Friday, December 23, 2005

Oh, to be 29 again!

Last night was wonderful! (don't worry, you can keep reading.)
Paul said I could open my gifts before we went out to dinner, so I did! I loved all of them, noting several times how thoughtful everyone was, especially with Christmas right around the corner. I'm okay with getting dryer sheets or hotel soaps, if that's what's financially allowable. I got some really cool exercise clothes and gear, a neat recycled clothing kitchen rug, and a little spending $$.
For my B-day dinner, Paul took me to the Bombay Cricket Club, a restaurant on Hawthorne Blvd. that serves excellent lamb & other Indian dishes, and shows cricket games on TV for atmosphere. The meal & service were great, but their desserts didn't sound too spectacular. We headed out to the cat store to pick up some White Lightning Catnip, and then on to Trader Joe's for travel snacks & some REAL dessert, chocolate in pure bar form.
When we got home, I made 2 little catnip toys for the boys, and then we watched them go wild! Catnip has crazy powers over cats, sort of like the ring & Gollum; Gatsby attacked Bosco like a wild animal, just so he could have both toys. This morning the toys are drenched in kitty drool. I've never smelled such potent stuff - really primo at only $5/oz.

So now that I'm closer to 40 than I am to 20, what's a girl to do? I feel like I'm in limbo. I've compiled this list recently, and added to it today.
- Annoyed by the person next to me in the restaurant saying, "Shut the F-up!" to her dining buddy on several occasions during my very nice birthday dinner (linen tablecloths & napkins and everything!). Should I scold her?
- Doesn't particularly jive with Old Navy-style or Eddie Bauer/Land's End-esque clothing. What can I wear?
- Can't get down with clubbin' (just one, for that matter). What is hip-hop fusion?
- Fervently searches for & plucks her 6 gray hairs. It costs how much to color?
- Senescene. It starts @ 28, not 30.

That's it for now. I've only been 30 for a day!

Monday, December 19, 2005

B & Me


As a new Portlander, one thing became resoundingly clear to me yestarday afternoon; snow is not normal!

Hmmm, this is the confusing thing.
Freezing rain: no big deal. Snow: pandemonium.
Around Portland there are semi-San Francisco-like elevation changes, ranging from 100' to 1000'. This is especially true in the West Hills, or suburban Beaverton and beyond. Well, that's where I was on Sunday, at a Baby Boot Camp (BBC) holiday cookie exchange. About an hour into the party, the first few flurries started to blow in (50mph gusts!). Mine and most the BBC moms' cell phones started lighting up. We traded cookies, took a picture, and split. I had about a 30-minute drive in front of me - back through City Center, across the bridge, and home.
Annoyingly (to put it lightly), suburban roadways don't tend to follow any sort of North/South-East/West format, and they also aren't straight - at all (in retrospect, I think its b/c of all the hills). Having no map or idea of which way was North, I promptly got lost. With my gas tank nearly on E, I pulled into a gas station to fill up and get directions. By the time I became 3rd in line, they closed, saying that they were out of gas. So I trolled on down the road toward some other promising major intersection, hopefully in the right direction. It turned out to be the right way, but no one could get up the last hill before the highway. So... I turned around. After going another wrong way for a couple miles & turning around again, I finally found a gas station and was pointed in a different direction, which turned out to be another traffic jam. So 2 hours and 2 miles after I left the cookie party, I was sitting in traffic with my bladder about to burst (2 cups of coffee at the party had set in), when I saw the Max (metro train) fly by. Ureka! Paul had suggested the same thing earlier, via our neighbor's intelligent suggestion, but I didn't know where it was. I called Paul a 4th time for directions, this time to get to the Max station (Paul says it's hard to give directions when I don't know where I am).
By 4:15, I was on a train, speeding by the very highway I was trying to find! It was crawling, and the next major road I saw (I-405) was totally jammed. By 5:45, I was home. My toes were like little rocks! Brrrr! The two best things about this adventure was that earlier that day, I had decided to take my jacket at the last minute, and that I had a whole bag of yummy cookies to snack on.

