Friday, August 26, 2011

Driving through the fires

There were several lightening strikes the previous night which started some fires along our route home.

Matt calmly drove...

...despite the blazing inferno on the left side of the road.

Okay, it wasn't a blazing inferno that was close to us, but he still drove quite calmly while we watched the airplanes drop the fire retardant on the fire.

High Desert Museum

The next morning after the show we ate a delicious breakfast at Corey's Bar and Grill in Downtown Bend. We had one of those fabulous waitresses who did not take any guff, and at the same time when I was trying to decide asked me what I was after and made a completely different recommendation that got me exactly what I wanted. If I were weathly, she would travel around with me and be my forever waitress.

Having eaten, we headed out to the High Desert Museum. Here, Matt gets his picture taken with Snowshoe, the resident Lynx. You can read Snowshoe's story here, though it will probably make you mad. Thank goodness he has a good home now.

A turtle wants to say, "Hi."
We toured the Miller Family Ranch and Sawmill, checked out Thomas the otter in the Otter exhibit. Thomas was sleeping. We also learned about Scat and visited the Spirit of the West exhibit. It was a fun museum.

On the grounds, I really liked this shrub.

But sadly it had no ID.

Driving towards home, we saw smoke. It's fire season.

Summer Love Tour

We're right now taking this photo in Sisters, Oregon. What are we doing in Sisters?
Did you guess that we are on our way to Bend, Oregon to see A Prairie Home Companion Summer Love Tour 2011? You guessed right!

The Les Schwabe Amphitheater did not earn our love due to the chair issue. Reading the web site of the amphitheater the night before we left for the show, I learned that only short chairs are allowed, with legs of no more than six inches. Or you can sit on blankets. We do not own short legged chairs. I called Mom and Aunt Carol first thing in the morning, knowing that Mom wouldn't want to sit on a blanket for hours, and she promptly ran off to see if she could buy short legged chairs. It being the end of the season, they were in short supply, but she located a triple folding lounge chair that fit the bill and off we went.

What did we see when we got there? Tons of people bringing in full sized chairs. Mom complained, security nicely asked people to move, 95% of the people moved but not this guy sitting in front of us. Security asked nicely, I asked nicely (Excuse me sir, but we did not bring our tall chairs because they are not allowed and instead we are sitting on this blanket. Could you please move your chair so we can see?) Nothing. He just shrugged and said "I didn't know" as if that rendered him invisible. So this was my sitting flat view of the show. The leaning over to the right got me a view of the stage and a very sore half of my sitz bone the next day.

Sun going down.

Pre-show pictures. We played the card game Citadels while we waited to see if the tall chair people would have to move.

It wasn't a full show (which I found a bit disappointing also, and a bit of un-truth in advertising) but we got lots of segments with the sound guy. I love the sound guy. There are two on the show itself and we had Fred Newman. He did an excellent whale, among other things.
Garrison spent a lot of time walking through the crowd and singing while hoards of people took pictures. These are the ones that Matt captured.

Fun things about the show: the sound effects segments, the sing-along, the sing-along through intermission. Not so fun things: the amphitheater's inability to enforce their own policies, the fact that we didn't get a full show.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Picnic and Much Ado

I made a delicious picnic for the MAunts (the "Bro" declined to come) before we took in a free showing of Much Ado About Nothing. However, I neglected to factor in a commute that included a bridge closure and the resulting increased traffic which meant that we were much later to our picnic than we thought we would be. This resulted in a quick meal eaten before it could be photographed. However the menu was: Cherry Plum Soup, Green Salad with dressing, Ham and Asparagus Quiche, Roasted and Marinated Green Beans, Very Much Marinated Potato salad and for dessert: Chocolate Mint Cookies. It was a good meal, albeit one eaten with a sense of hurry.

The play, put on by the Portland Actor's Ensemble was delightful, with Sara Faye Goldman bringing a great gravitas to the character of Hero, particularly in the scene when she is accused of not being a "maid," if you know what I mean.

As always, people watching was great fun. At one point, I caught the mother-daughter combo sitting next to us both asleep.

Jade Hobbs played not only Margaret, but also a tree in the orchard.

Here we see Benedict hiding behind the tree, all the better to overhear an important plot point.

Allison Rangel (in the black hat) was an excellent Sexton, with a very self-important air which helped propel her through her character's incompetence.
Thanks to PAE for another good summer of Shakespeare.

Hogan Hoedown

So Brook and Mike Hogan had a Hoedown to celebrate being married half their lives. That's right, they are 44 years old and they have been married 22 years. Matt and I were thrilled to drive out to a barn in Wilsonville to fete this great accomplishment.

First off, Matt was excited that there was a hat to fit the generous "Johnston head." He looks good, too.

I'm easier to size.

We had good BBQ.

The Hogan's last name just happens to have the same number of letters as a certain dog that a certain game is named after. We played Hogan throughout the night.

There was petting of the horses.

And practicing for the Line Dancing.

