Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Early Christmas

Denis and I are very excited because each of us just acquired a new toy! Here's mine:

I have completely fallen off the exercise bandwagon since about March! After I went through that wonderful 6 week period of going to the gym really regularly, I just haven't been able to get motivated to organize my stuff, drive to the gym and use the equipment. It never seems to be convenient to go during the off peak hours and I find it annoying that I can't watch what I want to on the TV or listen to my own music. SO, I'm very excited to have a piece of equipment that I can use at home. One of my coworkers had this unused and offered it to me for FREE! yay. It obviously takes up a lot of space, but it can be folded up if we need to get it out of the way.

Here is Denis' new toy:

The espresso machine that he has had for several years now seems to be giving up the ghost. So we went to Starbucks and found they had this very last unit of last year's espresso machine. It had a clearance tag on it and then they took even more off because it was not clean at the time... (I think it had something to do with me being a regular customer who they know by name) This machine is so pretty and it is a step up from the old machine. Denis is still working on getting it to give us a perfect shot of espresso, but we have faith that he will. The reviews on coffee lovers' websites are good.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Q and A

Updated: I just added the link for "pinging" your blog right above the blogrolling list. The automatic function is often not working, so go ahead and manually "ping" it so that we can all use this list to tell what is new. :o)

Hi, my friends! Sorry I have been very absent lately. I have recovered pretty fully from my cold/bronchitis and have more energy again. Phoebe is eating pretty well and is holding her own on the new medication. She's gained a bit of weight, but is still skinny. Her personality is more like her old self, but she's still very grumpy with the other cats.

Anyway, you all asked some questions in the last post's comments. First of all, the buttercream frosting is very yummy. It was a little complicated to make, but it would be easier if I had a candy thermometer. I may have cooked the sugar a bit further than it was supposed to be. I also think that I didn't beat the egg whites quite as long as I should have. So the end result was a bit softer than I think it could have been. It's nice and creamy, though, and has held up well. I found the recipe by doing a google search for buttercream frosting. If you do so, you will find some are the egg white based recipe, and others are making a milk sauce first. Very interesting.

Secondly, the list of blogs that shows when there is a new post is hosted by "blogrolling". It takes a bit of work to set it up and it doesn't always work. But you can get to the blogrolling website by clicking on the link under my list. Once there, you register for the service, name you list and then add the links. After you have it made, you have to get your html code that you can put on your blog. You will add the blogrolling list as an element on your blog. Instead of picking "list" you choose "html code".

Now the downfall is that this service was sold by the developers to some bigger organization which does not maintain it very well. In order for your links to show up as "updated", the blog has to get "pinged" as updated. It's supposed to do that automatically, but sometimes that part gets broken. When the system is not working, you can still "ping" your blog manually at the blogrolling site. On the cats' blog, I have a link to the "ping" form for everyone to easily go ping their blog when the system is down. (most of the cat blogs use blogrolling for their lists, so it's handy). I've never put that link on here, but if you all like that feature of seeing when everyone has a new post, I'm happy to put the link here too. Then, when you post a new item, you can just come here, click on the link, enter your blog info (it's very quick) and hit "ping".

Monday, December 03, 2007


Life ticks on. Here's what we've been doing lately:
1. Running a kitty hospice: Phoebe's blood work was not much improved last week. We stopped the pills and are only doing treatments that do not bother her. A steroid compound that is rubbed on her ear twice a day we hope will increase her appetite and may help the liver failure a little. Also subcutaneous fluids to keep her hydrated - she doesn't seem to mind them much at all. She's been staying the night over at my mom's house so she gets a break from Joey and has constant access to any food that she might eat. We bring her back home during the day. It's a real up and down thing emotionally. She's a bit more like herself, but still skinny. Some days she eats pretty well and then others doesn't eat much.
2. I've been home sick from work: I started getting sick with a cold Thursday at work and by evening was really coughing and called in sick for Friday. By Friday PM, it had turned into bronchitis, so I called Denis at work and had him bring me home a prescription for antibiotics. Today is day three and I'm starting to breathe better now.
3. Watching Ace of Cakes with my mom while I go visit Phoebe. It made me crave cake, so I baked a banana cake from scratch and made real buttercream frosting (the kind with egg whites, cooked sugar and real butter).
4. Denis worked two extra days for a coworker - Friday and Sunday. Now he has just today off. It's a really strange week for him.
5. Playing an Amazing Race geography game - you get more points the closer on the map to an exact town in the world that you click. At the end of the game they calculate a "traveler IQ". My first try was an IQ of 73. I finally made it all the way through the game and got an IQ of 116!

