Friday, November 20, 2009

Meet Flash!

I have a tortoise! I have been very neglectful in not letting you know about him sooner, but I have, as usual, been busy and tired and gone and working and all those other nagging little things I call a life.
At any rate, his name is Flash and he is a Leopard tortoise. They are the 4th largest tortoise in the world, so he will someday be a foot or so long and weigh around 60 or 80 pounds. :)
I know, I am crazy, but Shane and I loved the idea of having a tortoise as a pet and we thought about it for over a year before we actually made the decision. It is a big decision, because when I said someday, I meant in thirty or forty years. Flash will outlive us. Leopards can live a hundred years or more in captivity. Yes, I said a hundred. Wierd isn't it. Kinda like having a parrot, but way less noise and irritation.
We built him a little home, which you can see in the second picture, but it turned out that the guy at the store and even some of the online people who keep tortoises are wrong. They all say that a little area is good for the tiny babies. It makes them feel more secure. All it made Flash feel like was an escape artist. Within a couple of weeks, he was pacing the walls and seeing if he might be able to climb out. So, we built him a much larger box, about 3x4 feet, which he loves and roams about it all day long (you can see him over in the corner...tiny).

He is still sleeping in his little box, since the temperature in the other room gets too cool at night and we have a space heater in with the little box. Also, the little box with be his traveling home. When we go visiting for more than a day, like for Thanksgiving or something like that, we will take him with us. It is kind of like having a baby, since he has a certain amount of gear that we will have to bring along, like his light and his trays of grass to eat. I know, I am crazy. :)
Anyways, I just wanted to show him off to you and tell you how adorable he is. He is really young, so he behaves just like a baby, sleeping and laying under his light and eating and having a bath and sleeping some more. Hmmm...sounds sort of like me, too...anyways. Thats all I have for now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Murder Mystery Birthday

Now that I am finally finished writing about my cruise, I can tell you all about our Murder!

Our cast

My friend Nikki and I have birthdays that are only four days apart in mid-October. Last year we had a joint party and invited everyone to dress up and come and play board games. This year we got the idea to be a little more structured. We hosted a Murder Mystery. Neither of us had ever hosted or even been to a Murder Mystery, so it was a little challenging.

First of all we tried to pick an easy game. We went with a Wild West mystery, since the costumes really easy to put together, and the plot seemed fairly simple. We made up a list of our friends and got the invites sent. After a few casting problems, we had enough people and everyone had their character info.

dancer, bounty hunter, saloon owner

We had the party last Saturday and it was a bit crazy getting all the clues together, finishing the cleaning, and getting the house set up, but we ended up having awesome costumes, lots of yummy food, and a really great set up with a dining room/bar, casino, and lounge. We made chili and cornbread with lots of other snacks and deserts for the party and everyone showed up within a half hour of the start time (with some of my friends, this is a major accomplishment).

The party was really great. Everyone got into character and as the clues were revealed, everyone investigated for all they were worth. In the end, we found out that my husband was the murderer, but that he was not going to get in trouble for doing it, since the victim had secretly been a criminal. Shane even got to apply for the bounty! I call that pretty sweet. :)

the solution

Our Anniversary Cruise - Part 2

We visited 2 towns in Alaska and 1 in British Columbia on our cruise Itinerary and saw 2 glaciers.

The first place we stopped was in Juneau. As Alaska's state capital, it had some neat buildings and some cool history. The ship was docked about 20 minutes walk from downtown (yes, Juneau has a downtown, it's not that small.) so we decided to walk in rather than taking a shuttle or the bus. Partly this was to avoid the HUGE line of people waiting, partly for the exercise, and partly because we were attempting to not spend every penny we had ever made during the course of the vacation. Once we got into town, we wandered around and made our way past the Courthouse to the City/County museum. It was a really neat little museum, with info on the gold rush, traders, and political history. Also, they had a huge chunk of the little building devoted to the local basketball team. Apparently high school basketball for them is what football was where I grew up (stands to reason, since it is indoors). When we were leaving they gave us a certificate celebrating Alaska's fiftieth anniversary as a state, which was signed by the governor. Very nifty.

Alaska State Capital Building

After the museum we walked past the governor's mansion, which was really pretty with a very nice garden, and onto a little park at the edge of a residential area. Cope park is a nice little park that runs along Gold Creek, at whose headwaters gold was first discovered in that area. We went there to try to find a letterbox, which we were unable to find. It was still a great walk through town and a really nice park. After that we went back to the downtown area and wandered through the shops. Shane bought me a really pretty necklace made of white quartz with gold veins through it as an anniversary present and souvenir. Once we were done in town, we grabbed a shuttle up to the glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is about a half hour out of town and you can easily walk to the base of it. We did not hike around to the glacier, but we did take a bunch of pictures and hike some of the little nature trails near the visitor center. After that, we headed back to the ship and went to the buffet for a late lunch. We kept it light, since it was only a couple of hours until dinner time. It was really neat and really weird having a set time for dinner. Normally we just kinda eat when we are hungry, but it was not really that hard for me to adjust. I just made sure not to eat too much too late in the afternoon. Since dinner usually took between an hour and an hour and a half to finish, there was plenty of time to eat all the food I wanted. :)

Mendehall Glacier

We were in Juneau on Sunday and on Monday we went to Skagway. Skagway is really focused on the gold rush and the tourist trade. There were tons of tours available, so we chose one that would take us up the White Pass Highway, the main route for the gold rushers. We crossed over into Canada (my first time in Canada, ever) and stopped to see some great scenery and a really cool cable suspension bridge. The driver told us lots of stories about the rush and also lots of really bad (and funny) bear stories. He kept us entertained as he drove us back into Alaska and to the last part of the tour, where we got to try gold panning and see a gold dredge. It was really neat to see the inside of a dredge that had actually been used in the Yukon and we even found a little bit of gold in our pans that we got to bring home as a souvenir.

