Monday, November 30, 2015

Good Stories

In this time it is hard to find really good stories. If you look on line or through the newspaper you will find some of those good stories. It really seems like the readership or viewing is better when the stories are about tragedy or something bad has happened. We all know those kind of stories are out there because so much tragedy happens whether close to us or in our lives itself. Even the weather when it goes bad makes the headlines. I find sometimes the weather is told in the fashion where it is a lot worse than it really is. Another area close to weather is traffic accidents where people either die or at the least takes people a lot longer get to work or at least their destination. Most of those accidents happen because of poor weather. At least here in the northwest we don’t have tornadoes or large snow storms like in the Midwest or on the East Coast. My brother told me last week that are high winds made the national news. I find it normal for November and of course a lot of rain makes the news as well. What really would make the news as far as the weather goes here would be a snow storm or an earthquake. We have neither of those very often anyway. Well I have to say we do have some earthquakes; however, most of the time they are very small so they only make the local news. It is amazing though we could get two or three inches of snow on one occasion and the local news will make it bigger than it should. I have to guess it helps with the ratings. Most people here though have trouble driving in snow even if it an inch or two on the ground. The truth is most people are bad drivers around here. The good news I am a good driver. I figure to put in the good with the bad at least.

November we have had a lot of rain along with the wind storms. The good news though the weather has been nice over the Thanksgiving weather though it has been cold into the 20s at night and mid 40s during the day. Yesterday though I volunteered to help the youth at my church in selling Christmas trees; I had a good time doing so except the cold weather. I was out doing my good deed for three hours, and got my hands and feet cold despite wearing gloves. I am going out to do my good deed again this Sunday and then next Saturday. I went out after my first day on doing my good deed by getting warmer socks and gloves. We did have an outdoor fire made to help us keep warm along with a propane heater for the ladies who take care of taking the money from the customers. The money of selling trees goes to the youth group and feeding the poor as well. It is a very good cause indeed.

Though good stories are hard to find I figure we can make our own good stories especially this time of the year since so many people are in need. The most important thing is to recognize the talents that we have, and use those to help others. Even if you don’t have a lot of talent you can go along side those who do. Every group that is out there this time of the year can use the help. If you can sing at least a simple tune at the very least find some of your friends and go out caroling. Older people in nursing homes would love to hear you sing. For one thing they do not get many visitors around the year so if you can go see them and give good cheer than you have made a good story in their lives. This is time of the year old St. Nick will remember for you are being good and not naughty. So be a good story in you. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Three Kinds of Friends

This Thanksgiving again makes us realize how thankful we should be for family and friends along with our health as well. Thinking about it there are three types of friends we should have and be thankful for.

The number one type of friend is someone we look up to and want to be a lot alike. This friend though we know is not perfect they have the qualities we would like to have ourselves. This friend we spend some one on one time with to learn from them. We would call them our mentor. If we see them afar at this time we should let them know that we want to spend time with them. This person could be our boss at work, a neighbor, or someone we have known for a long time. Whatever the case maybe they are a special person in our lives, and we will become even a better person because of them.

The second type of friend is the kind we have more than the other two. We are with them in group situations primarily. They are our co-worker, neighbors, longtime friends, see them at the coffee shop, athletic club, church, or you belong to an organization club. Whatever the case you are around them a lot or maybe once in a while; however, you consider them your equal. It is most likely the number one friend started as a number two friend then you realized you wanted more out of them but these are your peers.

The number three friend is similar to your number one friend; however, you are the mentor or the person they want to be like. Also, they could be someone you feel that they need encourage and you have sympathy for them. It is possible that you were in the same situation yourself like they are in right now. You relate to their circumstances, or their need is in your heart. You want to hear them even if it is to listen only.  Likely after sometime they will become a number two friend; however, they will be more special to you then your other number two friends because you spent so much one on one time with them. At some point you will have another number three friend that you will be working with as well.

Over time your friends will grow though some will leave because of relocation; however, all friends will feel very special to you. Those who leave you will keep in contact by email or social media to be sure that your friends for life.

In many ways friends become more like family then your actual family though there stills nothing like family and the natural bond. This is something we all should look into doing this coming year to have all three types of friends. We will all be better people for it. Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Having a Wonderful Thanksgiving

Here in USA Thanksgiving has been a tradition for so many years. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln declared it a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.

The traditional Thanksgiving is having a turkey along with potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Personally I don’t like cranberry or sweet potato so they are out of my thanksgiving dinner; however, I don’t mind if other people do. Pumpkin pie I will have as long as whip cream is available to put on it. I just do not think it has that much taste to it. Growing up I usually had pecan pie because my mother always made it and I liked it better than pumpkin but pecan pie is not always available. Also, I may have apple pie or a berry pie if either is available.

I find today though that many families do not go with the tradition of turkey. I know some families will go with ham or beef for Thanksgiving instead. It does feel very unusual if you visit someone else’s place for Thanksgiving and turkey is not available. That happened to me some time back where I was invited to a family from church to their place for Thanksgiving. They went more for roast beef; however, pie was still available for dessert. The first time I went to their place for Thanksgiving it felt very awkward not to have turkey. Up to that point I always had turkey for thanksgiving. I went to their place for Thanksgiving several times and I knew what to expect after that first year so it was fine. The thing though after Thanksgiving I had to find a way to get turkey. Those years I went to their place for Thanksgiving was that my dad was no longer around and mother would go to my brother Jack’s place in St.Louis, Missouri. Actually I went to Jack’s for Thanksgiving a couple times before mother decided it was a good idea for her to do so. Jack’s place was really not big enough to have both of us go.  A few times though I went to Jack’s for Christmas instead. Jack’s place was different for Thanksgiving because he and his wife are vegetarians so they had a different meal; however, two of their sons were meat eaters so the three of us would still have a chance to have turkey. Jack was not a vegetarian until he married Anne.

