Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ghost in the house and some Christmas cheer!

 I haven't posted anything in a while so since I have some time I'm going to slip a little one in here.

We Haven't really been on many adventures lately, I have been working nights and weekends so I really have no life and the cute girlfriend and I are like two ships passing in the night most of the time. Kind of sad but we try to make it up on our time off, doesn't always work but we get some time together.

The Impetus for this blog is what happened last night at 1am.  I don't want this blog to turn into some paranormal posting site, but I do like sharing our little haunting here at our home. To me it is a little adventure and a study of the possibility of the after life. A ghost in your house qualifies as an adventure in my book.

I'm going to share this year's Christmas light display here at our house, we love Christmas and get into the decorating part in a big way.

I'm sure what happened last night would probably set some people on edge. It is kind of crazy when your dog goes nuts barking and growling at something. Her carrying on woke me from a dead sleep and startled me.

Early this morning, a little after 1am our dog Molly launched off me to the corner of the bed facing the door and was having a fit, barking and growling.
Here is the fierce beast begging for a piece of bacon. I must always remember while eating not to look down. She is always giving me this look. She is a Lhasa Apso, Maltese, something or other type dog. She is not a very big dog and rarely barks. We had her a month before we found out she barked at all....lol

She is very playful and sometime more like a cat than a dog. At night she will decide to move to another bed to be with me or the cute girlfriend. Most of the time when she sleeps with me she wedges herself against my back to be as close as possible. As was the case last night she was against me when she forcefully launched off me to begin her barking fit. That woke me up with a start. I rolled over to be ready for what I thought would be the cute girlfriend coming into the room. I listened but couldn't hear her stepping in the dark.

Molly, or Monster Dog as I call her, was growling pretty fiercely and was giving her best small dog protective bark. She was doing a little lunge to who or what ever was coming down the hall. Nothing showed at the door.  My bedroom is downstairs and it is pretty dark down there. There is a door that exits into the back yard and it has a window in it and lets in light from the Mall that is on the other side of the river from us. That makes it so you can see a silhouette of someone at the bedroom door.

I was there looking and waiting for someone to show at the door and noticed a very faint redness to the ceiling and wall that I could see from the bed. There is a stop light across the river from us that can shine through that door. That is what I thought I was looking at and because of the low light it was kind of fuzzy and faint. I have never seen any of the colors of that stop light through that door before but it made sense in my mind.

one problem that red glow was slowly moving into the room. I closed my eyes and looked away to see if it was some sort of after image. I looked back and the red glow was now in the room and on the ceiling over the closet door. I could see the dog's silhouette looking up at that spot now and she was still growling.

This red glow, it is not a good descriptor for what I saw. It was not a form, nor was it a mist and it didn't really glow per se. I don't think it was even light, but I think it was being registered as light by my eyes. I can see why people who see things like this have problems describing them, I would think it was made up in my mind except the dog was riveted on the same spot as I was.

I was in full analyze mode watching this red glow start to fade when the cute girlfriend came down the hallway and turned on the light. She came down to see what all the ruckus was about. She thought I was up and playing with the dog. I hope I wasn't sitting there all wide eyed when she flicked on the light.

She ask what the dog was barking for, I told her that I wasn't sure that I hadn't heard anything. She said "Hmm" and was about to turn off the light when I told her that just before she turned on the light that a dim red glow had come into the room and stopped over the closet door. She went hmm again and turned off the light. My eyes adjusted quickly but the glow was gone. Molly was still looking up at that spot though.

I told Molly to tell that red glow to get out of the room because we were sleeping. She sat there watching that spot for almost 15 min. There was a very slight feeling that there was something in the room but it faded fast. The feeling was never ominous or anything like that.

Activity in this house is pretty steady. There is always something ticking or shuffling here. Lately there is a little ticking noise that happens over by this Wok I brought back from my Dads.  It is a peculiar noise and the dog can sometimes react to that.

I'm going to look into the stop light glow coming into the house, but there is no way it could be projected around two corners to be on the ceiling over the closet. The dog was what really cemented it that maybe what I was seeing was really there. I always wonder what animals really see.

Here is another good one. The cute girlfriend was going into the living room the other day with the dog in tow and she stopped in her tracks and called me. When I came to the room she pointed at one of the dogs small tennis balls and said that it had just rolled out from under the Christmas Tree. I would have loved to seen that one.

So far activity is pretty benign and it better stay that way. We know there is something here with us in this house but we don't communicate with it. I don't think we should communicate with the dead except in extreme cases when you are telling them that they are dead and that they need to move on and that they are now not welcome anymore....hit the bright light highway chum!

Let's move along here citizens it is Christmas time and time to enjoy family and friends

In some Christmas songs you hear them singing about the telling of ghost stories, well there you go. Now for the Christmas lights and Tree decorations.
 Here is this years Christmas Tree. The cute girlfriend found this cool snowman in top hat tree topper and we thought we could have fun with that theme for a few years. She decided that she would crochet a red scarf for the the garland and it turned out awesome. I really like this tree, she has really out done herself this year with this tree. Speaking of trees this one is artificial, we bought it four years ago and it has more than paid for itself in that time. Put some of those pine tree scent sticks in it and bam your house smells like a real tree is there. As you can see by all those presents that we are spoiling the grandkids....grin

I'm a little crazy about lighting the outside of the house. It takes a while to get the lights up and I can only do it on short bursts at odd times so I started putting up lights on the 10th of Nov.
It is a simple start. Then in the next couple of days I try to add more.
I use to put all the lights up on Thanksgiving day but it is not convenient to do that anymore. I was taking video of the lights as I added them and posted it to YouTube.

I wish this old house had better power coming from the panel. I put a lot of lights up so I check as I go if I'm running too many lights on a circuit. I feel cables for the slightest bit of warmth. Luckily now todays lights are now LED and they don't draw much power. If you are going to put up a lot of lights you need to do it safely.
I will let the lights run for a few minutes then unplug from the wall and feel the plug terminals for any heat. If there is heat I start pulling lights. I have maybe 2 more circuits I can use...Hmmm I have a flat roof I wonder how many inflatables I could fit up there....oh go all out and build a mechanical Santa's Sleigh with Reindeer  and Santa at the chimney! I wonder?...grin

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The House that Bigfoot built

Like I said in my last post I had taken cute grand daughter up to Mt St Helens recently. When we hit the road for this adventure she asked where we were going. "To see a Volcano!" was my reply.  That was very cool with her.
I promised her that on this trip we would find Bigfoot. This got her telling me all she knew about Bigfoot.
She was very surprised when I pulled into this place. This is a concrete statue of the big guy at a place called Bigfoot Country near a town called Kid Valley Wa.
 For those who may have not heard of such a thing, Bigfoot is supposedly a creature that is hidden in many of the forest of the US. This thing is supposedly 7 to 8 feet tall or maybe bigger. More on that later.

Cute grand daughter and I had taken a hike out this trail that ran through a typical part of western Washington State forest. It had been cut down and replanted in the past and now the trees were all covered with hanging moss. Rather cool sight on a beautiful sunny day. As we walked into this small piece of forest and hiked over a couple of streams that crossed the trail I started seeing a lot of trees broken down and laying at odd angles. Must have been some crazy wind storm.
I stopped and took a picture of the cute grand daughter with her twice as tall as she is walking stick near a double tree arch.
 Tree arches are caused by heavy wet snow pulling a tree over and bending it's top to the ground. Those trees are actually pinned under logs to keep them arched.

