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Ken Gamble:
In Memoriam

Our Family cruise to Alaska -July 2008

Uncle Dave's Music Web Page - Buy the CD  

Kids Camp Wildwood August '06 

Visit from Niomi and Ivey 4-10-05

Hot Tub & Deck Project Updated 6-23-05

Pumphouse Remodel Updated  3-7-07.

Sari's Wall of Stone
Updated 6-23-05.

Miscellaneous Updated 5-4-05

Disney Trip 2005

Wildwood News Archives

Dec 2009-Sep 2010
Aug 2009-Dec 2009

Mar 2009-Jul 2009
Nov 2008-Mar 2009
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Jul 2007-Jan 2008
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Oct 2006-Mar 2007
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Currently Reading

9/12/10.  Earls Carmichaels son Owen was up at Wildwood this weekend.  That family has been up a number of times this year, enjoying what they can of the house.  But the back room to it was an add-on, built on a deck, and it's been rotting away (like everything else) for a while now.  Owen started tearing it apart and even rented a dumpster for the old material.  Just the original deck left now.

9/4/10.  I spent the last week at Wildwood with a hurt shoulder, a lot of pain and couldn't move my right arm very much.  I went to the doctors and got a cortisone shot, which didn't really work to stop the pain.  But eventually the pain receded and I was able to stop taking Advil, though it still hurts. I wasn't able to get a lot done at Wildwood during the week, unfortunately.  I did get a picture of this portable sawmill.  One of our neighbors cut a redwood down a few years ago and left it on our property.  Since it was just sitting there, Pa offered it to a guy he heard about from a tree guy he'd hired.


And here's a shot of some of the wood he's cut so far.  Apparently he's having mechanical problems.

8/21/10. I got a few small photo's of the efforts today.  The railing made out of a redwood stick turned out pretty good, and today I stained it.  I took off all the bark last weekend and sanded it down nice and smooth.  It's not straight, but it's still pretty nice.

I also worked on some edging along the gravel path out the side door.  The old one, made out of wood, recently had to be patched as it has broken.  Most of it was rotting anyway, so I replaced it with a plastic edging.

And of course the opposite side needed a border too.  There was one there, years ago, but it was mostly decayed.

60 feet of edging, gone just like that!

And Pa had some trouble with his truck the other day, a brake pad was sticking, and he couldn't get his truck up the last hill to the house.  He called a tow truck to tow it back, but when the tow truck operator started moving the truck, the tire was working, so Pa drove it home and made it.  Now it's in the middle of being replaced.

8/7/10. Today we got together with some of the neighbors to work on our water line.  The plan is to replace a section of pipe.  The first step I worked on a while ago, dig up the end of the pipe.  The next step was to put on this shutoff valve.  We had to put it on twice because the first time the valve wasn't screwed on tight enough and it leaked.

Also, Pa's been working on moving some oak wood I cut up a few months ago.  It's now next to the splitter.  Matthew and I split about the same amount of wood when he was here a few weeks ago, but now we have more.

I also got a measuring sticker made up for our water tank so we can keep track of our ailing pumps. 1 inch of water equals 150 gallons of water.

7/31/10. The past few weekends I've helped replace our water pumps several times.  We have 3, 2 are for backup purposes, but have seen better days.  We're nearing the end of life for all of them.  We ended up putting the original one back in, after 5 swaps or so.  3 hours each for 2 Saturdays in a row.

Also got a picture of the completed BBQ.  I have plans to put in a propane system at some point, maybe get it from a used BBQ. Pa just made the metal box to keep food warm.

Pa and I have also been working on a stairway railing.  The insurance guy who visited a while back suggested it.

The top railing is an old board, but I wanted to try and prepare a redwood tree branch for the railing.  I'm in the middle of stripping the bark and sanding it down to what we need.  It's not very straight though, so I don't know how well it will work.

7/24/10.  Matthew visited Wildwood today.  He drove up by himself because he couldn't get enough of this place a few weeks ago.  Very strange to see him driving.  We went on a hike down to see what the construction was at Camp Campbell, down the road a ways.  They're a YMCA camp, but must've gotten a big donation 'cause they're building up a storm.  This first picture is a lodge on stilts and all around it is a raised walkway.

