jimmy Fallon’s "I’ve Seen Romney and I’ve Seen Bain" a YouTube must see.

The Chemo That Didn’t Happen

Tes’ 4th chemo didn’t go quite as planned. Instead, we got there as the sun was rising at 6:45, walked the Arboretum and then she had a bunch of tests that made them decide to not do the chemo therapy this time.

She’s having trouble with the medication that went down to once every three days causing bleeding in her gut, elevated kidney readings, and other bad counts. So we’re stopping it entirely, increasing her stomach medication and will evaluate for chemo next week. All depends on how she feels.

Rain, Children, Taxi’s and a Key System with Poor Usability

Rachel just got a new mini-van yesterday, and I know our visit made up her mind on getting one. She owned a Toyota Highlander, which could be turned into 3 rows of seats that become pretty impossible to navigate the interior when the 2nd row was car seats. This is the story of a rainy day, a stop at Toy’s R us and that nail in the coffin for the Highlander.

The kids were loaded into their respective car seats in the 2nd row. Anna (the new baby) was already asleep, and Jackson fell asleep once we started driving. Bill is driving, I’m in the passenger seat (1st row), and Rachel is with Mark in the 3rd row. This is the first time Rachel has sat in the hard to reach 3rd row, the one that we all ROTFL watching Bill get settled in the night before.

We were on our way to the Cape Fear Serpentarium in downtown Wilmington.

It started raining real hard and as we got near our side-stop, Toy’s R Us, and Bill saw that the Highlander was almost out of gas. He quickly dropped off Rachel, me, and Mark to run inside, while he went to fill up on gas. The kids still sound asleep in their car seats.

We hadn’t been inside for long, looking at mobiles, and Bill called. Apparently Rachel had the keys to the SUV. The Highlander has something called a "Smart Key System", that uses sensors to automatically unlock the doors and start the vehicle key-less-ly. The key system just needs to be near it then you can open the doors and push-button start the vehicle. It also allows you to drive away from the key-thingy without any warning until you turn off the vehicle, like at a gas station. Then you can’t start it back up.

And the gas station he went to was several miles from where Bill dropped us off, since he figured he had plenty of time with Rachel in a store.

We went out and stood under the little awning since it’s still raining hard, while Rachel called AAA, who located and sent a cab over to get us. As the 3 of us got in, Rachel up front, I heard Rachel tell the driver we were going to one of the gas stations by Hoggard High, but she wasn’t sure which one, so it could be either side of the street. We were his story of the day.

Luckily the kids slept through it all, we got back on he road to the Serpentarium as the rain stopped and had a great time there and having lunch on the river.

Pictures of the Serpentarium are still to come, along with ones from Rachel’s house. Mark had misplaced his camera, but it has been located in North Carolina, and will be home soon. Here are a few more cell phone photos until then

Susanna on the Water Slide

Susanna on water slide from Patrick Vernon on Vimeo.

Fort Fisher Aquarium

One of the day trips we took while in North Carolina was to the Fort Fisher Aquarium, famous for their true albino alligator. There are only 30-50 of them in existence since they have to be kept out of the sun. There are many light colored alligators, but they aren’t albinos – white skin with pink eyes.

The aquarium also has other alligators, hands on tide pools, a diver tank, playground and natural habitat exhibits outside.