Erica’s Kitchen Phase II

IMG_9872We’ve just finished the kitchen we started last December in Portland.  Thanks to IKEA and an empty finished wall, the install went from 640 pounds on a shipping pallet to a complementary pantry and storage addition in less than 4 days. Not having any plumbing or electrical also made things easy.

IMG_9873There are probably many reasons IKEA has been so successful world-wide, however besides easy instructions, simple tools required, and snap together pieces, they even bring the cartons inside when they deliver: a bonus when there are stairs involved and heavy bundles.


The great thing about visiting the store in person is the kitchen design personnel can point out flaws in your thinking and planning even when you’ve done several before: like remembering to add a filler between a cabinet door and the wall. I wasn’t sure why we’d received an expensive side panel until I realized the IKEA lady anticipated an exposed portion of the pantry that I hadn’t seen when laying out the drawings.

IMG_9884Only item missing in the finished setup is a countertop, which will be added later.  Erica now has more storage than she ever imagined with dedicated drawers for things like baking, snacks and canned goods. Here’s last December’s half of the kitchen for the full picture:IMG_9858Oh, and we had a good time seeing the grand-girls and their parents as well.

Everything said here probably sounds like a product placement, but rest assured there was no quid pro quo from IKEA, just fun to have a quick and successful project.

50 years!

Small Don BLKWe survived my 50th high school reunion in San Mateo, California this weekend. It was a hard decision to make: whether to go or not. It’s not natural to put yourself in awkward situations and I only can remember three guys from my class of ’64 that I hung out with.  Fortunately two of those showed up and helped with the ice-breaking. Only 80 out of 500 showed.

IMG_5226The organizers endeavored to collect fifty-year bio’s on the classmates so we’d be caught up on their histories.  Three or four dozen submitted theirs, so I could scan them ahead of time for mutual commonalities. I’m glad we did. There were a number of sailors, one thru hiker and a cyclist who we could seek out to get our conversations started.

IMG_5222We learned an interesting technique for identifying faces in a multitude of people and got to practice it twice.

We did find a couple of surprising encounters with classmates or their spouses: one woman raised her family on a 49′ Swan pretty much in the same cruising waters we sailed, and a spouse who was raised in Farmington, NM, went to law school in Boulder and one of his first jobs was in Durango involving a tourist couple murdered and stuffed in an outhouse in the 60’s.

Most surprising was being embarrassingly reminded of forgotten prom date partners, who I might have gone to middle or dancing school with, and exactly how long I’d dated certain girlfriends. I struck out on most memory challenges. Thankfully not many were obese or appeared like great-grandmothers in my preconceived notion of 68- and 69-year-olds I’d be revisiting.

IMG_5231It was apparent that the people at the various reunion venues were totally unknown to me, the only ones I ever knew were frozen on the pages of the yearbook.  Only one of my two “buddies” was recognizable after 50 years including me. Now I’ll have to recognize them by number.

AragonThe school has been greatly upgraded and expanded since we first occupied the brand new building (we were the first class to attend Aragon).  A recent proposition allowed for a new 2-story science building, new 1,700-seat gym, re-designed swimming pools and a 400-seat self-standing theater building among other things. Amazing to tour the grounds again after 50 years and see all the improvements.  Our sophomore guide didn’t get the joke about the “culinary arts” studio (3,000 sqft of mini-kitchens) that has microwaves now, since they weren’t even invented in our time.


Projects, projects

IMG_9793Yes, I regularly pickup trash along with our Rotary Club every Spring and Fall.  This year we upgraded our gear to iridescent green, and I took along my GAIA GPS app and tracked the mileage and elevation gain/loss.  My Rotary partner and I managed to get in 3.5 miles and a track that looks like a drunken sailor.  Elevation gain was a surprising 1,542 feet up and same amount down.

IMG_9799More on the fun side was helping Mike Taylor install his Murphy bed and IKEA cabinets in his newly constructed “man cave”.  Layout is real similar to our sewing/guest room.  His was about half the price since we found the Murphy bed kit online and used IKEA cabinetry. I’m eager to see it tricked out once he moves in.

IMG_9803The HIghlander always demands our time in the summer and this week it was a failed flashing seal on the roof access that was allowing heavy rains to slip down it’s sides.  In true tg fashion (“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing”) there are now three more layers around that box.

All this before we headed out to expand the kitchen for Erica in Portland.  Projects that you can get done in a day’s time are always satisfying.


San Juan Skyway

IMG_7979DejaVu crew were real troopers, literally.  As soon as they came back from their whirlwind tour to northern California, out by way of the Grand Canyon and return via Salt Lake City, they trooped off with us on a 2-day loop around the San Juan Skyway.  (They probably logged 3,000+ miles of windshield time while visiting the West).

San Juan SkywayWe wanted to finish showing off our cruising grounds, since they don’t get this way on their normal passages.  Once again the Mexican hurricanes played havoc with our “300 days of sunny weather in the Four Corners,” pushing a low pressure system over our mountains and trying to dampen our fun with fog, clouds, rain, sleet and finally some snow. Nevertheless, the Fall colors and alpine views shone thru the dreary moments of the excursion. We just had to outfit the crew with foul weather gear before casting off.

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The San Juan Skyway, some 232 miles of our best alpine scenery, circles around from Durango to Telluride, thru Ridgway and on to Ouray and Silverton, before ending back in Durango. There are 4 major passes (Lizard Head, Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank) along the way, not to mention Hesperus and Mancos hills plus Dallas Divide to challenge those bike riders attempting the loop.

IMG_8057IMG_8054We generally try to introduce our visitors to Telluride by entering the town via the Mountain Village gondola just to make a dramatic entry into this hidden hot spot.  The 3-stage gondola ride is free in the off season (not sure about the Ski Season) so parking on the other side of the mountain seems like the smartest way to go.  Telluride has alway been a little too rich for my blood, but Helen found out how the locals manage by sorting thru the “free box” which has been a institutional fixture on the corner of “main street” for over 35 years that I know of.


The Ouray Hot Springs was a highlight as well, primarily because the 105° waters were most welcome to the fair weather sailors. Poaching ourselves while the sleet and snow flakes melt on our heads is always a treat. Neither of us wanted to risk a wet camera so there are no photos of the Hot Springs, you’ll just have to come see for yourselves.

We also managed to see the McKenneys, who evidently were on the same mountain area tour we were the day before and just arrived home as we dropped in.  Their house, Martha’s garden and Tom’s shop were special to see.  Martha’s crops overflowed her raised planters like the Horn of Plenty. Our visit was short because the weather changed to snow and we’d only brought the fair weather vehicle, rather than the heavy weather rig, and wanted to cross the last three passes before the roads got foul.

IMG_8077As per usual, there is always something to check out at the Highlander.  This time Joe and I sleuthed out a minor roof leak revealed by the two past storms. No rest for the handymen.

The crew boarded their homebound flight back to Canada for a well-deserved rest before setting out for the boatyard in Jacksonville and the Bahamas shortly thereafter.