Monthly Archives: April 2013


Guest blogger Heather Von St. James talks about a serious cancer – Mesothelioma

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posted by Laurie Ryan Hi, everyone. We’re priviledged to have with us today a guest blogger I met through an email conversation. Heather Von St. James is a cancer survivor (mesothelioma) and I found her story to be inspirational. It … Continue reading


Painting One More Thing Checked Off My List ☺ ☺ ☺

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Last week we finally got some decent weather and painted the house. I knew last fall when I bought it that it needed painting and even contracted to have it done but then the winter weather arrived. Living in a … Continue reading

Mount Rainier

We’ve been a little water-logged and chilly here in the Pacific Northwest. Even so, on the first really nice, sunny day we got, did we stay home and enjoy the warmth? Nope. Instead we headed for one of our favorite local places. Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the Cascade Range. It may seem silly to leave 60 degrees Fahrenheit warmth and head for the 24 degrees it was at Paradise, a traveler’s mecca at an elevation of 5400 feet above sea-level. Maybe it was crazy, but it was a beautiful drive, a beautiful walk, and a relaxing day.

mtrainier6(photo compliments of Doug Benedetti)

So I thought, in amongst some pictures of the mountain (not all taken in the same visit), I’d give you a few facts about it.

Height:  14,410 feet above sea level (4,392 meters). It’s the highest mountain in Washington State and the 21st in the world.

mtrainier3(Taken from the visitor center at 5400 feet, looking at the peak.)

In 1792 Brittish Capt. George Vancouver named Mount Rainier after a friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. The Native American name for the mountain is “Tahoma” which means…Well, I found a lot of definitions for Tahoma and I’m not sure which one is right. The one I like best is “mother of waters”. I’ve also heard that it means  “great white mountain” and “the mountain that was God”.

It is considered an active volcano. It’s last eruption was approximately 150 years ago. It spawns 6 major rivers (Nisqually, Puyallup, Cowlitz, White, and Carbon rivers). And it has 25 named glaciers on it, the longest and thickest being the Carbon Glacier, 5.7 miles long and 700 feet thick.

mtrainier2Jim Whitaker, the first American to conquer Everest (1963) trained on Mount Rainier.

In the winter, you can sled, ski, and snowshoe. In the summer, the sub-alpine wildflower meadows are awesome hikes. mtrainier5

Each year thousands of people climb, or try to climb Mount Rainier. The last year I could find data for was 2010, when 10,643 tried and 4,920 successfully completed the climb.

And here in the Pacific Northwest, the saying, however corny, is that if you can see the mountain, it’s not raining. If you can’t, it is or is about to rain. Duh! 🙂

But oh, what a view!


We Love Bees

I love to watch bees. Springtime and early summer is when I find the plump yellow-and-black honeybees buzzing around my backyard, doing their best to pollinate every fruit and vegetable flower in sight.


According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, bees help* pollinate 71% of the 100 crops that provide most of the world’s food supply. Bees are busy pollinating fruits, avocados, almonds and other nuts, and we humans can eat 4000 different vegetable crops, thanks to bees. They also pollinate a variety of flowers, which add fragrance and color to our homes.


Bees have been in the news for the past decade for ‘colony collapse’, where the entire hive dies off. The cause is thought to be mites. A second concern was reported recently in the New York Times [“Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms”, NYT on March 28, 2013].

The article reports that during the past year, die-offs of honeybees escalated; the cause is thought to be nicotine-based pesticides.


We know that bees add immeasurably to the variety of foods we can eat and the flowers we can look at and smell. It would be great for bees if gardeners stopped using nicotine-based pesticides in their gardens. It would be even more helpful if agribusinesses did the same in the fields.


I for one want to see the bees kept happy and pollinating for years to come so I can enjoy the various fruits of their labor.


Bet you do, too!


*In 2000, the value of crops pollinated by bees was estimated at $14.6 billion in the USA alone, according to the UN.



Book Review- SIX YEARS by Harlan Coben

Happy April everyone! I recently finished reading the latest Harlan Coben novel. It’s a thriller/mystery called Six Years. I’ve long been a fan of his and I’m pretty darn sure that I’ve read every novel he has out there.5149ci7GuML._SL500_AA300_
This story opens with a college professor who fell in love six years prior with a woman he considered to be the love of his life. She breaks up with him and marries another man. On her wedding day, she asks him to respect her decision and to promise to leave them alone. He makes the promise but thinks of her often over the next six years.

He sees her husband’s obituary on the college website and decides to go to the funeral to see her again. He thinks he’s being tacky for that but he wants to see her. He’s stunned at the funeral to find that the man he watched the love of his life marry is actually married to someone else and has been for twenty years. He even has two teenage children with his wife. There’s no sign of the woman he loves.

The remainder of the story is this man’s quest to discover the truth of what happened six years ago.

This is a wonderful story. I love the way Mr. Coben can make even serious and tense scenes witty. He seems to have a knack for a light touch. His protagonists are always sharp and quick with the repartee. This is what I enjoy about his body of work.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a smart mystery mixed with a thrilling chase and a dash of lightheartedness.