12/28/2007

Boey Byers has Died


Beadin' on a Cold Day...

Just completed some quick-n-easy bead projects as a gift for my friend, Gail. It's fun to pull out all of our supplies and just sit on the couch while Hubby watches football. To me, the best part of vacation time is just diddling away the time. Sure, there are unfinished cleaning and other projects around the house, but in just a few minutes of down-time I can make a gift for a friend.

12/27/2007

Benazir Bhutto

A very sad day, indeed...

12/25/2007

How Many Women Can Say This?...

Hubby spent the entire day working on his custom cioppino recipe! He made his own court bouillon and created a culinary dream-come-true for 9 other hungry folks.


He bought me beautiful "Go Beavs!" items, including a giant orange and black umbrella and a cool fleece jacket. He hugs me all the time and tells me he is lucky. How many women can say that?
I whipped up some homemade cordials this year, beginning in October. This one is vodka-based and has been in the dark pantry for 3 months, curing to perfection! It had dried cranberries, orange zest, cloves, lemon oil, and a stick of cinnamon in it, prior to being filtered through cheesecloth. It definitely cleared our throats for us!

12/23/2007

I Got It From a Rushkie...

While baking an amazing cake this evening (Pistachio/Buttercream Cake...750 calories/slice!) I had to utilize both mixers, the KitchenAide stand mixer and my little handheld General Electric. I got that one from a Rushkie.


Back in 1992, I was living in the family housing complex for UCBerkeley. Hubby (at the time) was working on his PhD. My kids were 3 months old and 2 years old. We were broke!


Our next-door neighbors were from Russia. They had invited us over for dinner several times. Interesting meals...beef roasts with absolutely no salt. Polenta with stinky cheese. Actually, though, the food was good.


One day, while walking by their doorway, I noticed a box of junk on the ground. I looked inside and saw this mixer. I didn't have a mixer, so I knocked on the door and ask Luinka what she was planning on doing with it. She said, in her strong Russian accent, "Oh, we were going to give it to a poor person. You can have it, I suppose..."

I still have it and I'm not as poor anymore.

OK. It's Done...


Finally got around to decorating the tree. It was much easier this year, due to several factors:

1. It's the smallest tree we've had in years...only 7 feet, rather than our favorite 10-11 feet.

2. We can't find one of the boxes of ornaments.

3. I couldn't find the box of fancy garlands.

4. Couldn't find the tree-topper.


It looks beautiful, regardless.

12/21/2007

The Treading Lemmings

An old high school friend of mine has a band in Maryland. He contacted me through MySpace today. Andy was one of those guys that I could hang around with any ol' day. Now, look at him! Yeah, we may be "getting old," but, man, he's cool. His alias in the band is R.Andrew. I've always wanted to play in a rock band...

12/20/2007

No lights, no camera, no "Action!"


Our Christmas tree is sitting in our entry with nothing on it.

It's just about the saddest thing I've ever seen.

I guess I'm suppressing some pretty significant depression, which I do become immersed in, from time-to-time. I have absolutely no desire to change the state of the tree.

15 people will be gathered around our table on Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure they'll expect us to have a decorated tree, just as we've always done.

Eh, we'll see...

Ever been there?

Carnivorous Hippy mentioned she was going to the Beaver game. I don't like Beaver basketball anymore, but I sure like hangin' with the Hipster. So, Hubby and I hauled ourselves over the Gill Coliseum and settled into our seats.
The game? Eh...not much happened that is memorable.
However, it was the bench action that caught my attention.
Whenever a player came off the court and sat on the bench, these little mealy-bugs scampered to meet their every need. As a player's butt hit the seat, an orange-shirted assistant was right there with a nice, clean, dry towel and a big Gatorade bottle. From behind, the mealy bug would place the towel on the player's shoulder and then reach around with the bottle as an offering to the demi-god.
Then, whever a time-out was called, rather than sitting on the bench, like millions of teams all over the nation (including WINNING teams with WINNING coaches) the Beavs have these ridiculous "stool-boys" who rush out onto the floor with 5 tri-pod stools for the players to sit on while the coach does his chatty-thing.! ARRRGGGHHH! I'm so disgusted with the entire Beaver thing, these days! It seems, according to the 99% empty coliseum, that most former fans are, as well...

12/18/2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BLOG!

