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 night...er, 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!