That's about it. It's cloudy and dark around here today.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Funny Video!

Check out this music video about a kitten! He looks just like Joey and it's hysterical. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Denis and I went to the house of a family from our church on Thursday. They annually invite several people and this is the first time that Denis and I have both been able to attend. It was really fun - visiting with folks that we knew and some that we had just met, eating wonderful food very little of which I had to prepare.

I have so many blessings to be thankful for this year. I'm so thankful for my husband, he is a faithful, kind and gentle man and I'm honored that he's in love with me. I'm thankful for my health and the well-being of all our extended family. I'm so thankful for this job that I really enjoy. We also have a new praise - Denis has accepted an on call position in the occupational health department of our health care system. We hope that will turn into a part time position that will be less stressful for him than the ER where he works now. I'm thankful that we have a strong church body that we belong to and have some good friends in.

All of these blessings come from the hand of the great God of the universe. He has blessed me with these insignificant material things in addition to the greatest gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful that I can trust in His loving care for me.

I have been feeling pretty down since Phoebe got sick. This is really good for me to "count my blessings". Phoebe's hanging in there, not really getting worse or better. I made an appointment for Tuesday to have her bloodwork repeated. We will have a difficult decision to make based on the results.

Today I made a turkey for the first time all on my own. My mom is in Ohio visiting my brother. Since we went to someone else's Thanksgiving, I missed having left-over turkey, stuffing and gravy. So I bought a turkey on Friday. I'm not good a price comparison, so I hope that I got a good price... It came out really good. I'm pretty proud of myself... :o)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Here is what has been occupying my thoughts and time lately. My precious kitty Phoebe is sick. We noticed about 3 weeks ago that she was getting pretty thin and at her annual physical one week ago today that was confirmed. She had lost 6 lbs in the last year and was 1 lb underweight. Lab tests and an ultrasound showed some low grade liver failure possibly caused by a gallbladder infection and anemia. We started a two week course of antibiotics which is almost halfway through now, as well as vitamins and a gallbladder medicine.

The trouble is that there is no noticeable improvement in Phoebe after a week of treatment. She still is eating very little and is not her usual self at all. As you may remember, Phoebe has always been the very social cat, generally following me around all day to be in the same room and watch what I'm doing. In the last week, she has been withdrawing, hiding much of the day. The more I try to get her to eat, the more she pulls away. It's been very sad. I have to force those vitamins down her twice a day and I give her one pill in the AM and the other in the PM. I've been trying to consolidate the bad stuff and not bug her too much the rest of the time so that she won't withdraw even more.

On the positive side, she does still want to cuddle with me at times, particularly at night. She still grooms herself from time to time and she's still interested in going outside. As long as there is hope that she will improve with this, than I'm willing to continue, but i don't want to distress her if it's not going to make her better. We'll know more next week when we repeat the blood work. We made an appt. to take her in today and see if another boost with subcuatneous fluids might help.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

New Haircut

My hair was getting pretty long and it was frazzled at the ends, so I decided it was time for a big change. I went darker with the color and got it cut much shorter. Here it is still styled by my hair stylist. I really like how nice and smoothly straight she gets it. Fortunately, Denis actually prefers it the way I do it, which is without much effort put in! It took me several attempts at self-portraiture to get one I was satisfied with.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Recent pics

Well, I'm going to try to make these worth the wait... Here are some scenic and family pictures from the past couple of weeks. We had my brother Jim visit for a week and took him up to Crater Lake. I hadn't been there in a few years. It was a beautiful day, so the lake was reflecting the blue sky. The Mt. Hood pictures are from a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

One Week

Okay, it's been 7 days since I posted anything on my blog. Seems like it's been even longer... Here's a quick update on what's going on around here:

I worked an extra day on Monday doing another chart review for my work project. It's going a bit slow this time around, but it is interesting. At this rate, it will take another couple of extra days to get it done.

My brother is in town for a week. He flew in from Ohio on Wednesday and is staying in our lovely guest room! My mom's best friends from Yakima, WA are also in town and staying at her house. So the last two nights, we've had dinner all together here where there is more room to sit around a table (than at my mom's house). Tomorrow, we will go to the United Methodist Church to here my brother present his mission work in Nicaragua and preach. After church, Denis, Jim and I are going to the coast. We won't have to hurry back since we are all late night people.

