Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas In Emmett 2009

I drove over and I always try to enjoy the drive as much as possible. I was driving up I-5 between Eugene and Albany and spotted a huge flock of birds circling over a nearby field. I started chanting, "Do not land on the freeway, do not land on the freeway!". They landed in a long long swath into a field to enjoy a quick snack. They were Canadian geese and there must have been several thousand birds.

Also, while driving east on the Columbia gorge, the sun came out and I chased a gorgeous rainbow. I overnighted in Pendleton and crossed the Blue Mountains the next morning, it was 12 degrees at the summit but the roads were clear and dry.

My sister was worried that there might not be enough food for all the family.

Hah! I say.

Snacking table; candy, nuts, veggies, cheese and meat tray.

A pot of ham and beans, french bread, cornbread muffins and two kinds of rolls. Great for making turkey, cranberry sauce sandwiches.

Don't forget the lasagna!! You may see various beverages in some of these pictures, my nephew Justin, is in the way of becoming a brew master. He brought his Thanksgiving Porter. It is a lovely very dark beer. He said it was not well aged enough to have a head yet but it had a delightful smooth rich taste with a hint of coffee. He said that flavor came from the grains he used in the brew. Ellen and Leo harvested several gallons of honey this year and Justin asked for about 8 gallons to make a honey ale for them as well as mead. I would love to have some of that Mead!!

Turkey carcase simmering in the stock spot, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy in process and yet more lasagna!

Various salads; best recipe brought back was for "White Salad", it is in the largest red bowl. The recipe is as follows: One can shredded pineapple, one bag marshmallows, one eight ounce package creamed cheese, one pint cream. Soften the cream cheese and mix the cream into a slurry, pour over the marshmallows and pineapple. The taste is light yet rich, very nice. Can't wait to take this to the next potluck!

We also had a Surprise Birthday party for Jim. My brothers dragged him off to help load a couple pieces of furniture from Mom's apartment into the back of one of the trucks. While they were gone we made paper hats out of newspaper, practicing singing, "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog" and getting the chocolate mayonnaise cake decorated. They finally got back and we did indeed surprise him. We had also planned just to start barking because there were five schnauzers, a boxer and a cocker spaniel in the crowd.

The Memorial Service was held in Potter's Chapel on the 27th at 10 am. There was gratifying turnout of about 60 people. We were a little afraid that with the freezing weather and the season that only close family would be able to attend.

Rudy officiated. He read an autobiography that Mom had written dated 1987. She was moved to write down some of her childhood experiences after a visit with her sister, Wilma in 1986. Mom talked about growing up on a homestead near Brush, Colorado and walking to school all the while looking out for rattlesnakes and the neighbor's bulls. Most of us kids spoke, I can't remember every one's speeches but most of them were funny and got a few good laughs out of the audience. After the service was over, we took the flowers to the Calvary Church where we had pie and coffee and got in a good visit with people we had not seen in years. I want to thank all of them for coming.

We found the wreaths outside on a table at La Costa and grabbed them. Click to enlarge to see the pictures on display.

These are the flowers that I ordered, because it was the Holidays, the local flower shops were sold out, we were lucky to get these.

The brothers and sisters; Jim, Phil, Richard, Carla, Ellen, Royce and Gale. You may notice that we all wear glasses or contact lenses. That is to be able to see the many thousands of books we have read over the years. Because we were always such a book reading family, it was always a little shock to walk into a person's home, glance around and not find any books. Speaking of books, my Uncle Paul brought a trunk load of books for me to add to my collection. Getting crowded!!

My drive back was uneventful until I got near the descent in Pendleton. There was one of those large traffic signs lit up with this warning, "Meacham - Cabbage Hill. Dense fog. Visibility 500 feet". Which was a lie of HUGE proportions. The fog was IMPENETRABLE. Visibility was closer to 50 feet!! It was just twilight and that bank of fog was back lit and looked dead black, truly evil looking. I followed a semi into the gloom and immediately slowed to 25 mph and flipped on my hazard lights. You know those white lines in the middle of the road that flip by in a blur? No blur, I could only see two individual lines at a time at best and could barely make out the fog line on the right side of the road. I crept down the hill and about half way down, another semi passed and as well as several other cars, so I gradually sped up until I could see taillights. The fog lifted at the bottom of the hill and I decided that the new knuckle grips I had imprinted on the steering wheel needed time to set up so I overnighted at Best Western in Pendleton..again. The rest of the trip home was routine.


Monday, December 21, 2009

In Memoriam

My mother died Sunday evening about 10 pm in Emmett, Idaho. She was 83. She has not been well for a few years. It all began the July she and I drove to Colorado to visit with another sister and brother. Everything was fine until the 4th of July and she began feeling worse and worse and wanted to go we drove home and she decided that she couldn't fly or drive to any high altitude spots anymore. The next year she more or less gave up driving her Bravada and eventually talked me into purchasing it from her in exchange for an electric scooter. She liked the scooter. Then she had a pacemaker put in and I forget the exact sequence but she wound up on
oxygen and then hired hospice and fired hospice and rehired hospice.

