the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


WAW! Part 2 – Cat Tales

Two Thursdays ago, my daughter and I went up to the Cat Tales Zoological Park north of Spokane, WA (between Mead and Deer Park). It is basically a rescue and sanctuary for big cats, and a training center for zookeeping students.

We met up with my in-laws there.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

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If you’d like to see the entire photoset (boring but has more information), the Flickr link is here.  If you’d like to see my father-in-law’s photoset of the trip (because he has a much better camera and took much better shots), the Flickr link is here.


Flight time August 18, 2010

I did do some kite flying between today and my last entry.  But there isn't much to tell about then– it involved experiments with a windsock that needs metal parts removed and plastic wind spinners that were too heavy for the kites I have.

Today, however, well, I'll let a small selection of pictures illustrate that.

sitori6 bi-plane kite with delta launcherFun time is overbi-plane closeupTake your winder and stick itPrincess and the butterfly kiteBetter than Christmassitori6 Boy and the funky windersitori6 Pterodacyl kitesitori6 Pterodacyl kite sidesitori6 Butterfly kitesitori6 Kite triositori6 star kite with delta launchersitori6 Boy with Spectra stake windersitori6 Pterodacyl kite top and tails

I said "small" because this isn't all the pictures, by far.  As Cimmorene took most of them, I'll let her share– well, at best, I will edit in the link to the pictures at her Flickr account.

Not all the kites I bought today were flown, but most of them were.  I was bored and suspected Fred Meyer would be putting their kites on clearance as summer items.  SHAZAM!  Whattya know, yep, they were, at 50%– so each kite was about $5 US.

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Flight time July 27th, 2010: School spirit!

Click on the photos for descriptions and more information.

Princess and I went out first while Cimmy and Boy went to the laundromat to fill one of our water cooler bottles and one of the water jugs.  They joined us later after the water filling was done and brought the water jug so we'd stay well-hydrated in the summer heat.

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Flight time July 22nd, 2010: Line laundry

Two trips today, actually.  I'll call the first one a practice run, and the second one was when I could get some help with some photos.

A small selection of those shots are as follows:

The first two shots were taken by my daughter and the third I took, as she still has a difficult time with aerial shots.

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Flight time July 12, 2010

Yes, that's right– flight time was yesterday.

I woke up very early in the morning (about 06:00) and saw that Borius was ready to play, so I left a note and got to flying.  The wind was quite strong, so I took turns between the Snapshot parafoil and the delta kite.  Last Friday, I went to the Grigg's/ACE Hardware department store (on a grocery trip with my daughter– we went to the Mex supermarket around the corner afterwards) and got some fishing line spinners.  The kite lines on the laser winders I use for the Snapshot are braided Dacron, so I wanted the hooks to spin free, because it tangles very badly if it winds too tight in the wind.

It worked very well, although I broke the line on the red winder.  Not a worry, since as it turns out, the red line is longer than the blue line.  It takes more work to equalize the lines, or rather, to make sure they are the same length in the air, but I still like the granular control with laser winders when flying the Snapshot.  Not surprisingly, the wind was pulsating as it so often does here, and so I eventually ended my time with the X-Kites delta.

That day a city employee was out fixing an irrigation pipe on the field.  He drove by at one point and asked if I had ever been out to Grayson Beach or to the International Kite Festival that was held there.  I said I hadn't, but that my in-laws had been, to both venues.  We shared some pleasantries about my hobby for a bit before he moved on.

After a few hours I wondered if I could find some nice spinners and windsocks to use as tails.  Into The Wind sells some but I was sure I could find something locally, on the spot.  I came home to find the rest of the family had finally woken up and I let them know I was going out to find something.  I did find some items at the Dollar Store for plenty cheap.  These photos are from our trip out to the field today, where the breeze was almost so light as to be non-existent, but hopefully this gives you an idea:

lick through for more information about each of them.  When I got home, I showed everyone my loot and asked Princess which one she thought would look best trailing from the delta kite.  She chose one of the windsocks, but once she saw the spinner with the butterfly on it, that was the one she wanted.  Good choice, I say, because that's what I was already thinking, too.