Growing up we had all the traditions of Thanksgiving. Often our cousins from Seattle would come to Gig Harbor for Thanksgiving. Also, my dad’s business partner Ralph, his wife, and mother. His mother was something else because she liked playing scrabble with us boys. She usually beat the daylights out of us. She came up with words that we never heard of before. We often would challenge her; however, she always showed us those words were true. We would shake our heads with unbelief still not believing they were English words. What frustrated our mother was when Ralph’s mother would come for a visit primarily at Thanksgiving she would take the paper wrappings off the soups and other cans so mom no longer could tell what were in the cans without opening them. It could take several tries before getting the right can especially those that were the same size.

In those days we kids would eat at the table off from the living room. The room was adjacent to my bedroom and the bathrooms. We became very happy when we graduated to the living room table. It did not happen until we were in junior high. Actually Jack was able to join early because he would have had to eat by himself when I made the living room table for Thanksgiving.

When my sister Barb got married which was during my senior year of high school than my brother-in-law Bob and his family joined us for Thanksgiving. We would then go to their place for Christmas dinner. They lived in Lakewood so it was not too far away. At that time it was about a half an hour drive; now you can do it in about twenty minutes.

Now that my father is gone along with my brother in-laws family the tradition of Thanksgiving is not quite the same. My sister and brother are both on the east coast. Mother does not fly anymore so this year the two of us will spend Thanksgiving dinner at mother’s church. I look forward to some good turkey dinner and enjoy the others that will be in attendance.

I know that many families traditions change over the years especially when marriage occurs among the children and the death of loved ones. So whatever your tradition is have yourself a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Having Fun!

I just decided to start a community called “Life Experience” mainly after the writing of this blog where any of you can write similar experiences like I write on this blog.

This time of the year we need to look at having fun. I write a lot of my childhood experiences here; however, we all have to realize that we can have fun as adults as well. I know that many people do have fun when they go to a ball game whether it is baseball, basketball, or football as fans doing a lot of screaming for their favorite team. Also, people take it serious especially when their teams are not doing so well. Of course, many go to their children ballgames as well to watch. There are those who take it serious as well.

Life can be real serious and things can be stressful being adults. If you are not into sporting events you can have fun playing board games, going to a concert, activities, or a hobby that you make work on in your garage. Of course, you can have fun watching television or reading a book as well. Some enjoy video games or doing things on the internet. There are so many ways we can have fun in our lives.

I enjoy going for a walk almost every day and spending time at the coffee shop and grocery store. I have fun being around people as much as I can. Writing here is another activity I enjoy doing very much as well. I enjoy thinking about what has happened in my life during the past, and look forward to putting on paper and on line.

This morning like I do other mornings I did a search about something I want to share or find an image that I can save to put on as well. So I went ahead and found some images about having fun. I found many of them being quite interesting and saved some of them which you will see on line. One I really found interesting saying “Having fun while you are old otherwise you will be old”. I have to say that is something really to think about for sure. Though we are adults and no longer being a child there a part of us that still feels young. Often though we may be over fifty in our heart and in our mind we think of ourselves as being in our twenties if not younger; however, we are not able to do a lot of things we can at that age we can still work at it. This is really true if we have grandchildren where we can play with them and spoil them rotten before giving them back to their parents.

Another great way to have fun is going on vacation. Getting older it is harder to take trips by plane; however, many senior citizens can travel around the area they live in. Of course, like many in Washington State go to Arizona during the winter and early spring time. It is time to get away from the cold and enjoy the sun and warmer weather. I think it is fun to see another area of the country at the same time as well.

I hope soon that I will be able to travel around the  United States and other parts of the world; however, I hope my health will help me to be able to do so. Another reason I do some walking because I see older people who are not able to walk very well. I know that some of it has to do with their health but that is the reason to stay in good enough shape along with eating a good diet. These days I see a lot of young people who are not eating a good diet and I think that they will not live a long life unless they change their eating habits. I admit that I have not eaten the proper way myself during these adult years especially with so many fast food restaurants around. Here in Gig Harbor we have so many restaurants now that those I would not consider fast food are still very unhealthy.  Even the coffee shops that I attend have unhealthy things to eat as well. Right now I look at eating less and eating those unhealthy things only once in a while. I am not talking about once a week or two but no more often than once a month.

I had high blood pressure so now I work at eating little that has sodium in it. Also, the kidney stones that I had to have taken out back in last April there are certain things I can no longer eat. I know that changing our eating habits is not an easy thing to do for any of us; however, it is important to do so we can stay healthy and continue having fun.

My mother is ninety-five years old and if you met her you would see that she still looks pretty healthy. Though she walks slowly and just stopped driving about a month ago she still has a very sound mind. She plays bridge two or three times a week along with reading books and is able to spend good time with friends. It is hard to know how long this will continue at her age but right now so good. She does not travel much anymore, and none by air however she hopes to be healthy enough to travel a grandson’s wedding in St. Louis, Missouri next year. In that case she will fly by plane but that is a special exception. I hope that I will be able to have the same fun and health when I get to her age. We can all hope so and something to be very thankful about.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Friends Along the Way

I am sure that I have repeated myself several times; however, I am sure we can read things over and over again.

We are on a life journey where we meet new people and get new friends. It starts when we are a baby where our mother’s best friend or those she hangs out with at least who has a baby as well around the same age. Along with them are other babies at church, in the neighborhood, grocery store, library and cousins. After a little while we meet new friends in pre-school and then onto kindergarten before elementary school. We continue meeting other kids whether they move into the neighborhood or into school. If we move at some point we get new friends as well. After high school we meet new friends at college and then onto the workplace. During college or in our twenties we meet the love of our life that has their own friends as well. We have children and the cycle continues with them getting friends until our lives end at some point. Of course, we lose friends along the way whether they move away or we do. At some point death ends friendships. It could be a death of our spouse or a death of a friend’s spouse.

