Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Perhaps I'm being greedy, but I think I would've enjoyed a second time together with Shirley today. :>) I was just warming up yesterday.
Fran's J and I whipped up dinner tonight. Well, I can't take much credit. I tried to help out, but he did most everything. Then Lise's J cleaned up. :>)
I hear football playing in the living room and all I want to do is find my newest Newsweek.
Where is that magazine??

Lonely? Make some changes.

Not much going on around here.
I have a pot of refried beans in progress on the stove. I haven't made that in years. The furnace man arrived to collect info for his estimate. Sounds like a lot of the labor will go to bringing the heating system up to code.
I should do some more tidying up around here today. It wouldn't hurt to return our empties either. Boy do they stack up fast!
Fran and her J used her Christmas mixer for the second time last night. They made a chocolate layer cake. So good!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

backyard videos compiled during power outage

These were taken over the course of about 3 days.

Gone, gone, it's nearly gone

Boy was the backyard soggy yesterday! I think it drizzled and misted all day. We still have some crusty ice left here and there, but it's melting as I type.
We had a pretty lazy day on Saturday. People did go shopping, but just for short focused trips.
Liseanne chose a new French restaurant for her birthday dinner last night. Very nice, it made for a sweet, special evening. Hopefully, she'll get a chance to write about it today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 08

Egads! Did someone give me laughing gas?? My apologies!


That last pic of sister K watching us from her front stoop? She was watching us spin tires on their ice.
Thanks to Jared, Ken, Simon, N and James, we were pulled out safely onto the road.

When I took our garbage can out this morning there was a sheet of ice from all the melting yesterday. Skating is tough enough, but add unexpected skating in a robe? I don't think the Olympics have a category for that. ;>)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Possible Christmas slideshow

I had to add that "possible", because we know how those good intentions don't always pan out . . .
BUT we'll always have the Christmas strata!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You and me and rain on the roof

Yay, for the rain!!
Good to see that layer of ice falling off the trees in the backyard and to be warm again. Now to get those clothes washed and VACUUM! :>)
Very sad about Tuba Christmas getting canceled, though. But very understandable.

Baby you can drive my car . . . beep beep - beep beep- beep

An over long photo essay on the world around us these few days before Christmas.
You'll be glad to know it's half as long as it was going to be. :>O

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Life is good

Hey!! As of right now, and who knows for how long, we're back. We have heat, lights, cable, internet and Fran and Izzy back. :>)
Life is good.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lise and N get ready for the 24th

Pretty good considering how many years it's been since Lise played a bari

Loafing around in the kitchen

Orange Cranberry Cookies
Gingerbread Cocoa Cookies
Beer Bread (Fat Tire, Dill, Cheddar)
Gingerbread Cocoa Cookies

2 sticks butter * 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1 c dark br sugar * 1 tsp baking soda
1 large egg * 1 tsp salt
1/2 unsulfered molasses
2 tsp cinnamon * 3.5 c flour
3 tsp ginger * sugar/powdered sugar
1 tsp allspice *

1. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in egg, molasses, spices, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix in flour.

2. Scoop dough into balls with cookie scooper, roll in mixture of powdered sugar and granulated sugar.

3. Arrange cookies on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 -12 minutes. Do not over bake.
Cranberry Orange Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
zest of one large orange (about 1 tbsp)
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg and orange zest. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Stir in the cranberries.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (about 1 1/4-inch balls) onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.

Heard recently on the radio

"The night we were choosing the music for our funerals, was one of the best times we've ever had!"

I'm Looking Through You, Where Did You Go

We went from a steady 36 with very little snow remaining to 32 and falling with another light white covering on everything. Our flakes are fine, so I doubt we'll get too much more accumulation down in our wee valley, but at this point who knows.
N and I ran errands this morning. I have a lot more ingredients for Christmas day now, but already I've realized I failed to write down everything. I need to sit down and make yet another list.
After that trip to town, N, Lise and her J went out and found a nice skinny tree to fit in a corner. I stayed home to remove leaves from the shoved in a corner dining room table. We'll try and make this work without cramping the cramped living room any more.
Lise went out and trimmed some fir tips and juniper tips to make something. Guess I should get up and take a look.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Get thee to a beadery!

Liseanne and I decided to join the rest of Salem downtown this morning/afternoon. The usual easy parking spots were all taken. So we had to prowl and scan for a bit before we found a spot. We mailed Lise's two Maryland packages, bought beads for two projects and finally made it to the liquor store to replenish our vodka and whiskey. Probably good I didn't have ANY while I was house bound! ;>)
Here's an Izzy slideshow for your amusement :>)

My mom bought you when I was just 13,
the brightest red sweatshirt I ever seen.
She got an extra large so I wouldn't grow out,
"That's too big for you!" the other kids would shout.
But we stuck together, we didn't quit,
and now the children say, "What a perfect fit."

I love you sweeeeatshirt
red hooded
dip dip dip
shama lama ding dong

I like to rest my hands in your kangaroo pouch,
it makes them feel comfy like a big soft couch.
And I don't care if the weather's no good,
I say "See you later rain" as I pull up my hood.
~Adam Sandler's Red Sweatshirt Song

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Does beer bread go with meat loaf?

Yes, yes it does!
Update: Very easy to make and very tasty to eat, but next time I'll use very light flavored beer. The ale I used lent too much flavor to the feta & rosemary blend I made. Oh! And she's right, make sure you use fresh baking powder!

Farmgirl Susan's Beyond Easy Dill & Cheddar Beer Bread Recipe
Makes One Loaf

The optional egg glaze gives the top a beautiful, dark golden color. As always, I encourage you to use
locally produced and/or organic ingredients whenever possible.

Basic Beer Bread Mix:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces beer

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, dill, and cheddar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan
, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Flavor Variations (also see the comments section at the end of this post for lots more beer bread flavor inspiration):

Garlic & Herb: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes) to the basic mix. For fresh herbs, use 1 chopped Tablespoon of each.

Dill & Chive: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives to the basic mix.

Rosemary & Feta (courtesy of my bread baking pal, Beth): Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces) to the basic mix.

Italian: Add 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano (or 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano), 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan or romano cheese to the basic mix.

Other Additions: Any dried or fresh herbs; 1/2 cup freshly grated asiago (or other hard cheese); 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped scallions; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup oats in place of 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or practically anything else you can think of--just use your imagination.

What can I cook/bake today?

When I remember, I've been enjoying reading Pie-o-my blog. I found her, because she's a follower of eatsalem. I want to make her orange slice bars. They sound delicious.
I was trying to think of what I could make with ground turkey today. Soup? Sauce? Then I remembered the ground pork in the freezer and decided meatloaf would be a good cold weather treat. I should have all the ingredients for THAT at least. Well, not the bacon, but I suppose N will forgive me for that. Or he could skate to the store.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Skating on the thin ice of a new da-ay

Wow! I don't think I've ever driven on ice and had everyone around me being justifiably cautious. I don't know if it was the fact the ice was so visible or what, but it sure made tense driving a bit less so.
I noticed on my way home that Heath was stacking up onto Croisan. Once I was home, I could hear that pitiful whine of tires making no purchase upon the icy road surface, all the way over here. I called N to warn him. Who knows how treacherous the abandoned cars could make his trip home. If that's what ends up happening.
I've been following tips from public radio and listening to new bands. I almost bought the same album that Lise was showing me last night, when I suddenly spied something I remembered seeing on her laptop. That was close!
Back to baking and such. Even though I forgot two main ingredients. harumph

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are you doing your part?

What are acts of love?
Everything you do with an open heart that helps others?
Making food and drink?
Tending vehicles?
Keeping the yard and house looking good?
Taking care of yourself?
Getting something for someone without them needing to ask?
How about a good attitude and a generous spirit?

