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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday Night Dinner

The last June evening was warm and our happy group gathered on the deck. Look at all that beautiful green. this is what summer is all about.

Mitch! Wake up!!! With Mary and the kids in Iowa, you can see it has been party, party, party for dear old Mitch. He needed a little cat nap before his late night out on the town. It was a pretty quiet group, not much excitement here.

Maybe Derek can help us out with a little entertainment. He has decided to borrow Chris's hat and do some fishin' in the koi pond!

TA DA! I didn't catch a thing. That's good Derek. I am sure that the fish are glad to be staying in the pond.

Derek is a smart guy. He found the candy last week (Candy I didn't even know that I had). And this week, he remembered that there was more in that box. So he got his treat and was very happy to share with everyone. Good job sharing Derek.

Well almost everyone. None for you Duncan!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Down on the Farm

A couple of months ago, Paul started an ambitious project. He created an urban farm with the mission of feeding hungry people in Tacoma. That would be us. From these humble beginnings a super food production enterprise has been created. We salute Paul as one of the successful family farmers that this great country, America, was founded by. We thank you Paul and America thanks you.

Just dirt:

Little sprouts:

Man we sure do love this sun:

An amazing crop explosion:

Ahhhhhh harvest time:

Safely protected in climate controlled environment. Most would say, look at all that lettuce, isn't it cool??? Well I can tell you, during our current heatwave in the 90s, all that lettuce is taking up valuable PBR space. So come Monday night & help the cause & your reward will be some lovely Tacoma grown lettuce. How environmentally friendly can you be? The delivery vehicle is a mini that has only driven 1.8 miles. That's less fossil fuels than you would burn going to the store!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Good Morning from the River

As some know, I have been looking at places on the water for weekend trips (and occasionally longer). The end of May I put an offer on a cute little house boat on the Multnomah Channel. Superstitious as I am, I like to keep these things to myself until they really, really happen. I may not have the power to save the world, but my power to jinx a good thing is unchallenged. Since I got the keys yesterday, it is real now.

Here is the view from the float first thing in the morning. Sunrise peeks out from behind Mt. Adams. I have a view of the tip top of Mt. Adams & most of Mt. St. Helens.

The land on the other side of the Channel is Sauvie Island. Covered by a wild life refuge and family farms, this is a place I look forward to exploring on my bike.

Looking up the Channel to the west is a pretty view of the other house boats and the glassy early morning water.

Now I do expect visitors because half the fun of this is sharing it with friends (the other half, of course, is getting away from friends, kidding). With 2 bedrooms and 2 baths there is plenty of room for a Portland getaway. I am taking July to fill it up with furniture, paint & do a few minor changes. Then we will be all ready for company. So check your calendars.

I know what you're thinking. Yeah, she's leaving Tacoma and we will all get our Monday nights back. HA! Think again, you can't get rid of me that easy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A walk in the Park

Once of the 1000 best things about where Katie lives is that it is only blocks away from Portland's fabulous Washington Park. Today being the perfect Portland morning, blue skies, sunshine & not too hot yet, I ambled the 2 blocks to the trail that leads straight up to the park.

I did say "up to" didn't I? Well it is exactly 296 steps up to the park. With all of the twists and turns the route was rather deceptive the first time I used this trail, but now I know what to expect.

I just expect more steps. But I won't complain because every bit of the trip is green in every direction that you can look.

At the top, there is this little clearing with this enormous statue. It is entitled,"Coming of the White Man". Gazing over the tree tops at the full sprawl of Portland, I always think this is a bit ironic. Something wants me to get a can of red paint and spray onto the rock, "They're he-e-e-e-r-e".

Continue on and you will find yourself in this fabulous rose garden. Roses, roses, roses, contained in border of old growth timber. It is spectacular.

Now I know what you are thinking, "But Sandy, you don't like flowers." I like flowers. I like them best in a vase on my front table, not so much in my garden. They are so much work, and they do tend to take away from the green, but I can enjoy them in the gardens of others. I don't know how many full time gardeners they have working in this place, but I am sure someone picks up all the pedals that have fallen every hour. It is so well cared for that it is stunning.

A rose is a rose is a rose

The roses of Washington Park. I don't know their names, just liked their looks in the early morning sun. Enjoy!