Gold Panning in Skagway

Once we got back to Skagway, we wandered through town and looked at the shops and a cool little museum devoted to the gold rush at the National Park Service office. When we were finished in town, we walked back to the ship and again had a little lunch before resting for the afternoon. Shane took so many naps on this vacation that I am surprised he needed to sleep at night. He basically dozed whenever we were in the room for more than a few minutes. The bed was super comfy, which was awesome, since I have gotten spoiled by my sleep-number. We saw the show after dinner and Shane hung out in the casino for awhile before bedtime. We had to get to sleep early on Monday, because Tuesday was the day we were going to sail to a glacier and we would be there by 8 in the morning.

Dawes Glacier

We were sailing up to the Dawes glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjords wilderness and I actually set the alarm so that we could be up in time to get some breakfast before we arrived at the glacier. We found a seat in the buffet that was right at the front of the ship so that we could watch the cliffs and waterfalls while we ate. We went outside when we were done and found a spot to sit and watch the scenery float by. There were tons of little waterfalls cascading down the sides of the mountains on either side of us and lots of little bitty icebergs floating past the ship. We were originally scheduled to go the the Sawyer glaciers, but the channel there was too full of ice for a safe passage, so the captain got permission to reroute us. This was way better than just sailing around doing nothing, but now we have to make it back sometime to see the twin Sawyer glaciers. When we had sailed as far as it was safe to go, we got a great look at the Dawes glacier. It looked like a river of ice, with it's ripples just flowing down into the sea. We did not get to see it calve while we were there, but all the icebergs in the water were really great.

The rest of the day was spent sailing out to sea on our way down to British Columbia. Of course, the weather turned again and the seas got pretty rough, but I managed to keep control of myself and took plenty of Dramamine. That night after dinner the featured show was a couple of comedians/jugglers. They were really great, but had to work really hard with the ship pitching so much in the rough water. I got quite a scare when they pulled Shane up on stage. They were juggling machetes back and forth around my husband while the ship rocked and rolled! Let me tell you, my heart was in my throat. Shane was, of course, just fine, although he was terribly embarrassed about being pulled up on stage. It was a bit of a thrill, but I would be happy never having that happen again.

We spent a whole day at sea on our way to Victoria, which was spent relaxing on the deck, playing a game of shufflegolf (I took third place and got a medal!) and just generally wandering around the ship and goofing off. We had another formal night and I even talked Shane into getting a formal portrait done while we were all dressed up. Dinner was really yummy and, of course, we had a great time with our table mates. After dinner was a production show featuring the ballroom dancers employed by the cruise line. Shane was very NOT interested, so I went by myself. I said hi to one of the cruise directors staff and visited with her for a while. The show was super and afterwards I went and found Shane and we hung out for a while and then went to bed.

The next morning we made port in Victoria, BC, which is a gorgeous city. Again we walked into town and wandered around a bit while we tried to decide what we wanted to see. We ended up starting at the Royal BC Museum, which was hosting an exhibit from the British Museum featuring artifacts from about every culture throughout history that you can think of. It was a bit crowded, since there were school groups going through, but we really enjoyed it. They even had a couple of artifacts that you could handle! I found it thrilling to be able to hold a bronze figurine from India that was many hundreds of years old. I have always been fascinated by history and archaeology, so I think we really lucked out in going to the museum that day. This was the only stop in North America that the exhibit was making.

After the Royal BC museum, we went to the Victoria Art Gallery. It was really nice, although they had several sections closed while they changed exhibits. After the gallery, we walked up to Government House, which is where the Lieutenant Governor lives and where visiting dignitaries stay. We were told by someone from the information center that over the summer a member of the Japanese royal family had visited and the Price Harry of England had been to stay for a short while. Kinda cool! The house itself is not open to visitors, but the gardens are so we spent a great hour wandering around. The property is huge and there are all kinds of landscapes in it: a rose garden, a pretty duckpond, tons of lawns, a rock garden, and even a 70 hectare scrub oak forest. Following our usual pattern we walked all the way back to the boat for a late lunch. I don't know how much I walked on this cruise, but I do know that I pretty much ate whatever I wanted and I weighed the same when we got home as when we left. That is something!

This was the last night of the cruise and we saw the farewell show and went to the little scavenger hunt/game show that they host each cruise called The Quest. I am not allowed say much about it other than it should not be attended by children, that those were some of the prettiest men I have ever seen, and that if you ever go on a Royal Caribbean cruise, you absolutely cannot miss it. It was the funniest thing ever!!

On the last day of our cruise we sailed into Vancouver, BC to disembark. It was really quick and easy for us to go through customs, since we hadn't bought anything in Canada. We grabbed a cab to the bus station and took our Greyhound across the border to Washington State. We live in Washington, so a friend picked us up in Bellingham and drove us home. It was a long drive, since we took the scenic route, but it was great to be able to visit and have dinner with him. We arrived home late that night and were very glad to be able to flop down and not have anything else left to do.

The end :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Anniversary Cruise - Part 1

Shane and I decided to do something special this year for our anniversary, since this is number 5. We finally decided to take a cruise and agreed upon Alaska as the destination. After months of planning and excitement (on my part, Shane pretty much ignored it and me) it was time to go.

The cruise lasted 7 nights and was really great. On the first day we drove to Seattle and, after going through security and check-in, boarded the ship. It was huge. the ship has 10 passenger decks and holds over 2000 passengers and 800 crew. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot to explore. We found the buffet restaurant, which was open for lunch, and got something to eat. Then we wandered around. We checked out the pool deck, which was right outside the buffet and the next deck up, which was open. Then we located the main dining room, wandered past the shops, and checked out a couple of the lounge areas. By then it was 2:00 and we were allowed in our rooms. Our baggage was already waiting for us, so I unpacked and Shane took a catnap. There was plenty of storage, even though the room reminded me a lot of my dorm in college. The bathroom was tiny, but sufficient for the week.

