Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come Emmanuel

I've tried to think of something profound to blog about as of late.
I've also tried to stop in this "current" of my life and think about the whole Christmas thing.
That's a river kind of "current" metaphor/analogy thing (or is that a double entendre?). Although the current I've experience as of late, is not like a "lazy river" that are built at amusement parks (shout out to Kes, Erin and Jodi my friends with whom I have had "lazy river" experience). This kind of current is the kind like in a river that seems swimable, looks easy to get to the other side, but once you start swimming you realize you're in trouble, and can't cross by yourself. 
Fortunately, no Providentially, I've had those people in my life, past and present that are a gift in getting me down, across, and in that river, making a tough time seem like I should just relax in that lazy river.
Oh, that tie-into Christmas-
I missed our church's "fancy" Christmas service, and then the next day's meeting, so I haven't gotten much of the "feeling" of Christmas.
For those who know me, you know that I am a big feeler, but try to base my decisions of life on
reality, and logic. Or at least sometimes defer to Paul for advice about things I can't stop emoting about. 
This season has been less about "emoting" about Christmas. I've been too preoccupied with the struggle between deciding if I'm in an overwhelming current or a lazy river. 
This morning, I awoke too early for me, went upstairs and starting trying to unearth Christmas gifts. As I did so, I turned on my iTunes Christmas play list, which I hadn't listened to since last year.
To make a long story short (which is nearly impossible for me), on this Christmas Eve morn, I paused from my unearthing gift duties, to finally blog profundities regarding this Christmas season, but being Distractagirl, instead, found a sweet note from my Indy pal. Of course I had to reply and acknowledge the gift of friendship we'd been given as we're doing this waiting for Jesus thing. 
Then, as I typed,  I could hear the carol in the background being sung by my friend, Wynonna, "O Come O Come Emmanuel" The lyrics of the hymn follow:
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Last Friday, Emma and I were on a "Girls Only" trip to Seattle. We had a wonderful time with my old, old friends who treated us like princesses. Maybe later in this week I will re account our happenings there, as a distraction from our lives current events. 
Unbeknownst to me, last Friday, my friend, Bellaartgirl, wrote a post about the happenings in my family. My husband was "Riffed" last week, but I didn't have the heart to write about it then. Bella eloquently drew a picture with her words of how our family and their family were affected.
Little did either of us know or would make any sort of prediction that the next week I'd literally be on my knees helping her get from a walker into a hospital bed. 
Here's part of what she wrote-

"It is amazing from one day to the next how the winds can change, the horizon flatten, the world flip. That may sound dramatic and it is but that is how it feels around here as we learned that a dear friend of ours lost their job. Their family is as close a heartbeat as you can get. We have walked so many roads together and will walk so many more. My husband works at the same company as our friend and none of us feel "secure" in our jobs. This makes the national news vivid and real.

I know that when hard things happen that they are, and can be, opportunities to grow and move on. But I think that A) no one likes it when the choice is not theirs, and B) there is still a grieving process for the change, and C) we still need to be each other's angels in the everyday and in the extraordinary."

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's interesting when one thinks they have a plan.
My plan for this week was to tackle some of the organization in the house, and get ready for my Mt. Hope Chronicles friends to come and play. 
Instead of being home, I was with my friend Bella caring for her after her accident.
 I am honored to be helping her, as I know she would do the same for me. It's more difficult for me to be away from the hospital, even though I know she's in good care. Perhaps it's that we're so used to sharing a good portion of our week together- teaching the kids, field trips, recounting our weekends, doing each others dishes, finding the chocolate stash, and on and on.
The year before last, I helped teach a Bible study to a group of girls, including Emma, on the subject of trials and sufferings. Now, I knew that teaching a group of middle school girls on such a topic was a risk, but I taught on it anyway. I felt I knew the subject well, yet it was hard to convey suffering when the girls were so young, and so loved. 
But perhaps this lesson was for me, again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking Forward

I had looked forward to blogging about recent events it my life, when all of my events and seemingly important "stuff" in life has come to a screeching halt.
My last post(written a while ago, but posted today) said if  you wanted to know what I was doing, to check out my friend, Bella Art Girl's blog . 
When one experiences life in community,  we embrace great joys, and endure great sorrows. 
I am trying not to be in a fog right now, but that is how my body responds to such a blow. One of the closest friends is in such pain. It's difficult to write much more. I want to write much more. 
Please pray for my dear friend. She will need so much encouragement.
I will write a post if I can. I don't want the reality of the situation to be such, but I will only need to endure a minuscule fraction of what my friend is facing.
While I was in the emergency room with her I thought of one of the passages in the Bible where some friends of a crippled man tore open a roof and lowered him into a building where Jesus was teaching, so Christ could heal their friend. 
That's what I would like to do.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Found Notebook

I did find the notebook I was looking for...It seems as though I've looked for many things this past month. Getting back to work as a homeschooling Mom has proven more difficult than I had thought. We are now on our tenth week of Classical Conversations, and I'm still trying to fit in all the work that is assigned. The curriculum of CC is good, great, wonderful work to do, but life in general in very demanding of my time(and the time vortex of facebook). 
If you use facebook, I may be caught up with you, but unless you can follow the "thread" of my conversations, you'd probably say, "Huh?" in regards to the happening of my family's lives, as I have difficulty following myself as well. 
In an effort to catch you up (you-one of those people who keep looking at my pages with great disappointment)with myself, I will reveal(that word makes it sound like something exciting or "juicy" will be "revealed," but not so much) what it "was" I wrote in that notebook. I do have editorial license over the content, it that, I can change what I had previously written, and add to it as well.
Here goes:
"Saturday (Oct.11) our visit to P-land was probably my quickest visit yet, as I am still recovering from my surgery. My intent to "take it easy" in recovery, seems to be going just fine. Paul drove up and back for me, and I must say I appreciated being the passenger. That's a rarity for me.
Van and I did EEL work for Classical Conversations most of the way up. I teach best when I'm strapped in, as the seat belt was suffice.
The shower for Morgan was absolutely lovely. Elsa prepared a tasty spread for the guests. Scrumptous food,  and beautiful flowers were plentiful. Lindsay did confess to creating some of the georgous flower arrangements.
The guest included many of the ladies from my family, along with some of Lindsay's long time guests. 
Morgan received adorable baby clothes and some entertaining toys for baby Owen. I'm fairly sure that Carlos will enjoy them also.
Although most of the ladies of our family attended the shower, I didn't have much time in the way of catch-up conversations. It seemed much like what speed dating would be like-but you're not trying to date your relative.
We did have some time with a smaller group: Matt, Elsa, Morgan, and Lindsay, post shower. Aslan the Nelson's ginormous puppy came out to play. Matt has met his match. Aslan is on of the biggest "puppies" I'd ever seen. 
While Emma and I were enjoying the shower, Van and Paul took a trip to see the house that Matt and Elsa were in the process of buying."
So, that's what I was able to write during Van's grammar class three weeks ago! 
Morgan hasn't had her baby yet, as he's due next week.
Matt and Elsa did get the house in Lake Oswego.
Now if you want any other details of this past month, check out my friend, Bellaartgirl's blog, we'll you'll find me and the kids.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Where Is That Notebook? The One I Wrote That Post In?