You can lead a horse to water, but

From Drop Box

Instead of bundling up, finding a parking place and a viewing spot for the parade last night, I watched Eat's video. :>) I wish I could hold the camera that steady - I won't go into all the other details.
What a great concert N and band gave us yesterday! They sang for a minute or more for one piece. Very impressive!
After the concert we used good old Reggie to find Calapooia Brewing Co. N said there's no way he could've found it without Reggie's help. It's located on the far fringes of downtown, near some railroad tracks and several warehouse type buildings. I liked the paint combination they used on the outside - forest green and burgundy, is my guess. Just remember my color deficiencies. I loved the bar area and three tables crafted from rough hewn slabs of big trees. The rest was more utilitarian - made to seat patrons and for playing darts. They do have a big heated outdoor seating area adjacent to the dining room. Since we arrived around 4:45, the place was nearly empty and the bartender was ready to let us try whatever we wanted from the many taps. Every stout, porter and ale I tried was excellent. Even the chili beer. :>) Although, I can't imagine drinking more than a few ounces of it.
Their burgers and sandwiches were more lunch fare (with the exception of Lise's Reuben)sized, but very tasty. I would recommend it for tasting some great beers with lunch or a light dinner.
We stopped at Albany's mall before heading home to watch Vera Drake. Outstanding movie!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pringle Park View

When N got home from work Friday evening, we trucked on down to Costco. Our intent was to pick-up my prescription, but (thinking we had plenty of time) we didn't remember until the clock chimed 7. That's when the pharmacy closes. :>( I guess I'll be returning Saturday. Exactly what i was hoping to avoid.
We continued picking up all the needed items that wouldn't fit in the mini wheelchair cart last week. Afterwards we drove downtown to eat at Marco Polo. I love their new location. I'm so glad they were able to invest in making major changes to the building they're in now. It's beautiful and what a view! Eating all those veggies makes me feel so healthy. Especially after eating too many M&Ms after work. They were in the mail from Angie's List. I guess whenever someone signs up and says I sent them, I get M&Ms. I had no idea.
When we finished dinner we went to Penney's to see if N could find anything that grabbed his fancy to wear to his concert in Albany at 2PM Saturday. Their men's department is just a shadow of what it used to be. Plus there's no or very little customer service these days.
We spent the rest of the evening playing on the computers and half watching TV. I did stay up to spend some time with Lise. :>)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

False Eye Lashes

Why am I still up??
Fold this laptop up and head to bed! Now!
I ran an errand during lunch to pick-up a gift at a local shop and then after work I delivered it. It was a good visit with a past teaching pal.
Tonight I made a triple batch of pumpkin bread. L's J made a trip to the store to buy more chocolate chips for me. I was sure i was going to run out of flour, sugar or ?? But the chips were the only item I didn't have quite enough of.
Turns out it was a good night to bake. There wasn't much on TV.
I did watch an episode of Little Britain on Netflix. I'm not sure how I'd categorize it. Maybe it's similar to Boys in the Hall. It was pretty funny. Why do I feel like laughing as soon as I see a man dressed as a woman??

Changing schedules

Things feel different around here now that Liseanne has been working a swing shift and her-J long hours. Last night N and I were on the love seat watching TV with the Nixon cuddled up in our laps. Of course, we both fell asleep before it was bedtime. It's not easy to fight the urge to stay up and see Lise.
She worked hard to get our pics taken for a Christmas card, but we haven't taken the next step. Mainly because I want to add Fran's J, but how to do that without making the photo look too silly? And where did I put those pics of him in the backyard??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Still Standing

but if I sat on the couch I'm sure I'd fall fast asleep.
I had to leave a technology meeting early after school today. I looked up at the clock and realized I had too many errands to stay any longer than 5 PM.
I hustled out to Salem Clinic to pick up Fran's two prescriptions (they have to be rewritten and picked up every month). I drove them to Fred's pharmacy. There was a line of about 8 people. I was glad I would be back later and probably miss the rush. I went home to let the Nixon out and to grab some mailing supplies. I took pity on the dog and brought him along for my next set of trips. We drove out to Costco to buy some $1.65 gas (or was it 1.55?) and pick-up Fran's two other prescriptions. Then we stopped off at Fred's to retrieve the prescriptions I had dropped off earlier. Guess what? The line was still way out in the aisle and it wasn't moving efficiently like Costco's pharmacy line does. Fred's is so understaffed. :>/
How I wish Costco stocked her pain patches! After a 20 minute wait (one person dropped out of the line), I picked up her patches and went out to the car to put them in the padded mailer. Next stop - USPS. A couple was situated at the automatic package mailing machine with a stack of packages. They let me cut in, thankfully. Woo hoo! That's done!
Nixon and I made it home by 7:30.

Monday, December 8, 2008

NPR and Teri Gross

I was in the kitchen double spooning cookies onto parchment when the guests on "Fresh Air" shared something personal that took the air right out of my lungs. Then I found myself sobbing for a breath. I can just hear my father saying the very same thing.

I had a request to amend and complete:
A young mother had been told that she had 3 months to live with pancreatic cancer. (it was an interview with a couple who are wine columnists. They share bits of their private lives in their columns) She and her husband had two very young children. She spoke about how everyday she told (in small ways) the children and her husband goodbye.
One day when her parents were over to their house, her father said that he would pray to his god that he could take her place so that she could stay with her family. Four months later they discovered that she did NOT have cancer after all - it was a congenital "flaw" - her father had been ill during all of this and hadn't wanted to worry them. He died a short time later.

One stalker to another . . .

Okay, so maybe I'm a stalker to keep track of who's reading my blog, but I'm curious - always have been. And even though I do want to know . . . I still get a bit creeped out when someone unknown (as yet unlabeled) reads my entire blog from end to end. I usually have a clue and I figure it must be someone who knows me or knows of me - why else would they spend nearly 2 hours scanning my posts?
I know for a fact there are better things to read out there.
Today the short people gave us a taste of what's to come in the next 9 days of school. So talkative and easily distracted!!
I hope I can make science "pop" tomorrow. Yup, that was a pun, but you won't know until I tell you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Walking the Nixon

Backyard pictures taken, bags packed, and then it was time for Liseanne and her J to drive Fran down to Roseburg to meet her J at his folk's.
Once we had waved them out of the driveway, N and I hooked Nixon to his leash for a walk in the park. Afterwards, I removed my Santa hat and we hopped into the car to check at Joe's for N boots. Then we stopped at Thompson's for dinner. Usually when we see the parking lot that full, we head elsewhere, but with just the two of us we thought the odds would be better for finding a seat. We could've bellied up to the bar, but after 10-12 minutes a table opened up.
I wasn't as impressed with their nutbrown ale as I usually am, so I changed to good old Terminator for my second pint.
This morning N's been busy in the kitchen for over an hour - shredding, chopping, rinsing, cooking. I can't wait to eat the results! :>)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We all do it, don't we? How many hours should be allowed each day or each week? It's probably healthier when we engage in it with others as opposed to seeking it solo 100% of the time. And it's probably most important to balance it with doing social activities with the bulk of your time going towards your responsibilities.
There should be some overlap. It probably depends on whether you're a happy, mentally healthy individual who enjoys people and life.

Stay tuned for next time when I ponder acts of love.

Trail Band

I learned two lessons last night. It's not good to wait until the last minute to find someone to use our 2 extra tickets AND it's important to check the time a concert begins before you give someone a last minute invite. {sigh}
Other than that, it was a great show. That's one of the many things they do well - entertain the audience. They played material from their new Christmas album, told stories, played interesting instruments and had two special guests. One was Linda Hornbuckle.
I had an urge to go out for dessert afterwards, but N went out to buy us some ice cream instead. Much more economical. Plus Fran wasn't alone as long.
N's getting ready to go out and do leaves. Their numbers are dwindling - finally. I'm keeping an ear open towards the washing machine.
Normally, I would be at the Greens Show with friend Shirley, but they were invited to see a show on the south coast. Hopefully, she can rest on the ride there and back. Maybe we can figure out a way to make it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What did you feed the dog?!

Izzy and I are keeping Fran company in the living room this evening. Lucky me gets to be within firing range of the wee furry creature.
"Gee, Iz, I like YOU, but not so much your lethal cloud."
I came home after work to pick up Fran and take her with me to Costco. The line was long at their gas pumps, but filling up at $1.71 a gallon was worth it. I'm not sure where my Costco card went. I think Izzy knocked it out of my purse when she was in my lap people watching. Luckily, I had my membership renewal form with my member number in my purse.
The sky was beautiful as we made our way back out to the truck. I hear it's going to get cold tonight.