Centrum Sculpture

After Shane's nap we went up and wandered around on deck 10 (the open one) and found a good spot to watch sail away. Actually two spots. We watched them cast off the mooring lines from the front and then went to the stern to watch the engines stirring up the water behind us. There was another ship leaving at the same time and several smaller craft zipping around, but we had no problems getting out into Puget Sound.

We spent some more time on deck, but soon it was time to get ready for dinner. On our way down, we checked out the casino and the spa, even though I had no plans to use either. We tidied up and I put on a clean shirt and went to the dining room. The first night was casual, so my jeans were ok. We were sitting at a table for four, which was nice and cozy and met our tablemates for the cruise. There names were Patty and Blake and they were from Huntington Beach, CA. They are only a few years older than us, so it was great to be able to chat and had a lot of fun with them the whole week. Our waiters were Uzari, who asked us to call him Uzi and said 'fabulous' to every choice we made, and Jessie, who seemed to be there whenever we turned around offering bread and filling the water. They were both super.

There were shows each night in the theatre and the first night was a comedian who was super funny. Also they introduced the singers and dancers employed by the cruise line, who were really great. After the show they put on the movie "Watchmen", which Shane and I had been wanting to see, so we hung around for that. About 2/3 of the way through the movie, I started getting queasy since we were almost to the open sea by that time. The ship was pitching pretty badly and I decided to skip the rest of the movie and go to bed.

towel animals!

The next day was spent at sea and I spent half of it in my room being uncomfortable. I finally managed to down some Dramamine and make it out for lunch. After lunch we had a meet and mingle with some people we had been chatting with online and also got to meet the cruise director, Carlie B. Everyone was great and offered tons of suggestions for beating sea-sickness.

Shane and I did some more wondering and he showed me some of the places he had found that morning while I had been battling with my stomach. This was the first formal night so I got all dressed up in my pretty blue dress (saved from HS prom) and we went down to the dining room. Again (as with every night) dinner was great and then the show was super.

I can't even remember everything I ate, but each night we could have soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, and many as we wanted. Most of the time we each did a soup, a salad, and entree, and a dessert. Sometimes we were a bit greedy and went with 2 desserts, but that was usually the extent of the gorging. :) There was any kind of food you were in the mood for: fish, steak, pasta, Italian, Asian, Mexican. It was all very, very good. I could go on for days about the food, but I should stop now and post this.

Later I will come back and write about the next few days. Preview: Juneau, Skagway, and glaciers!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Post

In which I make lots of vague promises that I have every intention of following through on.

You guys are really the most devoted readers a lazy blogger could wish for. I know that you actually do read when I remember to post, so I always feel so guilty when I forget for such a long stretch.

To update you somewhat, I have to back up a couple of weeks and tell you all about my anniversay. Shane took me on an Alaskan Cruise for our fifth wedding anniversary! It was so much fun! The scenery was gorgeous (even though I saw no whales), the ship was tons of fun, and we met some really great people. ---I will now make my first promise.--- I have lots of pictures and notes and will find some time this weekend to show them to you. :)

Since we got back, I have just been doing the work and relax thing. I have also been doing some thinking, and trying to get some plans made for Christmas presents, since I only have three months left if I actually want to make things for people. I actually have to cut this short this morning because I need to get to the library to get some books for more ideas. :) ---Promise number 2.--- I will be showing you what I plan to do as soon as I get a better idea of what that is.

I have lots of plans for this month, from taking part in a 5K walk this weekend (even though it is supposed to be raining) to hosting another canning party for the boxes of apples I am wheedling out of one of our clients at work. :) ---And finally promised number 3.--- So, this month you can expect posts about all the great things I am planning and hope to accomplish.

I accept good wishes and ideas for Christmas and recipes for use with my apples and the pears we picked last week. I hope you all have as much fun as I am going to try to have this month. October is my favorite month, since it is my birthday (a murder mystery party this year, more on that later (ooh, I snuck in a 4th promise, look at me)) and Halloween, and fall is finally really here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


So, I know I should have posted this ages ago, like when we did the canning, but I have been alternately busy and lazy and gone. Anyways, here are the long awaited results of the jam party.

We had loads of fun spending the day making jam. Nikki came over early and helped me pick the pluots at my neighbor's house. We got enough and then ran to the store to get the supplies to perm my hair. Once Chantel and Katie arrived we got started on processing the fruit. In addition to the pluots, we had strawberries (frozen) and peaches.

First we had to chop the fruit into tiny pieces and cook it down. Then we added the sugar and got it jarred up. The water bathing was super fast and we completed 6 batches of jam.

This is the pluot...
The peach had the most beautiful color...I am not sure these pictured really do it justice...
And these are our lovely jars cooling...We ended up making about 19 jars of jam for each of us. I gave one to a friend of Shane's and have a couple set aside to thank the neighbor who gave us the pluots. It was super fun and we will probably get together again to do apple pie filling and applesauce sometime in the next month or so when I get a couple boxes of apples from a guy at work. :)
My hair didn't get permed that day, but Chantel did it the next Saturday and here it is...ta da...
It actually looks nicer than this, since I wasn't allowed to wash it for two days after perming, and it was not styled and had no product in it at all. If I get a chance, I will snap some pictures this weekend while I am visiting my parents. They live near the beach, so hopefully we will go over and eat some chowder and letterbox if the weather cooperates...or quite possibly even if it doesn't. On Monday I will return home to my poor husband who is working this weekend and couldn't come and I will give you all some more pictures to look at.

Have a great holiday!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Beans

Look, they all sealed. Hooray. The water level dropped some, so I will have to see if that is normal or if I did not have the lids adjusted tight enough. Now I just have to do 5 more loads. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Promises, promises...

Hey, sometimes I manage to follow through. That's right, I am here with pictures of apricots and kuchen, fair and ribbons, and maybe if I get some taken, some pictures from the green beans I am canning this evening.