I took Joey to the vet today for a follow up visit. He got his second round of shots and a de-worming pill. He should be good for a year now unless we notice any problems. The official verdict is that he is still small for his age, but he is growing nicely now. Phoebe and Monica seem to be a little under the weather, so I'm keeping an eye on them. They will each get two de-worming pills in the next day or so (really looking forward to that.... NOT), just to be sure that those nasty creatures don't just make the rounds between the three of them. We are also going to be vigilant on kitchen cleanliness to be sure they aren't getting any food stuffs besides their prescribed stuff.

So that's it. You're up to date. I'll probably still be a bit absent the next few days with family in town.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Greetings from Hood River

Hi there! Denis and I are up in Northern Oregon for the weekend. I had a conference to attend for work in Vancouver, WA and we decided to extend our time. We are staying at the historic Hood River Hotel and getting in touch with my roots. I was born here and lived in a small town at the foot of Mt. Hood until I was 11. It's a beautiful area. Today we are going to drive around visiting the local farms and hunting for "good apples" (Denis has specific tastes in apples) and admiring the mountains. I will take pictures. I hope your weekend is going well.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

House for Rent

Well, the rental house is on the market for new occupants. Denis put a lot of sweat and tears into that place. It's so nice to have it done and off our shoulders (as far as work goes). The cat pee smell is gone and it all looks pretty nice now. We would like to continue to make some improvements each year. Hopefully, that will be appealing to new renters and inspire longevity and responsibility. We'll see.

The ADA walk is this weekend. This is why I have not been posting anything lately. I've been running errands and a bit stressed out. When I'm home, I just haven't felt like putting much effort into thinking about what to write... But I have some good news to report. I went to my Nurse Practitioner about my allergies. She was able to get me in the day after I called! I now have both Allegra and the same fancy-schmancy nasal spray as Denis. I'm also doing a sinus rinsing thing that is not too much fun, but seems to be helping with the runny nose business. I feel like my nose is normal more of the time in the last two days. Not all of the time, but more of the time - it's an improvement anyway. I'm withdrawing from Afrin spray. It causes "rebound" stuffiness. I'm not sure how long that will last.

well, I think I'm going to sign off now. I'll write more after Saturday and let you know how the walk turns out this year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cats, etc.

Well, there have been changes in the cat dynamics around here. Monica has now fully accepted Joey. She grooms him and lets him snuggle with her. He has tried to play with her, but she won't participate. She very rarely hisses at him and it's when he tries to play.

Phoebe is still a bit miffed with him. He keeps trying to make friends with her, approaching her and following her around. Sometimes she allows it and will sniff him and be in close proximity. Other times she will hiss and smack him or growl. She's acting kind of like Monica did in the first couple of days where you can't predict what her response will be at any given time. But I think she's softening.

In other news, the rental house is almost ready to be rented. The contracted work is done and Denis is just finishing up odds and ends. My mom and I have done some cleaning. We'll have to get all our fix-it stuff out of there. We also have to go to the property management office and sign our contract so that they can advertise it and get some people in there. It's looking really good, but it has definitely been a lot of work for my honey. It'll be nice to get it off our plates.

Right now I'm feeling really tired and air-headed because I took an antihistamine. Denis and I have allergies that go on year round. I usually take a Claritin in the morning which helps a bit. But my nose is often plugged up in the evening. Denis has a fancy-shmancy nasal spray that has really been helping his allergies since he started taking it. I'm thinking of seeing if I can get me some of that stuff. Since my cold two weeks ago, my nose has been a constant source of grief. anyway, I've been taking a stronger antihistamine hoping that my nose won't be so stuffy at night. Sorry, I'm rambling... Tracy signing off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Joey update

Well, there is some news to report on the cat dynamics going on here. Joey is semi-feral still, so one of the things we have noticed is that he will tend to hide on us if we are not playing with him or actively petting him. Part of that is the cat tension in the house - he knows he's not welcomed. Last evening, we finally made in-roads on bonding with him. We spent the evening watching TV and Joey stayed with us. He tried to go under the couch once, but I stopped him. He cuddled right next to each of us. And today, when he sees me, he comes running (for protection?)

On the cat front, Monica softened up a bit more last night. She did a bit of sniffing, approaching him to do so. He approached her a couple of times and only was hissed at intermittently. The kicker was that at one point, Monica joined us on the couch - not at the opposite end from Joey, but right in front of him. then she laid down, back to him and "ignored" him. Today, he's tried to play with Monica a couple of times, but she'll have none of that.

Phoebe has been still at it with the growling, hissing and swatting, but at a closer proximity. I set him up on the windowsill by my desk(one of her favorite spots to watch birdies out the window). It is a nice long windowsill and I put him far away from her usual spot. But she came right over growling and hissing. He was mesmerized by the birds - there were a bunch of them today - and ignored her. Soon she got distracted by the birds. Watching them got the best of her and distracted from hissing at Joey. Every once in a while, she'd remember him, look his way and growl. then he made the mistake of trying to cross her path and got swatted.

