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!


Hiking Resource for Corvallis...and beyond!


LOVE this site! I'm planning on continuing to work toward being "in shape" by biking and hiking throughout the Fall. This site turned my cookie! I've now created a plan for getting OUT of the house after school gets out and hitting some of these well-described trails!

Got a Great Phone Call Today!

My daughter called from her new dorm room on the Colorado State University campus! She was all alone and feeling rather lonely, as she unpacked her boxes and tubs and waited for her dad and brother to return from a hike. She was a bit weepy, which is VERY unusual for this girl! When she tears up, I know something is really bothering her. I had one of those "mom-moments" where I almost said, "I'll buy a plane ticket tonight and be right out to see you!" However, reality. I cannot afford a ticket. I've got a trip planned during early October, where I'll spend 5 days with her during Parents' Weekend. That trip cost over $1000, as I really needed to rent a car to drive from Denver to Ft. Collins.

I miss her so much.
Can you believe it?
3 weeks ago, I was ready to throw her out...literally.
Now, I see she is back to being herself and loves her mom again.
I'm very happy and very proud.

I ventured out into an area I'd never really explored in order to place a new, classic geocache. It's called "Axiom-Stretcher." Heh, heh. I can't wait for someone to find it!

A New-to-Me Type of Cache in the Making

I was reading online tonight, something I do between Olympic Events, and discovered this really cool online geo-magazine. They had some great articles about interesting and "rare" geocaches.
I was particularly taken with one of them...but I won't give out too many details, as I don't want to make it too easy for locals who read this blog to get a free hint!

Basically, one sets out a cache with a rule posted inside...that finders read and follow as they log their find on http://www.geocaching.com/

So, tomorrow, I'll begin designing a cache that mimics what I read about. I'll make a little twist in it, however, cause I'm dumb like that.

I managed to pick up 5 caches today in the rain. I like when Carnivorous Hippy and I manage to discover that the other isn't too busy to get out and snag some finds!
One, in particular, had me stumped for more than 5 previous visits! "Our First Micro," in Corvallis, is one of those caches you groan over, once you find it! Each time I've gone hunting for it, several factors get in the way: it's near a public park, so there are lots of muggles about and it under some pretty big trees, which makes the GPSr bounce all over! However, maybe due to today's rain and heavy cloud cover, I felt I knew right where it'd be as we approached.

The other cache, "Snakes in the Grass," I've looked for 3 times with no luck. Then, I chatted with another cacher a few weeks ago who mentioned "the fort." I'd been in that fort, but not to find the cache, as my GPSr had me on the opposite side of the creek. So, Carnivorous Hippy and I walked to the fort. As I was on my knees, inside, I remembered reading on the logs online that this cache was in a glass jar! CH called our "life-line" buddy, Shawn, and within a few seconds I had the cache in-hand.

I like the way Shawn never gives away too much information. He's good and has a photographic memory. I owe him a 6-pack of Oatmeal Stout. I've GOT to get it to him soon. Pay-day is only 11 days away. I hope he can wait until then!


Yeah, Life's Like That, Sometimes...

I've had days like this...haven't we all?

Ape Cave? Ring of Fire? WTF?

Last night a bunch of cool gecachers came over to our home for an event. For those of you who are virgins to caching, an "event" is a special kind of geocache. Folks show up, participate, and then log the event as a "find" on geocaching.com, upping their numbers and giving them a chance to congregate with folks who are just as geeky as themselves! This event was titled, "SWAG Pilgrimage Planning Party. It was designed to bring together members of SWAG, the Santiam-Willamette Area Geocachers. Yeah, that's right, we're an organized bunch...
Anyway, we're planning a Pilgrimage to the very first geocache site, right here in Oregon. We'll also be caravanning up to Seattle to visit Groundspeak Headquarters, the mecca for geocaching.com followers. We're going to hit other significant caches as we wind our way back to our homeland. Pablo Mac has made it clear, however, that we're not going to be stopping for all of the roadside caches nor urban caches so many tend to fall back on. No-sir-ree! He's going all hardcore on us! He's an ex-Marine, who's cell phone actually has a real machine gun firing as its ringtone. It was great to hear the phone ring last night...I jokingly told him it sounded like a fart. He didn't smile. I'll straighten up.
Now, let me be up-front and honest; I am NOT a geek. I just like hanging out with geeks. I'm more of a prankster, who dabbles in obnoxious and teasing behaviors. I get along well with geeks.