This is a pretty picture of most of the apricots that I was given. We ended up drying I don't know how many (although they filled up a couple of gallon bags when I packed them all up) and froze two or three gallons. I also made some kuchen, which is a yummy German pastry. It is basically a bread with sugar crumble (like streusel topping), fruit, and a thin custard topping. I will try to dig out a recipe to post tomorrow. I love it because it makes a nice dessert or snack and freezes really well.

These are my fair entries. I won a first place ribbon on each of the first three: the pears from my tree, the strawberry jam I made with a friend (hers is the one next to mine, also a first), and my potted sweet potato. Shane made fun of me for planting the ends of a sweet potato, but I just wanted to try it. I think it makes a gorgeous house plant. I am hoping that it will actually make some small sweet potatoes, but who knows. The last is a second place ribbon on the zucchini relish. I must say in my defence that it was a second for purely superficial reasons, which were not my fault. Cathy's got a first, and since we made them together, you can tell that it would have been a first also. Next time I will be more careful, since they are very picky about the jars and labels and so on, and take them into account in the judging.

What is that big pink ribbon on the sweet potato, you ask? Why, that is my Best of Show ribbon for the Unusual Vegetable class. Yippee!! I am so proud of my silly potato. Such a good potato to win Best of Show.

So, I had a lot of fun entering in the fair and am already making plans for stuff to enter next year. The way their rules are stated, entries have to be made or grown during the year previous to the fair. So, anything I make between now and next August, I could enter. I am going to be doing a lot of canning this fall and hopefully some really great needlework projects. If I can ever finish any of them.

We canned green beans tonight, just one canner load since they take so long, and they look pretty good. Hopefully they all sealed properly, since I have about 5 more loads to do and it would be nice to know that I am doing it right. I am still a bit intimidated by pressure canning. Water bathing is so much simpler, but, unfortunately, just not an option for veggies like my green beans. After the green beans are done, we hope to buy a whole bunch of tomatoes and can salsa and spaghetti sauce and try to find time to make pickles. Also, on the 22nd, I am having some friends over for a canning party. We are going to make three or four types of jam and relish and then split up the batches, so we can each take some of every type home. I thought that was the best way to get a lot of kinds, because otherwise you end up with more jam than any sane person needs, especially a sane person trying to cut back on carbs (which means less toast). I have no pictures of my green beans for you right now, but I will take some in the morning and post them, at least I will if they all seal properly. If not, I may edit this post to erase any evidence that I made the attempt. :) Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apricots and Fair Time

I was reminded again today that I have not gotten the pictures of my apricot adventures posted yet. I apologize for being busy and having dead camera batteries. I know they are just double A's, but I have to make it to the store to get more. least by Saturday, if not tomorrow.

We ended up drying I don't know how many pounds of apricots, giving me a couple of gallon bags full to put in the freezer for snacking. Yummy yum. It's kind of cool because we had two different varieties, one large and sweet, the other smaller and more tart. We also got another couple of bags from a friend for me to freeze in halves for baking later.

Tonight I went down to a nearby town whose fair is this weekend. It is not my town, but it is one of those great small town fairs and we have friends who are very very very involved. We always volunteer to help and this year I entered some strawberry jam and zucchini relish that I helped make, as well as some pears from our tree and my potted sweet potato. I will find out if anything won on Saturday and hopefully I can post pictures (taken by my camera with the new batteries that I will buy) of my entries and their (hopeful) ribbons. So, lets all cross our fingers and hope to see lots of lovely pictures Saturday or Sunday morning.

Also, nifty event coming up...I am hosting a canning party for a few of my friends. We will make jams and relish and may do some baking. I am so excited!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So I have a facebook acount now...sigh. I was trying not to. Really hard. I really don't need one more site to keep track of and check obsessively. But then my brother and sister got facebook and closed their myspace accounts. Then my dad got facebook. So I have facebook. I am such a follower. :) It's not my fault though, I had to. Otherwise I would never get to see new pictures of my adorable niece. Whatever.

Anywho, now it is time to go and halve and pit the giant box of apricots that I was just given. I am going to dry all or most of them with my borrowed dryer (and see if I will need to buy my own dryer) and make apricot kuchen. I will post pictures tonight or in the morning. It is the tastiest thing ever. Ever.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I almost forgot to tell you about the cherry harvest.

We ended up pitting and freezing 10 1-gallon bags of cherries and sending about 45 pounds home with my father-in-law to make cherry wine from. YUM!!!

Also, we took a bunch to friends and work.

There were still some left on the tree, but they were getting bad, so we decided to let the birds finish them off. A bit messy, but we were very tired of cherries. I never got around to drying any, so I may try to defrost some of the ones in the freezer and dry those. We will see if that works.

I am going to get a bunch of apricots to dry as soon as they are ripe...mmmm.

Things that I am doing

instead of blogging for your enjoyment.


Still doing ATC's, and still loving it. I am going to be doing several swaps this summer. Here are some of the cards that I have already done (and sent out).


I have also been doing some letterboxing, even if you cannot tell from these photos. Nikki and I dragged the guys along on a trip to Maryhill Museum and the Stonehenge memorial. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to locate some letterboxes, but we also saw the museum, had a yummy picnic, and generally had a really nice day. We did actually find a couple of boxes as we wandered. Yay!

This is Nikki and myself feeling regal. :)

The peacocks at Maryhill (and there are tons of them) were hungry too. Noisy things. :)


Gardening has sadly fallen down to number three on the list. We got some late season annuals into the boxes on the front porch, which I am really enjoying. Also, the Dahlias are starting to get pretty big. This shows the buds which opened a day ago, but I haven't gotten out to take a picture of. Working too much. I will try to get some tomorrow.

There really is a bud there...can you tell?

This is my needed the color.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Long time no see...

