Saturday, June 30, 2012


With summer comes summer weddings. And here in the Pacific Northwest, unpredictable summer weather.

A friend of ours is getting married today. All is well and good except, of course, for the expected showers and the fact that it is an outdoor wedding. Now, if humidity was wanted, we have that and plenty of it. Not the nasty humidity you’d find in Florida or anything that sticky, but humid nonetheless. And stagnant. The air has been so still, so quiet that it is bordering on eerie.

But tonight my hope is that it will be filled with fun, laughter and love. If it rains, so be it. I just hope it doesn’t bring out the mosquitos!

Friday, June 29, 2012


There is a town I created where all the characters of the many books and stories I’ve written live. I miss that place called Ravenwood.

Lately I have seriously been thinking I need to take time out of, well, wasting time, to write again. In particular, I have four books in mind I want to revisit and get ready for publishing; a children’s picture book, a youth chapter book, a young adult novel and adult science fiction novel. Ugh… that doesn’t seem as narrowed down as I originally thought.

When I first started writing, I didn’t really think about names and places, but when I was in college and in a creative writing class, it really got me thinking about making the characters from my books all from the same place with overlapping timelines. After tinkering with some of my books I wrote in middle and high school, I realized this was definitely the route I wanted to take; to create a fictional town where all the crazy trapped in my head could escape. Now I just need to take some time out of my day to allow this to happen once again.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The River

Summertime can be, well, hit and miss here in the Pacific Northwest. When the weather is just right, you take advantage of it.

Since we had what most would identify as summer-like weather yesterday, a friend of ours invited us to the Washougal River with her. Of course our Great Dane, Lucy, would be tagging along. We decided to make a picnic out of it, so our friend brought some roasted chicken salad sandwiches and we brought some black bean salad, perfect for a summer picnic on the river. Dogs and small secluded river access areas helped make it even more so. It also gave us a chance to use the picnic basket we’ve had for years that I found at the Goodwill. I think we will definitely have to have more spontaneous river picnics this summer.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day sewing. Today I plan more of the same.

I’ve been working on my coworker’s going away quilt for a few days now, but only in the sense that I was trying to figure out a design and made a few sample blocks. Last night I finished the top. Today I will sandwich and quilt it. That is, assuming I can get enough motivation to finish it… or don’t get distracted watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Lists are good for a great many things. Crossing things off that list, however, requires actual work.

Every now and then it is a good idea to make a list of things you want to accomplish. Some people make lists for their life goals, summer vacations, places to see, etc. I make grocery lists. I make To Do Lists. Let’s face it, I make boring lists. It is a rare day that I make a list that will be used for fun and adventure. Perhaps I should attempt to make one. Perhaps I should try to see what will happen if I actually plan on doing something. Perhaps I should just finish up one of the oh, so many projects I’ve started without completing. Or maybe I just need to make a list of stuff I want to do over the next couple days since I have them off.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Going Away Quilt Started

Last night I finally got started on the going away quilt I’m making for a coworker leaving for college to become a veterinarian. Something tells me this will be a quick project.

After sketching out a rough idea of what I was thinking for the quilt, I mulled over it and decided to add at least two solids to the mix and up to five if needed. My original thought was to have all of the finished blocks be eight and a half inches, and while my gut told me to cut correctly, my calculator told me otherwise. Let’s just say math and I are not friends, but eight inch blocks will be fine for this quilt instead so it isn’t that big of a deal.

I’m still debating taking the two large prints and cutting them down for the picture window blocks, especially since I will need twelve total. I suppose I will cross that bridge tonight while working on more blocks. However, I’m thinking right now my answer is a yes.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today at church, the sermon will be set on Gilligan’s Island. I’m playing Gilligan.

Our pastor has some pretty wacky ideas sometimes. Doing a skit based on a biblical passage and having it played by the castaways of the Minnow is definitely one of them. Hopefully it will work out. Especially since a few of us are also working on preparing food for a potato feed fundraiser for our youth group right after service. Yay! Double Duty! I suppose that means I should go over my lines this morning, huh? Maybe after some more coffee.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Rain

Blessed be the rain
That quenches summer’s thirst
Makes fruit and blooms grow
And muddy paw prints on the carpet.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Sometimes I dread baking. Like, say, during the summer.

Baking in a house without air conditioning during hot summer days has got to be one of the worst forms of torture imaginable. I mean, yes, there is sweet cupcakey goodness in the end, but does that justify hovering over a hot oven for hours? Alas, I suppose it does.