How do you take YOUR coffee? Milk? Sugar? Splenda?

The stars were out when Izzy and I took our break this morning. Good sign, as far as recess goes. :>)
Fran and I used the laptop and svideo cord to watch the latest episode of Desperate Housewives last night.
Entertainment is good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Anniversary Dinner at Caruso's

Maybe I'll work on the food post tomorrow . . .

Oh crumb!

It just dawned on me (should've been a kick in the head), I only thought about sending sister Sue a birthday card . . .
When will I learn that the "think process" only works on The Music Man??

It was kind of a hectic day today. Not bad, but not what I would volunteer for. I had a feeling I would have a sub all day and I did. BUT it wasn't the same sub for the entire day. We had two different teachers. Darn you, automatic sub dialing system!! The AM sub figured they had called her to take the PM class at 5:30 AM this morning. Her phone rang twice and then the automatic message system kicked in, so she didn't get a second chance to talk to a real person. I told her I hope they'll all putting in their two cents, she said they are. But then I heard from two people trying to get a job with the district and they said that it's hard to get questions answered right now. They're all bogged down with getting this system up and going. I'm glad the district will save money, but what a shame they couldn't hire extra help to enter all the data.

Happy Anniversary to us!

I think the weather is pretty much the same today as it was 30 years ago, when N and I scurried around picking up our flowers, cake and tuxes. We'll never forget when Reverend Rex Van Beek confided in us that our marriage probably would last 6 months or less. His basis for that comment? A statistic he had gathered about second marriages.
We showed him, by golly! :>)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Where are those binoculars??

Now that Autumn is winding down, we're getting more varieties of birds at our feeders. I'm not sure where we put those binoculars, but it would be nice to have them back by the computer to help ID our feathered visitors.
The Mourning Doves look so big right now. They must've found plenty of food to fatten themselves up the past couple of months.
Now I'm realizing I should've checked to make sure I have everything I need for science tomorrow. It's a low maintenance lesson, but it's still important to have all the stuff.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fran's Cauliflower Gratin and K's Candied Sweet Potatoes

These are two of the dishes Fran and I put together today. I bet she's sound asleep right now.

Gratin of Cauliflower with Gruyere
Gruyère's nutty, earthy flavor is a nice match for subtle cauliflower, and crisp breadcrumbs add texture. Substitute broccoli for the cauliflower, if you prefer. You can prepare all the elements for the dish a day ahead, if necessary. Refrigerate the sauce, the cauliflower, and the breadcrumb mixture separately, and simply assemble before baking.


6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets (about 2 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place cauliflower in a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; coat cauliflower with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until almost tender. Cool 5 minutes.
3. Preheat broiler.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in panko. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese and chives.
5. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup cheese, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and pepper. Pour milk mixture over cauliflower mixture; toss. Top evenly with cheese mixture. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly heated.

Out and about amongst humanity

Every year I forget how busy it is out there on the day before Thanksgiving. Talk about a short memory!
Since two of the places I wanted to visit today open later, I tried to schedule my trip to be able to do both of them the same time as my other errands. My first shock was renewing tags at the DMV in under 5 minutes. Shazam!
By my clock, Costco had been open just 15 minutes and yet the lot was nearly full. There were plenty of "darters" and "dawdlers" pushing carts, but all in all it was a pleasant chatty crowd. It took awhile, but I gassed up as long as I was there for just $1.75 a gallon.
I turned the car towards downtown, went over the bridge, stopped at Reader's Guide to drop off some books and then drove to Rickreall to visit Eola Winery. About halfway in between on Highway 22, I could see emergency vehicles in the distance and then traffic stopped. A silly man in a white Nissan truck thought he could drive on the shoulder to take the next exit, but ended up blocking an emergency vehicle instead. The rest of the vehicles on the road, problem solved and made enough room down the middle of the highway for the small fire truck to pass through.
I bought 6 bottles of Eola's delightful, dependable, not too sweet, Pacific Blanc for $6.95 a bottle (not counting my wine club discount) and 2 bottles of their delicious Late Harvest Viognier.
On the way home, I stopped in at Roth's to buy a couple cans of pumpkin. After all the groceries were put away and I sat down to type this, Fran asked if I bought portabello mushrooms along with the buttons . . .
Oh crud! Time to go back to the store :>(

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

and the good news is - I didn't fall asleep

My only complaint regarding the second class I took after lunch, was how obvious it was that not everyone took the basics class before the advanced class. Oh well, I still learned quite a bit. Now I want to sit down with the program to practice.
Fran and I began our shopping list. I was going to make the first grocery trip (is there ever just one?) this evening, but now that it's dark and wet outside all I want to do is curl up on the couch.
What a wimp I am!

Here I go . . .

I'm still surprised that I'm actually trying something new and different today. Instead of working at school doing prep, I'm heading to another school in Keizer to take an all day computer class. It's on a program staff uses everyday, but no one knows how to use all the features. I doubt my taking it will change anything, but I could be a resource in case someone wants us to begin using one of the features.
Today is also Liseanne's first day at work. I want to reduce myself and hop in her pocket to keep her company. She left me a sweet gift to find this morning. :>) Now she's on MY wrist.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry Salsa
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 TBL grated orange peel
1 seedless orange, peeled and chopped
1 TBL ginger root
1 TBL parsley
1 TBL cilantro
2 jalapenos
1/3 cup honey
2 TBL frozen orange juice concentrate
The recipe says to put all in a food processer but I like to chop with my chopper and leave it a little chunkier.

Politely . . . .

Nope, can't do it, Lise! ;>)
N must have an early meeting today. He was out of here shortly after 7. Not I.
I thought about it . . . and then decided to take Izzy out one more time and type out a short post.

J, L, N and I all went out to Thompson's last night. We haven't done that for a long time.
Today I work half a day and then take Fran to an appointment. I hope to find time this evening to continue messing with the wine video. I keep thinking of something else to change and hope I have the perservance to learn how to do the process to get there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I hope you two were able to go out and enjoy a good meal - with friends or just the two of you. :>)
I'll be calling to chat tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Santiam Wine Company

Santiam Wine Co. from K Miller on Vimeo.

No chores done, but . . .

Liseanne and I (especially Lise) did a lot today. I had forgotten to charge the video camera last night, so we ended up having to wait for that to finish before leaving the house this morning. First we stopped at Santiam Wine Company, where we hung around for an hour or so. I took shots of the shop and then taped the owner answering a question. We bought a few bottles and then drove over to the public market to buy some turnips, parsnips and carrot bread. After that we drove downtown to Court Street and walked to the bead shop with the eclectic collection. Lise bought beads and bits to make a birthday bracelet.
We drove home and then Lise ate lunch and prepared to take Fran and J to the outlet stores. They didn't spend too much time there. Sounds like it was pretty crazy with a lot of promotions going on.
I spent the next part of my day sitting on my rear downloading kindergarten videos to the KG blog and editing the wine shop footage.
Lise heated up her squash soup and sliced the loaf of bleu cheese walnut bread we bought at Cascade.
I guess I'll be doing chores tomorrow . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where did Thursday go?