And here is a log cabin lodge.  Just massive stuff.

Matthew also helped me set up a cable that I eventually want to use as a short zip line. I need to find better trees or tighten it more.  Click on the picture for a video of me riding it.  I plan to get a trolley for it, but for this trial I used a horseshoe. ;-)

7/3/10.  Well this was the last full day of Camp Wildwood.  Tammy made it to WW by about 8am.  She brought donuts and then sat down to watch some of the videos we took during the week, and some of the bloopers of the boomdeyada video.  She was laughing for quite a while over some of the video.  I think the kids were kind of bored for some of today, but they did get to do some stuff to keep busy.  A game of Balderdash. Playing with some clay I've had around for years. We all relaxed quite a bit, got some hammock time in between fun.  Ma and Tammy went to church around 5 and brought back some chinese take-out.  Everyone liked the food (yet again).  We all sat around the kitchen table after dinner and played a few rounds of Pit. We made so much noise it's a good thing we're in the middle of the woods, it was a lot of fun.   When it got dark we did some experimentation with the long exposure setting on my camera.  The kids had some colored lightsaber flashlights which gave some neat effects. 

Lauren's test pattern. 15 second exposure.

Jen got a great shot here, writing her name in colored lights!  They got pretty good at figuring out what would look cool.

7/2/10.  Today is the Boardwalk day!  The kids stayed up really late last night with Corner Gas episodes, and while I shooed them away from the TV and bed, they still stayed up until almost 1.  We had to kick Jessica out of bed at 9:20 to get out of the house by 10, and to the Boardwalk by 11.  We were met there by Dave and Suzy, who drove from San Jose to just to see their kids and spend a few hours with them before they were to head back to the Wildwood Work Camp!

I got them all to sing another boomdeyada lyric while waiting for the merry-go-round.  Getting ready for version #2 ;-)

They fly through the air with the greatest of ease....

Riding through the new haunted mansion.

At the arcade Jessica won a jackpot of some 1600 tickets.  It took about 10 minutes for all the tickets to come out.

Here's the actual game, get rubber 6 balls all in red slots.  Only 179 tickets left to go out of 1600.  She got 3 stuffed animals and gave enough extra to Jen so she could get one as well.  It was a fun day, but so nice to get home fairly early and relax.

7/1/10. Jessica's not to be outdone by Matthew. How about a nice Hawaiian punch!?

Horsing around at the ping pong table.

So ever since I saw the Discovery Channels commercial with the "Boom-de-yada" song, I thought we should make one for Camp Wildwood, and substitute our own lyrics.  After a lot of work by Lauren, Jen, Matthew and Jessica, especially Matthew for doing editing,  here it is.  Click on the picture and it should take you to a new page for the video.  Way to go!  Our blooper reel may turn out to be longer than the video by a good 10x.  Right click to save to your computer and run it from there.  It's 8 MB so please be patient.

Today we got about half of the tree split that we cut up yesterday.  We got a game of Monopoly in. Balderdash, and a few others.  Mostly it was a pretty relaxing day. Tomorrow is Boardwalk!

6/29/10. Today Matthew Lauren and I read the water meters for the community.  One of the neighbors we me thought he'd found a leak, but our readings showed there wasn't one.

We got the second pile of logs split today, and we also cut down another tree that Pa wanted to get rid of.  The fir trees are loaded with sap, and a fire hazard, so we've been working on eliminating them from the area around the house.  We've planted any number of redwoods around the area to make up for these trees.  Maybe in 50 years they'll start getting tall.  I tied a rope about 20 feet up this tree trunk so we could pull it the way we needed it to fall, and we got everyone on the other end of the rope to pull it.  It landed right where the rope pullers had been standing, but they'd gotten the word to run at the appropriate time. :-)  The kids kept saying "It was coming right for us!" then they laughed and said "Lets cut down another one!"  I noticed Jessica had made it halfway down the hill.  She'll be a good runner in track some day.

We got it all cut to firewood lengths and the branches cleaned up.  More wood to split tomorrow, though.

Aside from that excitement, Matthew continued with his video editing of the song, and we recorded a few more variations.  Add a few games for later tonight and it'll be another memorable day at Camp Wildwood!  

