Monday, May 13, 2013

This Weekend, I...v.5.13.13

Linking up with Sarah and Syndal for a round of TWI:

This weekend, I took my husband on the train to Portland. It's the first time he has been on a train since he was a child. We really enjoyed the scenic views from Tacoma to Portland, and it was a very relaxing ride.
View from the train as we passed under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
This weekend, I realized that Portland is way ahead of the rest of the world on the recycling curve. We in the Pacific Northwest recycle as a way of life, but our hotel in Portland offers a recycling bin in every room! Welcome to the pretty, green part of the world.
Nothing like in-room recycling!
This weekend, we visited Oregon Science and Health University to see if they had any postdoctoral opportunities for daughter Sarah. Just kidding! We actually visited the campus to take the Portland arial tram, which runs between OSHU lower and upper campuses. Beautiful vistas!
One of the two aerial trams
View of downtown Portland from the upper tram landing. Beautiful!
This weekend, we went to the Portland Saturday Market, which is actually held on both Saturday and Sunday. Wonder why the misleading name? We spent a couple of hours (& a little cash) checking out all the offerings. After a few hours in the hot sun, we found a spot in the shade for a cold drink and some people watching.
View from our spot in the shade: Voodoo Doughnuts - a Portland landmark! (didn't partake)

This weekend, husband and I ate and drank our way across Portland. Here are two of our favorites:
Pomegranate Martini and Berry Crush Collins - Delish!
(no, we were not trying to color-coordinate)
Cinnamon Brioche French Toast with Rum Raisin sauce & cinnamon whipped cream
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend a weekend in Portland. There is absolutely no need for a car as transportation choices are cheap and plentiful. Downtown Portland and the adjacent districts are very easily walkable with wide sidewalks, lots of parks, courteous drivers and almost no hills! And, as an added bonus, no sales tax!

And how was your weekend?


Monday, April 8, 2013

This Weekend, I...v.4.8.13

Linking up (albeit late) with Syndal and Sarah for a round of TWI:

This Weekend, I mailed off a birthday package Saturday morning to my daughter in Texas. Much to my surprise, she received the package on Monday! I used a priority mail shipping box, but still did not expect her to see it until Tuesday at the earliest. Maybe the good old USPS really does have delivery down to a fine science!

This Weekend, I found a local food bank low on food, so made a special trip to Costco. I had a fun time filling my cart with items from the food bank's need list, and ultimately donated 113 pounds of food in honor of my daughter, Sarah. Sarah plans to perform 27 Acts of Kindness for her upcoming 27th birthday, and asked friends and family to participate as well. I am looking forward to reading Sarah's blog listing all of those acts!

CK Food Bank

This Weekend, my brother-in-law and his wife were in town visiting our nephew. We went over to watch some NCAA basketball (LOVE March Madness!), and were surprised to find they had a few new animals. Check out these cute chihuahua puppies:

Tan mama and two 8-wk-old babies

This Weekend, I contacted a local lawn service to get an estimate for aerating, thatching, top dressing and overseeding our lawn. This is a big deal, since we have always done that work ourselves. None of these tasks are particularly strenous when done alone, but in their entirety encompass quite a bit of work. The last time we thatched a portion of our yard, we hand-raked 12 (twelve!) wheelbarrow loads of thatch out of the lawn. Ok, this time someone else can have all the fun.

Looks like we need some fill dirt in the "pond"

This Weekend, we celebrated our granddaughter's fifth birthday. Her actual birthday was earlier in the week, but our plans were derailed when she came down with scarlet fever! Fortunately, she's on the mend and had very specific requests for her birthday brunch: Norwegian pancakes, sausage AND bacon, strawberries AND grapes AND pineapple, and juice. We bought her the cutest little razor scooter (in pink, of course) and she already crashed once in the kitchen. Love her!

She's ready for kindergarten!

Hope you weekend was filled with love, fun, family and friends!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Weird Wednesday v.2.20

In celebration of things quirky, weird, odd or funny. If it strikes my funny bone, you'll probably see it here.

"It's weird when people start sentences with 'frankly' - as if their other sentences don't count." ----Doug Coupland

I recently came across this blurb in a national magazine that is notable (or used to be notable) for offering condensed versions of popular books. Fun fact:

Who knew?

It got me wondering; what method was used to come up with this startling fact?

Were the parents surveyed? Tell me Mrs. Brown, at what age was your child the most adorable? Any parent worth his/her salt knows the right answer to that one. The ONLY correct answer is "this very minute."

Perhaps the children themselves were surveyed:

So when exactly did you reach full adorable potential?

I believe this factoid begs an even bigger question: who really cares? I can't imagine telling my own children that they have been on the downhill side of adorableness for over twenty years. Should I tell my almost 5- year-old granddaughter that she's already jumped the shark? Will this fact convince advertisers to utilize 41/2-year-olds rather than 3-year-olds or 6-year-olds in their ad campaigns? Well, that last one might actually be true, but I have to think that overall adorableness is more important than age-related adorableness.

Who really cares when anyone is most adorable?

But then, what do I know? I'm not a scientist...just a mom.

