Sunday, September 30, 2007

7 Random Facts Tag

"7 Random Facts" about me... Goodness! Is there anything random left to tell after all this time? Let's see...
  1. I have a birthmark in the palm of my right hand. It's how I tell my right from left. Seriously. I am "directionally challenged." I have no problems with compass directions, but to this day I can't do left and right without thinking about it... or checking for that birthmark!
  2. I usually always have a cup of something hot on my desk. My favorite hot beverage is a caramel latte... but since that has a tendency to "go to waist"... I try to alternate with an assortment of herbal teas.
  3. I love road trips. Getting there really is half the fun! (And it's a good thing, since we live half way across the continent from most of our relatives.)
  4. I named my website "Roads to Everywhere" because the internet is like a road trip to me. You start out with one objective, but it's easy to get side-tracked... and you never know where you'll end up, or what adventures you may have along the way.
  5. I have 29 nieces and nephews, and 14 great-nieces and nephews.
  6. I have 31 first cousins (not counting in-laws), and 5 of those are double cousins.
  7. Did I mention I come from a large family?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #2

I've been playing around on Facebook this week... It's a social networking site, but different than blogging. I enjoy trying out all the new things... So this week I decided to list...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Urgent Prayer Request

A friend of our family, Sandy Nusz, has been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She is a Christian homeschooling mother with 5 young children. We have set up a blog, Praying for Sandy, to help keep family and friends updated. I know they would appreciate your prayers in the difficult days they are going through right now. Thanks so much!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cotton Yarn

I love to knit with cotton yarn! I started out knitting dishcloths with Peaches & Creme or Sugar & Cream yarn, and I loved how soft the 100% cotton fiber was. It was a good bit more expensive than acrylic yarn, though, so I only used it for dishcloths. But, then... a couple of winters ago, WalMart got in some one-pound cones of Peaches & Creme for $6.64, so I stocked up! (A 2-ounce ball is $1.39 or something.) I made a big batch of dishcloths and then got started knitting throws. The cotton yarn is great for that. It is soft and not as heavy as acrylic, just very snuggly. So I've been furiously knitting through my stock of lovely cotton yarn for the past 2 years.

I haven't been able to find the selection of colors that WalMart had winter-before-last again, although our WalMart still has white and ecru and about 4 other choices of variegated ombre colors. And my supply of yarn is getting down to several cones of ombre colors which I can't do much with if I don't have solids to coordinate with. I checked at Joann's and Michael's in Coeur d'Alene last week and neither of them have the Peaches & Creme on the cone. I had about decided I was going to have to either pay the price for the little bitty balls or find a place to order it.

Last night we were over in Spokane Valley so I asked my husband to stop at WalMart there. I checked their yarn aisle and found the balls, but no cones. None. Not even the few colors our WalMart has. *sigh* I kept circling through the craft department hoping I had overlooked them. I had just about given up when I spotted a bin back in an obscure corner! Yeah! And lots of solid colors, too. I was so excited. (I know... it doesn't take much to make me happy!) Now I have plenty of yarn to keep me busy making throws for months come.

Now that I've fully updated you on the yarn situation at my house, I have been wanting to participate in the Thursday Thirteen meme, so I decided to list 13 places where I've been know to knit! (And I'm going to fudge on the posting time so that my Thursday Thirteen post will appear below this post!)

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #1

Thirteen Places I've Been Known to Knit:
  1. In the car on road trips... talking, listening to the radio, looking at the scenery.
  2. Watching movies in the evening with my husband.
  3. Sitting by the campfire while listening to audio books or OTR on my MP3 player.
  4. In the airport waiting on my flight.
  5. At homeschool skate while watching the kids and talking to other moms.
  6. In the doctor's office waiting room.
  7. While on the phone.
  8. At family get-togethers while gabbing.
  9. While playing Scrabble in between turns.
  10. In a hotel room.
  11. In our camper trailer.
  12. On the porch swing.
  13. At the park watching the kids play.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lum & Abner

One of my [many] hobbies is listening to and collecting Old Time Radio Shows. Hands down, my all-time favorite show is Lum & Abner, which ran almost daily for over 20 years. I have all the existing recorded episodes on MP3, but there are a lot of gaps of "lost shows". When I found out that this book [of mostly scripts of episodes from the early 1930s that don't exist in recorded format] was coming out this month I immediately put it on my "wish list". With an anniversary and birthday in November and, of course, Christmas coming up, my dear husband often asks for my "wish list" late in the fall. I had emailed him the link to this book, hoping he might get it for me for my birthday. He went one better than that! He just went ahead and ordered it for me for "no reason"!

He didn't tell me he had ordered it, so it was a fun surprise in the mail today! "Love dat man!" (which is a quote from another OTR show...)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Don't touch the garbage!

Quote from the Steamboat Rock State Park brochure:
"The piles of rusted cans date back to the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam and are considered historical and should be left untouched."
We had noticed a few rusted cans along the side of the hiking trail, but didn't think too much about it until I read the above quote. Then I had to wonder: How long does garbage have to clutter up the landscape before it's considered historical and not be touched?