The real special friendships are those you have at an early age and continue throughout life. Not everyone is so lucky to have someone like that to be close with the whole life until one is gone. Also, there are friendships that you have for a long time but you only see the person once in a while. Maybe they live somewhere else but you keep in touch by email or social media. Every year you talk on the phone as well along with exchanging pictures of children and then grandchildren. My mother has a friend like that she has had since they met right after college. They have close ties though only see each other once in a while because of the distance. My mother lives here with me on the west coast in Washington State while her friend is in on the east coast of Canada in Ontario. My mother’s friend has a daughter who lives in Florida and was named after my mother. It really shows how close the two of them are naming a child after the other.

This last Saturday I went to a funeral I guess you would call it or a memorial. I am not sure what the true difference of the two is actually but it really doesn’t matter at all except that you are honoring someone you had known. This fourth one I have been to in the last three months. I guess I would call this one a funeral because it was more formal than the other three with a service. The other three were remembering those who had passed away with sharing remembrance. One was real informal it took place at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club while the other three were in churches. Nothing takes away how important the informal one was to me it was just a different setting and was a total social time with other people who knew him.

What made Saturday’s service and social time after different from the other ones two was the man who passed away I met him when I was twenty while two of the others I grew up with and then the service of the first one I went to I was in my later twenties. This man is Bob and I met him through his wife who I became friends with in church choir. My mother actually met his wife through the Yacht Club as they were sailors along with my mother and father. My mother found that his wife was Episcopalian like she was and invited her to church where she jointed up in the choir. Arriving in Gig Harbor they bought a restaurant which my parents and I would go to sometimes. They had the restaurant for a long time when they finally retired. After retirement the two of them would spend some time in California during the winter and return to Gig Harbor in the spring. After the death of my father my mother and I would go to their restaurant on occasion especially on Easter because they had a fabulous brunch. In fact, you had to make a reservation to be sure you could get in. When they had the time which was not a lot while owning the restaurant they would go out sailing in their boat. During their retirement they spent more time sailing and his wife when in town she would play bridge with my mother and others. They continue doing that to this day. At her age my mother considers bridge a good way to keep her mind intact along socializing with friends. I find that my mother’s age this is a good way to interact with people because many people her age are no longer around, and it can be a lonely time otherwise.

I find that I do have some friends but not many that I would call close but I take every opportunity to spend time with them and with many others as well. I go to a local coffee shop almost every day along with a small group of men from church I meet with twice a month. At the coffee shop I usually see a lot of the same people though I don’t consider them close friends I enjoy my time with them. Also, I enjoy meeting new people at the coffee shop and at the grocery store that is right nearby. Whether we have many or few it is important that we cherish every friend and person we meet on this wonderful journey.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Times Hiking in the Olympic Mountains

When I became a teenager which isn’t the easy thing to do in this life I decided to join the boy scouts so I could hike. Looking back now was it a ridiculous thing to do maybe.

I am sure I joined the boy scouts because my older brother Dick was in scouts and some friends were in the scout troop as well. In fact several of my friends that were in scouts with me I played on the same little league baseball team as well. The scout master was the father of another classmate that I grew up with. I know some joined scouts so they could be an Eagle Scout and get many merit badges. Personally I didn’t care about either I wanted to go hiking.

Why I think it is ridiculous in a way is looking back to a long time ago. Actually it was my first hiking experience. Our troop took a trip to lower Lena Lake in the Olympic Mountains. I found the hike tough and exhausting along with the fact it rained a lot as well. Before going on the hike I bought a tube tent which is a one man tent; I thought it was such a great idea but the rain made the tent hard to sleep in and my sleeping bag got really wet. It may have been easy to give up hiking at this point; however, I decided to keep going on. The food we ate was not the most exciting thing in the world either. I believe if I lived somewhere else where there are no mountains I never would have gone hiking. The total experience was good despite having wet tent, terrible food, along with aches and pains especially in your feet. What made it really good was making an accomplishment through difficult times.

 Every year I was in scouts our troop went on a fifty mile hike all in the Olympic Mountains. We took ten days to complete the fifty miles; the main reason we took that many days was the rain. The plan was setup to hike seven or eight days with two or three days off where we would stay in same location. These days off were good to get healthy once again and really have a good time. When we were not cooking or making a fire we would play cards. I found this to be the best time of the hiking trip. The last day of the hike was shorter than some of the other days however it did feel long because it was coming to an end. I was so exhausted that I had to sit for at least a half an hour before getting in the car to go home. Though I enjoyed hiking the trip home was such a joy.

The funniest hike was to Enchanted Valley which is in the Olympics as well. I believe we hiked there at least twice. I think it was on our second trip to Enchanted Valley we heard from some other hikers that there was a bear at the chalet. Depending on the weather and how many hikers were around whether we would sleep inside or outside the chalet. Anyway on this trip the bear was outside the chalet looking for food. We saw our scout master get chased up a tree by that bear. The assistant scout master decided to go after the bear with an axe like it was really going to help. All of us in the scout troop thought it was funny though I am sure it was serious. The assistant scout master was able to chase off the bear and we never saw him again.

Besides having fun with the other scouts despite aches and pains was completing our accomplishment and the views. The Olympic Mountains have some of the greatest views you would ever see.  

After our scouting days were over my brothers and I took a hike to Hurricane Ridge which is also in the Olympic Mountains. It takes about forty-five minutes to get there from Port Angeles, Washington. The hike I remember was about seven miles long each way so we took a couple days to enjoy it. Also, it was not as difficult as the other hikes.

I believe hiking is much better now because the equipment is so much better; however, though I think the experience may have been ridiculous on one level I would do it over and over again.  Now I enjoy a day hike where I can return home the same day. The Olympics and the Cascades have wonderful day hikes where you can see beautiful views. If I were to go camping I would make sure the weather was nice where I would not have to deal with rain. I have to say rainy days are over for me. Made better for teenagers who don’t know any better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

War or Peace

I have to say that I likely won’t write about this subject very often. I know to that everyone has an opinion on this one side or another. I am sure most of us want peace and not war; however, we have to be realistic that we are in a war whether we like it or not. There are fanatics out there wanting to put people to their knees at the very least and wanting to kill everyone who does not believe the way that they believe.

