Kids’ Braces in Seattle Sounders Colors

 Posted by on June 29, 2012 at 6:04 am  Health  No Responses »
Jun 292012
 
Seattle Sounders colored (lime green and blue) braces

Seattle Sounders colored (lime green and blue) braces

When my youngest daughter went to get her first braces fitted a couple of weeks ago, she was delighted that she got to choose colors for the brackets in her braces. Almost without hesitation, she decided to go for the Seattle Sounders look. The lime green and blue colors matches her Sounders jerseys quite well! In another month, she will get to switch colors. Will it be her school colors, Seahawks, Mariners, Chelsea, or some other sports team?

 

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Baby Island off of Whidbey Island

 Posted by on June 25, 2012 at 5:58 am  Family  No Responses »
Jun 252012
 
Baby Island off of Whidbey Island

Baby Island off of Whidbey Island

On a recent trip to Whidbey Island near Langley WA, I was looking out toward Puget Sound and saw a tiny island that I did not recognize. It turned out to be Baby Island, located in Saratoga Passage. Many years ago, it was a bigger island and a gathering place for picnickers, fishermen, and clam diggers.

Over the years, the island has been eroded to its diminutive size today. There is no public access to the island as the Tulalip Tribe brought the island in the 1990s. However, the tribe allows locals to walk onto the island at low tide to collect shellfish and view the wildlife including a group of seals.

 

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Happy as a Clam at Dosewallips State Park

 Posted by on June 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Family, Outdoors  No Responses »
Jun 222012
 
Clamming at Dosewallips State Park

Clamming at Dosewallips State Park

On a picture perfect day last weekend, I went clamming with some friends to Dosewallips State Park on the Hood Canal.

Dosewallips is one of my favorite places to harvest clams and oysters in Washington state because it has a scenic beach, there’s a ton of space for everyone, and the shellfish is plentiful. This is an excellent beach for Manila littleneck clams and Pacific oysters.

The Olympics near Dosewallips State Park

The Olympics near Dosewallips State Park

 

In a matter of an hour or so, we were able to harvest our limits of delicious Manila clams. These clams are within the top couple of inches of sand so all you need is a hand trowel to dig for them. It is not uncommon to get your limit of 40 clams within several square yards of digging.

 

Armed with a shucking knife and a bottle of cocktail sauce, we slurped fresh briny oysters right on the beach as they were extracted from their homes. Oysters don’t get any fresher than this!

 

Wide beaches at Dosewallips State Park

Wide beaches at Dosewallips State Park

Dosewallips State Park is comprised of 425 acres and has 5,500 feet of saltwater shoreline facing the Hood Canal. The park is located near Brinnon WA, about 2 1/2 hours from Seattle. It is open for clams from March 1st through October 31st and is open for oysters year-round.

 

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Rattlesnake Lake: A Great Place to Fish

 Posted by on June 20, 2012 at 5:51 am  Outdoors  No Responses »
Jun 202012
 
Rattlesnake Ridge looking over Rattlesnake Lake

Rattlesnake Ridge looking over Rattlesnake Lake

Last week, my friend Rob and I went trout fishing at Rattlesnake Lake. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative. It was cloudy, misty, and only in the 50s. The wind gusts made us bobble in our float tubes.

Old tree stumps on Rattlesnake Lake

Old tree stumps on Rattlesnake Lake

The fishing was slow by any measure — I only got a few bites all morning! I attributed the lack of action to the low pressure system which seems to tamper the bite. Only a few other fishermen were out on the water and none of them seemed to have any luck either except for one guy fishing chironomids from a pram in the middle of the lake. I didn’t have my anchor for my float tube with me so I’ll have to wait until next time to fish chironomids at Rattlesnake.

Float tube on Rattlesnake Lake

Float tube on Rattlesnake Lake

Despite the dreary weather and lack of action, the trip to Rattlesnake Lake was quite enjoyable. I saw a couple of bald eagles soaring overhead looking for a trout breakfast. The old growth tree stumps jutting up like ghosts from the depths. The ever-present Rattlesnake Ridge standing protectively over the lake. A remarkable place to spend a morning.

 

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Jun 152012
 

 

Snoqualmie River stonefly nymph

Snoqualmie River stonefly nymph

Last Saturday, my fly fishing club hosted a seminar about aquatic insects. Fly fishing flies are intended to imitate the natural foods of fish in the wild. Thus, knowing how to identify insects and understanding their habitat and lifecycle are critical in improving a fly fisherman’s fly selection skills.

Collecting aquatic insects with a fine net

Collecting aquatic insects with a fine net

We collected samples of insects (and other creatures) along the banks of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River near North Bend, WA. First, we placed a long-handled fine net downstream of our feet. Then, by gently kicking the gravel upstream from the net, we disturbed the habitat of insects along the bottom causing them to float downstream into our net.