I took the cute grand daughter back down the mountain and went to dinner at Micky D's with her grand mother, my cute girlfriend. We took the cute grand daughter home and returned to our own home.
That night I asked the cute girlfriend if she wanted to go on a small adventure, and that it required a little bit of hiking. She wasn't sure but she seemed interested. One of her feet has been misbehaving and causing her pain so it was a touch and go situation.
She agreed the next morning, and I took her to breakfast and we started up the Highway to that Hiking trail.
She found some flowers to take a picture of right off the bat. It looked like this but was purple.
There was also some skunk cabbage blooming thank goodness no smell.
I had brought her up here for a second set of eyes on what I had seen here on this trail. She has a good head on her shoulders and is very smart. I think I knew what all this crazy tree activity was. I told her what I saw and she looked at it with a critical eye.

She was very interested in what I was showing her. There are multiple trees laying at odd angles all along this trail.

 Trees die and fall down all the time. Some fall and land up against other trees.
This can happen occasionally, but in a whole bunch of places in one area seems to be a little weird. What is even weirder is the fact that these two trees haven't fallen on to this tree like this because they are dead and uprooted. These two trees are bent at there bases to cross like that. Above on the picture with the cute grand daughter with those two arched trees, that is how you start a tree to bend like these above.
This video shows the trees whole length. Push play then stop the video instantly, the trees bases are seen there. They are bowed and bent so that they cross this upright tree.

The path goes right under these two trees. If you peer into the woods you can see more trees leaning like this. I didn't hike into the woods to inspect the other "leaners", the litter on the ground was hard to navigate on. Looking at these was interesting enough.
 These trees have been manipulated, to say the least. I know mother nature can do some magical things, but I'm lost on how this was done by heavy snow. This trail sits at about the 1000ft level and in this temperate rainforest area it more likely rains here more than it snows. Most of the time snow bent trees straighten back up and reach for the light again.

Broken branches have been "placed" in certain place, this does not happen by accident.
This one is at the southern part of the trail, and the next one is at the northern part of the trail.
Crossed sticks mean anything to anybody. Stop maybe?
This isn't Forest Service land, and I have never heard of them doing this type of barricading. It is weird.
Those trees that were arching over the cute grand daughter had been set to bend down by putting them under a log.

Here you can see that those bent over saplings are crossed and wedged under stuff. Is this some sort of trail sign or something I don't know. Could a man do this, yes but not by himself. The wind and snow can not do this.
Here you can see over the top of one of the bent trees and look down the hill to a small gully, with more trees leaning on other trees and also some broken trees.

Something is different about this place.
When I was out there with the cute grand daughter we found a nest where something had been sleeping under a log. When I took this pick I looked over my phone and saw an interesting structure behind this nest.

You can barely see a little hollow dug out where something had rested. I'm not sure what this is though.

That structure between those trees, it had a hollow area inside it. It had the look of being stacked or laid there as like a shelter. Both times I was there I didn't have the shoes to go meandering out into this area. Checkered Vans never work as expeditionary shoes...next time I go out there I'm going to where my hiking boots and bring a flash light.
Cute girlfriend said she though something had been digging around in this dead bug eaten stump so we inspected it a little and I took a picture of this near it's base.

I'm sorry there is nothing there for scale, but this indentation was pretty big, a lot bigger than my heal.

I have been tap dancing around what my theory is on what made all this tree bending mysterious stuff. I hesitate to say it out loud. If it gets out that you think this stuff is real most people think you may have stepped off the deep end. People think you sit in your mothers basement with an aluminum foil hat perusing the seedy side of the internet sniffling a lot and eating ding dongs with greasy fingers...sigh

I will stand tall now and say that I think this might be....might be...Sasquatch/Bigfoot related. I have one more piece of evidence to show later that may better support this. I will only say this is a theory at this point.

How weird is this guy that writes this Larsen Adventure Chronicles?  I'm your average Joe Six Pack that drives a truck for a living. I have been to college, but as you can see by my writing I have failed my mother tongue in grammar. I'm now in my Fifties and try to lead an interesting life and try to take in life as it comes at me and see it for what it is and shy away from those things that seem just too fantastic to be real.

That being said I have always been interested in this little bit of folklore called Bigfoot. I look at it as a theory.
I don't like it when someone asks if you believe in something. Belief is for something like god, a wispy entity that you have to have faith in. A faith that lets you believe god is in your life.

People go about this stuff all wrong in my eyes. They do treat this as a belief and not as a more scientific theory. I went out to this place to debunk what I saw. I'm ok with the possibility that some humans have been playing in the woods and bending trees.

This Bigfoot thing goes way back to the 70's when I was a kid. It was a real big thing back then all the news reports of people seeing a large upright creatures in the woods. The cheesy monster movies made during that time. That type of pulp was good enough to interest a 10 year old boy. I would read stories about things like this from those old things called books!...I know kids now a days don't know what they are...grin

The name Bigfoot actually goes back to the late 50's. During this time people heard about the Yeti/Abominable Snowman from the explorers of the Himalayas and creatures of this nature entered into the popular press. Don't get me started on the press. They are part of the problem with things of this nature. They are notorious for printing sensational stuff to sell newspapers. This is also part of my theory against Bigfoot. Fabrications by the News to the point of making things up.

How funny as I write this a large not all that tall hairy man in dark cloths just walked by the front of the house....lol

In 1958 the term "Bigfoot" entered the lexicon when a bulldozer operator in Del Norte County California noticed very large foot prints around his equipment. This bulldozer road crew had been making roads into the hills near Bluff Creek area of California and the locals had heard about these mysterious "Big Foot" prints and a reporter from the Humbolt Times shortened it to Bigfoot and the name is now part of history. Follow the link above fore the Wikipedia article.

The press may have been trying to sell newspapers on this story but the funny thing is that stories like this go way back into the early 1800's.  Back then they called them "Wild Man". They are still finding old time newspaper articles that all describe the same creature. Very interesting to read these old article even just for history sake. They just don't write like that now today. Link is above click on Wild Man.

Like I said this is all pulp for the geeky ADD mind, but as my dad always says "you have to beat the wheat from the chaff" on things you see and read, with the internet this is doubly so.

What took a wild turn in all this Bigfoot stuff was when these two guys came out of the woods near Bluff Creek California with what they said was film of one of the creatures. This is the now world famous Patterson-Gimlin Film. If these two guys hoaxed everyone on this it is a beauty. The person in the hairy suit has breasts and you can see the muscles move under the suit. Which of course points away from it being a hoax. Here it is on Youtube.

This is not the whole film, there is more to it, but it show something walking in the woods.
This film has been analyzed to death over the years, but it does pique the interest.

While I was searching for this clip on Youtube I found this link to the show Survivorman. I guess he went out with this guy to a place that is supposedly hot with Sasquatch activity. I don't know how long this link will be up but I will put it here because the first thing they talk about is the wood structures, some like I photographed.
This link may go dead after a while, but there are other links on Youtube that show more about this wood structure phenomenon.