I know that no one has used this term except maybe myself I call it the ISIS Crisis. These fanatics want to kill every Christian in the world and I am sure others who don’t believe the way that they do.

There are some who will put all Muslims in this category; however, I am sure most Muslims are kind. I don’t know that for sure because I have to admit I don’t know the religion very well. In fact, I don’t know any Muslims personally. I see some here and there on a few occasions. I would have no problem saying hello to them and having a very good conversation. If they are willing to tell me more about themselves and their religion I would be up for it very much.

I am a believing Christian so I know that their religion is different than mine. I know to that they do not believe in the same God and how to receive salvation in the same manner; however, like I say I will be kind to them since Christ tells us to love our neighbors. I am not here to put down someone who has a different belief system; however, anyone who wants to kill me because I am a Christian though I love them they are my enemy so we are at war whether I like it or not. Though I pray for peace I do know that war is a reality as well. If you are a Christian or not being an American you automatically an enemy of ISIS and any other fanatics; of course, France and Russian along with the rest of Europe you are in the same place unless you are Muslim. I am not saying that all Muslims are automatically our enemy because I am sure most of them do not feel the same way as those that are fighting the cause of ISIS.

The next thing is about bringing in refugees from Syria. I know that many people in America think it is a very bad idea. I am sure that some are on the side of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that we should allow them in. I am one that believes that we should be cautious, and do screening before letting any refugees in. United States is a country of immigrants since we have all come from somewhere else unless you are Native Americans. My family primarily all came from England and Scotland though many years ago so I have no problem allowing people in as long we find them not to be dangerous. Right now that we are at War whether we acknowledge it or not anyone who wants to be an immigrant should be carefully screened regardless the country they are from.

Since what happened last week in France and we can’t forget September 11, 2001 we must realize that War is at hand. We must pray for peace; however, knowing that it could be a long time before peace comes again to this land and world. France and Russia have both gone into Syria against ISIS with bombing. Though I do not agree with the stance that President Obama and Clinton they are proclaiming I wonder as well in the back of my mind if that is a strategy that our President and others in our government is using. You may be asking what I mean by strategy. This could be where President Obama and Clinton look as bad guys to most Americas and foreigners wanting to knowing that our government is for refugees while at the same time allowing the French and Russia to fight the war against ISIS. Other words, I maybe saying it is a smoke screen. I really do hope that is our Head of State idea. I am sure our top government officials are keeping their eyes on ISIS and not let them come into United States.

We should not be secure in our safety and pray that ISIS will come down and crumble. Also, we should look out for any item that looks suspicious and report it. Right now peace be with you.

Monday, November 16, 2015

More of the Waterfront

I believe I have been blessed to live in most beautiful place in the world. It is a major reason I write about this place and my life growing up here. I am sure though most people feel the same about where they live. It does not mean though our lives have been perfect because I think we have all gone through trials and tribulations.

I want to continue on the subject of waterfronts. My thought is that most people live on or near waterfronts because of the beauty and the need of water. Almost every large city in the world is surrounded by water; in the United States I can name even a few and a lot more as well. There is New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston that I can name right off the bat. Of course, I live about an hour from Seattle. I can name other cities around the world as well like Hong Kong and Tokyo to name just two among many.

There are many places I would love to travel to if I have the time to do so and they all have great waterfronts. Here in Western Washington we have quite a few on the Puget Sound besides just Gig Harbor. Of course, I named Seattle already that has a great waterfront that is being renovated as well. I travelled and spent time on the Seattle Waterfront in August when my brother Jack and his family were visiting. We took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. It is so nice to see some of the Puget Sound by riding the ferry. Bremerton itself has a very large waterfront that you can drive through; however, it is made up of several Navy ships since the Navy Shipyard is in Bremerton. You can take tours of the ships that are available if you have the time to do so.

Coming out of the Bremerton harbor to go toward Seattle off to the right is Port Orchard. It has a very wonderful waterfront that you can drive by or walk along as well. Looking ahead on the ferry you can see Bainbridge Island among several islands while on your way to Seattle. Bainbridge Island you can travel by car as well. On the way you can stop off in Poulsbo a small town like Gig Harbor that has a wonderful waterfront as well. Like Gig Harbor tourists love visiting Poulsbo; a lot of small shops and restaurants as well. If you continue to drive past Poulsbo you can cross the Hood Canal and go to Port Townsend. It has a very nice waterfront as well with a mixture of old and new. The last time I was visiting there they were process of renovation as well. At Port Townsend you can look out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Going further north is Sequim that looks out to the strait as well. Sequim is unusual place and many people retire there because they do not have much rainfall. Going further is Port Angeles that has a great waterfront and many people take the ferry over to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Most people who live on the Olympic Peninsula which all these cities I have mentioned travel to Victoria this way.  If you are in the Seattle area you can take a ferry to Victoria from Seattle as well. Either way you go the ferry ride is fantastic and beautiful especially during the summer.

Nearby Tacoma which I take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to has a very nice waterfront as well though much of it is occupied by the Port of Tacoma that brings in ships to unload cargo. A lot of the cargo comes from Asia; however, you can view the waterfront of Tacoma as well which is really nice. I can actually view what is called Point Defiance from my apartment. It has a very nice five mile drive that you can walk, run or bike through. Point Defiance has a really nice Zoo that you can visit as well. In fact, they are looking to do a renovation of the Zoo. Real close to Point Defiance is Ruston; a small community that has done quite a renovation and has an outstanding view of Tacoma waterfront. Point Defiance you can take a ferry over nearby Vashon Island which is another lovely place to visit. On another end of Vashon Island you can take a ferry to Seattle.  So the people who live on Vashon Island work either in Seattle or Tacoma; another great place to be a tourist to visit for a day.

