One Lucky Woman!

I am so frickin' lucky! My son, my daughter, and my niece are the best! Thanksgiving Dinner was awesome this year!


My Daughter is in this Photo!

Can you see her? She's the blonde...in one of the letters...wearing clothes...near a bunch of other people...smiling...with a cell phone in her pocket...has on shoes, too.


Oh, man, that man can cook! I'm a lucky wife!

That man can cook! He can cook and then we can eat! He cooks. We eat. I gain weight! Oh, but I'm soooooooo happy, eating what he cooks!
Tonight, George whipped up a batch of beautiful fish tacos! He used fish he'd caught in the Mighty Columbia River...Sturgeon! He steamed it to perfection, with just the right amount of salt and herbs. The fish steamed in lime juice, garlic, and a touch of virgin olive oil. He threw in cilantro at the end, along with a tad of cumin! He made this awesome open-ended salad, spicing it with fresh garlic, lots of fresh lime juice, salt, and cilantro!
The throw-on's included chopped fresh cabbage, diced white onion, chopped cilantro, grated queso, and green onions! Topped it with a custom killer sauce, made from fresh herbs from our garden, Nancy's Organic Plain Yogurt, garlic, lime juice, and chopped jalapenos! Woo-wee! It was spicy and tangy!
This was the finished product! My plate was full when I sat down at the table and empty when I got up.


ORBlogs! I'm Missing You So Much!

Ever since ORBlogs closed up shop, I'm just not into blogging the way I once was! A big part of the draw was in connecting with a wide range of bloggers from throughout this region. I understand why the owner of ORBlogs.com had to quit, but I can't understand why it wasn't passed on to someone to carry on! I know there's an effort out there, but I've seen the attempt and it's not pretty.
As a blog reader, I was informed and entertained by some of Oregon's finest writers! Portland must have a corner on the market for intelligence and variety. I learned about bicycle laws, art scenes, racial conflict, academic reform, drug violence, and pet care while cruising through the blog list available on ORBlogs. Now...eh...no drive to even Google for such information. Just proves I'm lazy (or time-strapped).
Anyway, here are a few pics from recent goings-on in my life.

Whoops! How'd that get here?

Phyllis, Ana, Anita, and me at a recent concert at OSU!

Hubby and me with our geodogs, after a hike and cache hunt.

The best-looking man I know and his happy dog.


Crabby, Crabby, Crabs

We headed over to Newport/Yaquina Bay on Sunday, hoping to score some fantastic Fall Crab. Hubby was delighted to get out his big boat and get us all in.This Little Crabby Crab tried to make an escape and hide. He dropped into one of the cup holders and worked his way down as deep as possible.
I picked him up and dumped him into the drink. Silly Crabby Crab. Don't you know you can't hide there?

My Granddaughter (yes...that's right...um...she's my step-granddaughter) had never been crabbing before, so she enjoyed the challenge of grabbing Crabby Crabs.

View from the frontof the boat, looking West. toward the Pacific Ocean. The Yaquina Bay Bridge was very beautiful and the bay water was calm. Ahhh.


Rocky Moutain High...in Colorado

Flew to Colorado for a long weekend with my beautiful daughter, Malory. She's attending CSU in Ft. Collins. We buzzed all over, doing as much as possible in 4 days as we could! RMNP was on our list of to-dos. Malory ran in a 5K race while I was in CO. It was great to see her run competitively, as it'd been almost a year since she'd competed.This is her new boyfriend, Bobby. He's MUCH cuter than he appears in this photo, and I SWEAR Malory is being an absolute dork. She hates when I take her picture.
The squirrels were very friendly on campus.
The dorm food is nothing like when we were in college! Fresh fruit, huge salad bar, Mongolian grill, pasta bar, wraps, Mexican bar....
Malory (right) with her new friend, Jane. Jane is from Philadelphia and she and Mal hit it off instantly in the dorms.Alberta Falls, up in Glacier Gorge. It was only a 1 mile hike in, so we were doing fine...except that we were at 8800 feet and quite winded.Looking up a ridge during one of our hikes. We had driven along a high road to get here. You can see a road sign at the bottom.On the plane, flying home. The Rockies were covered with snow as I left. A storm had hit while we were out there!
I cried while I slept in my hotel room that last night, knowing it'd been quite awhile before I'd see her again.