6/28/10.Wow has it been 4 days so far? It's taking it's toll on me, but it's still fun.  Just a lot of little things that turn out to be fun and good for a laugh or 2.  For example, we needed a steep path for the boomdeyayda song filming, and the kids were all too lazy to get to the steep path, so I drove my truck (all of 5 turns), and they all piled in the back.  It was a very bumpy ride for them, I'm sure, but when we got there they tumbled out laughing.  And Matthew grabbing a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper all for himself.  

The kids helped split wood today.  We have a hydraulic splitter, gas powered engine and all.  We got one pile done in about 10 or 15 minutes.  Split by 2 kids, and stacked by another 2.  We have a slightly larger pile to split tomorrow.  I was hoping to get to it today, but our boomdeyada song took up the rest of the day.  Matthew is doing the editing on his laptop.  I haven't seen the almost completed version, but it's looking good, despite his efforts ;-)  Pretty funny, in fact.  We actually made lyrics, wrote out a script, and filmed each piece from that.  I kept trying to make it more interesting by adding various things as we filmed it.  Kicking it up a notch!   I think the day was a hit with everyone.  We spent the evening playing hide and seek outside, with the flashlights and walkie-talkies.


6/27/10. Another fun day is over.  We started out the day on a hike that I hoped would take us up the hill to the top of the mountain, but there are so many ticks I didn't want to go through some of the overgrown paths, so after torturing the kids on a walk that went virtually nowhere, we went back to the house.  We did get this picture though.

After we got back and had some lunch, I got some help painting the new BBQ countertops.  Of course I spilled the paint, but it was onto the surface we were painting, so it wasn't all bad.  The kids filled up water balloons and shot the down with the BB gun.  The laser sight makes for short work on them.  Jen took my camera for a bit to take a bunch of pictures, and we got a start on our version of the Boomdeyada song.  We have the lyrics we want and ideas on what to film while singing those parts. And we even got some parts recorded already!  We might even complete the filming tomorrow!

And we had some trash to burn, always a popular activity for the kids.  Matthew seems to get an evil delight from flames.  We ended up the day watching the Return of the Jedi.

6/26/10. Camp Wildwood, Day 2!

Today started out bright and early for me.  I had trouble sleeping, even after all the mayhem the day before.  I got up and started making some waffles for myself, then Jessica showed up, then Matthew, and a bit later Jen came in.  Lauren was the last one up from downstairs, some time after 10.  When we finally got outside it was hot and muggy, so we didn't stay outside too much.  Jessica tried out the new bow, and liked it, though she had to put her ipod away for that little bit of time.

We got too hot and decided to play Risk downstairs where it was nice and cool.  I think we ended it in a tie between Jen and Matthew.  

We've been trying to keep the place clean, and generally trying to keep grandma from working too hard, and I guess it's paying off, because I saw this and had to get a shot. Matthew and I drove down to the valley after dinner to pick up the Boardwalk tickets that Clif got for us at Costco. We also stopped and saw Dave and Suzy before heading back to Wildwood.  A few more games and half of The Empire Strikes Back and it's off to bed.  It was a pretty laid back day for us all.

6/25/10. Camp Wildwood 2010 begins! 

So today before the kids came, I worked on a project. Yesterday, I got a couple of sign boards from work that we would have thrown away.  I thought they were the right size for the countertops for the BBQ, which were rotting away.  I wanted to replace them before we have a BBQ on the 4th of July.  So I got my trusty battery op circular saw and went to work.  I took out the old tops, set them on the new boards to create a layout pattern and managed to get both sides of the counter-tops replaced.  I ran out of silicone about halfway on one side for gluing and sealing the things in place.  But aside from that, they look good and will be nice to work on next week.  All told it took about 3 hours.

Now all we need is paint.  And a little more silicone.

Dave brought the kids, and we sat around for a bit talking, then I suggested that Jessica go look at the seesaw.  I think she liked it, but Matthew almost launched her over his head. She refused to get on it with me, strange kid.

