Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Movie of the week - Golden Compass

I haven't read the books, but I did come across them at Powell's several years ago and bought them for Fran. The description sounded right up her alley. As she digested the pages, she'd try to describe the characters and story details to me. I knew the story must be good--that's when I talk about a book to anyone who will listen. So I assume it's the same for others.
As soon as we heard the DVD went on sale, we checked Netflix and added the movie to our queue.
I don't think I've been as entertained and "held" in a fantasy film since Dune. While I loved Dune, I had moments when I began comparing it to the book. I noticed Fran experienced that during Golden Compass, but since I didn't read the books I stayed tuned to the screen.
Nicole Kidman played her part well and the young actress, Dakota Blue Richards, was amazing. The cinematography was beautiful, but my favorite part was Iorek Byrnison, the armored bear who was loyal to Lyra.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"We have no provision for your situation"

That's how the phone call with Price Pfister ended this morning.
To have them pay for the cartridge we replaced in our 11 month, 27 day old faucet, we would have had to phone them today and wait for the cartridge to be mailed.
How silly is that? They can't send us a check for $10.74 with proof of purchase? {sigh}

Sunday, June 28, 2009

At what price pfister?

A little under a year ago, N and I sprung for a new faucet for the kitchen sink. One of those purchases that make the rest of the kitchen jealous and make us want to finally rip out the tile and wall to improve the most used room of the house. It didn't work, as far as the tile and wall ripping out part, but it did spark a plan in N's mind.
Unfortunately, this plan entails cutting down our big Maple tree in the middle of the back yard--it's a little over 12 feet in circumference. When all was done, we'd have (what Jonathon would call) a 4-5 butt kitchen, 2 full baths, a pantry and ??. It's been awhile since N and I have talked about the plan, so I'm fuzzy on all the details. If I remember right, it would bring our 1200 sq ft up to 1400- 1500. The drawback is that it would cost less (over all) for us to buy a house that fits that description rather than improve ours. Seems crazy to me. I would move, if we found the right house, but I really love this location.
Oh! Back to that faucet! Last night, during Fran's marshmallow and chocolate pie baking, the less than a year old faucet stopped working. Not a good time to go (if there ever is a good time) when the kitchen is jam packed with dirty dishes. N found the right tools to remove the cartridge, went to Geo Morlan this morning to buy the replacement and discovered even though it's still young, they don't handle the warranty end. So tomorrow morning I'll be giving PP a call. I hope they stand behind their product and don't try to find a way to wiggle out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Park for the Dogs

This morning N and I ended up enjoying a long conversation with a neighbor we pass on the way to the nature trail. She has a Shelty only 5 months older than Izzy, which is how we began talking about dog parks and found out Keizer has one. She told us to turn towards the river at Chemawa and keep going until we got to the park, "If you go all the way to the river, you've gone too far", she added.
Jonathon and I decided to go check it out this afternoon, since N had work to do. There weren't many dogs ( a cute cocker and an agile poodle), but it was good to find the place, let Izzy loose and see what we were missing. :>)
How I wish they would do this at Minto Brown!

Sister's Garage Sale Find

What could it be? Not that it stopped her from buying these cool legs/supports! But I'm not sure I could've passed them up either.
I'm picturing them on the wall of a captain's cabin on a wood ship. Not sure of the imagined purpose yet. Do ships have shelves or mantles?
N's thinking maybe the front legs off of an old piano.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good Morning!

What a lovely blue sky today!
Gives me an urge to go to Minto Brown and walk along the river.
Just finished my morning watering of pots and such in the yard. The day lilies have just begun and the bleeding hearts are still going strong. The blueberries are looking better than last year, but the strawberries are producing less. Of course, those berry loving squirrels do rise earlier than I do, so who knows for sure.
After taking Fran to her 11 AM appointment, my sights are set on cleaning the refrigerator and some of the flat surfaces in our computer area. We'll see how this right arm holds out. So far, it's been doing well, but the tan lines are pretty interesting!
And then the deck and my latest book will beckon. :>)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thinking about Caprese Salad

Jonathon and I took Izzy out for a walk on the neighborhood nature trail right before lunch. It was good to spot other folks along the way. Izzy enjoyed all the smells while Jon and I pondered over the paved road mystery (where does it begin and end? this can't be all of it.) and the occasional unexplained domesticated plant growing under the firs.
Now he's gone golfing and I'm thinking about starting a Caprese Salad to go with the steaks we bought yesterday.
I'd like to grab my book and some iced tea and head out to the deck, but I think I'd have to put a jacket on to stay comfortable. Come on, sun!
And speaking of salads, what's your summer favorite?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The cast is off!

