30 July 2006

Assembly complete..

Close to 70 pieces of wood and at least 750 screws and various assorted hardware later... I have finished assembling the bathroom furniture.. Now it's time to rip apart the old one...

29 July 2006

Bathroom Sink

With only a month until G'ma and LVH come to visit, I decided it was time to start on my bathroom.. Ok, so I bought the cabinets last fall. And I think I installed the backerboard in the shower like two years ago. And, yes, I've had friends refer to my "ghetto shower" because I've been using vice grips to turn on the water ever since I made it possible to take a shower in there. (when I moved in there was only a bathtub..) And there have been boxes of slate piled around for longer than I can recall.. But progress is being made....

Today I grabbed my handy DeWalt screwdriver and my rubber mallet and opened a few of the Ikea boxes that have been stacked in the spare bedroom. An hour and a half later and with only one piece that had to be re-assembled, (pretty good since there were literally 20+ pieces of wood and 165 various screws and other pieces of hardware) I have a bathroom sink...

I'd better go ahead and get the matching shelves put together while I'm at it... Then it's time to start ripping out the old floor... I'm almost scared of this moment of motivation..

26 July 2006


And the powers that be looked down on the people of the Northwest and said, "Fear not, for you have suffered enough. Go forth from your basements, your shopping malls and theaters. Return to the beauty that is the OUTSIDE." With that, the breeze began to blow, and the force of the sun's oppressive heat gradually began to fade.. And the people rejoiced..

I honestly do not understand why people willingly live anywhere that one cannot go outside during the summer AND enjoy it.. We have been living through a weather malfunction here for most of the past week. On Friday it was 104!! Ok, so it's not AZ hot, but it was the highest temperature recorded here since the summer of 1988!!!! And, since most around here (including myself) do not have air conditioners in their homes, this means the temperature INSIDE homes gets into the 90's..

Friday, as the temperature in my house reached 91, I was beginning to wonder just how long I was going to last. Alex and I had been hiding in the dark cave of the basement where it was relatively cool, and the heat was making me delusional, but I knew one thing for certain, NO WAY was I going to be able to cook anything in my kitchen.. So I ventured out to Jerusalem Cafe for dinner and some much needed A/C.

Aimen's wife greeted me and took my order. Since there was only one other person there, and he was picking up a to go order, we chatted about the weather and how business was. Then, once my food was cooked, Aimen shouted and waved to me from the hole to the kitchen, "Hey, Homey!" (His now familiar greeting)

After I finished eating Aimen, his wife (I really do need to learn what her name is), and I stood at the counter talking about news and how willfully ignorant most Americans are when it comes to what is going on in the world. Sorry, but if you have access to the computer (which you must if you're reading this) and you don't know what's going on in the world around you, it's your choice to be ignorant.. Aimen places much blame on American news. He does have a point there. I don't watch much TV news, but I had that day because it was too hot to spend time online. I turned on Headline News for a quick 15 minutes of sound bites, and found "Breaking News!".. With the US Congress voting to back the Israel's invasion of Lebanon, 50+ Iraqis being killed in the ongoing mess that continues to tear apart Iraq, and all the other horrific situations (like the genocide that continues in Darfur) that seem to be forgotten, what was the "Breaking News!"?? A police chase in Houston. For over an hour and a half, police were following a pickup around Houston, complete with live helicopter coverage, lots of commentary, and NO commercial breaks!! And what had this evil man done to deserve such attention? Surely his crime warranted the coverage that made him the top story..... He attempted to rob a dry cleaners.... Has American news really come to this?? Do you watch this crap?? But I digress...

Aimen's family is from Israel, and though I knew they are Catholic, I wasn't sure how they felt about the conflicts in the Middle-East.. I was comforted to find that they were appalled at Israel's airstrikes on Lebanon and the civilian deaths that are resulting. He also disagrees with the way Israel is treating the Palestinians. This surprised me, and I was so glad to find that we agreed on so many things. I left, threatening to come back the following night if the weather didn't improve.. Which it didn't...