The reason I started this two part blog out with the town I live in is because back in 1924 This was Bigfoot central. Some miners had a claim up near Mt St Helens and had come back to town to tell this wild tail of how they shot an Apeman and his whole family came down upon these miners and there cabin and they barely made it out of the mountains alive. They were rounding up a bunch of men with rifles to get the Apemen when one of the local Indian Elders came forward and said not to shoot them because they were one of the hidden tribes of Indians that lived in that area. After that Kelso was kind of a hot bed and there are still siting in this area up to this day. Click on 1924 to see the link to this story.

I had read that story in my youth and was reminded of it when I was researching my new town here and that story popped up in the search.

Now we have Reality TV Shows like Finding Bigfoot, and now it looks like Survivorman all hunting Bigfoot and every state seems to have a Bigfoot research group of some sort. If you want to see how many reports there are of Bigfoot you should go to the BFRO site They have reports for almost every state except Hawaii. Some of them are rather scary tail of what people have seen.
This is one of my favorite reports from that website. Don't read it late at night! Report 2782
This is one from a river just south of here. I have actually been to this river. Report 7382

I'm so leery of writing this because some may think I have finally slipped into la la land. Here is a perfect example why. When the cute girlfriend and I went to look at these structures and were about to leave from the site, a couple drove up in a Toyota. They asked us how far out the viewing site was. I told them it was a one mile hike. The didn't want to go that far, and were about to get back in their car when I told them there was a viewing platform a 100 yards in. I made the mistake of telling them if they went any farther they would start seeing some interesting stuff. That was when the cute girlfriend said that I "believe" in Bigfoot. There is that stupid word. I wish she hadn't have done that...lol  This guy and his wife start talking about Chemtrails and the local monster they had back east where they were from. I felt they were now skeptic and I showed them what I had just found. Here is a video I posted on Youtube of what I had found. You will hear my voice but it trails off at the end.

 I was looking at this uprooted tree because it looked out of place. The tree didn't fall there. There is no hole in the ground to show that the tree fell in that spot and the root ball is sitting on top of some mossy branches.
This tree was moved to this location.
This is right next to the path. I walked over to it and was looking it over. It is moss covered. I was wondering if I could lift it and where I would lift it from. It was too big to lift but I looked in the area that I would have lifted it from and I saw a hair wedged into the moss. I told the cute girl friend to come and see what I found. It wasn't a very big specimen and I didn't have a good hold on it and I dropped it. There was no way to find it in all that forest litter on the ground. I was about to walk away when I looked again and saw the hint of a strand of hair sticking out of the moss. When I first pulled on it I was thinking tree or moss fiber. I pulled out an 8 inch long strand of brownish red thick coarse hair. It has a fine wave to it and is thick like horse mane hair.

Big whoop right...lol
It is interesting at least to me. Do I have a specimen of Sasquatch hair...maybe...maybe not. The hair was embedded in the moss like a hair would be that was trapped in it while it was being carried...arm hair?

What do I do with it? Well I keep it for now and put it up as possible Sasquatch hair...and I might show it to someone who asked to see it. I think I have contaminated it too much to have it tested. I'm not going to delude myself that this is real Bigfoot hair, but finding it where a being would lift that log is a little strange.

I leave it up to you. This article is here for you to read and inform, but as my father always says you have to beat the wheat from the chaff....and that hair and my silly theory of this being caused by Bigfoot maybe chaff.

I'm ok with people not believing me. Skepticism is what is needed here but not to the detriment that we don't look at this scientifically. Skeptics need to keep a watchful eye on things to see if something is not right or if someone is hoaxing. Have I been hoaxed...maybe...if I have I have something new to blog about. The hair is a problem though.

Skepticism vs denial. I have seen too many people just jump up and yell hoax at every possible mention of this topic. I'm not sure what there reasoning is. I think it is fear of the unknown myself. They have no room in there life and what is around them that there could actually be a large biped other than humans on this earth. Yet history is full of giants, ogres, trolls that live under bridges. Most of the tribes of America have stories of such a beast and they all have different names for it. There have been sitings of such things in all continents except Antarctica. Many reliable people have seen something that they can't explain, hell even Teddy Roosevelt told a story of a beast just like Bigfoot.

This is what I'm really up against though as far as my theory goes.

This is just my experience and what I saw, and my presentation of my theory. I have now confirmed what all my good friends have thought for years...I'm nuts....grin

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Mysterious and active Mt St Helens

We live in the riverside community of Kelso Wa, and the Coweeman River runs past the back yard of our house. Kelso is at the confluence of three rivers The Cowlitz, The Coweeman, and the Columbia River. It is a nice little community mainly supported by the Lumber Industry. This town and the town of Longview Wa popped up because of the huge tracts of timber here in SW Washington. I should blog about Longview in the future it has and interesting story as does Kelso.
To the east of us is the still steaming Mt St Helens that erupted in May of 1980. Volcanoes pique my geeky interest so I have wanted to go up there and see it up close for some time. When I first got here to Washington State I took a trip around to the back side of the mountain to get a picture of the famous mountain. You can't really see it from town because of the hills that block the view. This is the picture I got...lol

You Can't see the caldera from this side, it is actually on the north side as I found out later. Silly me the map guy never looked at the map or satellite images to find out. This was a good adventure though got to see some cool potential camping areas. Cute girlfriend would like us to blow the dust off our unused new camping gear sometime before we are too old to camp...grin

This blog is really the set up for the unusual things I saw on my last trip up to the Mt St Helens area so this will be a two parter.

Just before I went up to Anacortes I took a trip up the Highway that takes you to the see the north side. The weather was iffy and it was trying to snow when I got to the first observation area (There are two). There is a Science and Learning Center at the newly formed Cold Water Lake and the Johnson Ridge Observatory. I like how the Science and Learning Center looks from the air.

I Think it looks like a Humming bird...or maybe a Thunderbird!
This is what the day looked like when I got to this place.

You couldn't even see the bottom of the caldera the clouds were so low. I headed back down and got some video of this cool waterfall on the way down.

On the way up I passed this sign that said "Bigfoot Country". I pulled into this place and it has this concrete monster to greet you.

  That Animal Planet show "Finding Bigfoot" should come here and save some time. There is a curios shop there and this poor A Frame house that got buried during the Mt St Helens eruption. This poor A Frame cabin is buried almost to the second floor of the place in volcanic ash and mud.
It is pretty interesting how mother nature is recovering after that eruption. It is happening at a faster rate than the experts ever thought it would.

I remember this eruption. The news was a buzz for a few weeks a head of the disaster. I was reviewing all that and ran across the story of Harry R. Truman. I remember this story. This cantankerous old man wouldn't leave the mountain no mater how much the authorities pleaded with him. He owned an Inn and a little store right below the north side of the mountain. He never thought the mountain would get him. Sadly the place where his Inn stood is now under 200 feet of water at the reshaped Spirit Lake. When you get up there it is unbelievable the amount of earth that was moved during this disaster new lakes formed because of the mountain coming down and blocking streams you are in awe when you see it. The before and after picture really show how much change there was. The logs that were dumped into spirit lake are still floating on it surface to this day.
Recently we had a clear day here in the Pacific Northwest and I wasn't working so I took another drive up there this time with cute grand daughter. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky.