We were astounded by the sheer number and diversity of aquatic insects and other life we collected in only 20 minutes. Several samples yielded hundreds to thousands of tiny bugs.

We found large numbers of insects, worms, and small fishes. Insects of particular importance to fishermen that we caught included the pupal and nymphal stages of caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies.

It was quite a kick to examine the insects under a dissecting microscope. Their eerie-looking body parts would be great inspiration for the costume designers of the next “Aliens” movie.

Diversity of insects and other life in Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Diversity of insects and other life in Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Biologists often sample rivers for aquatic insects to determine the health of the body of water. Typically, a large diversity of insect species is an indicator that a river is healthy. On last Saturday, the  Middle Fork Snoqualmie River was a very healthy river.

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Root Canals — A Necessary Evil

 Posted by on June 12, 2012 at 6:31 am  Health  No Responses »
Jun 122012
 
Dental instruments

Dental instruments

A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly wasn’t feeling very well with a headache and some vague, intermittent pain on the right side of my face. Initially, I attributed the discomfort to sinus inflammation from allergies. However, a couple of days later, the pain abruptly increased in intensity and I was left awake all night due to severe facial pain on my right side. Having had previous tooth abcesses and root canals, I suspected this might be a dental problem.

I cancelled my appointments the following morning and immediately went to see my general dentist. She didn’t see anything unusual on the X-rays of my right upper molar but recommended that I get evaluated by an endodontist. I was lucky to get an appointment a few hours later with a highly rated endodontist. Based on my signs and symptoms, he recommended a root canal or extracting the tooth even though the X-rays did not show an abscess or other abnormality. Apparently, some dying teeth may not show signs on X-rays. I hesitantly agreed to the root canal.

The entire procedure took almost two hours with him working on two other patients at the same time. He and his staff were as efficient as a Toyota assembly line. The cost of the root canal before insurance coverage was about $1,500 so this dentist was probably the owner of one of the luxury cars I saw in the parking lot.

I recall that my root canals as a teenager were painful but assumed that, a few decades later, they would now have invented a totally painless procedure. Nope. Not by a mile! Everything was fine and pleasantly numb until the dental drill reached the pulp cavity. That was the first yelp. He promptly applied more local anesthetic and then proceeded to reach the nerve root itself. The second yelp came as he scraped away the nerve root with his little root canal file. This was repeated two more times since I had three roots on my molar.

At least my endodontist seemed like he had done this procedure hundreds of times. I could tell this by his fluid motion and lack of wasted effort while working on the tooth. The handing off of instruments and materials with his assistant was flawless. Sometimes, he didn’t even need to say what he wanted before it was handed to him.

The brief pain was well worth it. A few hours after the root canal, my face was once again pain-free. And I slept soundly that night. The root canal is supposed to last my lifetime. Hopefully, this will be the last root canal of my lifetime.

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White Rubber Legs Stonefly

 Posted by on June 9, 2012 at 6:34 am  Outdoors  No Responses »
Jun 092012
 

 

White rubber legs stonefly catches trout

White rubber legs stonefly catches trout

I usually drag a wooly bugger or a leech pattern when I am trolling for trout, but I like to mix it up often to see what happens. The other day, I was fishing for stocker rainbows at a local lake but my trusty leech wasn’t working very well so I replaced it with a stonefly nymph with white rubber legs. Within a few minutes, I started getting more hits with the stonefly. I think the legs are an important attractant for fish.

Stoneflies are usually used for moving water to imitate bugs like the salmon fly nymph. I don’t know a lot of people who fish it in stillwater but I am a big fan of it.

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2012 Cyan Blue Seattle Sounders Jersey

 Posted by on June 6, 2012 at 6:30 am  Sports  No Responses »
Jun 062012
 
2012 Cyan Blue Seattle Sounders Jersey
2012 Cyan Blue Seattle Sounders Jersey

2012 Cyan Blue Seattle Sounders Jersey

My youngest daughter lives and breathes soccer. She is also a fanatic Seattle Sounders fan. For her 9th birthday she asked for and received the new 2012 “super cyan” Sounders jersey. This is the Sounders FC’s third uniform for the 2012 season. The trunk of the jersey is an aqua / blue-green color with lime-yellow accents running down the sides and on the collar. I’m not a big fan of this color scheme but my daughter really likes it.

According to the Sounders, the new jersey uses Adidas TECHFIT™ Powerweb technology to improve “core strength by applying optimal pressure to areas of the athlete’s body to increase blood flow.”

Really? If a jersey is tight fitting enough to alter blood flow, wouldn’t it be extremely uncomfortable to wear? I think the Sounders / Adidas marketing departments had a little too much fun with this campaign.

 

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