And now the "range of motion" exercises begin!
I feel like I should say a few cautious words before tossing my plastic cast protector.

Being able to perform simple tasks with my right hand? Priceless!

An Old Family Favorite

Way back when, N's mom knew one of the people who co-owned the Sizzler franchise in the NW Oregon and SW Washington area. Coincidentally, it was during the same time period that I happened to be working at a Sizzler in Washington--my first job.
My manager, Henry, was the kind of people person who turned customers into regulars and made the young employees look forward to coming into work. We all loved Henry, even if his superiors didn't like his generous style. Last I heard (back in the late 70s), he had put his resources together with a friend, quit Siz and opened a little joint somewhere in Portland. I hope it all worked as he hoped it would.
During that same time period, that particular Sizzler franchise, put beef ribs on the menu. I can remember Henry hunched over and stirring the simmering pot, with a menacing laugh he said, "ever wonder what happened to those employees who never returned??" What a hoot he was!
It was much later when I discovered that N's mom was in on the development of the barbecue sauce those ribs were simmering in. It's been a favorite at our house for the past 30+ years.

Mom's BBQ Sauce

2 cups catsup
1/2 cup Heinz 57 sauce
1/4 cup A-1 Sauce
2 Tbsp Wright's Smoke Sauce
4 tsp Garlic Juice (Roth's has it)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Mix ingredients together and keep in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. It should keep for a month or more.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crown me

Who would have thought that 2 and a half hours in the dentist's chair could speed by so fast? Not I! Maybe it was the time of day (7 AM)? Or more likely, it was having the TV goggles propped on my face with a movie playing.
I don't know the name of the movie or even much about the plot, but watching the group of people carry on with their drama while keeping track of the actions going on behind the goggles made it all go by like a busy day at work or a Saturday morning while you're sleeping in.
And so now I have a temporary crown, molded to my molars and glued down snuggly.

Friend Shirley and I, met online yesterday and decided at the spur of the moment to meet for breakfast today while her grandkids are at VBS. Trying to think of somewhere "unchainlike" in the very south end of town was a tough one. Then she mentioned wanting to try French Press - that'll work! :>)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Learning new (to me) vocabulary

I enjoy listening to Splendid Table's Lynne Rosetto Kasper on the radio on Sunday evenings. I know - she's been parodied on Saturday Night Live, but I love to hear the ease with which she discusses food. How many people do you know who can receive a phone call about what to do with a certain ingredient and come up with something captivating to the listener? {true, it doesn't take much for me!} I don't even know if what she suggests would taste good, I just love listening to the passion in her voice when she talks about food.
So when I heard her talk about a new monthly competition on their program called, "Gastrosexual of the Month", my ears perked up. I loved the way this month's winner (from Ridgefield, WA!) described what makes him a gastrosexual. I wonder how his dating life will go after this attention? Unless his dates don't listen to NPR.

Escape Artist or Opportunist?

From Lisa's Logo
Probably just an opportunist. Someone left a gate open and Izzy wasn't interested in finding a way out, but Nixon was and did. Thanks to a neighbor down the road, he's back home. She caught him and was walking around the neighborhood looking for a clue to where he lived, when Lise walked out to begin the search. He can be unpredictable around other dogs, so I was worried he was going to be in trouble with one of the neighbors.
Breakfast is over and now N's out putting together a little table we bought for the deck. It'll help with keeping the umbrella Jon bought Fran stable and give us all a place to set our drinks or plates down.
Soon we'll be on our way down to Roseburg to help celebrate Father's Day, a college graduation, a retirement and a birthday with Jon's family! Whew!

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Sorry we're headed in the opposite direction today, but I know you'll all have a nice time with your kids and grandkids that are able to make it. Hope to see you both soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The jaw bone's connected to the head bone . . .

Fifteen years ago one of my sibs warned me about "the Jansen Jaw" and the pain it might cause me in the future. Looking around online, I believe my family is part of a much, much larger crowd.
My first thought, when I woke with the pain on Tuesday morning, was that maybe I've been clenching the muscles in my jaw and had knocked it out of alignment. I've had times when I had to do a self adjustment and eliminated the pain immediately. Not this time - this time I ended up irritating the heck out of my jaw joint. Hmmm, how would my Wednesday dentist appointment go?
I don't know if it had to do with dealing with the pain all day or what, but I fell asleep 2 hours earlier than usual on Tuesday night. I took some ibuprofen and went to the dentist. My hygienist suggested this was a result of too much chewing on ??
"Oh! I bet it was those beef ribs!"
"That would do it.", she replied and suggested I continue with the ibuprofen and moist heat (thank goodness for damp towels in the microwave).
The ribs weren't tough, but with my right arm in a cast, my eating style has changed. I'm sure the stress on the old jaw came from tackling too big of a bite.
And so now I'm babying it as much as possible, because at 7 AM on Monday I have a 2 hour dentist appointment. {sigh}
If nothing else, this will give me a chance to eat less . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

and we were jammin'