Saturday Aimen's younger brother was working at the restaurant as well.. I sat at the counter and he joined me with two glasses of ice water. I was perusing the menu when Aimen yelled from the kitchen, "Hey, Homey. Do you eat lamb?" .. "Sure" I replied. And he decided that I'd have lamb for dinner.. Aimen's brother (yet another whose name I need to learn) wanted to know if I really like lamb. He told me that it stinks and that Aimen doesn't even like lamb, but he cooks it well.. We talked about school. He's getting a business degree so he can help manage the 3 family restaurants. And I told him that if my uncle Todd moves up here it will all be his fault. Todd ate there 4 times while he was here. He absolutely loved the food....

Aimen brought out two large lamb kabobs with tabbouleh and cucumber salad. It tasted wonderful though I was still trying to decide if it stank, when Aimen came out of the kitchen with a mop bucket filled with cleaner that quickly overwhelmed the smell of the food.. Anywhere else I would have been angered by this, but it was almost time to close and I was the only one there so they'd wanted to get a jump on their chores.. Besides, it was such a joy to watch Aimen and his brother working together to mop and squeegee the floor while singing along to the beautiful Mid-Eastern music that was coming from the stereo..

After dinner, I headed towards the door telling Aimen that I'd see him on Wednesday when I'd bring him a ladder so he could change the air filter on the A/C. He told me not to slip on the wet floor because he didn't have insurance.. He's such a hoot.. As I walked out the door, I heard him call back to his wife, "She's one of those rare American's who actually cares about people." That made me smile, and I climbed into my truck knowing that my soul as well as my stomach was a little fuller for having met such lovely people....

Well, I'd better head over and pick up that ladder from my friends house so I can get it delivered to Aimen on time... Maybe I'll get a free dinner :)

And it's in the mid 80's, in case you're wondering.. It will gradually continue to cool off and by the weekend it'll be back in the high 70's.. Gotta love that!!!!

20 July 2006

Visitor's Log (The conclusion)

(*Note to self- NEVER gloat about the weather.. To do so jinxes it. The heat that you all have been dealing with has finally found it's way up here.. It'll be 90 today and over 100 tomorrow and Saturday. Of course, by next weekend it'll be back into the 70's so I guess I can suffer for a couple days.. And even when it gets to be 100 here, it still gets down in the upper 60's at night so at least it cools off..)

Anyway.. Back to the recount of Todd's visit..

Tuesday was to be another driving day. We did the mandatory stop at Multnomah Falls before heading to Hood River where we had lunch at Big Horse Brew Pub (only so I could send CAT a text message and make him jealous. Oh, and they do have excellent sweet potato fries). Lunch was great and there were many kite boarders out on the river for entertainment while we were eating.

After lunch we went up to The Dalles, and made a stop at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center where we were both unbelievably bored. I usually love museums, but the only interesting thing that I learned that day was that each member of the Lewis and Clark expedition had a daily ration of whisky. In that exhibit there were barrels of "whisky" and a one ounce shot glass along with a display that explained that each man had a daily ration of 1/10th of an ounce of whisky.. Seriously! What's the point of even drinking that????

From The Dalles, we headed south and made the loop around Mt. Hood. It was a beautiful day for a drive..

Wednesday we did nothing. Remember, I was having to work at night so by this time I was wearing out.. I must be getting old.. Actually, we did go shopping so Todd could buy a computer. He really needed to get one and I convinced him to buy it here where he wouldn't have to pay sales tax, and I could help him find a great deal.. Then it was time for a nap.. Besides, it was raining so it was a lovely, cool day to relax..

On Thursday we went back to the day center for lunch duty, and then we went to OMSI, The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It is always fun there. There are dozens of hands on exhibits and so many things to learn. We watched a young volunteer do a magic trick with something similar to what they put in disposable diapers to absorb liquid. Did you know the reason all the liquid isn't absorbed (which results in leaks) is due to the amount of sodium. Therefore the more sodium in the babies diet, the more likely the diaper is to leak??

We'd bought the combo ticket which included admission to the museum, a seat to watch the IMAX film on Greece, and a tour of the submarine. (You could go to the planetarium instead, but Todd chose the sub).. We did the sub tour and then it was time to go on the Willamette Jetboat excursion, which we had reservations for Wednesday but it had been cancelled due to the rain. It was a one hour tour down the river, where we heard about the many bridges in Portland along with getting slightly wet as we spun donuts and all those crazy tricks a jetboat can do. It was a lot of fun.. We also saw the sister ship to the Exxon Valdez. It's currently docked in Portland because it, like all single hulled oil tankers, can't be used any more due to environmental concerns. They're going to cut it up into scrap metal, but like any good US oil company, Exxon is going to tow it to some 3rd world country where the labor is cheaper and they won't have to clean up the environmental mess that they're going to make..