(The Grand Coulee Dam was constructed in the 1930s.)

Grand Coulee

We camped this past weekend near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington. It's about 2.5 hours from here. We had stopped there on our way home from Seattle earlier this summer, and learned about a laser light show that is projected against the wall of the dam on summer nights (through September), so we decided that would be a fun place to go camping so as to be there at night. My brother-in-law's family joined us for the weekend.

We stayed at Steamboat Rock State Park, about 12 miles from Grand Coulee, out in the desert. There was a hiking trail up the rock, and two brothers, along with most of the kids, decided it would be fun to climb the rock. The wives weren't so sure about it... but we started off with them. When we got to the bottom of the rock and saw how steep the trail going up was, we declined to go further... but the men and children pressed on... and they made it! It was a thrilling experience for them. The most exciting part of the hike was when two military jets zoomed through the canyon flying so low that one of the planes was actually below where they were. It was scary and exciting all at the same time.

We enjoyed the laser light show at the dam after dark. I took some pictures (see slide show below), but of course they don't do it justice.

Grand Coulee

Friday, September 14, 2007

Books and Espresso? I'm there!

My absolute favorite thing to do to relax is to spend an hour or two in a bookstore with a coffee shop. Coeur d'Alene has Hastings and Borders which both fit the bill, but we moved about 20 minutes away from Coeur d'Alene a little over a year ago, so it's a little bit of a drive for my favorite indulgence. I usually go in the evenings when my husband is home with the kids... but since the kids are now old enough to stay home alone for short periods of time, we enjoy the occasional "coffee date." But there is really not a good place to go for coffee in the evening here in the small town where we live. Yes, there are several of the little drive-up espresso kiosks... after all, this is the northwest... but they keep morning hours.

Well, just today I found out that some friends of ours will be opening a book and coffee shop just a block down the street! Pleasant Land Books and Espresso will feature new, used and rare books, homeschool curriculum, school supplies, free wireless internet, and great espresso drinks and jet tea smoothies. How cool is that? I can already tell, it's going to be my new favorite hang-out! I don't know if they'll have evening hours. It would be just absolutely perfect if they do.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Forest Fire

Breaking news! There seems to be a forest fire raging smoldering burning on the mountain we can see from our window. Anyway, an impressive plume of smoke rolling skyward from the trees. But the thrilling part about it is the helicopter that keeps circling around with buckets full of water to dump on the fire. The girls and the dog were so excited. They kept running back and forth from the upstairs window down to the yard for the best view. Finally I suggested that they get the camera. "What a great idea!" They got the camcorder, too. Gotta preserve this high drama for posterity, ya know!

Forest Fire

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Blog

I set up a blog for my dad this past weekend as a place to collect his sermons and devotional thoughts that he writes. I posted a bunch of back articles, but the plan is to post the current week's sermon notes each Sunday afternoon. He is the Ozark Country Parson.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Fishy Tale

The pet population at our house increased by 150% a few weeks ago. We have a sweet little dog who adores us... and a cat who allows us to pet her when she's in the mood. We enjoy our pets, but as much as we travel I was convinced that 2 pets were more than enough for our family. Naturally the kids have different notions on the subject!

A few weeks ago we were camping on the Coeur d'Alene River. The girls had so much fun playing in the water, catching frogs... and tiny little fishes! They brought a couple of little minnow-sized fish, in a cup, back to our campsite. "Mom, can we keep them? We have a fish bowl we could put them in!" We really do! I had picked it up at a thrift store last fall when someone gave us some frog eggs to watch. The frog eggs never did anything so we soon dumped them out, and here was this nice bowl just going to waste!!

So I told the kids that no, they couldn't take the river fish home... but maybe we would get a couple of goldfish to put in our bowl. Yeah! They liked that idea, and happily released the poor little river fish back into their native habitat.

Well, an idea from Mom is the next thing to a promise... so in a few days we went to WalMart and paid 29 cents a piece for 3 tiny little goldfish. I had the lady dish up 3 differently marked ones, because I knew that the fish would be named and I imagined it would be good if we could tell the little critters apart. I was not surprised that the fish had names before we were out of the WalMart parking lot! Oscar is the kinda grayish one. His sisters are Goldy (the gold one) and Penny (the white one with a red spot on its spine). No, we have no clue what their true genders are... we just made 'em up, along with the names!

My "logic" behind buying 3 fish was that I figured at least one would die, and I didn't really want to be making multiple trips to WalMart to replace the dearly departed. Much to my surprise, it is over 2 weeks later and all 3 fish seem healthy and happy. Well, at least to me they do. The children are of the opinion that the poor little things are just starving to death! You see, Mom only allows the fish to be fed once a day... but every time someone walks past the fish bowl Oscar, Goldy, and Penny gather around to be fed. And they are so disappointed when no food is forthcoming. They spend their days swimming around just hunting for food. The poor little malnourished things!