I took Chariman Mao's (a cat...) advice and gave both Phoebe and Joey a treat. Phoebe really likes his kitten food, but we put it up out of her reach when his carrier door is open. I had just removed it because she came over to eat it. She got mad and hissed at Joey. So I got it back down and gave her one piece at a time, right near him. I gave him one which he ate. Phoebe got three pieces. The second one I put in front of Joey, she stole (touching him, mind you, fur to fur!) with no growl. A bit later, there was a semi-civil exchange that sounded more like a meow than a growl. She thoroughly explored the carrier where he's been sleeping.

anyway, I'm probably boring you to tears. But this is what I think about most of my waking hours right now. Joey is really thin. I can feel his little ribs, spine and his hip bones. He's been eating really well, so I'm sure he'll gain weight before too long.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Could this be Joey Tribiani?

So here's the story... Denis has a coworker who is into the whole cat rescue thing. She has so many cats that she won't tell us how many she has so we won't think she's crazy. Anyway, she heard about this kitten who was wild, out in the country with his cat family. A friend of her's captured a lot of them to have them spayed and neutered. So this little guy was going to be returned to his wild setting, except he decided that he didn't want to be wild anymore. Denis' coworker is looking for a home for him so that he won't wind up as "cougar bait". They are out of options as her usual contact don't have room for him. She told Denis about him and asked if we would take him.

I heard about this over the weekend while I was on my way to Portland. I said, "I don't want another cat!" I wasn't really keen on upsetting the happy little duo that we have in our household. Phoebe and Monica have been so great and easy because they have just always been together. There are no fights for dominance, they already have it worked out. (Monica is the boss, in case you're curious...) I have never done a kitten before. I don't know how they will react, how to go about introducing them, reinforce litter box training, etc, etc.

I got home from the weekend and much to my surprise, Denis was really interested in taking the kitten. So we brought him home for a "trial run" on Monday afternoon. He spent most of that evening in the carrier we set up for him. The first introduction didn't go over too well. Today, we have let him out about half of the day. And there seems to be some improvement in relations. Phoebe definitely does NOT like him - she hisses and growls at him and cuts a wide path around him. Monica seems curious, but her response to his advances varies. She has sniffed him, ignored him and hissed at him.

Any hints or experiences would be welcomed. He's really cute and at this point, I think Denis is pretty smitten. I'm pretty sure he's staying unless Phoebe continues to be this distraught by his presence. She seems to be mellowing a bit about it though.

We're calling him Joey - we liked that better than Chandler or Ross.

Friday, September 14, 2007

been home sick

I came down with a cold while T and her husband were here. Actually, T and I both were coming down with a cold at the same time. I took my vitamin C and zinc and laid low Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I went to work and took Dayquil throughout the day to no avail. My nose just kept running and I kept sneezing. It was not fun and then I started to feel like I had a fever towards the end of the day. So I've been home from work and feeling slightly guilty the last two days.

In my job, there are a limited number of people who can cover for me when I'm sick. I knew that I had some important emails to answer and a complex patient scheduled. Turns out they couldn't find anyone to work for me, so my appointments were rescheduled and my boss took a call for me. I was able to check my email from home and answer the important ones. That made me feel less guilty. I started to feel much better last night and was contemplating going into work today, but once I went to bed, my nose stuffed right back up and I sneezed several times. So I stayed home again today.

This evening, I'm feeling almost back to normal. I've been planning to go to Portland this weekend to attend two open houses for missionary friends of mine who are back in the US right now. They are so fortuitously scheduled for the same weekend - one is Saturday and the other Sunday. So, I'm sticking with my plan and hope that I don't regress in my symptoms. My colds generally go from my head down to my chest, but so far the pattern is not being followed.

I'm staying at T's house and having dinner with AMG, so it's going to be a lot of fun. (BTW, the above picture has nothing to do with the contents of this post. It's just to show you the harvest on a recent day from my garden.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Men at Work

No, they didn't sing any songs from down under. While T and I were working on the organization front, our husbands were doing some jobs in the rental house. The main task accomplished was putting on a new screen door. It turned out to be more complicated than they initially thought and Denis was very glad for the help.