I realize that ten days have passed since my last post. I'm sure I've wanted to share some great news or stories regarding the happenings of my life, but I find myself just trying to get the wind back in my sails. 
I have experienced some discomfort from my surgery, and hardly any pain, for which I am grateful. I realize I had more of a fear of pain, that I had actual pain. It's interesting how we become accustomed to our "easy" life, but don't realize how easy it is until we experience discomfort. 
So forgive me if I haven't been sharing, as it takes much for me to be at a loss for words.
I did spend a good part of the afternoon laughing with another swim mom while we were timing at Emma's swim meet. Timing at a swim meet probably doesn't sound like a hoot, but this was a gift, in that, it helped relieve some of the stress of the past couple of weeks.  I'm surprised that they didn't kick us out of the glamourous position of volunteer lane timers, as we had become quite loud with our laughter.
As Emma stood by us, waiting for her swim, it was refreshing to hear her response to the other Mom's statement, "Your mom's crazy!"
Emma replied, "I know," as only a thirteen year old girl who loves her mom could.
Glad to get my crazy back on.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good Friday Art

This morning, with the results of the pathology report from my excisional biopsy coming back as benign, meaning a good thing, we were off to roam the world of art. 
Isn't that what most people do when they find out that their health is OK? Don't they say, "Let's go look at art."
Last week I signed us up to for a field trip to observe the art that is in the Jacob's Gallery at the Hult Center, as part of the Mayor's Art Show. Emma is a willing art observing participant, but much to Evander's unliking of art observation, he was forced into art fun.  He very much likes Lily and her gang, so art observation was doable for that boy as soon as he found out they were signed up as well. 
Our family and Bella's family were the only students to sign up for this field trip.
We are so modern, so hip. 
Actually, it was suprisingly refreshing to look at the art with the kids. Van was most interested in a piece that used Twinkies. He said he was "scarred" by some of the naked art. It didn't seem too profane to me, but my nine year old boy just doesn't care for such artwork.
Things were livened up a bit, as I let Baby W take some picture with my camera.
                                                                "papa dolly"
We stayed at the Mayor's art show for about an hour, then made our way down "Gallery Avenue," (I just made that up) ending up at Periginos. What a good ending to a good field trip, on a good day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Been Eighteen Days

So, I was going to post something eighteen days ago, (it now appears on the Sunday September 21st post, as it was a little too complicated to move to todays date) but waited to do so-not sure I was ready to announce such an occasion to the world. Now that I'm a day out of surgery, and very much alive I thought I would make a summation of these past few weeks.
First, I regret to say that my attempts at living a kind life, felt a little bit manufactured at times. I would much rather have a heart that is truly kind, rather than seeming like I'm going through the motions. 
Within those seventeen days, I had a big confrontation with a neighbor that proved my inability to control the universe by being kind. I feel like part of this disagreement was my responsibility, in that I had previously complained to this neighbor about their dog waking me at night, in a very complainy sort of way.
I had felt I needed to go an make amends, apologizing for the delivery of my complaint. But I didn't do so, and dealt with he consequences of their previous encounter with me. All that to say, I am imperfect, and need to make amends, ask for forgiveness when I have offended others, and know that only Christ has been the only perfect one to walk this earth. The only way I can have a ounce of kindness is by the belief  and action in His commandment to love one another. 
That may sound a little to "religious" for some of my blog readers, but do know that it's important for me to know why I believe what I believe, and for you as friends to have some information regarding my worldview.
My surgery went well, and the doctor said it did not look cancerous, and I expect the pathology reports on Friday. That being said, I will continue in my quest to be a person who loves, knowing that I am flawed, and that the only true grace comes from God.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cheap Seats

Back from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 08.
 Loved the music, but I'd forgotten how diverse a crowd will show up for a free concert. Quite the sea of humanity. Peaceful, eclectic, yet, my head hurts from the "haze."
 We stood fairly close to the stage, and could see the folks with the best seats at the concert-over a guarded fence, on the stage, behind the performers. We surmised that it was the fellow who bankrolls the whole concert series, and the mysterious woman I'm speculating, was the queen of the festival, Emmy Lou. 
They could see. All we could see on the stage was hair. It was a hair war between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
I bet those two discuss hair products often. 
Buddy Miller, one of my all time favorites musicians played with them. Robert Plant and Buddy Miller. Cool. Alison I assume was on the fiddle. I saw her at the end of the concert, chatting it up with mysterious Mr. and the mysterious woman. 
I did give a call to Miss Kris when "Down To The River To Pray" was sung by Alison Krauss. I wish I had a voice like hers. Alison's that is. I like Miss Kris,' and she gives free concerts too. Miss Kris would sing with me, but I don't think Robert Plant would sing with me. 
Although I can't say I know anything about Led Zeppelin's music, I enjoyed the way the two performer's voices blended so well together, like music butter.
By the looks of the crowd, they seemed to enjoy the Led Zeppelin's song's gone bluegrass. While I shunned such music in high school, Paul embraced it. As he knew the old music, he delighted in Krauss' and Plant's version of "Battle of Evermore."
Of course, I enjoyed being with Paul tonight, but I can't help compare with our previous HSB with the Brosamers. Not only were they excellent hosts, opening their home to us, they are incredible people. The kind of people whom you'd love to spend those ordinary days with, not just music festivals.

A Room Without A View

We're about ready to be on our way to the Hardly Strictly Blugrass Festival. But I wanted to do a quick post with a photo from our hotel. Enjoy, as we are off to have a good ol' time. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

More Time

When you start counting the days to an event, you realize there just isn't enough time.
Not enough time to eat that yogurt, way, way, way back in the fridge.
Not enough time to mail the hat you have that belongs to your friend's baby, that she left in the van, when you went somewhere together-three years ago.
I'd like more time to hold babies and kittens. 
I'd like more time to snuggle with my own kids.
I'm trying to pack my bags for a trip, but the ordinary-mundane, is keeping me from packing. It tires me. 
It also tires me to stop and be with people. But it's what I love. If it's a conversation at the grocery or posing for a picture on Facebook, I just love interacting with most people.
So, I am trying to carve out time for one of my other loves, listening to live music. I must retire for the evening, as the morning comes sooner when that clock ticks. 
This temporal life tick, tick, ticks so loudly, yet I need to remind myself that I'm pursuing Life for an Eternity.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Life Gives You Apples