I took these pics this morning, pre-dawn (Impressed? The sun rises at 7:50). Now the ice is melted, and it's misting, but there's still some slushy snow leftover (good for snowballs).
I'm getting a ride back to Beaverton today with my neighbor, to pick up the car. Hopefully, it didn't get towed!


Friday, December 16, 2005


The day after my final final, I made this wreath! It's hanging right next to the front door, facing our neighbors to the north. I got most of its contents off the ground at Laurelhurst Park, a local green space. The Gorge Winds had been blowing, so there were lots of conifer sprigs all over the place! I did stop at Portland Nursery to pick up a few pieces of Holly (I later found that I could have picked that up for free too!), and cut a live wreath circle from the frame that this wreath now sits upon. So I made a $3 wreath; does it show?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Alrightey, then. That was stimulating.

I just finished my first term at PSU Wednesday, and boy am I'm tired! I don't even remember how to Blog anymore. The kitties are sleeping in our box of Christmas decorations (that I am finally able to tackle), since they like the crackley packing paper & are hoping to find a piece of faux garland to choke down.

I guess I should give a rundown of our latest happenings. Paul has been the the go-to man for the last couple of months. He's been doing more of his share of housework, cooking, chores & errands, and has tolerated my 3 weekly evening classes well! Lately he's been busy getting us totally wired for satellite radio (Sirius). He found a new device that is adaptable for car, home, and walkin' around. The portable part kind of has a catch - you have to record stuff at home or in your car in orde to have something for walkin' around listening. He worked hard to get all the little gadget's components, and to get it all properly set up. I'm listening to Christmas Country hits right now - it's awesome!
Also, a few weeks ago Paul brewed an awesome (crossing my fingers) keg of Chocolate Porter - hoppy holidays - that has a little 'kick.' You'll have to ask him about the exact % ABV.

My life for the last 8 weeks could be better-covered by listing what I haven't been doing! Anyhow, mostly I've been eating, sleeping, exercising, and
practicing the 2 R's. But since school's been out since Wed., yesterday I did a little bit of fun stuff! I made a nice evergreen wreath out of some branches I picked up after Boot Camp at Laurelhurst Park. I pulled out a couple Christmas gift sewing projects - can't say what, just in case you're reading this. I'm gonna work on them today. In a few minutes, I'm making pizza dough for tommorrow night's calzones. This weekend I'm making & canning some more cranberry-ginger compote, and going Christmas shopping!
Oh yeah, as for us, I'll be updating our 'Wishlist' under our Blog's "View My Complete Profile," and maybe our Amazon Wish List (Marci, you've inspired me) before I get to the pizza dough.

It's good to be back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Damn, make that October 23rd post go away! I've actually been "too busy" to post lately, but occasionally I click on our bookmark, hoping to find a new post. Alas, that stupid menu keeps popping up.
In 3 weeks, I'll be posting regularly again. Until then, don't bug me (about not Blogging).

- Anne

Sunday, October 23, 2005

MMMMmmmmmm, Must Be Hungry!

On the phone today, Mimi & I were talking about how we keep having the same dinners all the time. We agreed to share our stale ideas, making them interesting to the other. Here's our menu for the week:

S- Chef Salads, the "Big Salad" of Seinfeld, or the "Bogey's Salad" if you've ever lived in Kirksville
M- Spaghetti w/meat (this time) sauce
T- Split Pea Soup & Cornbread (rain forecasted)
W- Baked Chicken Tenders and Salad
R- Leftovers
F-Homemade Pizza: Hawaiian
S- Breakfast for Dinner: French Toast, ham, & juice.

That's our fallback list. I've saved the last 2-1/2 years of menus for ideas & visitor/holiday reference; no time to tally up the meal we've had the most.
So, what are you eating this week?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here's My Dam Trip

No really, I took a Dam trip on the Willamette river last week with work. I have been mainly working on the Comumbia river so going out to see all the projects on the Willamette was very interesting. We visited about 3 projects a day and were out and about for 4 days. Lots of driving in the huge 12 person van but it was worth it. So, here are a few of the pictures I snagged below and on top of some of the projects.

