Artichokes and Pink Martini

If you like artichokes, Pink Martini, knitting, then read on. If you are interested in the woes of losing the last 20 lbs or working in education, then read on. If you want to know what it's like to be an empty nester or to share that nest with to two dogs, then read on. If you want to know what the theme is for Monday night dinner, when the kayaks are going out, or who was at the Y at 5am, then read on. If none of this interests you, just hit the button that says "next blog", & read on.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunny San Diego

In case you didn't know, you just can't go to an airport and hop a flight to Yuma. First you have to go somewhere else and then you get a 2 - 3 hour drive as a bonus. Last year we flew to Phoenix. It was fun flying over a bit of the Grand Canyon, but the drive was long, one boring tumbleweed after another. The only highlight was the "Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers" sign as you pass the Federal Prison. So this year we decided to come the other direction from San Diego.

The drive was much more interesting. On the way back we drove past thousands of parked RVs enjoying the annual gathering of ATVs kicking up the dust of the dunes. We were really impressed by the very rocky hills that we had to pass through. Dave is the adventurous guy who will climb any rock to get a better photo.

Welcome to the Pacific Ocean. Even though I live on the west coast, I rarely see the ocean. It's just comforting to know its there and that I could drive to it in a couple of hours from my home. It was a sunny day on a sandy beach (Washington beaches are mostly rocks, not a surface you would want to throw a towel onto), a great end to a long drive.

The locals were pretty friendly. This young pelican let me get very close before he took off in flight. I got a picture of his take off, but decapitated his poor head.

We walked out on a long pier to get this photo looking back to San Diego. Dave, Margaret & Paul look good in the sunshine! (OK, they do look a bit pale, but it has been months since they have seen the sun) But don't get too used to it because in a few hours we are heading back to the rain.

I just had to take this nostalgic picture. Remember in the 1990s a before when you would take friends to the airport and you could actually walk them to the gate, wave and watch them leave? I flew a few weeks after the rules changed & I found the gate to be a very quiet and lonely place. No one waiting anxiously for a plane to arrive, or giving those last good bye hugs right before the plane's final boarding. The gate area had become painfully quiet and very sad. So when Dave, Margaret & Paul's plane left a half hour before mine, I just had to take this picture and pretend it was the good old days.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Out & about in Yuma!

We went to Paradise. The Paradise Casino on the California/Arizona border. (they frown on you wildly snapping photos inside the casino). Paul & Dave headed to the gaming tables where they quickly made a donation to the local economy. Margaret & I went to the Players Club where we got our cards, good for $5 in free play at the slot machines. I picked the exciting Evil Knevil machine. Luckily I had no idea what I was doing & with Margaret's encouragement I just kept on playing. When my free $5 ran out, I hit the cash out button and my receipt said that I had won $86.80. Hey I know when to fold 'em. I just took my money and ran.

Then we had to take Paul to the Yuma Territorial Prison. Things hadn't changed much since we visited last year (though it was less windy, which was very nice). Margaret & I rang the big bell & we took Paul to the "Dark Cell", solitary confinement at the turn of the century.

Doesn't Paul look comfy and cozy.

At the end of the day it was on to Crazy Earl's Cocktails & Pool. We were in luck, it was karaoke night, with a definite Country Western twang. But when the singing was over and they started to play the "Hippity Hop" (that's what they call it in Anchorage) Dave suggested it would be a good time to head back to our motel and a night cap (or 5 or 6) & we agreed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Welcome to Yuma

Holiday travel doesn't stop at Portland. First there is the plain trip to sunny San Diego and then the little car ride across California to Yuma, Arizona where I joined the Gadsden/Eliot/Carpenter family from Alaska/Tacoma/Bellingham.

Christmas is all about the kids. Brandon & Lucas are 2 1/2 now and all pro at ripping through the Christmas wrap. They made quite a hall. Of course the best gifts were mailed to them before Christmas. Their wonderful uncles picked out a toy leaf blower, chain saw, dance on keyboard, and accordian. The louder the volume, the bigger the fun!