Monday, my domestic diva friend and I decided to tackle making applesauce. Well, I asked her if she'd like to come over and we'd make it "together." The lovely apple tree in our front yard produces an amazing amount of apples for being a "dwarf" tree. So we took our boys all the way to the front of my yard and picked nearly a bushel of apples. Well, I don't know how I came to a comclusion of a bushel of apples, but we picked enough to cook three pots of applesauce. 
Please note that I am using the term "we" loosely. 
Most of the time, I methodically cored/sliced/peeled the apples. My friend had done the same with the apples, but with her coring/slicing/peeling 10 apples to my 1. Granted, if one knows me well, they know I am easily distracted, so I would assume she knew what she was getting into (If I say her name everyone will want to go to her house and eat applesauce{she left most of it here for us}).(By the way, I just made that whole parenthesis thing up). She was busy cooking and smooshing, and then I decided it was time to make a video for my Facebook page. I must say my friend seemed very tolerant with the distractions.
About the apple tree...
When I was growing up, my folks had a couple with whom they spent much of their free time. While he passed away a few years ago, she is still living in the Portland area. Six years ago, we invited her to our celebratory open house, yet she was unable to attend, and sent us a housewarming gift. I can't remember if she specified to buy a tree or not, yet I felt compelled to do so with the gift she had given. She always kept a beautiful garden in only about a third of the space I have in my yard. So with the check, I ended up purchasing an espalier pear tree, and then later, a dwarf apple tree. 
I can't say I've taken great care of either tree, and the espalier is a mess right now, but the apple tree was so heavy with fruit this summer, it leaned over near the ground. 
As busy as our family is, and with school up and running, I began to ignore this tree, in that, I knew that collecting it's fruit meant work on my part. I couldn't figure out how I was to do our schedule and actually do something with the apples. So, as the apples began falling off the tree, I decided I better not let anymore go to waste.
I have given much thought this summer to the responsibility of abundance. The tree is a gift from a friend, the fruit is a gift from God that I have to decide to make good choices with it's fruit. I can use them, share them or not do so, and let them rot. 
To me, the latter is a waste, yet in all my busyness I watch them rot. It's a choice to live in this Internet speedy culture, but when I stop long enough to enjoy such moments with friends to use the gift, it is time well spent. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Seventeen Days

In seventeen days I go in for a surgery, an excisional biopsy of a couple of fibroadenomas in my breast. There I said it. I don't do a very good job of keeping secrets. I'm too much of an extrovert. I just spit the quiet part out loud much of the time. Although, the older I've gotten my filter is better. Really. I think I used to say it like it is(or how I thought it was), but then could feel the shock people experienced from my "honesty". Not so much anymore. OK, not as much anymore.
As I tend to be a realist, I realized that I have seventeen days to do all those things I'm suppose to do before I die. OK, I don't plan on dying, and I'm sure my surgeon would reassure me that it's more than likely not going to happen, and I'm probably going to freak my kids out by writing such a thing (and a few other people), but it's a possibility.
On the way back from Disney World, we watched, "The Bucket List" on the plane. I was due to go get a mammogram that week, in which two fibroadenomas were found in my left breast. 
After watching "The Bucket List," I didn't make a list, per se, but this kind of stuff has been mulling around in my head since at least then. 
So I'm making a list, sort of. Let me think.
I started by eating steak. Steak is a good start. 
I don't feel like I have to do an Ironman. I've done enough running here and there to satisfy that sort of desire.
I think I'll pick up my fiddle and play it. First I have to tune it. I guess it's back to, "Boil the Cabbages." Maybe they'll let me play at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" if they let people who can hardly play bluegrass on stage. 
I'm working on "Love Casserole" again, remember the book I said I was writing? This will add drama to the book, maybe a whole chapter. 
I went through this whole biopsy thing a few years ago, and then re accounted my life during my 39th year so, hmm. What is left on the list?
It's a list mostly about being of good character, remembering to be kind and loving to people. If only I could spend seventeen days really loving people. Showing them my gratitude. Telling them thank you for their kindnesses to me.
But my pride can get in the way of this. My hurt can get in the way of this. 
I believe that I am inherently sinful, lost without the sacrifice of Christ, in my place. So I know I can't meet the standard I wish to achieve. Doesn't that mean I shouldn't try? No way. 
So I'm to go around and be nice for seventeen days.  We'll I guess that simplifies it. But there must be more than that? 
Yes, living this life, which is a gift. Believing it's a gift from God, and that He is in control of the good and bad of it. 
So do I have seventeen days to preach? Perhaps. But perhaps it's to be seventeen days of listening. 

I Miss TV

When I was growing up I watched TV every day.  I think. I must have. Well, I'm watching TV and blogging. Why? I don't know for sure. It's the Emmys. People get awards for being on television shows, producing them, writing them. When I watched the montage with Josh Groban singing, the TV theme songs I knew most of them. What's this about? 
Now I'm laughing at the Laugh In people, because it's nostalgic, yet so out of context now. I remember watching some shows when I was a kid. I thought it was funny, but I was under five. I've watched the re-runs at times, and see much more of the innuendo, if you know what I mean.
Some guy just said, "Love TV, and fear the Internet." Huh.
Then Tiny Fey was on. I like her. As far as I know. I don't want to know bad things about her. Then I won't like her. 
I realize I'm writing this like I would on Facebook. Choppy, short and to the point.? I'll try not to do that on a blog post. A different time.
I like to save the blog for important things. 
So in conclusion, I hold much of my worldview based on those fundamental educational beginnings watching TV. It's no wonder I'm so ADD.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keeping Up with Myself

Here are some of the mamas with whom I spent the day "educating" my children. 
My Thursday for the next school year, will be as Mrs. Teague's parent/tutor helping with the "Journeyman" group at Classical Conversations.  If I recall, about seventeen families have joined in the endeavour of "classically" educating our children. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly is the definition of a classical education. I just know Mrs. T is beyond being a great teacher. I'm not saying that just because she's one of my closest friends.
Last post, I wrote about my "Facebook Frenzy." I'm already tired of the competition with Paul on acquiring friends. It's almost dizzing keeping up with all those friends daily happenings. Also, I generally don't keep an account of my friends-except for inviting others to big parties and speculating who would show up for my funeral. 
At the park today, I found myself scanning for potential Facebook friends. It was like, "What's your name?Do you use Facebook?"
I am curious to see how this sort of "social" networking will pan-out. I wonder if it just is a forum for smarty pants like me.
One of my FB friends commented that FB was narcissistic. Hmm? Is blogging much different?
I also wonder if these are moments I choose to occupy my time while I'm waiting for Jesus. Perhaps it's an inner conflict I'm having with making the most of every moment, and enjoying "the humor of the situation."
I've also had a little boy share with me his angst with his mother spending so much time on the computer. I've let the little boy know that I'll use the computer when he's in bed. He'll be going to be at 6PM from here on out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Facebook Frenzy