Oh, man! What a Debate!

Maybe it's because I'm old enough, now, to understand many of the issues that are a part of our everyday, American lives.
I'm having a hard time grasping all of the worry over the bail-out/stock market issues, as I'm just a lowly educator with few investments. No matter what, I realize that I will still always get up in the morning, drink my coffee, read my local paper, care for my teens, drive to work, feed my dogs, ride my bike, geocache, and plan on small vacations with my Wonderful Husband...regardless of who is in office.
But, my passion keeps me from staying quiet.
I ABSOLUTELY love Barack Obama.
I love his voice.
I love his ideas.
I love his youth.
I love his background.
I love his views.
After tonight's debate, I truly see that my feelings and passions are viable.
I think I hear a man speaking who GETS IT and will make life better, somehow.
When I think of Grandpa McCain in office, I get a few weird thoughts running through my head, such as:
Is it OK to have a president who cannot raise his hands above his head?
Can I stand to listen to his crackly voice?
At what point will I scream when I hear Sarah Palin's whiny, stupid words?
How can Americans elect a man who is slightly vicious? (I really do believe there is a deep evil lurking below the surface.)

My son is now 16. He and I had an interesting discussion this morning on the way into town. I said, "Do you realize that G.W. Bush has been president for 1/2 of your life and W.J.Clinton was president for the other 1/2 of you life?"
He replied, "Wow. I guess I have very little memory of Bill Clinton as president. I've just grown accustomed to hearing how stupid the American president is. I haven't known anything different."
I said, "Hopefully, that will change..."


Heading to Colorado!

I can't wait to see my Beautiful Daughter next week! It's been about 7 weeks, maybe 8, since we last hugged and I'm missing her SO MUCH!
I've loaded 300 geocaches into my GPSr and am hoping a friend will come and show me how to load information onto my Palm so that I can go completely freely, with no worries! I know there will be significant amounts of "down-time" while I'm visiting, as I've opted out of registering for all of the campus events set up for "Parents Weekend." It's not only too darned expensive, but it's also just not us. We'll travel around, hike, bike, and eat some fantastic foods...and then, I'll hit some geocaches and take a lot of photos!


SWAG Pilgrimage to Washington

Here we are at take-off Ground Zero...Albany, Oregon. Cachers from Corvallis (us), Albany, Lebanon, and Eugene all met for a quick hello and good-bye.We met up later that afternoon in Seattle, after all driving up in many different directions. We had booked a "tour" of Groundspeak. What a dud. It's just some cubicles and nerds. Seriously, boring! We did each snag a beautiful geocoin that is "owned" by Signal!
We all ended up going our own ways, again, but managed to meet a couple of hours outside of Seattle along the Snoqualmish Pass, I-90. Quick photo, and off we went.
Our group of 4 women biked through the tunnel in order to snag IronHorse, Mission 9: Tunnel of Light, and great scenic views! We dropped out mountain bikes into the brush at one point, and sat on the mountainside, sipping wine, eating fruit and cheese, and telling stories. The photo below is of the APE Cache we managed to snag, one of the few left in the world. Very lucky, very lucky, indeed.


Jet-Powered Bicycle!