As you may have figured out (if you are a regular to my blog and those of my friends...) that T came down for a visit this past weekend. I had teased her that she was welcome to come and organize my house after doing such a good job on her own. Well, T took the challenge. She brought her hubby with her on a rare visit with no kids in tow. GMJ graciously had the kids for the time. Denis and I put them both to work. We shamelessly took advantage of their free labor. And I'm happy to report that a LOT got done and we all had a great time! Here are the "after" shots.
The office (AKA "the red room"), seen in a recent post in it's former state of chaos.

The "guest room" which up till now was in no state to receive guests. This was the room that did not appear in the house tour post last year. Sorry, there are no "before" pictures for this room.

Now we are all ready for YOU to come for a visit. We have a lovely room waiting for you. :o)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What's in my purse?

Sorry, I don't have a picture to go with this post.

Outer pockets:

  • cell phone
  • pager
  • work name badge
Back zippered section:
  • checkbook
  • old receipts that are no longer pertinent to anything current
  • recent receipts awaiting entry into my computer Money program
  • credit and debit cards
  • various and sundry store discount cards
  • frequent flyer cards
  • professional membership cards
  • insurance cards.
Main compartment:
  • pen
  • a new bottle of Phoebe's medicine that I have forgotten to give her for two weeks now
  • spearmint mini Altoids
  • 4 lip glosses and a chapstick
  • small bottle that says "Advil" but contains Extra Strength Tylenol and Motrin IB
  • a one day only Kohl's coupon that is outdated (I did get to use it.)
  • my auto insurance card that is supposed to be in the glove box of my car.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cleaning bug

So, T got me inspired the other day to do some cleaning in my office (AKA "the red room"). She has been a cleaning machine lately. She posted some nice slick "after" pictures of her bedroom and the play room that she cleaned. Everything is all nice and tidy. You can go see them here.

Another inspiration was that I'm having my annual review at work next week and I can't find some of the papers that I need to fill out my paperwork for it. So I shuffled through piles of papers on my floor and threw a bunch of stuff away. Denis was very impressed. The sad thing is, this is my "after" picture...

Manual labor

Well, we have been doing a lot of planning, thinking about and working on the rental house that we are in the process of buying from my brother. We are to sign the final papers this week, so it's almost a done deal. This is the back of the house - the view from my mom's house. The deck needs a new coat of some sort of sealer, but that can wait until a future date for now. This walnut tree is a bit ill and we suspect that it will need to be removed at some point.

The most recent renters were a bit hard on the place and so we are in the process of making the arrangements to have some improvements and repairs done. The most important is to replace the carpet that has been soiled with cat urine. We think that these stairs are the offenders. Once this carpet is removed with padding and the floor sealed, we will be able to sniff out if there are other sections of carpet that are also bad.

We are having the whole place painted, of course. The dining room hard wood floor is badly scratched and worn, so we're having laminate put in. A few light fixture changes are already done. The major work we are having done by a contractor that our property manager recommends. But the bathrooms we are repainting ourselves. They were very dark with teal paint, so we are lightening them up with a lighter teal-ish blue color. The first coat is done now.

My mom provides free labor as well. Here she is cleaning out one of the paint rollers after our hard days' labor. Hopefully is a week or two we will be all set for new renters.

So that's what I've been up to lately. It seems like just one thing after another...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Salsa anyone?

Lessons learned from making salsa today:

  1. Italian flat leaf parsley does not make a good substitute for cilantro. Albertson's didn't have any, so what's a girl supposed to do at 7:00 PM after a day of work?
  2. Don't overload your food processor. You will wind up with mushy components instead of chopped ones.
  3. Don't skimp on the peppers. I thought that four from my garden would be enough, but it needs a bit more kick.

I'm sure I will have another opportunity to perfect the recipe since my I have only harvested less than half of the tomatoes on my plant so far.

Life is still pretty hectic around here. Our days off are filled with errands, phone calls and trying to do some of the work needed to get the house we are purchasing ready for new renters. This weekend is going to be fun though. Tomorrow night, our home group is going to a play together that one of their kids is in. It's Peter Pan and she plays Wendy. Then on Saturday, we are going to some friends' house for the afternoon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some More Flowers

I thought it was time to post some more pictures. All that plain typing is getting boring. These pictures are rather old. Our flowers are dying back for the fall now. Just as the veggie garden is really taking off. We now have cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears, as well as cucumbers. They are really good, but there are only so many cherry tomatoes that two people can eat. I'm now trying to think of friends who might like some. Some of the big tomatoes are ripe now, too. We already ate the first two and there are more out there ready to be picked. I'm going to make salsa as soon as I have enough of them at once. Yummy!

Anyway, here is the hydrangea we planted this year. It's a nice pretty pink. Still blooming, it is.