Going north of Seattle there is quite a few places you can visit. The largest city in that area is Everett. Beyond Everett is Camano Island, and then you can go west to Anacortes for a ferry ride to the San Juan Islands. If you want to bypass the San Juan Islands or spend another day before going or returning is Whidbey Island. You can actually take a ferry ride over to Port Townsend from Whidbey Island to spend the time exploring the Olympic Peninsula.

Like I say though Gig Harbor has a wonderful waterfront there are so many more waterfronts that you can explore throughout Puget Sound. I know I could spend days or weeks doing so.

Wherever you are I recommend that you spend time at the waterfront near you as well. Enjoy your wonderful week.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Walking the Waterfront

 This week I was walking the waterfront of my home town of Gig Harbor, Washington. Being November the temperatures were in the upper 40s around 8am. The sun was out so it wasn’t bad though did feel cold along with a little wind. Later in the day rain came as well which is expected this time of the year. In fact I call it a great day if the sun comes out even for ten minutes. So it was a great day indeed.

While I was walking I had a lot of different things on my mind. Being Veterans Day I was thinking about the brave men and women who fought in wars and defended our freedom. Some of those men and women were grandparents and parents of those who I grew up with along with children of classmates who now are defending our country.

This reminded me what Gig Harbor and the waterfront was like over the years. Gig Harbor is so different than it was back many years ago when my grandfather and father first made steps here. In those days Gig Harbor was made up primarily of fishing boats, and saw mills to make up the building of the boats. Today there are still fishing boats; however, the building of the boats are not same as back in those days. Now Gig Harbor has a lot more small shops for tourists to visit. You can still see the fishing boats around when they are not on the Washington coast or up in Alaska. There are still many sheds where the fishermen work on their boats. One of the fishermen who I grew up with Ken Manning I ran into him at the local grocery store in September; he just got back home from his season up in Alaska. He said this year was not as good a year as normal although his older brother Ed was still up there in Alaska fishing. Ken showed me on his cell phone a picture of his new fishing boat. He worked on building the boat for at least three years during the off-season to prepare for this year. So Ken is prepared to continue fishing for some more time in the future. Most of the fishermen in Gig Harbor I went to school with, and they followed in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers.

When I was growing up in Gig Harbor itself we had one city park now they call Crescent Creek because we have several other parks in Gig Harbor. I used play little league baseball at the park along with football, a little basketball and tennis. There has been some added attractions to the park but in general it doesn’t look very little different than I was a kid. That park was my home field where I spent almost as much time at as I did at our house. There were other parks because other teams we played had home fields as well; however, they were not in Gig Harbor itself. Now Gig Harbor has I believe five other parks that have some significance as well. For instance, one of the parks is Skansie Park that has a shed as well. It has history because the Skansie brothers shed are where they kept their fishing boats many years ago. Also, they ran the ferry line before the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built. In fact, on November 7 the downing of the original bridge that was call “Galloping Gurdy” celebrated its 75th anniversary. Now it is not only a park they have concerts there every summer that large crowds come out to hear local bands. Also, the shed is open sometimes for tourist to visit. Also, the original house of the Skansies is still standing and used for information.

If you walk down the waterfront going north for about ten minutes you come to Eddon Boat Park. Originally it was the home and boat shop of Ed Hoppen.  He designed and built the sailboat series the Thunderbird at the boat shop. My dad being the avid sailor himself spent many days and hours at that shop talking with Ed. I went to school with his younger son Guy who was a grade ahead of me and we played some basketball together. Also, older son Mark who graduated from High School before I entered played basketball too. For some time he was city manager of Gig Harbor and Guy has been a fishermen for many years. He oversees Eddon Boatyard when he is in town. I actually see more of Mark especially when I am walking around the waterfront. When we were kids I used to see Guy and his best friend Gregg Lovrovich who is a fisherman now too play a lot of hoops in his yard at that location. Gregg went onto playing basketball at Pacific Lutheran University which is in nearby Parkland, Washington. I grew up with his younger brother Gary who was an outstanding basketball player and led the Seamount League while we were at Peninsula High School in scoring. He played basketball at local community college and at PLU as well. Though he did not play football at Peninsula High School he did play some semi-pro football and had a tryout as a tight end with the Seattle Seahawks. Anyway, you can stop by Eddon Boat usually on a Saturday where people are working on their own sailboats.

If you continue to walk for another five minutes going north you will find another park called Donkey Creek. Yes this is the second creek on the north end of the harbor down from the Crescent Creek Park I attended as a youth so many times. While I was growing up there was a hardware store located at that site. In fact I did not even know that there was a creek there until the hardware store was no longer standing. Recently on north Harborview where Donkey Creek is they built a bridge and the road goes only one way for a block where it goes back to two lanes. I found out to that they had a bridge at that location back in the 1940s as well.

There is so much history in Gig Harbor that I think about each time I walk along the waterfront, however, the Gig Harbor city council talks about how to continue expansion the waterfront along with the rest of the city at the same time being a small town for tourists to see.

Gig Harbor is not the only city that is working on their waterfront so I will continue on the subject next time. Have a great weekend.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

Today November 11 is Veterans Day in the USA while the rest of the world it is called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. Armistice Day went into effect with the end of World War 1 on November 11, 1918.

Here in USA it became Veterans Day in 1954 where we  not only honor all military men from World 1 but all those in the military ever since. Of course, no one new or thought we would have another world war so it was known as the Great War. Of course, I was not around at the time just like World War 2 which most of us today know more about.

I figure what I will do now is to learn more about World War 1. When I took U.S. history in school we learned very little about World War 1. We were taught more about World War 2 because of Hitler, Germany, Normandy, Japan, and Pearl Harbor.

I found frustrating in each history class that we were taught about U.S. that started with the pilgrims and we usually ended with the 19th century. Of course, it was important part of history of our country but you would think we would learn some about the wars that happened during the 20th century. I am not sure what the education system thought at least in my school district why we were not more about this period of time.

