Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Accomplished

Originally uploaded by apkoski.
Well, we did it.
Packages unwrapped, bird cooked, fireplace utilized, traditional holiday movies viewed, stocking chocolates tasted before breakfast, kitties hiding in boxes and piles of paper eating plastic & ribbon, stack of Christmas cards for former residents of 2 years ago stacked neatly by the front door, and a bunch of new loot to try on, read, play, drink/eat, admire, test out, and generally put to good use. Check!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Good Day Sunshine

Backyard series #4
Originally uploaded by apkoski.

Doo-doo-dooo, dooo, do-doooo.
Doo-doo-doo, doo, dooooooo-dooooo.
La-da-dooooo, doooo, dooo, da-da.
Happy birth-day to me!

Thank you everyone for remembering my less-than-graceful entrance into my mid-thirties (31) during such a busy, stressful, and wonderful time of year. This morning I am longingly admiring my nice collection of gifts (wrapped in non-Christmas paper, to boot!), but have been fairly warned of the consequences of getting busted napping amongst a pile of torn paper and ribbon bits, wearing a chocolate schmear chin. Can't wait 'till this evening!

Thank you Paul, for making me feel so very special on my birthday, a day that you have successfully excavated out from within the Christmas vortex.
Love you,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

8 Things

1. Take that, USPS! I endured the line out the door to mail all 21 pounds of packaged gifts under the stupid Parcel Post deadline (12/13), uninsured b/c I'm cheap. Has anyone really won?

2. What does your t-shirt say?

3. More consumerism. That Blog I posted about Super Girl -- yes, she's still super -- I faltered on my own "thoughtful gift" rule. If you say that something would sure be a nice gift for someone, let's face it, that someone is yourself! I'll shamefully admit in hindsight that I would love to receive any item found here at Mighty Goods. Pitiful.

4. Upon self-assessment, it turns out I've got a little Vata imbalance. Luckily, my holiday eating behavior has been accommodating the Ayruveda recommendations, which include the avoidance of Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, red meat, and saffron; and the inclusion of all dairy, oils and fats, oats, the 'holiday spices' (cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, etc), natural sweeteners, oranges, and squash, to name a few.

5. Check out "important stuff." Creative & inspiring.

6. Paul is Super too! An hour ago he finished brewing a yummy looking porter in the cold with a cold. "It better be good," he said. That was after he made 2 loaves of Puula (another 5-hr. affair).

7. The Dr. Seuss tree lives on! This year I finally made a tree skirt this year that would accommodate a tree with a 24 x 18" 'stand.' On it hangs all the little homemade crafty ornaments that we, our nieces, nephews, and grandparents have made. No lights yet, but there's still time. The 'trees' you see are (1) this year's, (2) 2002 with Gatsby, & (3) 2004 @ night.

8. Um... time to make my new favorite treat!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Look What you Made me Do!

Well now I've done it. I opened up the Ghirardelli chocolate chips bag without a baking plan. It had something to do with that apron & recipe challenge I did last month. Yesterday, the lot was published, and boy were there some yummy holiday treats in there. I especially liked the leftover Thanksgiving pie and the spice cookie recipes. I entered my Grandpa Patterson's Million Dollar Fudge. Mmmmm-mm! I wonder if it should be renamed "Billion Dollar Fudge," with inflation and all.
Oh, by the way, I made that apron out of a flour sack towel, and that's only half of it (the towel). So, I have a whole other apron, ready to be worn. And I can't get my hubby to wear it. Anyone... anyone?

$1,000,000 Fudge

  • 4-1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1/8 Pound Butter
  • 1-3/4 C. Miniature Marshmallows
  • 1 lb. Chocolate Stars
  • 12 oz. Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C. Chopped Nuts
  • 1 T. Vanilla
Combine sugar, milk, & butter in a big heavy pan. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from fire & add remaining ingredients and stir only until all are melted. Pour into a buttered 9X13 pan and allow to cool at room temp. (about 2 hours) before cutting. Store cut pieces in refrigerator.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Super Girl alert

I heard an interesting article on NPR this morning about unique web shopping experiences that I had to share (plus I'm supposed to be studying, so...)! The woman, Margaret Mason, has a Blog called Mighty Goods, and she's found the neatest stuff! Mostly it's small-biz. artist and crafter goods, but lot of other fun items as well. She suggests and links to some of my haunts:
On top of that, Margaret has a book about Blogging that looks pretty interesting, and a personal Blog. I hope this lady feels special, getting dedicated a whole post and everything. My mind was in the right place @ the right time, I think. That reminds me, I need to re-up with NPR.
Okay, it's Final's week. Gotta go.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Flip the Calendars

