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.