A Resident

Today’s task was to become an official State of Washington resident. So Pam and I drove to Port Townsend, found the small but efficient drivers license office, and 10 minutes later we both have a Washington drivers license.

Then off to the Jefferson County Auditor’s office, who issue vehicle registration and plates. Not so successful there; we are missing the documents that prove that we paid sales tax on both cars, so no registration for us.

But, we did stop for lunch at Jordini’s, a nice sandwich place right on the bay near the Ferry terminal. They hve a small outdoor dining area perched over the small beach, with a nice view across Port Townsend Bay towards Indian Island, the US Naval Armaments port. A nice day, partly cloudy with a little bit of a breeze. Good sub sandwiches there; this was our second visit.

I did get a couple of more boxes emptied in the garage, and took four boxes of excess stuff to Goodwill in Port Townsend. Then home to read a bit on the back deck, and watch the Little League World Series.

Still Moving In

We’ve been at our new house in Port Ludlow, WA for about a month. And I am still working on emptying boxes in the garage.

Most of the inside stuff has been taken care of. I have assembled two dressers, two nightstands, a TV stand for the bedroom, a headboard for the new bed, two drawer things for the scrapbook room, and two garage cabinets, an outdoor table, and the new BBQ. (OK, to be fair, Home Depot assembled the new BBQ. But I got to pick it out.)

There were many boxes of scrapbook stuff that had to be moved to the new second floor scrapbook room. Luckily, the local missionaries for our ward came over and carried all the boxes upstairs. And there were lots of them.

There are still boxes in the garage, but the house is mostly together. And it is quite comfortable and nice here. Since I am retired now, I have plenty of time for projects, but also plenty of time to relax: sit out on the back deck and read and watch the ships go by on Puget Sound, or sit inside in the living room and listen to the nice built-in stereo system.

So, I am making progress on the boxes in the garage. Things are getting more organized there. There used to be a narrow path in the small two-car garage from the driveway to the back door. Now there are actually largish clear spaces on the floor. Not enough to get one of the cars in the garage, but progress is being made.

And Pam and I are enjoying this new area. She is getting her scrapbook room organized, and has gotten to the point where she is actually doing scrapbooking. And she doesn’t need any supplemental oxygen (she used to have it 24/7 in Utah), and has started to do other household chores like laundry and cleaning and cooking. That is a big change for her since she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. She has more energy than before, so the move to sea level has been good for us.

We’ve taken a few drives around the area, with more planned. The weather since we have been here has been quite nice. Temps in the 70’s to low 80’s, clear to mostly clear skies, and just a few days of short showers. Really a nice area.

So, with all of the extra time I have, it’s time to get this blog active again. Not that there are any visitors here, but that’s because of the lack of things to read here. Hopefully, I can get back into more frequent updates.

Transistions

Pam and I have enjoyed our move to Washington state. We really like the house we found, and the area is quite pretty.

Yesterday, we went to the local Port Ludlow Festival, a small collection of booths and food and music. Also a pony ride, which I didn’t get to go on. But there was some good BBQ Ribs there, and it was a nice sunny day. It is really a scenic area, with the bay, boats, and lots of trees on the mountains.

Today is Saturday, so I did a bit of yard work, trimming some of the bushes around the house. The yard is nicely landscaped with a wide variety of native plants and trees. The back yard is not very deep, about 20 feet, then a drop off of about 50 feet to a small flat area below, then trees and berry bushes farther in. The area below the house is a common area for the local subdivision. The HOA folks do the maintenance of most of the common areas, some areas (like the area below my house) are less-maintained. The previous owner took care of keeping the weeds down and the berry bushes intruding, so I get to continue that tradition. So that is one of the tasks I did today; some weed killer spray for errant berry plants. Then some trimming of the bushes around the house.

A trip ‘to town’ (Polsboro), which is about 30 minutes away, for some groceries, a visit to Taco Bell, plus bringing back some pizza for dinner. So, just a usual day.

As part of the move, my work has allowed me to telecommute until they get my replacement. So the inevitable notice has arrived, my employment will be done at the end of the month. That’s the transition part. I enjoyed my job and the people there, but moving to a lower elevation has been a great help to Pam’s health.

So here we are, in a new place, enjoying things here. And there will be lots more time to fill up, with the end of telecommuting.

Moved to a Nice View

Here’s the view from the back deck of our new house in Port Ludlow, WA.

View from back deck

View from the Back Deck

Although not anticipated, the move from Utah was required due to Pam’s health. At the 4100 foot elevation in Utah, Pam required oxygen 24/7 due to her recent pulmonary hypertension diagnosis. And that was putting a long-term strain on her body. The PH doctor said move, so, reluctantly leaving the kids and grandkids, we found this really nice house.