I know I accomplished things at work, but work days aren't always as satisfying as student days. Depends on the work to be done, perhaps? I resisted and haven't peeked at the photos I picked up at Costco last night. So that will be fun - to glue and enjoy the pics at the same time.
After work it was time to add hair to the landfill (we really should find a use for cut hair) and get my gray covered up again. I'm always surprised it takes 3 hours, but it's time well spent when it's with Karyn.
And yes, Zuzu, I did remember stop and buy you some kitty litter. But no, I haven't gone any farther than that. I apologize. Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and clean sheets had priority last night.
Liseanne reminded us that we won't be seeing as much of her after Tuesday. That's when she starts her swing shift with the Department of Human Resources. We'll find a way, dog gone it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I WILL sleep tonight

Our blood date went well. No lines. :>) We were in and out within an hour. Pretty amazing. N ran into someone from his old office. That was a nice surprise.
We did end up trying out Thai Beer restaurant. Our chicken vegetable dish was good, but not what we consider Thai. Plus I think our experience was clouded with the poor service we received. We felt like our table had a force field around it, preventing anyone from seeing us or getting too close to our table. :>P One of those nights when we wish we'd stuck with the tried and true. I don't want to climb back in the rut, but now I remember why we feel comfortable there.
After that experience edged with disappointment, we came home and weren't very good company. I apologize for that Liseanne. I want you to know how much I appreciate you - especially when you tend to Izzy, Fran, the house. It makes our lives easier. Thank you, buttercup.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Izzy helps N with the leaves

Blood date :>D

This will be the first blood date since N began his new job. I need to keep that in mind this afternoon, so I don't find myself sitting in the green lot wondering where he is. I'm thinking Thai - it's all Salem Man's fault. :>)
I'm beginning to feel a bit peeved about Lori Cain at the Statesman using the same song I used on the public market video as her theme song on her videos. At first I was happy for Andrew. Now I'm just feeling bugged.
Today is feast day and the last kindergarten school day until December. How weird is that. After all these years and I'm still amazed when this time of year arrives. Would've created quite a child care challenge when I was working at Roseburg's schools.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Thank goodness Franny was on the couch this morning!
N locked me out of the house :>O
He came outside to say goodbye, since I was with Izzy on a walk-about in the backyard. When he went back in the sliding glass door, he locked the door behind him.
. . . little did Izzy and I know, until we tried to get back inside after he left.



I discovered that OnDemand lets me watch Masterpiece Theatre or Mystery within the same week it was originally broadcast. Something for me! :>)
The title was "Filth". It was the dramatization of the life of Mary Whitehouse. An art teacher who pushed and organized to change what the BBC was broadcasting into people's house at tea time. At least that's how it began. The chairman of the BBC refused to see or talk to her and she began to gain a bigger base and feel a greater responsibility because of that. If he'd met with her and made a few changes right in the beginning, things may have turned out much different.
Afterward, we watched the last half hour of Boston Legal - enough to get my weekly dose of their scathing political commentary. I love that show.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mmm, good coffee

N and I went out for breakfast and then to Costco yesterday morning. I think I'll save the review for Friday or Saturday. We ended up leaving the cat litter at Costco, but at least it wasn't on the receipt. I need to return today to pick-up two prescriptions anyway. And after the state of Zuzie's box this morning, I may pick up two containers of litter.
We went to the bird store and bought the winter blend for our feathered buddies. We picked up some suet, too. I wish I could view the suet feeders from this chair. Extra computer entertainment is a good thing.
I'm thinking I should discontinue the practice of reading the principal's monday memo before I head to school. So little pertains to the entire staff anyway. So why volunteer for before work stress?
Onward to Monday . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Everything's Rosie in Roseburg

After I ran my errands and N gathered and shredded the week's worth of leaves, we hopped into the truck to meet Izzy, Fran and her J, halfway - at J's folk's house in Roseburg. Ah, the smell of roast beef cooking greeted us along with all three dogs at their door. We spent several hours relaxing and visiting with them before finally pulling away from the curb around 8:30.
On the drive home Fran snoozed off and on, but mainly filled us in on her week in Ashland.
This morning N and I slept in and then went out for breakfast.
It's been a great weekend. :>)
I feel the urge to take Izzy for a walk to the park.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hang up and talk to your kids!

That's my thought for the day. I was sitting at a stop light watching a mother talking animatedly on her cell while her young son sat in the passenger seat with no one to share his day with.
Well, I did it. I went to the market, bought bread, cheese and cider and then stopped at the wine shop. I walked in, told her what I wanted and she rose to the occasion. That's what I love about wine shops. Then I talked to her about wanting to come in and do a video some Saturday during a wine tasting. She's for it - as long as I give her enough warning to spruce the place up. :>) We had a good conversation about buying local and being disappointed by the local newspaper's wine writer's choice of writing a big article about Kirkland Wines.
Speaking of wine - I have a new post on eatsalem. :>)

Friday, November 14, 2008

What are you doing this weekend?

More staff drama at school today. Stop! No more drama! Bad for morale!
We also had a couple of techs camped out the entire day. Evidently someone opened an ecard infected with a virus and it had creeped into the school's intranet.
The entire class and I were walking to the computer lab, when I spied the techs and their laptops in the lab. Oh oh. I poked my head in and asked if the lab was open, "yes! The lab is ready to use!" Whew! And then one of our teachers hurried over to me and said, "sorry, the lab is closed. we're doing some updating for testing." No problem. I turned the crew around and took them back to the room to watch one of my favorite videos by Pete Seeger.
I'd like to pop into the public market tomorrow, while N tackles the leaves and before we head south to pick-up Fran and Izzy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time, ambition and money

I heard on OPB radio that Thomas Lauderdale will be playing Gershwin in Portland this weekend. That would be a dreamy concert to attend! Now if only China would join him with vocals on a few pieces. Oh and Paula Poundstone will be in town this weekend, too. I do think we should buy our tickets to see the Oregon Trail Band's Christmas show in December, though. One out of three ain't bad.
I finally found some success with getting one of two insurance companies to ante in on my hearing aides. Who knew it would be so difficult. After mailing it in twice and faxing it once and having them tell me each time they had no record of having received anything, I finally was able to talk to a supervisor who called me back as soon as she received the fax and then walked the claim over to processing, with a request to rush it. That was on Monday and I received a check yesterday. Now to see how quickly insurance company number two responds. Here's the hoop, now jump!
Lise is getting the public market slide show ready and then we'll put up the winery pics. What next?? :>)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How many days until Christmas?

Sorry, couldn't come up with a better title. So I decided to scare you instead. ;>)

I need to go put an offering in the food confessional plate - just for yesterday. N and I stopped at Arby's after a quick trip to the container store in Pleasantville. They have their Italian sub again. Such a good combination of flavors, what can I say? Then we ate dinner at BigFoot - a burger of course. Their burgers are still good with the new management, but not AS good as they were in the beginning.
We also managed to make a stop at Orchard Heights Winery. Their wines are on the unremarkable side, but they have a great, little, jam-packed gift shop. Though their estate Gevurztraminer was nice. I was sad that more wineries weren't open for Veteran's Day. I suppose it would be different if the day off was a Monday.

What day is today??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grading Day

It was nice having the classroom all to myself to get things done. I checked everything off my to do list and that's about the time L arrived. I brought her up to date on the controversy of the day and then she filled me in on yet another staff item.
People began to get together and go out to lunch. I wanted to try this popular bar and grill fairly close to the school, but 3 steps in and we quickly turned around and walked out. Too dark, too smelly, too dirty, too sketchy! So we made the drive downtown where our resident vegan would be sure to have something good to eat - Marco Polo's. What a great lunch deal they have! My appetizer, soup, main course, hot tea and fruit with dessert, all for $6.95!
I worked just the half day, since I've been accumulating extra time here and there. So I drove home after lunch. J and Liseanne were just getting ready to head out on an excursion, so I had the house to myself. Alone again!
Once again I fell asleep on the couch after dinner. I see a trend developing. Not good.
Guess I better finish getting ready for the day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Orzo with Shrimp, Feta Cheese, and White Wine

Definitely worth sharing!
Bon Appétit | April 2003

by Donna Knowlton

Yield: Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings
8 ounces orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush 11x7-inch glass baking dish with oil. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain well and return orzo to same pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons basil; stir to blend. Arrange orzo mixture in prepared dish.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until slightly pink, about 2 minutes (shrimp will not be cooked through). Arrange shrimp atop orzo. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, oregano, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Simmer uncovered until reduced to thick sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over shrimp. Bake orzo until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup feta cheese and serve.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté until slightly pink, about 2 minutes (shrimp will not be cooked through). Arrange shrimp atop orzo. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine, oregano, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Simmer uncovered until reduced to thick sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over shrimp. Bake orzo until heated through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup feta cheese and serve.