Thanks to the help from my sweet assistant, the strawberry freezer jam is done. We picked up berries from Nanneman's, pectin and jar lids at Bi Mart and sugar at Fred's. Ball had a different recipe on an envelope of pectin, so out of curiosity I bought one of those in addition to MCP. I used to be a die hard Surejell fan, but it's getting harder to find.
Out of concern that there might be berries left over, we stopped at Costco after a sudden vision of half a chocolate muffin covered in sliced strawberries and topped with whipped cream. I fell asleep after dinner, so I'll have to wait to give you a review on that one!
The Ball pectin called for 4 cups of crushed berries and 2 cups of sugar - the opposite of what Surejell and MCP say. Plus, no boiling of pectin and water before adding it to the berries. I'm anxious to give it a try, it might be a keeper with the lower sugar content.
Nanneman's said they'll have raspberries next week. I may have to rearrange and defrost the freezer. AND get this danged cast off.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Enjoying the backyard

June's mark is evident on the edges of the rose blooms, but even with their faults I never tire of admiring the blossoms.

Basil, why won't you grow for me?

During the past two years we surmised that basil didn't do well in our herb garden due to lack of sunlight. This year, we put our heads together and decided to try a potted mini herb garden in one of our sunnier spots. So far all the herbs are happy, except for two varieties of basil. Why? I don't understand.
And then to make me feel even more deficient, I find this on the web:
"Growing Basil
is a good starter herb for novice gardeners as it is easy to grow, as long as it’s kept warm, watered and sheltered."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Backyard Birds

Who knew little brown birds in the yard could be so territorial over their bug space?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

And speaking of summer . . .

I just spotted N putting up the tent trailer. :>) Heck, I'd even settle for camping in the driveway at this point. Do I sound like a frustrated camper?? I am.

He's putting the water pump back in, making sure the brand new (paid for by Fleetwood) roof survived what winter wrought and he's doing other beginning of the season maintenance.

Lise is waiting for me to join her in checking out an apartment. Their office isn't open on Saturdays, BUT is open on Sundays. That's a new one.
Back again!
Lise and I took the dogs for a walk to find something for a project she's making and ended up on the neighborhood trail I continue to forget about. This will be the year I enjoy it as much as possible!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sad for the end, happy for the Summer

The last week of school is never a typical week. It's full of little tasks that lead to the wrapping up of the year; putting the finishing touches on our ABC books and portfolios, cleaning out cubbies, practicing our program, performing our program, celebrating with a field day.
Our AM class wasn't sentimental at all, as far as L & I could see. They're more into each other and being active, rather than paying attention to adults. That behavior is more so at the end. The PM class on the other hand, has been verbalizing their thoughts on missing L and I and each other - lots of hugs and exchanging of phone numbers.
I just loaded video onto the web of the PM class. They were able to have a free time with scarves and percussion instruments due to the extra time NOT being devoted to behavior issues. I love those moments.
L has been asked to move to the new portable. Although she has accomplished quite a bit, there's still much to do and she's not sure where to start. Dollars are short, so pay for aides to help even one day wasn't offered and so I'll donate a day on Monday. I'm sure she'd do the same if it was me. I hope she's able to find boxes this weekend.
Now it's time to make my own to do list for the rest of the summer. I usually read and do those cleaning tasks that require a day to complete. Maybe we'll even get to go camping this summer. I'd love to be able to do that!
And now I better aim my attention towards those thank you notes . . . what silly pic can I create this year :>)

Friday, June 12, 2009


Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this

Empathy has always been important to me. It was on my top ten list of things I wanted to teach my children and it's what I look for in people I associate with. My Grandma Weeks first introduced me to a definition of empathy. When I was a young teen, she gave me a card with this Cherokee Prayer:

Oh Great spirit,
grant that I may never find fault
with my neighbor until I have walked
the trail of life in his moccasins.

