Our Times News Archive


December 01/10/2021
By Cheryl and John Schmit

December is focused on Christmas and so were we. We visited with Blanche and Dick at Farrington Court. Our time with Barbara celebrated both her birthday and Christmas. Cheryl enjoys her walks around the neighborhood. The Christmas lights were just dazzling this year. On the 21st we had an evening snowfall which made the season. Cheryl had some fun making cookies and treats, preparing for the Christmas meal. Allen joined us for Christmas and we had a good time. We didn't forget to get a few special scenic views this month. John added a new musical piece, Upgrade, to the Music page.
Mountain Snow Fun 01/08/2021
By Allen Schmit

It was a lot of fun to go play in the snow in the Cascade foothills above Greenwater. We went up three times in December and have some pictures to show. Check out Mountain Snow Fun 1, December 5th. The second trip up was Mountain Snow Fun 2, December 12th when we had a small issue. The third trip was Mountain Snow Fun 3, December 18th where we went as far as we could. So much fun!
Neighborhood Christmas Lights 12/13/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

There were so many wonderful Christmas light displays this year. This link is a sampling of our drive around the local neighborhood. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
November 12/07/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

We made a big change this year as far as Christmas decorating is concerned. We decided that we would put the outdoor lights up while the weather was warmer and nicer. So, right after Halloween we put up some lights. Many of our neighbors did the same.

The weather in November was great for sunsets and clouds. Fall color was still in abundance too. It was interesting to see the changes in temperature cause the lowland fog as we went through Auburn. The Moon put on a nice display too.

Early in the month we visited with Blanche. Our visit with Barbara was after Thanksgiving. It's always nice to see them both.

Cheryl finished the interior Christmas decorating right after Thanksgiving. We added a few items to the outside decorations at the end of the month.

Thanksgiving 11/26/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

It was good to see Allen again. It had been a while. There were lots of stories to share and Cheryl made a wonderful meal. Here are the holiday pictures. It was a lot of fun trying to make John's phone camera work right.

Anonymous 11/20/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

What a surprise. The doorbell rang and there was no one there. On the ground was a letter held by a small painted rock. Someone had left us a message. It was heartwarming and so very thoughtful. We were so impressed. It looks like we have found (or she found us) a new friend. We had to check the doorbell video to see. Here is a picture and the note. I'm sure there will be more as we get to know each other.

Greenwater Snow 11/09/2020
By Allen Manese

My roommate and I go out shooting on the weekends. We have a favorite place out State highway 410, east of Enumclaw, Greenwater. On Saturday we caught the first snowfall up in these foothills of Mt. Rainier. We shot a few volley's and went farther up to where the snow almost blocked our path. It was a beautiful forest. I can't wait for snow to fall where I live in Auburn again!! Here are some pictures of our time there Saturday.

October 11/07/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

October was a busy month. There were lots of opportunities to take pictures, and we did.

This is the month for Fall Color and we have both a picture page and we put together a video slideshow. There were a number of fantastic Sunsets in October leading up to a good show by the Moon and planets.

While we were out shopping and visiting with Barbara, we managed to catch a few images of Mt. Rainier. With the quickly changing weather, views of the mountain are hard to get.

Cheryl took some time to make one of John's favorites: waffles.

John added a new piece of music, Warming My Heart, to the Music page. A peppy tune to carry us into the holiday season. Put your headphones on and enjoy!

This year we did a little more for Halloween. We took a few pictures, but the doorbell cam got the better videos. The neighbors and kids enjoyed the decorations and candy. Check the video below.

Halloween 10/31/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

It was fun to watch the variety of costumes and the fun the kids were having this Halloween. So glad to see so many. Our doorbell cam picked up only a few, but it showed a good group. See our Halloween video here.

September 10/4/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

We had plenty of smoke drift our way from all the fires on the west coast. Some days the Sun set very early. Other days it didn't come out at all. Our outside activities were limited. We still had to do our chores though.

Covington has a real nice city park. We enjoy walking there. Most of the time we just walk around our neighborhood.

