Sunday, September 28, 2014

catching up, as usual

Some things never change, like neglecting my blog, for instance. It's a good thing you all love me so much that you keep coming back despite my lack of posting.

Two weekends ago I was invited to go camping with some people I know from school. They've asked me to do things with them before, but I hadn't up til this point. When I asked Phil505 if I should go, he told me I should and to go have fun with the girls. We went about an hour away toward Mt. St. Helens and camped at Lake Merwin. The weather was beautiful for early September and we spent nearly the whole day Saturday sitting at the lake, soaking up the sun, and eating M&M's. We even got up at like 2 in the morning and walked back down to the beach because it was supposed to be prime viewing that night for the aurora borealis. Darn it, all we saw were stars and thankfully, no bears. Oh well, I had a great time and it was fun to get to know these gals better. 
I'm going on week #4 with my half time library sub job. It's at the same school where I worked the last half of this past school year and I have to say, it's really been fun. Well, processing and distributing a big huge pallet of new curriculum wasn't fun, but seeing the kids for a half hour a week and yapping about the library and books is fun. That, and I know most of them - at least their first names, which is half the battle when subbing. This bulletin board is kind of beside and behind the desk and it sat empty for almost two weeks until I couldn't stand looking at it anymore. So off to pinterest I went for library decorating inspiration. And here we have the finished product. I'm only working half days which is a bummer because I need to work full days. So all you praying people can add afternoon jobs for Mrs. B. to your prayer lists. The library gig could go on indefinitely because no one has applied for the position and there is another elementary building in the district that has a full time library position that no one has applied for either.
Last weekend our church hosted the Fall Festival of Missions for all the ladies in our church conference. I am on the planning committee for this event now and one of my jobs was to get some decorations in the sanctuary. I knew I was going to make a banner with the theme on it and I wanted to include globes, burlap, sunflowers, mums, and pumpkins. I went to Trader Joe's and got the cut flowers, brought in pumpkins from my garden (not all of them are mine) and my friend Barbara met me at the church and we put this all together. I kinda liked it. A lot.

On Thursday we had a planned lockdown drill at 9:00. It went well, or so I thought. I stayed in the library like I was told to do and logged in to the computer and typed in where I was. At 11:20 the alarms went off again. The first thing that crossed my mind was, "Hmmm. . . somebody must've really screwed up the first one." Then I saw one of the staff assistants running down the hall with a bunch of kids following her. I kind of stood there for a minute soaking it all in. Then I saw one of the kindergarten teachers running to her room and I said, "Is this the real deal?" And she said, "Yes, get in here. I'm locking the door." That was a good thing because the library is totally open and anyone behind the desk would be like a sitting duck. We had a little update on the automated system a few minutes later that the police were looking in the area for a murder suspect and three schools were in lockdown. It happened right at the beginning of lunch, and I was thinking this was going to be a big mess if kids weren't allowed to leave the rooms to go eat. About 30 minutes later, they resumed lunches, but we stayed on lockdown all afternoon. I ended up being there til about 2:30, just hanging out in the staff room. I was allowed to leave during the lockdown, but only because one of the district security guards escorted several of us out to our cars. The weird thing about this one, other than we had practiced a drill earlier in the morning, was that they were covering all the outside glass doors with butcher paper. I hadn't ever seen them do that before. It kind of freaked me out. The police ended up catching the guy that evening and everyone stayed safe. Thank goodness.
The last few days I've seen evidence of a gigantic spider taking up residency behind my piano. I had thought about sucking it up with the vacuum, but then I thought, "What if that thing lives through the suction and decides to get back at me when I'm emptying the canister?" So I left it there. Today I decided to pull the piano out a little bit and see if I could get rid of it. It was still there. I called in the special forces. Well, force. And this guy came to my rescue. He caught it in a container and took it to its new home, the great outdoors. I kind of went a little crazy at his idea of flushing it because. . . well, what if it somehow crawled back up?
Wilson had a puppy play date with his cousin Baker today. They wore each other out which is always a good thing.
And last, but certainly not least, this week I made it though 50 pounds of tomatoes. That's two 5-gallon buckets full. I canned about 17 quarts of salsa, froze 4 full quart bags of diced tomatoes for soups or stews, and made two batches of marinara sauce that yielded me four full quart bags. I'm slowly ridding my kitchen of the army of fruit flies that took up residence here (long live the apple cider and dish soap trick!) and my shelves are full of pretty jars.
And that, my friends, is what's been going on in Wendy's world.