When my dear friend from Portland came down to spend the Labor Day weekend with our family, she introduced me to the world of "Facebook." Frankly, I'm not completely sure I know just exactly what it is, but I must say I'm a bit hooked. I abandoned my first Internet love, writing on my blog, for a competition with my husband to find friends on Facebook. I stopped watering the garden. I stopped cleaning the house. The "Dinner Fairy" doesn't even come to my house anymore. 
I can quit any time. 
Obsession is a strong word, but I don't believe I have even watched any television since I discovered this social phenomenon. Searching for old friends is such a blast from the past. All the names, and faces pop back into my memory. It's like this ongoing reunion of sorts, seeming to share, somewhat peering, somewhat observing. Wow!
So about this competition with Paul. It began entirely as a joke. He's mostly stolen all of my friends. I gladly share them in real life, but he's just over the top in stealing them from my Facebook page. 
I decided I will stop trying to find friends at 100 friends. That sounds like a good, round number. I haven't ignored any friends. I don't do that too much in real life.
 I do it though. I told myself, it was purely subconscious. I realized after church last week, that I had sought out a Facebook friend, and literally forgot the name of the person she was talking to, and interrupted them, as I wanted to greet my Facebook friend. 
I gave it some thought, and realized that it was very wrong of me to have ignored the other woman. Not only was it impolite to interrupt, I didn't go out of my way to be kind enough to her, as she was just as easily worth my attention even though she wasn't a Facebook friend. 
I've mentioned that I'm writing a book called, "Love Casserole" and I believe the Facebook phenomenon with be a part of the book, in that, this is something that is, and will affect our circle of friends, those who run in "Christian" circles, past, present, and as I'm recounting the past with others-may affect our relationships in the future.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Did They Change the Capitals?"

Seriously. I was in Evander's Classical Conversations class, and the class was working on  memorizing the east coast states and capitals. I had seriously forgotten the true names of the majority of them, as if my brain had made up it's own capitals. You know, Portland, ME, Providence, RI, cities that should be capitals just because I'm familiar with their names.
I guess it's back to elementary school.
Good thing I'm the teacher.
Van started his Classical Conversations classes yesterday. He absolutely loved being in the classes. He asked, "Next time are you going to drop me off, then come back at lunch?" He didn't understand that I was suppose to be there and helping him learn.
He also said it was perfect, except for one thing, "Logan." Logan is probably one of the only other close friends that is not in his classes.
Overall, I'm am thrilled with CC, yet I was not as prepared as needed for the English class.  The work that needs to go into the studying before next Thursday, may be lacking, in that, it may take much more time to get the work done, than my busy little schedule will allow. I'm guessing this will be the norm. So I guess, I need to do some pre-planning. Hmmm, isn't there something about "Easier said than done?".
After CC, Evander and I drove to Harrisburg to get his haircut. He had a surprise waiting for him. As we pulled up, he yelled, in surprise, "It's Jodi!" Van knows that where there's a Jodi, there's a Cooper! Sure enough, they arrived in town on Thursday, and drove up to Harrisburg from Coburg to surprise the kids.
I wish I'd taken a photo of the group hug the boys were giving each other when they were inside the salon. Unbiasedly, I must say, Cooper, Carver and Evander are so darn cute together. All the boys look so big now! (I think big is a banned word in Evander's writing class) OK, they are ginormous!
Emma was to have had her haircut by Brenda as well, but I made a mistake in the schedule, and double booked Ems. Payton seemed disappointed when Emma wasn't there also. Payton's family is busy over the week, so she may not see her for a week or so.  
I'm always thrilled to see Jodi, but our conversation was brief, but hopefully we'll have longer talks while she's here on her visit.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tumblin' Along With the Tumblin' Tumbleweeds

Our Crane Praire trip was a couple of weeks ago now, and I haven't taken the time to sincerely express what a wonderful trip we had. It was so easy camping with our longtime friends. I also realize that I really am in my element when I'm camping and out in the woods. I don't have to worry about make-up or hair. I just live in the moment of the woods.
So here's some quick notes on some of my favorite photos of the trip...
First, here is the hubby doing what he loves best-starting fires. This is what's called a bird's nest. Evander and Paul started this from flint and steel. This happens when you bang a piece of steel against a rock that makes a spark. Paul and Van used charcloth to start this one, it can be done without it but it's easier to catch the spark with the charcloth..I've never really made a fire this way, but I'm guessing I will have those duties as a Cub Scout leader eventually. 

Here's Cowgirl Lily, at the Cowboy Dinner Tree I loved this place! Middle of Nowhere. Chicken. Steak. Cowboy atmosphere. Matt and Rachel Wilson often play here, and live down the road.
Uncle T was on lifeguard duty on this windy afternoon at the reservoir
We seemed to have this section of the campground to ourselves, until I noticed that the tree had some very non-tree looking creature in it. With a little investigation, our crew discovered we had this eagle observing our happenings. 

Here's my good buddy, Bella, out doin' her thing. Baby on back. Middle of Nowhere with family and friends. This is the kind of friend that would agree to go to the Middle of Nowhere with Travellin' Nan. 

Here's Lily and Van breaking for a moment at Ft. Rock State Park. They ran most of this evening. So fun to watch.
They had a fantastic time together while camping: biking, climbing, running, lots of fun over these few camping days.
Emma's had a rough beginning this camping trip, as she started with a nasty cold. She felt better the last day or two, even though the accommodations weren't the four star hotels we have become accustomed to....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Time Flies in a Good Way

I have to say, I very much enjoy having folks stay at our home, and this Labor Day weekend, a family of friends from Hillsboro stayed with us for three nights, as their Papa Bear was competing in a bicycling event over the weekend. The Mama Bear hung out with me most of the time with the kids at our house (We did get out for some coffee breaks). Spending time with her is quite easy, as our friendship has been going strong for over twenty years now. We stay in touch, and seem to pick-up where we left off with ease. We may not live in the same town, but I am glad that we are on this parenting/wiving/life journey at the same time. 
Lest I forget, as it was so Friday, Mama Bear and I meet EK  at the spa for a pedicure. What fun! We brought in food, and EK was our servant girl for a good portion of the time. I must say I enjoyed the laughter with these two friends. 
We then moved on to dinner at Cafe Lucky Noodle. Yummy Noodle, as always. Again, lots of fun with deep and meaningful conversation as well.
Sweet Emma was our babysitter while we enjoyed the spa, but overall the kids occupied themselves with Pokemon most of the weekend. They did explore our tree fort as well.
 On Saturday, we joined EK's family for a bike ride to Riverplay Park. It was quite the little bike train we had going through town, nine bikes and a bike trailer. Fortunately, I am the only one who sustained bicycling injuries. But my pride will not let me tell this part of the story with any details.
We stayed at the park at least a couple of hours, as the kids seemed to have a blast playing with each other on the play structure. Emma did not join us, as it seems she may be a bit playgrounded out at thirteen. We ate a picnic lunch, and the adults acted like cats sitting in the sun just soaking it up.
Thoughout the weekend, I made so much food, and ate so much food. Yes, I can cook-to some degree. We are a group of fairly healthy eaters, so I have many leftovers of all the food I cooked-with hopes that the leftovers do not to mold in the fridge. Perhaps I won't have to cook for a couple of weeks. 
The biggest treat of all this weekend was that we were able to have a reunion of sorts. Mama Bear, with another gal, (I'll call her Swong) was part of a group I took up to Malibu College Prep Week this time of year twenty years ago. We met here with another Sheldon Young Life friend, EK, and both their families. We ladies chatted it up, while the men folk tried to stay up with us...
Sometimes I've wondered if I did the right thing spending so much of my time with Young Life activities in college etc., But as we laughed and caught up on Sunday, I had this confident joy in knowing that it was time well spent.  The benefit is that now, we not only have a connection of being "Sisters in Christ," we have a history and longevity of friendship that will always hold these "girls" close to my heart. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Heads Up