Nature put on a show for us several times during September. John got up one morning to find a rainbow out the window. The Moon was larger than life with a Corn Moon on the 1st, a conjunction with Mars and a Harvest Moon on the 30th. There also was the International Observe The Moon night on the 26th that both of us participated in.

It was fun to visit with both Barbara and Blanche this month as John had them pull down their mask and smile. Blanche was having a bad hair day as her stylist had just done a bad job. Check last months pictures at the bottom of the page for the nice hair style.

With the changing weather and the smoke we didn't get many opportunities to see the mountain. On the 28th, it was out and proud on a day that was beautifully clear.

August 9/7/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

We started and ended the month of August visiting the mom's. While we had our regular visit with Blanche, the Covid quarantine prevented us from seeing Barbara for the second visit. Barb continues to test 'negative'.

Most of our free time was spent watching the skies. We were fortunate to have a whole week without clouds at night to view the Persied meteor shower.

The Moon made for excellent photo opportunities. Cheryl submitted one of her pictures to SpaceWeather online. Then we had the Moon's conjunction with Jupiter and Saturn.

Many of our neighborhood walks were near sunset and we enjoyed the colors there. We also had a variety of views along the walks. We never knew what we would see next.

Out on a few rides we captured some images of the beginning of fall color. When out, we watch for Mount Rainier even if it's cloudy.

July 8/10/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

Our biggest event in July was the replacement of our defective furnace. The project took several weeks as we discovered critical issues as the work progressed. Fortunately, the weather was mild. We really enjoy the upgraded system.

We were able to visit with Barbara a couple of times and with Blanche on the 13th. We went to the Eastgate Park and Ride to search for Comet NEOWISE which we found and discovered we could easily see from our backyard. Cheryl spent free time making masks for John. She also enjoyed her flowers and those in the neighborhood. Cheryl has some good settings on her camera now for taking pictures of the Moon.

Our walks around the neighborhood have been interesting. We've seen lots of interesting sights, from gorgeous clouds to rabbits and big balloons. All in all, a busy month.

Premier Martial Art Invitation Competition 8/01/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Michael and Rachel competed in the Premier Martial Art Invitation competition. Michael did real well. Check out his pictures and video. Rachel placed at her first karate tournament. Take a look at her pictures and video.

Fire! 7/17/2020
By Rick Schmit

Well, we're on fire here. It's the same building I work in, but at the opposite end. There were 7 trucks, and 1 ambulance. Turned out to be a safety violation that caused an accident. See the pictures here. No impact to my work.

Fireworks 7/4/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

We had some very enthusiastic neighbors this 4th of July. It was a lot of fun to watch. Here is one and a half hours of video cut to 3 minutes. Enjoy! Fireworks.

June 7/5/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

Cheryl had a new painting project this month. Over the first several days she worked on a picture of a favorite subject, the Moon.

This month we have extended our exercise walks to include Covington Park. It is a relatively new park with nice trails and is very photogenic.

We had several opportunities to visit with the moms. We dropped supplies off for Barbara twice at Brookdale. We also met with Blanche (and Dick) and on her birthday enjoyed a special Zoom call with Rick.

Cheryl drove us down to Cabela's for a day trip getaway. We enjoyed the weather and got plenty of scenic photos.

John had a great Father's Day and enjoyed the holiday cards. John has been back to work and is doing some limited driving. He also took pictures of a bus to show the new changes with the driver shield and restricted seating.

Some of our photo projects occur at random times during the month. Flower beds in the neighborhood are filled with daisies. Spring storms continue to give us dramatic cloud scenes. The Moon and mountains are always nice, when you can see them. Cheryl posted her Moon image of the 29th on SpaceWeather. Finally, we have been taking some pictures during our afternoon and evening walks.

The Technical Specialist 5/30/2020
By Rick Schmit

Where to begin!
How about I say a few words about the new employment.

June 8th I received an email from a skilled labor placement company called Aerotek. Basically it informed me that they found a match to my resume, if interested, please reply. Well, I was curious as to what they had to offer. I replied.