Friday, September 5, 2014

labor day weekend

Kinda per our tradition, we headed to the coast for the weekend. We found out Thursday night that Phil's aunt and uncle had an extra camp site at Fort Stevens and so at the last minute, I grabbed hot dogs and brats and packed the cooler and off we went. We couldn't leave until later on Saturday afternoon (I had a very important hair appointment), so by the time we got to the beach the sun was already setting. It was a pretty sunset, but putting the tent up in the dark is a pain in the rear.
I was thrilled to find a bunch of wild coastal huckleberries this year. We had four or five bushes right on our site. I picked half of a gallon sized ziploc bag. These things are pretty small and annoying to clean. I need to get on those tonight and whip up some jam or something.
Just around our loop was Coffenbury Lake. We took Wilson and Baker (Paul and Jackie's husky) over so they could go swimming. Then they got there and made another new friend. Wilson is pretty funny about water. He likes moving water and not calm water so much. Weirdo.

On Sunday we went to Astoria and checked out the farmer's market. We bought some huckleberry pepper jam. It reminds me of that raspberry chipotle sauce from Costco. Pour some of that goodness over a brick of cream cheese and serve with some tasty crackers. Yum.
We played a few rounds of Mexican train. Always fun.
Phil's Uncle Paul. . . champion Mexican train-er.
Wilson resumed his spot in one of the chairs. He's not a 'camping on the ground' kind of dog. He'd much rather be snuggled up in a chair he barely fits in.
And Sunday night we celebrated Phil505's birthday with a chocolate cake complete with a citronella candle. You make do while you're camping.
It's nice to end the summer at the beach. It was also nice that the weather was cooperative and didn't rain on us.

My only complaint was the showers. One building had no hot water. I did not do the ice buckt challenge and I wasn't going to stand under freezing cold water to take a shower. Another building had scalding water. I had to keep turning the water off because it was so stinkin' hot. Then there was no fan or exhaust system so the shower had so much steam I could barely see.

Dear Fort Stevens Shower Managers, there should be a dial that lets you set a certain water temperature on your water heater. Find it and use it.
a not-so-happy-camp-shower-er

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the end of august. . . really?

Summer is flying by. Almost over, in fact. This weekend we'll celebrate Phil505's birthday with a quick trip to the beach. We have an opportunity to camp with his aunt and uncle Saturday and Sunday nights, but I don't know if we're going to go that extreme. Driving there to sit on the beach and come back home sounds like a good option, especially since it's supposed to be about 20 degrees cooler with a chance of rain. There's nothing worse than camping in the rain.

After six samples of blue paint, I've finally decided on Valspar's Carolina Skies (a blue-gray color) for the kitchen and dining room. Hope to have that finished by the time I get called in for my first sub job. The trim is almost done, a nice white instead of the dirty off white that was there before. I'd like to add in some yellow with new curtains. . . some day. Eventually I'll repaint all the trim in the whole house, but that will take some time and a lot of green frog tape. Green frog tape is where it's at, people. Way better than the blue stuff.

Monday afternoon, we headed over to hike at Lacamas Lake and this happened. My right foot caught a very small root or stone and I fell hard. Ripped up my left knee, scratches all down my leg, and sprained my right ankle. I had blood dripping all down my leg and we're out there in the woods with nothing except Phil's sock - which he promptly removed so I could clean myself up as best as I could. (He's my hero!) My ankle was fine until we sat down in the Jeep and then it got all swollen and stiff. After lots of ice and excellent wrapping by Dr. Phil, things are on the mend. Not perfect because I went to the grocery store yesterday and by the time I got home, I was ready to sit down with some ice.

Wilson has been enjoying his jolly ball at the dog park. It's like a kettle bell workout for dogs. Seriously, he's tired after the first lap. He gets so many comments when he's lugging that thing around. We saw a bigger one at Costco that's for horses. Phil thought we should get it, but it was a little too big. He loves this thing. He'll hold on to it for a long time and his jaws start quivering. It's so funny.

Other than that, I'm gearing up for our new ladies' Bible study that's about to start, still working away on my two quilt squares, and updating the scrapbooks for the women's ministries. I think I mentioned before that I'm the new historian and I get to document the retreats and fall festival missions' conferences. Fall Festival is September 19-20th and I'm on the committee for that this year, so I've been working on a few things with that. My paperwork has all been turned in for subbing and school starts Sept. 3rd. I'm praying for lots of calls because, let's face it, going from a full time teaching salary back to sub pay is going to be tough. God has already answered prayers by allowing for Phil505 to get some overtime hours most Mondays in September. And while we're grateful for that, his job is stressful, and he needs some down time. So keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