I think my head is still up...
I just spent a couple of hours on the Internet browsing blogs of my friends. I haven't spent much time doing such this month, as the days have flown by for us. 
We returned on Tuesday the 26th from a wonderful camping trip to Central Oregon. I will save this story, as I am preparing for the next adventure of weekend guests. If you must have a preview, my friend at PilgrimAkimbo has a great summary of his perspective of the trip. Also, Bellaartgirl has a photo of us on one of our showerless  camping days...
My house cleaning has been anything but this last month, so for the past few days our family has tried to dig ourselves out of our moving on from one thing to the other. It doesn't look like this lifestyle will slow down much in the near future. I very much have a "live life to the fullest" philosophy, that often leaves me with the title of "Queen of Moving On." I will blog about this sometime, but that comment is so yesterday. 
After one of those early morning wake-ups, I will attempt to make it through the day, without napping, hoping to be prepared for my guests. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No, I Didn't See an Orca

 I know it might be old news, but I had a wonderful vacation with friends at Orcas Island at the beginning of the month. So instead of going into great detail of our vacation, I decided I'd list my top favorites during the week. 

Ferry ride-The ferry ride to Orcas created a wonderful transition from the busy world to the quiet life of the island. I loved that we gathered together chattily catching up, anticipating our week together.
Location-I can't say enough about how beautiful the landscape is on Orcas Island. I didn't do any running, but walked down the road from where we were staying, and  stopped long enough to admire a beautiful farm scene with a old rustic barn, long, waving grasses, with the sun hitting it all in just the right light. Beautiful.
Food-I just had the thought that I didn't really do much cooking during this week-so out of the ordinary for me. I did free the steamed clams from their shells for Paul's Famouser Clam Chowder ( I don't want to infringe on trademark slogans). I was spoiled rotten with our in-house meals-pulled pork sandwiches, Greek lamb, tri-tip steak. The dinner fairy was good to me.
Our meals out as a group included visits to two great restaurants.  We had a great Thai dinner at Thai Sisters Cafe, and ended our last evening out at Lu-Lu's Pasta Rustica. Either restaurant I would send friends to enjoy wonderful dinners. It was also amazing that they could seat all thirteen of us at each place. 
Friends-Spending a week with three families can be challenging, but with such a quality group of folks, the upside of sharing a vacation outweigh the logistics of figuring out the itinerary for the day.
(Notice those young fellows in the garden in their leather skirts.)
Romance- Due to those great friends, Paul and I were able to head into town by ourselves a couple of times. My favorite spot ended up being Kathyrn Taylor Chocolates. It's a fabulous chocolate shop in Eastsound that I absolutely enjoyed (only a couple of chocolates and mochas). The shop was about as big as my living room, with wonderful woodworking, and with the smell of the chocolates (I'm sorry that I don't have scratch and stiff on my blog)!
Nick and Kate-a most unusual encounter with hitchhikers (no Kate, I won't tell your mom). These were the kind of hitchhikers you spend the day with and then invite to dinner. A nice young couple from Brooklyn, and other points on the globe.

Here is some of our group, with Nick and Kate admiring Evander's new tie-dye socks we purchased for the sake of art.

Turtleback Mountain- I had finally stopped sleeping and was ready for some adventure. We went on a group hike on Turtleback Mountain.The majority of the group made it to about where this picture was taken. Five of us continued up and over-over a six mile hike. I'd never hiked that far, and absolutely loved it! Perhaps I'll take up hiking when I retire.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just A Day at the Beach

I haven't given much of a run-down of our vacation at Orcas Island, but that will come...
This weekend, we hosted my brother, Bob, and his wife Jan for a visit. It started out as an ordinary visit. They came in on Friday evening, we had a meal together at my home, and did some catch-up chatting on our lives and such. We took a walk down the road to pick blackberries, and  had the opportunity to have our neighbor friends meet our guests. 
Saturday morning, we drove across town to Cornucopia for breakfast. We really enjoy their breakfasts, and claim this place to be one of our favorite breakfast spots in town. 
After a leisurely breakfast, we made our way to Florence for the day. The temperature in Eugene was to soar, so we headed for the cool weather. In Florence, the temperatures were in the 60's with some wind, so we didn't plan on swimming at Cleowax. Instead, we first walked around old town. We headed to a coffee shop, where Bob treated us to a coffee. We also had a "celebrity sighting," and I snapped a quick photo of one of the "stars" in our life.  After our foray in town, we then decided on heading to the South Jetty. We were dawdling as we arrived at the jetty.  It was quite windy, and we were getting set for a little walk to the beach, putting on jackets and such.  As we readied ourselves, Van had his scooter out, thinking maybe he could scooter in the gravel, when a small blue car came sliding in on the gravel near him, then peeling out as they left. I was a taken back a bit as I saw this as a stupid teenager being an unsafe driver, disregarding others, and endangering our son.
As we were looking in the direction that the car went, we noticed some smoke billowing from the dunes about a quarter mile away. There were a few of us that made the observation, stating the obvious, "That looks like a fire." It seemed so out of place, with black smoke billowing, and then we began seeing the giant flames.
After the incident with the gravel, and as we were watching the fire, another young man drove up, stating that those teenagers we had just seen, had sent a firework out of their car, having started the fire.  
I called 911 on my phone. The line was busy. When I was able to connect, the dispatcher asked if it was about the fire, and then hung up, after I said, "Yes," but before I said, "but..."  as I was also giving her information about the possible suspects. 
In the meantime, no fire fighters had arrive, and we as a group made a decision to drive out, rather than stay. I'm not convinced that was the wisest choice, but when we decided to go, we made it in the nick of time. The flames became bigger, and moved faster, and Paul made the "Better Go Now" move with the car, as we yelled for him to drive faster.  When we passed the fire which was to the right of us, we felt the heat of the fire through the car. Scary to say the least(In the picture you can see the fire had jumped the road).

