Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We did not have a turkey this year. We recently bought 1/4 cow, so our freezer is full of beef. We had a T-bone steak instead and it was awesome. Also stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie. Before dinner, we drove up to Washington to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge where they have a driving road so you can do a self-tour. We had never been there before. We saw deer and lots of different birds. It was raining and we did not get good photos. It seems like a good place to take a camera on a sunny day.




Monday, November 28, 2016

Kids dancing

Here's a couple videos of the girls doing their Christmas dances this year.

In the first one, Libby and Mae are on the far right. I zoom in later. It's hard to see Libby since she stepped back a bit, but Mae obviously knew right where I was and was looking at the camera. We love this dance she did because it's the first time she was really confident on stage as you can see with they way she's putting her own spin on the choreography.

https://youtu.be/iL0YO4TlQJw





 Then this is Libby doing a ballet. Mae wasn't in this class. Due to scheduling issues we had to put Libby in a class with younger girls, so that's why Libby's the tallest and standing in the center. It took me a bit longer to zoom in, but eventually I did.

https://youtu.be/BQ2B_v90yHQ



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Five bullet Sunday

We had a really bad experience with Home Depot in Oregon City. Long story short is that we bought a new appliance and then they never delivered it, but they marked it as "delivered" anyway. They hire outside vendors for delivery and the outside vendor was awful. But to add insult to injury then the Home Depot service was dismissive too. We finally said since we have no appliance, we want a refund. They said ok, but did not apologize. The refund should be processed tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath. The story is a lot longer and I documented everything so I can notify my bank and I guess file a police report for a stolen appliance if needed.

Then, to further diminish my faith my humanity, yesterday we had scheduled 5 interviews with potential babysitters, and only one of them showed up. She was the one in the last time slot. So by then I was very crushed and it's possible I came across as a crazy lady that no one would want to work for. We liked the sitter but she interviewed with many families and is still thinking about it. We used care.com and I really expected more from those sitters. It was really disappointing.

But today we have an electrician here fixing a bunch of stuff in our house and he is very cool and knowledgeable unlike most electricians who come to our house and say, "duh, I don't know" or something like that. So there's that.

We ordered passports for the girls in preparation for going on a cruise next year. That's good too.

And, I presented my Vietnam book to my Vietnam committee yesterday and it was VERY well received and I do love to get recognition!






Friday, November 11, 2016

It's a Cold and It's a Broken Hallelujah


  • Remembering Leonard Cohen this week. I heard that he wrote 80 verses to Hallelujah. I always liked the version they used in Scrubs.




  • So, the election. I wrote something here and then I erased it. But I will say that my feelings are a lot like the Leonard Cohen lyric. Oh, are you wondering who I voted for? Oregon allows for write-in candidates and I voted for myself for President of the USA. 

  • In sort of related news, we still have to buy Obamacare insurance and we still can't afford it. We met with a state-provided insurance agent yesterday, and he seemed really happy to save us $50 a month and I'm not kidding. I cling to the hope that president-elect Trump can do something to help me, yes me personally and now I am going to shut up before I say something I regret.
  • Both the kids had head lice. Gross! But I dealt with it. And now we all have head colds. Still gross! They have missed a lot of their classes and it bothers me.
  • Wrapping up with some good news. The first draft of my new book is in my hands and it's really lovely, just in time for Veteran's Day. It's 158 pages and I needed a hard copy to edit and make sure my photos turned out ok. It still needs a lot of editing before it goes out to libraries etc but I'm very proud of it so far.
    fi

Thursday, November 03, 2016

October projects

A few weeks ago we got a bunch of new (to us) furniture for the living room, dining room, and Mike's business office. It's so nice to finally have grownup furniture for the first time in our lives.




Also I restained one of our 3 decks just before the rainy season started again.


And then speaking of staining new furniture, I did a log bed that we had ordered while at the state fair. We haven't put the bed together yet, so photos later.


Friday, October 07, 2016

5 bullet Friday


  1. This is my 1000th post to this particular blog. My first post was 14 March 2006, so it took me over 10 years to get to 1000. One of my first posts was a map of states I've visited. I just updated it:
    create your own personalized map of the USA 
2. Enjoying the iOS10 upgrade especially the updated maps and the taco sticker pack. ha ha

3. Grateful to my sister for the gift of the record player. The kids are having a great time listening to old book-and-record sets.