Hooray, it's December 1st! We can now officially start celebrating the holidays. Paul begrudges pre-Thanksgiving holiday ads and sales, and gets really frustrated at the pre-Halloween ads (though I think they got the point this year - didn't see any). I'm up there with him, although I still get started the weekend after Thanksgiving, for practical purposes. It's now December, and the holiday decor is sparse. Though I'm happy with what's up so far. A tree would be nice, but we're not holding our breath. I've been wondering (since Halloween) where a tree would go in this place. All the little niches & corners seem too little or too close to the fireplace. Anyway, I'm rambling -- because I'm excited!
This year has been a busy one and an idle one at once. Busy-ness seemed to come in chunks, followed by enough 'routine' to cause stir-craziness and the confidence to do 5 things at once. I'm so lucky to have my own studio (that sounds professional, huh? Really it's just a guest bedroom with turquoise carpet), where those 5 partially-completed projects can sit and wrinkle under the next half-completed project. I'm not sure if that phenomenon is a product of my personality (nervous-busy-toe-tappin'-smiley-yet calm), or the craft. Ask any sewer or crafter how many unfinished projects they have, and I'll bet you find some goodies. Proof of that is the hand-me-downs I recently got from my Grandma V, of a project she was working on in the early '80s (I recognize the fabric from a bonnet/dress I had). She had cut little flower, circle, and squares out of a bunch of different patterns (maybe my cousins would recognize them), so I don't know what it all would have become.
This year was also filled with busy times with house guests. We're so lucky to have so many travel-agreeable friends and family and a place to stick 'em at night! We loved making the dinner menus for those weeks, but had a harder time picking restaurants and activities -- too many! We were relieved when people arrived with a little 'to do' list. Whew.

Let's see, here's our 2006 guest list...
January: My Dad, Step-mom, & Bro Luke visited. We went to the beach, out to eat, & had general fun.
April: Friends Dan & Dominic came up from Mississippi to explore. Those boys can hike!
April: Paul's Dad & Grandma visited from STL and Paradise (CA) on my wisdom tooth weekend. Thanks again for letting me have Bread Pudding for dinner!
June: My Mom & Step-dad visited for the hottest week of the summer. We escaped to the Mtn., the AC, and the coast when we couldn't stand it anymore.
June: Friends Chris & Kelly from MS visited while touring the Greater NW. They sure showed us the town & wine country, being fmr. residents of Portland.
July: Friends Bobbie and Jay from MS visited with ulterior motives: Oregon Brew Festival. We had a great time at the special tasting night and the fest days.
August: Paul's Mom & Sis Marci visited from San Diego for his birthday weekend. We had a really full house for one night when Paul's Uncle Tom, wife Tije, and dog (something mythological) stopped by. That was a fun weekend!

Did I forget anybody? Thank you all for visiting us! I guess it's our turn now. :)
BTW, I wanted to add a photo tag to all each visitor, but I don't have (many) pictures of everybody's visit, specifically Chris & Kelly, and Paul's birthday weekend (Marci?).


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Got Wind?

Well, we were able to get outside a bit yesterday during one of the non-rainy days we have seen in a while. It was chilly, but VERY windy. We started out by heading up to hwy 14 on the WA side of the Columbia River. Beautiful drive, I must say. Our first stop was at Beacon Rock, the remains of one of the many mini-volcanoes that used to line the Gorge a long, long time ago. It stands about 840 feet high and looks like there would be no way to climb it. Fortunately for us, there is a switchback trail all the way up the side to the very tip top. Quite an amazing bit of trail work, I must say. It was chilly but the worst of it was the wind. It must have bee a steady 50-60 mph up at the top. It chilled us to the bones! After that, continued east to a little known area called Hamilton Springs. Right around this time of year, and as we found out probably another week, it's home to some amazing fall salmon spawning. We saw about 10 fish out there and a couple of dead early spawners. They were all pretty active but not quite ready to spawn yet. In a week or so, the area will be home to over 300 fish. We are planning on going back after Thanksgiving. Hopefully things are more productive. I'm putting in a picture of one of fish we saw but I'm not sure what it is. Possibly Chum? Maybe my fish guru sister can enlighten us all. After that we headed a bit more east to a little town called Stevenson. We walked around some of the shops while we waited for the local brewery, Walking Man Brewery, to open up. While in a flower and garden shop, the owner asked about the hat Anne had on. When Anne told her she made it, she said she could easily sell them in her shop. She gave Anne her card and told her to think about it. Could this be the start of a new business for Anne? Yoga bags and winter hats maybe? Only time will tell. We finally made it to the Brewery and had a small pizza and a couple of pints of brew. I had a great hoppy IPA called homo erectus and Anne had a black cherry stout. That one was good enough for us to buy a growler and bring it home. All in all, a nice day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Made it!

