Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break - Friday, the long drive

I forgot to check the weather reports. It was clear and cold in Kelowna when we left at 6:00 am after saying good bye to my parents. We stopped at Tim Horton's for fresh donuts for Trevor & a muffin for me, and then it was south to the border at Osoyoos. It's only 2 hours going this way vs. 5 hours if you go over the the 97C (connector) and the Coquihalla toll highway to the Trans-Canada Highway. We usually go the I-5 route and use those, but I was thinking I'd have less weather issues if I stuck mostly to the valleys & high desert on the 97 down to the border of Oregon.

Also, gas was 1.26 a liter in Canada. With the exchange, it works out to more than $5 a gallon!! So if I could avoid getting gas in Canada, so much the better. I was able to go back & forth from Omak, WA without a fill up :) Washington gas is awesome. I don't know why, but we have always gotten great mileage, no matter what car we were driving.

The border crossing was easy - no line at 8:00 am. In fact, I had to go through on the truck side, since the car side was still closed. You only answer whatever questions they ask, and you are always very respectful.

We got gas & a few things at Safeway in Omak, and that's when the snow started. All the way through Washington until we got down to the Columbia river!! It was mostly just little flakes, but continual for the whole 7 hours that we drove through the state! I was worried about Blewett Pass, but it was fine - we were a few cars behind the snowplow, and they plow down to the asphalt, so I never even slipped at all. I had all-weather tires, but chains were in the back if I needed them (which I didn't). But sheesh! It's the end of March!!

We stopped at a rest stop just before the big gorge above Yakima (but you couldn't see it through the snow cloud) and I had to use the ice scraper to get the 1/2 inch-thick crust of ice off the bumper up to the hood of the van. It was on the headlights & everything.

All the areas that were clear of snow when we came up were covered. We stopped at Goldendale just before crossing into Oregon, and filled up the car for the last leg home. Just after that, the snow finally stopped.

Once we were going along the freeway along the Columbia, we had a lot of hail come down, but only little pellets, so i was good. I don't often see hail built up on the side of the road though.

We arrived home at 7:00 pm. We probably would have made it sooner, but we were going slow over the mountains & stuff. That was fine though - no accidents or any other trouble along the route. It's a long drive, but if I didn't do it this way, we wouldn't have been able to visit. It's worth it :)

Spring Break - Thursday

This morning Trevor & I took my dad to have his Hemoglobin "booster" done - that's a 3-hour drip while he rests in a bed at the hospital. It helps with the cancer and gives him a little more energy. After that was done, we went to Denny's for a nice lunch. And it snowed those little snow pellets again while we were there.

Trevor & I did a little shopping while we waited. Diana wanted a specific book from a collectables shop in Kelowna - the fire hazard store. They have great stuff, it's just that it's stacked everywhere in no particular order!

In the afternoon, I grabbed all the kids for a geocache again. I still had a travel bug to drop somewhere & I needed a big enough cache. This one is on Okanagan Mountain (which should have been a clue). The drive was the shortest distance from my folk's neighborhood, however the HIKE was at least a MILE through all the burned area from a few years ago.

This cache was in an ammo box, and hidden in rocks, so it survived the fire! I let Mike use the GPS, and it was Catherine that found the cache. The coords were about 20 feet off, so I was surprised we actually found it! And it was a ways off the trail, and we had to trek over mountainside to get back to the trail again! Luckily, there wasn't anything more dangerous than deer droppings :)

We wound up a little late getting back, and Connie was all ready to go out with me & my dad while Trevor & Omi had a nice dinner together at home. Connie recently got a nice bonus and we were celebrating. It was a great last evening out before heading home.

Spring Break - Wednesday

I ran my dad around town today. He had to have some bloodwork done and do some other errands.

We had a nice visit in the afternoon. I should have taken out the digital recorder when I asked my dad about what happened after he arrived in Montreal and started his life in Canada. I got to hear about his ex-fiance and another gal he dated, and the whole story about how he met my mom & all that. I should probably create a timeline and have them fill in the holes for me soon, so I can add that stuff to his biography. The current version of the biography goes from his birth through the war and then stops at him arriving in Montreal.