I know that I have not posted in a long time, but I have a good excuse. I have a new hobby...and a yard...and a garden...and a husband...and friends. :)

Let's start at the top. My new hobby is Artist Trading Cards, or ATC's. They are neat little portable art. The idea is to create a piece of art, in whatever media you like that will fit into 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The simplest way to start is to use a playing card for a template and decorate that, although it looks nicer if you use card stock as a base. I haven't bought any cardstock yet, so the playing cards will do for now. You then decorate it by drawing on it, creating a collage, embellishing a picture, or whatever you can think of. You then trade your creation. That's it. Simple and fun. A card can take as little as an hour or two to create. I am participating in a yahoo group for ATC's called ATC World. The people on ATC_World participate in swaps, which are organized trades in which you make 5 or 6 cards on a particular theme or method and then send them to a moderator. The moderator will the give each person in the swap a card from each of the other people. So, you send in 6 of your cards and get back a card from each of 5 or 6 other people. Nifty way to do it, and it saves a lot in postage. I have participated in one swap, which I mailed off this morning, with the theme of the Green Man. The cards were definately a freshman effort, but I really had fun doing it. I cannot wait to see what I get back from everyone else. I signed up for another swap that ends the 30th of this month, and made those cards up yesterday. I think there are also a couple of other that I will do that are due in the next few of months.

As for my other hobbies, I was trying to get some letterboxing in before my friend left for Mt. Rainier for the summer. She works up there developing curriculum and studying the volcano and loves every minute of it. The program also hosts an exchange with scientists in Japan, so she will spend next summer at Mt. Fuji. So so cool. The sad part is that now I will not see her for the next two months. Very Sad.

Shane and I have been squeezing gardening and yard work into what spare time we can scrape together. My yard is looking decent, but needs weeding. The bulb beds are all bloomed out and need to be weeded and have the leaves trimmed back. My veggies are being slow, so I may have to add some more tomato and pepper plants to augment what is looking to be a fairly small crop. I envy Bethany her lovely plants. Hopefully it will all come out right in the end. At least my potatoes, onions, and rhubarb are doing really well. Also, the cherry tree is getting very close to being ready to start picking. This is going to be a big job this year and I will pay in cherries if anyone wants to help. :)

Other than that, I have been super busy at work for the last few weeks, so my weeknights are spent winding down. Over the weekend, Shane and I went to dinner with my boss to visit and hang out. Shane and my boss really get along well and they love to talk about lab stuff.We went to a really good Mexican restaurant in town. Yummy. We spent Saturday clearing out the garage, using a chemical cleaner on the floor, and sealing all the cracks. Whoever built this house did a crappy job on the concrete work. Tonight Shane will be spraying a sealant over the whole floor and when that dries we get to start in on the modular shelving system that he is building along one whole wall for storage. Yay! I am so excited to have real storage.

So, in the near future I have cherry picking, card making, shelf building, visiting with my family and Shane's and above all relaxing in the sunshine whenever possible. Oh yeah, and Ren Faire is the end of the month...if I can squeeze it in :) For now I am off to eat the yummy stew I put in the crock pot this morning. See ya.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I have been very lazy lately. I seem to have done no blogging, little housework and lots of lying around watching TV, which is a feat since I do not have TV (hooray for Hulu). Shane is out of town this week at a training seminar and I have made all sorts of promises to myself about the things I am going to accomplish before he gets home.

So far, so mediocre. I worked on my embroidery last night, which I am woefully behind on, which was good, but then I got tired of that and watched hulu and played solitaire for way too long and then couldn't get to sleep early as I wanted to, so I am super tired today. Poor Chantel had to deal with a lot today. On top of being tired, my allergies have conspired to make me lose my voice, so she had to do pretty much all of the phone work in the office. Poor Chantel.

I had planned to get up and clean the kitchen this morning, but that did not happen, since I forgot to set my alarm early and was too tired to wake up on my own. So, I say to myself, I will do it tonight. Ha ha ha. I am so tired right now that I will have accomplished a lot if I manage to make it home without falling asleep on the freeway. I just want to make dinner and climb in the recliner with hulu and my book. I am also thinking about running by Dairy Queen for a Blizzard on the way home. That would be naughty, but it sounds good. I might not though, since I have brownie fixings at home. Brownies require mixing and baking and cutting, so much effort. Sigh.

Ok, enough whining. I will drive everyone off and have no followers. ;) So, the plans for the week are still cleaning and working on my embroidery and cross-stitch. I also would like to get the garage emptied out and clear the laundry closet. I want to clear out the closet, because one of the girls at work is giving me a washer and dryer! Yay! I know it sounds nuts not to have one, but it was a money thing, as in, they are expensive and the laundromat is cheap. But for me, convenience counts. So, since these are free, Shane can't complain. The garage needs to be cleaned out because when Shane gets home we are going to clean, patch, and seal the garage floor and the driveway. Whoever patched it last did a crappy job. Crappy. Once the floor is done, we are going to be building in shelving and storage cabinets along one whole wall of the garage. Shane is planning storage for canned goods, my crafts (although I am still arguing for the spare bedroom closet to be craft land), Christmas stuff, a bunch of books we don't have room to shelve, and all the other assorted crap we own. I am excited to be getting everything organized, but I never look forward to the work it takes to get there. Oh well. It will be nice when it is done and I don't have to shift through stacks of boxes or dig around in a dark closet for the fabric I need or the suitcase I am looking for.

Other than cleaning and clearing, I hope to get out and find a letterbox or two this week with Nikki. It has been a couple of weeks since we have gone. I also need to get a journal to set up for my letterboxing notebook and finish all the notes that go with the boxes we have already found. I would like to make the journal kind of like a scrapbook, with notes and pictures of the boxes and the fun we have hiking or driving to them.

