Stuff It!

Take some big bell peppers and stuff them! They like it.
Saute up some good ol' ground turkey breast in some high quality EVOO.
Stir in lots of toasted flax seed for bulk!
Add a ton of spices and herbs! I LOVE this new freeze-dried stuff! I also added garlic, onions, tumeric, curry, tarragon, thyme, and lots of other doo-dads. I threw in some salt and pepper. Then, after the meat was cooked, I stuffed it all into the peppers, threw on some grated cheddar, and threw it all in the oven at 375 for about, oh, 1 hour or more! Yummy!


The Big Kahuna

Got a surprise visit from our district assistant superintendent today. His appearance is that of being a laid-back sort of guy...but, his title says otherwise. I've had some insight to his workings, since I am friends with CH and MCS, which is a story within itself.

I'm afraid of secrets, but I have plenty. I just don't want there to be any secrets out there about me. I'm sure everyone in the world feel that way, but, then again, CH and MCS are possibly an exception. They are strong and forthright. They have vision...and a strong marriage. Me? Well, I've been an independent functioner in my own mind and I've had so many fears in my life re: marriage and honesty that I worry when others express an opinion about me and I'm not there. I haven't ever had someone covering my back, until now (I happen to have the world's most loving and helpful husband).
Ah, what a tangled web, eh?

Anyway, the meeting was in regards to my actual work in the new positions, new school, new administration, new staff, new (over and over) office zone, new students...you get the picture, I'm sure. I was confident and self-assured in my responses to his questions and inquiries. I had documentation galore. I spoke the language of education to a "t," which means, I've finally mastered the art of complete BULLSHIT.
Actually, I have to be honest... I'm not full of shit.
I know what I'm doing and I know what my job is. I've got 21 years of intense, diverse experience. I'm up-to-date in my strategies, methodology and passions. I know he saw the light while we spoke, but my inner freak is now reminding me that my thoughts on this are worthless. A school district administrator has a mission. He doesn't have to explain that mission to any of us
pee-ons. He just listens, decides, and reacts.
My principal and I spoke later in the day. He said, "You are doing a great job, Val. I met with JH (the asst. super.) and I couldn't say enough about all of the good you are doing here for our students and staff.
" I said, "In what way?"
His reply? "In all ways imaginable."
Hmmmm...my bullshit detector is beeping and flashing bright red and blue lights...


Just Way Too Much Fun...

Yeah, we have DDR in in house, but it requires sweat and set-up.

Try this action for your fingers and brain.


More Advenures in the Cascades...

What a beautiful trip to Mt. Bachelor! My 2 teens competed in a "Skate-Ski" Cross-Country ski race from Sunrise Lodge down to Wanoga...a 15 K race! Here are Malory and Collin walking to the start line. They are really good friends, so I enjoy seeing them chat and give each other "uppers" before a race. The temperature at this point was about 23 degrees, which isn't so bad. Later in the day, after heading up to the main Nordic Lodge (higher up the mountain) the wind kicked in and a big storm blew in. The temp dropped to 15, which was miserable for me.
This is Mal (left) and 4 CHS teammates, getting psyched prior to heading to the line.
Racers began gathering at the starting gate. It was so cool! There was loud music playing and HUNDREDS of barking dogs (a big dog sled race was taking place directly after the skiers got going.)
I really liked this view, showing some of the 150 competitors for the day's race. These are some of the best athletes and nicest kids in Oregon.

The Nordic Lodge at West Village is so nice! We all gathered around the woodstove and laughed, relaxed, and sipped hot drinks.


Okay, so I'd like to take full responsibility for this, but, alas...she is her own person...

My lovely daughter has been enjoying her senior year. I, as a parent, have felt so proud...yet, disconnected in so many ways.
When I woke this morning, poured my cup of coffee and sat down to the local paper, I was surprised to find this story and photo! Malory amazes me every single day...I hate to see her leave for college, but I am sooooo excited for her.

Conscious Consumers
By Jennifer Nitson
Gazette-Times reporter


Heather Bishop, Malory Peterson, L.J. Wilson and Chelsea Whipple figure out how they will present their conservation information at the faculty staff meeting this week.

Class shows students their choices can make a difference

When Malory Peterson signed up for the new economics of conscious consumption class at Corvallis High School this fall, she was not optimistic about her ability to make a difference.

But in just four months her perspective has changed. Though she has learned about the serious threat posed by global warming, she has also learned a number of ways to be proactive for change.

“One of the biggest things I’ve taken from this class is the positive environmental mindset rather than the negative,” Peterson said. “I came in with a very pessimistic view. I thought it’s kind of hopeless, that there wasn’t anything I could do at 17.”

Now the CHS senior believes that the choices she makes every day can both affect the environment and serve as an example to others. Choosing wisely what to buy and consume can have a positive effect on a person’s lifestyle, she added.

“It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice,” she said. “It’s easier than you think it is.”

Julie Williams, a 21-year physical education teacher at CHS, decided to teach the economics of conscious consumption class as she worked to incorporate practices of recycling and sustainable living into her own life.

“What I found was my generation was removing any option for this generation to affect their future,” Williams said. “I wanted to give them a chance to alter the course.”

In the class Williams asks students: “How can we as individuals affect the world economy?”

The course looks at how people consume energy, space and resources. After studying global economics and energy expenditures, the 35 students in Williams’ class explored real-world ways to reduce consumption and waste. In small groups of two to eight, the students are working on projects that will directly impact the high school and Corvallis.

One project endeavors to help Corvallis become a “greener” city by putting solar panels on the roof of the CHS gym. According to the students’ research, this could save the high school up to $9,000 a year in energy costs and reduce carbon emissions from traditional sources of electricity generation.