It was important to learn about the founding of our country; however, you would think when we were to learn more U.S. history in the second and third years they would at some point talk about 20th century history. I learned more about this part of history through my parents than at school. My grandparents lived through World War 1 while my parents went through the depression and World War 2. I have to say now that I will need to learn the rest of history on my own. I just hope that the children growing up now are learning the full amount of U.S. history.

The most important aspect of U.S. history besides knowing specific dates and wars is how these mighty men and women allow us now to live in freedom. We go back only fourteen years to Sept. 11, 2001 with the downing of the twin towers that these wonderful military men and women continue to keep us in freedom. We are thankful for the job they continue to do every single day of our lives. We know that the war of terrorism is not over; however, the military is working every day to be sure that terrorism will end someday in our lives. We must remember those people in the Middle East, and Africa especially that our military is working to give them freedom. We must continue to work in Eastern Europe and Asia to be sure people’s lives become free as well.

I know that some of you are living in these areas where freedom still needs to be realized. I am not here to speak politics or the work of freedom but that the people of United States continue to think of you always as we honor all the military men and women today.

The United States is not a perfect country; however, I have to say I am proud to be an American and that I live the freest country in the world. I will pray continually for those in the countries that are not free that in the near future they will have the same freedoms that I get to enjoy each and every day. What is wonderful is that I am able to write this blog with my views and to encourage others with true freedom. Today I not only want to salute the military of the United States but also those in other countries who are fighting for freedom. Thank you all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When it Rains It Pours

Here in Western Washington when it rains it pours; however, most of the time it drizzles.

Depend where you are the amount of rain can differ from one city to another. With some research I was surprised how much more annual rainfall we have in Gig Harbor than Seattle. The difference isn’t just an inch or two the average rainfall in Gig Harbor is six inches more per year than Seattle. I am surprised by that number because I figured we got about the same amount of rain.

Seattle’s rainfall average is about the same as the national average which thirty-seven inches per year while Gig Harbor is forty-three inches per year. The rainfall in November is about the same in both places around six and half inches. The amount of rain in December is about the same in both Gig Harbor around five and half inches but January is higher in Gig Harbor than Seattle. Seattle’s rainfall is the same in January as December while Gig Harbor is an inch and half more rain at around seven inches. These three months make up about half the years rainfall. The difference of rainfall between Gig Harbor and Seattle are in February, March, and April where Gig Harbor has just over an inch more rain each of those months. So we can say here in Gig Harbor when it rains it pours but not necessarily in Seattle. What makes it all interesting we are only thirty miles south and west of Seattle.

Doing a little more research I found that Tacoma which is only four or five miles east of Gig Harbor has two inches more of average rainfall than Seattle but is still getting four inches less than Gig Harbor.

I am really sure you find this all very interesting; however, I did a little more research and found that Bremerton which is twenty miles north of Gig Harbor so it is closer than Seattle has thirteen more inches of rain than Gig Harbor. Other words they are in rain belt for sure. The thing about Bremerton is that they are closer to the Olympic Rain Forest than we are in Gig Harbor.

When I was growing up our family frequently drove a lot to Bellingham and Vancouver, British Columbia. I thought it always rained in Everett; however, they have an average rainfall one inch less than Seattle. So you see we have more rain Gig Harbor which boggles my mind. Bellingham has about the same average as Everett; however, Darrington which is north and then east of Everett so it is in the Cascade Mountains has more than twice as much rain as Everett. Being near the mountains it makes a lot sense. I found other cities in the state that have less rain then I thought they would; however, they have more snow then rainfall. Here in Gig Harbor we don’t get a lot of snow. Actually Port Orchard which is about half way between Gig Harbor and Bremerton gets a lot more snow then we do.

So I see that when Seattle is drizzling we may be pouring and when we drizzle Seattle may not be having any rain at all. This all brings me back to when I was a kid waiting for the school bus. I had to wear quite the rain jacket otherwise I would get soaked. In elementary school our bus would go past our house, my brother Jack and I would look out the window to see when to catch the bus on its return. When the bus would go by the first time we would start out to catch it as the return was about ten minutes. This was very important so we would not get so wet and not stand outside so long. There were days we didn’t take the bus to school because our dad would drive us to school that was on his route to work in Tacoma. In seventh and eighth grade my mother would leave me off at the junior high on her way to her school in Tacoma. In those two years I walked home from school because the bus took a longer route so I get home a lot sooner walking. High School though I had to ride the bus all the time because it was not on the route for either my parents. I had to walk about a quarter mile to catch the bus so I really had to have a good rain jacket. When I got my driver’s license though I was able to drive to school sometimes; I usually drove when it rain because I had to pay for my own gas. Nice days I still took the bus primarily because of the pretty girls. I never thought about asking one of them if they wanted a ride to school. What was wrong with me? Actually I was shy around girls was the problem.

So what I found though it pours when it rains in Gig Harbor; most likely not doing the same in Seattle. Also, depending where you are in Western Washington the amount of rain can be different.

One thing I can count on the rest of November is that we will be getting more pouring rain. You can count to that I will not be going out with an umbrella. You see most people don’t use umbrellas here. Those who do are those dressed in business attire, and not native to Western Washington. Whether you have rain or not stay safe.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Looking at Time Change

On Sunday November 1st our clocks went back an hour. I am sure how everyone reacts about the time change can be different.

I know for me though we gained an extra hour to either enjoy awake or sleep another hour it was quite strange. I woke up about the same time so I slept an extra hour I felt tired all day and the day seemed even longer. I am not sure the time change really made the day longer it was more likely because I had to take my sister to the airport for her return home after spending time with my mother and I. I always find when I do something different than my usual routine the day feels so much longer. I can’t recall in previous years with time change that I felt this way before so I am sure it has to do with taking my sister to the airport. I have found the same thing when I have travelled somewhere myself whether by plan or by car.

