Wednesday, December 30, 2009

in the nick of time...

David and I went on a nice little hike on Monday. On the way home we pulled off the interstate and he took this picture of Mount Saint Helens about 2 seconds before the light faded out.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

'tis the season

Wow, even Mr. Tumnus and Marble are exhibiting some good will and a little peace on earth...

Will it hold for 2010?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This old postcard says it well:

Best Wishes for Christmas
To all the good and friendly foks
Who in your house abide,
The folks who live at our house wish
A Merry Christmas-tide.

The back says it pretty well too!

Hello everybody--
How are you all? We are well. How do you like this weather? There is quite a lot of sickness here. Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!
Asa & Muriel

Along with Asa and Muriel, I'm wishing all my blogger friends a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

holiday happenings

On Friday we went to Portland to do a little shopping (key word: little), dinner at Jake's (key word: yum), and a visit to The Grotto, a Catholic shrine and botanical garden (key word: pretty). (BTW, the picture above was taken on our way back to a parking garage in downtown Portland.) The Grotto has had a Festival of Lights for many years, but this was the first year we actually got around to going to it. In addition to the Christmas lights, they have music performances, a petting zoo, and a puppet show. (Puppet show, not so good.) Anyway, it would have been perfect with a little dusting of the white stuff, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. (And I shouldn't complain due to the really nasty weather other parts of the country are experiencing.)

I did just finish reading about snow though -- in the book Christmas on Mill Street. Part of why I liked the book was that it is set during the winter of 1962, when the main character was nine years old. (I was six then). I'm usually up for a little nostalgia this time of year. Anywhoo, it's a warm 'n cozy, feel-good Christmas story which I would recommend if you're into that genre.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Five: Christmas Traditions

For this Friday Five, Jan asks us to "share five things about the Christmas traditions in your family."

Since Christina and David are home (yay!), I snagged Christina to help with this while David was practicing his trumpet.

Traditions we always do:
* Some time during the season we go to the Portland Zoo to take in Zoolights.

* There are a few "must watch" Christmas movies -- e.g. PeeWee's Christmas Special, The Snowman, Muppets Christmas Carol, and Rankin-Bass specials.

* Christmas tree ornaments are put on the tree while David selects/plays the music.

* On Christmas Eve, we go to a church service, then go to Grandma's for a huge holiday food spread before opening presents.

*Oh yes, and who can forget... the cats always get catnip from Santa on Christmas morning.

Traditions we always cook or eat:
* Christmas cookies

* Fudge!

* Hickory Farms cheese spread, crackers, and meat

* Ham or turkey on Christmas day

Traditions we would like to start:
This year we bought a Germans from Russia board game (to help celebrate our ethnicity!) which we just played this evening. This has a pretty good shot at becoming an annual tradition.

Traditions we would like to discard:
* Someone always seems to get a Christmas cold. Let's ditch this tradition.

* Also, we almost always have a 'green' Christmas here in the Pacific NW -- We'd rather have a white one.

Anything about our family Christmases:
We always stay home, and have a small, but nice holiday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

crappy, cranky, christmas cold

Well, dang, worked the morning but had to reschedule afternoon patients because this is me:

I don't feel too bad, but as the morning progressed, my voice really became, shall we say, not operational. Hopefully with rest and perhaps a massive infusion of chicken soup, I can work tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Yesterday we went out in search of the quintessentially perfect Christmas tree.

This was not it:

At this time of year, it's important to slow down.
Take time to kiss the llamas...


Mr. Tumnus is in charge of monitoring water level and needle droppage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

song of long ago

A couple of nights ago I went upstairs to wrap Christmas presents but got side-tracked when I moved old photos out of the way to get to the wrapping paper. Several months ago I had discovered the trunk of old photos when my mom moved into her condo, and Carole King's Song of Long Ago had been rattling around in my head in conjunction with that. So I finally put it all together.

Basically it was done as a video Christmas card to my cousins, Keith and Cheryl. Growing up, my brother, Paul, and I used to love getting together with them. I think the slideshow is more poignant since we lost my brother some 13 years ago already, but it was really created to celebrate the wonderful times we had together 'long ago' in the Dakotas. (Mostly we four cousins are featured, but our parents and Grandpa and Grandma are in there too.)

Anywhoo, if you don't know me that well, feel free not to watch!
C&D, I made it with you in mind too, so I think you'll like it. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

holiday hoedown

It's that special time of year when Presbygal and I don our elf gear and do some holiday dancing. This year we invited a couple of swell guys -- George Clooney and James Taylor. Good times.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nothing says Christmas like frozen batteries...

This postcard was sent to Miss Maggie Ryan, Route #3, Hillsboro, Oregon by her sister almost exactly 100 years ago (at 5 p.m. on December 6, 1909 to be precise).

Seems the sisters were hit with a cold spell.