On Friday we went back to OMSI to watch the IMAX film that we hadn't had time to watch the day before and then I drug Todd out shopping. We were going to dinner at my friend's apartment, and I insisted that Todd buy a decent shirt if he was going out with me. He is so comfortable in his khaki pants and colored t-shirt that I started to refer to it as his "uniform".. I picked out a nice shirt for him and one for my self.

My friend Carl (AKA "HIM" from the day center) and his boyfriend, Donny, had made pasta with homemade sauce for Todd and I. Dinner was lovely, and we all had so much fun that we went out for drinks and then dancing afterwards. It was a wonderful way to end Todd's trip. He left the next afternoon. A busy, busy week.. But I am certain that he had a great time..

So, who's next to visit??

18 July 2006

Visitor's Log (Part 1)

*Note- I had issues getting pictures to upload so I'll be back to finish this when I get more time*

Barely a week after I returned home from the reunion, and long before I had recovered from my trip, my uncle Todd came for a visit. He was here for 8 days, and what a busy 8 days it was..

Luckily for me, he had caught the early flight so he was tired once he got into town. We had lunch at one of my favorite places, Jerusalem Cafe. The staff there is wonderful. It's a family run business and not only do they remember me when I come in, they even often remember where I sat and what I had last ordered, and they are always so much fun. The fact that the food is wonderful doesn't hurt... After lunch Todd just wanted to take a nap and hang out at my house..

Saturday it was time to head to the coast. It was going to be our long driving day and I wanted to get it done on the day when I'd have the most time.. We made our way up to Astoria, visited a lighthouse, and stopped by to see the sea lions (which weren't there). Then we had lunch at an awful place and vowed to make up for it at dinner.. From Astoria we headed south, though Cannon Beach. It was such a lovely day on the coast!

When we got to Tillamook I offered to stop at the cheese factory, but Todd wasn't at all interested in doing that, and because I knew we needed to escape from the car for a while, we stopped at the Tillamook Air Museum. The size of the wooden hanger alone (the largest wooden structure in the world) was worth seeing.

After the museum we went down to Lincoln City where we'd thought about spending the night. Instead of paying for a room, we chose to find a nice restaurant and treat ourselves to something special. When we walked into The Bay House we were uncertain if they'd let us actually sit down and eat. We weren't exactly dressed to be in this kind of place. There was a host who took our names for the book and a maitre d' who showed us to our table, pulled out the seats, and unfolded the napkins. Then the "wine steward" brought the wine list. I was quickly overwhelmed by the size of it (not to mention the prices). The list was at least 50 pages long, and the prices ranged from $8 a glass to $750 a bottle. It seemed odd that there were hundreds of kinds of wine to go with the dozen or so choices for dinner, but I have to say, the meal was amazing. Todd had a crab cocktail followed by halibut stuffed with crab and shrimp. I had steamer clams followed by coconut toasted marlin with mango salsa.. We left feeling so content that we didn't mind that we still had to drive back to my house..

On Sunday we went to the Oregon Garden. There were so many plants and flowers to look at that it would have been easy to stay there all day. But it was kind of warm (it must have been 85) so we didn't stay too long.

We then went to Silver Falls State Park where it was nice and cool and hiked to two of the waterfalls, the Upper North Falls (65 feet high with a great place for people to swim)

and the North Falls (136 feet high with a trail behind the falls).

There are 10 falls that you can hike to and miles of trails (the loop is almost 9 miles), but I had to get home in time to go to work. I'm looking forward to the day when I have time to do the entire loop.

On Monday we went to the day center. They were having a BBQ in the park so I didn't have to transport food. This meant that I got to take Alex along. She wasn't having fun since she had to stay on a leash, and she always acts like a monster when she's tied up. However, Todd had a nice time visiting with everyone, and it was perfect weather to be out at the park (75. Try not to be jealous Leaner).

01 July 2006

Reunion Survivor..

2900 miles across mountains, scorching desert, and LA traffic.. Nickel sized hail and torrential rain.. No camp fires, few fish, and geocaches that weren't there... But what a great time!!! It was so wonderful to see you all again.. Alex and I are glad we made the trek. Hope to see you all again soon!!