One group is spearheading an effort to increase recycling at the school, with more bins for glass, paper products and plastics to be placed around the school and informational signs and posters telling where, how and what to recycle.

“We’re trying to make it more accessible to students,” said senior Brandi Nolan.

Another project has students putting together a pamphlet for Corvallis residents with information on sustainable living choices. The booklet will include sections on where to recycle items such as tennis shoes, batteries, plastic bags and appliances, as well as tips about sustainable practices for all facets of daily life — from cleaning to dining to home heating.

Other groups are working to create an electronics recycling drop-off center, discourage the use of non-recyclable plastics and establish a food-waste composting program for the CHS cafeteria.

The students will launch an awareness campaign Monday at CHS — with posters, flyers and announcements to promote student participation in the various projects.

“We as a class are trying to make a difference in the school and make a difference in the community, and do what we can do as a class to make a difference right now,” said senior L.J. Wilson.


Where do you stand?

Well, here are my results. Click on the quiz below (2008) and check your standing! Hmmm....who the HELL is Mike Gravel?

74% Mike Gravel
69% John Edwards
69% Dennis Kucinich
68% Hillary Clinton
68% Barack Obama
67% Chris Dodd
67% Bill Richardson
59% Joe Biden
47% John McCain
45% Mike Huckabee
43% Rudy Giuliani
41% Mitt Romney
40% Ron Paul
36% Tom Tancredo
33% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz


A Very Blustery Excursion...

Wow! Over a 4-day period, Hubby and I experienced just about all there is to experience in terms of weather in Oregon!

Hail? check
Rain? check
Wind gusts? check
Snow? check
Sunshine? check
Sleet? check
We rented a quaint cottage in Cannon Beach, Oregon...just houses from the sea! The weather was unbelieveable, and provided us with continuous entertainment! Imagine hiking out to the edge of Ecola State Park, braving 80 mph winds! I'll admit, I'm not lightweight, but I was able to lean into the wind and not fall down! It was so cool! Enjoy the photos and captions below! Let me know what you think!This is the painting I really, really want to buy! Hey, Jan. 8 is my birthday! Why doesn't someone head to Dragonfire Gallery in Cannon Beach pick it up for me? It's only $2200. (Hey, MCS...do you like the artist's name?)This is out on the edge of Ecola Park! I kept thinking about Lord of the Rings as I watched this light shine down and change form/shape as the wind roared!
These pilings are all that remain from one of Oregon's largest old canneries in Astoria! That's right folks! Here is the motel featured in Arnold S's all-time highlight movie, "Kindergarten Cop!"
This is the old bar in Astoria where my husband's mother used to get tanked. He remembers sitting and waiting for her in the car for hours. He'd just stare at all of those little sailboats in the dark (they lit up!) and wait for her. Ah, childhood memories!We drove up to Cape Disappointment in Washington. During a hike up to the cape (it's a long, muddy hike, folks...so, if you go, wear boots and do NOT begin the trek as it's getting dark! Walking back down the 1.5 mile trail is very scary!) While hiking, I saw a mother doe and her oddly-colored fawn! I was able to talk with it and coax it into being photographed! I got within 8 feet! Wow!
This, my friends, is Dead Man's Cove. You can only get there by hiking a considerable distance along very windy, muddy trails. However, it's got a great history! It's in Washington.

This is the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. It's 1.5 miles from the parking lot...a very nice hike. Remember, though, don't do it in the dark! Ver-r-r-y dangerous.This photo was taken in Ilwaco, WA at the harbor.And, this is at the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon! We saw where they make all of that good cheese!And, at this point, I had to quit taking photos. Coming over the pass was horrid! The snow/hail/sleet took over my concentration.


Why Is It...

*on the day you CAN sleep in, your kids' alarm clocks go off...and they ignore them!?
*when a door is open, you say it's ajar, but when a jar is open, you can't say it's adoor?
*we gain weight as we age?
*when you set a curfew for your teens, they just don't get it?
*if there is some dog poo on the driveway, one ALWAYS steps in it? (yep...this morning it happened to me when I went out to get the paper!)
*that everytime I fill the dishwasher and run it, within 5 minutes there are 6 more glasses sitting by the sink?


Takin' Care of Business!

Today was the day! I got SO MUCH done around here! New Year's Day isn't very exciting, like all of the other holidays, so, it's a good day to get those nagging tasks done that I would normally avoid.

First, I sent in all of the rebate forms for our new cell phones. I tend to let stuff like that go, which is soooooooooo stupid! Heck, it's $200 in rebates! That will really fill one level of my money shelf (har, har, M.C.S. We just can't let that one go!)

Then, I had purchased a rather large quantity of local ground beef a couple of days ago. Today, I repackaged it into smaller packs for the freezer. We'll have beef for the next 2 months, ready-to-thaw!

Hubby worked on finishing up the floor and door mouldings in our bedroom, so I took advantage of the disaster and cleaned out my closet! Man, I have a TON of clothes that I either never wear or which do not fit. Bagged 'em up and put them in the car trunk. Tomorrow, they'll go to Vina Moses!

And, last, but not least, I went through my stored Sunset Magazines, focusing on the July editions for hte past 10 years! See, I organize all of our magazines by month in storage boxes in the garage. It's a practical thing, since I like doing home and garden projects. I occasionally pull out a box and go through the mags for ideas and inspiration! Then, I cut out only those projects and ideas which really mean something to me and store them in protective sleeves in my 3-ring "Inspirations" notebook! My friend, Donna, and I both keep notebooks like this! I actually have several. Once in awhile she and I will get together and decide on doing something fun for an afternoon from one of our notebooks! Then, I take the magazines, which are still in excellent condition, and bundle them up for The Corvallis Manor, a nearby nursing home.