Monday, September 28, 2009

Pearl Jam Still Kickin’ It

I probably first saw Pearl Jam at one of the old downtown Seattle clubs - RCKNDY, the Off Ramp, the Vogue or the Crocodile Cafe…in maybe 1991 or 1992. I was bartending for a living in Pioneer Square and nights I didn’t work I was doing the club thing…it was the birth of grunge….

I was amazed at the strong, deep voice that came out of the front man, Eddie Vedder. He’s a little guy and he had that long, long, wavy hair and those piercing eyes. And Mike McCready – the guitar maestro.
The first show that I fully recall was Drop in the Park in September 1992. Pearl Jam sponsored a free show for about 30,000 of us in Magnuson Park on Lake Washington. Eddie was crazy. He threw his microphone cord up until it wrapped around the scaffolding, then he shinnied up the scaffolding on the side, “monkey-barred” himself over to the middle of the scaffolding, sang and then slid back down to the stage via the microphone cord. The crowd went wild!

Well, Saturday night in Vancouver, WA I was not disappointed with Pearl Jam. All these years later they still have the licks, the power, and good music. Eddie’s voice is as strong as ever. The venue was perfect. Our seats were just 10 rows back, in the center section. Cousin Mary and son Jordan sat in the same row, only 15 seats away.

What else can I say. Mike had a great birthday show!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


My friend Steve recently lost his best friend, his dog, Professor Jiggs. And I am extremely sad because those two had a very strong bond. Just like the one I have with Sitka. It made me realize that I haven’t blogged about my girl in a long time so this post is about Sitka.

We rescued Sitka from a German shepherd rescue group in the summer of 2001. We had just bought our house in Duvall, Washington and it sat on 1/3 of an acre with a large, fenced back yard. We both had German shepherds as family dogs when we were growing up so we went searching for another one.

After doing lots of research and finding a purebred dog rescue group we applied to adopt a dog. It was quite a process with lots of paperwork. Before we were approved, and after seeing Sitka’s picture on their website, we took a ferry to Poulsbo to meet Sitka at her foster family’s large farm. Unfortunately, she was kept in a 10 x 12 kennel 23 hours a day and only was allowed 1 hour of freedom each day with her so-called “German shepherd expert” foster dad. She was on her 1 hour freedom break when we were there and she paid absolutely no attention to Mike or me. All she wanted was to chase her tennis ball when her foster dad threw it. And he spoke to her in German so she wouldn’t be distracted by people talking in English. Weird.

The foster dad explained that Sitka was raised with her sister in a human family with a mom, dad and 2 kids. He also explained that having 2 female dogs in the same home was not so healthy because they would continually fight for the alpha position. Apparently, Sitka was the non-alpha sister, only loved by the mom in the family. So the family gave her to a rescue group at age 3.

The foster dad attempted to discourage us by telling us that Sitka would never be a typical family dog…we’d never be able to touch her beautiful ears or lie on the floor with her and watch TV together. So we took another ferry home and talked about her for a few weeks while we were still in the adopting parents “approval process.”

Finally, we got the call that we had been approved. All this time I had been looking at Sitka online everyday and hoping she could come home to live with us. So we made arrangements to go back to Poulsbo and bring her home to Duvall. That first week I was able to work from home so that I could be with Sitka and help her adjust to her new home – and freedom. And Mike did the same the following week. She was wonderful. She was shy in the beginning, plus neither of us know German, but she settled right in.

She didn’t dig holes. She didn’t eat shoes. She didn’t bark. She let us touch her ears. She let us roll around in front of the TV with her. And she even slept on our bed with us. She was just perfect! And she still is.

When we first decided to move to Mexico we didn’t think we would bring her. But the more we thought about it, the more we knew we couldn’t leave without her so she made the trip with us, went missing 2 times (once for 6 weeks!), and has now settled into Salem with us in our new home.

Our beautiful Sitka.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mike's Surprise

It is Thursday night, September 17, 2009. I did it. I kept Mike’s birthday surprise (tickets to Pearl Jam!) a secret for over a month!!!

Tomorrow morning I will give him a gift bag with some cool shirts, cards from me and Sitka, a collage I made with pictures of Pearl Jam in concert, and an email confirmation for the concert tickets.

I cannot wait!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dinner at The Brick

It wasn’t too long ago – in fact, it was the day in late May that I interviewed for and accepted my job – when Cheryl was visiting from Seattle and we went out for a late breakfast. Neither Cheryl or Felipe liked the picture of Cheryl I posted.

So when Cheryl and husband Pat were in Salem last Friday they both HID THEIR MUGS when I got out my camera!

But we were soon joined by Betty and Ron and we all enjoyed a nice evening at The Brick on Liberty Street in downtown Salem. Mike and I love this place. It’s a sports bar/restaurant with good food and a casual atmosphere. It’s not too far from home and the price is right.

We had a good time with good friends!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

CT Scan

Mike and I went to Salem Hospital yesterday afternoon for his CT scan. The machine was different than the other ones Mike was used to. It looked like a giant doughnut - about 8 feet long, 8 feet high, 2 feet deep and it had a giant doughnut hole in the middle. And that’s where Mike’s head went.

It was not that claustrophobic machine that Mike was thinking of. I got to go in too and the tech eased a heavy protective jacket onto me. Mike laid there for about 5 minutes while the doughnut hole rotated around his head, taking a sort of “moving picture.” Soon enough he was done and we were on our way out.

While walking toward the parking garage we spied Mike’s neurologist. Mike called out to him and told him he had just had his CT scan. The neurologist invited us upstairs to look at the results. Wow – we’ve never had that kind of offer in Seattle. The doctor pulled up the pictures on a computer and compared them to the pictures we hauled with us from Mexico City to Salem.

We were a little nervous, but the doc said everything looks good. The shunt and pump that were implanted in Mike’s brain in Mexico City are working properly and there has been no shifting of the shunt and pump. (If you remember Mike’s Mexico City doc told us in May 2008 that it was URGENT that Mike have a third surgery to “repair” the work from the second surgery. NOT!) We left the hospital feeling very happy.

On another note, Guaymas and San Carlos were heavily damaged recently when Hurricane Jimena worked her way up the Sea of Cortez. See our friends' Bliss', Brenda's and Ale’s blogs for info and pictures. Our hearts go out to those towns and the people that are already struggling.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mike's Health

I am a little late in posting this, but Mike had appointments with his neurologist and his primary care doctor last week. (Thank goodness Betty was able to drive Mike to his appointments - THANK YOU BETTY!)

And the news is good! His recent tests indicate that his body chemistry is all back to normal. He is feeling strong and eating well. He needs a CT Scan (Cat Scan) in the next couple of weeks and then another appointment with his neurologist to review the results. Unfortunately, Mike is a bit claustrophobic and he is not looking forward to the CT Scan. Poor guy…so many tests and pokes with needles. I’m still giving him vitamin B-12 injections and I just hate inserting that needle in his arm.

But at the end of the day I am much happier to have Mike sleeping in our bed instead of a hospital bed. And we are so lucky to have great medical insurance to help with the costs. Today is a day to be thankful.