Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our Not-So-Much Masterpieces...

The beginning...




Monday, October 30, 2006


Read my sister Stacey's ghost story here. She actually wrote this a year ago, long before I posted about Karen here.

Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Real Life Blogging Friend!

Today I met my first real live blogging friend. Monica from The Happy Zombie and I discovered a couple of weeks ago that not only do we live in the same town, we are just a few blocks from each other.

Monica came over this afternoon for tea and pumpkin cranberry bread. I was a little nervous all day meeting her for the first time. What if we we didn't have anything in common? What if we didn't have anything to talk about, would we just sit and look at each other? What if we were both a little shy? I met Monica at the door and she immediately gave me a big hug. Her first words were, "I feel like I'm going on a blind date!" Too funny! Exactly how I had felt all day. NOTHING to worry about. We started in jabbering right away and didn't come up for air for about an hour and a half. We drank our tea, chatted, laughed and giggled while getting to know each other. Sounded like a couple of chickens. What a fun afternoon. I am so excited to have a new friend!

Monica brought me the cutest little butterfly pin book that she made. (a picture will be included once blogger stops being so obstinate and will let me upload. GRRRR!)
Monica, thank you so much! It was so nice to meet you...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Don't be afraid,
Hold your head high.
There's strength in your soul,
When your life is low- Hold on.
When you want to let go- Be strong.

-"Remember The Dream" by James Ingram

October is Breast Cancer Awarness month . There are many good sites out there with alot of information on them. Did you know that 182,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year? With early detection, the survival rate is 95%. I think that is a good indication that we all need to get in there and have those mammograms done. Don't wait until you're 40, many people have been diagnosed well before then. A few minutes of discomfort is certainly a awesome trade for months of rehabilitation and the grief our families would experience if we were to lose the battle.
Barbara Delinsky has written a book called Uplift that has received great reviews. It is about surviving breast cancer and does not get into the medical side of things, just the human side. It includes quotes and stories by cancer survivors.
Many companies are doing promotions such as the pink label Cambell soups, (very cool! I think this one is going to turn into a pincushion.), who are donating the proceeds of a certain product to breast cancer research. Visit my sister Stacey's site and get your Breast Cancer Crusade Charm bracelet. Avon is donating $4 for each bracelet to research. What a worthy cause.
My Grandma Simmons was a breast cancer survivor. Thinking back to the time when she had her masectomies, I don't even remember her being down for long or ever complaining of the pain of recovery. What a strong lady she was.
I would like to dedicate this post to my friends Jeanne, Tasha and Kandie, who have all fought the battle and won. You guys are incredible and such an inspiration. What a blessing to know you...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Meet The Parents...

I'd like to introduce you to Riff's parents, John and Lee, but can't seem to find them although those two cranberry farmers over there do look suspiciously like the parents. Hmmm.... Riff's parents arrived Friday via Cody, Wyoming. They spent the weekend and Monday with us, leaving early this morning before the sun had a chance to show it's face. It was a nice visit and a good weekend.

On Saturday we took a drive up the Long Beach Peninsula, stopping in Nachotta for a look at the oyster beds. When we pulled up to the marina, Lee was delighted to see someone setting up an easel and getting ready to paint. Lee paints and sculpts as often as she can and really enjoys seeing other artists work. This guy picked a beautiful day and spot to capture.

We went to Oysterville and purchased some seafood for our evening feast. We enjoyed a shellfish extravagansa! Here are the oysters on the grill. Riff cookes them with a littl bit of butter, garlic and parmesan cheese. Too die for!

We also gorged on steamer clams that we cooked with white wine, butter, garlic and capers. Oh, my goodness, you should taste these things. We had crab too, but apparently I forgot to get a picture of that. We just ate the crab meat dipped in hot butter. I'm still wiping my chin!

I made a pumpkin pie with bourbon for desert, served it with a cranberry caramel sauce and homemade whipped cream flavored with Bailey's Irish Creme. I obviously wasn't bright enough to take a picture of the slice with the sauce and cream. Take my word for it, it was beautiful and gone in an instant.

Sunday night was a good clamming tide, so we headed down to the beach right before sunset. Dustin was gracious enough to dig our fire pit where we roasted hot dogs and drank beer,(Dustin had ROOT beer), after getting our limit of clams. My camera's batteries went dead after this picture, so I didn't get any of the actual clam digging. Dang it!! It was a really fun night at the beach. Monday evening Riff made a wonderful batch of clam chowder. He expereminted with Lactose free milk and came up with a great recipe that even I can eat. Yeah!!
It was a good visit with the parents. Now it's time to get back to work...