Epicurious.com © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

On again then off

My plan today is to get some good cleaning done and then work on science prep. We'll see how that goes. Depends on who is around and how much talking they want to do. I'd rather catch up with people on a day without children and today fits the bill.

Felt good to get a good vacuuming and dusting done yesterday. And I washed two of our throw rugs. So THAT'S what color they're supposed to be!

Zuzu is enjoying her time in the house this morning. No Izzy to chase her, although she seems to enjoy that when it's going on. And no Wendy to stare and meow at her. I wonder if Zuzu will let her hair down enough to make a feline friend.

Someone came to the blog this morning looking for donate life tattoos. Must not be what they wanted, they stayed for less than a minute.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zippity do dah

Due to a family discussion, we ended up leaving town sometime around 7:30 Friday evening. We made it Ashland at 11:16 PM. We sat and unwound and chatted a bit before hitting the futon. Such a comfortable mattress! Thank you Futon Man!
J left in the morning for a school event and N and I piddled around taking Izzy for walks and cleaning up the kitchen. Then we went out to The Breadboard for a delicious breakfast. We walked around town for awhile, visited a gallery and then stopped in at Munchies for a few slices of chocolate peanut butter pie - to go.
I think J wanted to take us out shopping, but we were ready to just sit in hibernate mode. Sorry J! We ended up leaving around 4:30 and then joining them for a trip to Costco. We all gassed up and said goodbye.
Instead of stopping in Eugene for pumpkin ale, we looked at the time and decided on a quick stop at Sonic (must beg forgiveness to the food gods). Just as our food arrived, J's mom called with a chicken curry invite. {sigh} Suddenly the fast food fare looked even less tasty than it did already.
Instead of curry, I had a glass of wine and wonderful company. :>) It was a nice break in the trip home.
Missing Izzy and Fran already . . . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

You're probably out with Dad eating dinner about now. :>)
Just wanted you to know we're thinking about you.
Love you!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I still believe that 98% of the world's population are decent people

Maybe I'm naive, but I really do believe most people are good.
I feel sorry for those who choose to live their lives expecting evil to be lurking around each corner. I came in contact with someone recently whose occupation puts them in the presence of people who don't have a good moral grounding. These people approach life as though everyone is a threat to their family. So sad. I'm glad it doesn't seem to have infected their children's lives - other than living in shadows of the hovering adults.
Such a dreary day. Although, it was pretty warm during our morning recess.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Dark Already?

I dunno, I think I'd rather have it dark in the morning . . . except for the concerns about bicyclists and pedestrians heading to work and school being run down by unobservant motorists.
I love having debates with myself.
Science went great yesterday. It was a demonstration (can't really call it an experiment, can I?) to prove how you can trap air in a cup. We had tubs of water, clear plastic cups, frosting and marshmallows. Since I had to demonstrate, I sacrificed myself for science by eating 4 marshmallows with frosting over the course of the school day. :>) After attaching a marshmallow to the inside bottom of the cup with the "glue" (frosting), I show how you can actually hear the trapped air hit the top of the water when you tap/hit the upside down cup on the surface of the water. Then I show them how to push the air-filled cup (still upside down) all the way to the bottom of the tub of water (without tipping) and all the way out. The marshmallow is still dry! And then you pop it in your mouth. :>D I used to do this with paper in the bottom of the cup, until Kim showed me a better way. They loved it before and now . . . they love it even more so.
I should get up off my backside and look productive. N and I will drive Fran down to Ashland Friday after work. I may find something to prep for that if I try.

Get in buckle up and hang on

Now that's what I call a great election night. :>)
So many warm fuzzy feelings when we heard NPR say they projected Obama to win at 8:05 (?) PM. I relished both his acceptance speech and McCain's concession speech.
I was so happy Lise picked up a bottle of champagne on her trip to the store for rice.
Now to witness what unexpected consequences lay ahead for all of us. Good? Bad? Get in, buckle up and hang on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eat Salem

I have a new post on Eat Salem this morning. This morning I went to go do one of my obsessive checks to make sure there weren't any other last minute changes I should make when I noticed the slideshow was gone. :>O
Must've happened during one of my last edits. Have to be careful with that "delete" key!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Glad for the rain and yet not so glad for the rain

It's been so dry in our yard for so long, but it sure makes it easier to take a puppy outside when it's dry. She's not a big fan of the rain and that adds up to more accidents in the house.
I took Fran to PT today. Her appointments are more spread apart since insurance only pays for a certain number per year. We wouldn't want a doctor to have a say in how much PT a patient should have. :>/
On our way home we stopped at the store to buy a few things to make white bean chicken chili. So good! Perfect for a wet autumn dinner - especially when you add corn bread.
My eyes are getting heavy . . . tomorrow is science day. One of the fun lessons. :>)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Autumnal Ecstasy

“Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
~Stanley Horowitz

A couple of times this week I've been concerned about the level of attention I'm giving my driving. My eyes keep getting drawn up above the road to those dark greenish brown branches with their stark contrast to the golden leaves in the soft light filtering through the foggy morning.
And then there are those leaves that look like gorgeous sunsets . . . sigh.

Still one of my favorites:

Only Memory

So very often
Especially in Autumn
Mother Nature
Takes hold of all my senses
And puts them in Awe
And then my hand
Begins to ache
So much pure beauty
Around me
And I, minus the talent
To capture the color
On Canvas forever
So instead
I admire Mother Nature's work
for hours
Only to feel I've missed it all
When the season ends -
Because of my extreme
lack of proof

Friday, October 31, 2008

T or T

Well, it's 8:13 PM, and we've had our 1 trick or treater.
I can still remember our first Halloween in this house. We had moved from the southern part of the state the day before and I told the kids it just wasn't going to work out this year, but there would always be next time. Their Papa had another idea, I discovered. He had brainstormed a couple of easy costume ideas with them and said he would take them around the new area to trick or treat. I was reluctant to help out with the plan. I thought they'd spend the evening handing out candy - meeting the kids in their new neighborhood.
I still remember how excited they were about the houses they went to, with the music and other scary stuff. Their papa did the right thing. Thank goodness boring mom was not in control.
Liseanne was a bum (if I remember correctly) and Fran was a clown (they're still trying to remember who was what). I was the one who spent the night answering the continuously ringing doorbell. I still remember the boy who remarked, "you're not Mrs. ****". "No, I'm not. We just moved in."
There were only a few more years of having several trick or treaters. (at least it seems that way now) Now for the past 3 years, it's Kevin who rings our bell and that's it.
There was that one strange year when our doorbell rang around 11 PM (yes, we were still up). It was a couple of teens who were associated with teens in our neighborhood. They saw our porchlight on and decided we were still open. That's when it doesn't pay to have a porchlight that goes on at dusk and stays on until daylight.

Rest in peace, Studs Terkel

What an American icon you are!
You were always entertaining and informative.
I'll miss seeing and hearing you periodically on TV and NPR.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tomorrow will I be a Halloweenie?

As in . . . coming undone when they're so overcome with excitement they forget how to listen.
I began the losing-my-voice faze of this bug. Last night it was a nasty headache and not being able to keep my eyes open. I slept from 7:30-11 on the couch and then continued sleeping once I made it to bed. Thank goodness we've practiced our it's-time-to-quiet-down signal in computers over the past couple of weeks. My squeaky voice may prove to be a challenge.
Have I used up my quota of hyphens yet?? ;>
I understand I will henceforth be known as, "that woman". Howlingly good (or not) story. I may share if asked or I may not.


