it’ll be interesting to see if this catches on this time around!



ibot_next_gen_wider.0Toyota is remaking the iBot, a stair-climbing wheelchair that was ahead of its time

The iBot motorized wheelchair was first unveiled back in 2001, but it still looks remarkably futuristic today. The device was created by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, and could climb stairs, raise users from sitting level to eye-height, and travel at a steady walking pace in this “standing” configuration. However, with prices starting at $25,000, the device was too expensive for the mainstream market and was eventually discontinued in 2009. Now, it’s making a comeback, with help from Toyota.

rebuilding the ibot with 15 years of advances

This weekend, the carmaker announced that it’s joining forces with Kamen’s company DEKA to “support mobility solutions for the disabled community.” This includes developing and launching the next generation of the iBot, with the company publishing a photo of an iBot 2.0 prototype. The device has the same basic layout as the original iBot, but is much slimmer, and Kamen says the new device will be “[enhanced] with 15 years of improvements in technology.” Hopefully that will mean a cheaper price too.
“As we’ve seen people enjoy the flexibility and the freedom and the independence that an iBot brings — and that no wheelchair can bring — we’ve known that we have to bring this technology to more people who need it around the world,” says Kamen.

As part of the agreement with DEKA, Toyota will be licensing balancing technologies from the company for its own products. The automaker says these will be used for “medical rehabilitative therapy and potentially other purposes.” Toyota has previously invested $1 billion in a research institute developing robotic helpers and related products, and it’s possible that the technology licensed from DEKA could feed into these ambitions as well.


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90! really????!

So yesterday I partied away the afternoon celebrating my friend Nancy’s 90th birthday….   and not that West Seattle has the secret to a long and happy life or anything, but there were at least two other partygoers there  having a very good time who were actually older than Nancy.  Maybe you have to swim in the waters here or something – I do know that Nancy spent a lot of her youth swimming in the sound here and she says if it was too rough to swim then she’d row a boat to Vashon Island with her friends because the ice cream cones were cheap over there:) Take a look at a map – Vashon Island isn’t that close to the west side of West Seattle when you’re in a rowboat!

(and yes Joan, this is who I was thinking of when you sent me that T-shirt and I said I had to get one for someone else I knew!!)

Today we’re off to another party in the neighbourhood so that makes for a pretty fun weekend for me and I do believe that our infamous Seattle showers may well stay away for today’s shindig too – all good!:)


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Splish, splash…..

Chelsea, Rich and Cora came over for dinner this afternoon. The sun was shining but since  the deck had just been washed there were still some puddles left for Cora to play in and that gave Grandad the chance to  make footprints and handprints with her. Kept them both amused until we made him go and turn the grill on  :)

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yeah, I think I was out!

someone just pointed out that I hadn’t put anything new on here for a week or so but hey,  it wasn’t me that’s been to Paris and back in the last few days!

We did have fabulously warm sunny weather again last week so I was outside getting my roll in most days, enjoying the low tides we were having.IMG_6241.jpgWe were outside on the deck for our neighborhood happy hour on Monday, I was out with friends for drinks and dinner on Tuesday, out with another friend for a roll and shopping and dinner on Wednesday, out at the Log House Museum as usual on Thursday and then out for a roll with a neighbor on Friday before some friends came over for drinks and dinner. Do you start to see a pattern here??:)

Friday’s roll was pretty funny because we randomly decided to see if my Smart Drive power assist would get me up the very steep but short southern entrance to my street instead of the more gently sloping northern one I’ve always used. This caused much excitement with my canine buddy Phil who came hurtling and barking down his driveway at a rate of knots convinced that I had lost my mind and then another neighbor saw me from his balcony and almost sprang into action over his rail in case I needed help. The power assist was pretty slow and sounded a tad labored but it got me up there eventually after a couple of false starts  – such excitement for a Friday!!:)

It  cooled down and our spring showers were back yesterday but that was good because it meant I actually stayed inside and got some housework done and didn’t have to drag the hose around to water all the pots either.

