Corvallis Cross-Country Team Rocks!

Before...After...Last night, my daughter and I hosted a huge party for the 2007-08 Cross-Country team! Tons of great kids showed up, at least 35! We roasted a variety of hot-dog-shaped goodies. I say this because there are several vegetarians on the team, so I had purchased a wide variety of meatless and meatful hot dogs. The meatless made me ask, "What's the point?" While they were on the grill, separate from the other meatfuls, nothing happened. They don't sizzle. They don't drip. They just get grill marks!
After all of the eating, we gathered around the firepit and roasted marshmallows to make s'mores.One parent shared how she had roasted bananas with her parents when she was a little girl, so we brought out a bunch of bananas, chocolate chips, and coconut. The method is cool. You make a long side slit in the banana skin, then place chocolate and coconut inside. You hold the banana IN ITS SKIN over the fire until well roasted.
At one point, the kids ended up playing in the freshly-cut grass seed field along the side of the house. They built a human pyramid and built "forts" from the cut grass!
What a great night. What great kids. I love when the house is full of people.
Oh, and Theo was totally in his element, getting lots of, "Oh, he's so cute!" statements from the naive kids!


The Mission is Complete (well, almost...)

Oh, ahhhh...

We like the periwinkle blue color! The room looks new, crisp, and bright. No more old cedar from 1976.

I decluttered the antique furniture a bit. The mirrored shadow box was my grandmother's (my Ma-Maw Boggs). She gave it to me while I was back in Oklahoma with my babies. Daughter was only 2, son was only 4 1/2 months. The shadow box had always hung above her dining room table, with mementos on it from Japan. My Pa-Paw Boggs (H.O Boggs, if you Google his name, you'll see he has a personal writing and "Indian Papers" collection at OU) had given it to her for their 10th wedding anniversary, which would have been in about 1950). When she gave it to me, I was so surprised! I packed it up and took it to the UPS store and had it sent to my home. When the kids and I returned from OK, the box was waiting for me.
The photo on the far right is of my Ma-maw's parents. Their names were William Ross and Amo Hudspeth. This is their wedding photo. My great-grandmother has her hand on her hip in protest to her family. See, she and Will fell in love when she was only 16 and he was 21. He asked her father for her hand in marriage and was refused...so, being a rebel, he went to his family farm, saddled up the white stallion, and rode back to her home. He brought the horse right up to her bedroom window and she climbed out. They rode off, went to the Justice o' the Peace and hitched up! I guess her father came over to the farm later that day with a gun and threatened Will. Amo fell on the ground in front of him and said, "Daddy, if you shoot this man, I'll be a widow at 16."


My Power Color

Your Power Color Is Indigo

At Your Highest:

You are on a fast track to success - and others believe in you.

At Your Lowest:

You require a lot of attention and praise.

In Love:

You see people as how you want them to be, not as how they are.

How You're Attractive:

You're dramatic flair makes others see you as mysterious and romantic.

Your Eternal Question:

"Does This Work Into My Future Plans?"


Save Internet Radio!

I'm a fan of Pandora Internet Radio. Each day, I set up my own "personal radio station," with no ads, no interference, and only music I want to hear. It's SOOOOOOOOOO cool!

Today, however, is the day of Silence on Internet Radio. You really, really need to read for more information!




Amazing What You Can Do in Less Than 24 Hours!

This is where it all started yesterday morning (Saturday!) I took out some paper and began planning, sketching, and making lists. So much to do! Decided we should start with the dining room walls! As you can see in my earlier post, they were U-G-L-Y, with a capital UG.

Pulled off the cedar. Found decent finished sheetrock underneath! It looked as though the cedar was original to the house! Oooo...so glad it's gone!
Now, Hubby and I have put up beautiful beaded board paneling. It's so crisp and clean! We had to do a lot of measuring, shimmying, applying "Liquid Nails" (there's no goin' back after you've slathered that crap on the walls!), and nailing! We didn't even get made at each other!Tomorrow, I'll buy the paint we've chosen. Hubby will put up the new mouldings. I already know which artwork will be moved onto the new walls...and am planning a tremendous August garage sale! I have some COOL stuff to sell, and I'll miss some of it, but I have too much stuff!

