Our Alaskan Malamute, Rhaegar (aka (“Catoico’s New Found Adventure”). 2018

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we’ve decided to give Rhaegar back to his breeder. We’ve had some incidents of aggression such that I don’t feel I can trust him. I’ve loved him with all my heart since he was 8 weeks old, but I’ve failed him as a leader.

The reality of all of this has taken it’s toll on me emotionally, and physically.

He’s going to fly to Wisconsin tomorrow with a friend of the breeder (who is also an Alaskan Malamute breeder) tomorrow. He’ll be staying with her for a few days and be evaluated for temperament.

Then he’ll go to boot camp. Stacey (the breeder) feels very confident that she will be able to find a great home for him. He may even be a show dog someday. I feel blessed to have chosen such a wonderfully supportive breeder.

I’ll be following his progress, knowing that doing this is THE best thing we could do for him. As our trainer said, it’s just not a good mix given our sedentary lifestyle and his needs.

I failed him.

2018 is starting out to be a real challenging year.

UPDATE 4/9/2018

Even though the breeder promised she’d keep us informed of his progress, she did not. I sent her a few text messages asking how he was doing and the response was always the same, ‘still in rehab, making progress’.

Until today.

Last Saturday, I decided to do a google search of his AKC registration number. What I learned put my heart at peace. He was being shown and had actually earned some points!

So today, I sent this text to his breeder – Stacey Moore of Midland, Texas.

And here is the subsequent, very hurtful exchange:

Transformation of Nazi Germany – history you aren’t taught!

I follow Nina on Twitter. She knows history inside and out and I trust her to tell the truth. She posted this on Twitter recently and I wanted to preserve it here.

Someday, our children and grandchildren will look back and wonder what happened. Understanding history helps us understand us now.

My home away from home!

This is my new-to-me motorhome! Her name is Minnie.

She’s getting on in years (like me), but has been very pampered!

She’s a wonderful 1992 Winnebago Micro-Mini Warrior that’s on the Toyota chassis. I was the first in line and bought her sight unseen because there were two people behind me who wanted her!

Put all new tires on and had the timing belt done because of her age and it had never been done. She has a little over 61000 miles on her.

She’s in beautiful shape as she is, but I do plan to refresh the interior to make her interior a little more modern looking. Ryan and I just installed a 32″ TV in her too!

When I found her on 9/15/2018, I paid to have both the truck, and the cabin inspected by two very reputable and highly recommended shops close to the dealer. I hadn’t even seen her yet, but I knew this is exactly what I wanted!

With a clear understanding of what I was getting, I made the final commitment and asked the dealer to help me get the work done before picking her up. I still hadn’t even seen her!

The dealer (John at Country Motorhomes in Mount Vernon, WA) was the best. He got her to the truck mechanic who had recommended the new timing belt and tune up. Motorworks Northwest also in Mount Vernon was great to work with.

They then took her back to the RV inspector (Action RV in Burlington, WA) who had recommended a new converter, LP detector, LP regulator with hose and roof seal after the inspection showed no leaks and overall in great condition. Les with Action RV was also great to work with. I still hadn’t even seen her yet.

Action RV took her to Discount Tire where all the tires were replaced.

All three shops commented about how wonderful a rig she was, and two of them had people who wanted to buy her from me; she had obviously been pampered. I still hadn’t even seen her yet.

I verified with Toyota that the head gasket recall had been taken care of (confirmed done in 1998).

I also verified that she was manufactured with the right (6 lug, dual axles on the rear) so there would be none of the 5-lug axle issues that caused problems for earlier models built on the Toyota chassis.

I just knew in my gut she was THE right rig for me.

With all the required maintenance work done, I took a train up from my home in the south Puget Sound area up to Mount Vernon to pick her up. I finally got to see her in person and go through the walk through with John at Country Motorhomes.

I was so impressed with her! It was truly a blessing to find her, and now call her my own!

I met the woman who owned her before me (she was sold on consignment) and we exchanged a little bit about ourselves. Getting to know her that day just confirmed that everything happens for a reason, and I was the obvious perfect ‘new’ owner of this little gem.

Why do I love this little Class C so much?