Yep, that's right!
The term "blog" turned 10 years old this week. Check out the following website for information! I was listening to KGO last night, out of San Francisco, and they actually brought on the man who coined the term. On the show, they calculated that there are now 10,000 new blogsites set up each day. Wow...just think...if only I could have a dime for every new site...
http://www.blockstar.com/blog/blog_timeline.html

12/16/2007

Chicken and Dumplings...

I grew up eating this delicious meal. Being born in Oklahoma and growing up mostly in North and South Carolina, one is pretty much destined to gobble up this dish. However, unlike us here in the Pacific Northwest, in the South, entire chickens were put into the pot. The completed dish included bones. Here, I use only boneless/skinless chicken breasts. In the South, my family was notorious for using that canned "Veg-All" crap.As a newlywed, I'd fall back on the routines of those who came before me. I'd go to the grocery store and pick up a few cans, dump them into the pot, add some fake chicken bouillon, and mix up my Bisquick. Today, no more canned veggies. No bouillon, either. OK...I still use the Bisquick "Savory Dill Dumplings" recipe, but I've almost completely overhauled my heritage.

Here it is. Hope you give it a try someday!

Val's Chick-o-Dump!

6 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons of EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

4 crushed cloves of fresh garlic

salt/pepper

2 tsps. dried Italian herbs

2 Tblsp. flour

32 fl. oz Pacific Natural Food Organic free range Chicken Broth

2 large chopped carrots

1 medium diced onion

2 diced russet potatoes

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

2 cups hot water (I use boiling water)

1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup

Double-recipe of Bisquick's Savory Dill Dumplings

Cut the raw chicken breasts into 1 in. cubes. Place in heated large soup pot along with the olive oil. Simmer on med. heat for 15 minutes, adding in salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs. Sprinkle flour over the top of all, stirring around for 1 minute to be sure all chicken is coated. Pour in chicken broth. Add in carrots, onion, and potatoes. Allow to simmer another 15 minutes, until carrots are nice and soft. Add peas and corn. Add hot water. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Make dumplings and drop by large spoonfuls carefully on top of simmering chicken/veggie mixture. Cover with lid and do not open for 15 minutes.! Tah-dah!

12/14/2007

Have I Ever Been "Mean?"


Is it possible to be mean without knowing it? I'm sure it is...but, I have an inner voice telling me that, when someone is being mean, he/she knows it and is directing their words/brains/body to behave in a particular manner, in order to do another (or others) harm.


I was just reading this funky report written by a woman who has thought extensively about the quality of meanness. It seems all of us are mean at some time in our lives. Being mean...aka bullying...comes from a single source; pain or wrongdoing from our pasts create this need to belittle.

I always know when someone is being mean to me. We all do. However, I often wonder if the other person is even AWARE of what they are doing! Which brings me back to myself...am I mean without knowing it sometimes? If so, how often?

Here's an idea I'm thinking over...

Let's say someone suddenly began behaving inappropriately, yelling and pointing fingers. This person was truly being mean. Now, imagine shrinking that person down to the teeny-weeny size of a Hormel Little Smoky. Put that little person on the table in front of you and watch them huff and puff, stomping and yelling. Do you hear his/her voice? Yeah, sort of like something you might hear on an Alvin and the Chipmunks tune! It's hard to be hurt by that little voice, isn't it? I'm going to try this imagery. Next time I think someone is dissing me, I'll mentally shrink them!

And, better yet, when I find myself in a situation where I am considering saying something mean, I'll shrink myself mentally! I'll remind myself of how insignificant I really am...

12/11/2007

High School Nordic Ski Team!

We love Oregon!
Hoodoo has a very nice lodge. It's now under private ownership. I wonder, however, how anyone could afford to keep this place running...
Here's my daughter, working on cornering, which can be quite difficult with skinny skis! Here's my son, practicing the same...
And, here's Coach Michael, showing his stuff! This guy can move! He flies up the mountainside almost as quickly as he flies down!

12/09/2007

OSP Charger!


He got me red-handed...

Those State Troopers in the Dodge Chargers are tricky. I will admit to speeding. I just don't agree with his figure. When I saw his lights in my rearview mirror, I said outloud to my passengers, "Shoot. I'm going 66 in a 55." He said I was going 76. I just don't see it, but I didn't want to have the discussion there. However, the fact that my license expired was an eye-opener! I haven't ever noticed the date on it. I don't even take it out of my billfold...ever! The officer was very nice and gave me only a warning...

12/05/2007

Baby Gangrene...

After the day I had today, this was just what the doctor ordered!

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12/03/2007

It Just Aint Right, I Tell You...


