Locking down

On the way to art class last Thursday, my sister Sue, who is a nurse, told me there were 21 cases of Covid-19 in Clark County. When I asked her why I hadn’t heard of any more than the one, she said the authorities were lying so we wouldn’t panic. However, she didn’t seem to have any kind of special knowledge, because she said she saw it on the news. What she said didn’t make sense to me, because they are being pretty forthright about the numbers of cases in Seattle, but one disadvantage of living so near to the Oregon border is that our news all comes from Portland, where they naturally talk mostly about Oregon. So, the next day I researched this, and I found that just that day, they had announced two more cases, for a total of three. Where Sue got confused was that I counted 21 cases that had been out for testing, 10 of which came back negative, 9 of which were still out for testing, and the 2 cases they had just announced that day.

Since then, one more confirmed case has been announced, and the two cases they announced last week, a married couple, have died. That, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more cases, just that not many people have been tested.

In any case, things have started to lock down around here. School is cancelled and restaurants are only allowed to serve take-out. Almost all my regular activities have been cancelled, except the dog school. However, since the federal government has asked that people not be in groups larger than 10, I think dog classes will have to stop, although perhaps not puppy play. Puppy play was scheduled to shut down for two weeks starting next week anyway. I kept Luke home this week, and my only outside activities since last week’s art class were dropping him off at the groomer’s and going to visit Christine on Friday and hiking with my niece Katrina and her kids yesterday. I also dropped by the Battle Ground Produce Market to buy some meat, veggies, and fruit.

I was in that market on Friday, by the way, and after I picked up some broccoli, I started to go to the check-out stand but stopped when I thought the guy standing right next to me looked familiar. And by golly, it was my brother, Mark, husband of SIL Nancy, with whom I had a run-in earlier that week. He was pleased to see me and spent some time trying to justify his wife. I thought he was talking about the virus kerfuffle, but he was actually talking about the usual thing, his childhood problems, and the nasty things she said about my brother John. It’s always the same old same old with him. Then she came in the store, probably wondering about what was keeping him, and although she was pleasant, she hustled him out. Although they left quite a few minutes before me, I had to follow them almost all the way home, because she insists on driving, and she drives like a little old lady.

Oddly enough, after throwing a fit when she heard I was dropping my dog off at the dog trainer’s, she asked the family what they thought about her going skiing on Monday. What? I’m going to meet two people I know at the dog place and just hand over my dog, and she’s going to go to the slopes among a bunch of strangers? In any case, the slopes closed down.

She still continues to send article after article about the virus all around to the family. It’s one thing to stay informed, but I think she is scaring herself by being over-informed.

Wayne thinks he might be sick, but if he is, it’s a very slight case and more likely of flu. To confuse everyone, the regular flu is going around right now, too. I hope I don’t get it from him. I have had a drippy nose since September, which means it is more confusing for me to know whether I am sick. I made the mistake a month ago when I thought my nose was just doing its normal thing and then got back from art class and realized I had a cold, which I would not have taken to art class if I had known.

He tends to scare himself about illness, which resulted in a little confusion on Friday. That day, he spent several hours trying to find out how to get tested, even though he didn’t have a temperature that we could tell (our thermometer measured both of us at below normal temps) and had only coughed about three times. As a result, he sent me to the drug store on my way to pick up Luke from the groomer’s to get a new thermometer. Walgreen’s was fairly normal, but the entire thermometer rack was empty. The druggist suggested I try Safeway, next door, but when I walked in, that usually empty store had a line all the way out to the produce section. I walked out and ordered a thermometer online.

When I got home, Wayne had listened to online recordings of people with the virus breathing and decided he didn’t have it after all. And that’s how it goes. One day, he thinks he has it, the next he decides he has the flu. It’s a little stressful, both for him and for me. I tried to make him feel better by saying that if he had the virus it seemed really mild, and that just made him angry. He said I was trivializing his illness. You can’t win around here.

Here are my poor daffodils peeping through the snow.

Our weather has been pretty crazy. On Saturday, we woke up to quite a bit of snow that stayed most of the day. I went down to the orchard and attempted to take a picture of my poor daffodils, peeping through the snow. I’m not sure if you can tell that’s what they are. I also took a nice photo of Luke under the apple tree.

Luke in the snow Saturday morning. He just loves snow and spent some time running in circles that morning.

Then the very next day it turned warm and sunny. We’ve had a slew of really nice days. Yesterday I went hiking at Moulton Falls Park with Katrina, Mischa, and Søren. It was a beautiful day, starting out a little chilly and ending up warm. Luke went along with us.