I can still remember my mom sitting beside me on my bed explaining to me what it meant and how important it was. And now I try to take advantage of any opportunities given to me with the short people to illustrate empathy in a way I hope they'll understand.
I'm beginning to realize that when I encounter people (not including children) who lack empathy, I have a difficult time seeing their humanity and feeling empathy for their situation. I don't believe it's on purpose. It just doesn't happen.
I'd like to change this, but I think I have to understand why this happens before I can repair it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Creepy convenient coincidence

A few nights ago, I was feeling tired and "chore martyred" - not a good combination. {Crosses arms, stomps foot} Simply put, I wanted someone else to prepare dinner. Lise tossed out her, "I'm too tired trying to adapt to my new shift and fighting allergies" chip. {sigh}

I sent an email off to N (still at work) hoping to benefit from his insightful summation of the situation or a little commiseration. I received the humor and sympathy I needed from his reply and then the phone rang.

A quick look at the caller ID piqued my interest. I picked up the phone, wondering why Garlic Jim's would be calling. It was a robo call, but not just ANY robo call - this one concerned pizza. "Buy one and get the second for just a penny!", the friendly female voice invited, "press one to order from your local Garlic Jim's". I was wondering how N made this happen, knowing full well he didn't, but what a happy coincidence!

I didn't order, I had chicken breasts thawing in the microwave, but what a well timed robo call!
I wonder how many responses they received?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Memory of Aunt Vina

Rest in peace, dear auntie

Father's Day gift idea?

It's probably too late for Father's Day, but this looked like a cool little barbecue/grilling gadget. Yup, I'm channeling Opus again!

Thank you, Salem Man!

N, Lise and I joined a nice sized group of Salemites last night at Venti's, thanks to Salem Man setting it up for all of us. It was an evening of constant chatter and being able to put even more faces with names/blogs. We're looking forward to doing it again!
Oh and thanks to Rebekah for her perseverance in helping the bartender find a bottle of Wandering Aengus cider! :>)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shave and a haircut

Lise went to bed early to try and ensure she received enough sleep for her first day on the 6 AM shift. I was surprised to hear her say that she liked working swing. I wonder if she'll begin to enjoy getting off at 3?
And so she was already on her way to sleep when I put in the Netflix movie, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. Such a sweet film! Fran commented on how similar it was to the movie we watched the week before, Driving Lessons.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cauliflower - It's What's for Dinner

Lise made the recipe below (from NPR), while I made a recipe I've loved since childhood - Mom's Tuna Curry over rice. I've changed it up a bit over the years, but it's still one of those recipes created to feed a family for just pennies. It's basically a white sauce with curry to taste (browned with the flour along with lesser amounts of turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes & coriander) with a can of good quality, drained tuna and a tablespoon or so of mango chutney. I usually add a half cup or so of frozen peas, but forgot tonight.

Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas

Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
If you have more time, you could also make this using the previous recipe for roasted cauliflower, though it is perfectly delicious on its own, without being pre-roasted.
Makes 4 servings
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 medium or large head cauliflower, washed and broken into florets
1/4 cup water
1 (8-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 cup dried chickpeas that have been soaked and are ready for cooking
Rice or couscous
In a large frying pan, cook the garlic, ginger and spices in the olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute to form a paste.
Add the onions and turn heat to low; cook for about 5 minutes until onions begin to soften.
Add the cauliflower and 1/4 cup of water, and cook on high heat for 1 minute, then turn heat to low and simmer gently. Cook for about 10 minutes until cauliflower becomes tender, but not mushy.
Add chickpeas and cook a few minutes more to let the flavors blend and the dish is hot.
Serve over brown or white rice, or couscous.

Dog Pee and Roses

Our desire to gradually switch out all of our grafted root roses to the own root roses (sold by the Heirloom Rose Garden in St. Paul) is turning into a spendy venture. We're not sure, but it appears that on the roses where Lise's dog Nixon pees daily, we're seeing new growth dying. I just read on a garden forum that dog pee shouldn't be detrimental to the roses, but of course (the writer added) too much of anything can't be good.

It's not just Nixon. After planting our first 3 new bushes of the year, Izzy decided it was fun to pull them out of the ground and shake the bejeebers out of them. N kept replanting, but we ended up losing one of them. It was shaken to death.
I found that a liberal covering of cayenne pepper solved that, but the rock I put in front of the target rose doesn't seem to be working. Nixon is walking around to the opposite side. Maybe we just need a bigger rock? Or maybe I should've let N buy that garden gargoyle he spied in the store yesterday? Hmmmm
Any ideas out there?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mr. Sun and Thoughts of Andrew

Come on, Mr. Sun! We need our deck warmed up and dried out! {sigh}
Or we could drive up to St. Paul to replace the ground cover rose Izzy thought was a toy. That would provide opportunities to browse both Saturday and Public markets, too.
Hard to believe there are only 5 days left of school and 2 of those will be special events. I'm glad I have all the pictures I need taken. (oops! forgot to send last batch to Costco!)
Hopefully, N and I remember to stop by the open house of a past kindergartner. We could hear his graduation ceremony while walking the dogs last night. I'll never forget having Andrew in class.
One day at school he told me he wanted to make a costume and then asked where the material was. His face fell when I explained that paper and tape was the available resource. The fallen face did not last long, however. Within minutes he had enlisted the help of Jacob (?), who helped brainstorm all the ways to use paper to craft a Power Ranger costume.
How I wish I’d had a camera available!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thanks, Keith!