Dear Maggie, Well are you all froze in out there? I guess the batteries are frozen anyway. Don't you want some one to fix them? I haven't talked to anyone since I haven't been very well the last few days. I wrote to Ma today. Answer soon. Your sis.

(I'm wondering how one fixes frozen batteries, because I would think they would just explode and/or leak.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Five Do Nothing Edition

Sallys says: I am reading a wonderful little book for Advent it's title: "Do nothing Christmas is Coming!" So this weeks Friday Five is simple. List Five things you won't be doing to prepare for Christmas. And while you are doing nothing play the bonus, put your feet up and listen to your favourite Advent Carol, and post it or a link to it.

Hmm... It would perhaps have been easier to list what I still have to do to prepare for Christmas! But in any event, to prepare for Christmas I will not be...

1. ...eating fruitcake. This is incredibly easy since I don't like it.

2. ...drinking eggnog. (Ditto, and let me add "Ewwwww.")

3. ...not be putting up all of the Christmas decorations inside the house. (The Coca-Cola bears were never a good idea!)

4. ...not hosting our two-family gift exchange (with the Dust Bunny family) at our house since the Thanksgiving Pie Fest was here.

5. ...not going to go crazy with putting up lots of outdoor lights and decorations. C&D get to do that when they get home!

Here's that bonus Christmas song:

cartoon from here

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm baaaaack

After a bit of a blogger break, I am back! (Blogpals, I'll be checking in with your blogs soon!) We had a good Thanksgiving, although the time went by waaay too fast for C&D who had homework to do. Here's Christina with her anthropology project:

(Any guesses?)

And we had our 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Pie Fest with the Dust Bunny family. This year we all chose for our attire (or costume) something that represented Thanksgiving; a do-your-own-thing category. As for my family: Mike and I did a role reversal of the Normal Rockwell Thanksgiving painting (which allowed me to wear my grandfather's old suit!), my mom was a piece of pie, and C&D were pumpkins. The Dust Bunny family got into the spirit of things nicely too...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

just to let ya know

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I haven't been blogging (reading or posting!) in about a week. I've put in a request for 26 hour days, but haven't heard back yet.

In any event, hope to be back blogging soon, so please --

(googled the pic)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

uh oh

I don't usually blog the weather report, but I just read this on KATU's website:

November is prime time for storms around here and this year is no different as two storms are racing toward the Pacific Northwest, expected to bring heavy rain and possibly very strong winds to parts of the region Monday and Tuesday.

High Wind Warnings are now in effect from 6 p.m. Sunday through 4 p.m. Tuesday for the coast and Northwest Interior from Monday morning through Tuesday morning. Along the coast, we could see gusts of 70 to 85 miles per hour at times, with gusts of 60 to 70 miles per hour in the north interior.

In addition, Flood Watches are in effect for all rivers that feed off the Olympic Mountains, as well as rivers in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish Counties.

Apparently this will be me tomorrow and/or Tuesday:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Five

1. How is this Friday the 13th looking for you?
Well, it could be looking better. Hubby is sick! Yesterday he left work early with a pounding headache, then developed a fever and nausea. (I'd report on his progress, but he's still sleeping!) I suppose technically we can't blame Friday the 13th since it happened on Thursday the 12th!

2. Have you ever had anything unlucky happen on Friday the 13th?
Nope, can't say that I have. As a child I had a black cat, so I'm sure 'Katze' counter-acted anything that Friday the 13th could throw my way! ;)
Here's Katze and me:

(The camera caught me at half blink, but Katze made up for it with his wiiiiiide open eyes!)

3. Did your family of origin embrace or scorn superstitions?
We'd be more on the scorn side! Although I think 'amused' would be a better word.

4. Are there any unique or amusing ones from your family, region, or ethnic background?
Yes, there's that word amusing! My ethnic background is "Germans from Russia" and one superstition is that if you, for example, bruise your elbow or knee, your parent (or friend or whatever) blows on or kisses the area while saying "Heile, Heile Katzendreck, Morgen ist alles Wieder Weg!" -- which I think basically means with the magic of cat poop, it will be better tomorrow.

(Who knew there would be a picture of Katzendreck on the internet?!)

5. Do you love or hate horror movies like "Friday the 13th"?
Hate them. And I can't over-state that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The "Starkey Effect"

You've seen Jesus in toast and Mary in grilled cheese...

Now witness the greatest miracle of all. Ringo Starr's face in a droplet of water bouncing on a lotus leaf.

Yep, a Duke University team researching water-repellent leaf behavior took high-speed images of water drops bouncing off a lotus leaf and saw the face of Ringo. (Full story here.)

And this inspired me to post Mr. Starkey himself and Photograph...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friday Five: What's New

Songbird writes about a new baby on her street who has her "thinking about all the new things that please us with their shiny freshness." For this week's Friday Five we are supposed to "share five things you like *especially* when they are new."