I wonder how other people feel about time change go either back or forward. The change here in the fall where we gain an hour I feel has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that light comes earlier in the morning and disadvantage darkness comes earlier in the evening. I am sure after a while when we are on this we won’t know the difference. Of course, until Dec.21 the days get shorter and the nights longer so early mornings are fine with light but the dark nights not so fine.

What I think though is that we should stay on one time all year long; which one I do not really care at all. I know that the change originally happen had to do with farming; however, we are not so concerned about that any more. I am sure the concern is more with children getting up for school and catching the bus. If this is the case I would stay on the time that keeps it lighter the longest. The change of time here in USA anyway should be decided state by state. Actually I am sure it is that way already so I am favor that the state of Washington would decide to stay on the time all year long. So what time would I recommend I stay the time we are on now since it is lighter in the morning for the kids. I am sure the farmers can adjust. Another concern would be the animals so should ask for their opinion as well. It is possible they like one time change over another. I know I am being silly but is this whole time change a bit silly you see neither Arizona or Hawaii change their time. What we could do is hire someone to see what affect no time change is compared to time change. How people and animals feel about time change could revolutionize our world like we have never known before. I know again I am being silly. You may feel that I am wasting our way writing about this which could be true as well. At least I enjoyed this if you didn’t. The positive side if you do not like this I won’t be writing about it again. A very positive thing to say the least so I end here please enjoy your week with additional hour. Oh wait a minute that was last week wasn’t it. Anyway enjoy your normal week.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Hello November

I know we all say it a lot it is amazing and unbelievable that we are in November already. Another year is about to finish and we will be moving to 2016.

This time of the year we look forward to the holidays. We began with Halloween to end October and Thanksgiving in November and finish off with Christmas or Hanukah in December.

Here in Gig Harbor there are several bazaars happening where you can buy presents throughout the month.  I like bazaars because the makers of the gifts make them like they are homemade. I know that not everyone has the time to make them, or like me has no talent. I always like getting gifts like that instead of what you find in a store.

Christmas season always seems to come earlier each year. The stores I found this year they not only had Halloween candy but decorations for Christmas. Personally I wish they would wait until Thanksgiving were open; however, I do understand for many businesses it the busiest time of the year and the most profitable.

I look forward to hearing music as well this time of the year. The one thing though just like stores beginning early shopping sales Christmas music seems to start earlier each year. I know some people like it that way because they can get into the spirit. Personally I prefer waiting until the last two weeks of December. I am sure some will say humbug Herb. I would not mind so much if the same songs were not repeated over and over again.

When I was growing up I always look forward to Thanksgiving. Our cousins from Seattle would come along with my father’s business partner. Later on when my sister got married than her in-laws would come for Thanksgiving. We would go to their place for Christmas.

What made Thanksgiving interesting because of the amount of adults they would eat at the big table and we would eat in our entertaining room for dinner. Every year I could not wait until I was old enough to be invited to the big table. I was so excited when that day finally arrived. I really felt all grown up. Eventually everyone was at the big table. It was not long after my first year because they couldn’t leave my younger brother at the little peoples table by himself. He was the youngest even among the cousins.

What we welcome in November is a lot of rain and winds. This year it started with Halloween having over an inch of rain and winds up to around 35 miles an hour. Fortunately though some tree limbs came down the electricity did not go out. Where I live the power lines are underground so less chance of power failure now unless a transformer goes out. I am not sure what year it was but I do remember there was a Thanksgiving where the power went out. It was such a power outage that Vancouver, British Columbia was out as well. My sister was living there at the time and my older brother Dick was spending Thanksgiving with them. He was not a very happy camper because they did not have Thanksgiving Dinner. We had the dinner that night though it was delayed because of power outage. We have had some other close calls over the years at Thanksgiving as well.

Another tradition for us who like professional football is having the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions having home games each year. Also, the National Basketball Association has some games played that day too. I remember the Seattle Supersonics had a big game against the Boston Celtics on Thanksgiving in 1967 the very first year of the Sonics existence. I don’t remember the final score though I am sure I find it by searching on line but I do remember the Sonics were leading by a very large margin. I was so excited that I had to tell others who were over for Thanksgiving what the Sonics were doing to the Celtics that day. I am not sure any of them really believed me since the Sonics were an expansion team and the Celtics were the World Champions. What a great day for young fan like me. I listen to every word and action that day.

Now that most of those adults back in those days are gone I find it so sad. I am though happy to have the memories of Thanksgiving. Since my sister and younger brother are living on the east coast Thanksgiving certainly is not the same as back then though I am thankful for all of our blessings.

I am sure we will continue with a lot of raining days and winds in November it will be joyful when the sun comes out as well. Right now we are three weeks away from Thanksgiving we can look forward to the turkey and stuffing although I have to watch what I eat these days. Welcome November we are glad you are here and we can think about the memories of the past and making new ones. Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Seeing Seattle

When I was growing up going to Seattle was a really big deal because Gig Harbor was a small town and Seattle was the big city where my Uncle Bill, Aunt Patty, Cousins Lorna, Bronwen, Jennifer, and another cousin Judy who lived with them. Judy spent her high schools living in Seattle while her parents were in Los Angeles.

Last week when my sister Barb was visiting along with our mother, and I decided we wanted to go see Jennifer. Actually we were also hoping to see Lorna as well but she was sick. Bronwen lives in Lakewood which is actually closer to Gig Harbor but I expected that she was working so we decided it would be Jennifer.