Okay folks, we're a little hesitant right now, but I suspect the jitters will pass as the new year rolls around. Anyway, the big news. Ahem.
Team Bubba's $1080 check was cashed this past week for a spot in the 2007 Hood-to-Coast relay! We can't wait to reunite with our MS/LA comrades, and enjoy another fun-filled day-1/2 of running and stinking. :)

...the part you can't train for.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Waiting in the wings

I know, I KNOW it's pathetic, right? Dreaming about Christmas before Thanksgiving even gets here. Remember in fifth grade how everybody who had straight hair wanted a perm, and everybody with curls wished they had straight hair like their girlfriends? Well that's me (the former, specifically). I want to indulge in The Christmas Box (lights, decorations, etc.), Christmas candy (you know it's already out there), Christmas crafts, Christmas baking, and Christmas everything else.
Why? Because I have homework. Sob...
[thesis proposal 'write up' x5 versions - 25 Wellness Fair guests to figure out and invite - 12-page paper due] sniffle...

My favorite Christmas thing to do is work on Paul's stocking. It's fun because I can grab fun stuff here and there and not worry about spending a fortune (though it does add up). A good collection of tiny goodies, one that has to be bundled or thrown in an empty box in order to lug out of the living room, is imperative! It's also nice if at least one of the items provides some child-like fun (see exhibit B).

Exhibit A. selections from Paul's stocking from years past.
[brewing gadgets, a tape measure, old fashioned toy, boxer shorts, work desk gadgets, a gift card, a favorite snack, funny magnets, silly putty, and of course, a chocolate orange in the toe]

Exhibit B. fun toy -- there's a
Battle Bot in each Bro's hand (that came out of a TODDLER's stocking, I believe). The battle occurs in the empty box top.
I used to start collecting stocking stuffers throughout the year, but so far this year I've got one (1) item. Oh well, that's good incentive for me to Get Back TO WOrK (so I can go shopping already)!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fall has Fallen

My, time sure flies when you're working hard! We're doing stuff; Paul was granted permission to help regulate the Willamette 2 weeks ago, about the time it started raining. I have been cranking out papers for school and trying to organize a campus wellness fair, as well as keep my creative mind moving with sewing etc. -- anything to avoid tackling my thesis full-on. Next weekend we're taking a day trip to watch the wild Chum Salmon spawn, and then climb some huge rock.
I've been seeing some beautiful fall images ("beautifall") online lately, and have been meaning to catch a few of my own. So far, the Japanese Maple et al. leaves in my Blue Fescue, and the one above from a few yards down are all I've got. The recent wind and rains have pushed most of the leaves to the ground. I guess we missed the season down South, because we can't stop marveling...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Yummy or Gross?

Breakfast: Nancy's Lowfat Yogurt with warm pumpkin puree & homemade pumpkin walnut granola.
Drat the clouds & flash (Mom, tripod?).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ladies, may I see your IDs?

Really? Sure!
That was the exchange a couple weeks ago between the waiter and our group. I didn't think it would ever come to that point, when we'd cross our fingers under the table every time we ordered a cocktail.
The next thing I didn't expect was to look at pictures of myself in college (not that long ago), and think that I looked younger -- and chubbier, Paul lovingly mentioned. It's funny because throughout my '20s, I looked at old pictures and thought, "nope, I still look the same." Not sure when that changed... my 30th b-day?

This picture of Paul was taken on our flight home from his Mom's house in San Francisco in 1997. He'd just gotten his pony tail (yes folks) chopped off, and I love his hair this length. You can still see the curls! I still have that scary hair ball somewhere. His hair's so short now that he's been asked "when he got back from deployment."