1. New books. I like the way they smell when you flip through the pages. (This is one drawback of the Kindle, but I still love my Kindle!)

2. New snow. What could be more fresh?!

3. New hiking trails. Ooh, the call of adventure as you discover a new path!

4. Opening a new package of my faaaavorite molasses cookies. (Yes, I'm addicted.) The first cookie is so soft and delicious, but the longer the package is open, the less soft and delicious they get. *sniff*

5. Hint to family: I would *especially* like a new canoe if I got one for Christmas...

googled all pics

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

life lesson from edith

This postcard (postmarked October 27, 1942) features the Mayo Clinic by night:

The stoic Edith writes to Miss Grace E. Thielman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

Tuesday noon
Just been thru some very severe tests. I believe the worst one comes this afternoon. Don't feel particularly peppy but I guess I can take it. Edith

Yep, sometimes that's the way of things. We might not feel peppy, but we guess we can take it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

what I've been up to...

I'm glad we got an extra hour today, because the time has been whizzing by. (Actually I could use a few extra hours -- wonder how I could arrange for that.)

We were in Bellingham to see WWU's production of The Mistakes Madeline Made, described on the Western Theatre site as: a story of love and dirty people. The play follows a girl who toils away in a soul-crushing job as a personal assistant as she begins to battle all things clean after developing ablutophobia – the fear of bathing. Soon her smell starts to overwhelm her co-workers and her many casual lovers. A fantastic story about finding one’s self, the play raises the questions: Is it a political act to live dirty? And is it even feasible to live clean in our current times of unrest?

I knew very little about the play going in, and I was surprised at both how funny and how sad it was. Directed by Rich Brown, the play was simply outstanding. The set, the sound, the costumes, the acting -- all top notch. They could (they should!) take this on the road.

Christina played Beth, the tightly-strung manager of the office whose function is to run errands for a rich family (who are never seen). The character of Beth provides a lot of the comedy in the play (and Christina has a real knack for comedy), yet the character also evokes pathos (and Christina has a real knack for that too).

Here's Christina as Beth: (I *ahem* "borrowed" this picture from her facebook page)

Then last night (back home in Longview) we actually went to a Halloween party -- in costume no less! And (speaking of time whizzing by) today is the 29th anniversary for Mike and me. Here's a weird part -- lots of the anniversary cards are looking familiar since we've given so many to each other over the years!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

shiver me timbers

My mom went to a meeting tonight where Halloween costumes were encouraged. Being a good sport, she raided C&D's costume box and settled on the pirate look. Not to be left out, Marble donned his pirate hat too. (However, Marble, that lily-livered landlubber, did not go along to the meeting.)

I was hoping for a better picture, but I had one shot before Marble lost his patience.

Monday, October 26, 2009


When we were in Colorado at the end of August we went white water rafting. It was the last day of the season so the water wasn't toooo wild, but we still had a lot of fun. We just got some pictures in the mail today from the fine folks at Rapid Transit Rafting in Estes Park. If you are ever in the Rocky Mountain National Park area, check them out -- they are a class act company.

That's me in the middle on the right, looking like I stole the helmet of Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

of conferences and candy

The continuing education conference is over, and it's back to work tomorrow. The classes were pretty good, and this conference always features a big exhibit hall where you can look at the latest high tech equipment, etc. so that's always fun. I also like that they hand out little freebies like artificial tear samples, pens, bags, and the ever-popular candy. (Although I'm not a big candy fan to be honest.)

But (here's the segue) Carole in 1947 was a fan of candy.

Glacier postcard front:

And the back:

Aug 12, 1947
Dear Miss Grub,
We are in Montana and it is raining cats and dogs. We just opened your box of candy. Thank you very much! They are delicious. We are having loads of fun.
Love Carole

Although I do have to question how much of a candy fan Carole was, because she obviously made it all the way from Walnut Creek, California to Glacier Park, Montana without ripping open the box.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

checking in...

We're in Portland for continuing education. (It's being held at the Convention Center -- pictured at left.) The last class of today was a particularly fun one (an adjective one doesn't usually use with CE classes). It was done as a Jeopardy show, pitting half the class against the other. That was right up my alley, 'cause I'm a very competitive student. :) Not to brag, but I helped sew up my side's victory with my back to back answers of "Possner-Schlossman glaucomatocyclitic crisis" and "pharyngeal conjunctival fever". Oh yeah!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the invention of smugness

Tonight we went to the movie The Invention of Lying. I hadn't really read any reviews, but had the vague notion that it would be a cute romantic comedy. And it was... sort of.

(Spoiler alert -- You might not want to read further if you are planning on seeing the film. On the other hand, if I were you I'd choose to spend my money on some other movie, so you might want to read on anyway.)