We played a bit of ping pong, and went on a hike to the water pumping station, which goes down a few hills, one really steep.  Once we got down there, I had to turn off the power to the pump because we're overflowing the holding tanks at the top of the hill.  Our auto shutoff isn't working right.  Something to have the kids help with next week.  Then we marched right back up the steep hill.  I took Jessica on a piggyback ride up about a quarter of one hill.  Tired me out good.  When we got back to the house, Grandma had started on some Sloppy Joes for dinner, and we all pitched in.  I got a salad ready, Jenn cooked the meat, Lauren buttered the buns.  Matthew and I put extra leafs in the table and we all sat down to a good simple dinner.  

I set up my laptop downstairs and the kids got a multiplayer game of Half-Life going.  With 5 computers it was carnage everywhere, but fun for a little bit.  Then we played Balderdash.  The kids put a pen in the box that's supposed to shock you when you click it open.  They made sure I got it, but it wasn't much of a shock.  I guess they were all waiting for me to drop the thing or something, but all I could think of was why the pen tip wasn't coming out, and kept pressing the top button.  I ruined their joke without realizing it.  ;-)  Jen wrote a Balderdash definition that had me laughing on the floor.  Like, rolling around, laughing. and that got everyone else laughing as well.  It doesn't make much sense now, there must've been too little oxygen in there or something.  And after that it was a few episodes of Corner Gas.  Jen fell asleep in the chair after the first one.

I've had fun so far, and still looking forward to the rest of the week.  Even if I don't get much sleep.

6/12/10.  There's another leak in the water system.  One of the neighbors found the evidence and I took my shovel and pick-axe up the road a ways to do some digging.  After an hour or so I eventually found it.  It seems with all the water shutoffs we've had recently, the pipes were having problems with the vacuums created and sprung a leak.  I used my new pipe-aid glue and it sealed everything up.  But turning the water on again started yet another leak the next joint over, about 2 inches away, so I shut off the water again and glued that one as well.  Finally we got everything fixed and water back on.  We took water meter readings and found that the leaks are over with for the moment.

6/6/10. I found the big leak!  Yay!  And even better, we fixed it!  

It's only been a week and a half since the last rain we had - 1/2 inch. So the ground was still pretty wet, but I saw running water in the creek behind the Pumphouse.  That only has water in the hours or at most a day after a good rain.  So I followed the water up and saw it coming out of the base of a tree, about 30 feet from the road (The water pipes run down the middle of the road).  At first I thought it was just an aquifer, but the more I thought about it the more I was convinced it had to be our leak.  But it was so far from the road, I had a lot of choices as to where it could becoming from. So I dug up a number of places, no luck.  Then I spotted a quarter sized patch of damp road, and a few more smaller patches.  So there was nothing else to do but dig it out, right in the middle of the road.  And when I got about 2 feet down, water started seeping in.  Found it!  I told some of the neighbors so I'd have help to dig it up, and one of them got their mini-backhoe and started digging it up. The picture below shows the distance the water traveled underground before surfacing. The top circle is where the backhoe was digging, and the bottom circle has the water bubbling up.

Digging the pipe up.

And fixed. The backhoe tore up the pipe further up from the original hole.  Water sprayed everywhere!  I had to run up the hill to shut off the water.

One of the other projects we're trying to get a move on is replacing sections of the old 2" pipe with new 4" (because the old pipe tends to get a lot of leaks).  We have some pipe installed already, and in trying to attach new sections we have to dig up the old section.  This is what I did Saturday. This pipe is about 40 inches down.  It's been a long couple of weeks of digging for me.


5/30/10.  Memorial day weekend is here and we have some guests staying with us for a few days.  Tammy, Jen, and Lauren came up and they brought their cousin Matthew along.  Jessica had an Anime convention she was going to, so she couldn't make it.

First off, I built a seesaw a few weeks ago, and haven't been able to test it out, so after a few brave volunteers came along, I made sure it was sorta safe (there were a couple of launches and minor falls just getting on and off the darn thing.)  One side is much scarier to be on than the other, as I found out when I was forced to participate.  Good thing I put a handle on each side.

We're still having water leak problems.  I fixed one leak I knew about, and got the kids to help us fill it in.  Wildwood is supposed to be a work camp.

No more water in the hole, as it's being filled up with dirt

And here's the workers...

A shot of Lauren eating a lunch of Ma's homemade pickles.  They're very popular.

We all went on a walk and I took this shot through a 40 foot drainpipe.  I think those are monkeys on the other end.

