BrownStone Chinooks is devoted to fostering the excellent health and wonderful temperament of Chinook dogs. Hard-working Chinooks excel in many activities such as agility, obedience, back yard play, hiking, dog powered sports, search and rescue, and as service dogs. The affectionate Chinook is an excellent family dog matching its activity level to that of its companions - be it strenuous exercise or snuggling on the couch.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Making the Most of a Gray Day

Some time in the middle of the last night, the power went out. My guess it was a transformer somewhere close because both the dogs and I woke up. I got up; realized the neighborhood was dark so no reason to call the power company; went downstairs to throw the hot-water heater breaker and; squeezed myself back into the bed.
"I don't think there is room for a human".
Jake gets a bath and I get no compassion.
By the time the electricity was back on, the house and hot water were cold. The power surge again tripped the well pump and my really over-taxed computer booted up with the blue-screen-of-death. Instead of a shower, I dressed and headed out into the pouring rain to prime the pump. Just yesterday after my clothing purge, I was inspired to put away all the water jugs along with other stuff cluttering counter tops. I should have known better. At least the bath tub was still full of water and I could flush and have water for the dogs.
My plan for the day had been to attend the Women's March - though with all the contention surrounding it, I am not sure what I would be marching for beyond solidarity against Trump and for the environment. The March was over by the time I got the well-pump going and a cup of coffee. I was also going to go to the Home and Garden show to get inspired and do the monthly Costco run.
The raingage on my new, fancy weather station showed 2.06" rain in the past 24 hours. It was still too cold in the house and the hot water too tepid for an appealing shower. I wrote a blog post while I finishing my coffee. My agenda for the day was altered to returning to bed; listening to the rain on the metal roof while snuggling with the dogs and; reading a book.
"You want us to move over?"
Restless moments did find me taking pictures, planting spring bulbs, replacing the counter water jugs and helping a neighbor with their burn pile
In-other-words, the fur kids and I made the best of our Gray Day.

The Purge

Getting ready to go to the Lion King took hours. I live in jeans, tees, flannel and Keens but I felt I needed to dress-up for the occasion. After all I was going to the fanciest restaurant in town and the cultural center. I opened my closets still full of power suits, dresses,  evening attire, sweaters, silk blouses, wool pants... and began my dressing frenzy. I actually did end up wearing my best jeans and flannel shirt and polished my Keens for the occasion. I was pleasantly relieved to note that I was not the only woman of a certain age, similarly attired. This is Eugene after all.
I was raised with two strong, often repeated, values: "waste not, want not" and "a penny saved, is a penny earned". With clothing and most everything else, I bought only the best and classics - not fads. Items that if they went out of style would come in again. Because of the quality, mine would still look new and expensive. I had saved having to buy anew most often poorer quality.
While many of my clothes are "in again", I have changed. They still fit but are not me. I haven't worn most of then for years and if I had felt I had to for a certain occasion, I had not enjoyed being in them.
I called my good friend Susan, who had helped me tackle dealing with Dave's clothes. She too is a widow and understood how to approach that painful task. She also volunteers at the Jr. League thrift shop. Susan knew me through my career years and had seen me in practically everything in my closet. She employed her infectious laugh to our clothing purge. When I would look at saving a silk dress or sweater Susan would say: "These are beautiful, but are they you?" or "I remember you wearing this back in the 80's". If I could wear it out on the tractor, it stayed. Most everything else will benefit an organization committed to developing the potential of women and serving the communities youth, family and underserved.
No pictures of the purge - just words. But, I do now have empty drawers and closets for guests.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Start of Another Year

The day was sunny (very rare for a Jan 15th birthday) and cold. Ma Nature provided me with my own private island of white...
and ice covered pond to amuse me with one of my favorite pastimes - making music with a chorus of pebbles skidding across the surface. 
I may be growing old but I a still a kid at heart. Vineman also enjoyed the combination of ice and sun.
I had a wonderful birthday full of well wishing friends and excited dogs. The day was capped off with sharing champagne, dinner and a birthday dessert at a French Restaurant and then premier seats at the Lion King with my very special friend, Nonna.
All I can say about the Lion King production is "WOW!" and I would love to see backstage during the show. The very small cast is continually making magic happen changing in and out of unimaginable costumes. Oh yea and, how did they get quips about Trump tweets and Eugene weather into the chorus?
Once a year I buy a paper so I can read my birthday horoscope. Today's reads: "Turn this into a year to remember. Stop thinking about what you want to do or to have; make your dreams come true. Making plans with someone you enjoy working with or being around will lead to a better relationship as well as progress toward achieving your goals. Use your energy wisely. Fitness and manual labor will bring better results than anger."
Glamour photo courtesy of my sister.
I do put little stock in a newspaper horoscopes but it is fun to think that I might just turn this year into a year to remember and achieve my goals. I wonder if fitness is finally in the starts for me.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Another Year

