Thursday, October 23, 2008 birthday

Yesterday was as wonderful as I expected it to be. I slept in, lingered over coffee as I watched the sun shine across the field behind me, then took myself to the spa. I have never done anything like that before. Pedicures? Sure, regularly in the summer. Massages? Love them, but don't go often enough. But I've never had a real facial, and rarely have a manicure. So to do all four felt quite decadent. First, they had me change into a fluffy terry robe, then led me to a quiet little nook where I sipped tea. The massage therapist came and got me and took me into her room. She washed my feet in a basin of warm water, which felt so good because they were a bit cold by that time. Then the hour massage. Ohhhhhh....yum. After that she led me to the facial room. What a sensory delight to have my face washed, then wrapped in a warm towel, then have a cool cleanser put on it, then a steam mist, then another warm towel. After that I was led to another little nook to have something to eat. Quiche, sliced kiwi, cheese, crackers, and a balsamic/tomato spread. Yum again. Then it was time for the pedicure. We were talking and she asked if I had brought my camera. I told her that I almost did, but then felt silly about it, so didn't. She said it wasn't silly at all and went and got her camera phone, took my picture, and emailed it to me right then. Last was the manicure--clear polish because 99.9% of the time I can't be bothered to do anything more than clip my nails! The whole experience at the spa was delightful. It's not something I will do again any time soon--it really was a splurge--but worth it for my 50th.
Afterwards I did exactly as I said I would--wandered through the book store, sipped coffee and people watched, then mosied through the mall. I stopped at the Sprint store on my way home (just to price phones since my old one was falling apart) and walked out with a new one. It's pretty snazzy, and I'm having fun figuring out all the bells and whistles. Then I stopped and had the oil changed in my little truck and used the free car wash ticket. (Exciting stuff for a birthday, right? Feels good to be driving a clean vehicle!) By that time it was getting late. A quick stop at the house to potty the dog, then to Shelley's for dinner. And guess what? Surprise! She had invited our cycling group. Not at all what I expected, but it was a fun evening. So, a full, fun day--a good day to be 50. What shall I do for my 75th??

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

...turning 50

Tomorrow is going to be a fabulous day to turn 50. I've thought about how I want to spend the day--what would make me smile? A few years ago my sister threw a big party for herself--lots of fun, but not my style. My good friend's family planned a surprise dinner for her (I misunderstood and spilled the beans--her family wasn't happy with me and I still feel a twinge of guilt when I think of it!)--but my kids aren't close enough to pull off a surprise--and not what I'd want anyway. So...what to do to celebrate this milestone birthday? Here's what I came up with: take a personal day off from school, sleep in, then go to a day spa for a few hours of pampering. A massage, pedicure, manicure and facial are going to feel soooo good! Then, if I feel like it, wander through the bookstore, sip coffee and people watch, meander through the mall and window shop. (I may just come home and nap after the spa!) In the evening I'm having dinner with two of my very best friends. It's going to be a good day. :-)

(Actually, the fun doesn't end there--my sister will be here from Boise this weekend. We're going to Milton Freewater and Walla Walla on Saturday to go to a pottery shop, have lunch and just hang out together. )

...old photographs

I've been opening picture files on my computer, trying to find our Thanksgiving and Christmas pictures from last year (Windows Vista has hidden them from me, I'm sure). So far no holiday pictures, but I did find some old ones of my grandparents that mom emailed to me some time ago. I need to order prints RIGHT NOW and get them framed before I forget again. This is my Grandma Irene (mom's mom) at about 25. Grandpa Felix took this photograph of her.
This is my Grandpa Felix (mom's dad)--not sure how old he is here.

And here are Felix and Irene--in their mid 60s, I'm guessing. They both died in their early 70s when I was a young teen. We only saw them about once a year because of being a Navy family. When we visited in the summertime grandma would tell us that if we picked enough blackberries that she would make blackberry dumplings. Yum. It makes my mouth water just to think of them. Grandpa was very crippled from arthritis and could be a bit cranky. But he also made funny faces and sang silly songs in the mornings at breakfast.

This is my Grandpa Mel--dad's stepdad--(on the right) and his brother Merle (Bones). He was called Bones because he was so tall and thin. We always called him Uncle Bones and never thought anything about it! I don't think I knew his real name until I was grown. I believe Mel and Bones graduated the same year, even though Bones was older. Grandpa was really smart--he taught the math class while the teacher was working with other students. A local doctor wanted to pay his way to college and medical school, but his dad wanted him to stay at home and work in the family business. So he did--one of the sons (and very fine carpenter) of Rundall and Sons. Grandpa was modest about his work--to a point. When driving around the valley he would point to a house and say, "Now there's a well-built house." Grandpa and I were buddies--but that's a whole other blog!

Old much fun to look at...and even more fun to do so with my parents...they have so many stories to tell. Now where is that darned file with my holiday pictures from last year?!?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

...a hard, hard ride.