And that’s about it. We’ve battened down the hatches, pretty much. I hope you all are safe wherever you live.

 

 

Winter or spring? Return of the poltergeists

The weather has been extremely variable this week. On Saturday morning, we looked up and realized that the rain had changed to snow. It snowed long enough that some of it began sticking and by the time I had to take Luke for his 9 AM dog class, I was driving in slush, but by the time I got home, it was all gone. Then around 1 PM, we got more snow, although it did not stick. That was followed by a couple of rainy days, and now for the last two days it’s been warm and sunny. I took a movie of the snow for you, but I see that the file types I am allowed to post do not include movies. Hence, I have no pictures for my blog this week.

That’s not altogether right, though. I do have a picture. On Sunday night, we were watching TV in the living room when we heard a BAM! on our front door. We opened up the door but could see nothing. Luke was barking like a crazy dog. We realized that the kids were back. We couldn’t figure out what they hit the door with. I thought they hit it, but Wayne thought they bounced something heavy off it.

I stood by the window next to the front door, because on the other occasions when they just knocked on the door, they came back. Then Wayne said, “What’s that flash?” They were shining flashlights into our front window (which they have done before). I went out and heard kids running around in the woods above our house and then heard them shouting taunts. I told them I was going to go in and call their parents.

In reality, I only knew to call the people whose property they were on. They told us their kids were all inside, but they said they would email the parents and send their son-in-law out with a flashlight. I didn’t see his flashlight, but it got quiet in the woods really quickly.

Here’s the boot print we found on our front door the next morning. Yes, my front door is bright green.

The next morning we found a lovely big, smeared boot print on our front door. I took a picture of it and posted it on our neighborhood Facebook page with a description of what had happened.

I’m not sure if was the neighbor’s emails or my Facebook post (which got quite a bit of comment), but that afternoon, a car drove up and a boy, about 10 years old maybe, got out. I could see an apology coming. He apologized and said another boy would be coming by to wash off our door. I didn’t know who he or his mom were and was taken too by surprise to ask, but I think this boy might not have been from our streets in our little neighborhood but maybe from down the main road. A little later, a boy came by whom I did recognize, our across-the-road neighbor. He looks about 10, too, but he is 13. He apologized and said he would be back to clean the door. He came back in the evening and did it, and then asked if it was okay and apologized again. I think the parents really let these kids have it. There were more kids involved than just this two, but hopefully, they all got the message. I hope this is the end of it all.

Over the weekend, my family got going about the coronavirus. Some of their concern was legitimate. They decided not to go to a taekwondo tournament in Seattle, where most of the virus seems to be and which would include a lot of people from Korea. That seemed a legitimate concern, but now many of them are announcing their intention to stay home for the next two weeks, even though there are no cases locally. My brother, who had planned to come here this coming weekend for Crab Feast and his birthday, has decided to stay home. Wayne and I are doing our usual things, except now Wayne thinks he has a bronchial infection, despite not coughing more than twice in two days. That’s Wayne all over.

This means that he didn’t make his first tai chi class on Monday, which makes me wonder if he will go at all. I had been looking forward to doing something besides dog class on Monday nights. I usually hate going there, even though it is by far the best class because it is much more lightly attended. His Saturday class has so many dogs in it that it seems overwhelming at times. However, I just don’t like having to pack Luke up and drive into town on cold, rainy nights. It’s not late, but it is dark out. I don’t mind those classes later in the year when it’s light out and warm.

So, I wasn’t sure if I should just go to the tai chi class by myself or take Luke to dog class or what. Inertia won, and I stayed home.

On Monday morning, a crew showed up to rip out all the blackberry bramble on the slope near the back of the house. It was expensive, but we are relieved to get rid of it. We had both worked on it, but neither of us felt secure enough to try going up the steepest part of the slope. Now we have a pile of bramble to burn. We also have fabric stretched down behind our house on which to plant grass.

In art class, it’s about time for me to start painting the hairs on my pigs. I know that will continue for some time, but it’s one of the later steps. After that, I just have to work on the hay some more and put dirt on the piggy noses.

Inching toward spring

I have a few more crocuses today, but they’ve been coming out slowly because we haven’t had very nice weather until yesterday. It’s been either warm or cold and rainy. On Monday, we were supposed to get snow, but all we got was some sleet that hit my windshield on the way home from Christine’s.