I also need to get the lawn mowed and some weeding done in the veggies and bulb beds. I have no idea if I will manage all or any of this this week, but I can dream. Cross your fingers for me and I will come back in a few days and let you know how it went.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Two weeks ago I went letterboxing for the first time and had a blast. My friend Nikki went with me and we wandered around in the rain and managed to find three letterboxes.

For those of you who have never heard of letterboxing, it is a nifty hobby. The basic idea is to walk or drive or hike to a place, following a set of clues laid out by the hider of the box, puzzle out where it is (which can be simple or difficult), and then exchange stamps. Your gear includes a book or journal of some sort and a personal rubber stamp. These can be bought or hand-carved. I only have a purchased one for now, but hopefully I will manage to carve something that is not hideous before too long. The letterbox will also contain a stamp and a book. You stamp your stamp in their book and their stamp in your book and voila, you just letterboxed.

A lot of people I tell about letterboxing are not interested and think that it sounds boring or crazy or pointless. I don't think they are correct, but it's very individual. I love to go on walks or drives anyway, so the letterbox is almost a bonus for me. I think I am a little nuts, but I am okay with that and definitely not alone. There are tons of people interested in letterboxing around the country and the world. The last complaint, about it being pointless, is again, sort of subjective. I think it's neat to collect stamps and hunt for them. It is kinda like a treasure hunt to me. One of the stamps we found shows a hand-carved wild stallion from the Horse Heaven Hills and it is amazing! The person who made that stamp was an artist. The stamps collected are art and it is fun to have my own personal art collecting in a little book or box. Also, it is neat to look at the log book in the box. Everyone who has found that box signs the book with their stamp and info. They are dated and often have information on where the person is from and what the day was like. I find that fascinating. Some of the people who found the boxes we hunted that day were from the other side of the country.

I have great plans for letterboxing. Nikki and I will hopefully go out as often as possible and find all of the boxes in this area. Also, whenever Shane and I travel, I will try to find a box or two as a kind of souvenir. I am already looking for clues to boxes at the ports we will stop at on our Alaska cruise. My co-worker Chantel just shakes her head and laughs at me when I get going on all of this, but I love it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens!!!

Maybe I am a little behind the times, but I loved this movie. We just got home from the theater and it was HILARIOUS!!! I laughed my butt off the whole way through. I super recommend it. Now, I am tired and am heading off to bed, but if you want to see a movie tomorrow...see that one. Plus it is in 3-D, which is super fun also. Night all!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vegetable gardening

I spent so much time in the last post talking about my flowers, that I figured I should give equal time to the vegetables we have planned. As I said, we are starting some of the seeds inside: red bell peppers, green bell peppers, two kinds of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and three kinds of tomatoes (beefsteak, orange, and pear). In addition to that we have bought onion sets and potatoes.

We are close to having the second garden bed ready to plant, all that is left is to mix in the chicken manure (stinky stuff). I am not sure what all we will be planting in the beds. Aside from what I have already listed, I think we will set up a trellis for pole beans, plant some more types of peppers, and maybe put in some vining plants like squash, pumpkin, and raspberries. Between all that and my fruit trees, I will be very busy canning and freezing all summer and fall. :) Yay!

Getting my veggies ready.

Over the last couple of weekends Shane and I have built a grow-light and planted seeds for the vegetables that we need to get started indoors. The light system is really neat. It has two fluorescent lights in the correct colors and the height is adjustable, so as the seedlings grow we can raise the fixture with them. The frame is kinda jury-rigged, but we can always build a new one, since we spent about 5 dollars on this one. The whole thing, including the light, timer, and frame was under sixty dollars and we can very easily take it down and store it away for next spring.

We planted the seeds late last week and we already have some sprouts in the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. I am eager for the tomatoes, since we will actually be planting tomatoes that I like this year. :) Also, the rhubarb that we planted late last summer is starting to get leaves. This makes me very happy, since it was kinda pathetic last year from being planted so late and I was dreadfully afraid that it would not make it through the winter. Hooray for being wrong!

More of my bulbs are blooming now, including 1 very cheerful daffodil. Its siblings are coming along with some fat little buds, but it is the only one to open so far. Also, the hyacinths are putting out their little stalks full of buds and I am eager to see the flowers start to open. The sad part about bulbs is that they do not last forever. The aconite and snow drops are nearly all faded now and the crocus are starting to get droopy. I will survive that though, since we planned the bed to bloom in waves, the daffodils and hyacinths will replace the crocus and then the tulips and more daffodils will replace them. We should have bulbs blooming in the front bed until at least early May. By then, my iris bed should be getting its act together and the roses will be getting ready to bloom. The roses will last till frost, as will the dahlias we will be ordering this weekend. To top it off, the iris bulbs we bought are rebloomers, which means that most of them should bloom again in August or September. !!!!! Aren't flowers the best?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The First Day of Spring

(yes, I know it's blurry)

Today is finally the first day of spring. Of course that means it is cloudy and may rain, but I am okay with that because the rain will help my flowers and the clouds keep the glare out of my eyes while I am driving. :)

In honor of the happiness that spring brings me, I wanted to say Happy Spring! and show you some more of my pretty bulbs. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pictures from Schweitzer

Some pictures from our ski trip to Schweitzer in January.

Shane and his dad at the village.

Gorgeous frozen waterfall near Hope.

A view of the ski resort from our condo in Hope.

I have to admit that I had fun trying to ski. I was not very good, and it was crazy cold and snowy that day, but my instructor was great and by the end of the hour and half I was starting to really catch on. He said I was doing really well. I am just afraid that I won't remember much if I try it again next winter. We'll see. :)
The condo was great, with lots of space, and we had tons of fun hanging out and cooking and playing games and looking at the view across the lake. The lights on the mountain at night were beautiful. The lake was great and the town was great. Tons of fun.


There are flowers blooming in my garden!!! I am so pleased. They started opening late last week and are so pretty. Only the earliest bulbs are blooming right now, but they are so nice. We have Iris reticulata, early snowdrops, aconite, and snow crocus. The hyacinths and tulips are poking through the ground and should be the next things to bloom, along with more varieties of snowdrop and crocus. Hooray!