Since Cimmy had a medical appointment, I asked her to get Jak Jr. ready and so Princess and he joined me out for some good fun out on the field.  I made sure to get some sunscreen slathered on all of us.  It was a good thing I had picked some up the other day because the spray left with Cimmy and the car.  I'm sorry I couldn't get pictures of the delta in flight with the spinner tail.  It really, really works well, although you can hardly tell that pillowy thing looks like a butterfly dozens to hundreds of feet in the air.  (My masculinity is safe!)  Princess took some time flying it herself so I could watch after her brother.  We had a very nice time and if my energy was stronger and my time for flying was longer, I would have been out there all day long.

We came home for lunch eventually.  Princess stopped to ask the city employee (who came back again and again to work on the pipe) what he was doing and they talked a little bit.  Jak Jr. was obviously tired out, so he went down for his nap pretty easily once we got home. Then Princess and I went to the far corner of the apartment complex, where there was a wide patch of grass next to the city overflow ditch, just so we could see how the patriotic-colored windsock (sitori6 00019) would look on the Snapshot.  Since it has gold and black as well as red and white, it wasn't a perfect match, but it still looked pretty good.  Prism doesn't include a tail anymore on those parafoil kites, but I was actually glad to remove the one that came with mine.  Packing it is much easier now, and the red ribbon tail was stored away with the purple ribbon tail we got for the Nexus, and the red and yellow plastic tube tails in a stuff sack left over from an X-Kite parafoil Cimmy got tangled in a tree at the kite festival at Columbia Crest.

We had a nice time out at the field today although there was not much of any wind to speak of, as I said.  I'll post more of the photos we took out there in the next post.

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My ID4 so far (mostly yesterday)

We forgot to bring a camera along, so I hope you'll be willing to follow my descriptions with a notable lack of pictures.  It was a very nice day, which we took at a nice, leisurely pace.

This year, Independence Day falls on a Sunday, today.  Because I'm one of those freaky church-going folk (if you're missing the self-depreciating humor, please, start at the beginning again), most of our celebrations were yesterday.

The day started out with a breakfast for each of the three wards (congregations) that meet at our building… at our building (a.k.a. the meetinghouse).  We arrived late, but as I told Cimmy, I sincerely doubted that the food would be all wolfed down after only 20-30 minutes.  And so it was, especially as I noticed food was still being made when cleanup started.  Pancakes, eggs, and sausage was the fare, with some fresh whole apricots afterwards.  All quite delicious, but it was hard to keep the plasticware from blowing away as it was cold and windy.  After eating and chatting, I helped with putting away the chairs and tables.  I even got Princess to help me out; she is settling in nicely with taking on more work responsibilities.

After that was cleanup of the building; we used to have professionals come in for deep cleaning, but that was cut back.  It wasn't all that long ago that our church had paid custodial staff, but these days, congregation members are assigned to help with more and more of the cleaning duties.  I think it's a good thing, as I've been able to meet people more and socialize.  Because I approach floor cleaning with near surgerical precision (and we were asked to clean well because of the cutbacks), I was the second to last person to leave.  Heh heh.  But all of it went very, very quickly; I was pleasantly surprised.  I rounded up Cimmy and the kids from the nursery rooms; it was easier to keep Jak Jr. occupied there.  We locked the last door, and proceeded on with our plans.

The next step was to pick up the canning jars I'd promised to my mother-in-law and fill a water jug with drinking water at the laundromat.  While stopping off home, I peeled off my then-sweaty short-sleeved T-shirt, took a quick shower and shaved, and changed into a blue long-sleeved tee.  Then it was off to my parents' house, as my mother had purchased patriotic-themed T-shirts for the kids.  Wow.  Princess's shirt was purple and happened to match her pants perfectly, and Jak Jr.'s red tee looked quite stunning.  They had been wearing long sleeved shirts, so I'm sure the swap to short sleeves was more comfortable.  Can't say Cimmy and I had the same opportunity…  I did take pictures of the kids with my parents' camera, so as soon as I can get those photos, I'll put them up.  We chatted with my father for a while, Cimmy took a nap, I called my in-laws, and then we were off again.