Sari and Peter (and Pixie) were also up at Wildwood and stopped by to visit with us.

I caught Matthew trying not to work at the work camp.  Busted!  Too many mosquitoes to stay out long.

5/16/10.  Wow, I really haven't been doing too well updating.  But I don't think there's much to report.  There's still a big water leak.  It keeps raining once a week, so it's hard to spot where the water problem is. My second cousins Dave and Dan Gamble will be moving to Wildwood (across the street) at the end of May.  They've been sharing an apartment in San Jose for the past 30 years.  Don't know if they'll still commute or what.  Their mom Jean is back home at Wildwood, doing better after her hospital stay.  There were some thoughts of her going to live with her daughter Nancy and husband Jason once they moved to a new home outside Boulder Creek, near the BC golf course.  They just moved last weekend, so we'll see how that goes.  I was asked to help move, but had gotten a cold a few days before so had to cancel.

Ma is doing better and better with her operation recovery.  There's still a few things she has trouble with, like lifting, but overall she's doing great.  I haven't done much in the way of projects.  Just too busy trying to relax a bit.

4/14/10. Ok, I haven't been keeping up with this because there hasn't been much going on that seems appropriate to post.  It's been raining the past 3 weekends so I haven't gotten much done outside, except for cutting up some branches that had fallen in some of the last few storms.  Here's a before picture.  I used Uncle DA's gas chainsaw (with a new chain) to cut it up into firewood sized pieces.  It took about 2 hours, including moving it to the woodpile.

Afterwards - all cleaned up.

And here's what it looks like all cut and ready to be stacked on the woodpile.  Exciting!

I took a walk through the woods one day a few weeks ago and came across this wooden stake in the ground.  This is a property marker. It's probably been there since the area was surveyed and divided up into lots in 1905, I think.  I come across these every once in a while during my jaunts through the woods.  I've been in this area many times but this is the first time I remember seeing this stake. Pa has acquired various lots around here over the years, we'll have to have a Camp Wildwood map quest event this year, where we go find the land he owns.

3/23/10. This morning Pa came in from outside and told me there was a chicken in the garden!  And what do you know, there really was!  It must've come from one of the neighbors houses, probably a quarter of a mile or more from us. 

Then our neighbor came down and told me he'd found a leak in the water pipes up the road a ways.  He asked me for a sawzall because some roots had grown underneath it and broke a hole in it.  So I walked up there with my favorite tool and cut the roots away from the pipe, and left it for him to finish fixing.  What a weekend!

3/22/10.  First off, Happy 51st Anniversary to Ma and Pa!   How about a nice cruise?

It's been an interesting weekend.  Saturday morning I got the gas powered chainsaw up and running, and cut up a large pile of branches up on the horseshoe pit.  Then about 3:30 PM ,Tammy showed up with Lauren, Jenn, and Jenn's friend Cassidy. After they got settled in I got the BB gun and water balloons out and the kids started playing games.  Tammy brought dinner and cooked for us all. Jenn and Cassidy played Half-Life until past midnight, then they watched a movie Jenn rented on her phone.  They didn't even make it to their beds, they just went to sleep on the reclining chairs. 

We all spent some time chatting with Sari and Peter Saturday afternoon, and they brought their new family member Pixie to meet everyone. 

That night we went outside to take some long exposure photos, just like what we did on Thanksgiving.  And played some hide and seek.  Jenn wanted to find some scorpions to show to her friend Cassidy, and sure enough we managed to find one under a rock.

Sunday I played a few more games with the kids.  Then they went on a walk through the forest. They left in the afternoon.  Later that night I went outside and saw that a Redwood tree branch had fallen and broke some of the roof off the shed. It was good that it happened when it did, and not 24 hours earlier.

Monday work was slow so I used the leaf blower and cleaned off the 3 roofs at Uncle DA's place, and it was such a nice day I stayed outside and started raking more leaves.  When I finally made it inside I made a cake for Ma and Pa's anniversary.

I also saw Jean today.  She stayed home over the weekend, but Nancy was driving her back to a recovery care center.  She was looking pretty good.

3/14/10.  Jean's condition is improving, though she's still recuperating.  She's out of the hospital and in a recovery and rehabilitation place that can give 24 hour care for a while. No news on when she might be back home.