Today, Hubby and I decided to bike into town to hit the Farmer's Market and run some errands. One of those errands involved dropping our big gas-powered leaf blower off at a local repair shop. Hubby strapped it onto the back of his bike, using Bungee cords, and off we went. When we arrived at the Market, we kept getting funny looks from some folks as we strolled about, looking at goods and visiting with friends. One man approached us and asked my husband how he uses the "jet pack" on the back of his bike! OMG! People were actually thinking it was a REAL jet pack! One guy asked what kind of mileage he gets. Another asked if he only uses it for going uphill!!!! I blurted out the truth to one man, who then decided to play a joke on his visiting brother. He brought him over and told him all about the engine on Hubby's bike. I said, "Yeah, and it's made in Poland!" I hope you get it. He didn't and kept on asking questions!

On another note, I was finally able to use GSAK today to upload 200 caches onto my Magellan with one-click! I'm such a dummy! I'd been manually entering information for 3 years! Now, I have all of the caches within many, many miles of my home, loaded and ready for seeking!


My Daughter Survived!

Malory has a penchant for living on the edge, sometimes. At 18, she is already a world traveler and has done and seen more than I have at 45. She craves adventure and sometimes opts to ignore "common sense" in order to develop a huge background of amazing quests and tales.
This past weekend simply added to her internal journal of temerarious apologues.
While backpacking in the "Cache La Poudre Wilderness Area" in Northern Colorado with a group of new friends from college, she and a fellow hiker set out on a mini-hike away from the established camp. Other backpackers noted the time they left and a time they would expect to return to the campfire.
When they didn't return, the smart group contacted local authorities, who set in motion a Search and Rescue group to begin combing the area. This was just as the sun set Saturday night.
While this was taking place back at the base camp, Malory and the other backpacker realized they'd lost all sense of direction. AS A GEOCACHER, MYSELF, I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A GPS UNIT WITH YOU WHILE IN UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY!
They realized they were in trouble as the sun disappeared. Malory was only wearing shorts and a "spaghetti strap" tak top. They had some water, snacks, and matches. They quickly built a shelter and a fire, where they huddled as the temperature dipped down to 31 degrees that night. Needless to say, they got absolutely no sleep. They also had no idea if anyone would really realize they were lost.
At sunrise, they began their quest to "find home." However, nothing was ringing a bell for them, so they made it to the Cache la Poudre River and began following it for many miles. Eventually, they came to a highway, where they waited for a passing car. They were lucky enough to hitch a ride back to Ft. Collins. When she settled back in her dorm room, she accessed her cell phone, which had died with its old battery, plugged it in, and began calling others from the original group. However, she discovered that there were many messages from the local sheriff. Upon calling the agency back, she realized the impact of the adventure...a Search and Rescue Group was actually out in the Wilderness Area, searching for them!
As a parent, I cannot express my relief enough. I am also concerned, however, that no one contacted her family upon her disappearance. It's tough being the mother of an independent-minded, adventurous teenager. I guess, in many ways, I'm glad I didn't hear about all of this until after-the-fact, as I would have been up all night, worrying and booking a flight to Colorado.
For Christmas, even if she doesn't want it, I'm getting her a GPSr and making her swear to carry it!


Dropped 16 Pounds...

Since June 30, I have officially lost 16 pounds.
I don't crave sweets right now, which is a biggie! When I do, I just get busy, go geocaching, ride my bike, work in the garden, or beg my husband for sex.
My husband likes me a lot.


Now, It's the Boy's Turn

Please don't judge me on the content of this photo. My son has my genetic material swarming through his veins. He knows not what he does... My daughter has moved away to attend her freshman year at Colorado State University. My son, 16, is now an "only child" here and seems to be doing alright. He misses his sister so much, but is filling his time with busy activities to ease the pain. They are best friends.

Today, he raced his first Cross-Country race with the CHS Team. It was the Newport Agate Beach Invitational and he did a great job! It was a 5K, all-out, mostly into-the-wind race and I was impressed! He came across the finish line smiling, so I assume he wasn't feeling the pain many of the other runners were feeling. I'm really proud of my boy!Go Spartans!


