Thursday, July 31, 2008

January 1, 2029

What happens on January 1, 2029? That's the day that I retire! I can't wait to be able to say the thing that all retirees say to those of us still working - "I'm busier now than when I worked". Yeah right - did you ever think that perhaps you were not working hard enough! :-) For those of you younger than I, the good news is that you are younger and that gravity has not yet set in. The bad news is that retirement is even further away than January 1, 2029 and that gravity will eventually set in! Word of advice - save, save , save. Max out your 401K and buy a Roth each year and you should be fine. For extra security get a government job with a pension!
Why retirement? It seems that more and more people I know are retiring. I can only imagine that it will increase as the years go by. It started with our friend Diane, pictured below at her retirement party with Kent and I and her daughter Barbara who is also our friend (and a single doctor)! :-)

Followed by our friend Buzz who just happens to be the husband of Diane and Father of Barbara above. Buzz is pictured below at this retirement party with the "girls" from the office. I had only met a few of them before but from what I could tell Buzz was pretty popular with the ladies!

Finally followed by my Mom last year pictured below with my Dad and Kent and I in Hawaii this last February.

and TODAY my friend Linda!

Congratulations Linda! I am going to miss you. I am still recovering from my overdose on carrot cake from yesterday! The guy in the picture is trying to figure out how many cocktails you had to consume before the ribbon made it into your mouth!

Thanks to all who have responded to and visited my blog! It's been fun. Thanks too to the anonymous tip for this to do this weekend in Madison. We will definitely check them out! Notice too our new cat in the right margin. He loves when you tease him with the mouse. Scroll over him and check it out!

Later - Jim

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why Madison, Wisconsin – Part I

Okay so before I get to the Madison, Wisconsin conversation we have to discuss the package I got in the mail today! It's a gift from my Mom and Dad - just one of those - no reason "just because we love you" gifts. (Remember - my birthday isn't until 12/04) That was subtle wasn't it! I've had this thing for chicken's every since I had this pet rooster growing up.

I'd love to have chicken's now and many of you know that I am working on Kent. I think I am getting close! Because my Mom and Dad know that I have this chicken thing - they keep the dream alive with periodic chicken related gifts. Kent's sister Kay does the same thing - just this weekend she gave me "Chicken Poop Lip Gloss".

I've got an entire blog in mind to introduce you to Toby - our new dog, but I could not resist posting a picture of his reaction to the Rooster! It's hilarious! He's so brave barking hysterically at the motionless chicken!

Thank you - I love it! You are right it will go great with the fall decorations.
Okay - so back to the original post - I will not be posting anything for a few days since Kent and I will be away on a weekend trip to Madison Wisconsin. Why Madison you ask? I say - why not Madison? Kent’s never been and it’s been 15 years or so since I was there and that was only for a few hours. Since we added Toby to the family (I have an entire blog dedicated to him coming up) we’ve stayed pretty close to home. We needed a weekend away.

Kent and I have a fairly big territory – meaning it’s not unusual for us to venture far and wide for short periods of time. In terms of driving, day trips can be a far south as Woodburn, Oregon, east to Wenatchee/Yakima, north to Whidbey Island and west Olympia. It’s really weather dependent – when the weather is crappy here and we get desperate for warmth and sunshine (especially in early spring) it’s not uncommon for us to drive to Yakima for a burger and fries at Miners for lunch. Tip of the day – if you love a good burger and you are in Yakima, a Miner burger and fries are a must! This is an actual Miner Burger I found on the web. Isn't the internet great?

Its funny, driving east on I-90 the weather very predictably breaks at the town of Easton. Last weekend we went to Wenatchee for a quick weekend trip, we were driven to eastern Washington by the weather. It was in the 60’s and cloudy in western Washington and sunny and in the low 90’s a short 2 hours away. Well worth the short drive.
Our weekend jaunts by air include east to Chicago and south to San Diego. Due to the time change flying any further east than Chicago is not worth the time it takes - you basically loose a full day to travel.

I love visiting Farmers Markets. A magazine that I subscribe to called, Eating Well named the Farmers Market in Madison the best in the County. Apparently the Market is set up each Saturday and surrounds the State capitol. I’ll have a full report with pictures when we return. For Kent I think it came down to weather. We were going back and forth between Austin, Texas and Madison for the weekend trip. They have both been on our list of places we want to visit for a weekend. The weather window for visiting Austin is much larger than the weather window to Madison so we ended up in Madison. I’m sure we will visit the University – we love to visit college campuses when we travel, we want to hit a cheese factory - factory tours are always fun. Best one so far – Ben and Jerry’s in Vermont! Of course the ice cream tasting room at the end was the best!