Just for Katie

As I wander through Washington Park, I realize that I could explore this park 100 times and not find all of its little secrets. Today I found one for Katie. Off of the Rose Garden I saw this arch which led into a little garden that looked mostly green. So, of course, I had to go investigate. And guess what I found ....

A Shakespearean Garden. Dedicated in 1946 by a local Shakespeare club this wonderful little spot is full of the plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. It has a very English feel and is just one of the little gems in Washington Park. Come on down, we'll go visit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

She's got a ticket to ri-hide!

Jewel's got a ticket to ri-hi-hide. Jewel's got a ticket to ride & she don't ca-air-air!!!

Jewel got a brand new, hot, hot, hot road bike. She finished the school year by riding her bike to work every day. Then she joined Mary B & me on the Wheels to Meals ride. Tuesday she road 25 miles (with some killer hills) with me & my spin class buddy Cathy around the Flaming Geyser State Park. And today, with her brand new wheels she is ready to take on Pt. Defiance!

Susan & Jewel take a moment to become one with the universe before that first big hill.

One of the many wonderful things about Pt. Defiance and this ride is the view. And it's right here in our own backyard.

Victory!!!! And a celebration hot chocolate at the Proctor Starbucks. Whoa Nellie! Look at the super fab bright green bike in the picture! Wonder who that belongs to???

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Jenn made us wait until Madison Bernice was born at 11:32 this morning before we found out that she was a girl. She weighs 7 lbs 9 oz and is 19 inches. And very cute.

Jenn was very perky when we went to visit at 7 o'clock tonight. After 14 hours of labor she stated emphatically that she would never be doing this again (from the stories we heard, I am sure that the delivery room staff agree). Jenn will surely give us all the details. If you are squeamish don't ask about forceps.

Proud Papa! And don't let anyone tell you any different, but 14 hours of labor was a lot of hard work for Dan! Good job!

Congrats Jenn & Dan!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thank you Mary

and Eve and Eli.

About a month ago, my friend and neighbor Mary told me that she wanted to pitch a story to the Tacoma News Tribune about my backyard. My response was oh sure (I like to keep Mary happy so she won't "accidentally" leave her children or husband, sorry Mitch, at my house). A few weeks later the Photo Editor from the TNT called and wanted to send a photographer out to take pictures of "me & my yard". Me??? I don't think so. I called Mary and said I needed Eve and Eli to come over when the photographer arrives because I'm not going to be the TNT's cover girl.

If you want to read Mary's fabulous article check it out. She makes me sound very articulate (don't remember being that articulate when we talked, but I must have been). The truly most exciting thing about this is that I can brag I have been immortalized (or at least my back yard has been) by the famous writer who has published biographies about both Hilary Duff and Akon.

This would be the before picture of the back of the yard.

And this would be the after picture of that same area now.

Fredrick and company did a great job of posing for the camera.

Eve and Eli doing what they do best, patrolling my pond. Don't fall in you two!!!


I just did the math. I have been in education as a student or an educator (& I use that term very loosely) for 35 years of my life. So a few months ago I decided to play hooky. Not for a few days or a week, no, I'm too responsible to do that. I decided to take all of next school year off. And so the adventure begins.

My life has been so crazy for the past few months that I remember telling someone that if I just didn't have to go to work everyday, my life would be so much more manageable. Which means now I have no more excuses to not keep this old blog updated. It's the least I can do for my very patient friends in Iowa.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wheels to Meals

Wheels to Meals is a charity bike ride that supports the Food Connection in Tacoma. I decided that I wanted to ride the 40 mile course (a nice challenge for me). Then I made the mistake of riding with friends. Here we are, fresh as daisies and ready to ride!

Jewel & Mary looked at the mileage for the "40" mile course and told me it was actually 48.1 miles. The 50 mile course was a 53.1, so with this logic, why not ride the 50??? The picture below is an illustration of why not to ride the 50 and why not to trust your friends. Mary has stopped a local and is asking directions. Our less than clear directions had us turn around 3 times, making our total mileage 58 miles. Ow!

So after this harrowing experience, I crawled off my bike at the finish line & merely said, "Where's the beer???" In retrospect I should have said "Where is the spring water?" and then did 15 minutes of stretching. Tara, wife of the ride organizer Kevin, joined us in our victory/survival celebration!

Ok Jewel & Mary, next year we are doing the 70 mile course, so try to keep up with me. & I don't want to hear whining out of either of you!!!! Call it Sandy's Excellent Revenge.