And so tonight after work I will bake. I will bake gluten-free black bean chocolate cupcakes. I will bake buttermilk French vanilla cupcakes. Oh yes, I will bake. Now I just need to figure out when in our hectic weekend schedule I will have time to make the frosting and frost said cupcakes before church on Sunday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I spent last night searching through books and the internet for a quilt pattern. I probably could have had the quilt top done in the same amount of time.

When it comes to quilt patterns that you know the final product will be for a specific person, you want it to be something that reminds you of that person. Or maybe that’s just me. I don’t know. I’m thinking that I may just have to actually be creative and come up with something on my own.

For the quilt itself I’m using various M’Liss prints I got on clearance for three dollars a yard from her My Pet’s, Friends Fur Ever and Look at Me! lines. The prints are fun and the style reminds me of the coworker the quilt will be for. Honestly, I’m probably overthinking this whole process. I should just slap a bunch of squares together and call it good, right? Ugh. Thinking is hard. Alas, the search will continue. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day Off

Ah, I’ve been looking forward to a day off without plans for weeks. Time to relax, turn the light on the old sewing machine and start stitching away. But wait! We have plans? What plans? Sister plans? Oh, I’m sorry my poor sewing machine, but you will have to wait for another day.

My sister lives in the middle of frakking nowhere. Seriously. There is a small sign that tells you where to turn into town (which is also the only road in town, I might add) and then just keep going until you are well outside of civilization and cell service. Once you hear the faint sound of banjos playing in the background, you’ve arrived. Okay, so it isn’t that bad. I don’t think there is any shack close enough to hear the banjos.

But since we haven’t seen her in a few months, we decided it would be nice to go visit. Who knows, maybe I’ll see their new house and get an idea for a quilt to make for them. Since they don’t celebrate holidays or birthdays, I think it is high time to make them a gift. I just need to figure out their style first and see if I have anything in my stash I can use or if (dang it) I need to go scavenger for some inspiration at a fabric store (or four.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spontaneous Cooking

I am a spontaneous cook. That doesn’t mean random acts of baking will occur, but it has been known to happen.

By spontaneous cooking, I mean I don’t necessarily follow a recipe, I follow my gut. Rare are the days that measuring cups and spoons are out when I cook. Baking I tend to be a little more stringent, but not much. I’ve begun relaxing my exactness in baking over the last couple years, but will probably continue to use the cups and spoons, just maybe not the knife to even the top off. Anyway, when it comes to measuring, I approximate. This, I know, comes with years of experience. There is a downside to this in that when people ask for the recipe, I’ll give them what I think the measurements should be. The problem with that is that since I don’t measure, the amount used will vary from dish to dish and only an experienced cook can anticipate that.

Alas, with school out for summer, my husband has decided to start doing the cooking. He is not a spontaneous cook. He is a measurements and preciseness cook. It’s my fault, really. I never allow him in the kitchen. So I will leave the cooking up to him for a couple months and see what happens. Who knows, maybe I will be surprised.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Oh sleep, oh slumber
How I miss thee
When night covers sky
Why dost heat not also fall?

Oh sleep, oh slumber
How I long for days
When humid stagnant air
Gives to gentle breeze.

Oh sleep, oh slumber
Again we shall meet
But alas, oh Summer
Damned be thy heat!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beach Trip!

On a whim we went to the beach yesterday. Of course we took the dog with us too.

Lucy loves the sand, but the water? Not so much. That is, until yesterday apparently. Once we got down to the shore, she was jumping and splashing around in the water. I’m not sure if she was just happy to be out of the house, out of the car after a two hour drive, or both. In any case, she seemed to have a fantastic time. The best part is that she still seems warn out from all her frolicking and discovering things… like foam floats and baby shark carcasses.

While the weather wasn’t exactly the greatest, with a very overcast sky, the temperature was perfect. And while Long Beach itself was quite busy and filled with way too many people (and dogs as it was also, unbeknownst to us, the Doggy Olympics) the lesser known beaches along the peninsula were perfect to let Lucy roam around and explore freely.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sunshine and Time

Gardening is a great example of learning the value of patience. It is also a great example of reaping the rewards of hard work.

Last year, I found it humorous that upon putting a tomato plant in the ground, a child asked if the tomatoes were ready to eat now. I told him it takes sunshine and time to grow. He looked up, saw the sun, waited a few more seconds and re-asked the same question. I told him it takes months not seconds, but it would be worth it. Teaching kids the value of patience can be difficult, but I believe letting them plant and work a garden is a perfect way to do so.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coworker's Quilt

When I decided to make a quilt for my coworker who will be leaving in a month and a half to attend college, I didn’t think too much of it. Now that I actually have to start working on it, I’m having doubts.

