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...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to Work

So, I ended the evening of "Mama's Day Off"eating my meal from three forks in the parking lot of Woodfield Station. I inadvertently picked up only one chop stick. A bit of a challenge to eat slippery noodles. So why the strip mall parking lot? Well, I had been wanting to go check outWow.
As I entered Party City, an overwhelming smell of plastic permeated the building. Yuck. The place has every sort of decoration one might need for any sort of party. It is the pinnacle of American gluttony. If little Johnny wants a Cars party, that's where you go. If Suzie wants a giant Disney Princess pinata, there you go.
They also stock gobs and gobs of candy. I love candy. I don't love plastic smell. So did I leave in protest? No, I bought the plastic serving spoons I had seen advertised in the paper. Handy for potlucks. I also bought a Sterno-like candle for fondue or s'mores. In the future, I'll look at the local Hirons before I make my purchases at Party City. 
After Party City, it was pushing 8:00PM. I'd been off duty for almost twelve hours. But that didn't stop me. The sun was setting, but I stopped into the Borders to see if they had the Jane Kirkpatrick book that I didn't have-the one I was suppose to get two birthdays ago... They didn't have it in stock, so I went home and started reading,
this Jane Kirkpatrick book, ending my evening reading and taking a bath.  
This still moment reminded me that I could have done with a little more "quiet time" during my, "Mama's Day Off."

Mama's Without the Babes

Well, I made it through “Baby Mama," a good laugh for a middle aged mom on “Mama's Day Off”. Bella and I laughed pretty hard. I don't agree with the ethics of “It's OK to have a baby if your not married.” It would be a very difficult job that is for sure. As much grief as I give my husband, I certainly wouldn't want to parent by myself. Not only would I not get an opportunity to have a “Mama's Day Off” I would be a way worse mother from the stress of it all. My stress generally is related to getting tired of the kids' agenda all the time. The kids don't appreciate some of my favorite activities, like St. Vincent de Paul shopping.
So we watched the movie, and I came home to get my “Baby,” that is my Mac of course. I started to blog in the driveway, then my friend pulled up with Evander, so I said hello to everyone from inside the car, and then ran away. I do feel a little guilty about the running away part. I just felt like my day off wasn't done.
So here I sit, preparing this blog, outside of three forks wok and grill, in south Eugene. I really like the food here, but the kids and Paul get a little tired of it. So, off I go to order something good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thrifty Mamas


So we made it to the St. Vincent de Paul's. It's amazing how they just store all the things I need in one place! We pa roused the aisles for about an hour. Of course, I eyeballed the furniture, as it was on sale. It doesn't looked too much different that the pieces I'm having Paul look at, which are at Edmans
I bought some brand new Jane Austen books with Barnes and Noble labels still on them. I also purchased a Walden book that matched the Austen book covers. Do I think I will ever read them? No. But I learned to appreciate Walden in high school. I got the jist of the whole Walden concept. 
I also found these cute dessert cups that I thought would make great votive candle holders. Emma saw them as dessert cups. 
I also found a really cool old Tennyson book of prose about a princess. I can't wait to see how much it's worth on E-bay. Someone did rip one of the pages out. It probably the page that says it belongs in the Library of Congress. 
By the way, I get an extra discount on books for being a homeschool teacher. I get discounts even at the discount store. I like that. 
OK, so I'm sitting in my car outside my house again. Yet, I have no children in the house, only my husband is in there. Why am I out here?
I could stand a little more "quiet time, but Bella and I are stealing EK's idea of going to a movie. I must admit, I am going to Baby Mama. It is PG-13, and may be a little too racy for me, but perhaps I'll give an ethical review after watching it. 
Perhaps I'll go and break the one rule in the whole wide world that I think is worth breaking-that is, bringing outside food into the theatre. Really, that's the only rule. OK, maybe I do eat yogurt while driving. 

Tantalizing Target

So the next stop in my "Mama's Day Off" was at the Springfield Target. I cruised up and down most of the aisles looking at all the do-hickies. I was mostly concentrating on looking for furniture for storage of the d0-hickies I already have at home. I found a couple of handy things, which I'll post pictures of later when my teenager can help me. 
I am excited about a four dollar clock I bought. My friend is always telling me I need more clocks in my house. I generally don't like to know what time it is. It just means I'm running out of time to do the things I want to do, and I'm spending too much time doing the things I don't want to do.
So back to Target, I get easily mesmerized in Target. I do a fairly good job of not spending too much money, but don't mind spending to save(check out the concept of "spaving" on Triangulations). I'd spend way more on cool things if I had a never ending budget, but I do believe my husband would say that there is an end.
So I shopped in Target for close to two hours, with only a few phone calls. One call was from EK lamenting how she missed the boat this morning. 
I called Van asking which kind of sock her preferred, crew or ankle. He said he liked the colored ones grandma bought him. I told him I would bring home a package of crew, and a package of ankle to choose from. No special socks for a nine year old. 
Another call was to Bella, as she I are about to go thrift store shopping. Could be dangerous.
Right now, she's in my house feeding all the children. I am outside the house blogging. I have wireless access. Here we go! 