Here is the oleander that we also planted this year. It is pretty small, but don't worry - it won't be small for long. These guys get really big so we will have to keep it pruned. We don't want it to get out of control.

And finally, this is Penstemmon. We planted it last year not really knowing what it was at the time. It turned out to be a very pleasing pink flower and adds needed height to our planting beds.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've discovered Facebook. Nixter had to invite me twice before I agreed to join up. I discovered that all my Aussie blogger friends are on there. It's a quick and easy way to have a little interaction with long-distance friends. I have discovered that a lot of the young people in my church are there as well as some of my friends from Portland. It's nice to reconnect. (you have to use your full name, but only people who you approve as your friends can see your full profile.)

How many hours in a day?

Okay, so this week has been beyond all the busy-ness of any other week that I have ever complained about in the past. Ran a bunch of errands on Monday, worked an extra day Tuesday, worked my usual Wednesday and Thursday but also had evening meetings for the ADA walk planning committee that I'm on. Friday, today, I didn't have to be in to work until 10:30 BUT Denis and I went to the title company and signed all the papers for the refinance on our mortgage. I had appointments all day today with a late one scheduled for 4 PM. Then after I was done with the charting I finally did SOME of the miscellaneous things on my work to-do list.

I'm glad to be in the weekend now, but I still feel like I have so much hanging over my head. But on to good things:
things are progressing in a timely manner on the purchase of the adjacent lot.
I started my first insulin pump and it went smoothly.
My boss is still over-overwhelmingly pleased with the project that I've almost completed.
I have made progress on some of the tasks on my plate.
i don't have any commitments for the next three days.
God is so graceful to give the strength to meet all the challenges of daily life.

My kitties have been neglected this week. They have not gone for any walks and have not had the cuddle time that they are used to. I've got some making-up to do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's in a name?

Is Flossie a serious enough name for a hurricaine? See here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don't you hate?

Squeeze bottles that won't dispense any product until you squeeze them so hard that you get more than you need? I have a bottle of Soft Scrub that is like that. It makes me mad because I use too much of it on the counter, it bubbles up more and it is harder to rinse. It takes much longer. I have noticed the same trend in ketchup and mustard bottles lately. I think it is a plot to get us to use more product so we have to buy it again sooner. What do you think?

Scrubba scrubba

I have been cleaning today. We have an appraiser coming tomorrow to look at the house for our new mortgage. I specifically asked if she has to see the inside of the house - yes... So I'm trying to make it more presentable. So far I have done both bathrooms, the laundry room and the kitchen floor.

Obviously, I'm taking a little break right now...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Some more pictures

Here are some random pictures from our vacation that needed a little more explanation. (Keep going for another new post.)

This fence was in Jackson, WY. Every other post is an old ski. A cool fence, but expensive...

Trust me, Dick Cheney is in there somewhere. He was in Jackson on the 4th and we were sitting across the street from him for the parade. This was the crowd gathered to try to shake his hand before the parade started. See the guys in dark glasses facing the wrong way? There is a guy clear on the left hand side of the pic in a cowboy hat and a light colored shirt. There were three guys dressed like that - just like Mr. Cheney.

Here is an out of focus fireworks shot I kept because I thought it looked cool.

Metal Moose greets us in Courdelaine, ID
We read about this place in a Montana tourist guidebook. It's located in a very small town on the Indian reservation. See below for the story behind it.

During the final song of the Fourth of July concert in the park, everyone stood up, cheered and waved flags. I looked to my left and just saw a lot of red, white and blue, so I zoomed in to fill the scene with it.

Another one of those weeks

Are you ready for another sob story about my busy week? This one actually contains an interesting piece of news. See if you can spot it...

First, as you may remember from the previous post, I went into work on Monday to finish up my work project. I spent four hours on it. I must tell you that this project is very interesting, but the chart review itself is very tedious work. Looking at box after box of numbers (blood sugars) and counting the hours of monitoring that they represent, categorizing them, adding it all up to make sure it matches. Chart after chart - 30 of them. But it is done! The results were very interesting and will make an impression. My boss was very pleased with what I had done which makes me really happy.

Counting the partial day Monday, I worked each day this week. As I have mentioned before, I have become a real wimp since I am used to working only three days a week. It wears on me more when I don't go to bed at the hour that I should - which I did not do this week. So I got about 6-7 hours sleep each night when I should have gotten 8, no one to blame there but myself.