Almost another trip around the sun. Where did the years go?
Last year my horoscope read: "Happy January 15 Birthday. This will be a year to reevaluate and rediscover. Don't feel the need to act in haste or to let pressure and stress rule your life. Step off the stage and look methodically at what you have done and what you still want to accomplish. Make choices based on your desired end results and then figure out how to reach them."
Not a "happy" fortune but in many ways, spot on advice still needing some nurturing. The death of my husband of 41 years minus 14 days brought overwhelming grief, pressure and stress. These very physical emotions did rule my life. How could it not be so? My first inclination was to act in haste. There was so much to do. So many unknowns.
I hid from the stage. I am fortunate in that I have friends who understand my need for space and time to work things out at my own pace. I am just now peaking out from behind the curtains.
Attempts at being methodical led to the numerous piles of stuff that plague my home. I still don't know what I need to do, let alone, what I want to accomplish. All the closets and cupboards are now clean and empty. What do I put where? What do I keep, donate, discard? I guess that is a metaphor for my life in general. What do I keep, donate, discard of Kay Lee of the past as I go forward on to a new episode of my life?
My focus remains on readily tangible, small, obstacles. I am still in the now, the moment. I feel empty but, newly hopeful. Stuff of my past and future needs to find storage.
My desired results - I have dreams.
This morning, when I went outside to take a picture of frosty Buddha frog contemplating this past year, I found a beautiful bouquet of frozen flowers friends had left while I was gone yesterday. The flowers survived as I know I will. My plans are to thrive in the future.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Almost Complete

Today I was determined. If I got a break in the rain, the weather station was going up.  But first I had to manufacture the mount which meant finding the tools, screws, bolts, nuts and drills. Dad, a tool and die maker, always had a coffee can to throw loose screws, bolts, nuts and washers into at home and work. He, nor I, ever threw one away. I have thousands. Finding the right ones, well...
With the diameter of the bolts known, I had to find the right drill bit. So far so good. What did present the first major problem was drilling the holes through the pipe stanchion. I didn't have a secure way to hold the pipe and while the holes were centered and in line on the top, the bottom side ended up cockeyed. My pipe is now air-conditioned. I needed straight holes so I could drill evenly through the mounting board.
Ta-Da. May not be fancy and may have different sizes of bolts, nuts and washers but it is straight.
The weather was actually sunny when I started. The first challenge was getting the old bracket off. Then I put the new one on, only to discover that a) trying to drill through loose metal flashing while hanging upside down, breaks drill bits b) my screws were too short; c) the flashing on the roof prevented the stanchion from standing perfectly straight and d) a sheet metal hex screws holding the flashing on stuck out, tipping the mount even further west. The weather was coming in and I really did not want to go back down the two metal roofs and ladder to get more screws and tools. Fortunately I had my go-to channel locks with me. I was able to remove the broken drill bit and sheet metal screw (the mounting board is now holding the end cap on). I used the long screws from the previous mount but still could not get the stanchion to stand without a list to the west. Everything came off again and I screwed the old mounting board as a spacer. By now the drill battery was dead. I quickly mounted the weather station, oriented it south and made sure it was perfectly level (after all, it's information is going to NOAA so no slack).
I still have one more screw to finish screwing in. The final result may not be pretty but it does go with the patina of the place and NOAA will never actually see it.
Not to forget the fur kids. Koyuk actually had a hind leg over Jake and Jake, right up against Koyuk's belly, had one foot under and head resting on Koyuk's front leg when I went to grab my camera. Both woke up and re-positioned before I could get the picture. But, this is the typical BrownStone pack activity level when I am up in the office.
One inch of rain and wind is gusting to 31 mph since I got off the roof. When I figure out what all the buttons and read-outs are, it will be fun to snuggle with Jake and the dogs by the fire while keeping tabs on the weather outside with my new, very complicated, weather station.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Today's Story

This blog was originally a tool to promote BrownStone Chinooks and communicate with family and close friends. At one time my followers grew close to 1,000. I was flattered but declined when advertisers came knocking. My writing is a gift to myself and others. Over that past year, as Dave was getting more and more frail, dying, and after his death, several people asked me for daily updates. Being private, I used e-mail for that purpose. The overwhelming burden of grief is easing. I made it through the holidays. I feel I can be more public even though it is not my inclination. I'm afraid not that much interesting is happening with the dogs to post about - me either for that matter - but, I am still getting numerous requests for updates. Please excuse me if you were looking to read about the joys and antics of living with a pack of Chinooks. I do not have any more litters planned beyond putting Trask up for stud. The dogs are an enormous part of my life and I do plan to pass on isms about them, but general life updates will also creep into the content. 