Alone?



I find myself in one of my favorite places, alone. Alone? Yes, alone. I'd tell you where I am, but I wouldn't be alone. 
Alright, if you insist. I'm at Fifth Street Public Market, at
drinking cafe au lait in a bowl, and eating a pain au chocolat.  Today is "Mama's Day Off." I know, it is not declared as a national holiday, but it's my holiday, so I'm starting it off with coffee and a pastry (oh, I forgot to ask for decaf). 
Actually, I was scheduled to go to "Ladies Week" with my good friend EK, but I boged on her. I didn't want to spend the day basking in the sun with all of the ladies. I love the ladies, but spending some time by myself sounded more like what I need right now. 
If any of you know me well, you know I am an extreme extrovert. It's a wonder I don't walk around inside out...But sometimes, I need some time without an entourage. 
If I were to spend my day off at home, the magic of the day off would only last a little while, as the work is almost always calling me. 
So at Provisions, I prefer to look at the pretty things,  to listen to the chatter of the workers and the hum of the refridgerator, and to spy on the people whom also enjoy this place. 
Not only do they sell food here, but gift items as well. Right now, I can only look at the pretty things here, as I left my wallet at home. That's what happens when I don't have an entourage I guess. They usually line me up with my glasses, keys, wallet, etc.......
Not a big surprise to me, but I realize sitting here seeing the pretty things, I think of friends I would give them to...The lemon soap to Carla, the cafe au lait bowl to Jodi, the pretty paper to my new friend Heidi. Yes, I have a busy mind, and yes, I would give more gifts if my budget allowed. 
I also realize I like this place because it is clean. Not that I don't love that I have a house, but this is clean, with clean lines and color, with no responsibility except to bus my plates...
S0, I've spent a whole hour by myself, and just had to call my friend Bella to find out if she'd like to enjoy some "Mama's Day Off." I already spent the first moments of the day looking for EK. She usually hits a Full City before she heads out to the lake. I drove to both the Full City coffee shops looking for her to no avail...I guess 8:00AM and drizzly rain was too much for her to start her day off. 

Where in the World Is Travelin' Nan?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to the Bounding Dog

So, about two minutes into our run, a black lab comes running towards us. I instinctively back off as to let him get my friend, and not me. I think I muttered, "Sorry" as if that would have made up for the gnashing of teeth that might have been. But it appeared to be a friendly lab, puppy-ish dog. 
We said things like, "Go away. Go home. Off. Out." The dog would be distracted in a yard,  then EK would whisper, "Come here! Come here!" but both the dog and I could hear that.
We yelled some other exclamations, but we could not loose this persistant pup. This little dance with the dog went on for at least ten minutes. It jumped in our path, not quite tripping us. It licked me. EK threw decoy, "balls" for it, an apple and rock.  EK threw the apple, shouted "Run!" and we sprinted around the corner, but no luck.  We could not shake the dog.
Now, this annoyance generally may not bother some people, but EK and I are not dog people. We were not sharing the love. When we had to turn around and try to find the dogs home, we were not feeling puppy love. 
We finally looked on the tag the dog was wearing, and dear Lucy's tag only had her name and phone number. I had my handy dandy cell phone with me, which some question why I carry it. I called the number on the tag, and the young man answering the phone answered as if he didn't even know he had a dog. He quickly remembered, said something about his brothers, and gave me the address. It was close to where we were, and after some incessant knocking a lady answered the door. She seemed to have had a heads-up call letting her know we were on the way.  She said, "Thank you" a couple of times, but never a "I'm so sorry that my cute, run away dog inconvenienced your run on this blazing, stinking hot, hot, overcast day." 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