This one was taken outside my Grandma V's house in Mt. Pleasant, IA, nearly exactly 10 years ago. Those are 2 of my 3 brothers of various prefixes (step, half, whole, etc.).
Paul let me borrow his VW Fox to drive up & visit one fall weekend (isn't that sweet). I think that's the longest my hair ever got. Isn't it funny how I relate everything to when our hair was a certain length?! Ahh, memories.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Novembers

Ahhh, Fall is really here now. The plants come indoors, the space heater comes out, the trees are getting bare; it's soup weather. To boot, I enjoyed watching the cutest little flora, fauna, and 'cowgirl' yesterday for Halloween. In the afternoon our neighbor came by to share some delicious pumpkin bread. Paul & I ate dinner at the dining room table, bean with bacon soup, while listening to Sirius' Spooktacular radio, waiting for trick-o-treaters. There's leftover soup and treats. Yum.

But egad! Today being today means that the stores are now free to begin X-masing. I must hurry up and buy/make, wrap with matching ribbon, find the right sized packaging, and mail presents before December 13 (unless I want to end up paying obscene rates)! Forget about Thanksgiving; there's no time. And don't even get me started about how much schoolwork I have to do -- before December 8th. It's just, it's just, there's sooo much to do, and Christmas is practically here!

Oh, that's a pretty display. Sigh. Okay. Whatever happens between now and 2007 happens, and whatever doesn't get done is just fine. Life is nice that way. (sideways smiley face)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Upshot: Floors Get Mopped

Jeez, this is getting old! Tuesday I came home from classes, only to find another poor little birdy on the dining room floor. I'm wondering now if there are Indiana Jones-esque sacrificial ceremonies going on. Blood, feathers, and/or bird doody *yes, poop* was splattered all over the cat door, their little indoor steps, the outdoor steps, the outside of the house, and of course at the body dumping site. And then...

Then I discovered the culprit, this cute little guy, with a bloody collar and a feather stuck to his name medallion. He's 8, and has only caught something *someone* bigger than a grasshopper once before. What is this, a midlife crisis?!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Watch the Birdy

If my week were to have a theme, it would definitely be birds. Three times in the last six days, I've encountered the creatures in one way or another.

First, on Monday I came home from class to a bloody, feathered mess in the kitchen. "Look what the cat d..." nevermind. I was amazed that some cat actually caught a bird! Usually they miss by about 5 yards.
I think the poor thing was already mostly dead when they brought him in, but that doesn't stop our boys. Once, in the middle of the night I found Gatsby playing with a nearly dead mouse. He'd set it up by placing the mouse behind the closet door, going back around to the other side, and then reaching around and batting at it. Gross. Anyway, back to the bird. I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, which required a lot of suds and feather catching skillz, and went on with my week.

On Tuesday, our Boot Camp class shared Sellwood Park with a bunch of screaming crows. It was annoying and impressive all at once! On Wednesday I was reminded that that's called a murder of crows. Gross again.

Then on Friday Christina invited me over to teach me how to freezer paper stencil. I found a cute bird template at a craft web page and printed them out and took them along. This bird experience was not gross. In fact, I think I'm going to get me some more supplies and keep stenciling. Thanks for sharing, woman - you should start charging!


Monday, October 16, 2006


1. I don't usually indulge in Blogging about my most favorite newly-purchased fabrics, but I guess I'm feeling exceptionally proud today. Look, look! Aren't they pretty?
Part of this collection was actually a package of coordinating fat quarters plus a few originals I added in. Don't know what will be created out of them, but it is possible that you'll be seeing them in person someday.

I can proudly say that I picked the components of little blue and green bundle myself. Someday these patterns will be in my kitchen in some form. It's edging on Country Kitch., but I'll try to pull it back to '50s Kitch, or whatever they collectively shout.

2. What should I wear with my new shoes? They're so cool and, like my friend said, not brown or black. So what does one wear with Bansai green shoes?

Apples, schmapples. The apple tasting at Portland Nursery was happening (and happenin') last weekened. There was a varietous selection outside of your typical Fuji, Delicious (an Iowa native), and Granny Smith. My favorite was the King David. It's spicy!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

It's too funny -- or is it annoying, I don't know! Now I'm no fitness Nazi girl or anything, but I can't let this go unnoticed, plus it would sure be fun to start a portfolio!
The portrait you see could be the first piece in my collection, which was provided by a company (who shall remain nameless) that specializes in selling exercise and "fitness" clothing.