Saturday I started moving some of the wood from the fallen oak tree that I cut up last weekend.  I overloaded the wheelbarrow and broke a handle while picking it up.  So the rest of the day I worked on fixing the wheelbarrow handles.

I got an old metal pipe, cut it to size, and drilled it out for 6 bolts on either side.  Then put it all back together.  Works great, and I don't have to worry about it breaking again.  Wood just doesn't last here when it gets so wet.  We've measured over 50 inches of rain in our gauges so far this season.

Speaking of rain, here's a shot showing the wind the day the oak tree came down.  The flags were really flying.

One more picture, from today.  More wildlife roaming around. These deer make an appearance every day or 2. You never know when you might come across one when going for a walk.  The deer population seems to have grown since I was a kid coming up here.  I never used to see any deer back then.  Or skunks. Or raccoons.  Must be easy food now that most of the homes in the area are now being lived in full time, instead of being used as vacation homes.

3/7/10. Jean is now out of the ICU, she had 4 pints of blood to replace what was lost. She has an ulcer, which was bleeding, and bleeding in the esophagus, and bleeding in one more place the doctors haven't yet located. No news on when she'll be out.  Word is the doctors also found a cancer, but I don't have much news about that.

I started cleaning up some of the oak tree that came down last week, cutting up some of the smaller branches.  I need to replace the chain on the gas powered chainsaw before I start cutting the bigger portions.

3/5/10. It's just one thing after another.  I got to Wildwood late Thursday night, because work was slow and I took Friday off. About 4:30 am I woke up and thought I heard a rumbling noise. I got up and looked out the window and saw bright lights coming from the road, and I knew something was up.  I quickly got dressed and went to the living room to look out that window and saw an ambulance in the neighbors driveway.  Ma and Pa were awake and looking as well. I saw Dave Gamble standing on his porch a few feet away from the ambulance and went out to talk to him.  His mom Jean had some internal bleeding from ulcers and was feeling really bad.  She had actually been to the hospital for a day earlier in the week, but came home and either had a relapse, or else didn't get the problem resolved in the first place. She's currently in the ICU at the same hospital Ma was in last month.  I'll keep posting as I hear things.

2/28/10.  Pa and I started cleaning up from the rains of the past few days.  Lots of branches came down, so we had a pile of them in various spots, and started cutting them up with a chainsaw and carted them off to the woodpile. I don't know what the plan is with the oak that came down a few days ago.  We'll probably cut it up this summer.  Maybe for Camp Wildwood.  We also read the water meters today. We still haven't found the big leak.  

Ma has been doing better and better, but healing still seems to be a slow process, and some days are better than others.  Pa and I still try to do a lot of the kitchen and house chores, but Ma is trying to help out just to be doing something.  I did get her a couple of computer games to keep her occupied during the recovery, but she can only sit at the computer for so long.

2/26/10. Today we had a good-sized storm, with heavy winds and rain afterwards. At one point during the wind I felt the house shake, and at first thought it was an earthquake, but then I figured it had to be a tree that came down nearby.  I went out in the wind and searched for a while, and finally found it a few hundred feet from the house, out in the woods.  It was an oak branch that broke off from the main trunk.  It should be a tree in itself, because it was pretty big and heavy enough to shake another neighbors house even further away.  I like the shot of the wind blowing the trees in the first part of the video below.  It's amazing to see the trees bend like that.  Amazingly, we didn't lose power during the storm. Click the picture to see some video - about 12MB download.

I also had a chance to convert a movie I took a few months ago on my birthday with Sari, Peter, Niomi, Janet and Ivey.  We're playing a game I got for Niomi and all, by the name of Monty Python Fluxx.  The rules of the game constantly change and this one card said to draw extra cards if you "speak with a very bad accent" which turned out to be one of the funnier things about the game.  I only include it by some people's request, it's a big download - about 20 megs - click the picture below.

2/15/10.  Ma has been recuperating at home for a week and a half now, and is slowly re-learning what and how much she can eat.  She can't eat much at one sitting, and has pain from some of the things she's eaten, but overall she's doing well.  She gets outside and goes for short walks, but gets tired very quickly.  Pa and I are trying to look out for her, but she's getting around pretty well by herself. The positive news is the polyp tested benign - not cancerous. Today she had a doctors appt. and afterwards she walked through the supermarket to buy groceries (with Pa, of course.)

