What’s Keeping Me Off My Blog

Someone special.

Well, it’s been nearly a month since my last blog post — the longest gap between blog posts since I started blogging back in 2003. Why the delay? Well, I’ve found something else to take up my time. Or perhaps I should say someone else.

Maria and Kirk
I danced barefoot with my new sweetie at the Ohme Gardens Wine Gala last week. My friend Kriss shot this photo of us.

Yes, it’s true. After three years of being single, with occasional time-wasting dates that really made me happy to be single, I began a serious relationship with someone I’ve known for about a year. His name is Kirk, he’s retired (early), and he lives on a 15-acre orchard/farm in nearby Peshastin. I ran into him at a Meetup event the Thursday before my birthday at the end of June, he invited me on a double date for dinner and dancing in Leavenworth the next evening, and things progressed rather quickly from there. He treated me to the best birthday I’ve had in more years than I like to admit — pardon me if I leave out the details. We now spend quite a bit of time together doing the kinds of things we both like to do: hiking, dancing, eating out, picking blueberries, cooking, flying, exploring swimming holes, you name it.

And yeah, that, too. I’ve done more of that in the past month than I had in the last three years of my marriage.

Kirk is smart, upbeat, and friendly. He’ll start a conversation with anyone and learn interesting things along the way. He’s confident and comfortable in his own skin. He knows how to make me feel good about myself and never belittles me or tries to embarrass me in front of friends. He obviously doesn’t feel threatened by either my intelligence or success. There doesn’t seem to be a mean bone in his body.

He doesn’t have any previous relationship baggage and isn’t a slave to a job or tied to high-maintenance offspring or parents. He says Yes far more often than No. He’s willing to try anything once and then do it again if he likes it. Better yet, he actually suggests fun things to do so I don’t have to.

He makes me happy. Very happy.

And he keeps me busy. So busy that I simply don’t have time to blog.

So if you don’t mind, I’ll need to cut things short here. He’s on his way for dinner tonight. I’ll grill up some chicken tenders and he’ll cook green beans from his garden. I’m hoping he’ll bring some rhubarb, too — I’m thinking of strawberry rhubarb topping on vanilla ice cream for dessert. Wine on the deck for sunset. Later, when it gets dark, we’ll take out the telescope and explore the heavens.

Still later, we’ll likely do some other things that I won’t detail here.

I’ll get back to blogging regularly one of these days. I hope you’ll keep checking in.

Thank You, 2014 Donors!

Donations to support this site are always appreciated.

I’d like to thank the following people who have used the Donate link on this site in 2014 to send me a token of their appreciation and help support this site.

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Thank YouThe generous contributions of readers like these help make this site possible. Not only do they help me cover the cost of hosting an ad-free site that gets thousands of hits a day, but they encourage me to keep writing here — to keep sharing my experiences, opinions, and photos with people who apparently find value in them.

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Search Phrases that Brought Readers Here, 19-Nov-14 Edition

Questions answered?

I was going to blog about gun control and open carry this morning but, in all honesty, was not in the mood to formulate an argument to support my view point. So I went into the stats page for my blog and took a look at the top 10 search terms that brought readers here yesterday. I do this sometimes to trigger ideas. Yesterday’s was a gold mine, mostly because of the variety. I thought I’d build a blog post with brief answers to those questions.

sound made by helicopter

I’m pretty sure this search phrase led the reader to “Writing Tips: Writing Accurate Descriptions,” which I wrote back in 2009. In that post, I discuss an email message I got from a reader who was looking for help describing the sound a helicopter made. She’d come up with a meaningless cliché: “the deafening drill of the helicopter’s rotors” and apparently wanted me to rubber stamp it. I couldn’t, of course. Instead, I gave her a laundry list of things to consider when trying to come up with an accurate description.

I don’t have much to add to this. If you’re a writer and you’re interested in coming up with a description of what a helicopter sounds like, go listen to one. It doesn’t sound like a drill.

how do you strain pastina because its so small

This one made me giggle because yes, pastina is tiny.

I blogged about Pastina back in 2007. Not many people do, so my post usually comes up on the first page of Google if you search for Pastina.

The answer to the question: I don’t know because I don’t strain it. I cook it in water or broth and let the broth fully absorb into the pasta. No need to drain.

traeger junior rib rack

How many times have I blogged about my Traeger? And how many more times will I? Too many to count. Why? Because I love my little grill and the amazing ribs it makes.

But I have the Junior model and it doesn’t have a large cooking surface. I use the rib rack so I can smoke up to 4 racks instead of just two. Thought I had a picture here, but apparently I don’t. So I dug one up.

Rib Rack
Because the Junior Traeger is smaller than other models, I have to cut the racks in half to use the rib rack. There are 3 racks in this photo; I can fit 4.

a what sound of helicopter blades

A lot of people seemed interested in helicopter sounds yesterday. I guess this person zeroed in on the same post I mentioned above.

how to build the bottom board for bee keeping

A bottom board is the bottom part of a beehive. The hive boxes or supers stack on top of it. Bottom boards can be solid or screened. I can only assume the person searching with this phrase found my blog post from this past spring about rebuilding a screened bottom board. In this case, I didn’t build one from scratch; I modified one a friend had made for me.

I do want to build them in the future. Seems easy enough and with my new shop, I have plenty of room to do the job right.

what goes on first sheet or electric blanket?

Way back in 2010, I blogged about my electric blanket, which I’d gotten back in 1977. Then, in 2011, I blogged about the death of that blanket. I can only assume the person searching with this phrase stumbled onto one or both of these posts, neither of which answer the question.

Here’s the answer: blankets go on top of sheets. Electric blankets are supposed to go on the top of the pile, but I put mine right under my comforter (over the top sheet). My new electric blanket can roast me on its lowest setting.

las vegas hiking meetup group

How cool! Someone found my blog by looking for my very favorite hiking group: the Around the Bend Friends, which I blogged about in the autumn of 2012. I had nice things to say about them — and you would, too.

Heck, I was even considering wintering down in the Las Vegas area just so I could go hiking regularly with them this year.

who generates to kindly copy, paste, and share this status for one hour to give a moment of support

Some people take search phrases to the extremes. This is certainly a long one.

I can only assume this person used this search phrase to find my post about echoing canned sentiments on my Facebook status. I do not answer the question, mostly because I don’t know the answer and don’t care to know it. This is spam and people are idiots if they echo it. Period.

how much a helicopter ride cost 3

Not sure what the 3 is all about, but I’ve written quite a bit about helicopter costs — although not specifically what a ride costs. I assume this person got to see the most popular post of all time on this blog: “The Real Cost of Helicopter Ownership.”

Ride costs for passengers vary widely depending on the location, length of ride, and type of helicopter. The cheapest ride I do these days is $35/person at airport events. Normally, however, I charge $545/hour for up to 3 people with a 1-hour minimum. That’s for an R44 Raven II in Wenatchee, WA.

Questions Answered?

Those are the top 10 search phrases for yesterday. Not sure if my blog or this post answered the questions visitors had. But it was a real pleasure to see such a variety of search phrases. Normally, they’re mostly related to helicopter costs and operations — and even I get tired of blogging about that all the time.