I am trying to communicate more but then I am not sure a lifetime of being reclusive will alter that much. I was sent this quote today. I would title it: 
This morning the 70 something year-old, delivery driver brought my serviced tractor back and the new rear window for my Kubota. The directions for the window installation said to ”allow 30 minutes for installation”. That is a skilled mechanic, in a tractor factory, with power tools, who has done it before. We knew we were in trouble before we started. Three hours later, after we had removed the roof and rear  frame of the Kubota cab then, put everything back together with only a few spare bolts, we decided that I should charge the tractor store: mechanic work wages; for use of my ladders and bigger hammer; plus extra for all the laughs (employee entertainment) the two of us had putting the heavy, bulky thing on. There was absolutely no way he could have physically installed it alone. The directions said nothing about the brackets we had to remove and use again, upside-down in another place or, the fact that we had to take off the cab top. I guess whoever wrote the instructions assumed that the window was going on a bare roll-bar frame, not a retrofit. I haven’t called the tractor store yet to voice my pay suggestion. They did charge me $300 for three hours labor for servicing the tractor, so I may have reasonable grounds to invoice them or can write it off to an enjoyable, blind-leading-blind, problem-solving project.

The delivery guy is great. We have known him for a long time due to all the tractors, quads, ATVs and mowers we bought from them over the years. Now that I am widowed, he comes by every once in a while to say “hi” and see how I am doing. Today he was full of tales of widows that had immediately sold their tractors and got a great laugh that I need two. But to my credit, I did get rid of the Audi and trade in DB’s fancy, but useless ATV for my new, hardworking, basic one that now has a rear window. I didn’t originally order my Bota with a window because my old one had the expanded metal guard right against the window. Not being able to clean the window really impacted my vision. (I've been known to take my ATV places that I had to awkwardly, and sometimes dangerously, back out of.) I figured that if I got cold or it rained, I could just put on a hat. However after using my Bota without a rear window and tossing loads of dirt, weeds and branches in the dump bed than having a large portion land on my seat, I decided that maybe a window would be a good option. The new one no longer has the expanded metal guard right up against it - actually the way we installed it, it doesn't even have the metal guard at all. Maybe that's where the extra bolts and nuts came from. 

The dogs did get their pedicure today but no dog pictures were taken. Because it was raining, the weather station remains in the shop. I went out to lunch with a good friend and discovered, to my surprise, that left-over Canadian bacon, cheese, spinach, pineapple, artichoke, jalapeno pizza makes a "high value" reward during nail trims. 

So, that's today's story. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

All in a Days Work

I just spent the afternoon trying to put up the new weather station. I had bought top-of-the-line since I was tired of weather stations dying at one year. Top-of-the-line comes with a 70+ page manual. You have to read the whole thing just to put the station together and make sure everything is in sync. I even had to google the longitude, latitude and altitude so I could type them into the base station and contact NOAA. 
Then I had to make a new stanchion. The old one on the roof is a smaller diameter. So down to the barn pipe bone pile to find the right size pipe and back to the shop to cut it to length. 
I ended up looking for the right size bolts, nuts and washers to hold the stanchion to the station. I went up on the roof but the board holding the old bracket/pipe would not work for the new one. Back to the nuts and bolts stash to find u-brackets and bolts… I couldn’t find what I wanted (anyone who has seen my stash of nuts and bolts will be amazed) so rather than go to the town for 50 cents worth of parts, I went to plan B - drill through the new stanchion and bolt it directly to the board. 
That led to needing to make a new board (to the lumber bone pile) for everything to attach to. I decided to start from scratch with the mounting board and brackets since it would be easier to use the drill press on land than drill while hanging upside-down from the roof. 
At that point it started raining. So, I called the person who was concerned that I was on a slick metal roof to let him know I hadn’t gone up again; made a margarita; and declared it a project-to-be-continued. Tomorrow I will drill all the holes and mount to weather station to a board. Then if it is not raining, I will call my concerned friend and return to the roof peak to take off the old board and station mount and put the new one on.  
The Nooks - they followed me about as I searched for parts; enjoyed chasing rodents disturbed from their nests in different bone piles but; generally decided it was a day for the couch. 
To be continued when sober and in the sunshine. Until then, the dogs are going to have to share the couch.