P.S. I'm having format issues today; SORRY!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weird Wednesday v.2.13

In celebration of things quirky, weird, odd or funny. If it strikes my funny bone, you'll probably see it here.

"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different."----Bill Watterson

When my little brother was in fifth grade (my sister, his twin, was in fifth grade too, but she's not part of the story), his teacher gave the class a spelling test every week. One week, I heard my parents begin to chuckle as they reviewed my brother's weekly work. The teacher had marked one word incorrect, and helpfully provided the correct spelling in the margin. It looked something like this:

weird WIERD

My parent's hysterical laughter eventually drew the rest of the family to the dining room table, where they taught us that sometimes teachers make errors, too. (BTW - the teacher stood by her version of the word, until my mother convinced her otherwise.)


I recently came across this sign posted at a Washington State ferry terminal:


Is it just me, or does this sign imply that assaults on persons not employed by the state will NOT be prosecuted? Or perhaps prosecuted, but not to the full extent of the law?

I am not familiar with "Chapter 47.60 RCW", but I imagine it stipulates additional penalties above and beyond the norm when a state employee is assaulted. Still, is the sign really needed? Are we unable to prosecute to that extent without prior notification to the assailant? Makes no sense to me.

....Hey, wait a minute...there's a sign...I'd better pick someone different to attack!


Have you run across any signs that make you go...hmmm?



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weird Wednesday v.2.6

In celebration of things quirky, weird, odd or funny. If it strikes my funny bone, you'll probably see it here.


"I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird." ----Paul McCartney


Take a look at this weird phenomenon. I think it looks like one of the prairie dog colonies you might find in the Great Plains that run from northern Texas to eastern Montana. There are somewhere between 40 and 50 mounds in this picture alone. Notice the older mounds that have been beaten down by the weather, and the newer mounds where the dirt appears fresh and relatively undisturbed.

Somebody has been busy!

But this picture was taken in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where prairie dogs do not live.

Dang mounds are ruining our view!

This weird landscape is the result of the work of one or more moles on our property. Here's the culprit:

How do you like those nails?

The Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife reports that a single mole can construct 200 mounds over the course of a winter! We've experienced a relatively mild winter, which may be the reason our resident mole(s) has been so active the last few months.

My husband has tried to address our little pest problem. In scenes reminiscent of "Groundhog Day", he repeatedly develops detailed plans of attack that usually end in defeat. He's tried a number of ploys (everything short of lethal methods) with limited success. Fortunately, he has been able to chase them out of our main lawn area. Unfortunately, he has yet to eradicate our "friends".

Maybe it's time to make nice with the neighbors?

What's the weirdest thing in YOUR neighborhood?


Monday, February 4, 2013

This Weekend, I...v.2.4

Linking up with Sar and Syn for a little look at my weekend.

This Weekend, I...explored a local park with my husband. We woke to an unexpectedly warm, beautiful 47-degree winter day, so decided to try something new and take a walk inside the Illahee Preserve. It's only few miles from our home, but we not yet ventured into this local park. It was absolutely gorgeous! Our county parks department and a dedicated team of volunteers do an excellent job of maintaining the five or so miles of trails in this 444 acre park. It is filled with stunning trees, beautiful vistas, and wide trails. We only saw a few other walkers, most with dogs. We will definitely return!

A gorgeous winter day in the forest

This Weekend, I...had the opportunity to try out one of my Christmas presents. My thoughtful daughter, the lovely Sar, gave me a "Collapsible Party Carrier". Doesn't that make it sound as though the party should fit inside? The carrier contains two two-sided stacking trays, with a flexible lid that can expand for tall desserts. Each tray has one flat side, while the other side has divots for securing holding deviled eggs. The container can hold two fruit pies, one meringue pie, or 24 deviled eggs. It's pretty slick, and I'll get much use out of it. Thanks again, Sarah!

Heide's famous deviled eggs - a party in a carrier!

This Weekend, I...watched the Super Bowl with friends. Although the Seahawks weren't playing, the menfolk were still interested in the game, but the women were definitely more interested in the commercials. It's amazing how terrible some of the commercials were, but like a train wreck, we couldn't look away! The high point of the evening was celebrating the recent engagement of two of our favorite people...Amanda and Chad. Or as I like to refer to them...Chamanda! We toasted with our favorite special occasion drink, Shingleback Black Bubbles Sparking Shiraz. (check it out here) Here's wishing the happy couple the very best!

Congratulations, Chamanda!

Hope your weekend was filled with fun, friends, family and LOVE!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weird Wednesday v.1.30

Welcome to my weekly post celebrating all things quirky, weird, odd or funny.

If it strikes my funny bone, you'll probably see it here.


I recently bought this picture frame at Walmart:

Ready to Display - OR - Add Your Photo


What marketing genius came up with this idea? I can hear the pitch now...


Let's convince the unsuspecting public this item is really a piece of art.

But wait, there's more!

It's a picture frame, too!

And just in case people don't understand, we'll spell it out on the front of the product.


Don't know about you, but the next time I contemplate redecorating one of my spaces, the first place I'll go for inspirational ideas is the picture frame aisle at Walmart.