Biking with My Husband

Just like the gool ol days, Hubby and I have begun biking again! 10 years ago, I used to race on my mountain bike! I was 35 and 60 pounds lighter! I was a "newlywed" for the 2nd time and feeling healthy. Then, I got into a bad wreck on Bald Hill that landed me in an ambulance and really gave me a scare. I was out of it with a significant back injury and had basically removed all of the skin from my thighs and elbows on the gravel I crashed onto. I was so embarassed in the ambulance, that 3 men were helping me after a wreck, until one of the EMTs said, "Lady, you are hurt! Good grief! Yesterday, we transported a woman who'd gotten sunscreen in her eyes."
Well, now that time has passed, not only have I gotten into terrible physical shape, but my life is ready for a bit of an overhaul. My Beautiful Daughter has moved away to college and my son is a very independent 16-year old. So, I'm back to biking and thinking about what I put in my mouth. My husband, who is 19 years my senior, is in WAYYYYY better shape than me, so I have my inspiration right in front of me daily! My 2 good friends, CH and MCS, are losing poundage, inspiring me even more!
We rode yesterday from the Lewisburg Saddle up to the top of Dimple Hill and then back down into town, via Chip Ross Park trails. Dan's Trail is my favorite trail to ride in Corvallis, as it's just challenging enough to keep me busy the entire time. It was great to have Carnivorous Hippy with us, as she is a HOOT and we both walked together uphill from time-to-time (while Handsome Husband zipped up with no problem! Ugh!)
Today, HH and I completed almost all of the geocaches in the southern end of Camp Adair. I'd been there 2 days ago with caching friends from SWAG to hit the northern caches. What fun! My legs, however, are even worse tonight! I wore long pants today and that made a real difference!


My Legs, My Poor, Poor Legs

I did it this time. Just as my legs were healing from last week's "Lost-in-the-Woods" adventure,I hurt them again today. I went out with a bunch of geocaching friends from SWAG. We met at 8 a.m. out at Camp Adair on our mountain bikes.
On the 3rd cache of the day, we came across a small hill covered in blackberry bushes. I decided to go for it. I just gritted my teeth and in I went! I made it to the top, found the cache, passed it back down the hill for others to sign, replaced the cache, and traveled back down. Ugh. I'm too old for this. One thing I didn't realize is that these scratches actually are so painful that I have chills tonight. When I climbed into the showed, just before taking this photo (you should have seen all of the blood beforehand), I cried as the hot water and soap ran over the wounds.
Now, I'll never get the chance to be a leg model.


An Interesting Philosophy

I have a really nice and beautiful family. I love them.

I have great friends who keep me on my toes and entertained. They always give me things to do!

I like my job so much, since it's challenging, dynamic, and service-based. More stuff to do!

I am overloaded with things to do every single day. There are no down-times. Yeah...more stuff!

I have 2 healthy children with great, big brains, one in college and one soon-to-be, which is awesome to look forward to!

I like my hair color right now, but I also like to change it often. Something to look forward to!

I like my husband's hair color right now! Someone I love!

One night up at Waldo Lake, sitting around the campfire with some of the best friends imagineable, one friend said, "I know exactly what it takes to be truly successful in life."

Well, of course I had to say, "Yeah...well...what is it?"
He said, (and, by the way, he's one of the head psychiatrists up at the Oregon State Hospital), "You need to have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to."
I am one of the most successful people I know.


This Morning's Harvest, Both Outside and In!

First, the outside harvest:

Yum! I can't wait for dinner tonight!I In order to get ready for planting Fall "Cascadia" snap peas, I'm working hard to keep up with the harvest of green beans, tomatoes, kale, lettuces, and zucchini. I want my current veggie plants to finish the season with a bang...and then till them into the rich soil to prepare for pea seed planting. Fall peas are the MOST delicious vegetable! Usually, by planting mid-to late-August, I end up with a solid crop in early October!