Back to the blog title: Ape Cave and Ring of Fire. You truly have to read the following links...truly...so that you can appreciate how much fun it is to be a geocacher! Imagine ropes, cliffs, tunnels, GPS technology, and geeks all in one bundle. That's what the fun is all about!



I'm getting older, but I'm happy to say that there are many older-than-me folks going on this pilrimage! I might get to be one of the "whipper-snappers" of the group! Woo-hoo! We'll leave on Friday, September 26. We'll camp in Seattle at the Holiday Inn Express. It should be rough, being that they serve SaraLee Danish Pastries for the continental breakfast, but we're geocachers and we'll survive, dammit!


Dorks Reading About a Dork

I forget that people I know (besides Carnivorous Hippy and Vita, my blogging pals) read this ridiculoud blog! I think back to all of the stuff I write that's pretty stupid (i.e. personal crutches, gripes, antics, boring details, etc.) and realize, now, that the dorks reading my site might actually think of ME as a dork!
So, this site will be undergoing a bit of a change. I'm going to have to be more careful about spilling personal details, complaints, and illegal acts into my blogging. Of course, I'll also be creating a new blog site, that none of you dorks will know about, so that you can't read about my "real" personal life.
That's right...all of the drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

Rehanging a Memory

Here's a photo of the amazing quilt my good friend, Anita, made for my daughter for her 16th birthday. It's a teapot-themed quilt, as Malory collects teapots and teacups!

Anita has always been good to our family, acting more as an aunt than just a friend. She's made quilts for each of us; "Garden Path" for me, as I was just beginning the horrid divorce process in 1994, "Fishing Lures" quilt for my husband when he went through his first retirement, "Flying Geese" quilt for my son upon his birth, a "Watercolor" quilt to mark my 2nd marriage, "Sampler" quilt for my daughter when she was born, and numerous holiday-themed quilt projects, such as the BEAUTIFUL evergreen trees wall quilt I hang at Christmas.

Hanging this quilt yesterday really brought me joy, as my daughter, coincidentally, left for Colorado State University that same morning. I am beyond proud of her. When I look at this quilt, I'll think about her.


Like the Phoenix, We Have Risen!

From the sweat of labor. Out of the ashes of despair (if you'd seen the original house when we bought it in 2001, you'd get what I mean). With a purpose which would bring normal mortals to their knees. With a low-percentage signature loan which only those with our high-income, er, I mean, living wage, could receive, I present: OUR NEW HOME!

Well, not new, but new-to-us, in the "we've altered every single imagineable surface, inside-and-out, top-to-bottom," sort of new.

This is it. This is what we waited for! The "Carpet Dude" finished his job yesterday!

Ack! The wall colors clash a bit here, but we'll fix that soon enough! This is my daughter's room, but she left for Colorado State University today, so how it's our new media room!

Here's a shot of our bedroom, with the door waiting to be returned to its hinges.

Here's my son's room. It's warm and rich in there!

This is one wall in the dining room. The carpet looks very 70's here, doesn't it? I like that it takes on different shades in different light. Hubby had done all of the mouldings in the entire house this past Winter. We like the result!
And, finally, a shot in the living room. We vacuumed with the big Dyson Animal I bought awhile back. Man, it sucks the daylights out of carpet, which is why we like it so much. Remember, we've got 3 big dogs and 1 scrawy cat who sheds year-round.

And, now, we begin returning the furniture to make our house a home again!


The Cinematic Dry Spell Has Ended...

It's strange. Didn't see many movies this summer at the theater. Then, 3 movies in a week! It's the heat, I'll tell you! To pay $6-9 to sit for a few hours in an airconditioned theater is worth every penny.

Went to see "Mamma Mia" last week with my friends, MCS and Carnivorous Hippy. We had that moment near the beginning where we were looking at each other wondering, "What were we thinking?" As we held on, however, it got more and more entertaining. To see Pierce Brosnon singing his heart out with the camera focused directly on his face, close-up, brought me to a good roar of laughter.
Then, 2 nights ago, Hubby and I headed to see "The Dark Knight." Absolutely awesome. That's all I can say. But, the theater's air conditioning was having "trouble," and we sat in a hot theater for the first hour. It was almost unbearable.