Lise accepted a job offer from the state yesterday. She's not thrilled (she starts on the I'll-never-see-anyone swing shift) and I don't blame her, but I do believe what they told her about how often they hire out of this data processing pool for jobs that are a step up and out. She'll continue her job search, of course.
Today is our pumpkin day. The short people take their small pumpkin looking gourds, weigh, measure, draw and compare at different stations. The adults try to manage the activity level and make sure everyone is on task.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I assisted Fran in the kitchen while she prepared dinner this evening. After my verbal "display" last night, I think I've frightened everyone in the house into laying low. What kind of dog pack are we, for crying out loud?!
The short people were on the loud side yet productive during project time today. I do love them so. Not in the cheek pinching way, but in the encouraging, adoring, auntie way.
Dinner smells delicious.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Gee, thanks Connie!! ;>
After Connie's compliment last Friday, I began to think I actually do teach the short people some higher level science terms. And then today I read my favorite leaf book to them with the scientific words and definitions at the end with my all time favorite tree (Ginkgo) featured . . .
they weren't all being the best listeners.
Sitting here thinking back on the day, perhaps it wasn't that bad.
Maybe my expectations were pushed beyond the KG limit due to the compliment.
They did love the leaf rubbings.
I came home to a suds locked washing machine after a long day at work and two errands across town. I think it was the second suds lock since August. I finally made a mark with an permanent marker indicating how much soap is needed for a front loader washer. I guess a verbal approach isn't always the preferred approach.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Out of the house

Getting out of the house is important, am I right? The longer one spends in the house, the more difficult it is to to make that first step to get yourself out and about. It doesn't even have to cost much money. Yes, there's the gas, but parking is free (as long as you follow the rules). Salem has several great parks to walk around and through. Plus downtown offers a lot of territory to browse and ponder. Really I think it comes down to sanity, doesn't it? And if you can't talk anyone into joining you, there's always sitting over a cup of coffee at the book store or internet cafe.

I noticed that the school district is offering the NCLB classes during the school day in November. Kim and I keep pondering whether it would be worth our time to take the classes and the test. I do know one thing though - I would never attempt the test without studying, with or without the classes. Even though I learned all the bits and pieces the test covers, it's been awhile. Studying only makes sense - unless one WANTS to fail.

My principal gave me the go ahead on the blood drive. Now where to start? I should probably check with Donna to find out which dates are not available.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Okay Norm, did you really do the leaves yesterday? Doesn't look like they were even touched. I wonder if anyone has invented a device to strap around the trunk of a tree that vibrates enough to hasten the fall of the leaves? Seems like a good idea to me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


It's tough to put on lotion several times a day when you're wearing jeans and long underwear. So the tat wasn't cared for as well on pumpkin patch day. I was much better yesterday and ended up having the colorful dead skin peel off near the end of the day. Gross and yet . . . interesting. Yup, always a kindergartner at the core.
The color of the heart has lightened up considerably. Now I wonder what it will look like in a year.
Norm's already outside preparing to tackle the leaves. He's probably thrilled it's not raining.
Fran's J drove up last night. He'll get to be here for her MRI this afternoon.
Yup, on a Saturday.
I wonder when we should plan on leaving to drive north?

Friday, October 24, 2008


We had a great time at the Pumpkin Patch. :>)
I don't understand, I was so wiped last night. Now why would that be??
I took more video and then last night I began to put together a blog just for displaying KG videos. Of course only this morning do I think to ask permission . . .

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Off to the Pumpkin Patch

Okay, so field trips aren't my favorite activity. It's not that I dread them, but usually one parent we've assigned a group to fails to show up and destinations overbook. Both of which raise the stress level for those in charge. I do love it when I have the opportunity to take photos. This particular pumpkin patch has a great spot for individual snapshots and the sun will be out.
Okay, so maybe there are things to look forward to. :>)
Izzy and Zuzu have been enjoying each other this morning. I'm surprised Izzy didn't curl back up next to Fran and continue her puppy sleep. Their favorite game is Zuzu on the chair taunting and batting at Izzy, while Izzy paws back.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wormy Day 2008

I like doing worm science with the worm box. Very impressive to pull the damp newspaper aside and show the kindergartners all the worms wiggling in the soil along with the occasional bit of compost-able scraps from the kitchen. They even enjoyed the roly poly bugs that lived in the box. I saved a tray full of the "worm processed" soil to show them. They were horrified after I informed them it was worm poop. After they held the worms, we washed our hands and ate gummy worms. I told them they could go home tonight and tell their parents they held worms and then ate one.

Lisa just finished prepping the Costco pizza for dinner. We wore Fran out with too many trips today. What a dope I am! They went to Bauman's and EZ Orchards while I was at work and then Lise and I took her to PetCo and Costco after I came home. Sorry Fran!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Walking the dog in the rain

I know I should.
And I probably will eventually.
I doubt if I will today and it's not even raining hard.
It's only drizzled off and on.
Poor Izzy!
To be dependent on such an unambitious human!
I ordered a couple of pair of pants from STPost that a customer claimed, "my most comfortable pants EVER!!" Kinda reminded me of the design of a paper sack - with a cinch belt on top. They probably are very comfortable, but I'd have to wear a baggy sweatshirt to complete the look and that's just not me.
I had to giggle over the PM parent who rushed up to me with a big grin this afternoon, "did you just get a tattoo??" Must be something people who have tattoos notice?
What's for dinner? Either I or Fran will need to pull a rabbit out of our hats. Can't take too long, I need to drag a victim to PetCo and Costco to pick up a few things tonight.

Sister Quote

"Maverick: Someone who gets a tattoo on their leg when they turn 50."
But I don't want to be a Maverick!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Yesterday, while we waited for the artist to take Lisa's design, transfer it to parchment paper and copy the lettering from their font book, a young woman and her child came in with a colorful character named Critter. According to the parlor owner, Critter has quite the history. He used to be a bonafide cowboy in Eastern Oregon, but now he's a mechanic. The child looked to be around 6, 7 or 8. Very hard to tell, due to her birth defect. Her legs (if she has any) may have been 8 inches long. Her mother asked which one of us was getting a tattoo and if it was the first one. Then she told me it doesn't hurt. I responded that that's what people tell you when you're about to do something that DOES hurt. Then she began to elaborate about what the needles feel like.
After the first 5 minutes, I began to wonder why I didn't choose to have my nose pierced. That would've only hurt for a brief moment. :>. It felt pretty much like you'd think it would when someone repeatedly jabs a group of needles into your body - painful. I could deal with the pain, but I was bothered that I couldn't control the twitching of my leg - or the result of the twitching (jerk, jerk). I found that if I pressed my calf firmly into the chair that it helped.
It probably took an hour or so to complete. I'm not looking forward to the peeling stage. That won't look attractive!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Donate Life

What makes this tattoo even more special is the story the artist shared with me. 11 - 12 years ago, her diabetic father became so ill he qualified for an organ transplant. After waiting and having to under go dialysis, he was notified that both a pancreas and a kidney were available. When he came home, he was no longer a diabetic. Amazing!! And all these years later, he's still alive to see his grandchildren grow.

Kids! What they cause their parents to do!

"Mom, do you want to go to the bead shop with me?", Liseanne asked.
"Sure, why don't you see if Fran wants to go, too."
And then suddenly we were at a tattoo parlor and a young woman named Cassidy was firing needles into the calf of my right leg.
I'll see if I can post a pic when the swelling goes down.

Walking the dogs while Lisa shoots

Friendship/birthday breakfast

The cook at the cash register asked if Shirley and I were all caught up. :>) Is it that obvious that's what our breakfasts are about? Could it be because we sit and chatter for 2 1/2 hours? A morning with Shirley charges my batt-trees and fills my heart.
Our neighbor is up blowing leaves and debris off his roof and N and J are out putting up a wire fence to keep Izzy out of mischief. It'll be good to be able to let her out without supervision.
Liseanne and I took both dogs up to the park for a nice autumn walk. I couldn't find my phone after returning and was sure it had fell out one of the times I pulled out my camera to take leaf pictures. Turns out it was in Shirley's car the whole time. What a relief!
Worm box!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

GreyBettyOffice Thursdays

Most of the time I don't believe a full moon has anything to do with behavior and then we have a week with the short people (like this one) that makes me a believer. They've been enjoying each other to the max, while turning a deaf ear to the grown ups. Ah to be a speed bump in the eyes of a child! Not a good feeling! I hope library and computer isn't a trial today.
It's good news when I stay awake through all 3 of my favorite shows on Thursday evening. :>) It helps when they're all entertaining. Grey's started out the season with a disappointing script - made me wonder if this would be their last season. The past two episodes have shown much improvement. The Office was hilarious. Feels so good to laugh out loud.
Onward to Friday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Love My Girls - oh yes I do!

