Monday, August 31, 2009

Black Licorice

Is there anyone better than Sir TOM JONES? No, but runner up has to be Mr. Al Green!

On Friday, a group of us gals piled into Norm's delivery van and he took us out to McMenamins~Edgefield to hear Al's live performance.

It starts to sprinkle and we find the perfect place to sit. And then, five minutes later there he is. There.....sitting in front of us, eventually sharing our blankets, is a man with a free blowing in the air, breezy, gauzy black shirt. Terri quickly dubs him "Black Licorice". We all agree!!!!

As Norm picks us up, I think we are all hoping he will stop at a 7-Eleven. We all seem to have a craving for black licorice all of a sudden!

Great wine, good food, dancing with my sister (yes, I'm Still In Love With You) to the sexy voice of Al Green and eye candy. What a wonderfully fun night!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Exponentially GREAT

With my first math class completed (and Big Pink packed in my book bag), I headed off to my last and final math class. Same classroom, different professor. I had been warned that his teaching would be "different" and more difficult.

The second week in I knew it was going to be "different". I was stressed, my head hurt and panic was setting in. I needed help.

And then I remembered that there was this "kid" that had graduated from Oregon and went on to get his masters in Economics. I took a chance, emailed him and asked if he knew anything about exponents. (I think he knew about exponents in kindergarten). He said he would help me. Each week I would scan my sheets for his review and input. Each day I would take back to class what he had shared. Not only did I gain the know how but I also gained the confidence to continue on. I could do this. And do this I did! Not bragging or maybe I am....yes I am....B+!! And after the final I got three emails from other classmates thanking me for helping them pass this class. I forwarded their emails on to the kid. He not only helped me but half of the class as well.

I first met this kid a couple of years ago. He had come up to Portland with my daughter to go to a "Hot Flashes" play with my long(est)time girlfriend Becky and myself. Of course, he was picked from the crowd to participate. Keep in mind that 99% of everyone there was having a hot flash. He gladly went along and was just the best sport. Becky and I kind of stereotyped him that evening as an Italian kid from Cleveland High School that was undoubtedly great at "something". After all, we had "dated" the Italian boys from Cleveland in the 70's. But what I learned after sending that S.O.S. email to him was that he was not only extremely good looking and incredibly SMART, but he was also raised with integrity and character. And if you have to pick over good looks, intelligence or your integrity and character, well, we all know what wins.

So Mr Anthony Caruso, I want to thank you with all of my heart and being, for coming to my rescue. You could have easily said no or not even have responded. I will forever be indebted to you. Your integrity and character are beyond words.

And, just in case anyone wants to see how magnificently handsome that Italian kid from Cleveland High School is.....

.....and he's exponentially smart too!!!!

Batteries Exhausted

Sky Rockets in Flight ~ Afternoon Delight!

On Sunday, I used my anniversary certificate to go sky gliding at the Willamette Valley Soaring Club.

As luck would be with me, I had chosen a perfect day to go gliding, perfect temperature and soon to learn about perfect clouds.

I meet George my pilot (which is making me feel really good since I've had GREAT luck with men named George this year!)

We walk out to the field and I get to see my afternoon delight glider.

Getting ready to get in I notice a piece of torn/broken "yarn" taped to the Plexiglas dome ~ time to throw caution to the wind, literally.

I climb in and George buckles me in to safety.

We are in, ready to take off. I get handed my camera which now reads "Batteries Exhausted" and I know I didn't bring the spare. But its ok because I remind myself that the glide will actually be more enjoyed, each moment captured in my mind, no moments lost looking through the lens. I can feel the warmth of the sun breaking through the clouds, "catching" a thermal, as the sailplane floats effortlessly and serenely through the air.

I'm getting a little warm and woozy when George asks if I like roller coasters. "Not really, but go ahead"! He does his dips and dives and then we glide back down to earth.