Today, Carnivorous Hippy, Vita, and I headed over to see "Tropical Thunder." Oh. My. God. That was one of the most un-P.C. movies I've ever seen, next to "Joe Dirt." I had to step out of my role as an educator and let myself get drawn into the antics, one-liners, and obscenities freely. I occasionally glanced over to see Vita curled up in the fetal position. All-in-all, it was worth the $6.25 charge just for the air. I'll admit, I didn't get bored nor distracted once throughout the whole flick. It's that dumb, er, I mean, good.
Tomorrow is "D-Day" in our house. The carpet guy claims he can finish the job. We plan to move in and set up BEDS! I haven't slept in a BED in over a month! I've almost become a zombie, as a result, as couch-crashing isn't good for the body or soul. Our animals are a continuous source of sleep disruption in the family room area, as they are in the garage and like to bark and meow for our attention. I cannot wait for tomorrow to come!


Homework...I Mean REAL Homework

Glubbedy, Glubbedy, Glub... When the plaster dudes showed up at our home last week, they turned on the big daddy of plaster mixers.
This machine could truly have an impact on my laundry. I could do an entire weeks' worth in 1 shot! They used some awesome "pre-mixed" plaster, as this allowed quicker timing, less strain on the machinery, and a lot less fuel use, as this baby sucked up the unleaded!Then, this morning the "Carpet Guy" showed up. Because I have the most awesome husband in the world, as well as a very helpful son, the entire floor surface was prepped and ready for him to begin immediately laying down the under-padding. We ordered "the good stuff," knowing we'd be in this home for many years, most likely. Prior to this, it's important to note that we removed all "popcorn" ceilings, re-hung some of the sheetrock, primed, painted AFTER the plaster dried, painted ALL wall surfaces, and have had no furniture in the house for about 4 weeks. We are survivors.
This is the view of the living room, waiting for the carpet. Notice the bright green walls! It's called "Geranium Leaf Green."Here's the hallway with padding down. The new color on the walls is "caramel sundae." Can you see the ceiling? Yeah, that's right...all new!Here's an odd view of our recently redone fireplace. It looks funny without furniture and decor.
This corner gives you a better idea of the living room color.
Here's a view of the dining room. The "Carpet Dude" saved us about $200 by allowing us to park the baby grand in here. See, if he'd been an ass, he would have said, "I won't be able to begin carpeting until this piano is out of here." Then, we would have had to hire those piano-moving-dudes we've hired before to dismantle, load, and move the instrument, for about $100...and then give them another $100 to put it back later on!
Here's the view of the corner in the dining room area. Those are the French Doors we put in last summer!
This is my son's room. He chose "Dandelion Green" for his wall, very rich and very energetic!
Here's his 1969 "Orb Light" that he salvaged when we originally began redoing this home in 2001. This was the original lighting in the dining room.
Here's the ceiling in my daughter's bedroom! Oooo! Ahhh!
Here's look back at the day the plaster guys came. We had to drape every single wall surface in our entire frickin' house in order to protect them from the splattering plaster. If you're super Earth-Conscious, you might want to look away at this point...
I'll update when the carpet's in! Yea!!


Beazell Forest Center

If you're looking for a great place to meet, celebrate, or just gather, this place ROCKS! The Beazell Forest Center is an old barn that's been completely renovated for use as a gathering place, for everything from weddings to professional trainings!
I've spent the past 2 days in this barn and have nothing but rave reviews. It's out off of the Kings Valley Highway, in the Oregon Coast Range. The forest is right there. There are trails, open areas, and great parking. The barn has a full kitchen and huge banquet area. There are nice restrooms, both inside the barn and out in an additional building.
One downfall, however, is that there is no cell service in the area, but I think that's all a blessing, as you aren't interrupted while there!
Big, big thank you to Corvallis School District for deciding to hold the intensive training sessions out in the woods! I'm refreshed and ready to begin a new year!


Planning and Predicting

I had to work with my Literacy Team for the school district today. We're planning for next week's "New Teacher" inservice and training session. Today, 6 of us gathered to review the entire reading curriculum and materials, set up a plan for training, wrote a lesson plan/agenda, gathered materials, and discussed what we envision. It was very exciting, but I left at 4:00 with a headache. For the next 2 days I'll be attending a retreat with all of the district administrators for an in-depth training session that will help all of us continue to move toward excellence in working with teaching staff to create magic for children.