I felt ugly today. It's weird...nothing felt right. My hair was a bit too poofy. My stomach was poofy. I forgot to put on my watch. I also forgot earrings. I did wear my favorite coat, but, well, it's weird to hide under a coat at work, and when I took it off, I hated my clothing today. I wore Clark's clogs, which is a bad idea on a very rainy day, so my socks were wet. I had meetings all morning and then had absolutely no time to prepare for my afternoon lessons...so, I felt off-balance, too!

12/02/2007

The Two-Headed Calf...or, do I say "calves?"


I went on an adventure into old Oregon pioneer country with a group of wonderful artisan girlfriends today.
Brownsville, Oregon is the home of oddities, treasures, and antiques.


Hidden in the window of an old general store is an odd treasure...the stuffed remains of a 2-headed calf.
One friend said she won't sleep well tonight, after looking at it. It was so real...so I told her about this man in his 50's in China who was complaining about a cyst on his back. He went to the dr. and told him that he'd had the lump all his life, but that recentely it had began throbbing. An MRI of the lump revealed that it contained brain tissue and a simple eye structure. The lump turned out to be the man's identical/conjoined twin brother. The brain actually had some action going on.
Now she won't sleep for weeks...

12/01/2007

Skiing at Hoodoo!

The trip UP to the mountains...


Both of my kids have joined the X-C Ski Team at CHS. It's so much fun! I'm one of the drivers and today we headed out to the mountains at 6:30 a.m. We loaded up the old van with 7 kids and off we went!
EVERYTHING WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! When we arrived, the downhill skiers were just beginning to hit the slopes! It was the first day of the ski season in Oregon and everyone was so excited!
The teens in our group did a wonderful job, working on new Nordic skills...lead by 2 awesome coaches, Michael and Laura. I was so happy to see my son on the team, as he hasn't done organized sports for 2 years! He was DAMN good out there!
Then, the trip home...
a bit scary...had to chain up in the ice...and a big 24 in. "rock" came flying at us on the highway and rammed the front of the van! It banged its way underneath, throwing the alignment off and making the drive home more difficult. The rock continued on its journey behind us...hitting 2 more cars! Arrrggghhh! This always seems to happen to us!

11/30/2007

11/27/2007

Rogers Drums for Sell...With Some Regrets

Do you ever like owning something just for the sake of being able to say you own it? In 2004 I bought my daughter this drumset. It's a mid- to late-60's complete Rogers. Rich maple toned exterior. All original hardware, drums, stands, throne, and peddles.
It's weird. She has only played it a few times. Sort of rebelled against me after I made the huge financial sacrifice on her behalf. Weird time in our home. Her freshman year...would NEVER want to relive those times....
So, now she's preparing to leave for college. I HATE the thought of it and just know I'll have to deal with some significant depression. The drums, however, aren't being played and really do deserve a good home. Plus, I could definitely use the money (oh, BTW...if M.S. is reading this, after I sell it, I plan to go to the bank and ask for all 1's...then, I'm going to have my handsome husband build me a mirrored shelf to put all of the money on!)


I'm selling a drum set that I am now regretting selling...and I am NOT a drummer.
If anyone is interested, check out Craigslist for Corvallis/Albany, Oregon...under musical instruments. However, if no one buys it, I think I won't regret it. Do people use drumsets as decor? It'd look great next to the grand piano!

11/24/2007

Oink, Oink, Burp, Toot! (over and over again)


That's the lovely sound of Thanksgiving.

It's absolutely TERRIBLE to have so many lovely leftovers, all of which are favored.

Nothing that we "don't like." Everything we "truly love" is filling our 2+ refrigerators right now.


Obsessive?
Everything we are against?
Big fridge in the kitchen.
Big fridge in the garage.
Medium-sized fridge in the carport.

But, that's not all! Oh, no!

Gas oven/stove in the kitchen.
Convection/Microwave oven above.
Portable convection oven on the counter.
Huge turkey roaster on a table in the family room.


We are the Green Coalition's Worst Nightmare on this weekend!

No other weekend compares.

Are we a bit embarrassed? Of course!

Are we planning to change this situation? Absolutely not!


We'll make up for this excess by making a donation to one of those online "Reduce/Offset Your Carbon Footprint" sites. Here's my favorite: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/

Maybe all of the other "oink-oink-burp-tooters" can join us!

11/20/2007

Do You Know Your Sleeves? I Do!