In the evening, I headed over to visit with Connie & her family a little more. Mikael made a curry-potato dish that was very tasty. I got to chat with Catherine a bit. I really like her comic art style. I told her to scan some of her stuff at Opa's house and send it over via email :) She's got some pretty funny stuff ;)

Connie has a photo of the two of us, but she hasn't sent it yet - prolly because I haven't sent her any of mine yet? Whoops. Better do that soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Break - Tuesday

I got a nice massage today. The Grand Okanagan Hotel & Spa

Carolyn & I had sent our sister, Connie, a massage certificate for Christmas. She's been doing so much to help my folks out with my dad's cancer stuff & all, and we just wanted to let her know how much we appreciated it.

She hadn't used it yet, though, because she wanted to go with someone. So my mom thought it would be a great early birthday present for me to go and get a massage too.

Connie & I got to use the exercise room (we just talked & stretched) and then the Eucalyptus Steam Bath. There was a little confusion over whether the cups of water the attendant had brought were for drinking or for pouring on the steam thingy. After Connie poured half of hers on the steam thingy and it did absolutely nothing, we decided to drink the water :)

Then we showered off & met our therapists. Connie had booked a room with two massage tables, so we could continue to catch up & talk while we got the massages. Some people fall asleep, but my therapist was working pretty hard on those knots in my neck & shoulders and while it was working, I wouldn't have slept anyway!

Connie had to scoot off to work right afterward, so she took me back to my folks. After lox & bagels for lunch (tasty!),I took my dad out in the afternoon to his doctor appointment, and to do some other errands. He's getting around okay, but slowly.

Trevor got to spend time with his cousins & play video games. Later in the afternoon, I took Connie's kids out with me to find a geocache. I had two travel bugs I'd brought with me, and we got to drop one off. The kids thought it was pretty cool. Trevor just thought it was too cold.

After dinner, I watched TV with my parents. Busy day!

Spring Break Canada Trip - Monday

Early Monday morning (about 6:45 am) Trevor & I left to head to Canada. It's about 500 miles from where we live to my folk's house via the 97 through central Washington.

I had to do a little shopping in Portland and we took a little break at Multnomah Falls, just because they are RIGHT THERE off the freeway. I'm always trying to look as I drive by (bad idea). This picture is just out of the tunnel which the freeway passes over.

The weather was nice & dry for the trip, though there were reports of possible snow showers, we only saw a couple of little flakes around Brewster, WA.

We crossed the border into Canada at Osoyoos around 6:45 pm, and then it's another two hours to Kelowna & my folks. I drove the whole way, since Trevor was mostly busy sleeping. I'm glad I took some Tylenol tho, since a long drive like that tends to tense up my neck & shoulders.

Making Tempura

For Easter Dinner, Diana made us tempura. It was awesome!
She prepped all the veggies and stuck them on skewers to deep fry in peanut oil (doesn't burn).

She doesn't eat mushrooms, herself, but they made a nice bouquet :)

New Link --->

Re-Navy! is Renee's (Nae's) new blog.

In case you're new to my blog (who are you & why are you reading my boring blog?), Renee is my former Girl Scout who joined the Navy last year after graduating early from High School.

She is very energetic and likes to express herself. Just ignore the spelling errors. She's a product of the texting age... :P

Renee also loves comments. :) And Trevor. She tells him every chance he gets. He responds, "Um.... okay."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Connor Requests

Connor likes to have me take pictures. He likes to look in the little viewscreen on the camera to see how things came out.
Pretty much every time he sees the rainbow on the floor of my room, he wants to get in it for a photo.

The second shot he's pulling my sewing machine cart for me.

This is from today. He positioned us all and told us to put out our arms.

Don't know why, but it was fun :)

In this one, he asked Trevor & Diana to hide him and then said, "Smile!" so I could get a photo.

At least he's not afraid of the camera...

Happy (K)Easter '08!

Happy Easter!

This morning I kicked everyone out of bed bright & early to get ready for Mass.

Connor did especially well today. Mass is tough for him, since it typically lasts a good hour and a half (if not longer). We usually bring a bag full of books & activities to help him stay quiet. And something to eat. Today he just played quietly with the travel drawing pad - it's one of those boards with the black stuff on the bottom, with a grey sheet and then a clear sheet on top. You use a stylus to write on it, and then lift up the sheets to clear it again. That worked great! He never even had to get into the snack!

After Mass we came home for a big breakfast. I made Pillsbury Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, and belgian waffles. I made a strawberry syrup with frozen strawberries, even though we had bought fresh ones. The fresh ones were just too nice to cut up into a sauce. We are eating them fresh. There was also whipped cream to go with the waffles. Lee made scrambled eggs and veggie sausage.
After the meal, Lee & I played Easter Bunny and hid the eggs in the yard. This year Connor was looking forward to the hunt, which was really cool. He was anxious to get out there. It was damp and muddy, but that was fine - the forecast was for rain, and at least it stayed dry!