As I leave the field, I am exhausted. I have no reason to be ~ I didn't even pilot the glider. But I am, as is my battery. And the exhaustion on both ends have made for a fantastic Afternoon Delight!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Heart on the Fremont Bridge

One of my Bucket List adventures is to walk every bridge in Portland, the City of Bridges. There was a poster last year showing each bridge so I got one for Kristi and myself. Our plans are to walk each bridge and then explore the neighborhoods to the east and west of it. The Fremont Bridge is deemed non pedestrian friendly since it is an interstate bridge. They do however close it down once a year for the Providence Bridge Pedal. We decided that it would be the first of our bridges.

A couple of our friends joined us as we went on the early morning 5 mile walk.

At the top of the bridge we all stopped to take in the breathtaking views and I gave Kristi a pix kiss...

... and then just as we were starting our descent, I spotted it......A HEART, right there in the middle of the bridge! It reminded my of my little bucket of heart shape rocks that I have found throughout my lifetime.

The group takes off, but I continue to lollygag. At the end of the bridge I make eye contact with two men that are watching the cyclists. I look down at the side of the ones shirt and there is the long plastic security device still attached to his apparently new shirt. He sees me see it and we both start to laugh. I grab Kristi who is always up for a laughable photo opt.

We finish the bridge with morning snacks. I still find it amusing that no matter what the age, boys still crack up at themselves whenever they stick a banana in their pocket!

Eight more wondermous bridge adventures to go!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Edna's Pickles & Hugs

About ten years ago my father starting corresponding with an ol' school chum Edna Erlenbusch. It started with a letter from her and a returned Christmas Card from him. Year by year he edged up to writing a sentence or two and then a paragraph. About five years ago on one of my trips back to Leola/Aberdeen, I decided to drive to Bowdle to meet Edna Erlenbusch.

She's just a teeny tiny lady, but her hugs are HUGE. A person could not feel more welcomed than at her house. And after my Dad died, I would go to visit and she would tell me the crazy wild stories of things my Dad had done. She brought me great comfort; she still does.

And along the way, I got to try one of her pickles. Mercy Me!!!! My visit this year yielded two of her infamous jars. They are simply the BEST!

I asked her for her recipe a while back. I have shared it with a few, so if you are a pickle maker, here is her recipe. Trust me on this ~ there is none better!

"In regard to how to make pickles-
Put some dill in bottom, then pack the cukes in jar, put some garlic, red Pepper, & about tsp pickling spice per qt, & more dill on top, Pour following brine over & seal. Brine - 16 cups water, 1/2 cup Vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup Pickling Salt. Bring this to a boil, Pour over Cucumbers. This recipe will do several jars, keep unused brine in frig until needed for next batch. Will take at least a week before they are ready to eat."

What a lucky daughter I am that they were classmates in Bowdle, South Dakota.

I wish my Dad could have tried one of her pickles; I wish he could have felt one of her hugs. I can't decide which of the two is best ~ I'm just glad that I get both!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Masterpiece #196

I took an Itty Bitty Pretties class taught by Dayna Collins earlier this year. (She teaches the best classes!) Being that this was a Schaffer Reunion year, I thought I would take what she taught and make a "MASTERPIECE" depicting every Schaffer. 196 squares later, my project is finished!

My two favorite parts to this project was learning each and every relatives' name and a little bit more about them, and finding just the right embellishment to go on each square. My favorite is the little plastic shoe with the "Old Woman and her Children" in it that I found at the Polk County Flea Market. Of course with 12 children it had to go on one of "Ma" Schaffer's squares!

(If you click on it, it becomes larger!).

Along with the embellishment, each square also has a positive descriptive word for that person. Can you find me? Yep, I'm the "Artist" and "Bundle" of "Joy".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Gathering Stopping Kind of Place

My cousin Todd went to Leola and took these last pictures. I love the black and white look! Even though it does need to be torn or burned down, I think I will be very sad when I return for a visit and it is not there. It has always been the gathering stopping place when we have a reunion. It has always just been. And there is always a new story to be heard about back in the day. I love these stories. I am thinking about putting together a book of some sort with the pictures and stories of the times at the Schaffer Homestead, a gathering stopping kind of place type book.