This little puppy of mine was so proud of his Army make-up he put on all by himself at Cub Scout camp that we decided to take a picture outside, in no better location that our dog kennel. You may ask, "Why do you have a dog kennel when you do not have a dog?" 
First, it was in our yard when we bought our house. I can vaguely reccolect a dog we had for a year or so, but PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress induced by Dog Syndrome) keeps my memory a little fuzzy. Mostly, it's used as a trellis, or kid jail. 
Kids love to corral each other and call the kennel a jail. I've tried to whole "Please don't use that as a jail.  Just can't you all just get along?" approach. Nope. It's a jail. Sometimes it's a home, or a kitchen, maybe even a zoo, but mostly, it ends up being a jail.
Speaking of dogs...
My good friend EK obliged to go running with me in the blazing, stinking hot, hot, overcast heat this afternoon. This is all in preparation for the Cascade Lakes Relay that she and I are participating in. OK, we're crazy enough to try to run something like- two hundred miles through Central Oregon. That's with a team of six men and six women, and I may be the oldest woman. They don't call me Crazy Aunt Nan for nothin'.
So, as we started our run today,  I was about three steps into the run when I noticed it was hot. The temperature registered on the car's thermometer as 98, in the sun.  I then recalled that I drank about half of a sixteen ounce mocha, and about a cup of milk for the whole day, and it was about 3:30P. I must have been a titch dehydrated. But before we could drag our hot little selves for a short run, a dog bounded in front of us...
OK, I'm falling asleep, so if you read this blog before I get to finish posting, you will be kept in suspense...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Over the Hill

Remember the hill I talked about conquering? Well, a week has passed since the Butte to Butte, and I have not mentioned the end result... 
I probably should use the word "conquer" loosely. If it's definition is limited to "climb (a mountain) successfully :  as in the second American to conquer Everest. " I'm good with that. If it's regarding making a personal goal, I could still use some more work on that. 
My, shall I say "loose goal" was to beat my surgeon and my gynecologist. They had finished about twenty minutes before me the year before, however, my goal was shattered when I saw my gynecologist at the base of the pedestrian bridge near South Eugene. I was just about to do a little walking, when I noticed her there cheering on other runners. As I ran by, I shouted something like, "Hey, why aren't you running?" I couldn't really wait for a response, as I was running the race, but her reply was something in regards to a sort of orthopedic "boot" she pointed to on her leg.
I certainly didn't want to meet half my goal that way. 
As for the surgeon, well, as a lady I can't say how badly she beat me, but I'm sure she'd say I won't have much of a scar. 
There is more to the story of the gynecologist/surgeon, healthy competition, but HIPA rules don't allow me to divulge any further information...
Oh, I did beat last year's time by four minutes. As far as conquering-there's always next year.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ready for a Shower

Wednesday night, as I was down to the wire expecting guests for a bridal shower that some church gals and I were hosting, I decided it would be a wonderful idea to make the beverage ahead time. Mind you, doing anything "ahead of time" is out of my party throwing character, as I am usually the last to arrive to any party I am hosting. The other helpers weren't there yet,  so I went ahead and made the "organic " lemonade in a pitcher, then put it into the punch bowl that my mother-in-law so graciously lent to me. 
I had previously asked the bride-to-be which sort of beverage she preferred, and it was raspberry lemonade. As I was making "organic" raspberry juice to add to the lemonade, I pulled off the plastic part that circles the top, yet it didn't quite do the job to open the can. I started murmmering about that darned "organic" juice, illogically thinking that the extra step to save the planet by buying an "organic" product must have made the container more difficult to open. Illogical conclusions aside, I knew full well that this fiddling was an accident waiting to happen. I gingerly maneuvered the top tin piece, hoping the lid would come off easily. Instead, as I pushed on the connecting part of the container, my false move was to push too hard to release the lid. A fountain of blood red juice flowed onto me, over me, behind me, and  below me, dripping off my clothes onto my shoes and onto the floor and cupboards. 
I was dripping and standing next to my towel drawer, but had to carefully reach for, and choose the towel I was willing to ruin. Yet, I had to act quickly because, I didn't want Evander to see his mother appearing as though she'd accidentally stabbed her innards using a knife the wrong way. 
I managed to do a cursory cleaning of myself before Van returned to the house, and was able to announce to him before he saw me, that I had covered myself in raspberry juice. 
Fortunately, I was wearing clothes I hadn't intended on wearing to the party. For documentational purposes, I kept wearing the evidence of said "organic" accident, as my friend Kris was to arrive shortly. 
She had asked yesterday if I was stressing about hosting the shower, I quickly poo-pooed the idea of being stressed, since I hadn't realized that, although I had casually been preparing for the shower, I truly hadn't grasped that I only had a few hours the next day to prepare my home for the onslaught of well wishers for the bride. 
I called her shortly before the shower, assuring the opposite of calm, and casually hinted for her to join me to ease my troubles. 
As I opened the door for Kris, the look on her face conveyed how frazzled my sweaty, tired, slightly sun burnt, juice soaked body appeared minutes before the shower. 
She was gracious enough to spot me by doing some dishes, adding lemons to the lemonade, and greeting the helpers and guest of honor, while I had my own private shower. 