I still had the mini candy bars I'd gotten in Canada last time I was there, so the kids got Aero bars & Smarties in their eggs, besides the regular M&M's & such.

All three got a Lindt Chocolate bunny first thing this morning. After church, Connor ate his WHOLE BUNNY at once! Usually he'd leave those alone (and I'd get them) but not anymore!! After that good behavior at church, he can run around and jump on his trampoline to work off the bunny. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Experimental Gardening

We bought these cedar trees a while back, and put them in nice big pots on our little porch made from leftover wood.

They got bigger, but I noticed last year they never really got very green again. They aren't dead, and there's a little green, but it's mostly that reddish color - and they really were green when we bought them.

So I'm thinking they aren't really very healthy in those pots - but I'm not sure, hence the experiment.

We're leaving one in a pot because it's not dead.

We planted the other one in our yard. The white buckets are just collecting rain to continue watering when necessary.

This one has been here a week so far, so I can't tell if it's doing well or not. We've had continuous rain for the last week, so it should have gotten enough water, at least.

Connor kept wanting to get into the hole Lee dug to plant this though. Once this one was in, Lee dug him another hole.

Here's Connor's hole. It's about three feet deep and a couple of feet wide. Plenty large enough for Connor to enjoy.

And then he gets a bath :)

Spring Things

Here's the ornamental cherry tree in the front yard. It's looking very Springy. From the dining room window behind the lacey curtains, it looks like a pink cloud.

This is a 'double' daffodil. Okay - they're really called Jonquils (at least by the Breck's catalog), and it looks more like quadrupled to me.

Either way, it makes them a bit heavier than their stems can support, and they tend to flop over.

Next time I'll get more regular ones, like the lighter colored ones here - they stand nice & straight!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Going to Canada

I'm taking Trevor with me to Canada over Spring Break. We're going to visit my folks, obviously. My dad's health has been up & down, and I just want a chance to spend as much time with him as possible. Trevor is my travel companion because he's the first-born grandchild on my side of the family. He's #10 on Lee's side.

My folks had to wait a long time before Trevor came along. I was 28 when he was born, and I was the first one to get married & have kids. Diana was next the following year. Connie had Catherine a few years later, then Mikael. Then I had Connor, and Carolyn had Kaleigh, and then Cole. Aaron is the last kiddo on our side from Connie.

My mom took care of Trevor for me when he was 3 months old, till Diana was born. So Trevor has a pretty special bond with my folks as the first grandkid. It means a lot to Trevor to have a chance to visit with his Omi & Opa again too.

Lee is still job-hunting, and Diana might be doing something else during our Spring Break that I will post on later... Connor will hang out at home and enjoy it being Spring - outside as much as possible.

Things are blooming outside :) It's nice. Pray for an uneventful trip for us, and no new snow!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Change at Church

We have had a couple of priests at our church who have been a little contraversial. Our Pastor is pretty opinionated, and isn't shy about telling everyone what he thinks. Most of the time that seemed to be that we parishioners were not donating enough money. It used to be recognized if you donated TIME, but that kind of fell by the wayside.

He also bugged a bunch of people with closing our parish school (not that my kids went or anything). He saw it as money pit, so he closed it down. A lot of families were not happy with that either.

I actually saw a woman stand up at one point during a mass and yell at Father for a good ten minutes, and then she stormed out and never returned. So, yeah, he bugged some folks.

The other priest came to us pretty soon after he accidentally "married" three people in his former parish. He said it was not a marriage, but a blessing. Still, why would three people need to get a blessing together?

Trevor & Diana served at Mass since they were little. Neither of these two priests seemed to take the time to learn our kids' names, even though they served bi-weekly, if not weekly (filling in for someone who didn't come). I would be surprised if either Father knew my name. Granted, I'm not around all that much outside of Mass, but there are a lot of people that know my name there.

So I guess in June, our Pastor will be moving over to take on administration duties at the Homeless Family shelter he got built with the help of the parish & community. It's a neat thing, and has helped a lot of folks. But they haven't had someone 'in charge' and that's where his heart is - so that's good. The other priest is just going somewhere else. Not sure where yet.