I'm so lucky to have such a knowledgeable and handy husband! When I draw pictures and make lists, he likes it and is able to transcribe my ideas into reality!

However, the Beavs are on right now, working toward defeating UNC! All home improvement must end for the day...
I've chosen "Blue Hills" as the color! Woo-hoo!

6 Years of Ugliness...Gone in a Single Day!

We purchased this house in 2001. Since that time, we have: replaced all light fixtures (there used to be fluorescent lighting in our entry and kitchen table area! Gads!), added exterior lighting, painted every room, remodeled 2 bathrooms, replaced all windows, insulated the attic, added huge garden areas (including more than 1000 plants, hardscape, and pathways), painted the exterior, put in new ductwork for ventilation, installed a new forced-air heating system (adding a HEPA filter), replaced appliances, put in a new water softener, installed a new water heater, had the well repiped, installed a new pump on the well, pulled out old wallpaper layers (which included fabric and foil!),built a huge fenced area for dogs (which they are no longer in, due to complaining neighbors), placed cedar shingles in the peaks of the roof, and have painted every single room a multitude of colors. We've resealed poorly placed windows, torn down fencing, cut down 5 trees, and built arbors. There is much, much more, but...none of those jobs even COMPARE to the simple project we did yesterday.

This house was built in 1969, which gives it a special flair...it was a typical ranch home. We've made it our goal to create a more Arts and Crafts style.

There are these 2 UGLY walls in our dining room. Years and years ago, someone put cedar tongue-and-groove on them to create this funky design. I looked at those walls the day we moved in and said, "Oh, gawd, that HAS to go." Well, as all homeowners know, things come up and it's easy to look at something everyday for years and say, "Oh, gawd, that HAS to go," yet never really do it. Usually, this is because one knows that just starting the project will spiral into days/weeks/months of work. Once you pull off just a single board, who knows what's underneath? Then, you have to...blah,blah,blah...

On a whim, I said to my Handsome Husband yesterday, "Hey, let's pull off a board and see what's underneath!" He didn't share my same enthusiasm, but, after I harassed him enough, said, "OK."

We first had to pull off the moulding. Then that first board was pulled. About 300 boards later...tah-dah!

Now, you should see the list for summer work! We're going to work on the house ALL of July! We'll: replace ALL interior doors, put in all new baseboard moulding, replace ALL window and door mouldings, put in 2 skylights, put those cool "Solar Tube" skylights in the bathrooms, add another window to our living room to brighten things up a bit more, put beaded board paneling on those newly-uncovered dining room walls, paint, and...Hubby HATES that I'm doing this...SCRAPING OFF POPCORN CEILINGS!

So, if any of you have a day to spare, come on over and join us!


Our Basset Hound...

Theo is an idiot. I love him, but he's an idiot. I'm actually embarassed by his most recent behavior. He's currently weighing in at about 99 pounds. Granted, he comes from big genes (you should see his sisters and brothers! The photo of Ozzy is one of his brothers! He's a big boy, too! The photo of Rosey is interesting, because she is Theo's mom..and they look EXACTLY alike! Theo's belly almost drags on the ground, too!), but he doesn't do anything but sleep, look for food to steal, and poop.