[This post was inspired by Mary Grace's post "Adventures with Potty Fish." For more fishy fun, head over and read her post!]

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My high school years

My friend, "Mary Grace", at Books and Bairns posted this quiz a few days ago, in honor of back-to-school time. I thought it was fun, so I decided to post my answers, too. I do notice, however, that my answers are a good bit different than hers! (Yes, I was sometimes referred to as a "goody-two-shoes" or "teacher's pet"... and while that was kinda embarrassing, I'm not really ashamed of it.)

A quiz answering the burning questions you truly want to know about my high school years!

1. Who was your best friend? Julie. She was a devout Catholic. I was an evangelical preacher's kid. Which was kind of a funny combination. But we had a lot in common... and still exchange letters at Christmas time every year... 20-some*cough*-years later.

2. Did you play any sports? Not me! People would encourage me to go out for basketball (because I'm so tall)... but only until they saw me try to shoot a basket! I even hated PE!

3. What kind of car did you drive? My parents' full-size van. The other kids called it my "paddy wagon" but most kids didn't have the privilege of driving to school, so it was actually kind of a status symbol. I don't remember that any kids in my school had very cool cars. Most drove old junkers or their parents' cars and were envied just because they got to drive rather than take the bus! (I had a job that I drove to after school my senior year.)

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? At home probably... or somewhere with my family. I didn't date in high school... didn't have much of a social life at all, outside church.

5. Were you a party animal? Nope. See answer to question 4.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Ha. Nope.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? Choir. All the cool kids were. We had a great choir!

8. Were you a nerd? Yeah, probably. Although I didn't think of myself that way. Maybe borderline?

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? Of course not! I was the teachers' pet, remember?

10. Can you sing the fight song? Not any more. I could then.

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Probably Mrs. A who "let" me read Shakespeare (and other English Lit assignments) aloud to the class so they wouldn't have to read it to themselves for homework! One day, early in the year, the other kids talked me into reading the assignment to them while Mrs. A was out of the room. She came back and everyone was goofing off. She asked if they had done their assigned reading. Yep! Everyone said they had. She couldn't figure out how that could possibly be, until they told her that I read it aloud. She was okay with that, so that's the way we did it the rest of the year! I love to read aloud!

12. What was your school mascot? We were the Commodores.

13. Did you go to the Prom? Nope. Dancing is "against my religion".

14. If you could go back, would you? Well... not now! But I did graduate a year early, and I've often wondered what I missed by skipping that last year.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? Feeling terribly grown up!

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? I don't think they had that at my school. Or if they did, I didn't know about it. Which is entirely possible.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? Yes, I worked at the Girl Scout Council office doing clerical work... filing, making copies, that kind of thing.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? The school cafeteria. Our school was out in the country, so there were no other options. We had two choices: the tray lunch or a chef salad. I almost always chose the chef salad.

19. Have you gained weight since then? Umm... no comment.

20. What did you do after graduation? Went on vacation with my family to Louisiana. (We lived in Ohio.)

21. What year did you graduate? 1983, but my real class graduated in 1984

22. Who was your Senior Prom Date? Didn't go. See question 13.

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion? No. It was too far. I did talk to Julie (see question 1) soon after it. She said that most of the kids in our class were already divorced. Only one other girl had been married longer than me. (I was almost 20 when I got married. This other girl got married while still in high school.) I haven't heard whether they had a 20-year reunion.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Teeth Whitening Tip

I discovered "Works-for-Me Wednesday" several months ago and have gleaned some good tips from various posts to this "meme". I have wanted to participate but on Wednesdays that I remember and have time, it seems like I can't come up with a worthwhile tip to share. Then I'll think of something and forget what it was the next Wednesday. Guess I need to start a list or something, huh?

Anyway, last week I was going to post about a teeth whitening routine that works for me... but I ran out of time on Wednesday so I decided to wait till this week. As it turns out, the "theme" this week is "brand loyalty"... which works out even better, as I am going to recommend some name-brand items!

Over the past couple of years I have tried several different over-the-counter teeth-whitening products that didn't "work for me"! I probably drink too much coffee, or maybe it's just one of those aging things... but I would really prefer my teeth to be whiter than they are. I knew I couldn't afford to have the dentist bleach them (or whatever it is they do), so I was hoping to find a less expensive alternative.

My "works for me" brand recommendation is Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips. I am a BzzAgent and this is the latest product I had an opportunity to try. Based on my experience with other similar products I was skeptical as to the effectiveness of it. But I have to say I'm impressed. I saw a noticeable difference within just a couple of weeks. My favorite thing about them is they dissolve on your teeth... so you just leave them on until they are gone. I think that may be why they are so effective, too. (I also use Crest Baking Soda and Peroxide toothpaste with a Sonicare toothbrush... but I didn't really see much change until I started using the Listerine strips.)

So... that's the brand recommendation that "works for me"!