I'll get right to it. That is like, one of the totally worst cobras I've ever seen (and I used to teach yoga!). I won't start listing...
We all get the poses a little wrong the first few times, but that's when instructors and a little practice comes in handy, right?
Unfortunately, this girl was no yogini, and the camera folks weren't either!
I think that large companies like this one, who play a role in motivating/shaping/providing clothing for people to be active have a responsibility. They should take the time to ensure that they are providing accurately-portrayed information, including images used in e-mails, web pages, and catalogs. I'll keep these little gems comin' as long as I keep seeing these examples.

Ahhhh, better now.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Our Anniversary (in PG)

Paul & I had a wonderful day together yesterday. It was our sixth anniversary -- the forgotten one between the big fiver and the "seven-year itcher."
After workouts, groceries, and a stop for Peets, we spent the better part of the afternoon working in the yard, enjoying the non-precipitating weather. He spread gravel and whacked pavers for the patio. I planted squirrel-resistant Allium bulbs (in hardware fabric) and transplanted a couple things. It was so Norman Rockwell of us!
Then we cleaned up and spent the rest of the day focusing on each other. We exchanged cast-iron gifts (kitchen goods all around), enjoyed a romantic homemade dinner, went out for the most amazing dessert & champaign (not sparkling wine!), and then lounged away the last hour of the day.
It keeps getting better every year.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Oh yeah, the "after" post. Actually (again), it's more like in between. I've got more on the Flickr page too.
Sitting on the patio on Monday & Tuesday morning was very satisfying -- really great to be 'pretty much done' with this monster. I'd really love a little temporary crummy table out there on which to set my coffee/books/notebook. We're looking for 2 chairs, maybe adirondaks, and a little table to comfortably contain us. I'm still thinking about the possibility of dining outdoors, since we won't get swarmed by mosquitoes here.

A neighbor came over & critiqued our work -- said he didn't like the blunt ends on the arbor beams or the square ends on the rafter end design. I think he's a house painter... so whatever, thanks guy. I think it didn't turn out too bad for our first construction project!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

How was YOUR weekend?

"Ah," you say, "busy." In fact, where did the weekend go? We too were busy -- put in about 25 hours of hard work since Friday (what 'cha think about that? Huh? Huh?) I guess I'm just feeling pretty proud that we completed a task that we weren't sure we could do.
The patio pergola is done (aside from landscaping & a few more sand sweeps)! We couldn't have done it without the neighbor's tools... and advice... oh yeah, his pick-up truck... and he helped haul, sweep, etc...
I'm really looking forward to the landscaping part. Just have to prep the soil and transplant a few things (anybody need any sand?). I'll post an 'after' picture tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I-I-I-I-I'm not your:

Sing it!It's a stepping stone. After adding more concrete to the arbogola posts we had some leftovers; so I quickly dug out a spot in the garden, lined it with a grocery bag and an elephant ear leaf, and poured. This is what turned up!
Thanks for everyone's great garden tomato suggestions! I ended up making basil spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, chopped blanched tomatoes, and a tomato sandwich. Mmmmm... Now I have green tomatoes so I need to ask Mimi for her pickled green tomatoes recipe. Sound good?


Thursday, September 21, 2006

PSA for the Day

Oh, crap, I think we just joined the club. When do I get my magic wattle and swollen ankles? How long 'till all of Paul's hair is gray and he's lecturing me about reading in low light? Maybe the impressive caliber of the event and it's surroundings will counter-balance the former. Alright, let me back up.
Last night we went to a show at the Aladdin Theater with our friend Karl. We saw Mute Math w/Shiny Toy Guns & Jonesetta. For hardly recognizing any of the tunes, it was a great show! We were out 'till 11:00 -- on a Wednesday (hey, not bad!).
The questionable, age-altering, weak moment to which I'm referring above occurred before the show as we were walking to the theater. Karl pulled out a package of ear plugs and offered us each a pair. I accepted immediately, recalling how annoying my ringing ears were during the arbergola-building earlier this month. The 31-year old resisted a little and then agreed, shoving a pair in his pocket. Well, I have to tell you that those things saved my ears' lives. I took them out of my head a few times to hear the crowd and the sound level, each time confirming that they turn the volume up too high! Plus Paul & I agreed that the ear plugs helped hone in on the singer's voice and bass line (which wasn't always a good thing). And then later that night I didn't have to lie awake waiting for the "deafening" hum to subside. I guess the only thing I didn't like about the plugs was that if I felt the urge to 'woooo-ooooo!' or whatever, I wasn't comfortable b/c I could hear myself a little too well. Just applauding felt pretty dorky too - moreso than doing nothing at the end of each song? Not sure. Concert-going experts...?