At least last week I was feeling well enough that I could return to all my regular activities. Luke went to both classes and did well, except when one of the German Shepherds lunged at him Monday night. Then whenever we had to go near him, Luke would walk the other way. But he’s doing awfully well at heeling in class, not so well outside of it. I have him almost off-leash in class, but the problem is that when I let go of the leash, he stops. So, I was holding on to the very end of the leash, and he was walking along with me nicely. It’s too bad, because for a while I had him walking along by me completely off-leash. When he can do that routinely, he gets to have only a two-foot leash, and most of the time he can be off-leash. I can’t help feeling that if he knew what reward he had in store for him, he’d learn to walk off-leash really quickly.

Starting in March, a lot of our Saturday classes and all of our Monday night classes are going to be off the premises of the training facility, at places like malls, where we are training our dogs for the Urban Canine Good Citizen certificate. Unfortunately, during all of March I will be attending an evening beginning tai chi class with Wayne instead of going to dog class. Anyway, Dawn has announced she has a goal to have the schedule for class done by March 1. Last time she announced anything like this, we never got a schedule—she just used Facebook to announce where they were going at the last minute. That meant that Luke and I never got to go, because I never managed to get on Facebook at exactly the right time to look, and the times I did so, the event was so far away from our house that we couldn’t get there on time.

Aside from dog and art class, where my piggies are coming along, the only other thing I did this week of note was go walking with Christine and Luke on Monday. We drove over to her house and just walked around her neighborhood. Then we followed that up with a coffee klatsch at her house.

Here’s a glimpse of the swimming hole from the path.

For our hike yesterday, we went back to Salmon Creek Park, because it was a rare sunny day, and we wanted to stay in the sun. This was the first time we went there without Luke, which gave us an excuse to explore the swimming area, in which dogs are not allowed (even though we saw a couple in there). It is a nice area with a pond, which was occupied by cormorants, geese, and ducks at this time of year, and a bathhouse. It also has playscapes and a duck pond.

Returning from the duck pond to the swimming hole, we walked around a huge flock of geese that was sunning in the grass. When we got about two thirds around, they all took off. About half of them landed in the duck pond and the other half in the swimming hole.

We saw a path branching away from that area, and we decided to go that way rather than along the usual trail. It went under I-5 and then back along the creek for a ways, but after a mile or so it got rockier and we began seeing shopping carts and barbecues and other signs of a homeless population, so we turned around. So, we didn’t actually get a chance to find out if it went anywhere else. We returned to the main part of the park and walked up the usual trail. It started off being quite cold in the park but gradually got a lot warmer, so that we were shedding layers as we went.

As we returned to the car, we passed some people with telephoto cameras and realized they were pointed at a huge nest in the park. It was  a nest of bald eagles. We watched for a while but saw no activity, but the people said that both parents had been back and forth to the nest.

Pedicure

My teal toenails

This might seem amazing to some of you and trivial to others, but last Friday, I had my first ever pedicure. Christine, who has them now and again, scheduled one for both of us while Luke was at the groomers. I sort of liked it, although I was worried at times about my feet, as I used to have gout attacks (never since I moved here, though). When I saw my brother John that weekend, he said he used to have them regularly and really enjoyed them, until they retired and Lucie cut them out of the budget. He didn’t have his toes painted teal, however. I liked them so much that I decided to get my fingernails done to match next time Christine does hers. I actually have about the same color polish in my cupboard, but when I do my nails, they get smeared right away and chip off within days.

It’s not too snowy at this point, but if you look closely, you can see snow on Luke’s back. Not dandruff.

Just before writing this (on Tuesday), I was out playing with Luke in the snow. We got about an inch on Sunday, and most of it melted away, but Tuesday we got about seven inches. When I wrote the draft for this post, it was only sticking on the grass. I took a picture of Luke with snow on him. Luke has this habit. We get done with our errands (today it was the dentist and Play and Train), come home, I make lunch and do the dishes. Then, just about when I’m ready to settle down with a nice cup of tea, Luke gets up from snoozing and starts ringing the bell to go out and play. So, that’s what we did.

We ended up getting about an inch of snow again, but early in the morning, it started raining, so this morning I woke up to mostly slush.

We had a couple of beautiful days this week, Monday being clear and quite cold, but mostly it has rained for days. Still, we don’t complain. We’re not in Austin. Yay!

Last week in tai chi we finished the first third, which seemed weird because we learned 17 out of 108 moves. But many of them repeat, apparently. I can’t really remember more than 6 or 7 when I try to practice at home. I already know I’ll have to take the beginner’s class over again at least once. Our instructor says that most people take at least two beginner’s courses.