Monday, July 07, 2008

Backin' the Bus Up

I just sped read through some of my favorite blogs...
Whoa, I've missed a ton of stuff in other people's lives. This blogging thing is so interesting, and I realize that I have made at least one new "real" friend, and "lurk" on other people's blog. I might even think they are my friends...Weird huh? Yet, not totally unlike me.
So, Emma did make it back from California. She had a long review of her trip on her blog, and if you ever want permission to view her blog, let me know, and I will ask her, as she has a very blocked blog. 
While she was gone, I did just fine, mostly because I left the day she was coming back so I wasn't at home to miss her. I also came to the realization that I ask her to do many tasks around the house, and that we need to be more specific about what the kids' contribution to family are, by way of chores. We jokingly call her "Cinderemma" but need to make sure that this is purely in jest. 
She is slowly, I mean slowly, being allowed more and more independence and it is so fun (only a little anxious on my part) to let her out into the world. Granted, she is thirteen, and has had three years of karate. Grandma Rita suggested that, I  start having her wear a whistle. Emma doesn't know this yet. 
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I still have more to say about my Klamath Falls trip. I uploaded the video from our "Momumentary" to the computer, so look for snippits coming soon. With some cleaver editing, it should make a good short film.  
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Although it is not entirely unlike me, today, I had difficulty focusing on the task at hand, as I have so many tasks to hand. I'm trying not to stress, well not until this evening and came to the conclusion that I'd better start cleaning for a shower that is happening on Wednesday.
 Evander started Cub Scout day camp this week. He is there most of the day, so Emma and I had some time to ourselves, but we couldn't quite figure out what to do, or where to go. We thought it would be good to bike to a new pastry shop at Crescent Village, but Emma's bike needed some repair, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and help speed the process of bike repair by taking parts to the bike shop.
In the end, my helping didn't go so well, but I'm hoping my husband will forgive me...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

K- Falls Education

A friend and I travelled to Klamath Falls on Monday morning to participate in a three day practicum through "Classical Conversations." I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but using this forty-something brain beyond the norm, is well-out of the norm for me. 
First, although I claim to be the consummate traveller, I have only passed through Klamath Falls maybe twice. Although it has amazing lakes, the town is a bit sprawled out, and we found it difficult to find it's epicenter. 
I did not snap any photos, as my friend and I filmed a "Momumentary" soon to be coming out in theatres near you. 
When I find the cord to the video camera, I'll upload some of the film's raw footage. 
Meanwhile, here's a taste of what I did during the practicum...
July 1, 2008
I am in Klamath Falls Oregon, in a strip mall style church, in a darkened, stuffy chapel, participating in a parent practicum through “Classical Conversations,” watching a DVD of a guy teaching writing instruction. I don't have the material that is being referenced to during his talk, so I feel a bit out of the loop. I am excited to help teach my children this fellow's techniques, but I have missed something. I was late to the viewing yesterday, so I may have missed some info. given out then. It's just that the young lady at the Starbucks worked rather slowly, thus, my being late to the seminar. Not my fault.
I'm just too embarrassed or proud to say I don't have the reference material. Not the instructors fault.
Our family is enrolled in a program called, “Classical Conversations” where “tutors” “model” various subjects such as Latin, Spanish, mock trial, and writing. I am thrilled to begin this program, and excited to educate my children in more of a community setting.
Unlike my HomeSource experience, I am to be more involved in the classroom. I did not want to be a tutor during this upcoming school year, as we are unsure of what our plans our for Emma and high school.
I'd love to say I have a clear definition of a “classical” education. It has to do with something call the trivium, as this program teaches at the level of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. Perhaps I will have a better understanding a year from now. 
The titles of the subjects that are to be offered at Classical Conversations sound intellectually stimulating for both myself and the children. The book list looks appealing, perhaps I'll read a book.
Although the setting in the church may not be an ideal academic setting, a philosophy of learning is being conveyed that I appreciate. This belief is along the lines that our becoming educated is to be a form of worshipping God. Again, I'm just putting this worldview together, and don't have a complete picture, or definition of what this looks like, and may only ever have pieces of this idea of "worship."  
I have spent only a small amount of time studying the idea of what it means to “worship” God, but again, I haven't pulled the ideas together. It's enthralling to be introduced to this something new to me. This becoming educated and reflecting what we've learned towards God and His glory is surprisingly joyful. I look forward to explore more of these ideas.