I like driving old highways.  Generally there are less aggressive bozos driving too fast.  We were running close to empty, too, so I wanted to drive slower taking that route on Hwy 22.  (This was not a bad thing– it meant later we were able to fill up in the Lower Yakima Valley for cheaper compared to home.)  But first, we went up to Exit 80 to the rest stop at Prosser.  Cimmy really, really wanted tacos, so it was lunch at the Taco Bell/KFC (Yum Foods is known to combine some of their restaurants together; A&W also makes up part of the combo in some locations).

The wind was still nice.  I still wanted to fly kites pretty bad, especially as I had packed the flight bag.  Never got the opportunity, but that was okay.

Because Saturday was NOT a holiday, Cimmy really wanted to visit the DairyFair at the Sunnyside Dairygold plant.  And why yes, we were in luck!  They were open.  So we opted to take a self-guided tour to see the cheese making machinery, and we all had ice cream cones afterwards.  The ladies and I did just fine, but Jak Jr. is still at an age where he can't avoid a mess, especially with the heaping huge scoop they gave him.  To give you an idea of the portions, see my father-in-law's picture here (from their last trip there).  Since my waffle cone broke just perfectly, some of his ice cream conveniently landed into the empty half (wink wink, nudge nudge) and since he would not get to it before it turned into ice cream soup, eating it fell to me.

We also purchased some cheese curds to snack on.  So, I-Luv-Eeyore, I was wrong… cheese curds and cottage cheese are not the same thing.  It's just the cheese one step earlier from processing it further into a wheel, loaf, or whatever.  It also doesn't have the vegetable-based coloring added yet that some cheeses get, like cheddar.  It still has air bubbles in it, and Cimmy remarked that Laura Engalls Wilder (of the Little House book series) was right– it does squeak when you bite it.  So I'll have to try my hand at poutine again sometime, and it's time to see if Strive2Be is paying attention.

Leslie (my mother-in-law) called twice while we were at the plant.  Cimmy still had her phone turned off.  We called back.  They had already had dinner at 16:30.  I kinda figured as much.  No biggie.  I still took the leisurely route on the old highway.  When we got to their house, my father-in-law showed me the T-shirt kite he'd made.  They are going to the beach on Monday, and he plans to get his flight time in then.  And yes, I'll share a picture as soon as he uploads one.  It's made with a real T-shirt for the body, with tails that look like pants.

Then it was time to pick gooseberries.  Here's a close-up picture my father-in-law took of that bush.  Yes, that is a THORN.  Yes, they HURT.  But Princess helped L and I make a good dent in it despite being pricked several times, and we now have plenty of gooseberries to add to our still large heap of Granny Smith apple slices to make pies and such with (from the apples we got from Vecina).  I was just sorry we didn't get them all, and left some of them behind.  It would have been the least I could do for being given such a nice opportunity, right?

We ended our day in Toppenish, but not before filling up near Wapato, at one of the tribal reservation gas stations.  $2.85 there sure beats $3.01 at home.  We drove by the Yakamart, where we would normally get goodies, but… it'd gone out of business.  No way!  We decided to have dinner at Villaseñors, which was renamed such only shortly before my paternal grandmother died.  It was Chencho's before (after Cresencio Arstorga, who was the previous owner).  Ugh.  The food was okay (although my tortilla shell for my salad was slightly burnt), and the service was rather bad.  Yet another reminder that it is much better to just make Mexican dishes at home, pretty much.  After all, it was only days ago that I'd put together a platter of nachos for the family– and it was just with ingredients I had on hand for the most part.

Princess and I took a short walk to see some of the murals and the western-themed shops.  The city tries very hard to have a Western look, but it is very sad to see how urban decay has set in over the years.  They simply need more money for a full restoration, and a more comprehensive solution to the element of gangs and poverty-driven crime.

No fireworks to be seen at the Rodeo/Pow-Wow grounds.  I knew Toppenish had a parade earlier in the day, but I guess they were saving fireworks for tonight as everyone else seems to be doing.  We did see some homeowners setting off fireworks on the way home, however.  The last stretch was tough, as Jak Jr. woke up during our pit stop at the Desert Mart in Benton City, and I was stubborn enough to travel a stretch of road still under construction, but we finally called it a day and got home safe.