This time I wanted to get right up to the Observatory and look into the mouth of the beast but they had the place close so you could even drive up to it. Cute grand daughter and I had to settle for the Science and Learning Center.

You can just about see the new lava dome in the caldera. Cute grand daughter had a great time looking at stuff. She looked through a spotters scope one of the park rangers had set up. We watched a movie about the eruption, and she played with this creepy interactive talking ranger thing set up much like the talking heads in the Haunted House at Disneyland.

After that we set off back down the mountain. We made a stop so she could play in the snow next to the road in one place. The Army Corps of Engineers built dam to hold back the massive amount of sediment created by the eruption. There was enough sediment pushed down stream all the way to the Columbia River to raise the channel enough that ships could not pass through to get to Portland for a short time.
Well cute grand daughter and I stop by there and hiked to the dam. It is about a one mile hike out to the display out at the dam. Wouldn't you know, the Dam display had been vandalized so there wasn't much to see.
The Hike out was fun though. There was some sticks near the trail head so I picked one up for a walking stick. Cute grand daughter picked one up too. Hers of course was twice as tall as she was, and as we walked along she picked up a bunch of other sticks to compare and see if they would make a better walking stick.

This is where the hike got a little weird. Those two bent over trees.
We hiked out to the dam and goofed around there for a little while. When we parked our car there was what looked like a mother and her, maybe 10+ year old, son with her. She was sitting in her car when we got there and then followed us out but kept a little distance from us. She didn't go out on to the dam when she got there, but her son played around near the fenced edge while we went out to see the non existent display near the middle of the dam. As we left the dam structure I spotted this miniature trail. I thought it was something that water had run down but on closer inspection it was a trail made by these rather large red headed black ants. We poked at their ant mound with our sticks to see how they reacted and the woman son came over and talked to us about him discovering the ants. The mom and son started down the trail ahead of us and kept stopping to make sure we were behind them. She was spooked about something.
We made all made it back to our cars and cute grand daughter had to take her stick with her. She had to go to the restroom so we stopped at the Bigfoot Curios shop so she could use the facilities. While there I got her a little treasure chest and a quarts crystal amethyst to put in it. She loved that box all the way home, putting the rock in and taking it out. She told me how she was going to show it to her friends. She was surprised when I told her that Amethyst was her birth stone. Spoiling Grand Children like a proud Papa should.
It was a great day except for those bent over trees. I think I know what those are!

More to come!

Bald Eagles over Anacortes

I haven't had much in the way of Adventures of late. Work is kind of a feast and famine deal lately. The work isn't too bad and the moving to different plants, mill, or refineries to do work is a way to keep it fresh and not boring there just needs to be more of it. I really should be driving trucks and not doing this industrial cleaning crap but this job takes me to all parts of the state and I kind of enjoy that part. I have done a lot of work up in Port Angeles Wa. and really like that town. They put us up in a little modest hotel and we work a couple of days and head back home. The drive up the Hood Canal to get there is about as beautiful as it gets. The Hood Canal stretches along most of the Olympic Pennisula's eastern shores, follow the link it is an interesting read. On that drive I have seen Otters and Seals playing at the waters edge and one time I witnessed a Bald Eagle swoop down and grab a fish as I spun a corner in this tiny inlet....it was awesome.
Washington State is like a Mecca for Bald Eagles, we have some that even fly over our house from time to time. We drive along the Columbia River almost once a week and see Eagles all the time. There is something rather captivating about them, no wonder they won out over Benjamin Franklin's recommendation of the Turkey as the National Bird. (this Franklin/Turkey thing maybe a myth) We also have tons of Seahawks here in Washington State but that is a Football thing here...grin
Bald Eagles only live at the waters edge so they can catch fish. We had some that would show up at some of our mountain lakes in Southern California, but some over zealous bird loving enviro-knuckleheads would close those areas down so no one could see them. They have some at the Portland Zoo and they haven't dropped dead from all the people viewing them...sigh 

I was going to start this blog a few weeks ago when I was sent to Anacortes Wa for what is called a "shutdown" at one of the refineries there, but work and forgetfulness has made this almost a month late.
Anyways I was sent up north for work. They put us up in a rather nice Hotel that had a nice view of that bridge that collapsed in Mount Vernon Wa. last year. Free Breakfast every morning and a fridge and microwave in the room made it so I could save my per diam and bring it home in hopes to spoil the cute girlfriend. The first day there we had to drive up north of Bellingham Wa for some training. That was when I found out that my trip up north would be the trip of the Eagle
We arrived at this training place and as I got out of the truck something flew over my head, less than 10 feet over my head, The Bald Eagle was strolling along and zoom. I sure hoped that is some sort of good luck to the Pacific Northwest Indian Tribes, because it happened again the very next morning at the refinery we were going to work at. I get out of the truck and swoop another Bald Eagle flies over me.
This Refinery like all refineries shuts down yearly to do minor maintenance and repairs so they can run at top efficiency. This is part of the reason you see the price of gas go up every once in a while, they have to shut down and work on the place and that causes fluctuation in the prices.
It was interesting work seeing the guts of the mechanisms that make all our fuels. The first training session of course had all these videos of refineries blowing up so I wasn't sure I wanted to work there after that....lol
My job is really just to run a large truck that is essentially a large vacuum, and our guys were working up in these tall towers sucking stuff out of them. I stood next to my truck looking up into the sky at the towers waiting for signals from the guys up on top if they needed me to do something. Me being slightly ADD I get sidetracked with all the birds flying over the refinery.

It was like planes in a busy airports holding pattern above me. It took me a few minutes to realize what was happening. All these soaring birds circling over the refinery. Most of them were Bald Eagles, I counted 6 of them. There was also a couple of Hawks circling and the occasional buzzard. The first day we were busy so I just watched them circle above the refinery spires and towers, rising higher and higher. It dawned on me what these birds were doing, and gave more evidence that from chaos comes order.
Heat is generated from a refinery, and heat rises especially in cool late winter air. These bird were riding the updraft from the refinery to climb and soar. I love geeky stuff like that.
I continued to watch every day. It was cool to see them soar. On the third day, late in the afternoon I noticed something funny. I had seen them every day about this time. They were like flying black terrorist. These two Ravens flying in a rather cool tight wing-man formation would get into the updraft and occasionally harass the other larger birds. The Eagles seemed to be rather non-confrontational about the deal and would stay out of the Ravens way. (sounds like I'm doing another Football metaphor...lol) This one Buzzard they would harass would have none of that and turned into the Ravens formation from time to time and force them out of formation. Funny to watch. The Ravens flew perfect next to each other. One would turn and the other follow. They flew around the refinery towers with ease like that very cool to watch, not that I'm a Raven fan.