With the adrenaline going, and me taking some Mama time to calm the children, we decided to go to the other side of the jetty to watch the fire. We all seemed a bit PTSD from the fire, but really were on to the next event. Uncle Bob set the swinging example, but didn't get a photo of him. It helped release some of the stress of our previous activity.
Again, hard to top that off, but we did end up at Mo's to eat chowder.
The temperature didn't climb as quickly as it did when we drove by the fire, but driving back into Eugene the thermometer rose at least 30 degrees. We were glad to be welcomed to an air-conditioned home. 
So, what do you do with visiting guests after you drive through a fire? 
Well, I served them a tasty, yet uneventful dinner. But the best part of the dinner was Aunt Jan's pie. My camera couldn't do the pie justice, hence no picture. That pie was yummy, yummy. We used the blackberries that we had picked on Friday. "We" as in I observed Jan as she made the pie. In my mind I helped her.
Sunday, we had our regular breakfast for guest fare-including bacon, and my "homemade" twisted pastries. Jan and I enjoyed our breakfast to the "pitter patter" of the rain on the patio. OK, it was loud pouring down rain that interrupted the quiet of our conversation. 
After breakfast, Bob, Jan, Evander and myself headed for Alton Baker for a tour of the park, and a chance for Evander to really ride his scooter. 
Now I wonder how I'm going to top the next guests' visit?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The End

After my run, I was whisked into the van so we could go cheer on our Canadian friend's husband on his last run. But what happened at this exchange point with another team, well, is not "Cub Scout" friendly (I try to keep my blog "G" rated.) All I can say is the Hula-gans outdid their night time cheering section with a stunt involving rip-off pants.
 I can't remember at what point "we" stole the Seamonkey's mascot, a large round monkey looking stuffed animal. I must say "we,"as in my encouragement to commit the crime, I became an accomplice. I believe someone had remarked at the beginning of the race that we should steal it. Now, mind you, we ladies appear to be upstanding commandment abiding citizens, yet it was too tempting not to hold that monkey for ransom.
Mrs. G was all too happy to duct tape it to the the back of the van-with a note, and a remnant from the Hula-gan's shenanigans. 
It took the Seamonkeys a long time to figure that we were the culprits that stole their beloved monkey. Perhaps it was the, "No, we didn't steal your monkey," with Mrs. G's Cheshire Cat grin on her face that led them to believe that. 
It took a reconnaissance team to get their monkey back, but they never did pay the ransom. They said that they didn't negotiate with terrorists. 
(Remember this photo? It has that great foreshadowing that happens only in novels-or cartoons!)

 After our eyes stopped burning from the Hula-Gan's stunt, EK was on a kamikaze mission to get to the showers. Yes, we definitely needed showers, but had to remind EK that is was not at all costs. She ripped up that mountain with such fervor, and sped down that mountain to Bend, like it was imperative that every one of us removed the sweat and dust we had accumulated within the past day. 
For those that still had a sense of humor left after the race, the after party proved fun cheering other teams into the finish. Of course our team ended with a flair of the dramatic as our last runner donned only a mask and American flag shorts. In the end, we won our division, and placed twenty second overall as a team. 
Now that you've read my version of the relay, here is the Bend Bulletin's story (which I honestly was an unnamed source).
Lastly, thanks to our team captain for keeping everything afloat and for being in charge!

Not Done Yet

So I'm to my third leg of the Cascades Lake Relay. The time between the previous leg, and my last leg is somewhat of a blur. If I remember correctly, the temperature seemed somewhat moderate to start, and the route was up, and somewhat down at times. Kinda like life I guess...
The route finally began to head towards Bend, and some bicyclist were passing me as they went up, and then down the mountain. I recall saying something to the effect of, "You've got it easy!"
They didn't appear to think so...
What made this leg different than I thought, is that I thought it was a five something mile run. It's funny what you can think when you are sleep deprived, and running in the heat, at a higher elevation. I had been razzing my new Canadian friend about how she got the primo short run, and I had the much longer run as the ending leg-even though I was older than she. She took my ribbing with grace.
So when I went out for this run, I just planned one putting one foot after the other, and the run taking a bit longer than usual. 
I was soon passed by a high school girl, who startled me as she whizzed by, as I didn't hear her coming from behind. I was overly surprised ( I acted kinda like a chicken does when surprised), as my senses were out of whack. She apologized, and I echoed her "Good job" and she zoomed past me. 
I was getting quite warm, and noticed that about twenty feet down the side of the road was a creek. I had a Bear Grils moment thinking, "Now would be the time to get water."  But no, I skipped the scramble down. I knew my teammates wouldn't appreciate the time it took to do so, and there was an impending danger in such an act.
I continued my run, two other ladies passed me,(I would be considered roadkill to them) yet I continued with my slow but steady pace. My van ladies had stopped to cheer and give me water, EK dumping it on my overheated head (Hooray for Mrs. G's ability to use a spigot). At the last van assist, EK told me I had about a mile to go. I thought she was trying to pull some reverse psychology on me trying to motivate me to go faster (Remember, at this point I had maybe seven hours of sleep in two days). I say, "Do you think I'm stupid?" Not normally the tone I take, but I knew her game! 
So I ran a little farther, not too far behind one of the ladies that passed me (didn't know why she was in such a hurry) when I started to notice that everyone had gather at the end of the hill I was coming down. I thought that they must me cheering on the other's for their last mile. I ran another quarter mile or so thinking that maybe it could be the end. I was down to about an eighth of a mile thinking, "He sure looks ready for the exchange." I did speed up, and slapped that bracelet on him. Quickly turning to my teammates wondering if they had conspired to let him run some of my leg. I wasn't done yet! I had held back thinking my leg was a couple miles longer than it actually was, as it was only 3.9 miles.  It took much convincing that there was no conspiracy to shorten my run. Our team captain said something to the effect of, "I've never heard anyone complain that their run was too short!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Job

After the run in the dark, at about three something in the morning, we headed for our sleeping area in LaPine. I decided to "sleep" inside the car, as we had about three hours before EK's leg. The younger ladies slept outside, where it hovered above the freezing level. Our three hours of rest turned to two hours, as our Van 2's Silver Fox had run so fast we had to get moving. 
The sun had come up by this time, and EK had a nice long run, while the rest of the ladies in the van began the "Good Job" brigade. We were all quite loopy, and were even forgetting to give our runners water after their run. But that didn't stop Mrs. G from her elequent, encouraging, "Good Job" as we passed the runners. For some reason, her delivery had struck a funny bone in a couple of us ladies and we giggled at every passing. Much better that the laughing gas at the dentist office.
Last week, I watched the movie, "Hancock" and "Good Job" became even funnier than the context of the movie. 
So we giggled our way to our last runs, especially at Mrs. G's "Give it up." Not to be confused with, "Why don't you go ahead and give up because our team is much faster than yours." 
Guess you had to be there. 
But my Cascade Lakes Relay story is not over. More to come.