I owned an older Apollo 30′ Class A gas engine for one year back in 2000, and took it across country with my two sons and two of their friends. Two weeks after I bought it I had to replace the transmission. That done, we took off on our adventure. We enjoyed the trip, but the motorhome had lots of little issues that took away from the enjoyment; not to mention the A/C quit in the middle of Alabama’s hot and humid summer. I sold her at a $5,000 loss when we got home.

I also owned a Arctic Fox travel trailer (pulled with a Ford 350 diesel truck) and towed it solo one year for a few trips in 2011. It was a solid travel trailer, but hooking it up by myself was worthy of a Saturday Night Live sketch. I journaled about one trip here

My trusted mechanic (who I’ve known and used for over 20 years) told me after my Class A and Travel Trailer adventures that what I really needed to get was a good little Toyota motorhome. I stuck that piece of advice back in my head for a few years.

What I paid for this little Class C is exactly what I will be able to sell her for 5 years from now; maybe even a little more. (unless the whole economy implodes again) In other words, her depreciation is done. And everything I do to her now will hold her value IF I ever decide to sell her.

Also, I’m a huge Toyota fan – I have an FJ Cruiser and my youngest son has a Prius he inherited from me. All have been incredibly dependable, and also as important, very easy to maintain.

I’ve already promised my youngest son he will inherit her when I’m gone – and she will be in loving hands when that happens.

Here’s what she looks like right now (before the TV was installed). I’ll update this next year when I start working on refreshing the interior.

Today

I’m longing to escape the tyranny of consciousness.

Our country’s deep dive into fascism is astounding.

The Republicans have now elevated a liar and sexual predator to our Supreme Court.

The Democrats are no better; they and their neoliberal policies laid the foundation for all of this.

More than 30% of the people in this country support a sexual predator criminal con man as President.

Tyranny of consciousness indeed.

John Joseph Connolly Memorial – Tahoma National Cemetery

My Dad died while married to his second wife, Barbara. She had him cremated, with his ashes spread in the ocean.

I want him to be remembered for all eternity so I obtained all of the paperwork to show he qualified for a memorial marker at Tahoma National Cemetery near our home.

This is his marker.

I’m grateful and blessed to have lived long enough to do this. While Dad and I always had our challenges, he was an honorable man dedicated to his children. I’ve never met anyone like him, and I doubt I ever will.

My new FJ Cruiser!

I traded in the huge Infiniti QX56 for this wonderful 2012 FJ Cruiser with less than 52,000 miles. I love it!

The pre-buyer’s inspection showed the shocks were leaking.

Here’s a pic of the shocks. I’m trying to figure out how long I can get away with these.

UPDATE – 9/3/2018

I found some wonderful Bilsteins that I’m picking up next weekend! Woo hoo!

Home Improvements, 2018

Trying to take care of some home maintenance and improvements this summer.

First, the garden shed didn’t have any ventilation so I bought this beautiful cupola and weathervane.

I also replaced the east side, front fencing and gate. Here’s the before photo:

And the work in progress photos:

And the after photo. We still have work to do to make it puppy proof, but that will come soon.

It has a double bolt on it so it’s very secure. I’m delighted with how it turned out.

Building My New Garden Shed

Originally published Aug, 10, 2010; updated June 13, 2018

My new project is a really pretty garden shed for my back yard. This photo is from the book I have with the plans.

The style matches my house so it will blend in really well. It’s 10 X 12 feet.

My specific goal for this summer is to build the foundation/floor. It took me quite a while to dig up to courage to start, but now that I have, I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to complete it – hopefully by next summer.

As of August, 10, 2010, here’s what I’ve accomplished so far.

August 13, 2010 – I am making progress! Once I got past my fear of doing this by myself, it is going well. I’m finding that if I read the instructions too far in advance, I start to think I can’t do this. What I’m learning about myself is to trust that with a little patience, and a lot of concentrated thinking, I can do it. I’m also not reading too far forward anymore. Just one step at a time and it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

This is such a challenging project for me. Mentally and physically. Reading construction plans is definitely a new experience. And it’s very challenging work physically for me.

I finished the foundation/floor on August 15, 2010.