Also thanks to Facebook’s annoying little ‘memories to look back on’ feature I cannot forget that as of this day in history David and I are now up to 34 years and counting!!!10256771_10202585759779775_5324624410581549616_o

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weekend happenings

well  this was the big news in Seattle this weekend!:) and I do believe the video was taken from West Seattle because of course, we have the best views no matter which way you look ;)  it was followed closely by the surprise reopening of the viaduct which had been closed while Bertha tunneled beneath it and I got to hang out with Cora for the second time in 3 days:)IMG_1610

Here she is with the breakfast she helped to make for her mom before she came to Grandma’s house on Sunday  :)

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David sent me this picture of Mt St Helen’s as he flew into Portland yesterday


and look what’s in the news……..

Swarm of earthquakes strikes Mount St. Helens
(CNN)In the past eight weeks, more than 130 small earthquakes have trembled beneath the surface of Mount St. Helens.

At this point, “there is absolutely no sign that it will erupt anytime soon, but the data we collect tells us that the volcano is still very much alive,” the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Seismologists reported that there are no anomalous gases, and no signs that the collection of magma, which is the molten rock beneath the surface of the Earth, is getting inflated in the recent swarm of earthquakes at the volcano.
Although there are no signs of an imminent eruption, the volcano is recharging, scientists say.

Mount St. Helens is in Washington state, 95 miles south of Seattle and about 55 miles northeast of Portland, OR.
The earthquakes have been measured at a magnitude of 0.5 or less and the largest was at 1.3. They’ve been measured about 1.2 to four miles underneath the surface. With such small magnitudes and such depths, you wouldn’t be able to feel the earthquakes on the surface.

But it’s not the magnitude that has gotten scientists attention — it’s the frequency.

They’ve become increasingly common since March 14, “reaching nearly 40 located earthquakes per week,” according to the USGS.

The eruption of Mount St. Helens: Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington state on May 18, 1980, triggered by an earthquake.
The eruption of Mount St. Helens: Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington state on May 18, 1980, triggered by an earthquake.
The USGS says the volcano’s collection of magma is re-pressurizing. The process can continue for years without an eruption. Scientists have seen similar patterns of small earthquake swarms in 2013, 2014 and in the 1990s, according to the USGS.
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, blowing off more than 1,000 feet from the top of the mountain, leaving a huge crater and spewing hot ash across the Northwest. It killed 57 people, ignited forest fires from the scattering of hot ash and caused floods as the snow melted from mountain tops.

Since then, Mount St. Helens is one of the closely monitored volcanoes on the planet.

CNN’s Dave Alsup contributed to this report.

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Incredible pictures of the wildfire in Alberta, Canada as David flew over it yesterday!

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rough day, hahaha ;)

Had to go out early on my roll to try and beat the heat todayIMG_6189.JPG

and then at our usual neighborhood Monday happy hour we thought the least we could do was force ourselves to stay outside in what felt like the low 90s

….although we did allow ourselves a little ice in our drinks😉

Sunset was gorgeous and brought a nice cooling breeze with it while we ate dinner out on the deck for the first time in a whileIMG_6195.JPG

Not such a bad start to the week:)

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Really China?!

Well it was back on January 15th when I caught this glimpse of the USS John C Stennis slipping past my windows on it’s latest deploymentIMG_5534

and 4 1/2 months later it’s back in the news again….

China refuses US carrier permission for port call in Hong Kong harbour

The aircraft carrier USS John Stennis, which was refused permission for a port visit in Hong Kong.
China has denied the US aircraft carrier USS Stennis and accompanying naval vessels permission to make a port call in Hong Kong.

It was not immediately known what prompted the Chinese action, but it comes amid growing tension between the two countries over Beijing’s moves to assert its claims to much of the South China Sea.

“We were recently informed that a request for a port visit by a US carrier strike group, including the USS John C Stennis and accompanying vessels, to Hong Kong was denied,” commander Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Friday.

“We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, including with the current visit of the USS Blue Ridge, and we expect that will continue,” he added.

It was the first time US naval ships had been denied permission to make a Hong Kong port call since August 2014, Urban said.