Brandon has got fun and games on his mind. Thoughtfully planning his next move on how to next control the lives of the adults around him.

Lucas goes for the tried and true method of screaming at the top of his lungs. He is an expert at this technique.

The boys. Aren't they cute. Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil. Yeah right. It's a short visit, maybe they can behave.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All!!!

We don't need not stinkin' snow. It's Christmas in Portland and rain will do us just fine. Katie took me to meet the Christmas pony on NW 23rd on Christmas Eve. I think this 4 legged creature has his eye on Katie's chai latte, be careful Katie.

After last minute shopping and a movie, we walked down NW 23rd at night. It looks so fabulous with all the lights. Almost like being in Bedford Falls with Jimmy Stewart.

Back home with Katie, this is her beautiful tree. She has a very cozy home. Hope that one of those gifts under the tree might be for me.

Finally, Christmas morning. What is this???? Is it a Christmas Reindeer on the front porch? No it's Katie standing in the snow! Real snow!!! It's the very first White Christmas for the Farewell girls.

The street looks magical with all of the wet snow falling. Lots of people were out walking and enjoying the rare snowy morning.

What's for dinner??? Katie thinks the traditional "Christmas Story" dinner would be fun. Without the beheaded duck of course.

One more shot of the snow. It probably won't last, but it sure is fun for now. Merry Christmas from Sandy & Katie in Portland!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Snow, snow, snow!!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Not in Tacoma, not in Portland, but in Manchester, Iowa. My man Mitch is on location in Manchester (with the wife, the kids and the in laws) following the big weather story for us. The storm hit yesterday and dropped 8 inches of snow. Today, he is braving treacherous conditions to send weather photos to us. With their own personal snowplow on the front of the truck, Mitch and Dean will be on the job, tracking Christmas Storm '07!!! Thanks boys!

Anyone need a fresh Christmas Tree???

If you do, jump in your red pick-up, you know the one with the snowplow attached, and drive on over to Dean and Sue Boone's. They have a bunch and would be happy to set you up!

Look out, here comes Evie whooshing down the hill. Doesn't she look great with her green jacket and coordinating green books. A fashion plate! Oh Eli, red looks nice too (just not as nice as green, way to go Evie!)

Look who is King and Queen of the snow mountain. Eat your hearts out all of you Northwesterners! Nothing beats a white Christmas in Iowa.

Ahhhhhhh!!!! Mitch wanted me to warn all of you. When traveling to the Midwest in the winter months, you can't trust that your luggage will always arrive with you. If this happens, tragedy may occur. You will have to give up shaving (apparently they don't sell razors during a snow storm) and be forced to wear plaid flannel. Please, don't ever let this happen to you!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A little bit about where I work

About a year and a half ago I changed school districts. Leaving the big district of Tacoma, I opted for the small district of Fife. Fife is so small that every high school student in Fife goes to Fife High School. Fife is so small that many of the staff and administrators are Fife graduates. Fife is so small, with a rich agricultural history, that it is still cool to be a Daffodil Princess for the Daffodil Festival in April. Which brings me to the picture below that arrived in my email today. Our current dean of students, Ms. Fox is a Fife Graduate and served as a Daffodil Princess when she was in high school. Apparently this made our Assistant Principal and Principal somewhat intimidated. Not to be outdone by her beauty and youth, Mr. Neufeld and Mr. Knight wanted us all to know that they too could have competed against Ms. Fox for the title of Daffodil Princess if they had only attended Fife High School. You make the call.

Picture = 1000 words ..... enough said.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy 22nd Birthday Katie!!!

Happy Birthday to you!!!!!

Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!

Happy Birthday .....

Dear Katie!!!!!

Happy Birthday to you!!!!

Love you ooooooooodles : )

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The 9th Annual Boone-Robinson Partay!