Yesterday, he managed to eat an entire brand new big jar of Vasoline. I kid you not. Now, he's a bit misersable, as the petroleum jelly passes through his system. His behind is quite messy, with a lot of black, greasy smudges. I'm not going to bathe him, however, until it all passes through him, as bathing now would be a waste of time. We had a bunch of friends over this afternoon, sipping beers and munching on junk out on the deck...and Theo kept walking by. I swear he knows his ass is a mess! At one point, Carnivorous Hippy and I were chatting and Big Boy went to lie down nearby. He's so fat that he has to maneuver in an odd manner to lie down, and, of course, he had his posterior pointed in CH's direction! After a bit, he rolled over onto his backside in such a way that not only was his ass in clear view, but his yellow-stained wiener, too! I bet CH thinks we're idiots! Nah, she wouldn't think that. She's too much like me...things such as a black-butted, overweight basset hound just add to the spice of life!

There are times I actually hate our dogs. I know I shouldn't, but they can be SUCH PAINS! Jim Dandy has been pulling apart the fence, one board at a time. Dood sheds horribly in the house. Theo not only eats anything, but manages to make big messes in the process. Yesterday, he not only ate Vasoline, but also pulled out all of the recycling in the bin in the pantry, trying to get at a single empty catfood can! He's so sneaky! He manages to get in there as soon as I go around the corner! I think that when these dogs are dead and gone, we'll not replace them.

Right now, hubby is saying, "You watch it, Theo. Your days are numbered," as Theo has managed to sneak in the back sliding door we left open. It's our fault, you know, that he gets away with what he does...but, well, he's an idiot!


Oy, Vay!

The sun is bright. The plants are parched. My classroom is halfway done!
SUMMER, SUMMER, SUMMER! Sing it high! Sing it low! Sing it with a beer in your hand! IT'S SUMMER! I'm jumping with joy! My heart is pounding! I thought it was an anxiety attack, but, it's just that IT'S SUMMER!
I'll be done packing on Thursday. I am having to reconfigure everything, as I just found out that my new job is not just a one-year position! It's 3-5 years! Wowza-yowza! Now, I'm packing up an entire classroom in a much different manner, knowing that I'll be putting my personal materials in storage up in our attic for quite some time! Wwo-hoo! It's summer!
Can't wait! Heading out to a ballgame with Carnivorous Hippy this evening. Hubby and son are out of town, fishing for sturgeon in the Columbia River! Daughter is hanging with the boyfriend. Dogs are sleeping in the driveway. Cat is...well, who the hell cares? It's SUMMER!


Beautiful, Beautiful Day!

I can't WAIT to get out in the garden today! There is a slight breeze, the sun is bright, and windchimes are tinkling! I saw a skunk momma and 3 little ones following her along our side garden last night...and realized how lucky we are to live here! My poor friends have deer invading their gardens, so they have to constantly be on the look-out. Our home, however, is only about 1/2 a mile from the Willamette River and, somehow, no deer head this way! My garden is never under attack!

By the end of this week, my classroom will be empty and stored away and my thoughts will only be about myself, my family, and my friends...

By Thursday, there will be mojitos being served in the garden...


Ahhh...The Sound of Sprinklers!

This morning is crisp and clear. I honestly woke at 5 a.m. to the sound of 2 Scrub Jays squawking at each other in the eucalyptus tree in the front yard. I went out with a cup of coffee and set up 3 large sprinklers and realized, with surprise, "Oh my! It's actually summer!" When I hear sprinklers, especially the pulsating kind, I feel so relaxed. I mean, my garden is HUGE, but I refuse to put in an irrigation system, as I need the therapeutic sounds of water showering over plants. Many gardeners spout the importance of avoiding overhead watering, as it's "not good for so many plants." Me, well in my mind, if a plant can't survive water from above, then it's not welcome! My 64 rose bushes have done quite well, in spite of the overhead spray.

I'm one of those who actually enjoys dragging hoses and being in complete control of my plants' life-blood. My husband has offered in-ground irrigation, complete with a timer, so that I don't have to worry anymore, but I politely turned him down. My great-grandmother, Nellie White, used to drag a hose down to her little piece of heaven when I visited, so I guess it's in my blood and memory bank.
Today is absolutely perfect. Hot coffee, dogs snoring at my feet, Sunday paper, and sprinklers "ch-ch-ch-ing" outside.
These are Himalayan Honeysuckle. Very pretty, aren't they?