Read the rest of the story here.

Michael Graduates Martial Arts 6/27/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Michael graduated to his next belt Orange with purple stripe!! Great job Michael!! We are so proud of you!!! Michael also demonstrates kickboxing. See the pictures and video here.

May 6/6/2020
By Cheryl and John Schmit

We had a photo happy month in May. We began with Moon images including some of the Supermoon on the 7th. We took some time on Sundays to put on our masks and visit with Barbara at Brookdale and Blanche at Farrington Court. April showers sure did the job and Cheryl has been busy tending to the garden flowers. Memorial Day we took a drive up to the Tahoma National Cemetery. All month long we took advantage of photo opportunities to get images of Mount Rainier, sights along our neighborhood walks and the dramatic sunsets and clouds. John posted two new pieces of music, I'm Back and In My House on the Music page. Enjoy the many pictures and music.

Michael's Virtual Competition 5/2/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Michael just upgraded to Premier Training, his Sensi sees so much potential in him and knew he would excel in this training. He will start training with swords, kamas and more nunchucks. He received a new uniform with a blue strip on it. He is currently an orange belt. Michael participated in a virtual competition. There were three sections: free form, weapons and kickboxing. Michael placed 1st in both free form and weapons and 2nd place in kickboxing in his division!! Click here to see.

April 5/03/2020
By John & Cheryl Schmit

We enjoyed many walks during this last month of lockdown. Being John was off, we finally had the time to explore the community's trail connecting to Cedar Creek Park. Nature played a big part this month as we watched gorgeous sunsets and other views from our window, wonderful views of Mt. Rainier on the 8th and the 26th, the Olympic Mountains, the foothills near Mt. Si, and enjoyed a short country ride. The Moon is always fun for us as we captured images on the 6th and the full Moon on the 7th.

Easter was quiet. The tulips were in bloom and the food was good. We made some Banana Bread and Cobbler later in the month. We did get out to see both Barbara and Blanche. John took advantage of good prices and traded in the Highlander for a new Subaru Forester.

Sunset 4/06 & 30/2020
By Cheryl Schmit

It seems that Q13 Fox Weather, here in Seattle, took an interest in a sunset image I submitted on the 6th of April. They highlighted it on their weather web page on the 7th. Click here to see the screen capture. Later in the month they notified me that they would be showimg the image on the 30th during the morning television weather report. Click here to see a recording of the presentation.

Easter Egg Hunt 4/11/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Here are this year's Easter pictures. Michael and Rachel had a great time with the Easter egg hunt. We were very happy to have nice weather. Click here to see.

Dining Table Project 4/06/2020
By Heidi Cardona

I bought a used table for $40 and it was going to be my project. Artie helped me sand and take it apart and put together. It was fun but exhausting. See the pictures here.

March 4/04/2020
By John & Cheryl Schmit

On March 2nd, we took a ride over to Farrington Court to check in on Blanche and Dick. They both seemed to be doing well and we had a very nice visit. Click here to see pictures from the visit.

We needed to go to the University of Washington in Seattle on the 3rd, So while we were on the way, Cheryl snapped o few pictures of the ride. Check 'em out here.

On the 7th, Q13 Fox News displayed a sunset picture Cheryl took. It was quite the surprise. You can see a screen capture here of the display.

We took a ride up to North Bend on the 9th. John wanted to get some new jeans. Cheryl took some pictures of the mountains along the way. See those pictures here.

On the 15th we were on the way home from seeing Barbara and we stopped in at the viewpoint for Mt. Rainier. Cheryl got some really good pictures with the weather and skies cooperating. See them here.

We stopped in at the Whitney Bridge Park on the Green River near Auburn on the 16th. There were some interesting sights as we walked around the park and under the bridge. Click here to see the pictures.

It's that time of year - yep, allergy time and the blooms are blooming. Naturally, on the 18th we got out and had to take some pictures of the pretty trees. You can see a few of these here.

John decided to take some sick time and self-quarantine. With the extra time at home he worked with his music programs and came up with a new piece. Thoughts of party times and sunny beaches inspired the music and its name. Click here to listen to Spring Vacation.