When I got home, after watering all of my exterior potted plants and setting up sprinklers, I had to lie down on the couch and close my eyes for a bit. I was mentally drained, and physically exhausted from SITTING all day! When I arose, I cooked a very special dinner and convinced both of my teenagers to be home at 7:00 so we could share a meal for the first time in more than a week! It was awesome! We laughed, ate, ended up playing card games, and teased the dogs, just like we used to do when they were much smaller...the kids, not the dogs.

Just a minute ago, I told my husband that I have a desire to find a way to not have to work outside the home, and instead be a full-time putterer. He's completely not supportive of my joking about this. I will always have to work. I have always had to work. I regret that I didn't stay home longer with my children when they were little. It's something I guess many of us figure out too late...


An entire week spent on walls and ceilings and floors

We're getting there! Luckily it's been a cool week, temperature-wise, as I've been on ladders many, many hours. It's awesome to see progress beginning to show! We have officially now touched/painted/redone every single surface in our home! I don't even care to begin counting the numbers of gallons of paint we've gone through in 7 years! Interior and exterior!

Our room is now a deeper purple, much more regal and rich, called "Academy Purple." My son's room is called "Dandelion Green," which is what he picked and it's gorgeous! Our hallways are now "Caramel Sundae," and the living room is now "Geranium Leaf."
Discovered that the Behr Website (we've ALWAYS used Miller Paint, but Home Depot saved us more than $300 on paint, so we just couldn't resist at this point in the redux).

Anyway, on this site, you can type in color choices or names and see samples of what they look like on actual walls! You can even upload a photo of a room in your home and see the color on there! Way cool!

My son began ripping out the carpet. He finished his room, the hallway, and his sister's room! Wow! He's, like, a muscle man now!


Torn Between 2 Lovers...I mean, Schools!

Oh, man! Decisions, decisions!
Got a call from a principal at another elementary school.
Asked me if I'd consider a position there!
She's going to district office today to speak with other higher-ups.
May happen...
May not..
But, at least I got an ego-boost by being summoned!
I'd LOVE to work at this other school! It's a Title I school, with low-income/high-needs students, teachers who LOVE researched-based strategies, and a principal who absolutely ROCKS!
No matter what happens, everything will be fine. I know that. If I end up staying where I am, so be it.
But...the possibilities are so meaningful to my heart!


Caching in Yamhill County

This is the "Say Cheese" webcam cache we managed to snag at Linfield College! Thanks to our buddy, Shawn, for being willing to log onto the site and snag the photo for us!
Took some time off from messing with this disaster zone of a home (ugh...updating and "remodeling" are truly a pain!) to hit some geocaches in McMinnville! Got my guts up to contact a fellow cacher that I don't know very well, along with my good best geo-buddy (and, well, my truly most wonderful friend!) and set up a date!

It was hot up north. I am at an age where I don't like hot days anymore. I've outgrown the novelty of sweating while out and about. I don't mind sweating while biking or working in the gardens, but don't like the misery of trying to search for a piece of plastic with a piece of paper inside, nestled in a rock pile in the direct sunlight on the edge of a Lowe's parking lot, But, we did it anyway.

Anway, realized something about myself that I've sort of known could be an OCD issue, but am now completely aware that it's really true! I HATE when folks misspell words and use horrid grammar...and completely ignore punctuation when they list a geocache online! I went to high school in McMinnville, so I realize that it's not exactly a hot-bed of highly educated writers, but, for gawd's sake, what in the WORLD are some folks thinking? When I read someone's ongoing blabbering about crap (i.e. "i was out driving around town today in my car with nothing to do so i thought i'd put out a geocache for people to find in a plac that lots and lots and lots of other peopl come to so better watch out and stay away from 'em cause there muggles who want to tak the caches i put out and that is verrrrrrry bad and when you find it dont forget to put the time youfoudn it cause i like to no when it gets finded so make sure you put that in when you are on the site or else.") UGH!!!!!
Anyway, the day was fun and I met a new friend. Plus, got to spend time with Carnivorous Hippy, which hasn't happened, really, in awhile, as she's been down-and-out with one of the worst cases of FPO I've ever seen! She is recovering now, but her arm reminds me of a burn victim I once knew.
I got home, ate dinner with my kids, watered potted plants, fed the dogs, picked 2 gallons of blueberries, logged my finds, and am now ready to watch some TV.
Yea for Oregon!