Do you ever have the voices in your head go over every possible scenario before making a decision? Seriously, it’s like a soap opera in my brain that will go through the extreme and mundane consequences if I decide to do something. Very annoying. Anyway, after all was said and done, I still feel like making my coworker a quilt would be the right thing to do. She will be alone in a place she’s never been, away from all of the family and friends and everything she’s used to. I think that is quilt-worthy. So I suppose that means I need to come up with a design, nothing too complicated or anything, with the fabric I picked out and get to work on it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Pineapple

Last night I decided to do a case study. It was time to find out once and for all if I still had an allergic reaction to pineapple.

The pineapple was cut and six adult Benadryl were at the ready with a glass of water by their side. It was time. Carefully, I picked the juicy wedge and began lifting it to my mouth. I could feel my throat clenching, squeezing tighter, asking me, “What the hell are you doing? Don’t you know that thing is poison!” Ignoring all the voices in my head, I quickly started chewing as soon as it hit my tongue. Sweet. Tangy. Everything I remember pineapple being from my childhood before the incident. The culprit. The entire reason I’ve spent the past twenty-two years avoiding this fruit like the plague.

I was in the eighth grade. Middle school. A time when fitting in was rewarded and standing out was mocked. Let’s just say I was mocked a lot. Between being overweight, short and wearing hearing aids, there was no shortage of mockery to take place. It was pizza day and I had a slice of Hawaiian. An odd sensation went through my throat as I bit into that tiny, processed, canned piece of pineapple, but I didn’t notice anything until my next class… Reading. Yes, mock all you want, but I graduated high school with barely an eighth grade reading level, according to the test scores. Please let me know of the irony of being in Advanced Placement English for two years and considered slow with low levels of reading comprehension thanks to standardized testing scores. What can I say, I don’t test well. Anyway. Reading class. We were in a small group reading a book out loud and part of the class is reading for as long as you felt comfortable. I always felt comfortable reading for long periods of time, so when I started to speak and nothing but squealing that sounded as if a pig was being prodded into the slaughter house began coming out of my mouth, I knew something was wrong. I was embarrassed to say the least.

Not exactly certain as to the cause of my porcine vocal adventure, but having a pretty good idea about its origins, I decided to try pineapple again a few days later with the same results. Yes, it appeared I was allergic to pineapple. Over the years, my aversion to the fruit became worse, but didn’t stop me from experimenting. Canned was the worst, fresh was next down on the list, then juice, well cooked and dehydrated both yielded no reaction. So I figured there was a specific enzyme that was killed off in the cooking or dehydrating process that allowed me to eat those, but still, I decided to simply avoid all contact. That is, until I was staring at the Royal Pineapple Fried Rice recently from our favorite Thai restaurant, Dok Koon, and wanted to try it. However, I didn’t feel like risking an allergic outbreak in the middle of a restaurant, so I decided I would try it in a controlled circumstance: at home.

And so I let the juicy, tangy, sweet fruit slide down my throat and I could feel it start to swell. It felt like it was tightening, but I passed that off as my nervousness about trying something I’ve spent most of my life avoiding. I let about fifteen minutes passed and still had no real reaction, so I took another chunk of pineapple and ate it, this time allowing it to stay in my mouth longer, chewing more, letting it swish in my mouth for a while before swallowing. It appears I either outgrew my allergy or the whole thing was in my head. I prefer to think that puberty did it to me. And I think I will be less aversive to pineapple from now on.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Equality: Part Two

Change is scary. Acknowledging a reality that has been around since the dawn of time is scarier.

Whenever the rights of a minority are put up to a vote by the majority, it almost always yields the same results; the minority loses. This isn’t always the case, but most of the time it is. It does, however, surprise me when some states put discrimination in their constitution which is in direct conflict of both the state and federal constitutions. What is more surprising is these are usually in states where religion, mostly Christianity, plays a big part of people’s lives. Do to others what you would have them do to you… unless you’re different.

I find it amusing that the people with loudest voices who claim to follow Christ, do so in a way that is very un-Christ-like. Jesus taught us to love, yet so much speech spewing from pulpits, funerals and capitol steps is that of hate. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the very definition of a hypocrite? The Bible has plenty to say about hypocrites, especially Jesus, who, by the way, had nothing to say about homosexuality. It is ironic to say the least.