Here are some photos of today's grabbings:
These beauties are called "Regal Beans." I love them, since they're purple...and I LOVE the way they turn bright green when cooked! I'll be putting them in a big pot with potatoes, onions, and ham! My grandmother and my mother used to make this big pot of deliciousness often when we were kids, in Oklahoma!

This is a wonderful blend of lettuces (not mesclin mix) that I'll use for a salad tonight! I've made a new "pesto dressing" from the basil and garlic I've been harvesting to make it deeeeeeelicious!

Now, the inside harvest!Here are a few shots of some of the almost-finished rooms in our house! Yippee! I've been sleeping in my own bed for 6 nights now! Our "new" bedroom! Love the colors!
Daughter-who-went-to-college's room: It's now a TV room!

Our formal living room. I'm still working on it, but I love how the purple furniture looks with the new carpet! Now, with no television in the room, it's what I LOVE...a place to sit, read, and chat.


The End is in Sight...and It's Not Good...

This has, seriously, been one of the best summers of my life! I have felt calmer and more grounded this year than in many, many years. My house is settled. My marriage is wonderful. My children are growing (daughter is gone, you know...

As I was going through the possibe new caches that have popped up on geocaching.com, I thought, "Man. I have to scramble for the next few days to get them, as my free life will end on Wednesday." Wednesday is the day I return to work full-time. I LOVE my job and I LOVE learning so many new things each year of my career, but I also now realize that I've been working hard for the past 23 years and I'm really tired. I have such a full life without having to go to work that there MUST be some way for me to keep my annual income while staying home, gardening, cooking, geocaching, biking, visiting, working on the computer, and more. If anyone has any ideas about how to seek and find this loophole, please let me know. Remember, I don't want to work, at all, so don't suggest anything that involves the word "employment." :)


Fun, Fun, Fun!

Another day out caching! Managed to get out of the house by 8:30 a.m. I had one scary moment. I got lost! my GPSr died while I was out in a local park, on the edge of town. It was so dumb of me now to check the power level before I left the house. I had left the trail, in search of a cache in a wide-swath of blackberry vines, poison oak, and rocks, so I wasn't paying attention to the directions I was walking. I ended up going in big circles and then realized how screwed I was!

A few years ago, there was this story in our local paper about this woman who'd gotten "lost" in a local green belt park, right on the edge of town! She ended up getting stuck in brambles and hovered down for 2 nights, hiding from animals she heard in the dark! She was dehydrated and disoriented when she was found a few days later. I kept thinking, "WHAT A DORK! Who gets lost in a city park?" Well, now I know. ANYONE gets lost in a city park! Here's a photo of my legs, as I drove myself through a mile of blackberries:
It only got worse! Here's the view of the area I had to hike through, which was about 2 feet deep with thorns and poison oak!

After awhile, I used my cell phone to call my husband, asking him if he'd drive out this way and honk his horn from the roadway off in the distance, so I could at least get closer to the parking spot I'd left my car at. Har-dee-har-har. Finally made it out and headed over to Carnivorous Hippy's house, where we planned the rest of the day's caching!

We did "Blame Game," a cache not too far from my home. It involved scrambling down a sand bank to the Willamette River's Edge and swim-wading across the water to a large dead tree submerged in the water! We did it! It was awesome! Ended up each going home afterwards to change into dry clothes in order to prepare for the next phase of the day.

This phase involved LADDERS! I left my Accord at home, opting to use the Town and Country minivan instead, so I could fit 2 ladders inside. Off we went! We hit "Welcome to Adair," which required climbing 25 feet up into a pine tree to retrieve the cache. I am afraid of heights, so CH ended up making the snag! Then, we hit "Tree Time Shenanigans," which required another change in altitude...but only about 10 feet up. I was able to get this one. Woo-hoo!

From there, we hit a bunch more caches out in the North Albany area and called it a day around 3:10, as I had to be at an appointment. It was great fun and great weather! A nice, cool 72 degrees!