Ah a new site where I can spend some time exploring! I've loved Wallace and Gromit ever since we first picked up their package of 3 video tapes long ago at Costco.

Okay, you can leave now . . .

I was happy to see the muggy air go away, to have our air scrubbed and for the plants to get a good drink, but now I'm ready for the rain to go back where it came from. Please? I see the forecast is still looking good for the weekend. THAT makes me happy! Losing electricity for just one minute also made me happy.
After the rousing thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, I turned the computer back on. The Statesman Journal (Journel, if you pay attention to the label on their ISP) already had updates on the storm happenings. One of which was a mention of a 40 foot tree down between Owens and Minto Brown Park. I emailed N to let him know, so he could take a different route home. When he walked into the house I asked him if they had cleared the tree yet, "I don't know. I didn't drive home that way." What a dope I am!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Road Home

Not really much to see here, but the results of a camera happy person in the front seat of the car experimenting to see if the dramatic sky can be captured through the windscreen. Not so much
Yup, I'm that silly person!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Window of Hope (Orthopedics)

From Window of Hope (Orthopedics)

Nothing like a small, glowing skeleton on a counter to make a person have hope for their bone future. (Hmmm, didn't quite work, did it?)
But Dude! How I love the present technology of x-rays! The tech told me that the equipment where I had my x-rays done weren't as cool as the adjoining room, but I was impressed all the same. She put the film plate into a copier like machine that must be like a scanner. It transfers the images to the computer and erases the plate for reuse. I'm glad reuse is part of all this techology, plus - no film or developing chemicals.
No, I don't have the bones of a youngster, but good healing is going on in that wrist. PA Daniel, said that I'll lose some range of movement (maybe 20 degrees) due to bone damage & compression. I suppose that makes sense, since I suffered enough impact to break my radius at one of it's thickest points.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How big is this house??

From Home for sale

Everytime N and I walk or drive past this sign we chuckle. I imagine 1.48 acre houses exist, we just didn't know they were right up the hill from us!

On another note, I encountered a different kind of panhandler this afternoon and I hope it's not a trend. I've never had my car door blocked by a man in a motorized wheelchair, crooking his finger at me - indicating I was to roll down the window to hear his request. I was wondering if I should've said something while I was inside the credit union.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last Science

Tomorrow is the last science day of this school year with these two classes of short folk.

I have their certificates all printed out, the tiny velvet pouches purchased and the stones all ready. We sit together in our small group (x 4) as I briefly review all the activities we did together. Each of them get a chance to talk about their favorite science before they choose a "science remembering stone" to tuck into their pouch.
Not always, but usually it's a nice time together. I enjoy listening to their insights and reflections.

The last days together seem to speed by so fast. Before I know it, I'll be meeting a whole new group and adding onto the number of young people I know.

Blooming Peonies

Just noticed the majority of the peony blossoms have opened. In my experience this means there's a wet change due in our weather in the next 4 days. A similar weather change happens when our cherry trees blossom in early Spring. It's what I've come to call, "forecasting by flowers". Although, maybe when it's Spring in the Willamette Valley you could forecast rain sometime in the following four days and usually be correct?
From Peonies

My folks drove down from SW Washington to eat breakfast and spend the day with us yesterday. That's always a special treat. We visited all day in the backyard, while N toiled away on the deck. He found out (through research on the web) that instead of just cleaning the deck and adding a new stain, that he also needed to strip the wood. Evidently that's the difference between using a waterseal and a stain. Otherwise the new coat won't adhere as well, wherever the old stain is still present. I wonder how many other projects I'll have to sit out on? I'd rather be a participating member of the household.
I did do something - I made dinner for all of us. Of course, Mom helped. :>) I printed out one of the many chicken jerk marinades that are out on the web. Mom and I put all of the ingredients together in a big zip lock bag with 8 big chicken thighs to marinate over the afternoon. I love the combination of spices in jerk recipes!