4. Grateful that Mike got to attend the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. What an amazing event! And I'm happy he got to meet Neil Strauss and get my Emergency! book autographed. The ripple effect from this event will go on for a long time. Mike is hosting his own event on October 23 and has RSVPs from as far as Canada. Incredible.



5. Something I read: Lifehacker. I use Feedly to follow individual posts and I've been reading them for a long time...at least a year or 2. Awesome, trustworthy resource.



Wednesday, October 05, 2016

My pennant collection so far

In summer 2015, Mike and I toured a historic home in Portland, and they had this great pennant collection on the wall, arranged in a circle.I love the one for Enchanted Forest!



I liked it so much. Shannon sent me some pennants to start my own display, and I picked up a few myself at antique shows. Here's my collection so far. I'm collecting them for places I've been, not for sports teams, just like the collection pictured above. Mine do have the little streamer things, but I tuck them under.



Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Monday, October 03, 2016

Books I read in September

Just one book. The reason there's a black X on the cover is because I picked it up out of the free bin at our local paperback exchange.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Five Bullet Friday


  • Saving up for a new sofa, and the junk hauler that will need to haul away the old sofa set. Also our old bed. We bought a new bed this month but it is being built and will be delivered later. The mattress was purchased a year ago and has been sitting ever since.
  • Podcast I liked: Limetown. It's sort of like an old-time radio drama. "Ten years ago, over 300 men, women, and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again." It was scary, though, and sad. And they recorded it last year and then left it with a cliffhanger and promised a season 2, and it hasn't been delivered yet...
  • Something frustrating: sublingual allergy drops. I'm doing them. But I really don't like my doctor's office and I'm tired of doctors and insurance companies either refusing to speak to me, or when they do, they don't speak English, and I'm not sure if I'm wasting my time or money. My instinct tells me to find a new doctor and start all over again, but I am suffering from sunk cost fallacy at this point.
  • Purchase we're enjoying: our new keyboard. It has weighted keys, so it's like a real piano, but you can plug in headphones. The kids are taking piano lessons at a music school, and I'm re-learning how to fake it. Libby is doing really well and she plays the piano all day long, practicing every day. It's bringing all of us a lot of joy.

  • One of my favorite perfumes: Pacifica Blood Orange. I wear the rollerball version. The brand is here in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Summer fairs

Summer is over and so is fair season. We went to 2 fairs and part of one rodeo. I didn't like the rodeo.

At the state fair we got rained on so bad that we had to leave early, but we caught this big rainbow on our way out.






Monday, September 05, 2016

14 second video of Libby in Tae Kwon Do

This video was taken about a month ago. It's when Libby's Tae Kwon Do class was doing their class at an event in the park. Libby is the only one wearing sunglasses. She's in the back row. I had to stand a bit far away, so it's easiest to pick her out if you go full screen.

https://youtu.be/UdmshOhjvdI



Friday, August 19, 2016

My Friday 5

My version of five-bullet Friday for August 19:


  • I have been living under a rock for a few years, as evidenced by the fact that I didn't know Helsa was a thing. And I love it!





  • Disappointed in the 2 iPods I just got for the kids. I got 4th generation and I didn't know the iPod ios is different from iPhone ios and the 4th gen iPod is terribly outdated. Libby is having a ball using FaceTime but I'm disappointed. Good thing I didn't spend too much.



  • Listening to Pet Shop Boys as they have a new album and tour and therefore were on my mind. Really intriguing and interesting lyrics compared to what I usually listen to!



  • this gif




  • I got a paid genealogy gig. Now I am a professional genealogist.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Armstrong Campground in Mt Hood National Forest (review)

Last weekend we went camping at Armstrong Campground which is a more rustic site in the forest. It is next to Clackamas River (which is true of nearly every campground in this area). I think there are only a dozen sites and we were in site 8. All the sites at Armstrong are relatively large, which is nice, makes for a lot of privacy from the neighbor. Site 8 also is cool because it has 2 private access points to the river (not that the beach is private, just that the campsite itself has a trailhead). One of the trails was too steep and rocky for our kids, but the other one worked out great.

The down side to site 8 is that it is directly across the road from the pit potty, and when the wind was blowing the wrong way, it was stinky.