But still, I have faith in the people of the State of Washington that we will vote marriage equality into law. Three years ago when the same people tried to repeal the Domestic Partnership Law from going into effect that would grant same-sex couples and heterosexual couples who couldn’t get married without losing benefits the same state rights as married couples, it was easily voted in favor of the law. Of course, the ‘M’ word is now at stake and some people have a very narrow view of the word, with claims that allowing more people to get married will somehow destroy the institution. I think the ‘D’ word has been a rather strong force in doing that. If marriage is such a sacred institution then why do most of them end in divorce? It is a contract people sign into that gives them certain rights and responsibilities and is shared by both religious organizations and the state in authorizing them. And it is a contract I am willing to sign.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Equality: Part One

My church supports marriage equality. Does yours?

I was recently asked by our pastor at church to create yard signs for church members to show their support of marriage equality in anticipation of the opposition getting enough signatures to get it on the ballot this fall. Not surprisingly they did… again. Hopefully Washington voters will affirm, much like a couple years ago, equal rights and protections under the law. Anyway, so I had him scribble up some basic drawings to get an idea of what they should look like and put a few together in a matter of minutes. The response at church was overwhelmingly positive. I mean, it is one thing to participate in a march for equality, but to publicly display your support in your yard? That takes courage.

And so it was decided to take the one with a line drawing of our church and use that one specifically for our members first and see if there was any other churches who would want to do the same. I don’t think the signs were even delivered before other churches showed interest. So it looks like I will have to design a less specific and more broad version of the sign. Fortunately our pastor came through again and figured out a logo that would work. I just have to put it together now.

The little corrugated plastic yard signs, typical of election year signage, have gotten quite a bit of publicity on the local news stations, newspapers and online publications. It’s kind of neat to know that I had a small hand in making it happen.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Yesterday I did some gardening. Today I am sunburned.

Nobody needs to stress the importance of sunscreen here as I am so rarely outside long enough to require it, but apparently I didn’t realize just how long I was potting flowers and planting my at long last located Brandywine tomato, my favorite heirloom. I also put hanging baskets on the chicken coop to dress it up a bit as well. While a majority was container gardening, we did get a few plants to put around the pond in the front yard to help spruce it up a bit. After doing so, I think we should get a couple more pots and plant some more stuff as it looks a little, well, naked. It never fails to surprise me just how ugly everything looks right after you pot it, but I know that in a week it will all look amazing.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Additions

Last week we added four new additions to our poultry family in hopes of having our broody hen raise them. She wanted none of it and is still broody.

“I want ducks,” my husband said with a giddy childlike grin, eyes twinkling.

“Um, okay,” I responded in my usual pessimistic, doubtful attitude I reserve for the absurd and unfamiliar.

So he got a couple ducks, mallards to be exact from some guy he met in Battle Ground off a Craigslist post. Kendra, our broody hen, was introduced to them late one night and was so freaked out by them she went to the opposite side of the ferret cage they were in and left them alone to freeze. Long story short, I decided to pick up a couple more chicks at the feed store that had been there for a few weeks to raise with the ducklings since they were going to require a lot of care and have the same basic requirements. Well, except that ducks like to swim and chickens freak out over such a thing. I have a feeling a kiddy pool will be a near-future purchase for them.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


It seems like kids go from kindergarten to high school graduation in a flash. Well, that is, until you stop to think about all the crazy antics they did between those years.

Last night my husband and I attended Ridgefield High School’s graduation and said farewell to some of his (and my) favorite students. I sincerely hope he keeps in touch with a few of them. This particular graduation meant a lot to him since this was the graduating class from when he student taught them as freshman. While I am saddened that I won’t be able to see some of these amazing kids perform in plays and musicals, I know that they are going to go on to do great things. Congratulations Class of 2012! May your dreams be ever present in your future endeavors.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Laundry piles by the door
Laundry piles on the floor
Laundry piles here and there
Laundry piles everywhere!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Pineapple Dilemma

When I was in middle school I had a horrible allergic reaction to pineapple. Ever since I’ve avoided it like the plague, but is that really fair?

Okay, so here is the deal, I went grocery shopping yesterday and it seems that pineapples are everywhere. Now, this isn’t to say that I haven’t had pineapple since, but usually it has been cooked until unrecognizable, as in a sauce or glaze, or dehydrated, neither of which has caused a reaction. But I’ve also had it both fresh and canned and the same reaction occurred; tightened throat and I squeal like a pig. Again, I was thirteen the last time I actually ate any regular pineapple chunks and I’m significantly older than that now, so perhaps it was one of those puberty allergies that go away. Or perhaps it is worse now and I could have a fatal reaction if I try it again. What can I say, I’m willing to live on the dangerous side. Of course, without health insurance maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Then again, I do have a very large bottle of generic Benadryl and can always pop six of those should a reaction happen. Either way, I bought one and it is sitting on the counter. My husband thinks the world of me for getting it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wasting Time

Why is wasting time more fun than actually doing something? I blame the internet… and TV.