I am hoping our new priests are a little more personal. Both of our current priests have been a little stand-offish, and neither seems to live in *our* world. Our Pastor was apparently pretty rich before he was called to serve the Lord, and I don't think he's ever figured out that this particular parish isn't all that rich. He sees the need for helping the homeless & poor, but if you weren't homeless, he seemed to think you were rich. Oh well.

I would like the new priests to get to know us a bit better as a parish. Not just the people making the big donations. And for crying out loud, learn the names of the people that volunteer at the church!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Uh oh - too tasty!

We have been messing around with yeast doughs - Lee made some dense bread (yeast was too old), I made some really light bread (it was too warm in the oven to help it rise), Lee made a nice pizza dough for Connor's 'Pepperoni & Pizza' and Diana made Dampfnudel today. Those are yeast bread balls that are steamed to cook them, and served with vanilla 'sauce' (or pudding). She's going to bring one to school tomorrow for her German teacher to try :) So after the initial figuring out how to get the dough to rise properly in our coolish house (set the oven to 'warm' and leave the door open), we are having some nice yeasty things to eat.

Lee decided to try deep-frying as well. We like watching Alton Brown on Food Network, and he did an episode explaining that if the temperature is right, the fat seals the food so that it won't absorb too much oil, and it's not actually as bad as you'd think, calorie-wise. Yes, it's still deep-fried, but if you do it yourself, maybe not as bad as getting deep-fried stuff from fast food or restaurants.

Lee started his first foray into deep frying with corn tortilla chips yesterday. They turned out really yummy. We had some nice avocado dip & salsa with them for dinner last night. There were still enough to snack on this afternoon & while Diana was having some, Connor told her to say "cheese" and told me "take a picture, Mom." Just as I took the photo, he jumped in on purpose, and made us all laugh because that was his intention in getting me to take a photo :) I took a couple more shots with Lee, but Connor didn't get the timing right on those, so you don't see his mischievious face...

I think we're going to have Diana try making tempura next. I love tempura!!

I am really trying to avoid the next thing - yeast dough + fryer = donuts! I would eat way too many. I stick to my goal weight a lot easier if I'm not making donuts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coming Down the Home Stretch

of our final cookie sale. Sales are over Sunday & then we deposit and we're done!!

I will continue to buy them from scouts for the rest of my life, probably. Preferably Older Girls, since there's a big disparity in sales by age. It was a lot harder selling cookies with the older girls - we had to resort to costumes, huge signs, speaking in unison, etc. just to get people's attention.

We never earned huge amounts, since we had a smaller troop. When Renee's folks worked at the mill, that was a big year for us (thanks Nae!). The rest of the time, Diana has always been the top seller for our troop. Granted, she didn't have to share sales like Amanda or Mary, who both have younger sisters.

I have ONE box of sugar-free chocolate chips left unsold. I expect we'll buy those and Lee can have them :) I have two boxes of Samoas put aside for August, when we'll compare them to the "Caramel Delights" being sold in CA. And I still need to get one more box of Thin Mints, since I accidentally grabbed a box that should have been Carolyn's! (don't worry, it's not a big deal to get more - I can ALWAYS get more!).

Through these sales, Diana has amassed a nice T-shirt and towel collection. This year, you had to sell 250 boxes pre-sale to get the shirt. She did it though! It's a cute shirt this year too. Diana was never one for the stuffed animals & such, but they came with the other stuff. She liked the CD coupons to get music. And obviously, she got a lot of patches for her vest.

The black shirt with the sequin belt are from this sale - she will get the rest of the prizes next month. The orange & periwinkle t-shirt & hoodie set are my favorite. They say "Girl Genius" in glow-in-the-dark. Missing is her other favorite shirt with cat eyes that glow in the dark. It's probably lost in the closet or behind the chest of drawers or something.

If we want to raise any more money this year, we can do something on our own as a fundraiser. The girls are still looking at Canada, and if they don't want to have to pay for their passports ($100 each) all on their own, we'll have to figure something else out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Train Service

So yesterday I'm going to reserve Trevor's seat on the "Coast Starlight" train from K. Falls to Eugene. Even though I know I have the right station names & numbers, it won't get to the schedule to reserve the seat.

Finally I see there's an alert in red just above the part of the screen I've been focussed on. "Due to mudslides, the Coast Starlight will be unavailable from Sacramento to Portland until April."


So rather than the 4-hour ride to Eugene, Trevor will take the Shuttle bus from K. Falls to Medford. It's a lot shorter for him on the bus, but it adds another hour to our trip to come & get him. We'll work in a visit with the folks & all, and I'd better drop off a geocache travel bug or two while we're there.