One time someone came up and stood next to me and was looking up with me. It is very noisy at the refinery and we have to wear hearing protection. He taps me on the shoulder and asks what I was looking at. He was yelling of course and I had to yell back and pointed, "The Bald Eagles!". He nodded and walked off. It was later when we were setting up another job on this tall platform over part of the refinery where we didn't have to have heavy hearing protection on that this guy asked me how I could tell they were Bald Eagles. He thought I had telescopic eyes or something. They were pretty far off at times. It was a gray day with gray white clouds in the sky, I'm in the Pacific Northwest what do you expect, I had to point to the bird and tell him to watch it fly. The Black winged creature would turn and the head and tail could not be seen against the clouds, Bald Eagle! I don't think he got it. He spat some tobacco on the ground and shrugged his shoulders.
Life is not all about the work at all times. You need to stay safe and focused on your work so you and the people with you don't get hurt especially at a refinery. That isn't happening at all times and at those fleeting moments you can take in the world around you for a second. It is amazing how many people I run into that have blinders on or are so focused inward that they miss the amazing, or interesting, or even the beautiful things in life.
Even mentioning a great looking sunrise or sunset is kind of alien to them. I got chided in a truck full of workers about admiring a sunset out loud. A few of them made fun of me. I asked them if they were afraid to look at the beauty around them. One of them just said he saw orange and clouds big woop. Oh well.

Anacortes was an ok job, but it was cloudy and cold most of the time. We were there more than 2 weeks and never got to see the rather prominent Volcano nearby, Mt Baker. It snowed in the foothills while we where there that was pretty to see. I'm sorry I couldn't get any pictures to share the refinery has very strict rules about photography inside the refinery
I would love to park my future boat in Anacortes for a season. It is very nice there.
I have found out recently that there are people that work only at these shutdowns and go from place to place following this type of work. There are enough refineries, wood and paper mills up here in Washington to keep someone busy for short times during the year. I'd go back just to watch the Eagles...grin

Speaking of looking at the world around you, what I'm going to blog about next is kind of really out there.
I'm leery of writing about it because one could think one crazy for going into this stuff. Stay tuned


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is there a Ghost in my house?

Have you ever seen anything you just can't explain. Heard something you can't explain either. I have!

I'm not one to believe in ghost, as a matter of fact I can usually think of ways that those ding dongs on those ghost hunting shows could be misinterpreting their findings.

Here are a few funny things that have happened in the past few years. One night in our old cabin in the mountains, the cute girlfriend and I had just gone to sleep. It was her birthday that day and we were pretty tired.

It is funny I just mentioned this little incident to the cute girlfriend tonight....lol

Anyways, we had been asleep maybe 10 min, when something weird woke us up. It was very weird and something I had never experienced before. The best way I can describe it is that a huge charge of static flew over us and then hit the TV. It was an older tube type TV. It crackled like it was going to turn on but it never did. Here is the best part...the TV wasn't even plugged into the wall.

I asked the cute girlfriend what the hell that was. In a half asleep voice she said it was probably her mother coming by to say hi. I can not tell you how interesting it was to feel a charge go through a room like that. The TV crackling only confirmed that I wasn't dreaming. The thing with cute girlfriend saying it was her mom while she was almost asleep was also interesting.

That old cabin was a funny place anyways. Cold drafts running through the place, the feeling of something moving the hairs on your body.

The economy was crap back then and I had to let the cabin go back to the bank and we moved to an apartment closer to the cute girlfriends work. This place was brand new and we were the first people in this unit.

We were there a couple of months when a new something happened. I was in the bathroom shaving and I hear this heavy sigh. It was like it was someone was standing right next to me. I asked the cute girlfriend who was reading way up in the front bedroom if she had just sighed...she said no.

I spent several weeks looking for things in the apartment that could make that noise. I checked the toilet, it made weird noises when you flushed it...not that. I stood next to the Fridge...it made a weird hushing noise when it shut off but it was very quiet. I checked the drawers, the doors, the blinds, anything that moved. I could not replicate that noise.

Not long after that I started to feel that someone was sitting on the edge of my bed as I was just about to go to sleep. I kind of put this off as just me being at the edge of sleep and I was dreaming it. My cat would go sit in that spot after it would happen.

Cute girlfriend and I would trade off sleeping in the front bedroom there because the bed up there was a little uncomfortable. One nite I had this dream that something like a face was pushing in and out of my vision and it was trying to get inside. I had it happen a second night up there and started sleeping on the couch instead...dream stopped. I'm not saying it wasn't a dream. Just a disturbing dream but it is what I experienced.

A couple of months after this I saw something. This was the first shadow not attached to a person I have ever seen. We were walking in with groceries one nite and I was carrying most of them in my hands and was going to the counter in the middle of the room to set them down. I was looking at the wall across the room. I saw the shadow of a little round head move across the wall.

It had only been a brief view because cute girlfriend was right behind me and had turned on the lights in the room. I turned the lights off and moved over by the couch, and recreate the shadow with my hands with the light from the streetlights and the digital clocks and LED's that lit up the room. I spooked her a little when I told her I just saw the shadow of like a little boy.

I spent several nights trying to recreate the shadow. It didn't have pointy ears so it wasn't the cat although the cat came from over near there to greet us when we came in. the size of the shadow from my recreations could only be made by something passing in front of the couch. My shadow at the kitchen and front door area where huge on that wall.

I went round and round on the next thing. I started having a tapping noise on the hardwood floors. there would be two taps on the floor on the other side of my computer desk. I would get up and look, nothing was there. I thought it was just me then the cute girlfriend mentioned she had heard some weird tapping behind her sometimes.

I got lucky one day and I was on the other side of the room sweeping and I heard the tap. From where I was standing I could hear the kids in the adjoining apartment bouncing a ball. It was making the right noise.
My guess was that the sound traveled under that floating hardwood floor and stopped at where there was weight on it and that is where our desks were.

Those neighbor kids were rambunctious and would slam closet door and shake the house. They were good kids though and always said hi and yes ma'am and no sir to everyone. So we never mentioned how the house would shake at night as the kids slid those closet doors closed....grin

It was nice when I lived in the 100 year old American Four Square, in North Dakota, that nothing happened while I was there. It was kind of eerie when we first got the house. The down stairs was completely gutted and down to the studs.

One interesting thing did happen while at the Four Square. When you walked down the stairs as you hit the bottom it would sound like someone was right behind you coming down the stairs. It was easy to debunk though. The cladding on the stairs would creak back into place after you stepped on it. It made sense, that poor old oak cladding had been under water for weeks and was probably warped and putting weight on it would make it flex. It was just funny that it would be creaking two or three steps after you took your weight off it.

In September of 2012 we moved into this old house next to a river here in the Longview/Kelso area of Washington State. This house was built in 1928 or so. A couple of years ago the river in the back yard backed up do to a log jam against a bridge south of here. the basement was flooded. It has been rebuilt and the place remodeled.

I was still working in North Dakota when we moved up here. I would hear from the cute girlfriend and she would say that this house makes a lot of noises. It wasn't until I got here and stayed in the house for a while that I started noticing things.

This is a good time to talk about debunking. I'm a curious type of fellow and want to know how things work. If I see something or hear something I want to know what it is. The world does plenty of things that we can't see, and interacts with thing in weird ways. Just air movement alone is a very funny thing.