During the month, Cheryl took pictures of the dramatic Springtime skies here in the Pacific Northwest. Storms, sunsets and a gorgeous Moon were some of the subjects that Cheryl captured. Check our favorites here.

NTCC Evening Service 4/02/2020
By Rick Schmit

Our church has begun streaming our services over Facebook and YouTube. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you and hope you would enjoy seeing where I attend church. Click here to see the service.

Essential Painting 3/31/2020
By Rick Schmit

I have been keeping busy during these quiet times, painting at work. Here are some fantastic before (during) and after pictures. Click here to enjoy!

Sidewalk Coloring 3/27/2020
By Heidi Cardona

With the school closed due to the Coronavirus, the North Augusta Elementary teachers and prinicipal went through the neighborhood as a parade to bring cheer and joy to the kids. Michael and Rachel got ready for the teacher drive-by with plenty of sidewalk chalk coloring. See the pictures and the video here.

Karate Centers Create Virtual Classes 3/26/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Michael's karate center set up free virtual classes. Michael is in the news video. Check it out here.

Home Schooling 3/22/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Our first week of home schooling went pretty well ... I think. From class time to break time and a little art thrown in. Check out our pictures here.

Pizza 3/21/2020
By Barbara Lawrence

I had such a good time for dinner tonight. Our Governor implored the younger generation to pay more attention to their parents and grandparents because they can more easily become depressed especially most older people seem to live by themselves. I wrote an email to Edna's daughter, Charlene, and told her what the governor said. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Karate Seminar 3/07/2020
By Heidi Cardona

Michael got to attend a karate seminar that was hosted by a World Champion 4 degree black belt instructor, Reid Presley. He learned how to jump and do kicks in the air. It wasn’t a long seminar but it was a lot of fun! See the pictures here.

February 3/08/2020
By John & Cheryl Schmit

What a great way to start the month with a visit from Lisa. She drove over the mountains to take Nana shopping. Afterward they both stopped by the house to chat. Even though the time was short, it was a lot of fun. Check these pictures out. Later in the evening as the sun set, the clouds and sky put on a colorful show. Click here to see the clouds.

On the 3rd and 4th we were treated with some fast-moving snow showers. On the 3rd we were out running errands but on the 4th we were warm and cozy at home. See how the snow looked here.

After the snow it started raining. With 24 hours of heavy rain it didn't take long until Bear Creek began flooding. The creek is located North of Redmond where John drives the bus. Soon the neighborhood was dealing with very high water. See the pictures here.

The rain continued and on the 9th we drove down to the Cedar River to check it out. While the water level was up in the Renton area, we could see some flooding. We took pictures and made a short video you can see in the story below. Later we found the Cedar River had flooded an area to the East of Renton and actually cut a new channel and changed its course. The period of rain had caused quite a bit of damage.

On the 10th we went down to see how the Green River was doing. We were surprised to see just how significant the flooding was. At times the fields were flooded on both sides of the road. Check out the Green River flooding pictures here. While we were in the area, we stopped at a Mt. Rainier view point to see what we could see. Take a look at the pictures here.

To get a perspective of the Bear Creek flooding, John took some pictures after the water receded a bit on the 12th. See those pictures here. Local house construction continues here in Maple Hills. Cheryl went out on the 17th for some great cloud pictures and picked up on the development growth. You can even see how the rock quarry is being filled in. Check out the pictures here.

On the 27th the Moon and Venus were in conjunction. Of course, Cheryl was out with her camera trying to 'get the shot' with the clouds challenging her. She did get some pictures and posted them on SpaceWeather dot com. You can see the story and links to the pages below.

February was not going out quietly. On the 29th Cheryl got pictures of storm clouds, a colorful sunset and the Moon. See it all here.

Moon and Venus 2/27/2020
By Cheryl Schmit

The Moon and Venus were very bright in the sky this evening. The eye could see both together very well. Capturing them together with the camera was difficult. I posted two pictures on the Realtime Image Gallery at Spaceweather dot com. Click here to see the closer image of the Moon. Click here to see the Moon and Venus.