Matt made friends with a horse, while Burt watched.

He knows how to make the connection.

The horse was also interested in me too. Actually, we think he was interested in our hats.

The Hogans hired a fabulous firecracker of a woman named Joyce to teach us three line dances. This was a highlight of the evening, and I have no pictures of it, because I was enjoying myself so much I couldn't be bothered to take photos.*

Brook is looking like 22 years of marriage has done her good.

We persisted in playing Hogan until we won. I got a cap gun and caps.

Matt won the sausage.

With a 1,000,000 reward, it was hard not to cash in on the Hogan Gang, but there is probably some etiquette about not turning in the hosts of the party.

Here they are, live and in person. Thanks for having us Hogans, we had a blast.
*some readers of this blog may remember when I refused to have anything to do with Country Line Dancing and actively made fun of those who did it. What can I say? These days, I'll do anything for structured social dance, even listen to Country Music.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roman Shades mid-construct.

Leftover bits of the mounting board and the dowels.

A "wrong side" view.
Will the shades be up before school starts? Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The corn is as high as...

Antares' eye.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Roman shades, construction techquine

One of my goals for my three week vacation in August is to start and finish the Roman Shades for the triple window in the living room. In truth, I planned on working two hours per day on shade construction from the day after school got out until I was done. However, June and July seem to have come and gone as well as more than a week of my vacation and I'm just beginning this project.

In this step, I am supposed to be pinning the casings for the wooden rods. I pinned one casing, tested the wooden rod and found it didn't fit and switched to pinning the casings around the wooden rods. This worked much better and I will use this technique more in the future.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The corn is as high...

We're not quite to "elephant's eye" yet, but this is the first peek over the window sill.

A date! That doesn't include a movie!

To celebrate the first week of Patricia's vacation, she planned a fun date. We started with lunch at the cooking school. It seems to be called "Techniques" now and no longer "Restaurant Bleu" Maybe they got tired of people mispronouncing "Bleu?"

Lunch is three courses: soup, entree, dessert. For soup, Matt chose the Salmon Chowder and I took the Summer Squash Puree. My soup had an unexpected kick to it, which I found quite delicious.

For the entree, Matt chose the Chicken Croissant and I had the Steak Frites. The fries were very good (and I'm picky) and the steak a bit overcooked, but still delicious.

Matt chose the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (beating me to the punch) and I had the Profiteroles, which were filled with three different kinds of ice cream and topped with a chocolate sauce. My favorite ice cream was the coconut flavor.

After our delicious lunch, we headed out to a Portland institution. Oaks Park. Here we are at the sign telling us how many years people have been having fun.

The park opened at noon and we arrived around 12:30. The lines weren't very long and we rode several rides. Here we are in front of the Looping Thunder Roller Coaster. It's a small roller coaster but still quite exciting at the first dip.

I enjoyed the constant shifting of center of gravity on the Disko. Matt commented that it was much like snowboarding.

We also rode the Eruption, which is one of those use-centrifugal-force-to-pin-you-in-place-and-then-turn-you-sideways type of rides.

After that one, we gave Matt's stomach a minute to calm down and went on the train.
I think the best thing about small amusement parks such as this is that the crowds are proportionately smaller too. The rides aren't as big as bigger parks but we didn't wait more that 15 minutes for each one we rode. We also got to take in a Ferris Wheel (one of my favorite things to do) and I drove a go-cart for the first time in my life. We we raced down the big slide (I won) and rode on the Herschell-Spillman Carrousel. The man running the ride told us that the first time he could remember riding the carrousel (it's officially spelled that way, I know not why) was in 1947. And that every year they look for the oldest rider and the youngest. The youngest so far that year was 4 weeks old and the oldest was 91 and rode because her parents used to ride the same carrousel in the early 1900s.

The other thing I found incredibly fun about Oaks Park was observing all the teenagers. When we first arrived it was us and a park full of 14 year olds. As the day wore on, more family groups arrived. Also, teenagers were all running the rides and I had great fun observing them and imagining the secrets behind the scenes at Oaks Park. Having seen the movie Adventureland, I spent time trying to identify which employee was the Ryan Reynolds character and I think I spotted him. He was running the Rock-O-Plane and gave a super long ride to another employee.

It was fun to be out in the sun and the rides on a lovely August day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Applesauce success

Four quarts and three pints came out just fine. Thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Applesauce disaster

I canned this morning and my first batch of seven quarts of applesauce boiled away in their canner for the the proscribed 20 minutes. When I took them out of the canner, the applesauce exploded out of jars, seeping out of the canning lids and rings. Despair! Where did I go wrong? I packed the jars with one-half inch head space, as instructed, but will increase that to one inch for the next batch. I also forgot to remove the canner from the heat and let the jars sit in the water for five minutes before removing the jars. This might have been a problem too. Discouraged, I repackaged the applesauce into jars and put them in the refrigerator to eat now. I've one more batch to go, so wish me luck.