Last weekend we got a bunch of pruning done on our fruit trees and took a big limb off of one of the sycamores. Once we get those branches all cleaned up we will go get some dirt for the second vegetable bed and get started planning and planting those. So far we only have onion sets to plant, but I keep reminding myself that it is very early. :)

I am ready for spring...can you tell?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Game Night and Cruising

Game Night was great this weekend. We got eight people together and played a rousing game of Munchkin. Good times were had by all. Saturday I did a whole lot of not much at all, which was great. It is nice to actually be able to relax on the weekend. :)

Today I got my chores and errands done and Shane worked on the yard. When we finished with all that we drove over to the mall and went to the travel agents to get some information on a cruise.

We have been talking about going on a cruise this fall for our fifth wedding anniversary. I am very excited about it, but it is proving to be somewhat difficult to make some of the decision. We have about nine cruises to pick from that fit our time and price range that are going to Alaska. The good and the bad is that they all go to different places and none of them go to all the places we think would be neat to see. So, we have to decided which would be the best combination at the best price with the best excursions. So so so difficult. I tried to convince Shane that he should just pick one for us, but he is making me think about it too...meany. My life can be so difficult sometimes.

In other news, we got some art prints from the Rad-Con art show framed and picked them up yesterday. They look so great. We picked some really nice frames and they worked out really well. We even hung them up...yay us. :)

Also, I have decided that I need to get back onto my diet soon, at least within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I decided that after I went grocery shopping and got a bunch of things that are not South Beach Diet approved. So, it is going to have to wait a week or two until I clean out the fridge and cupboards. I refuse to throw away food. Some stuff can just be boxed up and put away until it is allowed again, but not everything. I really like South Beach since it works really well for me, but it is hard to give up the bread and pasta and sweet stuff. The first week is hell. Sigh. However, I remember how well I was doing last summer when I stuck to it for a couple months. I lost about 15 pounds and was really looking good. Unfortunately I got lazy and haven't been sticking to the rules so I have gained back about five. I was thinking it would be really great to lose about 30 pounds before this fall and the cruise. Shane promised me last year that if I stuck with the diet and lost all the weight I want to lose, he would buy me a bunch of new clothes. It would be super to have a new wardrobe to go cruising in.

I am going to go and look at brochures since I have lots of deciding to do about the cruise. I will keep you posted and hopefully make some decisions soon so we can get this all set and booked. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 27, 2009

As Chantel pointed out,

I am a bad blogger still. I fibbed about blogging again last weekend. Naughty. Can you ever forgive me?

I am having a game night tonight and we are waiting for the rest of the people to arrive and for the pizza guy to bring my dinner. Yum. I just finished baking a couple batches of sugar cookies which came out nice and soft. Yay me.

Work this week was ok, but there is a super lot of drama about some people being promoted and some not and blah blah blah. I work with 7 other girls, so I am sure you get the picture. Sometimes its like being back in high school. Oh well, I will survive and I am sure Chantel will as well, even if it is not by staying with us. :(

Other than work, my husband is wonderful because he cleaned the whole house to get ready for tonight and he bought me a new vaccuum, which I have been wanting since mine always smells like burning rubber when I use it. So yay for my new vaccuum. I will try it out tomorrow and hopefully let people know how it works.

I should run since the pizza guy just showed up and I am starving. Hope you all have a nice night.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am still alive...

Not very active, but definitely still alive. I am sorry for the laziness that has resulted in such a long period without a post. Sorry sorry sorry. Is that good enough? Okay, on to recent events.

The blogging hiatus started when Shane and I went to Idaho to vacation with his parents. We stayed at a nice condo near Schweitzer Mountain and got in some skiing. I took a lesson and it wasn't half bad!

After we got home I have mostly just been being really lazy. We spent one weekend at RadCon, the local sci-fi/fantasy/whatever convention here in the TC. It was much fun as always. I made super cute fairy wings that I will have to take a picture of and we bought a couple of really great art prints at the art show.

Other than that my only excuse is that Chantel was having way too much fun on a cruise, so I had to take care of everything at work and we were kinda busy so I was super tired. But don't feel bad Chantel, I may have to go on a cruise this fall just to pay you back. ;)

Anyways, I will post again this weekend with more details and a really late reading list for January. Catch you all later.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


January is treating me well so far. Work is good and we are starting to pick up on the number of samples coming in. This is nice, since it means I don't have to sit around bored out of my mind all day long. :) I sounds good, but trust me...eight hours of nothing to do is not fun for very long.

My family is least mostly. Shane hurt his back Friday morning while he was still in Philadelphia. Poor thing had a day of class and then no sleep and then had to fly home. He is feeling better now, but I am not sure how much skiing he will be able to do next week. We are still excited about going though. He says that it will be nice, even if we spend the week with a nice bottle of something and a stack of movies. :) Which is all we did after he got home yesterday...sans bottle...but the movies were fun. I think we watched four or five movies before we finally went to sleep.

The other reason the ski trip will be fun is that my mother-in-law and I are going to get to work on the embroidery for the quilt we are making together. I am excited! Also, I plan to take a cross-stitch project that I have been working on and some knitting. Lots of crafting and cooking and having fun...yay!

I am still reading my way through my stack of library books and I am being good. I have not checked out any more yet. I need to finish the three I am reading first. And maybe the other two as well, we'll see. I did take a picture of the big one I told you about last time.

The book is titles 30,000 Years of Art and weighs 12 pounds. It's dimensions are 12" x 12" x 3". Lovely book! Full color photos of each piece of art on each page with descriptions, etc. I really would love to have this one. And it is pretty cheap. Only $32.97 on Amazon. I was so surprised. I assumed it would be priced like a textbook...around $100.00. Yay. Maybe I can get it soon. :)

Let's see...what else. My diet is going well. I have lost about 4 pounds this week. Don't worry, that is normal for South Beach. It will slow down. I fudged a little bit this weekend, but I will be good again all week so I can move onto Phase 2 in time for our trip. It is hard to have fun and eat yummy things on Phase 1.