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Chugga chugga chugga chugga woo WOO!

Busy day today!

This morning:

Walked to the grocery store (about 3 or 4 blocks) with the family to buy milk and a few other things.  We all ate some of the few other things on the way back.  Put pork roast in the slow cooker to defrost (wouldn't fit).

Late morning/afternoon:

Went to visit my father.  Started up a loaf of bread in their bread machine (and ignored my mother's earlier claims that I shouldn't bother).  Helped Dad put away his IV stand, since he had his B-12 injection and infusion today.  Purchased some clothes online while Cimmy worked more on her D&D world map.  Since Mom and Dad had not finished the black rice pudding we gave them (and Dad was not especially fond of it), Cimmy fed it to the kids instead of taking it back home.  Jak Jr. made a mess of Dad's paper shredder after coming in from the backyard (had the kids playing outside).  Moved kids to the sewing room/playroom/guest room.  Measured myself to make sure I bought the right size i needed.  After I purchased 2 "judo"-length shorts, two dress shirts, and two denim shirts, I traded places with Cimmy and she looked for dresses.  Took measurements for Cimmy to make sure she got the right size.  Cimmy got frustrated because few of the dresses were in her size.  While Dad was paying for Cimmy's dress (he paid for my clothes too; as per an agreement), Cimmy packed the kids into the car.  Jak Jr. started to cry because he hit Cimmy and she smacked him back.

Got home and Cimmy decided that everyone else would come along to my med nurse appointment.  Cimmy called her mother and said she wouldn't be at home and so they agreed we'd bring them the jam jars for the blueberry jam on Saturday (when we come up to the Lower Yakima Valley to see fireworks– and possibly pick gooseberries at their house).  Ran inside quickly to add pickled jalapeños and a lime quartered lengthwise to the pork roast, after taking it out of the bag. 

Jak Jr. fell asleep in the car on the way to my appointment.

Went to med nurse appointment.  Found out that the reason why I can't start counseling is I have to see a doctor first and get written permission, being the medical ward of the state and feds that I am. :-P  Also weighed in.  Didn't lose any weight, but didn't gain any either.  Ask for a Dum-Dum lollipop and she reminded me to grab some for the rest of the family.  Cimmy chose root beer, I chose sour apple, Princess had bubble gum flavor and so Jak Jr. got the grape one when he woke up.

Went to the Albertson's grocery store to get something small to eat.  Could not find sunscreen, as employee's directions were crappy.

Got into car and mother-in-law drove up.  She spotted Princess and figured out where we were.  You see, if you aren't totally lost already, my mother-in-law and father-in-law come down every Thursday for… stuff.  As most of my doctors are in the same town, she caught up with us.  She gave Cimmy a disc of Princess's trip to OMSI (so, did my father-in-law add something extra he didn't already upload to Flickr?) and hugs to everyone except me but that was OK since I fit in our Honda Civic like a sardine and I was still sitting in the car.  I'll get mine this Saturday, sure enough.

Went to the drugstore and Cimmy got some sunscreen.  She got spray-on again.  Gah.  Yes, okay, that is the only way to be sure some gets on the kids.

Went down to Columbia Point.  It was a fairly nice day for kite flying– sort of.  Very light, then very calm, then very strong.  Flew the koi stunt kite, the parafoil (Snapshot 1.2), and the delta kite.  Drained the water bottle and refilled it at a faucet while flying the delta kite.  Kids did not want to stay within the playground area very much as usual.  Was trying to avoid Hanford traffic but Cimmy could not last past 6PM (18h), so we skirted out in the last burst.  Some guy in an SUV decided to be an aggressive jerk.  Took the long way home through Columbia Park past the Columbia River.

Got home.  Table was still full of dishes.  Mixed the crushed pineapple and applesauce together to dress the pork roast.  Carved off servings for everyone; we ate at the couch or other chairs in the living room… again.