What a couple of old bags, huh! Luckily I had my hair down so there was no risk of anybody seening the flesh-colored foam sticking out of my ear. Getting them in and out without gaining attention was a little more involved. Poor Paul couldn't hide them at all. No face to save.... maybe we'll thank ourselves (& Karl) later.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

^ A Run ^ A Salad ^ All Better ^

Really all it takes for me to feel 'back to normal' after a long bad cold, a super-busy week, or a vacation is a good run and a Sunday Salad. Sometimes it's just quick fix, but works nonetheless. Unfortunately the house wasn't as easy to mend. Our floors were messy with tromped in grit and dead grass blades from our trip prep. The car, cleaned inside & out the day before we departed to BC, was now a cacophony of potato chip crumbs, stray dried fruit & Canadian pennies, and sand/dirt from several beaches and campsites. The kitchen is still not quite truly clean, but at least we have food now. Usually we try to clean before we go on a trip. It's so nice to come home to a house that has that evening's dinner in the freezer, clean barefoot-walkable floors, and nice crisp sheets to climb into. I guess that was a good example of this trip's theme: disorganized and unprepared.

On Purpose
I realize that I excel to obsessive levels at planning, but get poor marks for finishing the job. So the object of this trip was to lay off the planning and get a little more "impulsive." Now, maybe I'm just a bit uptight about certain things, but our progressive discovery throughout the trip of all that we forgot was very alarming and discomforting to me. A little contextual info: we were camping and hoteling in the Canadian back country among "serious bears," frequently miles from 'civilization.' These were the big forgets.
  • Flashlights
  • Canadian Cash
  • Our bank cards
  • Trip itinerary/hotel names & locations
I guess that makes it an adventure, right? Of course everything turned out okay. Even the most redneck campsite host took US dollars, and our credit card was happily accepted everywhere else. :)

Dad Would be Proud
So I logged our trip so that we could see what we did. I'm already forgetting details! Can you read that below? If a photojournal is good enough for you, go to our Flickr page. They're in correct order from "day 1" at the ferry terminal to our last day in Victoria.
- A

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We're Back

Hi Blog Bookmark Checkers,
We're back from our 7-day adventure to Vancouver Island. Tell you about it tomorrow -- need sleep now...


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tomaterns and Pattoes

Oh boy, yesterday I inherited a nice little package from my sister. It's the Mother Load! Now stacked in my craft room are a bunch of sewing patterns that span 3 generations, once belonging to my grandma(s?), my mom, and ourselves, kid years. The oldest were for a dress and an apron dated 1951. The most recent are a bunch of girls ruffley flannel night gown patterns and a Jr. drop-waist dress pattern from 1984-ish. WOW, thanks Mimi! Which one should I try first?

Also on the horizon is figuring out what to do with all these tomatoes -- this is about half. Tomato soup? Canned maters? Salsa? Give them to the neighbors (who have been giving me their tomatoes -- I can't say no!)? Oh yeah, to complicate matters, I'm the only tomato eater in the house. And to confound, we're going on vacation tomorrow, Saturday morning -- anyway, they'll rot by the time we get back. What to make!??


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I've posted some lovely pictures of our arbor-building progress to the right @ Flickr. Paul & I spent almost the whole long weekend working on it. The thing is almost done! Just needs a patio, patio furniture, landscaping... nevermind. Anyway, we're really excited to have completed our first real construction project. We even used cement!

** Another Blogger Beef: When I upgraded to Blogger Beta, I also apparently forefeited the ability to (conveniently) Blog from my Flickr account or any third party, for that matter. Beta all the way!!! Wait, there's more: I can't post photos here and I can't comment on friends' pages that haven't been updated to Beta (don't do it!!). Ugh! In Blogger's defense, they're working on the problems.


Friday, September 01, 2006

H2C, 4TR

So last weekend Paul & I completed the final Oregon citizen hazing ritual, the Hood to Coast relay. (Don't worry mom, I'm always an Iowan first.) Despite our unexpected adventures, we still finished, albeit not yet officially (a race official misplaced our timer form).
Allow me to break it down.

