Bogged Down

We are well into Spring. Everything is in bloom, including the salmonberries. And the blackberries and springing back to life. Recently, I decided to take out some blackberries along with retrieving some abandoned items that have been giving me the slightest bit of grief everytime I saw them.

We live on a hill. Most of our property consists of trees going up the hill. Through our property runs a little stream, year ’round. We have a long driveway that goes up and up to the house and to our separated poll barn. Typically, while taking a rest outside of poll barn, I’d look down the hill coming off our road and into the stream and see long abandoned balls from the previous family: basketballs, volleyballs, and soccer balls. All resting down near the stream.

And I’d make a mental note: “I need to climb down there one day and pick all those balls up.” And I’d wonder why they’d leave such expensive items – perfectly good I’m sure at the time of their loss – discarded down by the stream.

Last Sunday was the day. Armed with my short machete, I cut through blackberry (avoiding salmonberry as much as I could) to get to the abandoned balls. And I made a ecological discovery.

I was walking on the land between the stream and the steep hill that runs along the road. Ends up this soil is a bit lower than the stream and wet. Soggy. Boggy. The soil is saturated and there are pools of standing water. And as I made it to the abandoned balls, my right foot went so deep that it was stuck. Then my left foot was stuck. At this point I dropped the machete, wavered back and forth, put my hands on my hips and gazed across the stream, contemplating the blooming skunk cabbage and thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

With one big yank my left foot was free. And I landed on my butt. The Beaker in my mind suddenly started running around with thoughts like, “Ah! What if your big butt starts sinking!” I wasn’t at a good yanking angle but I pulled on my right foot again. Nothing.


I positioned my left foot and both hands on the most stable dirt I could find and gave one big huge yank.

Ploopf! Freedom! I scurried backwards up the hill, cursing the muscle-cramp I now had in my right calf due to the extraction. I then carefully ambled over to the abandoned balls, flinging them to an open area I could easily collect them from later. Every step back desperately sought reasonably solid ground (I could stand to sink an inch or two but three inches set me on edge).

I think I understand now why the balls were abandoned. I have more abandoned items to retrieve (strangely, some dog toys across the stream — do coyotes steal dog toys to play with?).

I think I’ll wait for things to dry out a bit.

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Seattle Magazine's Best of the Food Blogs

Just a listing of Seattle Magazine’s “Best of the Food Blogs” for the Seattle area:

Oh, the last one, Roots and Grubs, has a post today that says the Good Dog, Bad Dog sausage restaurant in downtown Portland has closed. I only went there a couple of times and now I regret everytime I walked by and didn’t stop. It was one of those whimsical store-fronts that always made me smile. Molly has a shot of the sign in her Portland Typography post.

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A New Job at Microsoft for Eric!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I made a big shift at Microsoft: I moved out of Office and into a completely different group at Microsoft. I’m very excited about the new group, what it is currently working on to ship, and the future features that the team is going to deliver.

I’ll certainly miss being in the Office group. I’ve really been with the same group since starting at Microsoft back in 1997, just sort of surfing along through the various re-orgs. But when the job req for the position I ended up moving to was posted to an internal list, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I even sat down and drew out ideas for growth and connections for the group through-out Microsoft properties.

If you can find a job that gets you constantly thinking in a positive and expansive way, well, go for it! So I did. It took me sometime to work though the internal job change process but now I’m in Building 119 and have hit the ground running.

It’s a great group. This is shown by the fact that I’ve at least felt both productive and part of the team already over the past couple of weeks.

I look forward to shipping so that I can start saying more about the team and its mission.

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His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass semi-Preview

Wow, it’s taken a bit of digging to try to find any sort of preview for The Golden Compass, coming out in December of this year: His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass at WorstPreviews .

Ends up it’s mostly a technical preview because it’s half pre-special effects from the movie, half-behind the scenes. I’m really looking forward to the movie because I was really enchanted with the book series, which led in a direction that I never expected (saying goodbye to the concept of a Kingdom in Heaven and rather fighting for the Republic of Heaven).

Official movie site: The Golden Compass.

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From the "I'm not making this stuff up" Department…

Today’s Saturday Seattle P-I has the following front page story about an incident at a Bainbridge Island elementary school:

The victim? An unsuspecting sixth-grade teacher. The weapon? Strawberry lip gloss.

In a caper worthy of Wile E. Coyote’s finest failures, two 12-year-old girls from Bainbridge Island are accused of attempting to elude punishment for a tardy assignment Thursday by poisoning their teacher, Kasey Jeffers, with a flavored lip balm they knew would make her ill.

Read more: Girls, 12, allegedly poison teacher at school (and I love the Wile E. Coyote reference).

Truly, you’d want to set an appointment reminder for about fifteen to twenty years into the future to check-in on these two young ladies and find out how their path in life has turned out.

For a Stephen King novel, this incident would be an important bit of backstory…

That Time of Year – Twenty-Five for $25

It’s time for the spring Seattle-area Twenty-Five restaurants with $25 prix fixe dinners: Twenty-Five for $25 Dine Around Seattle March 1-29. Some of the restaurants are also featuring a $15 lunch.

My Sweetie and I dove into the first 25 for 25 that happened after we moved to Redmond. It is a great way to get to know the area restaurants without draining your budget… given that you can resist cocktails and wine and such with your meal.

The Eastside restaurants on the list include:

  • Barking Frog right near Willows Lodge. If you like Redhook beer, you can easily walk over to the Redhook pub and have a delicious pint before and/or after.
  • Third Floor Fish Cafe in downtown Kirkland (on the water – try to go for the sunset!). Nice place just for happy hour appetizers, too.
  • Yarrow Bay Grill & Beach Cafe (on the water, too – ditto on the sunset!)

Make your reservations soon according to the restrictions of when they are serving their prix fixe menu (Sundays through Thursdays). I remember the Barking Frog filling up quickly. When you go, after you’re seated they hand you both the regular menu and the prix fixe menu.

The meals typically are a tad bit smaller than the regular menu dinners, but you know, in this day of wild excess, I feel that the meals are actually the right size of what we should be eating. And tend to taste wonderful!

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Sneaky, Sneaky Snow

So, Puget Sound residents, how much surprise snow did you get? A bit from the Seattle-PI:

The Weather Service, he said, has received reports of nearly a foot of snow in parts of Bothell and Monroe. Near Shoreline and up to Lake Forest Park, about two inches of snow fell, he added.

The area around South Everett received eight inches of snow and Mill Creek had over 10 inches of the white stuff.

(From: Weather to clear by Thursday afternoon )

My sweetie and I got home last night and noticed patches of snow already on the edges of the drive. Then as we wrapped up dinner an icy mix came down, followed by very determined snow. I sat by the fireplace in my reading chair keeping an eye out through the window on the snowy handrails leading down our front walk’s stairs. It didn’t look like anything to worry about. Maybe a quarter of an inch of snow on the handrails.

Less than an inch? Pish-posh.

Ends up that handrail accumulation is not a good metric to use in the future. The handrail is sheltered by a Douglas Fir and a Red Western Cedar. When I went out with Bella for a walk before bed I was impressed that we were nearly four inches of snow already and it was still coming down.

We’re well over five inches and seem to be damage free, though Bella and I found a large cedar bough on the ground down by the front-edge of our property that had snapped off due to snow load.

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