Warm air rises and cold air sinks, this is the general rule of things but air in a room can be a very complex. small things can change the flow in a room. Wind pushing into a room from a leaky window can push little bubbles of cool or warm air into a room and it may take a while for that bubble to dissipate and sink or rise. I was sitting near a window at our old cabin one time. I had the wood burning stove heating the house, but it was kind of wet and blustery outside. A big gust happened outside and I felt this little bubble of cold air near my arm. I felt it come in next to me and linger there.

This was one of those "Cold Spots" those ghost ding dongs talk about. I could define it. I gently felt around it with my hands and could feel this bubble of air, cold in the middle and warm all around it. It wasn't a ghost I felt it get blown in through those nasty old aluminum windows that were on my cabin. It was just a bubble of air and it just hovered there next to me and after a time the room warmed it up and it disappeared. Not that the damned wind didn't blow some more cold air in.

Have you ever seen a mist appear out of nowhere. I have. I walked down the stairs in that North Dakota Four Square one morning and saw three of them. It was as cold as hell outside that morning, like -20 cold. Right in the center of the three windows I could see cold coming in through the glass and slowly start to sink into the room and form a mist.

Now picture the bubble of air described above and picture a bubble of cold air moving into a warm humid room. The moisture in the room would condense in that cool bubble and form a mist. I felt cold air coming off the wall last night as a matter of fact and a cold bubble of air was near my face. If the wall is cold it will cool the air near it and start to sink. Once you know this I can usually say a cold spot is just that a cold spot.

Debunking noises. Just like the "sigh/breath" I heard down in our apartment in California I will look for a noise that happens in the house. I never could find anything that could replicate that noise. Now this old house has a lot of noises.

There is this gentle knock that happens from time to time, right under the my feet at the desk I'm typing at this very minute. The first time it happened I actually went to the door to see if someone was there. What makes that noise?

In this house we have two sump pumps that go off a lot. We have a lot of ground water under this house and they go off many times a day, and as they clunk on and off the pipes that carry the water bang against the walls they are attached to. Alas that noise is not the knock. I kept that knock in my memory for a long time, and was at the right place at the right time down in the TV room. I had just used the down stairs restroom and when the tank got done filling it shut off and I heard the knock.

Water flowing through a pipe doesn't like being blocked all of the sudden, just like shutting off a valve fast the water has momentum and pressure is built up and bang you have some water hammering. No ghost communicating with you in Morse Code on the walls.

Seeing things out of the corner of your eyes and shadows. These thing happen a lot here in this house. I discredit most of them. My bifocals cause weird effects and bend light and distort things near the lens edges. Also our brains are kind of wired to see things out of the corners of our eyes anyways as a protective mechanism. Also according to my eye doctor those things that are floating in our eyes are proteins and they can confuse the eye at times. I analyze what I see in this house a lot. We already think we have a ghost in the house but I'm not going to let my imagination run wild with this and think everything out of the corner of my eye to be our wayward spirit.

Shadows. Car lights going by cause shadows to move, and as mentioned above our brains are hard wired to see things like this and try to identify it as a threat or not. I have seen a few unidentifiable shadows here in this old house. One night I saw one almost head on and not out of the corner of my eye. I started to ask the cute girlfriend if she had seen it and she told me to stop because the kids where in the room. I guess she saw it too. From time to time I see shadows in the bedroom at night. It is interesting to say the least.

We had the cute girlfriend's daughter and her three kids with us here for almost a year. She told us that on a few occasions she had seen a shadow looking in on her from her bedroom door. She had thought it was me at first, but it wasn't. She said it creeped her out.

I have seen a shadow pass in front of the TV in the TV room. It was dark at the time, and light from the electronic equipment was the only light source in the room. Something moved from one side of the room to the other. Can't explain that one.

I try to debunk before I go straight for "The Ghost Did It!" One day I was here at the computer when there was this loud squeekie/thunk type noise outside the computer room. I spent 20 minutes wiggling things and swinging doors to see if hinges made that noise. I think it was like Christmas day that I discovered what it was that made the noise. It was a door, a door I had checked on. We had stored presents in there and when I went in to get them the door was stuck and it made that noise when I opened it. This just made the mystery a new problem. How did this door open. It wasn't windy the day the door made the noise and all the windows had been closed. the air flow from the heater/AC flows out of the room not it. What the hell opened that door.

We save our aluminum cans here and store them in trash bags in a corner. From time to time you will hear one of them fall inside the bag. This is probably gravity doing its job and making thing move to the ground, but those bags are normally closed tight. I'm going to give gravity the benefit of the doubt here. Its just that in that corner a lot of thing happen up stairs and down stairs.

Why does the flat screen in our bedroom make noises, When it is OFF!
Ok those thing can make noise when they are cooling down. The screens get pretty warm when you run them, touch on sometime you will see. I can see it making contracting noises as it cools. Fine, then why is it at 2 AM that it makes crackle noises? It took me a while to figure out how to replicate the noise but that just made it more mysterious.

This bedroom is actually in the basement and the TV sits in the corner right under where those cans are stored. Now you would figure that a basement would have concrete floors but this bedroom doesn't. I'm not sure how this wood floor is secured under the carpet but it has a lot of give to it. I walked by the TV once and put my foot right next to its stand, a electric fireplace, and it crackled just like it does most nights. It crackles like someone is standing there next to the TV.

Cute girlfriend says she hears someone walking on the carpet at night. This carpet is rather noisy. You can hear carpet backing rubbing against the foam pad underneath it. In the quiet of the night it is rather loud. She looks up to see if I'm coming and no one is there. This might be dismissed because she might be half asleep when she hears this but it is hard to say. She says she hears it. I know that TV makes noise every night after it has cooled and I'm wide awake looking at it when it happens...grin

This was kind of weird for a short time we had a cat here and it use to play with me as I would come up the stairs. One morning I was playing with the beast and I was trying to get a picture of him to post on Facebook. All of the sudden the cat who had been intently looking at me was now looking over my head at something. The Cat was sitting on the main floor of the house and I was on the stairway landing almost into the basement, so the cat and I were eye to eye. I looked up at what he could be looking at and nothing was there. It had his full attention and his eyes were locked on it. It was like he was looking at something that was peeking around the corner from the kitchen. It was very weird. Here is the pic I took he is looking up at something

The weirdest of all. There is something that I have seen that I can not explain. I have seen it three times here in the house. The first time it was something out of the corner of my eye near the basement backdoor. I dismissed it as some light play in my glasses. Then one evening we were watching something in the TV room and right next to me I saw the phenomena again. I think I had a John Wayne movie on. Right off the edge of my glasses I see what best can be describes as a scintillating distorted wavy line standing next to me. I didn't want to move fast so I turned my head slowly to get it in focus with my lenses. I didn't turn my head to far, more my eyes. There was something there. I looked back to the TV and then turned my head to look in the direction of the distortion, but it was gone.

I saw this type of distortion again a couple of weeks ago. I was hear at the computer typing a story and I felt something moving some arm hairs near my wrist. This type of crap happens all the time and I usually dismiss it as standard body hair movement. Like if you have been laying on it and you get up you can sometimes feel it moving and standing up no longer compressed against your body.

Down and just slightly to the right I saw that distortion again. It was about the size of a finger tip. I looked down to it and it disappeared. Very weird seeing something like that and you can't explain it.