Mosquito Send-off

On Friday the first, as the sun set and our team was ready to start our next section of the relay, we had to say goodbye to our new friends we had met at Silver Lake-the mosquitoes. We were waiting for the Silver Fox to run in and send EK off into the sunset, then they came out of no where. The swarming mass seemed to enjoy the fact that we had put repellent on, as they were on a different kind of sports adventure. We swatted at the bugs on each other, as we stood waiting at the exchange. We gave a short congratulations to the Silver Fox, who was then quickly surrounded by his adoring mosquito fans. 
So began the darkness.
We followed our runners with the van lights on, often leap frogging ahead or following directly behind so the runner could see what was in the road. Each of the runners faced a rutted, dusty road, and altogether ran about thirty-six miles in the dark.
 The van ride was interesting as EK began her run at my normal bedtime. She was first, and I was to run last. This is where our conversations became, less lucid and more "interesting?" I spent most of this time in the back of the van, attempting to sleep when I wasn't being used as ottoman. 
I wasn't quite conscious enough before the exchange, in that I realized needed to use the powder room  to freshen up right before it was my turn to run. The driver quickly drove me ahead, but our bionic runner made it to the exchange just as I had put on my lip gloss. So I hurried to meet her and out of the light of the giant spotlights into the dark. I quickly realized that I had left my headlamp in the van. I paused for a moment, but new that the ladies would follow shortly after. 
As I began my route on pavement near the Paulina Mountains, all that I could see were the lane lines and the stars above the tree line. 
One step after the other I began a gradual uphill, yet my teammates hadn't followed with the light. I ran a bit faster than normal those first five minutes. I also had a great time of reflection, in that, I had to trust whatever was my story in the road ahead. Was it a pothole? A mountain lion or other wild animal that would end my life's journey? 
I looked at the stars so far away, yet was comforted by knowing that whatever my "fate" on the run, I had to trust the Maker of those stars.
The ladies in the van did catch up to me, and so did the Hulagans. I didn't understand why their van was out there, as they didn't have a runner in sight. At one point their van pulled up ahead, seeming to wait for their runner, but as I passed, they cheered. I said thank you. Then I saw a different kind of moon.
I was taken aback by this tomfoolery, so much so I lost a bit of focus, reminding myself that I should try and find the humor of the situation rather than having my sensibilities offended. 
Shortly after this incident, my van checked in with me, and then said a Hulagan was behind me-fifteen yards. Before I knew it, she passed me going uphill. It seemed I never recovered from that non-celestial greeting. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thru Travel Not Advised

Here's my new Canadian friend before she headed down this very long, hot and dusty road. She ran almost nine miles on this road, whereas I ran a little over the last five it. 
I estimate that she ran during the time of the "Great Badger Showdown." A woman from the Hulagans said a badger chased her down the road. She said that she came down with heat stroke not long after. Must have been the stress of the wildlife encounter. She should have taken a picture of herself.
The story of the chase down is rumored to be so enthralling that a person using a port-a-potty while the woman shared her story right outside the potty, chose to sit and listen to said story rather than exit. People clearly don't get out in the woods enough. 
On this run is where my handy-dandy waist belt came in handy, as I used my water spritzer on this run. At first the sprayer was quite handy, but as I became hotter, all the spritzing I did just made me have to, well, it gave me the "Gotta go right now" urgency. I stopped spritzing and took care of nature's call before the officials' cars came by.
I did receive an encouraging, "Only one mile to go!" from an official gal who was inside her air conditioned Audi. Easy for her to say. The official guy in the other car reminded me of those sweepers when I did the Nike run-good looking guys pointing the old lady the way to the end. He asked, "You alright?" Of course I huffed, "Yes." I didn't ask, "Would you be alright if you were out here?"
I ran leg six, finishing the run at the 85 degree mark. My experience was that the farther I ran up the road, the less the trees attempted to provide shade. I saw no mirages, but I was happy to have done the training I did on those very hot days in Eugene. I felt this training helped me know I could handle the heat. I hadn't trained on such a running surface, but I kept my slow but steady pace. I did wear my Garmin watch, and it said that I ran hundreds of miles. I forgot to turn it off at the end of my run. So, I couldn't tell my pace and I couldn't tell if the elevation slowed me down.
I would like to say I enjoyed the beauty of this particular leg, but I just recognized that it was hot and I needed to put one foot in front of the other.  I did appreciate my peeps with the water and woo-hoos, and for fixing my iPod when I floundered with it at the start of my run.  

Here is the team at the Silver Lake rest area. I tried to sleep but became enthralled with a couple that were singing in the park. I love bluegrass, old time country, and folk music. Although my teammates may have found them annoying while they were trying to sleep, I loved the interruption.
Matt and Rachel Wilson of Silver Lake Oregon

So It Began

This photo doesn't look like much to the non-participant's eye, but this photo has race historic significance. These people aren't just standing around.  This was the beginning of the race, and the beginning of the friendly rivalry amongst these three teams.  This is a photo of our team along with the Sea Monkeys and the Hulagans. The Sea Monkeys have just attached their precious mascot to their car. Notice that our blond friend seems to be mesmerized by the monkey. More later on the significance of the photo...
So at the end of the first leg of the race, a new friend and I were bonding by the information kiosk, while my old buddy EK was kickin' it in up mountain. EK took on quite a bit of mileage this race, and did wonderfully. We had a great time in the van together, and she only made me spew out my water once while I was in a post race delirium

And So the Story of Van One, Leg Six Begins...

 The adventure of the Cascade Lakes Relay started the evening of Thursday July31st. Our welcoming sign at the Ray's in LaPine Oregon confirmed that this event was really happening. If I recall correctly, this is where we called ourselves, "Sports Adventurers." Perhaps this gave us a reason why we had uprooted ourselves from our home and families.  
The story goes something like this...
After picking up one of our runners in Black Butte, we ate our first meal together in Sisters at Martolli's Pizza. The ladies of "True Grit Natives" then met up with the men of our team as we spent the night in cabins on Lemolo Lake
Our team's start time was at 8:30A, needing to be there an hour before the start for "check-in," leaving us with a wake-up time of 6:00AM. Not too early of a time, if it weren't for not sleeping well the night before. When I did sleep, my anxiety about the race and fear of injury lead me to dream, or think that I was going into renal failure. Although this condition would have rendered me unable to compete in the relay, I had to convince myself it was only a dream. 

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nancy's Sleeping

It was a week ago that I set off to compete in the Cascade Lakes Relay. Time flys. I will post about the race, but for now I'm catching up. It seems like I spend time either catching up, or moving on...I'm on Orcas Island right now, and only a few spots have wireless internet. This is the first day I have attempted to write a post so here goes...
A few other runners and myself drove back from Bend on Saturday evening, still exhausted from the race. We ended up having the Canadian contingent of the team stay over at our house. I wasn't able to be as hospitable as I would like, as we were to leave for Washington bright and early on Sunday.
 The third of August, our family headed north to Orcas Island, Washington to vacation with friends for a week of respite on the water. During our travel north, I was rather short with my family, and out of sorts when we left home, as our goal was to catch the 2:45PM ferry to Orcas Island. I let our Canadian friends know they could stay as long as they liked. I think I actually gave them our house. 
I slept, and grumped all the way north, making it to the ferry, as we were one of the last cars on board. We met up with our friends, and I had to make the transition between exhausted sports adventurer to "Travelin' Nan."
I spent the first couple of days at Orcas eating and sleeping. If I remember Monday at all, it went something like: Sleep in. Eat. Take a nap. Eat. Go to bed. Not a great vacation companion, but I did start waking up on Tuesday.
The joke around the house was a quote from our friend Silas, "Nancy's sleeping. Nancy's sleeping like tractor at Fernwood School."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wacky Weekend