It's Holiday Partay time at the Boone Robinson's! As you can see they had a record crowd tonight!

These were the poor souls that had to stand in the street outside their home because there wasn't enough room inside. Sad, it was pretty nippy outside. After a few hours the crowd dispersed and the disappointed almost party goers headed home.

Doesn't Mary look great!!! This is my ongoing attempt to take a picture of Mary that she actually likes. I have been told not to post any pictures that make her look like a dork or show her backside. I think I succeeded, you make the call. Anyway, she was a great hostess and kept the food flowing all afternoon long.

The goodies table was the hot spot. Doesn't their dining room look like one of those festive homes that you see on HGTV??? It is the neighborhood highlight of the season. See y'all next year for the 10th annual (unless our hosts get smart and head to Hawaii instead).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shakespeare in Tacoma!

Two fabulous actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival visited Annie Wright School in Tacoma today. It is part of their educational outreach program that they do all over the country each fall. Annie Wright was lucky enough to get Kersti Bryan and Todd Bjurstrom.

After Kersti and Todd wrapped up their workshop at Annie Wright, they took time out of their very busy schedule to hang out with me. Wow, what a great time we all had. Kersti and Todd are warm, fun, down to earth, very generous and just a joy to be around. We had a great time at dinner at El Gaucho. Truly the highlight of my week. Todd will be returning to OSF in the spring and will perform in all 3 of the outdoor plays. Kersti is headed back to New York, she has a call back for the touring company of Broadway's "Dirty Dancing". I look forward to continuing to stalking them in the future.

So Todd, save a Saturday night in February and we'll do dinner when we come to Ashland for OSF Opening weekend .... New Sammy's, right? And Kersti, lets pick a date to meet in LA for the weekend to catch a show and hang out with your friend MEGAN HILTY!!!! (yikes, did I just say that outloud????)

Thank you both for a wonderful and fun evening that I will never forget!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!!!

It was the night of the Annual North Slope Christmas Caroling Extravaganza! So we bravely marched into the cold with 60 friends, neighbors and strangers, like a North End Gang, armed with Christmas lyrics and singing in a variety of keys all at the same time. Look Out!!!

Our Fearless Leader, Mary Boone. She did a great job organizing us, running 5 houses ahead to ring doorbells and plead with the residents not to call the police on us. A complete success, their were no arrests.

Hello Gordons. This is what happens when you don't join the neighborhood activities. We show up at your door anyway. We are neighbors that are hard to avoid.

Hello Tim & Petula. Petula you may be surprised to know that you were not the only dog that we sang to this evening. But you were the first. Where's Pat??? Oh, she must have heard us coming.

Hello Smith Family. Beth & Barry have their Daughter, Son in Law & Grandbaby visiting. Where's the Grandbaby??? She must have heard us coming too.

And our final stop, before we ran for the cookies and hot chocolate, was the home of Eric Anderson, Tacoma City Manager. Us North Slopers never let an opportunity pass to suck up to the local politicians.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mitch .... Say it isn't so!!!

Mitch, King of Click Network, what the heck is a Comcast truck doing in front of your house??? Tell us that you haven't turned to the dark side. Really Mitch, you are a city employee, the least you could do is have the enemy park in back.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A boy and his turkey

Derek enjoys toys that have a button to press and a noise to make. If it moves in a semi violent manner, all the better. tonight he met the Christmas Turkey. At first it really scared him, but after pushing the button 75 million times, he finally got comfortable with it. After the Christmas tree was all decked out, it was time to play.

As you can see, Derek had a tight grip on the turkey to keep it safe from the dogs. The turkey looks quite excited about that.

Now it's time for the push the button, play the music (it sings deck the halls between gobbling outbursts), and dance like crazy when you are sitting on the chair.

Who loves the turkey??? Derek, I think it would be good if you take the turkey home so it will be safe, far away from the dogs. And play it for Mama and Papa, alot, it will get them into the Christmas spirit and make them verrrrrry happy!!!!