-- 12 people per team, divided into 2 stinky, crowded vans.
-- 197 mile of road are divided into 36, 3-7.4 mile long segments.
-- Each team member runs one of 12 legs, repeated 3 times total, relay style.
-- Teams start on top of Mt. Hood anytime between 7am and 7pm, and take between 16 and 35 hours to reach the beach in Seaside, OR. Our team was somewhere in the middle: 27 hours, I think.
Okay, first of all, if you've never done or seen the event, It's Crazy, in Paul's words. Imagine about 15,000 people in 2000 vans constantly picking up and dropping off runners, traversing across northwest Oregon -- through Portland too, mind you! Some of these teams have been doing the race for many years, and have vans designated for just that purpose (sort of like the Mardi Gras floats of the South). They strap on blow-up dolls and stero speakers blasting Elvis (for example), spray paint slogans and "road kill" tallies, and decorate with trinkets and party supplies. WE ended up in U-Haul cargo vans, to our shagrin and relief. Four days before the race our other van 'contract' left us high and dry. Despite our nifty, prominently placed "Dam Runners" (get it?) magnetic signs, we continually fielded the question,"Is it really only $19.95 per day?" We'd decided that U-Haul should have paid us to advertise for them!
Personally, Paul and I were satisfied with our performances. We love each other's B.O. so much that we chose to ride in the same van for the duration. To boot, I always handed off the sweaty bracelet (baton) to him. We both did about 15 miles each, over some pretty tough terrain (but I have to brag -- since I'm writing this -- my segments were the tougest rated and had most miles! Why am I excited about that?...). Still, Paul kicked some buttocks, ending up with the second-fastest times on the team (not to me...why does everyone think I'm faster than him?)! Sore, under-fed with tummyaches, tired, and likely smelly (however not stinkier than that one guy!), we had a good time.
Looking back, I'd say the secret to successfully completing all 3 legs is to get a little sleep, eat smart, and find things to distract yourself from that inevitable looming sense of dread. In our case, that distraction came in the form of a 'pop.'

"I heard it pop."
Then it started to roll, picking up speed, heading for a (possibly hard of hearing) Supermaster runner, the highway, and more runners. All we could see inside the van was our first legger Dave bouncing around in the back! As we continued to holler at the Supermaster to get out of the way, our amazing driver Matt jumped onto the step, reached in the window and swung the steering wheel to the right. This sent the van into a shallow, weedy ditch that happened to be a dumping ground for leftover asphault. Was it a crash? The van made a crashing noise as it trampled the blackberry bushes and weeds. That counts, right? There the van sat, and would for several (6?) hours, waiting for a tow truck that wouldn't come. Two of our teammates and driver kept it company too.
Meanwhile, Kimberly, myself, and Paul hitchhiked ahead to the starting points of our segment of the relay. All of our 'rides' were so accommodating, offering water and Gatorade, cheering us on during our runs, and referring us to another potential ride. So nice! In all, I hitched 4 times, which means Paul must have taken five. That was a fun adventure. :)
Then we had a beer and went home. I'd do it again. The end.

More shared photos, if you're interested.
Also our Flickr!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


This weekend Paul turned 31 (woooooh, or !%^#$@%!, take your pick babe)! Actually, he was wonderfully accepting of his new age (mid-thirties); and of course, accepting of all the great (ahem) gifts and checks that arrived in doggie theme cards.
On Sunday morning, Paul's mom and sister flew back to San Diego. To boot, Paul's aunt and uncle also stopped overnight on Friday from camper camping north of here. It's been nice being a little closer to the western faction of Paul's family.
Well, this summer may go down as the "Summer of Visitors." If I count Paul's Dad & G'ma at Spring Break, we've had 7 different pairs of out-of-town visitors!
It was fun to show everybody around last weekend, casually, to some good spots. Many of the outings and at-home activities involved food, and on multiple occasions we ended up stuffed enough to put on our PJ's (Cha-cha-cha, Burgerville, Kennedy School, homemade birthday cake & ice cream, rhubarb pie, and pizza). We ate good!
So now its back to 'normal' again. I've already cluttered up the guest bedroom again, and we're having a little side salad with/for some meals this week. Guess we'll have something more to talk about after our H2C weekend.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Blogger Beefs

In case you haven't noticed, I updated our Blog this week. This new Blog page, supported/organized by Blogger Beta is for once causing me to heed their usual "beta" tag. With promises of more features, new templates (which actually looked familiar), and better stuff, I dove in and updated my page Wednesday.
I should have known something was up when they posted bold notices that once I updated I couldn't go back to my old page. Still, I'm surprised that the Flickr link doesn't work and that I can't edit the HTML (in which I'm mostly improficient, so 'oh well'). On top of that, I haven't really explored the other new amazing features such as allowing other authors to post on my page or setting up a private friends/family Blog. Anyway, I'm not bitter - just impatient for the page to look right & my links to work. Here's the Blogger Beta
tour if you're curious.
I attached some pretty flowers -- Bee Balm -- in an attempt to make this post less boring.
- A

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ahhh, Progress!