The same can be said of site 6. Definitely a bit stinky at site 6. And I know this because at the top of site 6 is the only water pump, and the campers there were kind enough to let me shortcut through their site to let me get water to wash dishes with.

Site 7 is also next to the river. A big down side to site 7 is that from the beach, the most clearly marked trail to the camp, leads up to site 7. So that's really supposed to be a private trail but one would not know that coming up from the beach, until oops, you're in someone else's bedroom.

Sites 7 and 8 are the sunniest, so if you need relief from the sun, bring your own canopy. The other sites are further from the river and are shadier.

Site 4 is the best one. It is HUGE, very private, and next to the river. But furthest from the pit potty.

There are no sinks at the bathroom, no running water anywhere. You have to haul your own water from the pump. Also there is no firewood for sale so make sure to bring your own. There is no cell phone service. The camp host has a radio for 911 purposes but she's not even at Armstrong.

I loved the beach that was immediately next to site 8. It leads down to an area where the river forks. On the far side of the river is the white water, and you can watch rafters go by every few minutes. The other fork that is closest to you is shallow water. It leads to a dropoff, so watch your kids, but it's plenty wide to wade in, and I was really delighted to find a man-made tub built in to the river. It's circular, looks like a hot tub, but of course it's freezing. I sat on the edge and put my feet in. I imagined it was 50 years old and had been built back when Armstrong was a government camp. Imagine my disappointment when the camper next door to us told us that his brother had just built that last week. It ruined my story, but I was super-impressed with the engineering. I could have sat in that tub all day.

I only had my cell phone camera and I didn't take it to the river, so I'm sorry no photos. But here's some photos of the water pump and my kids washing dishes.









Thursday, August 11, 2016

Enchanted Forest, part 3

Here is the last part of our photo blog of Enchanted Forest theme park. At this point in the park we had exited the fairy tale land and entered what would be known in Disneyland as Frontierland. It's really well done with a main street and shooting gallery and everything you'd expect from an old ghost town type of place.



Past the "Frontierland" area, we pass the Haunted House which looks a whole lot like the Haunted Mansion. Libby wouldn't even look at it. Mae walked up to the front door, but then turned around and walked back, so I don't know if this is a ride or a walk-thru attraction.



Past the Haunted House we enter a cute area with 5 little kid rides that I can recall. There's bumper boats, bumper cars, a ferris wheel, the frog hopper, and a train.

Libby and Mae did the bumper boats 3x I think
Now, the train is very much like the Casey Jr train as well as the Storybook Land canal boats in that it winds around a miniature storybook land village.








I feel like the tiny signs could be improved, but unlike Dland, there's no narrator to tell you what's what

At this point in our trip I put down my camera because we were entering the area with the big kid rides. So I'm afraid that other than this log ride photo (there's a log in there) I have no other pictures.


The log ride is short, but typical. It's lots of fun and we did it 3 times. There's also a bobsled ride that I probably like better than the Matterhorn. The bobsleds are fully enclosed and you really do need to lay down, just like a real bobsled. The 3rd big ride is similar to the Buzz Lightyear ride, but this one is Lord of the Rings themed. Libby thought it was scary. She refused to use her laser and she got 0 points.

We ate lunch at the Jolly Roger Inn which has terrible pre-packaged food, but has a free dancing waters show that runs every 7 minutes. It was really very delightful since I loved the dancing waters show at the old Disneyland Hotel.  The kids really liked it too, but not enough to watch it twice.

Hope you enjoyed our Enchanted Forest photos!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Enchanted Forest, part 2

Part 2 in the Enchanted Forest series. We're still in fairy tale land, and we come across a cute and somewhat challenging maze. Here is Mike exiting the maze.


And Mae exiting...Libby's feet on the right.

This rabbit hole really does go underground

Mae in the rabbit hole using my phone as a flashlight. Libby was too scared to walk through.

My favorite of the concrete Mother Goose statues. Jack and Jill. The photo doesn't do it justice.

The cottage of the seven dwarves

Peeking in the window of the cottage

Hansel and Gretel's witch?

If you're brave enough to go inside, there's a slide! Mae was brave enough.

Inside the 3 bears' house...who is sleeping in my bed?

A crooked house that is a bit too crooked for adults

Don't go in, Red Riding Hood!
Last part of our Enchanted Forest trip tomorrow!

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