And the back wall and lower front wall on August 22, 2010. And yes… because I’m such a noob at this, the foundation is actually a bit larger than the building will be. I’ll have to figure out a way to hide that when this finished.

August 25, 2010, I finished the side wall with the door frame. Whew…. that seems like a huge accomplishment.

September 4, 2010. Labor Day Weekend and I was hoping for some nice, warm summer weather to work on it. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the Pacific Northwest where we go from 85 and sunny to 65 and cloudy overnight. And I’ve learned something new today – damp wood doesn’t cut easily so I’m having to wait until later today when it warms up a bit to finish cutting the roof rafters. Here’s what it looks like now. Am really hoping to get the roof on before I have to put a tarp over all of it for the winter.

September 6, 2010, 6 PM End of Labor Day Weekend and all of the roof rafters are done – thanks to Ryan for his help!

Just as we were finishing the last rafter, the rain started. We quickly put up the tarp which will keep it dry until I can start working on it again – hopefully later this week.

September 12, 2010. Ryan is in Dallas for a couple of weeks and I promised him I would not climb too high on a ladder to work on this while he’s not around. Plus, my hands have really taken a beating with this project and they are very, very sore. I did get the front large window headers installed, as well as the stud above the door. I also reinforced the underside of the rafter brackets. So, even though it doesn’t look different, I’m making progress, slowly but surely.

September 28, 2010.

The north side and south side with the siding started. I am using flashing to prevent damage to the foundation where I neglected to build it out to the edge.

Framing this shed out myself has really aggravated the pain in my hands. If I’ve learned anything in all of this, it is to recognize when to ask for help. To prevent any further damage to my hands, I’ve hired a really terrific handyman to help me finish this.

October 6, 2010.

It’s almost done! I decided to use real tempered glass in the windows. It looks much nicer than plexiglass and was slightly less expensive. I also have the roofing material going down between the large windows because it will make it easier to maintain (I don’t have to paint trim between the large windows).

October 9, 2010

I still need to paint the trim on the double door but everything outside except the ramp, and landscaping around the foundation is done.

I installed a photosensitive outside light that goes on at dusk and off at dawn as noted in the pic below. Because of the beautiful glass windows, it is a very bright and light garden shed during the day. I installed a 48″ T12 light unit inside though which will provide really nice and bright light if I ever need to work inside when it’s dark.

The large glass windows allow rain to fall right to the ground because there is about 1″ between the cedar framing and the glass. Not exactly what the plans called for but I like it better.

I will be putting down some vinyl tile flooring and installing peg board and maybe some organizers inside – probably next spring.

October 16, 2010

It’s a beautiful, chilly fall day here so I decided to prep the plywood floor for vinyl tile installation. Had to use floor leveling spackle and sand. And now my hands are really, really sore.

The directions for installing the vinyl floor tile require the tile to be stored for 48 hours at 65 degrees before installation, and than installed at no less than 65 degrees. So I ordered a space heater for the shed. Has a thermostat so I should be able to get the floor installed and than keep the shed at no lower than 55 degrees.

UPDATE – June 2018

My beautiful garden shed has been a challenge because I didn’t install any ventilation – which means it gets really hot in there in the summer. Bottom line is it has become a storage shed more than anything else.

To solve that, I decided to go with a cupola on the roof for ventilation.

I found this wonderful, perfect size cupola and weathervane while researching the various methods for adding ventilation. And it was installed yesterday (June 12, 2018).

It’s beautiful!

Now the next step is to get it all nice and organized so I can really use it for my bonsais.

My Dad – John Joseph Connolly

Would have been 96 years old today.

We had a pretty challenging relationship. I inherited his stubbornness and pride.

I also inherited his deep commitment to his children.

I’m almost 64 years old now.

I’d love to have time with him again.

Wisdom comes with age.

I miss him.

He used to take us camping every other week during summers. We would all bring our best friend so there was always six of us kids. We’d spend a week at one of the beautiful California state beach parks.

Every morning he’d cook pancakes for us.

Some say I look like him. I only hope I live up to the legacy he aspired to when it came to his children. Happy Birthday, Dad.