Saturday we did the Home Depot dance: got our heinies there after lunchtime, wandered around looking baffled for a while, bought some string, and then left. We were looking for specific sizes of wood with which to build our magnificent pergola. Not defeated, we went home and looked up a local lumber yard, went there, and had a wonderful experience. We found everything we needed plus the guy helped us figure out how to build a more economical structure and agreed to do two separate deliveries on our schedule. I'm working on a sketch of the future appearance of that little corner of the yard -- maybe I'll post it later. Okay, onward! So Saturday night we went to The Bite of Oregon with a friend Karl. We all got BBQ meat from the 'Central Oregon' area, @ Jackie's Ribs. Who knew Central Oregon was known for their barbecue? After that, Alpenrose ice cream (little known fact: they have a velodrome on their farm!). Then we joined the crowed around the Iron Chef Oregon tent to watch the final Iron Chef contest. The theme ingredient was.... Lamb Chops! Paul said, "That's too easy!" The commentator reported that the semi-final secret food was rhubarb. Not so easy... The guys had to make just one entre and a side in a 1/2-hour. They were chefs from the local restaurants Oba! and Carslyle. After that ended, all of us felt pretty bagged. Paul & I had done three substantial runs over Friday and Saturday. Bedtime!

On Sunday we did more stuff - can you believe it?! I felt so useful & productive. After breakfast we went outside and started whacking our deck apart - half of it anyway. The neighbors gave us some history on it - told us that the former owners had contracted someone to build it, so that meant it was built in the last 8 years. Sorry guys. The neighbors also told us that there was a basement window covered up by the deck siding. A secret window. The deck builders did good - it was tough to get apart! I'm still sore. After about 4 hours we had removed all the screws, piled the planks and the framing behind the shed, leveled the dirt, and put a new border up around the new edge. It's ready for the next step: posts. We hope the old oil tank buried in that area doesn't interfere with that part. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Oh yeah, there was still time that evening for some stitching, sipping, and gaming, viewable on Flickr.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

50 Things

Thats the number of items on my to-do list for the 3-1/2 days Paul has be gone. Clean stuff, sew, dig a new bed, install the entertainment center shelf, unscrew the deck floorboards, sew... you get the idea.
Here's one that I actually might finish today before my 3 pm deadline! It's a 'recycle' project - can't toss my precious scraps. My goal is to finish it without buying any more fabric to help it along. I think I'll probably just frame it or hang it on a dowell. It's only about 12"x12".
Any thoughts on how to creatively stitch this baby?

More on Hubby Travel
Anyway, back when Paul used to take 2-month trips on Navy research vessels, I'd have plenty of time to get most of my items checked off the list (less the cleaning which I always saved for last). At that time, we were unwed and then newlyweds so his trips were pretty difficult. I had a really pathetic, self-mourning routine set up for his departure day. I will demonstrate. First, I'd take him to the airport - boo-hoo (1). Then I'd go home and spin my wheels trying to decide what to do first, messing up the whole apartment right off the bat with half-started
projects (2). Usually at some point I'd go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of stuff that either Paul doesn't like or we just never ate - like ice cream and zucchini (not in the same dish!) (3). After that I'd go find a really sappy chick flick (again, something we don't usually get), a bottle of wine, and a few sushi rolls from Sho Ya in Gulfport (the only place in town @ the time?) (4). That evening I'd indulge in my wine, sushi, & movie, usually ending the night with a nice sob-fest that put me right to sleep (5). That was my routine. Pathetic as it was, I looked forward to it, and I'd still do it now!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rusty, dirty, chipped, salvaged. Junk?

It's art if you make it so!* The flower was priced at $180.

On Tuesday I went to a
Garden Art Show at McMenamins (missing an apostophe?) Edgefield. It was a really cool place, and it was packed with garden art. Vendors who made their art from greater than 70% recycled materials were invited.
The place was crawling with women - in straw hats and Mom Jeans - and their poor husbands who were used as "reserved" signs that said, "My wife has dibs on this," while their wives waited in line to pay. Sadly, it looked a little cut throat at times.
Nonetheless I think I would go again.

*The word 'art' expressed in this Blog is that used by the Garden Art Show producers and is not necessarily the same word used by the individual blogger herself.