We do have a train that goes thru town here, but it's only for freight. I guess the different kinds of trains don't use the same tracks. Shame - it stops downtown.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Too Busy

I could use a vacation, I think. I seem to have a bazillion things I need to do buzzing around in my head.

Spring Break is coming up, but it will be filled up with house & yard stuff, I'm sure. Plus until Lee is working, we're not driving anywhere unless it's really necessary. So we missed Kraig's & Nancy's b-day celebrations :(

Keep those positive thoughts coming on a new job for Lee soon! Until then, we'll keep plugging away...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Trevor update

Lee & Connor drove out to OIT today to go & visit Trevor.

We've been talking with him on Sundays on the phone, and last Sunday he informed us he'd used all his food points on the swipe card they get (part of tuition), even though he was supposed to have been budgeting those points (20,000 points/10 weeks = 2000 points a week). Somehow he used them all up 3 weeks ahead of time. All he had to eat anymore was Top Ramen.

This last month he also discovered what overdraft charges mean on your checking account!

Yes, indeed, one learns a lot one's first year at college!

Anyway - Lee took him grocery shopping and stuff, and I should get the whole rundown tonight after Lee & Connor get home.

His grades are better this term than last, and I guess he rocks in CAD class :)

He has learned a lot about himself & life away from home so far - it's all good (except the overdraft charges and the no food part).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More Connor Pics

Because he's my son & I think he's cute :P

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Connor turns 10!

First thing in the morning, he opened his presents. He actually likes opening the presents more than the presents - unless he specifically requested something. This year, all he asked for was "a party."

So we get little things like Pringles chips, cheddar cheese popcorn, a Ben Ten sticker book, and Diana gave him a Wii game. He also got that trampoline since he wore out his 3rd one now.

"The Party" meant a cupcakes & juice party at school. Connor isn't social enough to have a bunch of kids invade his house ;) Lee got big mylar balloons and brought cupcakes & juice to his classroom at the end of the day. Connor saw him and said, "Now it's time for the party!"
After school, Lee & I took him to the newly remodeled bowling alley to play a game. They can raise the bumpers just for the one person (Connor) so the rest of the people can bowl normally. I think I would have preferred the bumpers!!

After that, we went downtown to get Diana. She wasn't ready yet, so we visited the comic book shop & visited with Brett & Nancy. Then we got Diana and went to a pizza place that has an indoor play structure (better than McDonald's) and Connor got his "pepperoni and pizza" with root beer.

Diana & I had to go to GS Leader meeting, and we met Amanda there. After that, we asked Amanda to come back with us for cake, since she's known Connor since he was in utero (back when she & Diana were in 2nd grade & I was the pregnant classroom aide).

Connor read his card from Omi & Opa (thank you!) and then we sang Happy Birthday & ate cake.
He helped me count out his 10 candles on his cake :)

He said he had a Happy Birthday :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Whoops! Sorry Tim!

We sent Tim a trial account for WoW, which he tried out tonight, I guess. We added him on our "friends" list so we could see when he got online.

Lee saw him online with his Grasp character a little before we were supposed to meet up with Shoo & Robert.

Tim just popped in & out again after a quick "Yo." In the meantime, Lee switched characters to play with Shoo & Robert. We were doing player vs. player, and a lot of text scrolls by so we missed Tim popping in again :(

I don't know if Tim knows our other character names.

If not, please add these to your friends list, Tim:

Tina's are - Keight, Suella, Wamoo, Driala & Porttal

Lee's are - Tuuk, Pillopants, Grasp, Citibank and Zaluu

Shoo's are - Gorlach and Jimmyjoe (those are the ones I know).

Robert has Boans.

Hopefully next time you log in, it won't look like no one is around?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

159 Days to Go!

I happen to be a huge Olympics fan. The TV belongs to me during the Olympic Games every two years. This year, Beijing, China is hosting from August 8 through 24. Beijing 2008 Olympic WebsiteSince we're planning on going to California during part of that time, the TiVo will be busy, I guess.

There's a gal from our town who competes in fencing, and is currently hovering around 3rd place in the Nation. Her mom works at my school, and is already is planning to go to Beijing. Isn't that exciting?? I hope Lacy makes it and we wish her all the best.

Besides fencing, I think gymnastics are a big thing for me to watch. However, I don't think we'll get a chance to watch this performer...