When you have known both of your parent all of your life it is difficult to treat them as separate beings. One of the best memories as a family was the partial year we lived in Riggins, Idaho. Dad was there for a job of course and we lived on a small tributary to the River of No Return. There was no TV reception only radio and we pretty much made our own entertainment. We played card games in particular one called Snertz. It involved two decks of cards and four people manipulating the cards onto the table like Solitaire only FASTER, first one to play the last discard yelled, "Snertz!". I took my sisters to Summer Bible Class, Mom reminded me that the Bible School teacher thought the girls were my children. I was 14 or 15, boy they start 'em young up there!

She was cranky, opinionated, and raised seven children while dad brought home the bacon and then she cooked it, cleaned house, kept us fed and clothed and schooled. Most of my early memories exist only on old faded snapshots of Richard and I small enough to huddle inside milk buckets or clomp around wearing huge cowboy boots and a cowboy hat.

Other memories involve scrabble games, pinochle games, joking around and generally having a good time. Every time Mom and I would go someplace I would solemnly remind her that we were having an adventure today and we might not necessarily have fun, it was an ADVENTURE!

Have to try to get some sleep, don't know if I will be driving home tomorrow or not, depends on what the brother and sister group consensus will be regarding a service.

Got to the light, Virginia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

..and now back to the decorating contest at CVH...

You choose which one wins. The judging was held yesterday but they would not announce the winner until later today, something about getting the certificates finished, I am guessing there will be first, second, third prizes and a grand prize winner and a consolation prize winner and um...several other awards. Be sure to clicky to enlarge to see the clever details.

This one above hangs on Mr. Z's door in administration. A sterling example of conservative fiscal policy in a recession, restrained yet confident.

This one hangs on the kitchen door and is the entry for Dietary. We could pretend it is edible but that would be a lie of huge proportions.

This one was created by the night shift nurses. They chose the theme "Angels of Mercy".

This is the entry submitted by housekeeping. A very clean and festive example.

This wreath above hangs proudly in Information Technology. We have one guy who runs around keeping 20 or 30 PC's running. If you look carefully you will see various bits and pieces of dead computers decorating the wreath an example of canny recycling at its best.

This wreath was decorated by the Laboratory, the large pink and white blobs are red and white cells and look there is a unit of fresh packed blood cells ready to go. Make mine B positive please.

The Nursing Administration decorated this wreath using a lot of blue baby bunting.
I think someone is hoping for a boy.

This wreath hangs on the door into ICU, created by the nurses. Shhhh, this is a hospital!

This was banged out by Plant Maintenance. Clicky to enlarge and check out the latest tools.

This wreath is covered with candy goodies, submitted by the crew in the Radiology department.

Respiratory Therapy breathed life into this little number.

The surgery crew sewed ths case shut.

Oh yeah a re-run of the Medical Records wreath, miraculously still intact, poor thing fell off the door about four times, each time losing a few more trinkets. Oy!

VOTE now! Save The Polar Bears!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I purchased a box of these......

They come six to a box (Said box could easily hold another six!) with six small packets of frosting. I purchased the strawberry cream cheese ones. In the way of packaging and marketing the actual strudel's are smaller than displayed on the package. And that is a miniature strawberry next to the strudel itself.

If you hold up your hand and make an "L" shape with four finger and thumb, the corner of the strudel will fit inside that "L" shape...with the finger knuckle left over.

Four small bites at best....but remarkably tasty bites!

The pastry itself is a modified puff pastry, lots of something that passes easily for butter.

The filling, is a mere trace of strawberry not the generous amount displayed on the package but tasty nevertheless.

Toast in toaster oven for one cycle, if you tear the frosting package just right the entire side will open for spreading. It is impossible to make the artistic swirls unless you actually fill a miniature pastry bag and hand it over to a trained pastry chef.

Cost? I didn't look, but for six of these things I think it runs about $2.50 per box. I will try to be a better consumer next time as these little devils are highly addictive.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I been shoppin' again....

I have gotten into the habit of dropping into the local upscale resale shop in town called "Bree's" They support the breast cancer fund and hold the occasional fashion shows to benefit homeless women who need a new business suit.

This week I went to the shop in Bandon, nice, gorgeous shoes but if I DID purchase those green velvety leaf cut out shoes for eight dollars, the soles are barely scuffed, WHAT in the world would I wear them with I ax youse?

So looking a little further, I found this blouse by ..... Versace, made in Italy retailed for between 50 and 100 dollar new. Again eight dollars. I tried it on, it fits mostly, the sleeves are a little long. I thought they didn't make fashion in my size, I love Italy! The pants are gray 100% silk, I purchased them in the Coquille Bree's on sale for $2.50. !!!! They fit!!!

I also purchased this rather colorful blouse in Bandon, it has a matching skirt that I must shorten by about a foot, otherwise if I wear it I will have to call this outfit my "Parade Float" dress, because I WILL look like a parade float!! I'm thinking I will wear it with black pants at first until the retina burn fades a bit and people around me take off their sun glasses.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It was cold last night....