These are part of my "new favorite flowers" group! They are Foxtail Lilies. I've put in several this year...


Last day...

Today marks the last day of school...

My last day teaching at this school...

My last day to teach in a classroom (for awhile)...

My last day to have to work with a difficult administrator...

I'm very excited and relieved, but I cannot help but feel really, really sad about leaving behind some of the coolest, neediest, oddest, funniest students I've ever had. In brief: 30 kids, only 8 o them girls. 13 IEPs for students with severe to moderate learning disabilities, 7 native languages, ages 9-11 years old. 2 students with autism. 1 child who has attended 14 schools. One child who has missed 41 days of school this year, 1 child who moved away in March to Texas and returned this past Monday to join our class again (she'd moved to Texas, but never enrolled in any schools there, then her mom freaked out and moved back here!) Out of the 30, only 5 live in homes with 2 parents. Each day has been an adventure. I can honestly say that I can come home with a fun story to tell every single day as a teacher in this classroom, whereas most teachers come home with, well, not much to say!

Now, let the summer adventures begin (well, right after I finish report cards, file portfolios, pack up an entire classroom into boxes, and move all of the furniture out into the hallway...)


Saturday Satire

OK. So I've decided to hunt for great photos and get your ideas for captions! Here's the first Saturday Satire! What do you think? Give it your best shot!


Just Plain Ol' Good Music...

I fell in love with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones about 5 years ago. There were times in the summer of 2002 that I played the CD for an entire day while I worked in the garden...
Hope you enjoy it, too!




"White people ought to understand … their job is to give people the blues, not to get them. And certainly not to sing or play them! I’ll tell you a little secret about the blues: It’s not enough to know which notes to play, you have to know why they need to be played."
- from the George Carlin Day Calendar for August 26, 2005


Civil Rights Leaders...an elementary discussion...

For the past 2 weeks, my 4th and 5th grade Literacy Group has been studying Famous Civil Rights Leaders in America. We read the story, Happy Birthday, Dr. King a few weeks ago, which led to lengthy discussions and questions. There are 9 native languages in my classroom this year, so lots to talk over and compare.

Anyway, as a culminating project, I decided that each child should choose a person to research and write a simple, 3 paragraph report about. They also had to find a good photo or picture of the person online. Now, we're creating a QUILT! Yes, that's right, a Civil Rights Leader Quilt! It's going to be so cool!

One young child in my class is here from South Korea. He decided to do a simple study of Malcolm X. Wow, what a report he wrote. See, in Korea, there is very little tolerance in regards to race. Basically, this child has told me often how much he doesn't trust black people. He also doesn't like poor people in America. He said, "Why can't everyone buy food here? It seems like everyone owns a cell phone, even when they are poor?" He and I have some very interesting, sometimes slightly heated, discussions. Anyway, in his report he said, "Malcolm X is regarded as a civil rights leader. However, he was not very logical. MLK was logical. He thought we should create a nation of people who are caring and fair. Malcolm X, however, thought that black people should be able to create their own nation within a nation, a nation of only black people. That is illogical. Black people cannot take care of each other very well." Hmmmm...I'll work with him more tomorrow, but I realize that he is coming at this from a very interesting background. His mother, interestingly, was crippled with polio as a child and walks with a terribly painful limp. She is a specialist in autism, yet said, "I don't like my child being in a school with children who have physical and mental disabilities. He won't learn as much here."

I will photograph the quilt later and show you! We're using cool transfer paper to get images onto quilt squares! Way cool!


Teenagers are Fun...

Last night, we hosted a simple "grill party" for 2 of my friends, Anita and Deb. Both women were so much fun...relaxed, easy-going, smiling. It was so nice to set out on the deck, sipping mojitos and enjoying all of the flowers, birds, and...


