Is It Still August?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Have you ever diapered a heat pump? My aging heat pump/air conditioning unit decided to die on Friday. At about 101 degrees outside. I knew this because the house got warm and there was water/fluid leaking from the furnace. The unit had been limping the last two hot weekends, but in the full August heat wave it decided to officially croak.


Spec Ops Cat was not amused about the demise of the cranky AC unit. It truly was the dog days of August for him. He coped by not moving. Period.


This was not my first rodeo with this piece of equipment. Over the years my “unit” has done such fun things as ice up and sound like a Huey helicopter landing in my bedroom and pee through my kitchen ceiling into the silverware holder in the sink.

I’ve hooked up a gravity drain using aquarium tubing and a bucket to catch water from the heat pump that would have impressed NASA.

One winter weekend the drain pipe froze so I had to switch to emergency heat for two days, which caused my electric bill to surpass the national debt.

Since the unit had been limping along, luckily I’d made an appointment with heat pump fix-it guy for Friday morning. He showed up and gave me one last possibility to cure the aging unit’s peeing problems. Most folks had a 75 percent success rate with the fix.

“You’ll know right away,” he assured me. Yup. Saturday morning the diaper (towel) was wet. My unit was a 25 percenter. Heat pump guy told me to “shut it down” if that happened, because I didn’t need to be breathing chemical laden air. Sigh.

This all happened because the “unit” overhead me talking about replacing it. I’m positive. Its lasted longer than most of the ones in my complex, but its been a challenging relationship.

After the first two leaking through the kitchen ceiling episodes, the HVAC wizards were sure they’d fixed it. I had the ceiling repaired and repainted.

The “unit” then decided to freeze the drain line again and once again water poured from my kitchen ceiling. So I left the three foot long opening the width of drywall seam tape, complete with the fancy sagging of the textured ceiling plaster.

Entertained the idea of using white duct tape to cover the gap, but most visitors don’t notice it since no one looks up. It’s my own personal art installation.

So now I have appointments with the ductless guys and the electric furnace guys. We shall see who wins my favor. I long for the days of working air conditioning, cozy heat and a fixed kitchen ceiling and no heat pump diapers.

A girl can dream can’t she?

P.S. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal. My heart goes out to the people in Louisiana who would love to have just a leak in their ceiling. Let’s hope for a much better September for all those deserving folks.


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We’re Getting A Nora Bear!

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

So we’re having a heat wave today with red flag warnings, high winds and locusts it seems. Temps to hit about 103 today. So what do I find out from the Oregon Zoo? Nora the Polar Bear is coming to live in Portland! She is a bubble dancer too.

Thank you Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. We will take very good care of her.

And seriously, we will haul in tons of ice for the young polar bear princess. Can’t wait to see her when she gets here. She’s a star!

Happy Quirky Friday and have a safe, cool weekend!

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You Wanted The Harbor Seal IN The Photo?

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Spent a wonderful weekend with family at the beach the first weekend in August. Went on a walk to enjoy the great weather and stalk snoozing harbor seals with the camera.


Mom getting out of the ocean on her own rock away from kid or suitor? I’m not sure which. 


Since we got a late start after sleeping in, the bright sun after 10 a.m. washes out colors but harbor seals don’t go by my preferred photo shoot schedule. They have naps to take.


Kid/suitor slips away into the ocean and this seal looks like it’s a challenge to get up on the rock. I know that feeling so well.  


Once again my trusty little Canon PowerShot ELPH340HS was up to the task. However, wearing a baseball cap would have helped keep the glare from the sun off the viewfinder frame. But patience and timing is everything when it comes to photos, plus taking good and bad photos too.


This is what happens when you are try to hold an ELPH camera by hand at full zoom and then breathe. The seal disappears and only the tail is found, far right. Cute tail!


Turns out I took about 180 photos over the course of the two hour walk, most of them of seals. Some photos had only parts of seals and some had no seals since I couldn’t see what I was shooting in the sun glare. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Even a seal can’t seem to find peace from kids, suitors or rock crashers. Somebody always wants your rock. Sigh.