It was 19 degrees on my car temperature gauge read out this morning. Brrrrrrrrrr.

It was sooooooo cold that there were 4 deer who visited the hospitals sunny back lawn. They lay there and sunned themselves all curled up for THREE HOURS! Occasionally they would rouse up to nibble on a bit of grass but mostly just sat there talking amongst themselves as deer often do, "Jeez it was cold last night! I don't know about you guys but I'm not moving until this spot of sunshine is gone. If the humans want this spot why I oughta...." The other deer sniffed haughtily in agreement.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Here is our department entry...

The green beads are actually much more sparkling than they show in the picture but that is why people prefer to actually travel to places such as Yellowstone because of the size and er the smell of sulphur and the deer and the buffalo and Old Faithful, lots of sulphur

There are other decorations up at work but strangely enough all of them were out of focus or blurred from my moving the camera. Earlier today our wreath fell to the floor because the hook parted company from the door. Give it a little skaky shake and good to go.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We drove to Roseburg today for the express purpose of attending the Douglas County Fair Grounds Christmas Bazaar. A friend of mine has had a booth there for the last three years, it is always fun to go stroll around and purchase a few items and some seasonal cookies that are VERY BAD FOR YOU.

I found a new necklace that I like, it now hangs amongst the rest of them on the grapevine wreath below. I decided the macrame' look would have to suffice. I moved the whole thing to hang on the mirror above my waterfall vanity. I remembered that I had a jewelery box, (Made in wood shop by Charlie about 20 years or so ago) and I investigated and found several additional bits and pieces to add to the display. I shall add more bling as the occasion arises until my pirate hoard collapses from the weight.


The Fun and Games Committee at work announced a Christmas Wreath Decorating Contest. Each department was given a nice large artificial wreath and we come up with the idea. Surgery has already decorated theirs with cute little forceps etc. Nursing has filled syringes with green and red dye. Erk. Health Information so far has one very very long string of green beads wrapped around and around and around...

Hey! I have one of those grapevine wreaths at home. I wonder what it would look like if....

... I used my seemingly vast collection of hand made necklaces!!!!

Um, the first version went fairly quickly but gravity won and the necklaces slid down the smooth grape vines to rest at the bottom resembling, strangely enough, my macrame' stuff from the 70's.

The second attempt involved finding the correct ends of the magnet closures and stringing all the necklaces together and wrapping them around the grapevine wreath.

Looks like flotsam found at sea when a yacht sunk and the valuables floated to the surface getting entangled in a life preserver ring.

Tried different location, curtains over my bedroom window...hmmm..

I need more BLING. Bring the BLINGITUDE. Must have so much bling the wreath falls off the hanger! I want BLINDING BLING!!!!

Let's face it people. I have taste for sh_t. Hmmph!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


and many happy returns. This cake is guaranteed nonfattening, low calorie, high fiber, power booster and tasty!.

Have a good one. Love the Coquillians.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The above pictures are the main ingredients for the cranberry relish.

And the food grinder and very large bread board are the methods employed by my mother because there was no other method to chop/grind items for food preparation.

1. Place large cutting board on kitchen table. Affix metal food grinder on cutting board. Place 50 to 60 pound child on cutting board to keep the food grinder from sliding around. Yell at child continuously while grinding up a one pound bag of fresh cranberries (after first having picked out the soft squishy ones).

2. Before grinding the berries, station a second child with a large bowel beneath the grinder to catch the juice that drips down the clamp of the grinder, this will be used as part of the liquid in the jello reciped. Do not forget to yell constantly at the child holding the bowl.

3. With the two children still in position, quarter one whole juicy orange and grind that up as well.

4. Remove the ground berries and orange mixture. Let the children go outside to play or take the clothes from the line and bring them inside or what ever other chore is to be accomplished.

5. Cover ground cranberry orange mixture with two cups of sugar, let stand one hour.

6. In between washing up the bits and pieces of the food grinder and the cutting board, Chop 1/2 cup celery into small slices and chop 1 cup of walnuts. The original recipe calls for half these amounts but I like the extra crunch.

7. Use the juice in the bowl and extra water if necessary to make 2 cups of liquid, bring to a boil, stir in one large box of black cherry jello, stir until dissolved.
If recipe on box calls for another two cups of liquid, cut it to one cup and this will make a the relish nice and firm.

8. Stir in the chopped celery and chopped walnuts into the ground cranberry and orange mixture.

9. When jello begins to slightly thicken, pour into the berry orange mixture and allow to set over night.


Drag out shiny blender. Fill with 2 cups water, drop in half bag of whole cranberries, grind, drain in strainer, save juice in pan. Continue until all of bag is gone and quarter orange using similar amounts of water and draining.
I have found that over the years the old recipe of using a one pound bag of cranberries no longer holds true, the 2009 cranberry bags weigh closer to half a poundm, so purchase TWO bags of whole cranberries to get the same solid relish effect.

This has been a family favorite for years. The original recipe called for Lemon jello which makes a fairly tart relish. I sometimes have despaired finding Black Cherry jello. At some point in the future I may be reduced to shopping on Ebay for my jello.