Monday, January 28, 2013

This Weekend, I...v.1.28

Linking up with Sar and Syndal for a look at my weekend.

This Weekend, I...spooked the cat when I was cleaning the kitchen floor. This might lead you to believe that I don't clean the kitchen floor very often, but that's really not the case (well, maybe). Not sure what caused Trooper to choose the magazine basket, but this perch actually worked pretty well to keep him away from the scary Swiffer wet jet.

Trooper, the scaredy cat

This Weekend, I...went to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle with the grandkids. We touched a sheep's brain, explored the dinosaur exhibit, saw a planetarium presentation, and watched a nature movie in 3D. We were pleasantly surprised to run into my sister's grandson, Preston, enjoying a day out with his other grandma. We topped off the day with a visit to the Spaghetti Factory.

Preston and grandson Kayden
Ava and Grandma at the 3D movie

This Weekend, I...started blogging again after a few months off. We shall see how that goes!

This Weekend, I...made a lemon meringue pie. I recently received the best present ever...a 6" pie plate! It holds half the capacity of any standard pie recipe, is a wonderful option to a standard 9" pie plate, and is the perfect size for our family of two. I made the same pie for Christmas, but had used a new recipe that did not set up well. This time I reverted to my tried and true recipe (Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook circa 1974), and I must say it was delicious!

Lemon meringue deliciousness


Hope your weekend was filled with friends, family and love.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

That Time I Decided to Reupholster Some Chairs

We've had our dining room table since the heyday of oak dining least 20 years ago. We bought it because of its very simple, solid style and the set has held up very well. Except for the chair cushions. I've hand-cleaned the cushions more times than I can count, but finally decided it was time to reupholster them. Six chairs with seat cushion hard could that be?

Original chair cushion

I did some online research to determine how much material to order, but decided to take apart one cushion to compare actual dimensions of the cushion material to the calculated dimensions that were recommended online. As I took apart the cushion, I noted how the corners were constructed so I could duplicate it as much as possible.

Original corner construction

Material from old cushion

In the end, I used dimensions a little larger than the actual dimensions, but not as large as the calculated dimensions. If I had gone strictly with the calculations, only one cushion would have fit on the width of the material I chose rather than two, which would have necessitating buying twice as much material. Not gonna happen!

I marked each cushion and chair to make sure each cushion would be reinstalled in the exact chair it came from. (They are all the same size, but have different screw attachment patterns) I then used an industrial staple remover and a pair of pliers to remove the old material from each cushion. I was able to reuse the main seat cushions, but could not reuse the thinner cushion pieces (protects hard seat corners and front edge) since they were sewn directly onto the old fabric to create the seamed cushion. Instead, I purchased new foam the same thickness of the unusable foam pieces.

Over 300 staples PER CHAIR (x 6!)

Using the dimensions for the new cushion, I made a pattern out of newspaper. I pinned the pattern to the folded material and was able to cut two pieces of material at once. Remembering the old adage of "measure twice, cut once", I measured and remeasured each piece before I made any cuts. A friend lent me her cutting mat and rotary cutter, which made the job extremely easy.

Rotary cutter and cutting mat
Stapler and staple removal tool

After all materials were cut, I began reassembly. I marked the center lines front and back of the seat bottom, old cushion piece, new cushion piece and underside & top of the new fabric. Other marks on seat bottom point out screw attachment points so I could try to avoid staples on those specific spots.

Layout of new materials

I used an electric stapler, and began by stapling center front with a few towards the corners, center back with a few staples towards the corners, then stapled each side from center point to corners. Use just a few staples at this time to hold the material in place securely. Pull the material as tightly as you can, but leave enough material free at the corners to fold a clean, flat corner. Make sure your corners are all aligned the same, i.e., front-to-back or side-to-side, and the same for every chair. After the corners were done, I added more staples to make sure all the material lay nice and flat and secure. In some cases, I removed a few staples to pull the material tighter and stapled again. Turn the cushion over and make sure you don't see any puckered or loose areas. If so, either add additional staples or pull material tighter and re-staple.

In the end, I purchased 3 yd. of 54" wide material, 5 yd. of 24" wide 1" nu-foam (placed atop old cushions), a box of 1000 staples, and the staple remover. Total cost for this project was about $125.

Here is the result:


Would I do it again? Definitely so! This project was a little more time-consuming than I thought since there were so many staples to remove. But I am extremely pleased with the end result, and love my "new" chairs.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Where In The Heck Have You Been?

It's been a little over two months since I made my last blog post. This moratorium was due to a couple of reasons:

For one, I found it disheartening that a few friends faithfully read every post but absolutely refused to leave any comment to me on the blog. I don't mean rarely, I mean never.

Not cool.

Secondly, I was called on the carpet for spilling details in social media that I hadn't shared IRL (in real life). And though I stand guilty as charged, it's important for me to make it clear that I did not intentionally leave those most important to me in the dark.

So sorry if you were offended.

Since I definitely relish the contact I have with my very few faithful followers, I've decided to slog on.

And so it goes.