Now that Wayne has missed the beginning of our class and we’re not accepting any new students, his physical therapist has said he should take tai chi. (I tried to get him to go, but he never believes I know what I’m talking about. He’ll listen to anyone but me.) So, he’s going to start a class beginning in March on Monday nights in Orchards. I told him I would skip Luke’s night class to take it with him for a month, and then we can both start over again in April, when the Battle Ground beginning class starts again. While I’m taking class with him, I’ll also take my regular class. Of course, this all depends on his not changing his mind by the time March rolls around. Right now, he still says he’ll take it.

I spent a lot of the week getting the house cleaned up in case we had visitors. That’s because Mark was having a birthday party on Sunday, and rumor had it my brother Steve and his family would be coming down from Seattle and staying with us. Not that he ever said anything to me. I had been sadly neglectful of the housework since the holidays, pretty much only doing the dishes and the laundry and sweeping the floor occasionally. So, the entire house got cleaned and the guest bed changed, and so on, but no guests. Steve and his family did indeed show up at the party on Sunday afternoon, but they went home about 7 PM. It was a nice party. Mark made delicious homemade pizzas according to a recipe we’ve had since the 60’s. Eighteen people showed up, including friends Mark has known since he went to college up at Michigan Tech, who now live up by Bellevue.

John and Lucie are having a great time in their cottage in Seaside and sent us all a beautiful picture from their walk on Monday, after they got back home. He reported that they had nearly finished the puzzle I brought them, so I gave them another one.

In art class, I continued to work on shading my piggies.

Monday, we bought a new bed, a Sleep Number bed. Gosh, they’re really expensive. When you price the mattress, it doesn’t seem too much worse than a regular high-end mattress, but then you have to buy the support for the mattress that has the electronics in it, and they keep hitting you with additional expenses (the proper mattress cover, sheets, etc.). We didn’t get everything, although we may regret not buying the sheets if ours start popping off whenever the mattress is raised. However, neither of us sleep well, so if this will help, it’ll be worth it. We looked at Tempurpedic beds a few months ago, and I personally thought the soft one was more comfortable (and they’re about half the cost, because none of the extras are needed), but the Sleep Number bed also raises up to help people with sleep apnea, which Wayne has. (Actually, I think the Tepurpedic bed does, too, so maybe we would have to buy the same extras. They just didn’t show us that feature.) We’ll get the bed in a couple of weeks and I’ll report back.

On second thought, I figured that since we got the split top mattress so that Wayne could sleep slightly elevated, our sheets would be popping off the mattress, so I looked at sheets online. I found that if I bought them from Sleep Number, they cost about $200 a set. Online I found a set of bamboo sheets for $69, 1900 thread count. We’ll see how they work out.

Let there be light

First, a miracle occurred! About a year and a half ago, the second fluorescent light in my closet started to go out. (The other one was out already.) When I mentioned that I needed new bulbs, Wayne suggested that we change out the fixture for LEDs, as they are more energy efficient and he has done that throughout the house. We soon bought a fixture for the closet, which we put under the dresser in the guest room. Time passed. My other bulb went from flickering a lot to being completely out, and since then I have been going into my closet with a  flashlight or just feeling around for things. I complained about it several months ago, and Wayne installed a camping lantern in my closet that was almost as bad as no light at all. My friend Christine suggested I go out and buy fluorescent bulbs and install them myself, but I kept forgetting to measure the fixture.

And lo and behold, yesterday Wayne brought a ladder in from the garage. I could hardly bear to hope, but yes, I now have a new light fixture in my closet! I only had to go a year without any light! For some reason he didn’t install it straight in the closet. It is at an angle to the wall. But beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take it! It is very bright!

Lukey enjoying the new snow. He just loves playing in the snow. I shot a video of him playing but was unable to transfer it from my phone to my computer. I’m not sure my template supports video anyway, as it didn’t last time I tried to upload a video.

I have to admit to not having done very much the last week. We had a week where it snowed just about every day, and it was so nice to sit in front of the fire with a book that that’s about what I did. Of course, I continued to take Luke to class, and in my art class, I began painting my pigs. I went to tai chi again, this time with Maja, but we did not go for a hike.

