Sunday, October 29, 2006


One last rose before the winter.

Our new Clematis with the trellis that Denis built.

Violas in our little "courtyard" bed. They last through the winter in our mild climate.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Fun, Busy Weekend

What a weekend we had! Friday, I had a surprise day off from work because of a scheduling mix-up. I took the opportunity to accompany my mom and her friends on a day trip out to the woods in search of "sugar pine cones". They are the really big ones, and the trees that produce them are a bit rare, but grow around our area. Part of the day involved my mom and I trying to learn how to identify these trees on our own so that we can collect the cones again. It is a bit tricky to tell them apart from the Douglas Fir tree - the bark is very similar and they grow in the same areas. We had a picnic lunch after collecting the allotted amount of cones. It was great exercise and a nice time to spend together.

Saturday, Denis and I went to the Grange Coop to hunt for a clematis plant. We had to make a final decision on which variety we wanted. We decided on the classic Jackman and it now has it's home next to our front door. We also planted some Sweet Pea seeds in the same bed. The two plants will climb on trellises that Denis built this week. (Very handy, isn't he?) At 1:30, my sister-in-law flew in for a 3 week visit. So we went to the airport to greet her. She is going to be busy with her own local family, but we expect that we will get to see some of her.

This week was Contra Dancing week. So Saturday evening, we all trucked over to Ashland for the monthly dance. I am the only dancer, but I had a "fan club" of 4 people who observed and enjoyed the music. The caller was great and the beginners caught on quite well. It was great fun.

Sunday after church, we had a couple over for lunch. The "get to know people from church better" campaign continues. I served a mexican do-it-yourself bar with chili-lime chicken, refried beans, brown rice, guacamole, and whole wheat tortillas. We had a brief lull in the action and then had family over for dinner - mom, her friends, sis-in-law and her father. It was so nice to all be together. Woo Hoot! A great weekend.

Soul Patch

Denis is now sporting a trendy "soul patch". It is a bit grey, so you have to look closely to see it in this picture. It is very cool.

It's Arrived!

My camera arrived in the mail on Saturday morning. I was still in my pajamas and was going to ignore the doorbell, but then I saw the FedEx truck and knew that I had to sign for my camera or he would take it back. I'm sure he's seen ladies in their flannels before...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Camera

I splurged and bought myself a new digital camera. I used to have a good film camera (SLR) with 3 different lenses, but it broke several years ago. I replaced it with a little point and shoot film camera that is okay for just everyday pictures, but I miss being able to actually compose a shot like I want it. Denis' digital camera is from back when they were relatively new. It was top of the line at the time, but quite out dated now, and I don't really know how to use it. SO, here is the camera that I bought. It was selected as a "best buy" by Consumer Reports, has some advanced features that should be useful and fun to try out and it has a 10x zoom. If you clink on the photo above, it will take you to the Fuji website to see the specs. I'm so excited!

Too Fluffy

Phoebe and Monica had their annual check up with the vet. and they both passed with flying colors, except for one little thing. They are both fat! Monica needs to lose 1.5 lbs and Phoebe 1 lb. So today started their diet. I have never had to ration cat food before and I'm not really looking forward to it. But for now it is to be 1/2 cup each in the morning and evening.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pictures from Beach Weekend

Saturday "on the town" group. (me and my coworkers. Denis took the photo.)

A windy day at on the beach. Pacific Ocean behind me. (You may recognize the yellow jacket from a previous picture of Denis. He sacrificially lent it to me for the day.)

Tide pools form on the rocks of the jetty. Here you can see anemones, mussels and barnacles clinging to the rocks.

We didn't see any star fish or hermit crabs. Bummer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jill Paquette

Have you heard of this young Christian singer-songwriter? Check out this video of two new songs. She has one album released that I highly recommend.

Minnesota Fortune Cookies

I imported my husband from Minnesota. In case you are not familiar with the state, it has its own unique culture, accent and common phrases. On our last visit back, we bought a book called "How to Talk Minnesotan - A Visitor's Guide." Of course, this is a tongue-in-cheek humorous explanation of the cultural idiosyncrasies, but there is a grain of truth in it. I'm going to give you an excerpt, but I need to give a bit of background information.

One of the key points stressed in the book is that Minnesotans are careful about being too positive about things. The general view is that something negative will be just around the corner. "It's okay to have good feelings but there's no sense running down the street telling people about it at the top of your voice. There's a good chance it won't last, anyway. Good things happen - yes - but when they do, Minnesotans are a little nervous because they know something bad will eventually happen to balance it out."

Okay, here is my favorite excerpt:

"When Chinese restaurants began to open in Minnesota, one of the first obvious changes the owners had to make was to remove the soy sauce from the table (Minnesotans kept mistaking it for coffee) and replace it with ketchup. But what kept Minnesotans away from Chinese restaurants more than anything else was the fortune cookies - the fortunes left customers with a bad taste in their mouth. So the restaurants, due to public demand, now serve Minnesota-style fortune cookies. Here are the ones I have collected from friends.

  • You will change the oil in your car every 2000 miles.
  • There could be thunderstorms tomorrow.
  • You will run out of 2 percent milk.
  • A stranger will knock on your door and try to sell you cancer insurance.
  • The tops on your new shoes are not real leather.
  • People around you think you are okay, mostly.
  • Romance will enter your life unless you're careful.
  • The smell in your root cellar is a dead gopher.
  • The big shade elm in your front yard has had it."

Anniversary planning

Our 3rd anniversary is coming up - December 31st. The last two years we went to San Francisco for a little vacation. SF is a very nice city full of fun things to do, but not really the best choice for a winter vacation, as we discovered. It rains a lot! So this year we tried to think of someplace we could go that would be sunny and warm, yet not too expensive. Mexico, perhaps. Alas, it is spendy to fly there and would take too long to drive. So we decided, why not give in to the winter and go somewhere snowy? Mt Shasta, California, here we come. Only about an hour drive south of us and a tourist destination. I have been researching what to do and where to stay in the area. So far, I know where we are staying for the first two nights - The Railroad Park Resort. The dining facilities will be closed in the winter, but the little caboose rooms are so cute and cozy. We will then move to Mt. Shasta City where there are lots of shops, galleries and restaurants. We hope to go skiing at the ski park and also snow shoeing. There should be plenty to keep us occupied.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Camping trip

Last weekend, Denis and I went camping with my coworkers. There were 7 families represented from our staff and we had a really lovely time. We went to Bullard's Beach State Park near Bandon, Oregon. Some people had RVs and were in one section of the campground. Others, including us, rented yurts. We would have taken our tent, but thought that we would be a bit chilly in October.

We had lovely weather, good food and good company. On Saturday, a group went out in a boat and caught 7 crab that we boiled up for dinner. A second group went on a 17 mile bike trip (sore bums the next day) and Denis and I joined yet a third group to visit the tourist-friendly downtown area. There were lots of unique shops to look in. We also visited the lighthouse pictured above. We all had a wonderful time and are already talking about where we can go next year.

The Hurrier I Go

The behinder I get...

I'm in the home stretch of working extra hours for a coworker's vacation. She returns next week and I can go back to my half time hours. (I'm such a whimp!) This has been a very busy stretch of 4 weeks.

  • Working 4 days each week.
  • Planning and participating in the ADA walk for Diabetes.
  • Packing and going away for a camping weekend with my coworkers.
  • Two evening meetings this week.

Tomorrow is the official end of my craziness. I will probably rebel against any productive activity for a couple of days.