This is a very active house. Even as I type this there is a noise over by the upstairs bedrooms.

It wasn't too long after I got back to Washington state that the cute girlfriend said that one of her employees lived right across the street and had told her that an older gentleman had died in this house. That can make your spook level go up a little.

It was kind of funny when we told our landlord about her other renter. She looked a little weird and kept saying "Don't tell me this, don't tell me this". We told her we weren't concerned so she shouldn't be.

Is there a ghost in our house. I have no idea! Is there weird things that happen in this house absolutely! Do I want to make contact with any spirits that might reside here at this old house, no I do not! I don't think getting into the world of the dead is a good idea anyways. My closest interaction with the weirdness in the house is to yell down stairs to say not to make so much noise down there.

Is it spooky? I'm not so far. Cute girlfriend can be a little jumpy at times, but she hasn't said "we have to move now!" just yet. If we do have a spirit in this house it has been pretty benign as far as haunting might go. If some poor middle aged heart attack victim is here with us and doesn't know that he is dead or is afraid to move on well there might not be to much I can do about that.

If the activity gets out of hand we have plenty of options. I'm just curious for now. I will watch and debunk and learn. I'm going down to the basement to check on a noise typo at everyone later.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Too Much Christmas?

It is January now and I have 95% of Christmas put away. There are still some lights on the roof that I need to take down, but I need a tall later that I don't have to get at them. I would keep them lit until March but since I put them up way early this last season I unplugged them.

I love Christmas. I love the light displays, and the joy of the season. Right after Thanksgiving I can't wait to hear my first Christmas song, and always hope it is one of the instrumental versions of "Sleigh Ride". The Christmas shopping I'm not all that fond of, but the togetherness of Family is important to me and I want to gather with as many of them as I can at this time of year.

The Cute Girlfriend has Grand Children that I love dearly and have earned the title "Papa" from them, which warms my heart wonderfully. I'm blessed with a loving significant other that is totally a Christmas Light Addiction Enabler. She will come home with new stuff for me to put in the yard or on the house. Our light displays are more than some people would want but less than some of the more fanatical enthusiasts.

I kid people that I want enough lights on the house that the Astronauts on the International Space Station can see it as they pass over, but I know that might turn our nice neighbors against us.

This year was my first year decorating this house we are in. Last year I was in North Dakota working so I couldn't put up lights. I started early this year. It has not been a year of good fortune for us, and my feelings on the economy and our political climate prompted to start spreading the Christmas cheer early. My work had been so slow during October, November, and December for that matter I had plenty of time to put up lights.

I usually put up lights the week before we went up north for Turkeyday to visit my folks. This year I wanted to get a real early start. I really needed some Christmas cheer in 2013. On November 10th I started to put up lights.

I posted this on Facebook and got a few..."Already?"..from some of my friends. I was on a mission though. I just felt that I needed to spread the Holiday cheer, now! We went shopping and found some more displays and lights.
It was about this time that I started to notice from my window here at my computer desk that all the cars that normally race by were slowing down to take a look. Local parents with their kids would stand at our fence and look a the lights. I was starting to think my mission was accomplished.

One night I noticed the UPS man slow as he passed the house. We have a very low bridge up the street so trucks like a UPS truck have to turn around and go out the way they came in. I saw him slow like he was looking for addresses. I went to the front door to see if he had something for us. He turned around and stopped down the street for a few seconds then came up and stopped at our gate. He stepped out and said he didn't have anything for us but he was enjoying our lights and thanked us. This was still before Thanksgiving, mission accomplished.

Alas I wasn't done yet. The cute girlfriend bought something huge for the front yard.
This is not a great pic of this Frosted Ferris Wheel, the lights blink and twinkle which made it so the poor camera on my phone could not focus. This thing is 6' tall and boy does the wind catch it!...lol

We had a few more lights to put up, and I got the cool Ferris Wheel up in the yard.

The cool thing or maybe not so cool thing privacy wise, is that the back yard can be seen from across the river. This worked out well because we bought this funny little inflatable Santa in a boat which would fit in well on the River side of the house.

I strung lights on the gazebo too. I could have done the windows on the back of the house but I think I was taxing this poor old houses electrical system as it was.

Here is a huge warning. For those of us who like putting up Christmas lights, after you have them all plugged in and lit. Feel the cords coming out of the socket. If that cord is at all warm to the touch you need to pull some lights off and reroute power from some other source.

This house was originally built in 1928 and although most of the electrical has been updated it is still limited.
I had to run power from the back of the house to the front. If you do this you need thicker gauge electrical cords because of the distance. Distance can equal electrical resistance with small electrical cords so be careful.

We found out one night that one of the circuits in the basement was running a lot more that we thought. Poor cute girlfriend wanted to take the chill off of the TV room and turned on her electric fireplace and POP. I unplugged the lights so she could run her heater.

Timers can be important, I found some that have a photovoltaic switch that turns the lights on at dusk and then will stay on for a few hours and turn off.

The lights were having there affect more and more cars were driving by would slow down to a crawl and view our display. It warms the heart when you can spread the Holiday cheer like that.

We had found these cute Christmas cartoon character sidewalk lights at Big Lots. I had this idea of making a cute little display with them. It was the Peanuts characters skating. I wanted to make it look like they were skating on a frozen pond. So I mixed some old decorations with some new and this is what I came up with.

I thought it turned out pretty good.

Christmas lights can be a crazy affair down in California, with whole neighborhoods decked out in lights. Not so much here in the Pacific Northwest as far as I can tell. There is one house here in our town that was not to be out done. There is a Sheriff's vehicle normally parked in the driveway of this home so I commend this officer for his Christmas spirit. His display is a computerized light extravaganza. Complete with musical accompaniment. There is a sign in his yard telling you to tune your radio to a certain FM radio frequency and then you will hear what the light display is timed to. It is pretty cool. I don't think I would go that far but it is very cool.

One of the things that is popular in this area during the Christmas season is at the Portland Zoo. Known around here as Zoo Lights and is usually done on the Zoo's train that is in the park. This year the train was out of order so it was a walk through display. The lights of course are animal based but it is pretty cool.
It is very popular in this part of Oregon and Washington and can be very crowded at times. This night it was not as busy. We went twice during the Holidays, each time taking a different group of Grand Kids. The displays can be very elaborate. This dragon one puffs rings down over someone standing below it.
I loved this Lighthouse one.

The Animated displays are very nice. Down by the Elephants there is a display with birds of pray swooping down , Hippos popping up out of the water, Lions chasing Gazelles, even Alligators opening and closing their mouths.


Made a YouTube video of our trip to the Portland Zoo Lights above showing the Animation.

We had all the Grand Kids over for Christmas and a large Christmas, Turkey dinner with all the trimmings. As always the Twice Baked Potatoes were the hit.