Although moving is not fun, and there are still many boxes in the garage, the almost sea-level altitude means that Pam doesn’t need oxygen (except at night while sleeping), and has a bit more energy. She has been able to resume some household chores that I took over since the diagnosis.

The climate here is typical northwest; but our area of the Olympic Peninsula is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, which result in less rain here than in Seattle. We have been here for about three weeks, getting here during ‘summer’, so have had mostly sunny weather. The natives have complained about the heat, with temps reaching into the 80′s (F). Today is cloudy, and a few showers, but the rain doesn’t last all day long. The area is nice, the view is great, and the neighborhood is quite quiet. This is a retirement area, and I think that we might be among the youngest in the neighborhood.

So, changes happen. And you adjust.

Remembering D-Day and My Family’s Service

A reminder from my brother Skip Hellewell:

70 years ago tonight, our Uncle Don Bosworth, along with a lot of other  brave guys, flew over the English Channel with the 82nd Airborne and  parachuted into occupied France the night before D-Day. Years later Don remembered the clouds clearing as they passed over the channel  revealing an immense armada headed for a landing the next morning. The  U.S. Navy Armada was a beautiful sight and reassurance they weren’t alone, that help was on the way.

Their mission was to intersect and delay German reinforcements headed for the landing beaches. His sons could tell the story better, but I recall that Don, a Staff Sargent, broke his ankle on landing but was in continuous combat for several weeks earning a medal for courage in defense of a critical road junction. Don continued in action and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge the following winter.

Uncle Gil Beardslee landed following D-Day with the 90th Division and participated in the invasions of France, Belgium, and Germany. He also supported the Battle of the Bulge.

Uncle Jim Scott also fought in France with the Army Air Corp as a flight engineer-top turret gunner on a B-26, completing 41 missions.

Our Uncle Glen Hellewell  [my father  -- Rick] was in the Marine Corp and participated in the Invasion of Okinawa a year later.

Actually, if you look at our family alive at that time, all did what they could, all they were asked to do, in this great war.

Such deeds of courage in defense of our country should live on in Hellewell family lore

So it should be remembered. I put it here for the three people that visit, but the googles will help remember also.

By the Sea

Pam and I are spending the time in our favorite ocean-side place, Oceanside CA. We are here for the month of April to give Pam a break from needing supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day back home in Utah. Pam only needs oxygen at night while sleeping, which is quite the break for her.

I am fortunate that my employer is letting me work remotely this month. I’ve got a two-monitor set up on the kitchen table (laptop and a 19″ LCD). A good interwebs connection and VPN access to the office workstation is working well. We were able to do this last October. It has been good for  Pam to not have to wear the oxygen tube all the time.

And the view from my office here is much nicer than my normal workplace in the basement of the County office building. Here’s the view this month (click the picture to embiggen): 20140402_081907

Even with that view, I have been productive at ‘the office’ since we got here. And the commute is much shorter.

We’re in a condo that we have been in before. A nice one-bedroom, a small deck overlooking the ocean, and a short walk to the beach. We went to Ruby’s (a restaurant at the end of the Oceanside Pier) and had some fish and chips that were quite good.

So, a change in workplace this month. And a break for Pam. All around, a good deal.

No Form Spammers Here

I’ve developed an anti-form spam technique, which I’ve discussed before here and on my Security Dawg site. It works with PHP-based sites (so can work with just about any blogging platform with a bit of customization), and also works with WordPress sites. It’s quite easy to implement, and very effecting in stopping form and comment spammers.

I hadn’t gotten around to installing it here, but today brought a form spammer who was using the Contact form to send me spam. It wasn’t really bothersome, since the spam just goes to my spam folder automatically. And it’s not very effective for the form spammer, since one of their objectives is to make their form spam visible.

But since the form spammer found my site (which is difficult, based on my readership count which could be counted on the thumb of both hands), I decided to implement my anti-form spammer technique here.

That didn’t take long. One file to change (to insert the appropriate email values), three files to upload into the theme folder here, and then editing the Contact page to use the anti-form spammer template. That’s all.

And then a “Huzzah!”

I got things done at 8pm tonight. Before then, there were about 10-15 spams per hour. After that, none. Zero. Zip. Nada. Not one form or comment spam message since then.

As I have mentioned before, it is easy to implement. And very effective. Whenever I put the technique on a site, form spam stops. Absolutely stops.

So, for all of you readers (yes, even you in the back), check out the links above. Or go to my FormSpammerTrap.com site, where you will see what the form spammer sees. Then check out the info page there for details on how to get the code for your site.

And it is all free. No obligation. Open source.

As I say on the FormSpammerTrap site — it just works.