And speaking of Luke, he is going through a stretch of naughtiness after being relatively well behaved for some time. The first thing he did was steal my bookmark off the coffee table and rip it to shreds. He hasn’t been taking things off the table, so I let my guard down. Next, he stole one of my socks out of the dirty laundry, but this time, at least, he didn’t tear it up. He just took it into his crate, and it missed its turn in the laundry, since I didn’t discover that he’d taken it until I finished the washing.

On Sunday morning, my only day to sleep in during the week, I tried to sleep a little later than Wayne and Luke. However, he stayed outside my bedroom door growling and scratching on the door, so I finally gave up and got up. I know I’m forgetting at least one more minor misbehavior, but now I’m at the big ones. On Saturday night, he vomited copiously into his bed. After I cleaned it up, I discovered why. He had gotten up on his hind legs and stolen the butter off the kitchen counter. Then he ate it, all the butter we had in the house, about a stick and a half. At least, I found the half stick on the floor, but it was covered in teeth marks, so I threw it out.

Finally, I took him out to the orchard Monday morning without his e-collar, and he ran straight into the road and across the street and did not come back when called. That’s a serious misbehavior, as he gets to go out without a leash around our property because he can be relied upon to come when called. Then he started down the road as if to call on his friend Rosie, but he came back and got dragged ignominiously home. He doesn’t really have it in him to actually run off as he prefers being around me. Nevertheless, I put his e-collar on him first thing in the morning ever since then.

This is just one bunch of the many mushrooms we saw along the path. I don’t think they are edible, more’s the pity, but they are certainly pretty.

Yesterday we went for the first regular hike since the holidays began, perhaps the first one since November, although I went out a couple of times with John and once with Lucie. It was me, Maja, and Nancy. We just went to Moulton Falls Park because it was supposed to rain, and it was raining by the time we turned back. We saw an area where they’d been cutting trees that was just loaded with mushrooms. As always, it was a beautiful walk.

 

 

A long weekend at the beach

The first tai chi class went well aside from us all being locked out when we first got there. The instructor said they hoped for four or five people, but there were 16 of us. We learned the first five moves. Maja wasn’t able to go with me but will go this week. They called me on Tuesday to tell me that if Battle Ground schools are closed today, we won’t have class, but there’s just a late start. On Monday night we got a couple of inches of snow up here (although not in Battle Ground) and Tuesday we had more.  Wayne also said he might go, but as usual he has copped out.

On Thursday night at art class, I drew my pigs, which will be my next painting. My teacher told me I should do a furry animal after finishing my landscape. Almost everyone in my class picks cats, dogs, horses, or wild animals like foxes and tigers. I thought it would be nice to do a barnyard animal. I looked at pictures of cows and pigs and picked some pigs sleeping in hay. I completed transferring the drawing onto my canvas a few minutes before clean-up time, so I did not begin painting it.

Lucie, John, and Sue on the beach at Seaside

On Friday, Sue picked me up and we loaded up some things that John and Lucie left and drove to Seaside. We arrived about noon in pouring rain. In fact, it was raining so hard when we crossed the bridge to the south of Astoria that we could barely see where we were going.

Haystack Rock from south of Cannon Beach

John and Lucie’s cottage was built in the 1930’s and is very nice. It has cedar shake siding and has two bedrooms downstairs and an attic with three twin beds upstairs. It is small but a lot larger than the apartments we looked at here and well lit and pleasant. There is a little sun room where Lucie sits in the morning reading her book. Luckily for me, Sue volunteered to sleep in the attic. The staircase from there to the little bathroom below it is very narrow and steep, and the ceiling slants so that you can bang your head on it. I was sure I’d fall down the stairs during one of my many nighttime trips to the bathroom. I had been trying to figure out if both of us could sleep in the guestroom bed, but it is pushed up against the wall, making it difficult for the inside person to get up in the middle of the night.

The cottage was rented furnished, and it is furnished to the max. There is very little room for any of John and Lucie’s things, and it is also full of kitsch with a seaside theme. Lots of shells and starfish around the place. Not very good paintings of water. And so on. However, it is comfortably furnished and the decor isn’t overly annoying.

I took this picture at Oswald West just north of Manzanita.

After we ate lunch, we walked the three or four long blocks to the sea. We had heard warnings of king tides and sneaker waves on the way in, and I tried to impress on John and Lucie how serious this was by telling them about a man and his child who were dragged out to sea the summer before, but John and Sue still went pretty close to the water. Lucie stayed well back with me. We walked along the ocean for a while. It was very windy and rainy, though, so after a few miles, we turned around and went home. John said they had already started a habit of heading out whenever it stopped raining. They had only had one day so far that it didn’t rain. (During that same time period, we had none.)