One of the hard things about the Holidays, especially if you are counting your carbs, is the sweets. We bought a whole bunch of pies. Pumpkin, Dutch Apple, Chocolate Cream, Key Lime pies all stacked up on the counter calling out the amount of carbs they contain and then our names. I had a huge hunk of Key Lime Pie Christmas night and had a sugar rush that knocked my socks off. I was sparing on the amount of pie I ate and kept the carb intake as low as possible this season and didn't gain any pounds. It took me most of a week to finish off the last of those pies. One hard sugar rush a day...grin

I didn't get to see my children this Christmas. Work has been horribly slow so there was no money in the wallet for that...sniff

New Years was just like the 4th of July here. Cute girlfriend had to work early New Years Day so we went to bed at 9pm and were waken by the firing of canons and fireworks at Midnight. It sounded like the shelling of Fort Sumter. It is funny how the people in the crappy trailer park down the street can't afford to put paint on their homes but can afford hundreds of dollars of fireworks...sigh

I'm ready for 2014 maybe a better job will come my way. I have a lot of applications out right now.

One last thing. In October of 2012 on a joke I started a story for the cute girlfriend. It was suppose to be a couple of pages and be ready for the 2012 Christmas season. It took me well over a year and 84,000 words but I finished what now can be called a Novel for my girlfriend on January 5th 2014. Seeing as I haven't written anything like this before and never did well in college composition I have a lot of correcting to do now on my story to get rid of the bad grammar and run on sentences. For those of you that have read my posts here I'm sure understand what I'm talking about....lol

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thanksgiving in Placerville California

I started this posting the day after Thanksgiving it is about time I finish it!

My Father lives in California near Placerville. We have been going there for Thanksgiving for a while now. We were all from Southern California originally, but back in the 90's they moved way up there into the hills above Sacramento. For the Past few years we have been enjoying the Christmas Festivities in Placerville's old town section.

The sad part of this is that my dad lives alone now. My mom passed away a year and a half ago which makes this all a little hard. Mom had everything ready for us when we got there so we could get a nice family Thanksgiving dinner ready to be made. The last few years she would let me help make the meal. Momma didn't always let other people in her kitchen. I was still working in North Dakota last year and we had just moved up to Washington State so only I could make it down there to be with dad on his first Thanksgiving without my mom.  It couldn't have been sadder going to the restaurants that Mom and Dad use to go to and the wait staff asking him where his wife was.

Placerville Ca. is the county seat of Eldorado County California, and is one of the epicenters of the 1849 Gold Rush. It is about 15 miles from Sutter's Mill where the California Gold Rush got started. There are tons of old towns and gold mine camps around with names on the map for places like, Fiddletown, Whiskytown, Pokertown and one of my favorites Volcano. I blogged about that town a couple of years ago.

If you are into Antiques Placerville has quite a few shop to look at. Being the nostalgia junkies we are the cute girlfriend and I love this place.

Our trip here was a little rough. Left our home in Southern Washington about 5pm and got stuck in horrible traffic in Portland Oregon. That set us behind and we had to spend the night in Grants Pass Oregon. I have not had a lot of luck with Motel 6 and from this point on Tom Bodet can turn off the light for me because I won't be going back to them for a while. We get a room at the Grants Pass Motel six and it is like grand central station there. When we got in the room the heater was on and the room was around 90 Deg. and the place took for ever to cool down. You could also hear ever bit of noise passing by our door, and at 4am when the toilet in the room backed up causing a nightmare we had had enough of them and left.

We did get to have Breakfast at one of our favorite diners.  We try to stop at any Black Bear Diners that we see in our travels. They have them all up and down the west coast. Kind of a rustic Americana set up inside these diners that we get a kick out of.

Our poor truck does not sit well for the cute girlfriend so we had to stop a few times to let her stretch her legs. At one stop we walked out with an extra 6 bucks from the Casino we stopped at. We made it to Placerville around 1pm Turkeyday and had lunch with my dad. Later about dusk we went down to a local restaurant and had a Turkey dinner.

The Day after Thanksgiving is fun time up there in those hills. After the gold miners left someone started planting apple orchards up on all the hills. Later some other Entrepreneurs started growing pine trees and vineyards. The pine trees of course are Christmas trees. This area is Known as Apple Hill and it seams that the people of the Sacramento area have the tradition of coming up the day after Thanksgiving and getting a fresh cut Christmas Tree and stopping at these Apple Orchards. Some of the large Apple Orchards have Crafts sellers in tents around their apple shops and it looks like a big fair.

A couple years back we started counting the Christmas Trees on top of cars (some have 2 or 3 trees on their car roofs), we hadn't clued in on all the Christmas Tree Farms up there on Apple Hill yet.  It started out as a gag of sorts and turned into a fun game. My son use to go up there with us, so I texted him with the word "one" to see if he got the joke. He didn't....lol, he got it when I told him about the Christmas Trees up by my dads.

I found this shingle at one of the shops on Apple Hill.

On the day after Thanksgiving the town of Placerville closes down Main Street and has a huge tree lighting ceremony. They have a large pine tree across from the Court House and main street is filled with people to watch the lighting of the tree. It is not really a spectacular tree like some of the gaudy things that you see in the malls, but it is very Christmasy.

The old part of Placerville has some very old buildings in it. They really play up the old west for Christmas.  They have this old horse drawn stage coach that they decorate for the Holidays with two pine trees strapped on top destined for some old west homes parlor for their Christmas Tree and usually some modern Christmas lights twinkling on the back of the luggage cover. There are a few people that get into the spirit of the old west and come to town all Cowboy'd up. There are caramel corn booths and face painting booths.
All the shops are packed with people. The old General Store/Hardware Store is a very cool place and we spend almost an hour in there alone.

We were going to bring my dad along with us but he bowed out. It was packed full of people so he probably wouldn't have liked that. Just going from shop to shop was like a salmon going up stream.

Look what showed up in Dad's yard the day after Thanksgiving, I'm telling you they know when to hide!

If you are ever in the Placerville area during Thanksgiving do go to the town and get some old time Christmas spirit in you. If you are a Thomas Kincaid fan they have a huge shop there. He lived there in his youth and some of his paintings are of some of the old Victorian Homes in Placerville during the Christmas time. Some of Kincaid's most treasured Christmas paintings are set in Placerville.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we have gone exploring to some of the cool old gold mining towns there in Gold Country. One of those places is Sutter Creek Ca. The buildings on Main Street are from right out of the 1800's.

In the past the cute girlfriend and I would go our by ourselves, or maybe with my son or daughter on these explorations. My mom couldn't get around to well in her later years so they always stayed home, not that we didn't invite them.

This time I talked my dad into going with us to Sutter Creek. It was a good ride and outing for him. We walked through some of the shops. He is not really a nostalgia junky like the cute girlfriend and I, so he was not getting why we were in some of these antique shops. Some of these antiques he had used when he was a kid so big whoop, been there done that right?

It was good to get him out of the house and into the fresh air but all the walking and stair climbing was taking it's toll on him so he bowed out towards the end and went back to our truck to wait for us. We speed browsed through the last two antique shops and met him back at the truck. I'm happy we got to have him with us, he needs to get out more. We took home a few things from a craft fair that was at the town auditorium, but that was all. Not to many, "Oh you have to have" Antiques in the shops right now.

It was a good visit with dad, but sadly we had to leave early Sunday morning to head back to Washington. The drive home was uneventful, except when we stopped at a casino in Oregon called the Seven Feathers and I walked away from one game with a couple hundred extra bucks.

Christmas was now in full swing!