The Chinese foreign ministry told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper that port calls by US ships are decided on a “case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.”

US defence secretary Ashton Carter visited the Stennis on 15 April as it sailed off the Philippines near the disputed area where China has expanded islets and reefs into islands capable of supporting airfields and other installations.

During a preceding stop in Manila, Carter had emphasised that the United States would support the Philippines and other allies as they faced “coercion and intimidation.”

The two countries also announced they have begun joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, and Carter said a contingent of 275 US troops and five A-10 ground attack aircraft in the Philippines for an annual exercise would remain in the country until the end of the month.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, through which pass some of the world’s most active shipping lanes. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

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Goings on on the water…..

Caught this view yesterday afternoon of 6 of the 12 Clipper Round the World racing yachts in a short parade before they left Seattle for Panama, their next stop.

Details of this race according to Wikipedia……

The 2015-16 edition of the race is currently underway, with the same matched fleet of twelve Clipper 70 yachts as took part in the 2013-14 Race. GREAT Britain, Derry-Londonderry-Doire and Qingdao return as sponsors, with other the sponsors announced during 2015 being (in order of announcement): ClipperTelemed+, Mission Performance, Unicef, IchorCoal, Garmin, Da Nang – Viet Nam, LMAX Exchange, PSP Logistics, and Visit Seattle.[56]


The 2015-16 edition of the race set sail on Sunday 30 August 2015, once again from London’s St Katharine Docks, with the actual start of the first race taking place offshore at Southend at 1230 BST on Monday 31 August. The fleet will race to Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Albany, Sydney, Hobart, the Whitsunday Islands, Da Nang, Qingdao, Seattle, Panama, New York, Derry/Londonderry, and Den Helder, before finishing back in London.

On 18 March 2015, the skippers for the Clipper 15-16 Round the World Yacht Race were announced as follows:[57]

Clipper 15–16 Skippers
Hull # Team Name Nationality Age

CV20 Garmin Ashley Skett British (Newquay) 31

CV21 IchorCoal Darren Ladd British (Somerset) 49

CV22 PSP Logistics Max Stunell British (Portsmouth) 34

CV23 Visit Seattle Huw Fernie British (Falmouth) 31

CV24 LMAX Exchange Olivier Cardin French (Saint Aubin sur Mer[disambiguation needed]) 45

CV25 Da Nang – Viet Nam Wendy Tuck Australian (Sydney) 50

CV26 ClipperTelemed+ Diane Reid Canadian 42

Matt Mitchell British 28

CV27 GREAT Britain Peter Thornton British (Gorran Haven) 36

CV28 Qingdao Igor Gotlibovych Ukrainian/German 27

Bob Beggs British 55

CV29 Derry-Londonderry-Doire Daniel Smith British (West Kilbride) 31

CV30 Unicef Jim Prendergast British (Sheffield/Gosport) 40

Paul Atwood British (Lancashire) 59

CV31 Mission Performance Greg Miller British (Gosport) 39


There have been two fatalities in the 20-year history of the Clipper race, both incidents taking place in 2015-2016 race, and on the same yacht.

Andrew Ashman
At midnight on 5 September 2015 – day 7 of the first leg of the race – the fleet were off the coast of Portugal when Andrew Ashman a crew member aboard IchorCoal was knocked unconscious as he adjusted the mainsheet while reefing. Resuscitation attempts were not successful and he died. 

Sarah Young 

During day 12 of the North Pacific leg, the crew of IchorCoal had just reefed her mainsail in 35-40 knots of wind. Crewmember Sarah Young (40) was tidying the ropes in the cockpit when she was knocked from her position by a wave which swept her backwards, under the guardrail and overboard. She had not been clipped on and was swept away in strong winds. The crew used the signal from her personal AIS transmitter to locate her in the water and then recovered her onboard, but were unable to resuscitate her after an hour in the water.[60] Race organisers confirmed that Young would be buried at sea because of her boat’s current position, and the time it would take to reach landfall.[61]

And this morning the first cruise ship of the season arrived!

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