taking a look at life mid-august

hoping that my dental appointment goes well next week. I haven't been to the dentist in about 5 years. 
listening to channel 975 on the Dish. I think it's called "the Light." I enjoy it because there are actually songs from artists I like that I've never heard. Listening to the radio gets boring some times because they play the same songs over and over.
eating (finally) some tomatoes from our garden. The cucumbers are going strong and the zucchini keep growing.
drinking iced tea.
procrastinating on lots of things. What else is new? 
shredding about 900 pounds of credit card crap today. Applications for new cards, "easy cash" checks, and old statements and bills. I think I burned up the shredder. It will shred about 20 pages and then shuts off. Time to go industrial.
organizing the scrapbook room. I've been working on taking pictures out of old acidy albums and sorting them in photo boxes (for now). Throwing out stuff. Going through files in the office part of that room and weeding out and reorganizing. I've spent two whole days in there and I'm still not done.
enjoying a cooler evening walk with my dog.
hanging drapes in our living room. We have a huge 100 inch window and finding a curtain rod was a bit of a pain. I actually spray painted this one because I couldn't find a silvery one anywhere big enough. The curtains were a steal at Ross, only $19.99 for the pair, but they look a little slim, so I'm going to have to watch and see if I can find another pair. 
using the cordless drill all by myself and following the easy-peasy tips for hanging curtain rods found here. Life changing, I'm telling you.
pondering what my future in education is going to look like. Or if there will be one.
loving summer berries. I picked about 2 quarts of blueberries off our two little bushes this year. It was a good berry year in these parts.
deciding on our fall ladies' Bible study. I've picked this one. We'll have a Sunday morning group and a Wednesday night group (which I'll facilitate). It will be my first time leading a study. I'm excited, but a little bit nervous.
needing to finish the deck painting project. Here are a few pictures of the progress we've made so far. The before (it had been cleaned and power washed a few days before).
And the after. You can't really tell in this 2nd picture, but the deck boards are stained a tobacco color. Much darker brown with no red.
making embroidered quilt squares and scrapbook pages for our former pastor's wife.
thinking about presents for my niece Hannah and nephew Keegan who have birthdays in 10 days or so. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

butchart gardens

One of my favorite things we saw in Victoria was the Butchart Gardens. This place is amazing. You can go year around and see different kinds of flowers based on the seasons. I'd love to see it in spring because there a about a million tulips. However, we were there in June and it was pretty incredible. In June you can see about a million roses.

The first part of this garden was designed down inside an old rock quarry. Jennie Butchart had tons of topsoil brought in by horse and cart. She transformed this place.

The sign as you enter the gardens.

The main house of Mrs. Butchart. It's now a couple different restaurants and a gallery.
The sunken garden inside the quarry. 

A fountain at the end of the sunken garden. Not quite the fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, but the fountain does change and it's very pretty.

Water lily pond. Peaceful and serene.
Moving on to the back lawn where there's an outdoor ampitheatre. They also have fireworks shows on the weekends.
Around the rose garden. I think this was my favorite place. So many amazing hanging baskets and huge, huge flowers everywhere.

Roses of every variety. All labeled.
Pretty, huh?

In the Japanese garden.

The back side of the main house. It once held a bowling alley, indoor pool, and an outdoor tennis court. Now it's a Mediterranean and Italian inspired garden.
The star pond. Complete with goldfish.

Butchart Gardens is definitely a must-see place in Victoria. Even on rainy days, they have big bins of clear umbrellas for you to borrow. I love that they're clear so they don't block the view of other people. There's a ginormous gift shop and several places to eat. You can even have high tea in one of the dining rooms. We ate lunch in the cafeteria style dining room and the food was really good.

Friday, July 25, 2014

fisgard lighthouse

On one of our little explorations around Victoria, we stumbled upon the Fisgard Lighthouse. (OK, we really didn't stumble upon it. Phil505 did a little pre-vacation research and knew it was there.) It's on a historical military fort, similar to Fort Stevens on the Oregon coast. It was built in 1859 and was the first permanent lighthouse on the Pacific coast of Canada. And, it's quite possibly the prettiest lighthouse I've ever seen. I think it's because of all that red.

Phil505 and I sort of have a 'thing' for lighthouses. On my first trip out to the northwest we went to the Yaquina Head and Cape Meares lighthouses. We climbed the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse in Florida on our honeymoon, and I've been to several more on the Oregon coast in the last 10 years. Now we can add a Canadian one to our list.
I loved this brick archway inside that led to the spiral staircase.
The view from the top. . .

Because it was close to closing time, we only had about a half hour to explore the park and about 20 minutes of that was walking from the parking lot to the lighthouse and then back to the parking lot. But it was worth it for this view.