2/5/10. Ma was brought home Thursday.  Just in time for the power to go out during a storm. The power was out for just a few hours, but Pa met three PG&E crews on the one lane road as he went out for some applesauce at the local store. He had to wait a while to get through, during the height of the storm. 

Ma's doing much better but can't eat too much at the moment. Protein is what's needed most, but soft foods are best.  I stopped by the store and got some groceries for the folks - one item Ma wanted was some yogurt, and when I looked at the yogurt containers, I thought that they were way too small and Ma would probably be eating a lot of yogurt over the next week or two.  They looked like you could possibly get 1 spoonful out of them.  So I got some of the large containers.  When Ma saw them she said there's no way she'd get through all of that!  Oops.  Here's a picture of the flower shop that is Wildwood. Ma is in back of the flowers watching some TV.  They have post-it notes to remind us who sent what.

2/3/10. Ma will be back home tomorrow, Thursday, after 6 days in the hospital.  Pa said she was up and walking around 3 times today, had nothing in the way of tubes sticking in her, and was starting to eat solid foods again.  Very good news indeed.  And Pa managed to survive at Wildwood during that time (though I made a cake before I left - I'm sure it's gone by now). I plan to be back there Friday and will report how she's doing then.

2/1/10.  I had to work today so I didn't see Ma, but I got a report from Pa.  When he got there she was sitting in a chair, and had gone on a short walk. She's looking better all the time.  She had 5 other visitors already, mostly from her church, and about 8 sets of flowers.  Pa is wondering how he's going to get them all home.  Ma may have to wait for an open seat.  Still no word on when she will be released , but the next step is that she's getting to drink fluids.  I'm guessing she may get to go home by Wednesday. 

The other day Ma mentioned she couldn't tell the time of day from the 12 hour clock in her room. This is something I kept in mind while I answered the phone at 12:40 am at Wildwood and heard Ma on the other end.  She thought she had slept a whole day and it was just after lunch, not just after midnight.  The important thing is that she finally got some sleep.

1/31/10.  Tammy left Wildwood this morning, I think before it started getting light.  I heard a noise at around 5:30 am and turned over in bed and went back to sleep.  Pa and I read the water meters today, then went on to the hospital to visit with Ma.  When we got there, there was a party going on inside her room!  Clif, Bonnie, Dave, Suzy and Matthew were all in there chatting.  She had 4 baskets of flowers and a box of candy (saving that for later).  Ma was looking better and said her pain was even less today.  Though she still had some throat problems and was only getting ice chips and some throat drops for it. She had also made a short walk in the hallway, she said it was a bit too much activity and was in some pain from that. After the others left, Pa and I closed the door to her room, closed the blinds and Ma dropped off to sleep for a good half-hour.  We sat there with books while she slept.  Still no word on when she's able to come home. We left about 3:30, and told her to make sure the nurses keep the door closed so she can sleep.

1/30/10.  Today Pa and I went to the hospital to visit Ma.  We left Wildwood about 11:15 and got there at noon.  Ma wasn't looking too good and said she was in some pain in the chest and her throat was very sore, mostly from having a tube down it. A nurse had brought her a cup of ice that she could use to moisten her throat, but it wasn't doing too good.  I suggested some chewing gum and gave her some.  She immediately said it was so nice to have and really helped her throat. She kept trying to hide it from the nurses because she said she probably wasn't supposed to have it.  

Tammy showed up about 20 minutes after we did, and we settled down in the room for a few hours.  We left to get some food at the cafeteria and let Ma try to sleep (she hadn't gotten much sleep the night before) at about 2pm.  But we were back in an hour later.  Ma just closed her eyes and listened to us chatting, occasionally offering a comment, but we could tell she was exhausted.  When we left she actually looked better than when we first saw her, and she said the pain was less.  So she is progressing slowly at the moment, but each hour is better than the one before.