Witchy Woman...

Can you hear her cackling as she's flying over your town? Listen closely in the wind - she's there! I'll get you my pretty...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Playing in the Rain...

Shilo's last home soccer game was this afternoon and in true Pacific Northwest fashion, it poured the entire game. Actually we have had a fairly dry fall, so this was really the first rainy game. Shilo has always liked to play in the rain, soccer, mud puddle splashing, long walks, what have you. In fact, several years ago when we were still in Wyoming, I received a paniced phone call at work from Brittany. It was during the years that Riff and I both worked two jobs. We were both at our night job at the "Proud Cut Saloon" where I waitressed and Riff tended bar several nights a week. Anyway, It was the middle of summer, the days were long and hot and we happened to have a big thunder storm that dumped a lot of rain, which is very unusual for Wyoming where the average annual rainfall is 3 inches. Brittany was 15 and in charge of Shilo and Dustin that evening who were then 12 and 9. The rain started and the two younger kids went out to play in the front yard. After a 1/2 hour or so had passed, Brittany decided to call them in, but they were no where to be found. She called me at work finally, (after an hour), panicked-her voice high and squeaky. "Mom, I can't find Shilo and Dustin. They went out to play in the rain an hour ago and never came back!" It was still thundering, lightning and raining pretty hard. Some of the streets were flooded, because they aren't equipped with the storm drains to handle that kind of a rain. I tore off my apron, jumped in the car and raced home. Right down the street I spotted two kids tromping through puddles. They were happily soaked to the skin, splashing in every puddle they could possibly find around the neighborhood. They received a sound scolding about venturing away from home without permision and I headed back to work. The next day, who should be on the front page of the local newspaper but my two "lost" children, delighted smiles on their faces as they splashed in a giant puddle.
As you can see by the smile on Shilo's face, she still likes to play in the rain...

Happy (late) Birthday, Ryan!

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date! No time to say hello good-bye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
-The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

Son number 2, Ryan, turned 23 on Saturday, October 14th. Ryan is in Iraq serving with the Army's 1st Armored Division. He is scheduled to be back to his home base in Baumholder, Germany by the first of November where his beautiful bride, Natascha is waiting for him. We just got word that he has "re-upped". He will be extending his time by two years and they tell him that he will be in Germany for the rest of his tour. Ryan really likes Germany (could have something to do with his German wife!) so is tickled that he gets to stay there for another few years.

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tea Towel Swap

My tea towel swap package arrived this weekend from Cynthia. Isn't this adorable? Cynthia traced this pattern from a vintage tea towel of her Grandmothers.

This one is so simple and so cute! She traced cookie cutters for the pattern. What a great idea. She did a wonderful job on the stitching and the picking out of patterns. These match my kitchen so well.

Cynthia also included these adorable seashell earrings. She is quite crafty, so I am sure that she made them. I had a hard time getting a good picture because the light in our house isn't always the best.

I had planned on baking banana bread with some old banana's that I had thrown in the freezer. I had them thawing in the sink when the mail came and much to my delight, Cynthia had included her banana bread recipe. It has peanut butter in it! The bread was demolished right away. She also sent along a recipe for carrot cookies that are on this weekends list of baking.
Thank you, Cynthia for a great package!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Swap Goodies...

I came home from work Friday to be greeted by not one, but TWO swap packages. What fun! The Halloween package came from Valerie in Indiana. Look at all that great stuff! The towel is already hanging in my kitchen, the kittie plate has pumpkin cookies on it and the ghostie plate has banana bread adorning it. I can't wait to watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie. We used to watch "Alfred Hitchcock Hour" on Saturday night when we were kids in the 70's. Dustin hung the cobwebs on our sunporch today and I have already put a candle in the spider candleholder. Thank you so much, Valerie, for putting such a fun package together!

This was a swap to trade your unused Christmas Cards from last year. What a great idea! I never know who I sent what to, so don't end up using them again. Mavis in Iowa sent this package to me. She included a great selection of Christmas cards. No two are alike. I'm going to use the little stockings for gift bags for small items this year. Thank you, Mavis. You did a wonderful job!

May you all be blessed with fun mail...