So here on the top is a look at the fish ladder at Foster. We didn't see any fish going up, but there were quite a few in the holding area at the top of it. They were all trying to jump their way out, but they were not due for pickup till the next day. On the bottom is a picture from the top of Foster. It was really clear and you can get a good view of some of the Cascades back there.

Here we are at Green Peter. The top picture is obviously the view from the top while the bottom shot is a tour if the projects guts. We started at the top and went down I don't know how many stairs to the base of the project. It was pretty cold, wet, and moldy down there. We got a good look at some of the insides of a dam and all the monitors set up to keep track of the movements below and around the dam. It was pretty weird to be down there knowing a huge wall of water was just to the left of you.

Last one I guess. These shots are on top of Cougar Dam. The structure on the left is probably the most interesting thing I saw the whole week. Just over the past few years they built this huge tower to regulate the temperature of the water at the tail of the dam. It has 3 massive sets of gates that can be raised and lowered in order to pull water from any level in the pool. Pre-build, the fish were migrating about 2 months late and it was discovered that the natural temperature rise was offset by about that amount of time because of the dam. So, they put this monster in there in order to bring the temps back to pre-dam form. Low and behold, the first year the fish migrated in mass right when they were supposed to. It worked and is still working like a champ. The other picture is just a group shot on top of Cougar.

These were just a few of the places I got to explore over the week. I learned a lot, talked face to face with the folks we talk with on the phone, and saw some amazing country south and east of Portland. Next year it will be off to the Columbia projects. That one will take me all the way into Canada, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and of course, Oregon. Lots of drive time on that one. It should be great though.

- Paul

Monday, October 10, 2005

Look at the Pretty Flars

This is my Clematis that Mom & I planted this August. It's still blooming! I'm looking for a trellis thats on sale, but they just aren't. Thats okay, I could SO MAKE THAT!

This is the other plant Mom brought me. It's Larkspur: tall blue flowers with funny leaves. When she sent me the same seeds in Mississippi, they were Lobelia. See?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

All Aboard!

Mostly an Adventure, but Almost a Fiasco

So last month I gave Paul a bus ticket for his birthday. (No, I didn't send him packing...quick thinking though.) Since it was homemade, it didn't count, but I also reserved 2 spots on the Brew Bus Portland Brewery tour for Septembeer 24th. Finally we could check off a few more breweries from our enormous list!
Yesterday was the big day, so we went downtown to the Lloyd Center Mall Doubletree Hotel & waited for the acclaimed tour guy & local historian, Jim Long. That morning on the phone he told us the tour was going to be a little bit different than normal, but that he though we would really like it. Boy were we in for a surprise - the little difference was that the Brew Bus tour wasn't going to involve a BUS! Instead, his plan was to use public transportation (but not the busses). It was kind of neat, and even a little bit exciting when he neglected to buy us tickets for our Max ride, which faces a $200 fine.
We double-Max'ed over to our first spot, the biggest brewery in the state, Widmer Brothers. We were a little bit disappointed to hear that it's partially owned by Anheuser Busch, but since Widmer was never our fave... It was a really neat modern brewery though. We saw where they fill & label the bottles, make the beer, store the hops, and serve their beer. We both agreed that our tasting samples were just okay.
After that we went to one of the many McMenamin Brothers pubs, the White Eagle. Their beer was pretty good. Jim, the tour guide bought a few pints and split them 5 ways for us to taste, enough to add up to a full pint by the time we left by Taxi for the next place, Amnesia Brewery in the Mississippi District. There we did more of the same, tasting each beer from the lightest to the darkest. It was pretty good too, but I was starting to feel a bit tipsy. Thankfully, as appetizers were promised as part of the tour package, Jim purchased an italian sausage from the grill for us to split 6 ways. Mmmmm, was I full!
Then we took off to the last spot, Tuck's Brewery. We grabbed another cab to the west side & landed in the coolest spot we'd seen all day. Max, the brewmaster, had created a super-giant homebrew set-up (Paul's homebrew gear on steroids). Max only taps his 7-10 brews on Saturdays, and mans the bar himself. We learned a lot from him and he also gave us a spare tapper for free! Tuck's offered some amazing (some would say over-the-top) beers. One tasted like liquid smoke, and another tasted like creamy vanilla-raspberries, which this chick liked a lot (of course). I wish we had started the tour there, because I literally couldn't drink any more beer (ahem, maybe a couple more appetizers would have helped). Anyway, after that stop, our A.R. tour guide hailed another cab back to the starting line. What did we do then? Paul & I took off toward the Pearl district for some food. I wanted to try the most likely of places, Henry's Tavern, known for serving over 100 different beers on tap. Needless to say, I went there for the onion rings.