Ricky Gervais plays Mark Bellison, a schlumpy guy with a crush on his best friend's cousin, Anna (played by Jennifer Garner). They live in this parallel world in which no one has ever told a lie, and the level of honesty can be quite funny. One day something snaps in Mark's brain and he blurts out a whopper. As one might expect, the lies mount and things begin to spin out of control.

The premise is promising, and there is a wonderful supporting cast including Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe, Jason Bateman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, for me, the movie fell short of its potential. In fact, some parts down right bugged me.

For example, just because people can only tell the truth shouldn't mean they have to blurt out what they are thinking at every moment. Is there no place for manners or being considerate of others' feelings in that parallel world? Further, is there also no room for imagination there? How dreary is that?!

The thing that bugged me most was the film turning into a satire about organized religion. Don't get me wrong -- I think poking fun of organized religion can be a very good thing. But the movie begins to just feel mean-spirited, insinuating that religion and truth are mutually exclusive and dismissing people of faith as ignorant. I don't presume to know the Truth, but I don't think Gervais should be so arrogant as to presume he does either.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

good news / bad news

The Good News
We're going to a concert in Portland next month -- Billy Joel and Elton John together.
The Bad News
The good seats cost waaaay more than we wanted to spend, so we opted for the cheaper seats. Our view will be something like this (only considerably further back):

The Good News
Went to the dentist today -- no cavities.
The Bad News
Chastised for brushing too hard. (Who knew?!)

The Good News
Marble agreed to wear a costume for Halloween.
The Bad News
He selected one I feel is in extremely poor taste.

googled all the pics

Sunday, October 11, 2009

moving beyond tasty freeze

It's not that I have a lot to blog about, but I feel like I should get past the "Tasty Freeze" post already!

Friday morning my mom and I continued our "Road Trip to Nearby Small Towns" series (which I just now named that). We had breakfast in Battle Ground, Washington -- which could have been a nice small town because it is situated near a pretty lake and park (see pictures below) but is disappointing because it is so sprawled out. It seems to primarily be a series of strip malls.

Then Saturday was a longer road trip to see C&D up in Bellingham. (Yay!) And back home today to attend an 80th birthday party.

Friday, October 9, 2009

umm... not a good look

I perused my "to do" list today, then got side tracked black dynamiting myself instead. (It's from a website to promote the movie Black Dynamite, a spoof of 70's "blaxpoitation" films. You upload your photo, then add stuff and it generates a name.) Here's my result:

You, too, can put off important tasks and get side tracked here:
Black Dynamite YoSelf

frenemy in Ortonville?

Hmm... either the Friday Fives are getting harder or I'm getting more shallow. (I opted out last week too!) So instead of playing today's Friday Five I'm playing Nancy Drew and trying to unravel the mystery of an old postcard.

But before we get to the postcard mystery, here's another one. Who the heck is with Nancy? I would imagine the guy is Ned. But who's in the yellow dress? That doesn't look like something George would wear, and the gal looks a bit too *ahem* trim for Bess.

Anywhooo, moving on to the postcard. The front features the court house in Ortonville, Minnesota. I can't tell the date -- the postmark is smudged -- but it's probably in the 1907 to 1914 era.

Now for the back and the mystery message:

Hello there-
You can't dodge this on eather, I know more then you think I do. From a friend in Ortonville Minn.

Wonder if Mr. George Johnson in Palermo, North Dakota found that unsettling... or just silly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

excuses, excuses...

I'm not sure what the deal is, but I've skipped bike commuting this week.

Monday's excuse for not bike commuting:
It just seemed "too dark" in the morning.

Tuesday's excuse for not bike commuting:
It was "too foggy" this morning. (Well, it WAS!)

What will Wednesday's excuse be?
(a) I want to sleep in.
(b) It's so chilly in the morning!
(c) They just put new carpet in my office -- the bike tires would make it dirty.
(d) __________________ Fill in the blank and help me out here!

Or maybe when tomorrow morning rolls around I will actually get on my little bike and pedal to work.

(And yep, that's me up there on my groovy banana bike. I think it was probably taken during the summer of 1967.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

blogger meet 'n eat

Yay! I had a blogger meetup today with Rev SS in Olympia (our approximate half-way point). We had a nice lunch, visited the farmer's market (where the picture was taken), and did some postcard hunting.

I found some good ones! This card, postmarked March 5th of 1912, features the "D.N. Tallman Residence" in Willmar, Minnesota.

While the Tallmans had a fine looking house, I primarily bought the postcard because I liked the writing on the back. I loved the excuse for not writing a letter.

Dear George,
Received your letter, was read with pleasure. Should write you a letter But I got a bad cold and Ma ain't home so will write later on. Send me a card for a change. From your girl in Minnesota. bye bye.

I can see the bad cold part, but not sure why Ma needed to be home...