1/29/10.  After several weeks of doctors visits it was decided that the polyp in Ma's stomach needed to be removed.  It was a quick decision, the surgery was scheduled for today.  Dave and I took off work and went to the hospital to be with Ma and Pa. Ma was in pretty good spirits beforehand, and we saw her into the operating area.  The surgeon came out after about 3 hours and said all went very well, she was in great health, and that they removed a baseball sized polyp from the wall of the stomach, it didn't look to be cancerous, and she should recover quickly and be as good as new.  Ma's been having trouble with certain foods over the years and perhaps this may have solved some of those problems.  We'll have to wait and see. But so far things are looking very good for her.  We saw her after the operation and she was awake and alert enough to talk to us.  She said it felt like someone punched her in the stomach, hopefully the pain meds do their thing.  

1/26/10.  We just survived a week of wild weather at Wildwood.  Last Monday we had a gullywasher at the end of a storm that was amazing.  Our road looked like a river, the rain came down so fast.  I had just cleaned out the drains and they got clogged again in minutes.  And I had cleaned the road off the day before, so all the leaves that came down from the trees was new.  Click on the picture for a short movie.

Here's the horseshoe area just after that downpour.  So much water all over the place, didn't have time to sink in yet.   During the next day's storm, a madrone tree came down on the power lines down our road and knocked out power for the next 60 hours or so.  Our neighbor Jean left for a motel in the city while the storms were going through.  Ma and Pa managed to survive with a fire in the fireplace, a camp stove, and a generator.  

This past weekend I helped Suzy's friend Gail move (again). We did great getting 3 U-haul truckloads over the weekend, and that was just about all of it.  The house she was renting was being foreclosed on.  Not a very secure environment, to be sure.


Coming back to Wildwood after moving I saw a nice scene and had to stop and take a picture.  I was a little late for the best shot.

1/10/10.  Happy New Year!  And Happy Birthday to me as well.  Unfortunately it's number 40. I had a pretty good birthday weekend.  I mostly got out of doing work.  On Saturday I drove from Wildwood to Walnut Creek to visit Sari and Peter in their new home, and also to visit with the Anacortes contingent of folks. Sari and Peter gave me a little birthday party while I was there with cake and ice cream.  I brought a game for Niomi, Janet and Ivey called Monty Python Flux, and we played a round of that, much hilarity ensued from outrageous accents.

Ivey going back for seconds on cake.

Janet, Niomi and Ivey relaxing on the couch named Gump that's been in with Sari and Peter forever.  It's like one of the family.

We're still trying to find traces of that water leak with little luck. Pa and I tried to measure how much water gets pumped into the tank to see if water was leaking from that section, but it looked good.  I took some pics while up on the tank.  There's 2 9000 gallon tanks.

There's a float device in there used to turn off the pump, some 400 feet downhill.  One of our neighbors, Stan, strung the wire line along the trees, years ago.

Some dirt is getting inside the tank.  This is 15 years of accumulation.

Who is this guy?  Don't drop that camera!  It's a looong way down.


Merry Christmas!

Christmas went over very well.  Ma, Pa and I started the morning at Wildwood and opened gifts.  Then we packed up about 11:30 and went for a drive to visit Dave and Suzy.  Clif and Bonnie were already there, and again we opened gifts.  About 2pm Suzy's side of the family started showing up and in all we had 22 people enjoying the day.  The kids had some new toys and games we were trying out.  I had some of my own gift toys I was trying out.  It was a great day, and we had to leave just after dark for the long trip back to Wildwood.

12/20/09. We had a visitor-full weekend here.  Tammy, Lauren and Jen came for an overnight visit, and Clif and Bonnie came up as well, so we had a mini Christmas with presents exchanged.  Ma was feeling well, but we made her relax for most of the weekend anyway.  Tammy brought a spiral-cut ham so there would be enough food without having to do much in the way of preparation for the next few days.  Everyone helped out in the kitchen in some way.  

I enjoyed playing with the kids, of course.  Never enough time to play all the games we want.  Here we are getting some exercise walking up one of the roads looking for the water leak.  The day started out foggy but soon turned out to be pretty nice, with blue skies and plenty of sunshine.

Here's a picture from the 17th, Matthew's birthday, and his 17th birthday at that.  Man is he old!  A group of us went to Harry's Hofbrau for his dinner party.

News prior to this has been moved to the latest archives.

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