After Fran's PT appointment this afternoon, Liseanne and I wheeled her around on many errands. Geez, just get close to Lancaster and the number of errands on the list seems to grow.
L needed to return a pair of jeans to a store at the downtown mall. We elevatored downstairs to see if she could find a replacement and realized they had given us $14 more than we had coming. Oh! They refunded her for the more expensive/wrong pair of jeans! The clerk was happy that we returned and yet it was such a hassle for him to repair the damage it almost didn't seem worth it. Almost. There's no way we would've done things differently.
I know Fran is probably exhausted, but I sure enjoyed spending that time with both of them. Such sweet, big hearted individuals!
We're browsing through the many leftovers for dinner. That's usually what we do for Thursday (band rehearsal night) dinner. Guess we'll solve that when we get to it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weighing in - but not on the scale . . .

N and I made a Costco run this evening. One of those visits that make me glad we're executive members. The check should be a nice size this January. :>/
Today the short people and I made pine cone bird feeders in science. I love reading Wild Birds by Joanne Ryder to them. Especially the part where the author's prose describes a little girl standing, "as still as an icicle, as still as a frozen tree", by her busy bird feeder. Then a small bird lands on her outstretched hands and she says she can feel it's heartbeat through her mittens. :>) Due to a couple of students having peanut allergies, Kim bought soynut butter instead of peanut butter for the feeders. Not the most alluring smell in the world. Quite a few of the more vocal ones were plugging their noses. At least they didn't lick their fingers the way they do when we use peanut butter.
Five appointments for Fran this week. We won't know what to do with none for the following week.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lunch out :>)

I spent about 2 hours at the DMV to renew my license this afternoon. My fault - mostly. I thought I had all the required documents, but once I was up at the counter discovered I had Fran's birth certificate. Ugh!! Dummy! When I went back, I thought I was missing proof of my SSN, too. Thank goodness we found it on the tax document I brought. So frustrating that even people who are renewing have to go through the same hoops. :>P
Okay, done venting.
Just noticed N cursing in the backyard (lip reading) and saw that Nixon had dumped the birdseed with his leash while Norm was trying to multi-task. Oops!
I don't know if I really learned that much at the DIBELS training today. She kept skipping things and saying how "but that will be different for us, since we're doing it another way". Where are those in-services where you don't feel like you've completely wasted your time??
Lisa's making dinner. Sweet girl!
Fran, her J and Izzy come home in the wee hours.

In-service Friday

I was all signed up to go to a reading in-service at Parrish MS, but then decided I'd better join the teachers for the DIBELS session. Kim and I have already missed 3 morning sessions. We're not sure if this is a bad idea or not.
Zuzu and Wendy have been trying to establish a relationship the past couple of weeks. I think Zuzu would prefer to keep things the way they were - Wendy in her own room. Wendy wants to meet and play, but Zuzu's been staying aloof. We'll watch to see if the cats can change (like old dog) while we should probably be the ones trying to improve. ;>)
Fran and Izzy return this weekend. I don't know how it's going to work, since Jon has several events to attend in Corvallis. We'll keep that cell phone on. I noticed that Fran has 4 appointments next week, but nothing for the two weeks after that. Maybe another opportunity to stay in Ashland?
I hope to go through my closet, do laundry and make a trip to the Goodwill this weekend. That's all I ask.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fun with the puppy

Who knew, a squeaker under a bum could provide such entertainment for a human being and two dogs. :>) I do like how Nixon rubs his eyes in disbelief.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caution: Pitted olives may have bits of pits

Well, we found out Izzy's lost tooth was a baby tooth. I thought it probably was, but it's good we know for sure. Fran also discovered there may be a need for more vaccinations if Izzy is a part-time resident of southern Oregon.
Geez, 3 appointments for me in 2 days. That's unusual. I'm glad it's done. I wish I'd had the energy and time left to head to the parent meeting tonight. I wanted to share with them about my desire to have a blood drive at school in memory of Gwen. I also wanted to see if they had any thoughts about the where, when and how to find out how many may be interested.

Cherry Redd Video

We were at the store during the shoot.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where to start first??

I was so glad to see the jogathon shirts had arrived this afternoon! I don't know if Jane and Holly will end up wearing them or not, but at least I was able to hold up my end of the bargain with Liseanne's help.
Even though we all (N,K,L,J,S,J & G) worked hard all day on Saturday, it still felt like we had a weekend. We spent the first part of Sunday unpacking the remaining boxes, except for the ones that Fran laid claim to. "Save the easy ones for me, please!" And then we drove downtown to dink around the shops and eat lunch. We made it home around 10. Not bad.
When I went in to get my haircut after work today I found out that Karyn had been in Ashland with her son to see a play. Hilarious! We were probably outside Bowmer Theatre the same time their play let out, too. I can't believe we missed each other.
I wrote up a "review" from our dining out this weekend, but I decided to ask Salem Man first. People didn't seem too happy when I wrote about the Crow Bar in Cowvallis. If he says no, I'll post it here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

These days

I'm still in shock after reading Shirley's blog this morning. It's difficult to understand how far reaching a lack of credit can affect the way our world runs until you have friends that are broadsided by the consequences.
We've been listening to the debate this evening. I feel as frustrated as Jim Lehrer at their inability to answer the questions put before them. I do feel like Obama is doing a better job, but my judgment could be clouded.
We had our second day with Mrs. Crawford the sub today. All went well. It was good to have such good support.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

She's got them job search blues

I feel for Liseanne. It ain't easy searching for jobs when there are so many other people doing the same thing. She keeps plugging away every day, just wishing someone would CHOOSE HER.
It was my turn to take Fran to her PT today. Cathy decided to put her on the treadmill rather than in the pool, because of her stitches. I've never seen someone tied into a harness, suspended and walking on a treadmill. Very interesting! A young man was brought into the treadmill room by his therapist just minutes after Fran had begun. Cathy went ahead and yielded to them since it doesn't take long use up a patient's endurance on that contraption.
Oops! Time for Thursday TV! :>)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

me an izzy

Izzy and I are hanging out in the kitchen. Trying to stay out of the way of the people putting together Fran's new shelf from Ikea. So many little packages just the right size for a puppy to put in her mouth!
What were all those things I thought I needed to do on the computer anyway?
I just learned (with Lisa's help) how to make the backgrounds of my cdrs transparent. Now to start putting graphics on dark shirts. Unless, of course, I can't locate the original. In that case I have to start from (almost) scratch.
Here's one change I've made on Cafepress. I'm not sure if I made the right choice as far as changing the black to white on the dark shirts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

IKEA thanks for finding and keeping my keys!

Fran's stitches are good - a little puckery due to the rough edge of the bread knife.

N won a new furnace for us on a local auction tonight. Great deal and then we'll have those energy rebates, too. :>)
Now we don't have to wait for the shoe to drop on the old one. Works out well since much of his vacation isn't transferable so he'll be getting cashed out. I told him he should switch more often. ;>)
We drove up to retrieve my keys at IKEA. (eye roll over stupidity) I'm glad that's done! Then we stopped at Burgerville and Fry's Electronics. The kindergartners needed new headphones and they're about the only place to get cheap cheap ones. I also bought video editing software. Now I'm really committed!! The people at Salem Market were still smiling at me yesterday, so either they haven't seen it or they're okay with it.
I wrote and resigned my position as building union rep yesterday. I decided that 15 years is long enough and I need to get something off my plate. Two people replied to the email I sent out to classified staff telling me about how busy their lives are. So now it's in the union's lap. I feel bad and yet . . . .
Lisa's helping Sara cut tomatoes. Yikes! That sounds even scarier!
It rained so hard when we went to IKEA today. A man nearly backed over us in the pick-up area. He was horrified - which I thought was a good thing. But we were laughing ourselves silly for some reason. I'm sure he thought we were nuts. Maybe the helplessness of the wheelchair as a wee car backed up towards us?? I dunno.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What? Twice in one day? Unheard of!