Cedar River High Water 2/09/2020
By Cheryl & John Schmit

After several days of heavy rain, the local rivers were topping out. A break in the weather helped to ease the water levels and also gave us a chance to get out and take some pictures. Click here to see our video of the Cedar River in Renton.

January 2/03/2020
By Cheryl & John Schmit

Evening storm clouds made a dramatic start to the New Year. Cheryl got a couple of great shots. Check them out here.

A special thanks to all for the great birthday wishes. It was especially fun to read the cards. I even got a really big one. See that picture here.

Moonrise on the 9th was very beautiful. We have a few pictures taken with our cell phones. See them here.

Snow showers were pretty on both the 9th and 13th. Not much accumulation, but a little something for this winter. Here are some pretty pictures.

Cheryl decided to volunteer again this year for the United Way preparing taxes for low income families. She started on the 16th serving at the Fairwood Library. This is her second year there.

While on a mid-winter vacation, John spent some time creating more music. The blustery weather inspired a new piece called "Windchill". It is posted at the top of the Music page - click here.

Cheryl got her haircut on the 22nd. It looks real cute! Check it out here.

Dick fell and had to go to the hospital and rehab for a while. We stopped in and checked on mom several times during the month. We're glad to see him back home on the 30th. See mom's pictures here.

December 1/07/2020
By Rick Schmit

The end of the year. For some, the time is filled with preparation for family holidays. While others finish plans or projects as the year comes to a close. For me, I take time to reflect on so many blessings I have been given throughout the year.

Almost like a tribute to John's song, "His Hand," by God's grace and presence everyday in my life have I been blessed. Here are just a few examples of the blessings I have been given.

My list begins with my family. I am pretty sure that at any given moment, there have been times where they could have turned away. They didn't. As the saying goes, "through thick and thin," each has taken time away from their own busy life for me when I needed it most. Thank you for always being there for me. His Hand

Remaining cancer free another year is second on my list. For seventeen years now I have remained cancer free. After my second surgery in 2003, I asked the surgeon how my future looked. It didn't take him long to respond with a five to nine year expectancy. His Hand

I want to say thank you to my friends. To each of you who shared my struggles without judgement, thank you. It is because of your selfless friendship that I have seen first hand what it means to remain humble to one another. His Hand

His Hand Remix


December 1/05/2020
By Cheryl & John Schmit

We started December finishing the house Christmas decorations. You can see those here.

We had to get up at 2:45 Monday, the 2nd to get Cheryl to the hospital at the University of Washington for her kidney surgery. It was very successful. Then the long period of recovery began. See the pics here. Now, Cheryl is doing very well.

We visited with Blanche and Dick to share Christmas wishes on the 15th. It was a lot of fun and Blanche enjoyed the time together. See her pictures here.

Monday the 16th, John checked his new tire chains for the winter season. Now, hopefully, it won't snow. That afternoon, he went in to the dentist to have two cavities fixed. See those pictures here. He did survive the dental chair.

Cheryl published her picture of a 'Rising Moon' at spaceweather dot com on Tuesday, the 17th. Check it out here.

In preparation for Christmas, on the 20th Cheryl began baking. Here are some pictures Cheryl called 'Mess to Muffins' as she made the delicious deserts for us to enjoy. Yes, they are 'high calorie'.

We were off to celebrate Barbara's birthday with a party at Round Table Pizza in Federal Way. It was a fun time with Allen joining us at the restaurant. Here are a couple of pictures from the event.

Allen and Barbara joined us for the afternoon on Christmas. We had fun opening gifts and enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by Cheryl. We all had a good time as you can see in these pictures.

Finally, at the end of the month we have more special treats. You can see Cheryl's favorite nature pictures taken during the month here. John has been working on a final piece of music for the year and presents 'End of Year 2019' here. And the big ending - Cheryl shot a quick video of the neighborhood New Year's Eve fireworks. Check it out here.

Happy New Year and wishing all a great 2020.