Shilo and her best friend Stephanie ready for the Homecoming Dance

Dress from Ross: $30.00
Shoes from Ross: $10.00
Tickets to Dance: $15.00
Hair Styling: $25.00
Pictures of Shilo and David at Dance: $30.00

Astoria actually winning the game: PRICELESS!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Almost there...

After knitting to many darn scarves to count, I am working on my first real knitting project. I signed up several weeks ago for the hat hugger class at Creative Beginnings. I went to my first class last Thursday night full of trepidation. It's one thing to cast on, knit 500 or so rows and bind off and it's quite another thing to learn to purl and use 4 double ended needles at the same time. The old doubts crept in - I don't know if I can do this, I'm not smart enough, I'm not coordinated enough, my project will look like a 2nd grader did it, THEY'RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT ME! I pushed the negative thoughts away and joined the class, a self-concious smile on my face. I did find that my fingers weren't as cooperative as the should have been when I was learning to purl, but after a little while they did start to work correctly. My project actually looks good and nobody laughed at me. I had fun! Who knew??
Tonight was the second portion of that class. Things went a bit differently for me tonight, not at all what I had planned. Apparently I forgot how to count and spent most of the evening taking out the same row over and over again until I finally got it right. Good Grief! I guess that backing out was good experience, I definately know how to do that now. I had grand illusions of my hat being finished tonight. That bubble has burst.
Tomorrows another day...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I picked this nightgown up at church basement sale this weekend thinking that the fabric went really well in my guest room.

I was right! Two pillowcases with an already made ruffle. Who could ask for more? Actually there wasn't enough material for both front and back, so I used a really soft white cordorouy from my stash for the back of the cases. I know that pillow cases are not at all a hard sewing project but I am very tickled with myself anyway.

I had a touch of the stomach flu and a nasty cold last week, so stayed home from work on Friday and finished my second Halloween pillow. This one is making its way to Brittany to grace her couch.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pink Sky At Night...

My Mama used to always say "Pink sky at night, Sailors delight. Pink sky in the morning, Sailors take warning." It means that if the sunset is pink, tomorrow will be a beautiful day, but if the sunrise is pink then a storm is on the way. Tonights sunset was incredible and lasted a really long time.

Riff and I took our walk down on the riverfront tonight. We got down there just as the sun had dipped over the horizon. It was so pretty. We started out at the pier where our town herd of sea lions hang out. It was too dark to get a good picture of them, but I promise I will post one soon. They are so funny to watch and so incredibly loud!

This is a shot of an old cannery out on some pilings. It is very unstable and they have recently taken down the old boardwalk to get out to it, though it has been a very long time since anyone was allowed on the boardwalk. I thought this shot turned out really neat with the building almost black and the sunset in the distance.

May you all be blessed with beautiful evening walks...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Ghost Story

Every year as the fall winds blew the crispy, dried leaves around and the air began to have the sharp bite to remind us of the winter yet to come, a voice would began to call for Karen. "Ka--ren", the woman's voice would ring out over the land time and time again. A man's voice would join in, but much fainter and not so easy to hear. On the whistling wind the sound of heart-wrenching sobbing could be heard. Who was Karen? Who was endlessly searching for her?

I grew-up on 50 acres in a remote corner of north eastern Oregon. Every fall for about a week my family and I would hear the voices calling and the crying on the wind. We never discovered who Karen actually was, but lived with her presence for many years.
We believe that Karen was a young girl that somehow lost her life on the property that we now called home. We think that her parents came back every year around the time of her death to search for her. Karen herself was seen many, many times by family members and friends. Karen was 8 to 10 years old, had long blonde hair and wore a "Little House on the Prairie" style dress. She seemed to like to be around the family. Sometimes you would catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of your eye, but turn to face her and she would be gone. I saw her the most sitting on the top of the stairs. Our mom was the type of person who seemed to have a connection and strong belief in the spirit dimension. Mom was the first to see Karen and also to hear the crying. In time we all saw and heard these events, except for Dad, I think.
I will never forget the fall evening that some friends were over. The two women decided to go for a walk and, of course, some of us kids trailed along. We were walking through the fields at the back of the property when my mom's friend stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide as saucers. "Did you hear that?", she whispered. "I heard them calling for Karen!", she said. She had heard the stories, but had been very skeptical until that moment and actually hearing it for herself.
One evening some neighbors stopped by to visit. In the course of the conversation they mentioned that they had driven by our place earlier in the day and had seen Stacey out riding our horse, Charlie. Stacey is one of my sisters, the only one of us who had long blonde hair. No one had been home that day. We had all been 70 miles away, visiting at our cousins house for the day. The neighbors were adamant about seeing a young girl with long blonde hair, wearing a pink dress, riding the horse.
There are many more "Karen" stories like the ones I have recounted here. Her presence was never scary or threatening, although it was heartbreaking to hear her parents searching in vain for her year after year.