Then, on top of all this working, Denis and I have had paperwork and phone calls each day. We are purchasing my brother's property from him. Go here to see a picture from a previous post. This is the large lot adjacent to ours with a rental house and my mom's house on it. Us buying it is a mutually beneficial arrangement. It is securing the house for my mom, gaining some real estate for us and relieving my brother from the burden of that mortgage. We are trying to complete the transaction quickly so that they won't have to make another mortgage payment. So it's been calling, picking up papers, signing them in the evening, gathering documents, dropping them off, having a sale contract made up, etc, etc.

So the end result is that I have had some really crabby moments this week. I'm tired of coming home from work and having more things that need to get done. I'm glad we are nearing the end. Next week I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That'll be a trip. Hopefully it won't be too weird.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I'm feeling pretty good about what I've accomplished this week. I'm in the American Diabetes Association walk planning committee again this year and we are in full swing of our planning. I had some invitations that I was to deliver this week. On Monday I organized myself and Tuesday did the deliveries. At work, I have taken on an extra role as of about 2 months ago. I'm in charge of helping my manager with the in-hospital quality improvement projects. I have one big project that I'm working on that has to be completed by the end of August. This week I was able to discuss the project with two of my team members and schedule the chart review which is the bulk of the work. I will do the chart review on Monday and get the info to my team member. And finally, I'm in charge of getting a flyer completed for a diabetes health fair in October and have it distributed. I know that doesn't sound too difficult, but it actually is quite complicated. I don't actually make the flyer myself - I have to communicate with our marketing department clearly and effectively so that THEY can make the flyer for me... But that project is nearly done as well.

It just makes me feel content to think that I'm completing my responsibilities.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Have you seen any hops?

With all the microbreweries that the Northwest is famous for, I've often wondered where all the hops comes from and what it looks like. Well, I wonder no longer. It turns out that a large portion of the high-quality hops used all over the world to make beer cames from the Yakima valley in Washington State. While we were visiting family friends there, we took a drive through the agricultural valley and passed field after field of hops towering on cables that are strewn above the fields. This is what it looks like:

The part that is harvested is the flower bud - they are green and kind of look like a cross between a bell and a pine cone. In Toppenish, WA, there is a hops museum which we perused in about an hour. There was some interesting information about how hops is used both medicinally and in beer production, and the history of hops agriculture in the valley. But, not as interestingly to me, most of the museum was old equipment that they used to use in hops farming.

Toppenish is also the "City of Murals". I don't remember how many murals there are, but they paint a new one each year. You can see that there are murals painted on the hops museum as well.


I'm eating a bowl of angel hair pasta with fresh pesto sauce I just made from the basil growing in my garden! :o)

Cast Your Vote

These four pictures are different compositions of the same view in Teton National Park. Which one do you like the best?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Here are a bunch of photos from our trip. I made the show go fast since there are a lot of pics there. If you put your cursor over a picture, you will get a brief description. You can also watch it more slowly if you want to by clicking on the button that says "view all images". Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Fine How-do-you-do

Here are two sights that greeted us when we arrived home from our travels.

A blossoming garden.

and a bunch of baby poplar trees!

It's True!

We met Kristina! We met on Saturday night at the roof top bar at McMennamin's Hotel Oregon. Kris ordered the beer sampler tray and we all had a taste of the different styles of beer that McMennamin's offers. (Yes, even I sampled them. Some of them were okay, but I'm still not a convert.) Poor Kris and her friend Becca were exhausted from their long day of travel after a relatively sleepless night. We called it a night at about 10:30. Sunday morning we attended a Calvary Chapel church together with a nice service and a good sermon. Then we went to the best local coffee shop we could find and had the other kind of brew. It was nice to get to visit while they were more awake. What a blessing to meet one of my internet buddies. I can't wait to hear how the rest of her Oregon experiences went. T and GMJ will be taking them back to the airport on Sunday. Also, many thanks to Jennifer the bride-to-be who graciously shuttled Kris and Becca around and hung out with these people she had only just met.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Courdelaine Lake, Idaho

I know that I misspelled that, but oh well. I don't feel like looking it up right now to get it right. We leave for Yakima, WA tomorrow morning. We've had a nice time visiting family friends here in Idaho. They live in a small house right near the lake in a rural area. Yesterday we got a tour by boat across the lake and down the St. Joe river. It is really unique - this river channel goes right down the middle of two lakes for quite a while before it narrows down into your standard river banks. It is also officially designated the highest navigable lake in the world! Now I have been to both the highest navigable lake (Lake Titicaca between Peru and Bolivia) and river in the world!

Today we went by car through the beautiful state park, which I learned is the oldest one in the Pacific Northwest. There is a rails to trails bike path that runs for 72 miles from near the Montana border nearly all the way across the panhandle of Idaho. It runs along the lake here, so we saw several sections of it by car as we crossed it. It would be a fun one to ride on as it is mostly downhill if you start in the right place.