Our new comfy sofa in the basement is now complimented by our new(er) quilt, comfy pillows, & matching window dressings! Not too fancy, but they'll do the trick. The quilt was made from 7-8 pieces of flannel leftover from my lounge pants stitch.
Take note: if you look closely, you can see our next H.I. project lurking behind the curtains. Now for the other 5 rooms...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Little House

We're relieved to report that we've heard from a few more folks from MS/LA since this time last week. There are plenty of friends that we haven't made contact with, but also haven't seen on the Katrina Survivor Connection list. We suppose that either means that they're okay & we're just out of the loop, or they're missing & people who know this don't have access to the internet. We're trying to be patient...

Our last post displayed Aereal photos from NOAA of Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, and Ocean Springs (in that order). Seeing an overhead view of the BSL house, most-likely intact, has triggered my mind-a-churning over what did happen to the Little House (or Lil' house, if you're below the M-D Line). Is the shed still there? I'd loved to have seen it years ago when there was a little outdoor sink attached to it. We know those old Live Oaks next door & across the street must have fallen. Are all the old drippy windows intact? I can't believe that old tin roof stayed put, not to mention the whole house! When we were boarding up for Ivan last year, our landlord told us he bought the house for $25,000 in 1995-ish. Boy how times have changed! Whew, in our 3 years there, we must have brewed 50 gallons of beer, swept up more than 10# of floating cat fur, watched our Dr. Seuss plant grow 2 feet, and turned out a whole crop of yummy mushrooms between the bathroom walls. It was a good pick, & the rent was right!


Friday, September 02, 2005


Well, we've joined everyone & their brother in deciding that we're tired of squinting at NOAA's aerial photos. We grabbed a few of their maps & marked a few things noted in e-mails from friends. If you ever visited us at Arbor Station in Long Beach or downtown BSL, you might recognize a few things. The image with the "Shadowlawn" label is in Ocean Springs where we got married.
Take a look at our new link on the sidebar, containing full-sized/zoomed out images of these + a few more. You can also look on the NOAA web site to explore the entire Gulf Coast here

We'll leave the rumors up to (other) Blogs & mass media. Let us know if you want any other landmarks noted.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Crater Lake

Hey everybody. As you can see from the title of this one, we spent about 3 days at Crater Lake in the backcountry. We started out on the rim of the lake and after a couple of miles of hiking, we headed west into the backcountry. We intended to do about 25 miles over the three days but due to a lack of water we had to chop it down to about 14. We hiked in about 10 miles or so and set up a base camp on Friday. Then on Saturday we took a couple of day hikes totaling maybe 4 or 5 miles. Then on Sunday we hiked back up to the rim of the lake to make our exit. It was a very beautiful area as you can see. The water was an amazing color of blue and the Cascade range all around was beautiful. Be sure to check out the photo link on the right for more pictures of this great weekend!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sunday & August

While recovering from another adventurous weekend, this time @ Crater Lake, we found out that our old stompin' ground was about to receive a huge hurricane. It was kind of annoying to continually hear the news drone on about New Orleans - big drama opportunity - when all the models predicted Katrina arriving in our former front yard. We hear that right now there is no communication or thoroughfare to between Bay St. Louis & Biloxi, but we are very curious to see the storm's impact and to hear from our friends. Tomorrow...