In August when my brother Jack was visiting we took the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle which takes about an hour and half including the time get to Bremerton. We could have met Jennifer at the Pike Place Market but decided better to go see her place instead in the Greenwood area of Seattle. So we drove to Seattle directly from Gig Harbor going over the Tacoma Narrow Bridge on Highway 16 and then north on Interstate 5. The traffic was a little heavy however it took still only about an hour to arrive at Jennifer’s place. Greenwood is a little north and west of the University of Washington. I find it a wonderful neighborhood to live in Seattle. Jennifer and her husband Holt have lived there I would guess about twenty-five years. They are now looking to move to the Oregon coast so likely the last time I will be there. I visited them about two years ago by myself just before Christmas. On that trip they took me around Greenwood as well as Magnolia where Jennifer grew up and Ballard. I remember both places as very nice as well. We even drove by the house that Jennifer had grown up in, and brought back so many found memories for me. Most years we visited Jennifer’s family at Christmas time along with some other times during the year. There was some change happening over the years in Magnolia along with Ballard but the change is not nearly as much as Gig Harbor.

On this trip last week we spent several minutes at Jennifer’s home then we walked to a Greek deli in the neighborhood for lunch. It is only four blocks away, and mother who is ninety-five was fine in walking. It had been raining some on our way to Seattle but the sun was out for a little while. Our walk back to Jennifer’s it did start raining again about half way. I really enjoyed walking the neighborhood of Greenwood.

After lunch we had headed back to Gig Harbor because Jennifer had to get back to work. It was a real fun time catching up with Jennifer, and what was happening in all of our lives. Like us all she was amazed the shape my mother is in for a woman ninety-five years old. Though mother walks slowly she is able to make it without any trouble. I think she is like Every Ready bunny where she keeps going on though not real fast she can get there without a problem.

Another great things about mom is that her mind is still intact pretty good so we are able to hear some pretty good stories from the past which she talked a little about as well. It is always nice to hear about growing up in the depression and especially as a young woman living in Canada during World War 2.

Though the trip to Seattle was for only two and half hours it will be a treasure to remember always. It brings back those memories of the past as well. There were times where we drove north of Seattle to either Bellingham, Washington which is near the Canadian border or going to Vancouver, British Columbia. In both cases we went to visit other relatives.

What I remember especially is returning home going through Seattle at night. In my mind Seattle is the most beautiful city in the world at night seeing the bright lights, Puget Sound, and the Space Needle. If I ever had to live in a city instead of a small town like Gig Harbor I believe I would choose Seattle. I am sure Paris, France would be a close second.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Real Nice Visit With My Sister

I have said before there is nothing better than spending time with your family. There are friends that we spend more time with than family; however, still there really nothing better than family.

My sister Barb came to town from Quebec this week. She actually a day late on Tuesday because the plane she was taking from Calgary, Alberta had technical difficulties so the flight on Monday was cancelled. She actually lives in Quebec over the river from Ottawa, Ontario so she took a flight to Toronto then to Calgary. Going back home she went to Vancouver then onto Quebec. Though it doesn’t happen often the chances are greater that a flight could be cancelled. On Tuesday she was quite lucky because a flight three hours earlier in Calgary to Seattle was delayed to fly as well because of technical problems and they were waiting for parts to come in for the plane to go onto Seattle. Don’t really know if the flight actually made it to Seattle or it was cancelled. The passengers were OK; however, they had their patience on trial. I know with my experience always a trial to work with your patience.

Actually quite some time back my parents and I took a vacation to visit Barb and her family in Quebec at Christmas time; however, the flight was cancelled because of fog. We actually spent three days at Sea-Tac airport. I can say not a good experience to live through.

Anyway back to this visit with Barb she arrived on Tuesday at around 2 pm so when we got to Gig Harbor it was after 3 pm. The drive time on a good day is 45 minutes; however, this day is more normal these days so with heavy traffic before Federal Way and again around Fife took longer than one hour. Actually that is not that bad it could easily been a longer trip for us. Arriving at my place in Gig Harbor we relaxed for a couple hours along with our mother than went out to dinner at a local restaurant.

On Wednesday we started the morning going out for breakfast because our cleaning woman arrived at 8 am and we wanted to be out of her hair. After breakfast we did some errands and then home for a short time before heading out to see our old neighborhood along with other spots.

On Thursday we out to the Mall in Tacoma for some shopping and lunch. On Friday we went to Seattle and had lunch with our cousin Jennifer.  We had a nice meal at a local Greek restaurant before returning back to Gig Harbor.

Saturday was more of a relaxing day before going to a Halloween party in early evening. The weather was a lot of rain during her visit so we didn’t get out to as many places as we would have liked. The most important thing though was spending time with Barb. It is the best thing to spend time with family and not what you actually do with them. Good conversation is important thing to do as well. We talk about the past including the time as children. Also, we talked about her two sons and what they have been doing as well.

See Barb is almost eight and half years older than me so her childhood time was before mine so her experiences was much different than mine. I grew up mostly with my two brothers Dick and Jack. She was there for almost the first half of my childhood; however, some of that time I do not remember very well.

Barb talked about her early years that she remembers anyway before I was born. See Barb is actually half-sister and so she had another father who she never saw again after the age of three. Anyway she spent some time with my mother’s parents in the early years before my mother and father met. At that time our grandparents were living in Edmonton, Alberta so she actually spent half a year there in first grade before finishing school year in Tacoma. After that with my parents married at that point she went to school in Gig Harbor. Just like myself school was not a happy place for Barb a good part of the time. She had some but not a lot of friends. She spent most of the years in public schools; however, her last two years of high school she went Annie Wright school for girls in Tacoma. When she finished high school she then went on to college at University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. When she finish school in Oregon she then went onto to graduate school at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma where she met her husband.

Most of her adult life including raising two sons was in Canada. She has always enjoyed living in Canada including the early years of childhood. She has lived in Quebec for almost thirty years. She will be looking to retire in a couple years; however, her plan is to stay in Quebec where her two sons live nearby.

I look forward to in the future to travel back to Quebec. If you have never been there it is a lovely place to visit though the winters get some snow and gets quite cold.

Though I do not see Barb as often as I like it is always enjoyable to see her and I look forward to our next visit. Though our childhoods didn’t come together at the same time it still good to call her my sister and family; I have seen friends more often than Barb there still nothing like the closeness of family.