Had three groups to concentrate on; young pups playing in the ocean, the adults lazing on the rock and one intrepid seal who I think was trying to get away from the kids on her own rock. This series of photos were shot over thirteen minutes, with a bunch of other not so great ones.


And All’s Well That Ends Well as Shakespeare would say. I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Now I need to go find a warm rock to nap on myself.

Taking pictures of wildlife from harbor seals to birds and even Spec Ops Cat is similar to taking sports photos; you’ve got to be quick and keep clicking away. Sometimes the harbor seal escapes the photo and other times you get lucky with a gem of a shot.

Practice makes almost perfect when it comes to photos, besides that whole breathing problem thing trying to keep the camera level.

Get outside and start taking action pics today!





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Can You Sing In The Car Too?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

So if you’re one of the few folks on the planet who haven’t seen the USA Swim Team’s car karaoke, here it is! Think they have to drive a distance to the venues. Or they get driven. Either way, they’re having fun!


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Grab For The Fruit!

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Managed to pry myself away from the Summer Olympics on tv over the weekend to head to the Farmer’s Market. Love to look at all the fresh veggies, fruit and flowers. While August spirals towards Fall, school supplies are in stores and pumpkins are in the craft aisles, I try and grab for the last rays of summer.


The perfect box for those of us who cannot make up our minds.


Snapping up nature’s fresh bounty is so much fun and supporting local farmers and vendors even better. With an array of items from BBQ sauce to popcorn and pastries and bird feeders, I can’t go wrong.

Wanted some blackberries, strawberries and the last cherries and found what I needed down aisle two. Then off to the Pie Guy to scarf up a mini-pie, marionberry, which I know contains mini calories.


To prevent dreaded pie mistakes, take a taste! There are no bad pies here. 


Then took a longing look at the beautiful flower bouquets and avoided the Donut truck since I had the pie in the bag. Literally. Checked out the bargains on backyard mini-bridges, great deals but too big for my fairy rock garden. Alas.


Plus gorgeous flowers. Amazing!


While I continue to deny the days are getting shorter, there is still time to support the farmers markets and get the last drops of summer. Honey included.

Get out there and shop from farmers and local vendors people!



Filed under Food

The Kitten Summer Games Are Here!

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Fire up the DVRs! The Kitten Summer Games play today on The Hallmark Channel and online AND the human Summer Olympics start tonight too. I need four eyes!

Did I also mention we have the most women Olympians from the USA ever? Win!#LikeAGirl

Have a Happy Quirky Friday and a great weekend enjoying all the games! Go USA!



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Are You A Lawn Swinger?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter  @ WarriorTales)

Saturday was a big day in my backyard. Finally the official set up and use of the lawn swing happened. Friends used their mechanical skills to fix part of the seat the Sunday before, so all systems were go for launch.


One of my happiest places on this planet. Got a lawn swing?


This was a big deal for several reasons, first being the weather was so stupid hot and wet last summer the lawn swing never made it out of the garage. The tragedy of it all. Second, this vintage lawn swing is a family heirloom and brings back so many memories. It’s built like a tank and keeps on swinging.

Third, there is nothing like taking a summer afternoon swing snooze or a morning reading nap while moving back and forth and hearing the clink of the metal bounce against the frame. A calming, quiet, soothing ritual of time passing in slow waves instead of maniac moments.


Juliet is back in town! That girl has got to keep herself together. 


Other reasons to celebrate included Juliet getting herself glued together for the second time after falling apart again. Gave her a black duct tape belt this time too. Gnomeo was quite happy to see her back in the neighborhood.

Then The Fairy rose showed off some late blooms in the early morning light in the garden. Pink, roses and clusters all in one rose bush, be still my heart. Aptly named since the Fairy Rock Garden is still under construction in the vicinity.

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This is the only rose in my yard with the guts and grit to grow in the clay soil instead of in a big pot. This Fairy Rose is hard core. Plus pretty in pink.   


August is a time to enjoy the lazy days of summer, take a snooze on a lawn swing and slow down and sip the lemonade.

Enjoy August!



Filed under Garden