Now where did I last leave you?
Somewhere around the time when Fran picked up a knife?
All was fine until her fifth or so slice of the hearty loaf of bread. Then something went awry with that nasty serrated bread knife and Liseanne & I next found her clutching a napkin to the fingers of her left hand.
Liseanne and N drove her to the emergency room since the urgent care clinic was closed. Sometime within the following 2.5 hours, they admitted her and stitched up her middle finger.
Wimpy me and little Izzy stayed safe and concerned at home.

Gimli bee

Beautiful Peaches, Peaches for me, Beautiful Peaches . . .

We were in and out of the truck from 9 to 12 today; we went to Salem Public Market, the church of bottle deposits, Fred Meyer, Costco, Petco and followed Lisa into unfamiliar eating territory. :>O (her review will be on eatsalem on wednesday and mine tomorrow) I heard some great Paula comments on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I think we heard one about how she has a gift for the world of finance, because she was ahead of the curve and lost her money first. She cracks me up. I'm sure it hits a bit close to where she lives, but isn't that the basis for most humor?
I have a new favorite movie - The Waitress. We watched it last night and I just fell in total and complete love. One of those that you're so disappointed to have end so you keep watching the lame extras? Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible was in it - I kept waiting for him to burst into song. It was the kind of movie where that could happen, too. A kind of cartoon edge to the characters.
I've been playing with my Salem Public Market movie today. J's bro, Collin, suggested I use vimeo. It did improve the appearance, but it didn't work as well on our older computer. Not a good sign, when many folks use older technology.
Made me feel good yesterday when our librarian was introducing me to someone new in the school by saying how she keeps trying to talk me into working in the library with her. I told her I'd jump ship in a minute, if the hours were good.
Fran's in the kitchen .. . . with a knife . . . I best go assist.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My keys are at IKEA? Yeah, no kidding!

Last night was a pretty slow night for the Red Cross. I got to chat a long time with volunteer John (retired math teacher) since it took N so long to make his way through the queue. Joe, another volunteer, got a good chuckle over how far I left my old man in the dust. Gotta love those old men!

Here's your laugh of the day: after Fran's Portland appointment today, she asked if we'd take her to IKEA. N reminded us part way through the store that it was his rehearsal night and to keep that in mind time wise. We sped up the process a notch and then hopped in the car to head home. Once we ate our Carl's Jr dinner, drove home and I sent him on his way, I realized that I needed to go to Costco for a Fran errand. Could NOT find my keys ANYWHERE. :>O And so Lisa drove us in. When we returned home I called Carl's first - nada, then IKEA - "yes, we have your keys!" Yay!! "Uh, well, I'm out of town. Could you hang onto them for awhile?"
I'm so glad they're safe!

At morning recess, there were suddenly two children screaming, crying and running towards me. One dropped down on her knees in the gravel (yes, in a dramatic fashion) and began to throw rocks at herself. I gathered them both together and asked them to take some deep breaths. The first blurted out, "she said that I hit her in the eye and nose, but I didn't, I was grabbing the bar behind her!" sob, gasp L, who ran out once she heard the screams, talked to the second child and found out that her feelings were hurt, but not her body.
The osteopath appointment was pretty much a good bye until she sees the doctor at Salem Rehab. to see if the osteopath will be needed in the proposed therapy. He did do his work on her and made her feel better. So that's something.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First science of new school year

Well, it wasn't horrible, but there weren't any inspiring moments during science today either. I'm sure it's not a first, but there were several (counting both classes) short people who couldn't remember what letters were in their name. I'm not a hawk when it comes to upper or lower case during the first couple of weeks, BUT I do think a 5-6 year old should know how to write their name in some fashion. There are some who believe it's due to the growing technological nature of their environments. I don't think it's a trend (I hope it's not). We have years when the majority are smart little cookies, we have middling years and then we have the others. I'm still not sure what kind of year this is and wouldn't venture to make a prediction based only on the writing of names this early.
How's that for a short essay on, "I really don't know which category this group falls in". ;>)
Hmmmm, blood date tomorrow. Where to go, where to go? Maybe Copperjohn's or maybe ??

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Eats

We enjoyed some good eating this weekend and even found a few minutes here and there for sitting in the backyard and relaxing.
The kids had picked blackberries at Minto Brown Park last week, so Fran (with Lisa's help) turned them into scones and cobbler. And then there were the baby back ribs I picked up at Costco. Lisa and I put an herb rub on them and N added barbeque sauce during the grilling process. Definitely good eats!
That clock radio alarm sure sounded loud this morning! I must still be in "transition to school" mode.
Speaking of school . . . our principal told elementary ed they needed to find a .5 position for our 4th KG session teacher (who had been hired permanently for some reason). They came back to her later that day, said that they couldn't, would she put her back as a 4th session teacher. So after the shuffling to create 3 classes out of 4, the teachers needed to go back and reverse the process. I've been around long enough to see a number of things happen, but this is definitely a first. I certainly feel for those families.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Leisure is your brain on a different task

I can't believe how many hours I spent on my video project. And yet . . . I wouldn't have it any other way. Feels good to do something different, something out of my comfort zone, something that makes me frustrated - because that has to be a sign of growth (right?).
Lise and her J went to Shrewsbury Faire in King City today and after they returned Fran and her J went out and about to get out of the house. I'm so glad he was able to drive up. I feel like we should give him a Costco gift card to help out with his gas. It's good having everyone in the house, even if it would be even better to have a bit more space.
Lise is in the kitchen making a side dish to go with the ribs Norm's getting ready to put on the grill. :>)

Oh and can I say how much I appreciate my family continuing to email me even though I rarely email back these days? Part of it is more competition for the computers (it's easier in the summer) and part of it is avoiding the possibility of complaining about life in general.
Bad habit that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Power to the chore doers

Here I am - beginning the editing process!
Thanks to J doing the dishes and Fran helping with dinner.
It may not be the end . . . BUT it's a beginning.

We put the AM and PM classes together today. And you know what? They're still a nice group of kids. Makes me happy to know that there are good parents out there who care about behavior and growth. Children need chores and responsibilities. We've had these discussions in our house for years. We don't claim to have been perfect parents. We'd be fooling ourselves. But we do think it's important for children to make age appropriate decisions that increase in importance as they gain age. Heaven help the child sent off to college who never experienced making some of their own decisions. We've probably all seen and heard of those messes.
Okay, back to the editing software . . .

Click here for a link to a guide that answers the question, "which chores at which age?", and also offers a variety of behavior charts to print and edit for free.

Coffee's ready!

N and I still need to work on who's taking which appointments for the rest of the month. Why is that so tough to take care of? When he took Fran to her PT appointment yesterday, they found out the appointment had been moved from 3 PM to 9 AM. But we're sure we didn't receive a phone call. She had a migraine anyway, so it was probably for the best.
Tomorrow is the last day we'll have 4 sessions of kindergarten. Phone calls were being made after school yesterday to those who have priority on the list - since 4 students will need to shift to the morning to help balance out the population.
Yet another evening without making it to the laptop to edit. (sigh) Maybe today . . .

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Good Day in Kinderland

Two great groups of kiddos! :>)
Of course the PM class will change, but I think it will still be a great year. LB was talking to them about raccoons and one little guy said that they sleep at night, when a hand in the back shot up at the same time as the owner blurted out, "they call that noctural, teacher!"
I love those moments. They give me hope that the kids will be doing some deep thinking when we do science this school year. There have been years when I feel like I'm going through the motions, but at least we're getting in some listening and writing practice.
Fran's phone was supposed to be delivered today, but no one was home. I left the house at 5 PM to pick the phone up at the Fed-Ex building, but had misread their door hanger. The package would be available for pick-up from 4:30 - 5 PM NOT 5:30 PM. The old brain picks some interesting times to play tricks on me. I went ahead and took the opportunity to pick up the ingredients to make the pasta dish with bleu cheese, tomatoes and spinach. Very tasty, indeed!