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Urban Living - Week One

There are more traffic lights between the Seattle ferry terminal (Pier 52, Alaskan Way) and my new job (114 Alaskan Way), two blocks away, then there are in Pend Oreille County. There are more restaurants within three blocks of the office then there are in Pend Orielle County. There were more Scrabble players riding the 5:30 ferry to Bainbridge Island then there was in Pend Orielle County. (I won the first of what will probably be an ongoing series of 25 minute ferry travel time games with Walker Willingham.) to Bain

Almost a STEE! Cascadia Challenge

Beautiful windy, rainy, sunny weekend in Couer D'Alene. Fresh snow visible on the higher hills.

I enjoyed an 8-0, +800 undefeated day to start the tournament, finished at 10-4, +600 and something, 32 bingos played, second place behind Gunther Jacoby. The American team takes back the trophy with a 2.5 game margin over the Canadians. I won $10 each for closest prediction on winning team and margin, most bingos, and highest loss.

My estimated new rating: 1593! STEEdom is in grasping distance.


My sister asked me how we should commemorate her first year with a bipolar diagnosis (I was diagnosed years ago...) ... I somewhat jokingly suggested that we create a bipolar Christmas tree. Here is the result. We had a blast!

Diagnose this Tree 001
This side is more than a little manic ...

Diagnose this Tree 002
This side is very restrained and a bit OCD with the all matching ornaments ...

Diagnose this Tree 003

Welcome to a split personality!

Tumbleweed Wanderers hit the East Coast

For my Scrabble friends on the East Coast:


This is the first trip east for my son's band. They will be opening for Angus Stone on this tour.

This is your first chance to check them out live:

Tumbleweed Wanderers

Last night was amazing! The Tumbleweed Wanderers celebrated the release of their first full length album with a concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

I'm not any kind of music critic so I won't try to evaluate the opening act, or the second band that was also releasing their first album ... but by 10:00 when it was time for TW the hall was crowded with a near sell-out crowd and the energy was palpable. They came on stage, got all the instruments set-up and props in place and then got off-stage and the lights went dark,

The crowd was chanting for them before the lights came up with the soundtrack of a train approaching and blinking red and green train lanterns. I was up on the balcony level along with Bay Area Scrabblers XP, CBB, KC, Jesse D, and Mike Frentz. We were on our feet almost the entire time from the opening song to the final encore an hour and a half later. 

Zak was dressed in skinny jeans and a sheepskin vest over a bare chest, flower child face make-up around his eyes, and a bandanna headband holding back his long curly blond hair. He totally owned the look, it had no sense of being a costume, instead it embodied his own style, force and personality. 

Watch them here ... the tie-dye shirt that Zak is wearing in some of the scenes is one I hand tie-dyed at a birthday party and sent to him as a present a couple years ago. 

A Road Trip to Vancouver or ...

or ... How a woman of a certain age survived three days hanging out with a dozen young men in one of the most hip cities in the world.

It was a blast ... watching Conrad get schooled in gourmet asian fusion cooking by the master ... winning four games of scrabble (out of 12) against a field rated an average of 500 points higher than myself ... playing LOBE(F)INs for 158 points after having LOBE f IN sitting on my rack, expecting to play it for 78 points or so, and having my opponent drop the F in the triple lane (also saw BOwLINE on the rack, but that wouldn't have played ... ) .. getting my cup of Cocoa Nymph hot dark chocolate with salted caramel marshmallows each day ... singing "Sweet Child of Mine" in the karaoke booth and being saluted with a round of "Hey Jude" ... playing "Mafia" until 3:00 am ... lunch in Osooyoos with James, Jesse and Conrad with a round-robin of four fabulous desserts ... many miles of beautiful mountain, valley, rushing water, open vistas driving.

Stopped in Winthrop, WA on my way to Vancouver ... I think the Methow Valley is now at the top of my list of places I would like to retire ... it is absolutely beautiful (and has a great bakery and a fabulous pizza joint)!

Small world encounters:

I picked up a young woman who was hitch-hiking shortly after I left my house on Thursday (something I do very rarely) ... turns out she knows the admin assistant who works in my department her with the Tribe, and she was heading for Omak to visit her mother. I was driving right through Omak, it was three blocks out of my way to drop her off. I was able to offer her a much needed safe haven and some understanding support for a few hours as she was in a really tough place...

I visited the history museum in Winthrop ... spent some time talking with the volunteers who were there ... one of them worked on the construction of homes that were built here on the Kalispel Reservation in the 1960's. These are the homes that I have been facilitating repairs and renovations for this past year.


My Year In Scrabble

10 tournaments - won some money in three, played up to Division 1 for the first time ...

Total record 75-76-2 +372

Rating in 1374, rating out 1449, peak rating 1467 (same as my peak rating in 2010)

Finished the Needlepoint Scrabble Board:   

Coming Soon to a Town Near You

The Tumbleweed Wanderers are on tour through the Southwest and may be coming to a town near you.

If you or any of your friends are in NM, CO, UT, NV or CA check their schedule for upcoming shows.


Check out their EP and support these great young musicians!

If you don't know  .. the tall blond one is my son Zak!

Fish for the Fun of It

I did the jigaw puzzle fish family for the annual fund-raiser competition ,,, and had a zillion more ideas for decorating fish. I asked the art center (Create) if they had any more cut-outs I could have to decorate for fun. I got 3 more crappies and 1 big mouth bass. So far I have finished the crappies. I'm donating the finished pieces to Create for their Holiday Sale, they can keep whatever they can sell them for ... my fun is in the process, not the product. The third image is tonight's project, one more to go!

The playing cards are used decks from the casino, the beads I picked up as part of a big box of Victorian lamp shade materials that I bought for $5 at a yard sale.

Reason #691 to Have a Spare Car Key

A spare car key would be a nice thing right now ...

I returned from Portland and was picked up at the airport by the shuttle from Northen Quest Casino as arranged. My car was waiting for me at the hotel delivered to the entrance by the valet. I loaded my bags into the car and drove the hour home. The snow depth increased steadily as I headed north out of Spokane. I turned off the highway onto the road, picked up my mail, and then turned down the lane toward my place. The road had been plowed up to my neighbor's drive, then it was just tracks from an earlier vehicle down the lane past my driveway, I just plowed my way down the lane and turned off into my drive, burying my car into the snow, about half way out of the lane. The lane and my driveway are both close to level, so I left the car, took my bags into the house, and got the snow shovel. There is about 8 to 10 inches of new snow over the 2 to 3 inches of snow from last week. I started at the front porch, cleared the steps and the walk and shoveled a path along the drive to my car. I shoveled around the car, clearing enough snow so I could back the car into the drive ... after which I could clear enough of the driveway to put the car away for tonight.

That was the plan, I set the snow shovel aside, reached into my pocket ... and no car key. I emptied my pockets, emptied every item I had carried into the house ... no car key. It wasn't on my keyring since I had retrieved the car from the valet, it was just a single loose key, and everywhere I might have dropped it, I had shoveled.

The angel lady who runs our Kalispel Auto Repair is going to call the locksmith first thing in the morning .... I'll use the waiting time to shovel more snow ...