The rest of the month-to-date has been pretty busy & exciting too. Paul brewed 2 batches of beer, plus he celebrated the beginning of his 3rd decade on the 19th. Before that, Anne's Mom came & visited for a week! We ate pretty well, toured an open house at Ladds Crossing, hung out, visited a few local parks, drove to the Pacific coast, and did some gardening & extravagant garden planning. This afteroon we recieved a good surprise in the mail too - photos from the week's activities!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Health Nut

No one knows the hardships of the overweight cat. The Great Gatsby tries to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and get plenty of rest, but nothing seems to work! We think its his thyroid or maybe his metabolism is low.
Plus, as every cat knows, when they hit the big 4, it's like you can't eat anything without it heading straight for your draggy waddle belly. It makes exercising uncomfortable, as the draggy waddle belly tends to skim along the dewy, sharp grass blades whenever running is encited.

Sigh... What makes it even harder is that his brother (he's adopted, but don't tell him) is such an athlete (he must run everywhere) and seems eat as much as he wants. It's just not fair!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Well, my hops finally "grew up" this past weekend. As you can see from the pictures, the cones are fully developed and much bigger than the bracts that used to be in their place. I knew that they were ready when the edges of the cones became slightly browned. Also, when I crushed the cone between my fingers, the yellow lupulin glands were really obvious, both in color and smell. There is nothing
like the smell of fresh hops! I only got about 100 cones this year which is probably only enough for 1 batch of beer. Next year should produce a much larger harvest as the root structure will be better developed. Next stop...The brew kettle.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Paul & Anne walking to the Haystacks at the Oceanside beach, but we never got there. Our fingers got numb! Posted by Picasa

Down the beach @ Oceanside; fog is clearing. Posted by Picasa

Trees, trees! - At the Meares S.P. lighthouse point. See the fog? Posted by Picasa

Da Beach

We visited Oceanside beach & Meares St. Park with Anne's Mom on Sunday. It was chilly & foggy!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Race Day

This morning I did my first competitive event in Oregon: the All Womens Duathlon: 5K Run/12.5 mile Bike/5K Run.
I was happy to have my support crew (Paul) along for the race & the post-race party. He took some pics, cheered me on, & shared my pizza.

The experience was very different than any other race I've attended in Mississippi/Louisiana. First, the weather was awesome - I checked when we got home at noon, and the temp was still below 80, & humidity was @ 30%! Last night I froze a water bottle to use on the bike - the idea is that between the time you take the bottle out of the freezer at 6 am & the time you drink out of it at 9 am, it thaws. Not here though! It was still nearly completely frozen at 8 am. Good thing I brought a back-up!
Another thing was different was the way everybody interacted. I'm used to just doing my thing, maybe saying hello to a few people, and not really having too much conversation with other racers before, during, & after the race. Today I must have talked to over 10-15 other women before, during, and after the race. It was fun, and I'm still wondering what factor changed the way my race went. Hmmm....

Oh yeah, I think I got 5th or 6th place overall, and 3rd in my age group. The girl in blue in the "Finish Line" photo was in my age group - it was close! The results should be up (SOMEday) here.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Can you believe the OR Brewers Fest offers (for $25) one official tasting mug, 12 tokens (or 3 beers), an official program, and a pen? As if some beer geek is going to get so wasted on 3 festival beers that he/she needs a pen to check off their booth attendance!! There were some big time geeks there; we almost count.
Our favorite beers: Watermelon Wheat, from the 21st Amemendment Brewery in SF. Paul says it tasted like a Jolly Rancher + wheat beer! Also, the Flying Fish Dubbel Trubbel from some brewery in NJ was awesome. Taastty!

Next year we might volunteer. Free Tokens!

- Anne

Hoppy Days are Here

I guess it's time for an update on my hop vines. Over the past 2 months, they have grown to be about 12 feet in height. In the last two weeks they have started to show growths called burrs. These will eventually become the hop cones that I will use in the beer. Some of the burrs have started to show bracteoles on them (petals). According to my Homebrewers Garden book, it should only be a short time until the cones are fully developed and ready to harvest.
I have two types growing, Cascade (on the left) and Willamette (on the right). The cascade seem to be yielding much more than the Willamette. I'd guess I have about 100 burrs in total (probably only enough for 2 batches).
The first year always has a pretty low yield, but next year I will have enough that I will need to store them in the freezer. I'll do another update at harvesting time.

- Paul