Perhaps it is time to start unplugging. I mean, seriously, I spend way too much time either on the computer or watching television instead of doing anything productive. Sure, there are productive things to do on the computer and thought provoking programs to watch on the TV, but for the most part I am simply wasting away the hours on Pinterest or watching crappy B-movies on Netflix or television shows I’ve already seen. Maybe what I really need to do is start setting time limits so it forces me to do something else.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dirty Kitchen

Ignoring the kitchen cleaning duties for the past few days is really beginning to show. Fine, so it started showing a few days ago, gawd, get off my back!

Clean dishes in the dishwasher; a full rack of dried pans and large bowls on the counter; a sink filled with grilling tools and bowls; the stovetop and adjacent counter covered in pots, pans, dishes and utensils… it is time to clean. I’m usually on top of this, doing dishes daily to prevent scenarios you would have found in the computer game The Sims, but alas, the last few days I’ve just not been into cleaning. I’ve been avoiding it with multiple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a row.

So now the time to clean is upon us. A time to empty the dishwasher and rack; a time to wash the hand wash only dishes and pots and pans; a time to once again have an uncluttered kitchen counter space. Ugh. I do not want that time to be today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberries for me are the first signs that summer is on its way. And then I pour sugar on them, macerate them and dump them on top of a slightly sweetened buttermilk biscuit and lots of freshly whipped cream.

While picked-fresh-from-the-garden strawberries are the best, store bought ones will do this time of year when strawberries are bountiful. We had quite a few ripening strawberries in a whiskey barrel that would have been perfect in a day or two, but alas, the chickens got to them first. The follies of letting them free-range. Still, during the summer and after a barbecue, there is nothing I like more than a large helping of strawberry shortcake. Okay, so perhaps it is quite a few hours after eating said barbecue food.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spinach and Brie Frittata

For breakfast yesterday I wanted to make something different. To the cookbooks!

After perusing a dozen different cookbooks (okay, so four including one devoted to eggs) I decided to just come up with something on my own. I’ve had a wedge of brie in the fridge since March and figured I’d pair that with some spinach and make a frittata. I ignored the arbitrary expiration date on the cheese and decided to sauté onions and garlic in a little olive oil before adding the spinach, a wise choice. Since we also had cherry tomatoes on hand, I sliced a handful of them up and put them on top before putting the frittata into the oven to cook. The results? Amazing.

Cory’s Spinach and Brie Frittata
6 eggs, scrambled with salt and pepper
½ small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 to 2 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon butter
4 oz brie, rind removed and sliced
5 to 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a nonstick medium fry pan over medium, heat the olive oil and add the onions, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir occasionally for another 2 minutes or until they just start to brown, season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and cook until it just starts to wilt. I had to split about half the spinach and added the rest about 30 seconds later. Season again with salt and pepper and set aside in a small bowl. Add butter to the pan and pour the beaten eggs in once melted. Using a wooden spoon, push from the edges into the middle after about 30 seconds to a minute. When the eggs are over halfway set, spread the spinach mixture evenly over the eggs then add the brie and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of basil and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the eggs have set. Slice into wedges like a pizza. Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 2 to 4 people depending on if sides are involved.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yard Work

Our yard is in desperate need of some attention. That doesn’t necessarily mean I want to give it any.

One of my least favorite things is yard work. I love planting flowers and tending flower beds and vegetable gardens. But the actual work itself? Not so much. I don’t care for mowing, and the only weed I like, the dandelion, is the only weed we actually have in our lease agreement that there are to be none of in the yard. Well, the yellow ones anyway. I can do without the white fluffy ones.

Fortunately our front yard is one giant rock garden. Unfortunately our neighbor overseeded her lawn last year and now we have grass, albeit dead grass thanks to a generous spray of Round-Up, covering the crushed rocks. The only thing worse than mowing is trying to pull up dead grass from compressed rocks. Is it sad that I am hoping for rain to wash out our plans to do yard work today?

Friday, June 1, 2012


It’s already June?! My, how time flies!

The weather is warmer and the air is humid and the flowers are in full array… must be June in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, at our house, the weeds are out of control and the grass is knee high and the only flowers we have are ones that came back from last year. Alas, now that summer is almost here, it might be time to do that Spring Cleaning people so fondly refer to. Time to throw open all the windows and clean every nook and cranny; time to open the garage and get rid of anything we haven’t looked at since the move; time to drink more coffee before making grand plans that will never come to fruition. Damn.