Personally, I always love it when the house is full of kids and antics. My 2 children each had a friend over...and, the Swede invited his "girlfriend" to come spend the evening with us. The kids were hilarious. They were loud, silly, obnoxious, constantly moving, and determined to turn a dull night into something memorable.

Here's a simple list of some of the stuff taking place:

1. CJP (my son) and JB (his buddy) threw rocks at each other for about 25 minutes. CJP was out in front of our home in a "parking area" near the roadway. It's covered with 1 inch rock. JB stood in a ditch kitty-corner to the property. I walked out to check on them just in time to see rocks flying through the air, set to hit each boy in the head. OK, I'll admit it. At one point, even I picked up a rock and threw it! Then, as I heard one of the boys' rocks hit dangerously close to my new car, I said, "If you hit a car, you each owe me $50, whether there's a chip/dent or not!"

2. The Swede drove our electric scooter out into the huge grass-seed field across from our property. It's a road scooter. It's not made for off-road. The Swede heard these words from me, "If you break that scooter, you'll have to pay for it!" He was riding up and down the road at that time with long strands of grass hooked onto the axles. He simply smiled and attempted to run me down.

3. 6 Teens decided to take the HUGE balls I bought a few weeks ago and play a game that involved throwing them onto the roof to see who could get closet to the peak without going over the other side. That, in itself, is not a problem. It's the fact that when a ball does go over the peak to the other side, it lands on our deck...and the deck is a living space. Plants, decor, grill...each of these items were being pummeled by the balls! I came onto the deck at one point and found my large Norfolk Pine in a big pot overturned, with large branches broken off.

4. At one point, one of our big dogs came out onto the deck to lay his head on my lap as we adults were visiting. I put my hand on his head and discovered it was COVERED with something sticky! Upon further investigation, it turns out that the teens had taken several ice cream cartons outdoors to eat them. They then proceeded to fling ice cream at each other with their spoons, "accidentally" hitting Dood on the head with a huge blop of cherry-chocolate!

5. I found an empty tequila bottle in the driveway. It was partially filled with a mystery substance. Upon investigating, it seems they tried to do an experiment with tequila, vinegar, food coloring, and baking soda.

6. At one point, Beautiful Daughter came onto the deck to ask, "Where's the BB gun?" My husband's reply, "What in the WORLD do you need a BB gun for?"

7. Beautiful Daughter was standing in the driveway. I asked, "What's all that stuff on your cheek?" Her boyfriend said, "I wrote a secret message on her cheek." Upon closer investigation, I discovered that he's used a highlighter to write, "I smell bad!" on her face.

8. When I came into the house at one time during the evening, BD and boyfriend were sitting together in my computer desk chair. I told them to quit.

9. As I was walking by my mini-van, I noticed something stuck on the back bumper. It was a "komodo" brand condom package, unopened.

10. Upon further investigation, I found several condom packages lying in different locations; side yard, stuck to a gate, in the family room. I then began asking questions and discovered that all of the kids had them. They had been passed out at the previous night's "Alternative Prom" event. None of them seems to think it's a problem...

11. There was music playing on the computer. It was somehow familiar, the voice hauntingly something I knew all too well. Upon further investigation, it appears "the boyfriend" has been creating raps online.

12. At 11 p.m. I went out to tell CJP to stop screaming in the roadway.

13. At 11:30 p.m., it was oddly quiet. That, of ALL going on throughout this entire evening, was scariest to me...

14. At midnight, I finally did a final walk-through the house to be sure all "boyfriend/girlfriend" material had gone home so that I could finally go to bed.


It's a Sizzler Today!

Oh, man, it's still hot! I hate heat. Did I already mention that? My daughter suffers with Season Affective Disorder. She shouldn't live north of the 45th parallel. Me, however, I suffer with Heat Hate.

Someday, I'll move to Canada...Northern Canada. I'll be perfectly fine there, with a high temperature of 78 degrees.

How about you? Who out there agrees with me? Who has a different opinion? Let me know!