Our hosts here have two schnauser dogs and they are really cute and entertaining. One of them is rather reserved and I have just won over her affections today but we are leavning tomorrow! Well, I guess that's about it for now.

Here's the biggest piece of news... Denis and I are going to extend our vacation by one day so that we can meet Kristina in McMinnville on Saturday evening. We have booked a room at the McMennamin's hotel there in town. It is owned by the same brothers who own the Kennedy School where we stayed in Portland last month. We so enjoyed that place, so we are really looking forward to having another stay. It is going to be so great to meet one of my internet buddies! Woo hoot!

Friday, July 06, 2007


Hi there, everyone! I'm writing from our hotel in Missoula, MT. This is the first place where we have had access to a good internet connection. So far, we've had a great visit with friends in Boise. We listened to some live music during breakfast and in the evening while we were there. Our friends lent some great conversation and were excellent hosts.

Jackson was very crowded and touristy, but very pretty. We had lots of time to visit with family - adults and kids alike. Yesterday (Thursday), we caravaned through Grand Teton National Park which was gorgeous.

And today we arrived in Missoula. We just got back from a fancy-schmancy dinner in the historic district of town. It was really delicious - roasted califlower and celery soup, grilled mixed seafood with jalapeno cream and smoked tomato sauces and creme brulee for desert. I could barely stand up at the end of the meal. Tomorrow we are going to go to the farmer's market and see what else we can find to do. It's been really hot and tomorrow is supposed to be 92, so we may try to be indoors...

Well, I guess that's about all to tell for now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A busy week

Okay, I've got a very busy week going leading up to our vacation that starts on Saturday. I worked Monday for a coworker on vacation. I am going into work today to finish up a chart review that I started last week and need to get done today. Wednesday I work my usual day in Grants Pass (the other hospital that our diabetes education team serves). Then Thursday and Friday I have two more days of a conference on performance improvement measures (part two of 4 two-day events). That will mean early drives to Grants Pass those two days.

Amidst all that work-related stuff, I have to do my part of getting us prepped for the vacation. Today I ran a bunch of random errands. Sunday I ran a bunch of laundry, but I'm sure we'll need to do a last minute batch just before we pack. Sunday I also went to the mall and bought some new summer clothes that will be very versatile to make the packing easier. Ugghh... but it will all be worth it when we drive out of town on Saturday for a two week adventure.

So, what are we going to do in Montana, anyway? I have been thinking perhaps we will stay one night in Bozeman, which is ranch country, with mountains to the west. It looks like there is a lot to do in that area. Then one night in Missoula, which is a university town and should have some fun activities. The whole area is a maze of scenic drives on my maps. Actually, we just looked it up, both Bozeman and Missoula are university towns.

It would be really fun to go on a guided fishing trip, but that is so spendy... I found a bed and breakfast that is also a wolf sanctuary. So maybe tonight D and I can decide on where to stay and make our reservations.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Upcoming Vacation

I had a pedicure last week in preparation for our vacation. (well, not really for the vacation, I just wanted an excuse to post that picture.) I never did give any details about our plans this time so here it is:

Sat, June 30 - leave home and drive to Boise, ID
Sun, July 1 - spend the day with a college friend of mine who I have not seen in years. He plays guitar in a band, so we are hoping maybe they will have a gig or at least he will play for us.
Mon, July 2 - drive to Jackson, WY
Tues-Thurs, July 3-5 - adventures around Jackson with Denis' family who are all rondevousing to meet us. Sis-in-law plays violin in an annual summer orchestra, so she and family are there from Tulsa, OK. Parents coming from IA and sister, nephew and family coming from NE.
Fri-Sun, July 6-9 - leave Jackson heading for Montana. No particular plans for these days. We will play it by ear. Wind up in Northern ID Sunday PM.
Mon-Tues, July 9&10 - Visit family friends on Courdelaine Lake. Will probably include some lake boating and fishing!
Wed, July 11 - drive to Yakima, WA stopping in Moses Lake to visit a family friend.
Thurs-Fri, July 12&13 - visit family friends in Yakima. These folks have been like Aunt and Uncle to me since my childhood. And their daughter also lives in town who I rarely get to see.
Sat, July 14 - drive home sweet home.

It seems like it has been a while since I have gone on a nice road trip vacation. It's going to be really fun to connect with family and old friends but also have our own transportation and some time on our own. Has anyone been to Western Montana and have suggestions of what we should do or see on our three days there?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007



And sprouting...