I will take tons of pictures during our trip and post about it. Also, I hope to take some pictures of our quilt project to show our progress...or lack thereof...whatever happens. Pictures from our garden should be in the offing. The bulbs should be sprouting anytime now and I will be taking pictures regularly to show you all the prettiness. Shane and I also picked out the plants for my planted boxes and started a list for the vegetable garden. I can not wait for spring!

One last thing...a nifty blog. I am kinda behind the times, but for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, A Year of Crockpotting is the best. Last year she cooked every day with her crock pot. I wish I had known about it when she started, but Stephanie has archives of every post and every recipe is complete with pictures and instructions for the things she made, as well as review from her and her family. So many wonderful things to eat!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Work and Plans and Stuff

The plans I have made for the new year are going fairly well I least some of them are.

I am doing a lot more reading now and some of the books are even educational. I will post a list later of what I am reading and what I think of it, but for now ... I want the big one! I checked out a book called 30,000 Years of Art. It is giant and pretty and I could seriously maim, if not kill, someone with it without trying too hard. I will weigh it one of these days and measure it and shock you.

Other than that, I have been riding my exercise bike and will be starting the South Beach Diet again this weekend. It will be hard to do the worst part without Shane around to be my enforcer, but at least he won't have to listen to me whine. For those of you who live in a cultural vacuum or just don't pay attention to this sort of thing, the South Beach Diet is, for the first two weeks, basically no-carb and no-fat. After that it is just low-carb and low-fat. This is very difficult for me, since those are my favorite types of food. So I suffer ... but I have not learned to suffer in silence. Poor Shane. But, as I said, he will be out of town for more job training and will only have to listen to me when he gets home. I think that I will only do Phase 1 for 1 week this time, since we are going to Idaho with my in-laws the following week and this is not the easiest diet to do when travelling. I will still try to stick to it as well as possible, and we will be doing lots of normal cooking since the condo has a full kitchen, but I don't think I can be 100% faithful to the rules. And in case you are curious, the reason I do this even though I hate it is that it is effective. Yes ... a diet can be effective. Although, I believe they prefer to view it as a lifestyle change ... but I just keep changing back after a few months. While I am following the rules, even if it is only mostly, I lose quite a decent amount of weight and can keep it off. Last summer I did it for about 2 months and lost 20 pounds. I only gained it back over the holidays while I was being a disgusting pig and living on candy and the cookies I baked. Naughty. But I want to get back on track now. I have gained back about ten pounds that I want to get rid of again, plus the 20 left that I did not finish last time. My goal weight is 150. I will keep you informed of my (hopeful) success.

While in Idaho I will be working on the embroidered quilt squares with my mother in law and, hopefully, some new knitting patterns. I may get a set of circular needles and learn to make hats and socks. That would be super fun. It may wait until we get home though. I also plan to take a cross-stitch kit that I have been working on forever. I pick it up and do a little and get side-tracked and put it away and repeat that once every few months. I am progressing very slowly, but it will be gorgeous when it is done.

Work is proceeding along as normal and we are all waiting to find out what the new owners of the business have planned. I work for a small lab and we were bought by a large company that employs 1,400 people and has labs all over the east coast and Midwest. This means there are lots of things they may do to improve our operations, but it also means that they will take their own sweet time doing anything. So many vice presidents-in-charge-of and so much paperwork and so many conference calls. Ugh ... I am glad I am not the manager. I am merely the lowly secretary in charge of faxing this to him and mailing these to them and keeping track of conference calls and appointments and so on and so forth. Busy times, but hopefully all the fuss and nonsense will pay off for the lab and our clients.

On an exciting note, in the next few weeks our garden will start sprouting. We spent several weeks in the late fall planting 2 large bulb beds. The bed by the house is all irises, which won't be up for months yet, but the bed by the road is full of all sorts of different bulbs. Some of them will be blooming next month, which means I am going to start watching for tiny green points to start poking up soon. I promise lots of pictures. This makes me want to read The Secret Garden again ... I think I will read it tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Plans for 2009

I won't call these resolutions because everyone knows resolutions always fail within a month or two. So I will call them plans. The big plans I have are for getting in shape and eating better, reading and crafting a lot, working on the house and garden, and spending more time with family.

I was doing really well at eating better and exercising regularly over the summer. Really well. I lost 20 pounds. Unfortunately, I fell off the routine and have actually gained a couple of pounds back and lost what progress I had made in my exercising. So I want to get back into working out a little every day and not eating so much junk.

I plan to read more this year, especially 'worthwhile' books and classics. I plan to start a reading list of the books I want to read and keep a journal of what I do read. I also want to follow a plan to read the Bible in a year. I may even copy the great idea the ladies at The Common Room use and post my month's reading here for your enjoyment. I love reading their lists. I always see books that I want to read as well as old favorites. I also want to do more crafting this year. I want to get better at the things I do now like crochet, knitting, and cross-stitch. I want to try new things like the embroidery project I have planned with my mother-in-law.

I plan to get a lot of work done around the house and yard. We have a lot of projects that we want to accomplish. These include building my herb garden, planting a large vegetable garden, building some shelving in the garage for better storage, and continuing to clean and landscape the yards.

Finally, I am planning to spend more time with my family. With the changes at my job, I will have more vacation time, so I want to have long weekends with both sets of parents, more camping and hiking, and more time with Shane. I hope to get him interested in letterboxing and I hope we can spend lots of time relaxing together in our time off.

What are some of your plans for the coming year? Anything new to try or old that you would like to start doing again? I wish you lots of luck and a year full of prosperity and good times.