Called Mom & Dad (since I could not understand Dad's voicemail message on our answering machine).  They loved the loaf of bread; Mom especially.  Princess forgot her bracelet at their house.  Mom wants me to come vacuum.  Agreed with Mom that shopping takes time.  Blah blah blah yadda yadda yakkety schmakety.  Said goodbye.

Did some of my usual things on Runescape.  Remembered I was going to write a post on VOX.  I'm here now.  Day is almost over.  Yeah yeah yeah.

Chugga chugga chugga chugga woo WOO!

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My daughter’s trip to OMSI

Well things have just been rather crazy of late and I realized I had forgotten to write about my daughter's exciting trip to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) last week on the 22nd.

Pictures tell the story best.

If you're actually interested in seeing what she did, please click here.  The link is to my father-in-law's Flickr album he made for the trip.  My in-laws came that morning to get her and met up with my father-in-law's brother, his wife, and their granddaughter, i.e. her cousin.

Because he is using real first names I've set this post to Neighborhood only– your discretion as always is appreciated.

Because my father-in-law has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment to be sure his body does not have any of the cancerous cells they found in his gallbladder when they removed it, Cimmy, Jak Jr. and I came down to Bigg's Junction, which is near The Dalles, on the return trip.  That way my in-laws could travel up the highway there for a quicker route back to Washington state and their home in Yakima.  (They needed it– they spent the entire next day recuperating.)

After a late lunch/early dinner of sorts at the Subway franchise inside one of the convenience stores, we decided to stop in Arlington, near Hwy 19 off I-84, which had a nice park where the children could play, and a few museum signs.  It's really only the start of the historic landmarks on the Oregon Trail, further down the highway.

Some selected pictures:




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Flight time June 17th, 2010: Some company

We got out there quite early– I was hoping to have Jak Jr. join us, but he would not relent to having shoes and socks put on his feet.

We were out there for a little while, and after the sun came out, a couple of kids joined us for some kite flying.  So I went back home quickly to get my straw hat (it was overcast when we started– I didn't think I'd need it) some water bottles filled with water, and the digital camera.

Princess at the bench 2Princess at the bench 1

This is the bench I like to go set up at.  It's one of the few permanently set benches on the schoolyard.  Princess posed oh-so-charmingly for me.

Setting up againKoi stunt kite in actionKoi stunt kite

Since flying a kite and taking a photo is difficult to do at the same time, Princess took these shots.  That aerial shot was especially difficult to set up, so we were quite happy when she got it.

The Prism TensorThe Prism Tensor 4The Prism Tensor (flier on kiteboard)The Prism Tensor 5

This bad boy is one of Prism's Tensor series kites.  It's a quad (4)-line power/traction kite.  If you click through to see the pictures at full size, you'll see that he has it set up on the control bar, which is just basically a big long handle, but can be separated to two separate handles (two lines on each one).  Here's a picture of it from the Prism website:

What's that funny looking corded thing attached in the middle?  Prism calls it a "Kite Killer", but basically it's just a brake line.  The strap attaches to your wrist so that when you let go of the handle (or the bar), the kite falls to the ground.  And yes, this young man had to use it a time or two.  He was very gracious to let us take a few pictures.

If you look again at the pictures, you'll see he's on a funny-looking skateboard with big wheels.  That's a kiteboard.  If you're not in a dune buggy, or on a surf board designed for kiteboarding, or figuring you'll jump into the air or be pulled along on some slick-soled shoes, you use something like that.

This is his sister and unfortunately we just weren't able to get any photos of her with her kite.  She was flying a Snapshot 1.2 without a tail and in different colors.  It must have been a newer kite because I noticed a difference in the wrist straps– evidently, Prism has started using red and blue colors instead of red and gray.

She was quite grateful that I stopped what I was doing for a moment to help untangle her lineset.  I told her we had similar frustrations when we first started.  But she was better set up than we were then– she had some good kite stakes to pin her lineset down.  They were almost EXACTLY like what the Columbia River Kites folks described to me, with golf ball tops.  But unlike theirs, which they made from metal rebar and actual drilled golf balls, these looked like they'd been manufactured that way.

We thanked them for joining us when they finally packed up and went home.

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