Friday-Nancy and GMa volunteering at swim meet.
Free drinks at the new Dutch Bros. near our house for Paul and Nancy.
Kids with GMa for dinner and sleepover/pillow fight.
Saturday-Pick-up kids from GMa.
Make breakfast/bacon.
Van to karate.
Jungle removal.Tree house finishing?
Paul volunteering at swim meet. 
Nancy running away from bear. 
Nancy, Bunko at Grandma Judie's with Patty's peeps.
Sunday-Church-watching kids, eating watermelon.
Afternoon naps, talk of cleaning, finishing tree house? 
Volunteering as recycle lady and sir at swim meet.
Prince Pucklers as a reward for saving the Earth. 
Kids sleeping in tree house for the first time!
Did I miss anything?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Met a Bear In Tennis Shoes

Well, actually I was in running shoes and the bear was about two hundred yards away, not appearing to be wearing any shoes at all. 
So here's the story...
I had to run a long run this weekend, as next weekend I participate in the Cascade Lakes Relay, an insane relay from Diamond Lake to Bend. Twelve people running about two hundred miles in  about twenty four hours...desert, high country, woods, who knows...
I decided running up and down Willamette street here in Eugene would be good practice for almost any part of the relay. Last year, I had practiced the downhill for the Hood to Coast, but had avoided the uphill, because not any of my relay legs were uphill. I don't know what my legs are this year, so I have practiced some in the heat of the day, and up and down some of Eugene's nasty hills.
Today, I started at Amazon Pool, as I had left Paul to help with the swim meet. I began my run by calling my pal EK to tell her my endeavour, and to acclimate to the heat as I walked at talked. I began running about a quarter mile out of Amazon when I immediately felt a wet sensation running down my backside. The water bottle I chose to run with didn't have the right lid on it, so the water sloshed all over the back of my shorts and down my legs as I ran. I usually run with a full water bottle, and for some reason thought dumping half of it out would stop the leakage. I did a little, and fortunately it was pushing ninety degrees, so the water was drying fast. 
Also, I had recently bought new shoes, as well as having had my podiatrist mess with my orthotics. The result of the two changes were that my foot going painfully numb. So from mile one, it was numb for most of the run, and I almost stopped at one point, as it seemed that my ankle decided to join in on the fun. 
So I ran with this numbing past the trail head of the Ridgeline Trail, about three miles into the run. I ran about another half a mile, noticing the hill going up and up, but then as I went up and up, I pondered making it to the Spencer Butte parking lot, which was up more. But my foot was numb enough that I was contemplating whether or not I should stop and put my orthotic in my pack, thinking that might stop the numbing. 
So as I was cogitating I stopped, was looking up the hill toward the top, and then said to myself, 
"That's a bear." 
He looked at me.
I looked at him.
He sized up me.
I sized I up him. 
He said to me, "Why don't you run? I see you ain't got any gun."
And so I slowly walked backwards, away from the bear as he crossed Willamette. I'm assuming he saw me. I was wearing a white hat, a bright fuchsia running top, and light blue shorts. He didn't seem to confuse me for a salmon.
I slowly walked backwards, thinking there wasn't much I could really do. He was a bear, and although I had my handy pack with a Nutragrain Bar, Sports Beans, a dollar, and my cell phone, I couldn't do much to protect myself from a bear. He could run faster than me, even downhill. While I was backing down the hill, I had the brilliant idea to snap a picture of the bear while 
I kept completely calm as, again I didn't stand a chance against a black bear. I guess I could have squirted him with my squirt bottle like one does to cats. 
I kept walking backwards, and waited to run, as I did see him cross the road, and into the bushes. I ran a little, turning around, making sure he wasn't chasing me. 
I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor this afternoon. I would have loved to see my heart rate as I saw the bear, but like I said, I remained rather calm.
 OK, I was somewhat motivated to get down the butte, but wished that I had a little more adrenaline for someone who just saw a bear. 
I had at least a three miles run to return to the pool, and was becoming somewhat dehydrated, as I had drank all of my half-bottle of water. Fortunately, I had a dollar bill in my pack earmarked for just a time. I knew that a Dari Mart sits at the bottom of the hill, hence, I took my hot body and face in to buy some sort of sports drink to make it the last half mile or so to the pool. 
On returning to the pool I immediately told the bear story to those who'd listen. It's too bad I took a picture of myself, and not the bear. It's a good thing I was so calm. 
Oh, did I mention this event happened today at Amazon?

Teddy Bear Picnic
Saturday, July 26, 11:00 - noon, Amazon Center, 2700 Hilyard
Bring snacks or a picnic lunch and enjoy live music and fun with the McCornack’s Garden Variety Band. Bring your teddy bear or favorite stuffed friend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Garbage Gal

I spent the afternoon sorting through garbage. Now, I could do this at my own home, but this was volunteering at a championship swim meet. It's a long/short story about how I created this job for myself, but I did. 
So the sorting went something like opening the garbage cans and putting the recyclables in the recycle container. Then, I opened the recycle container, and put the non-recyclables into the garbage. I sorted here and there, but ended up at the back of the building, standing in front of the dumpster sorting through the bins, then dumping the garbage out in case I missed anything. I guess this sort of sorting is my way of being in control of the universe. I didn't cry about all the garbage being thrown away-the plastic forks and plates etc. 
All this to say, people cannot read. Granted, we are trained to put things in the "Trash" but I watched as people were drawn to throw their garbage away, but didn't pause to read the container. 
I only got a little gunk on me. Only where it was obvious, on the front of my shirt. I thought I'd wet it down and dry it with those high speed dryers they have at the pool. No, they don't have the high speed dryers anymore. So I walked around with a big splotch on my shirt, hoping no one thought that I'd got that splotch from digging through the garbage. 
I won't tell the long story about how I got the garbage job, but I have to say that Van's Cub Scout den is working on it's conservation patch this Summer, so I feel compelled to walk the talk. Van, however, was busy at the pool being buried up to his chest in sand while I was the garbage gal. 
Also, at home I have stacks of plastic under my sink, and in the laundry room that can be recycled, but don't go into our regular bin. Paul throws them away when I'm not looking. They are also floating around in my backyard. But to put them in their proper place,  I have to drive them across town to the Weyerhaeuser facility. I guess I could put them on my bike, but it's about six miles to the facility. I guess that trip would always be something to blog about. I can hear myself say, "Hey kids, you want to ride across town to take the recyclables to the dump?" I guess if I'd bribed them with Prince Pucklers that might help...
Right now I feel compelled to drive back over to the swim meet to make sure all the recycled water bottles have their lids off. I wish I were kidding. I guess this is one thing I get OCD about. Just don't come looking in my sock drawer, or Van's room, or the upstairs closet, or my closet or...