I teach in a Kindergarten-8th Grade School. For the past 22 years, I've taught in elementary schools. I'm all about comfort and professionalism. I wear Birkenstocks, Clarks, Tevas, and Danskos. My feet hurt, therefore I am.

I found this cool website that caught my eye. I've read. Now I know. Yes, if you have ANY fashion issues you'd like advice on, just give me a jingle. However, as parents say to their children, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Here are examples of some sleeves styles. I'm having a little contest. If you can name these 4 sleeves, I'll give you a prize.
White is #1
Pink is #2
Yellow is #3
Dark grey is #4
Light grey is #5














http://fashion.about.com/cs/glossary/l/blglossary.htm

11/17/2007

Falafel Saturday Night...



The Beavs are on the Tube.

The dogs are sleeping all around the house.

My son is out with his buddies all night.

And my daughter is making her fantastic falafel!

She's got everything going...whole wheat pita, fresh Nancy's fat-free yogurt, fresh cucumber, fresh garlic, and, of course, wonderful falafel patties sizzling away in the pan!



Hmmm...I know I used to have more exciting Saturday nights.



Oh, well, we'll head over to Carnivorous Hippy's house for Scrabble...



Life is good.

11/15/2007

I AM SICK OF MY HOUSE!

I used to be into that "Victorian Era Decor" in the mid- to late-80's. I had so many antiques and little venues set up all around my home...antique dishware, dried flowers, lace doilies, cutsie decor...I'm sure most of you remember that craze. I was a subscriber to "Victoria" magazine, went to wreath-making classes at the Experimental College at OSU, baked lots of wedding cakes with a Victorian flair for several friends' weddings, and even baked my own cake...a recipe right out of "Country Living Magazine" for my wedding!
Blah! I'm so tired of it all! My house is a transition home. Not one room has a solid theme. Yeah, the family room is fully of "native fish stuff," in honor of my husband and of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but there's also JUNK! Now, added to the mish-mash is a new treadmill! Even though our home is relatively large, there is no place else for this monster machine, so, PLOP, into the family room it has gone!
The kitchen has so many damn chickens all over the place....and, well, to be honest, I kind of HATE chickens! It all started about 8 years ago when I came home with this monster ceramic rooster...and many of my friends and family suddenly thought it would be good to begin adding more chickens to my household! Even I got caught up in it for awhile, but, BLAH! I am so sick of chickens! (However, I do intend to get myself some real bock-bocks for my vegetable garden area next Spring...just don't tell my husband! He'll freak!)
We're continuously updating our home...but there is so much to get done! In January, we're putting in new hardwood floors throughout the dining room, formal living room, and hallway. We're putting in skylights next summer...and "solar tubes" both bathrooms! We'll be pulling out the disgusting nylon bathtub that was obviously original to our 1969 home...and getting rid of the "cottage cheese" ceilings! Ugh! I'm excited and dreading the mess!
Well, enough rambling....here are some dorky clipart for your enjoyment! It's a trip down 1986-Memory-Lane!

11/14/2007

Ghetto Soup

Both of my teens were cold and hungry tonight. They are on the school Cross-Country Ski Team and had to run quite some distance in the chilly Fall weather. When I picked up my son from his run, he said, "I want soup, salad, and sandwiches for dinner." So, I went to the store. Now, I'm a soup snob and NEVER buy no-name-brand soups...
However, his buddy, Aaron, came over to have dinner with us. This is pretty typical and we love this kid a lot. He and my son walked down the street to his house to, um, "Go get something." They came back with this.
See, I made Progresso Clam Chowder and Progresso Italian-Style Wedding Soup (our favorite!). Aaron didn't want to eat either of those. He wanted tomato.
When he handed me the can, he said, "Sorry about the cheap soup. My mom buys ghetto soup."

11/12/2007

Humpty's Dump


I have a dream.

I dream that one day...

a friend and I will travel to Humpty's Dump Bar & Grill to have a cold pint of brew!


Humpty's Dump Bar & Grill

916 Old Salem Rd NE

Albany, OR 97321 Phone:

541-926-3111

11/11/2007

BURN BABY, BURN!

I had a blast today with my new garden toy! It's called the Weed Dragon!


This photo is NOT me!


I burned all of the grass that has been taking over our large, gravel parking area and I also took out the green invaders along the perimeter of one garden fence. I walked away from the area for about 15 minutes and when I came back, the bottom of the fence and the compost nearby was on fire! What a hoot! I grabbed the hose and put out the flames! It was so exciting! Hey, at least there were no harmful chemicals involved!