I wanted to share this since it is October, a time for ghost stories, and also to record it for myself. I would love to hear anyone else's real life ghost stories. If you have one to share, please post it on your blog and leave a comment here. I will post a link here to your story.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Finished Projects

Monday was my birthday, so I kept myself home from work to have some alone time and just kick around the house. I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup that simmered on the stove all day and a baked a pumpkin sheet cake that was simply marvelous, if I do say so myself. One big reason for the day off was to finish some projects that were feeling a little neglected. I made this very simple little beach sign for my guest room. I think I'll do another one with the word a little bit higher on the wood and some towel hooks added.

This little Raggedy Ann project isn't quite finished. I'm going to make a tote bag out of Raggedy Ann colors with a pocket on the front. The pocket will be for Raggedy Ann to ride around in and I'm going to put a pop-up Raggedy Ann book inside the bag. This is a Christmas present for my two and a half year old niece, Shelby.

Dustin gave me the new Alan Jackson CD "Like Red On A Rose" for my birthday. I plugged that into my CD player in my guest/craft room and crooned my afternoon away. Ladies, this one is worth a listen! What a beautiful voice he has. Anyway, this halloween pillow is another finished project for my trick-or-treat swap partner, whoever she (or he) may be. I have another one in progress, but gave up when I sewed the backing on inside out. It is still sitting by my sewing machine waiting for me and my seam ripper to come back.

This last one is a pillow that I made several years ago. I love this one and can never wait for the first of October to get it out. You can't see them in this picture, but it also has very cute leaf-shaped buttons all down both sides.

May you all be blessed with finished projects today...

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Pumpkin Patch

Talk about a couple of rotten pumkins....

We went to Sauvie Island outside of Portland yesterday to The Pumpkin Patch. I had read about this place in a Cottage Living Magazine and had been wanting to go. What fun! Inside the market you can purchase, for very good prices, all of the different produce and flowers that are grown on the farm. We came home with pears, corn, brocolli, squash, potatoes, and apples. I could have bought everything in the store, but didn't come prepared. I had no idea that there would be so much!
One of the big reasons that we wan't to go was for the corn maze. I've always wanted to do this, but never have made it to one. We paid our maze admission, took a trivia card to help make decisions inside the maze and were on our way. This years theme was farming, so the aerial view of the maze looked like a farmer on a tractor pulling a wagon with the sun in the sky. At one point we got into the hub of a tractor wheel and went around and around the spokes trying to find the correct way out. They have "Corn Cops" who wander around in the maze to help anybody out that gets absolutely turned around.

Yeah! We conquered the corn maze. What fun it was to just wander around in those stalks of corn, giggling and laughing, trying to find our way. Riff turned off his built in surveyors radar for the day and just let us wander. They host a Haunted Maze for the last three weekends in October. You come at night with a flashlight and try to make your way through with ghosts and goblins on your heels. We may go back for that. Sounds like a lot of fun. Shilo says it may be to scary for her!

After the maze, we climbed on the hay wagon that took us down to the pumpkin fields. There we scavenged the fields for the perfect pumpkin. Since Dustin could walk, he has always tried to get the biggest pumpkin he could possibly find. I made the rule when he was very small that he could only get one that he could pick up and carry himself. He is 14 now and bigger than me, so I do need to come up with a different rule. Maybe it shouldn't be bigger than his head!?

To top it off, I watched them making the prettiest caramel apples I have ever seen. I am not a caramel apple fan and never buy them. These were so pretty that I couldn't resist, so I handed over my $3.00, unwrapped that apple and fell in love. My gosh, you have to taste these things. The caramel is homemade, soft but not gooey, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. You take a bite and actually come away with a mouth full of caramel and apple. I'm not sure what type of apple she was using, but they were incredible. The best caramel apple you will ever wrap your lips around!

May you all be blessed with incredible fall days, just right to let yourself get lost in a corn maze...