If anyone has been to Madison and has any suggestions of things to do in the Madison area we would love to hear from you. Stay tuned – Sunday - Why Madison, Wisconsin – Part II.

Later – Jim

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Mutant Lilies

So far so good! I have heard from six people that I have not heard from in a long time – including our friends Curt and Myrna. Curt has been a long time mentor of mine who has taught me a lot. This picture was taken at their 50th wedding anniversary!

It was great to hear from you all! Please leave comments when you visit! Beware if I've got a picture of you it may end up on my site unless you tell me otherwise. Don't worry - I know the rule, flattering photos only. I had a couple of questions about how to leave a comment, I’ve looked in to it and think I have it figured out and fixed the problem. You should be able to leave comments now – please do! Congratulation to my friend Kim, she knew the quote from yesterday. It was from Steel Magnolias. That movie is full of great quotes. Two of my other personal favorites include: "Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair" LOL… and "Time marches on and sooner or later you realize it is marchin' across your face"! LOL again…… Go back and watch this movie if you have not seen it for awhile – It’s got some great lines.

As I’ve said, this is a work in progress. I keep making changes to make this a fun site that you will want to visit time and time again. I’ve added a counter so I can track the traffic – so far so good, better than expected! I’ve also added the Barack Obama badge to show my support – click it and be a part of history! George W. is a blog of it’s own for another time. 01/20/09 can not come soon enough for me! I am working on a way for you to sign up for email notices when I've made a posting, I require technical assistance so be on the look out and sign up as soon as you see it. Lastly before getting to the Mutant Lilies – now that I’ve fixed the comments link, please do leave me comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Now on with the show……

So you guys know that I love Gardening – we have worked really hard over the years to make our yard beautiful. As far as I am concerned we have succeed for the most part although it is a constant work in progress.

I’m afraid to admit it but Kent may be right that I have created a high maintenance yard. The compost that we need delivered alone is enough to scare most people. A couple of times I’ve had 10 yards of compost/manure mix delivered and dumped to the left of the driveway. Not only did it take us a week to spread, I’m sure all the neighbors really hated us when their kids came home smelling of manure following a game of "King of the Mountain" on the compost pile! I won’t even go into the bike ramp they made to jump the pile!

Enough about that – what about my mutant lilies? The thing I like so much about blogging so far is that I get to write about anything that comes to mind and I get to share great things with people that otherwise only Kent and I would see. In the garden weird things happen all the time. Things don’t thrive when you think the conditions are perfect, things multiple like weeds when you wish they would die, but once in awhile something happens that you just have to document. Well this year I’ve got mutant lilies.

Well actually it’s one mutant lily. It’s incredible! Get a load of the mutant lily!

I’ve never seen anything like it! Look at all those buds. The stem is huge also – I’m surprised it can support the weight of the flowers.

It’s not the variety either – this lily has been in my yard for years! This is a freak lily that I am lucky enough to have in my back yard!

There you have it, if anyone knows what happened or has seen this before, I’d love to hear about it! I’m also including a few other pictures from the yard for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Later - Jim

Monday, July 28, 2008

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize - Garmin Forerunner 205

How many times have you received a Christmas gift that you never use or forget who gave it to you? Or worse yet, taken it to the Goodwill a week later (not that I’ve ever done this) . One of the greatest gifts ever was my Garmin Forerunner 205 satellite watch. Kent gave it to me a couple of years ago. I use it all the time! It’s great for training runs and biking. I’ve even been known to take it skiing. You can plan, analyze and store all the important information from your workouts. I upload my run and ride data to, it provides in-depth analysis of my activity, online mapping and route sharing, it’s very cool. Garmin has a newer version, the Forerunner 405 that looks pretty cool - it would make a great birthday (12/4) or Christmas gift - hint, hint. The 405 looks much more like a regular watch. I like it!

This morning I rode my bike to the office. Between the cost of gas and wanting to get more cross training in I’ve been trying to commute by bike a couple of time per week. I have a Trek 6700. This is not my actual bike but same model.