That night, Lucie made us a delicious dinner and we finally got to watch Amadeus, which I brought from home.

The next day when we went back down to the ocean in the morning, the tide was so high that the beach we had been walking on was completely underwater. We went down to the promenade and checked out the ocean from several viewpoints, before going to breakfast at Pig n Pancake. When we headed south to drive around the point below Seaside, the road was blocked off, so we had to go back to Highway 101.

We spent the day exploring a bunch of stops along the highway south of Seaside and looking at the ocean from different angles. Only once did John and Lucie go down to a beach, but it was at a tight cove, which is not a good place to do it under these conditions. Most of the time, we were looking at views from up high. We went down to Manzanita, and as we were going there, we encountered several ambulances. Later, we found out about the man and his two children who were pulled out to sea right when we were in the area. His little girl drowned and his little boy was never found. I feel so sorry for that family.

In the evening, we went out to dinner at one of the fish restaurants in Seaside, and we went to bed fairly early. The next morning I got up early and was thinking of taking a shower but was worried that it would wake up John and Lucie, who shared a jack and jill bathroom. I’m glad I didn’t do anything, because John got in the shower that morning and found the water not going down. When he got up, he saw that water had flooded up from under the toilet. We had to get the property manager to call a plumber. It turned out that the bamboo roots from the hedge on that side of the house had clogged up the pipes. The water was turned off for some time, and during that time, I had to walk several blocks down to the public toilet. However, I’m sure that will soon be fixed, and I’m glad they are so happy in their new home.

Some good news was that while we were there, Nancy texted John inviting him and Lucie to attend Mark’s 70th birthday potluck in early February. That made him very happy. Maybe we’re all going to put the latest unpleasantness behind us.

Sue and I drove home about 11 on Sunday morning. It was supposed to snow in Yacolt later that day, but we really didn’t get much. However, we got a lot more on Monday night. It was a little slippery going down to town to do our usual errands on Tuesday, but when we got to Battle Ground, they had no snow.

Lukey was very happy to see me when I got home. Wayne said he spent most of the time looking out the window.

 

Looks like a happy new year

We had a very nice Christmas morning with my brother John and his wife Lucie. My husband magically got me something I wanted, a nightgown I had marked in a catalog then decided not to buy. John and Lucie don’t really do presents, so we got them a pair each of alpaca socks so that they wouldn’t feel left out as we opened our presents.

Here is a picture of the decorated Christmas cake. It’s a work of art. (I’m sure Katrina probably finessed some of our work, because the mushrooms I made looked better than I remembered.)

In the afternoon, we made our veggies in preparation for the big dinner at my niece Katrina’s house. She made a Norwegian buffet for appetizers, and I’m afraid one cheese was so good that I ate way too much of it. Then the dinner, which I barely had room to eat, then the beautiful Christmas cake, decorated like a buche de Noel with mushrooms that we all made the Sunday before.

We were pretending it was Christmas Eve so that my sister Sue could be there for “Christmas morning” when the kids opened up their presents, since she worked the night before and slept in that afternoon until late. For once, though, she was there for Christmas dinner on Christmas. The kids got their presents from the people at the party early, though.

On Thursday and Friday, I went around with John and Lucie showing them different areas where they might find a place to live. They are renting, at least for the near future while they decide if they want to stay in that particular area. For what they want to pay, though, we were seeing some awfully small apartments.

However, yesterday they went out with Ares and Katrina to see some areas Ares recommends, and they ended up finding a house! It’s much farther away than we hoped, but I knew John thought a house on the beach would be nice, and they found one in Seaside, Oregon. It is larger than most of the places we looked at around Battle Ground, Vancouver, and Camas (except for one very nice but expensive two-bedroom in downtown Vancouver that we saw), but it is at a lower rent, an older cottage just a couple of blocks from the water. We are very excited because we will be welcome to visit them. It is furnished and has a room up in the attic with three beds in it as well as a guest room and a master bedroom, so several of us can go visit at a time. Right now, they are applying to live there, so we expect that soon they will have a home. I love the beach, although Wayne does not, so I am sure to be visiting soon.

Here is my newest painting.

On Thursday night, I finished the painting I had been working on since September. It’s another landscape but in colors very similar to my starfish. My teacher says I should do an animal with fur for my next painting, so I picked pigs, because everyone in the class does either cats, dogs, horses, or sort of exotic animals like lions and tigers. I decided to do a barnyard animal.