This map is the route that I take, downloaded from my Garmin. It’s a great ride of 23.7 miles. This morning I was riding a little slower than usual – I did some hill training on my long run on Sunday and was a little tired! The first 16 miles is paved bike trail along the Green River (yes, it’s where all the bodies were dumped by the Green River Killer but he’s in jail now) and the last 8 miles in on surface streets to downtown Seattle. Thanks God the County has a great bus system and that all the busses have bike racks. I ride to work and then take the bus home in the evening. I get a great workout in the morning and still manage to get home on time! I have always ridden bikes but it is only recently that I have been using it as a way to commute to work. I’ve finally gotten the routine down – the first couple of rides did not go so smooth – first day out I was pulled over by the police. He asked me if I knew why I was pulled over – my sarcastic response of - "speeding?" did not go over well but thankfully he did not give me a ticket. He took pity on me for having ridden 23+ miles, and that my ass was killing me and he let me off with a warning. The second trip, I got all the way to the office before I realized that my pack had fallen off the bike rack somewhere between work and home. I had to turn around and ride 23.7 miles home looking for my pack which I never found. Thank God my wallet was not in there. Not to be dissuaded – I’ve continued to ride.

The title of this posting was inspired by a quote from one of my favorite movies – "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize". There is nothing greater than being involved in a new activity and going to
REI to get all "necessary" accessories! It’s a great place – I was just there tonight to get a new headlight for my bike. It’s getting darker in the morning already! Let me know if you know who where the quote came from. I’d love to hear from you!

Later - Jim

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Welcome to - My First Post

Welcome to my first blog posting! I have been putting this off long enough already! No more procrastinating, I'm just going to do it! I keep thinking this has to be perfect, but like a lot of things I have going on, I'll have to view it as a work in progress! I created this blog as a way to meet new people with similar interests, keep in touch with family and friends, a few rants and raves and to share some of the things that keep me busy. My partner Kent and I (Pictured in Hawaii on a business trip last year - I'm the short one!) have a hard time keeping all our family and friends updated on our latest adventures. Before we know it months have passed and we have not talked to - "so and so" forever! Sorry if you are one of those that fall into this - "so and so" category! We really do miss you! Between work, finding time to enjoy life and having a new dog - there really is little time left in the day.

So first of all , why call it - Ground Cover? I have to credit my friend Jennifer for that. She inspired me to start this blog. She has her own blog at: Check it out. She is very creative! Her site is full of creative ideas and projects that are sure to inspire you and get your creative juices flowing!
OK - so back to why call the blog "Ground Cover"? I am hoping to "cover" a lot of "ground" in this blog - seeing that I am a Master Gardener (ground cover) and that I run marathons (covering ground) and I have tons of other interests and a lot of opinions about a lot of things - Ground Cover seemed appropriate! Although I reserve the right to talk about just about anything that's on my mind - the general themes in the blog will center around the things I enjoy the most. In no particular order they include: Running, biking, gardening, cooking, entertaining, University of Washington College Football and Basketball (season ticket holder to both) and traveling. That's enough to keep me busy!

Something you need to know about me - the only thing that I am truly an expert on is related to my work. I get enough of that Mon-Fri. I like to think of myself as knowing a little bit about a lot of different things - just enough to give me an opinion but not enough to keep me from wanting to learn more.

Thanks to my brother David, I taken up marathon running in the last couple of years. I've always done some running over the years, mostly 10k and 1/2 marathon. Last year I ran the San Diego Marathon (me after crossing the finish line in San Diego) and the Portland Marathon. I was much better prepared for the San Diego Marathon and completed in 3:42:41. Earlier this year I ran the Yakima River Canyon Marathon. I've added a link to my site to this one - it was by far my favorite! The course is absolutely incredible, the people were extremely supportive and helpful and the weather was perfect! If you are a runner I highly recommend this marathon! So you are probably wondering why I've gone off on this tangent about marathons all the sudden - I am training for an early fall marathon - the Lake Chelan Marathon on Sept. 20th. I had a 10 mile run to do this morning. I ran west from my house down to Des Moines along Puget Sound. It was a great morning for a run. I am mostly a morning runner - if I put it off until the evening, I am very likely to find an excuse not to run. I just completed week four of my 12 week training plan. I've been mixing up my training a bit and only run three days per week. I've added biking as cross training. The ride to work is 24 miles so I have been doing that 1-2 times per week.
Enough for now,
Later - Jim