Today I am recovering from yesterday's ride. It was the Oktoberfest ride, our last big one of the season. Last year it was my first ever big ride over 35 miles. I was so proud of myself for finishing the metric century--about 60 miles. So this year, after all the riding I've been doing, I was sure I was ready for the 100 miler. But...I didn't factor in the wind. And I should have given myself permission to wimp out and do the metric century again. The wind was from the north yesterday, and it was bitterly cold. I thought I was strong enough to hang on to the fast group. And I was so disappointed to be dropped at the first big hill. And embarrassed that two of the fast guys hung back so I wouldn't be all alone. And relieved when another rider, closer to my level caught up to the group. (The fast guys were relieved too!) So the two of us slogged it out, mile by mile, wondering why in the heck we were even doing what we were doing. Who in their right mind would be out on a bike in the cold, cold wind?? But, around the 50 mile mark the wind was sometimes at our backs and the sun was shining. For about 15 miles we had fun rollers to zoom down and could actually use momentum to help us climb back up. Then we turned west again, and the wind shifted. Back to pedaling through molasses. The last rest stop was at 80 miles--they offered snacks and more water, but for some reason didn't have a porta potty! Yikes. After that I let my riding partner know that I could care less about getting a full 100 miles in and that I was going to take the most direct route back to town. He agreed. It had to have been the most grueling 94 miles I have ever ridden. But even though I can't honestly say, "It was fun!" there were good things about the day:

1) I ride with a good group of people. The fast guys would not have abandoned me out in the boonies even if it meant a slower ride for them.

2) I met new people. Cindy, from Vancouver BC, drove down here specifically for this ride. We visited before the ride, and I invited her to come shower at my place before we went back to eat. We exchanged email addresses, and she is planning on coming back next year. Charlie and Larry, from Yakima, were part of our group and fun to visit with at dinner.

3) I got a free T-shirt and beer out of the deal.

So today I am taking it easy, washing my biking clothes, making cinnamon buns (cheating by using the bread machine to make the dough), reading and watching movies. Oh, and it's a beautiful day out--NO wind, clear and cool. A perfect day for a bike ride. There's always next year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 folks

I just got off the phone with my folks. They just got back from a trip to Portland where they had a table at the Miniature show. Mom and Dad have been making and selling minis for many years now, and they make some incredible things. Check out their website here: Their work is amazing. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite pictures of them. :-)

...whitewater rafting

Sue, Mom, Arlene, Jennie, Katie: ready for some fun!

Sometime during the summer of '07 my Mom, Dad, and I were having a conversation about their friends who live in Maupin, Oregon, and have a great view of the Deschutes River from their deck. Dad said they can see rafters going by, but it didn't look like much fun to him. Mom said it DID look like fun to her and it was something she had always wanted to do. So...I said, "Why don't we plan a trip for next summer to celebrate your 75th birthday?" She agreed. I sent out informational letters to all of the women over the age of 18 in our family, letting them know what was in the works. I also set up a Yahoo group so it would be easy to share information with each other. Over the cold winter months Mom wavered a little--she wasn't sure if this was such a good idea. But by spring she was enthusiastic once more. I contacted River Drifters in Maupin and paid a down payment for Tuesday, July 29, 2008. In early summer I called the Maupin city park and got our campsite reserved. I also sent out another mailing reminding everyone of the date and price. Finally, on Sunday, July 27th we all met in Maupin. We got the campsite set up, then spent the next day just hanging out and relaxing and enjoying each others company. Arlene did all of the cooking for us, and the food was awesome! Tuesday morning we were excited and nervous and ready to go. For one reason or another only 5 of us women were able to make it. Dad came along as the dog-watcher while we were on the river. The whole trip was an absolute blast and a memorable way to celebrate Mom's 75th!

Mom in her wetsuit and splash jacket. Our two girls: my niece Jennie, 20, and Katie, 21 Our guide giving us last minute instructions before we got to the first rapids. Good thing Mom was paying attention! Sue and Jennie

Starting into Boxcar Rapids Mom falling OUT in Boxcar Rapids--Sue freaking out!

Here came Mom, floating along, just as she had been told to do. ...and being hauled back into the raft.

Katie tightened Grandma's life jacket for the next time!

Going into the last rapids...Oak Springs... ...and coming back out of it...we made it! What a blast!
What shall we do next year?????? :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

...riding in the rain

When I got up this morning and saw the dark clouds to the west I thought there was no way we would have our regular Thursday night ride. Rain, and lots of it, was in the forecast for the day. But, as often happens in NE Oregon, a warm breeze blew, the sky cleared, and the ride was on. We left Scott's at 5:40 and it was absolutely beautiful out. We were riding east and didn't see the clouds that were coming in behind us. By the time we noticed them it was too late to turn back. I felt the first raindrop splat on my cheek as I was climbing a hill, headed west. Light at first, then splat, splat, splat, splat, whoosh! At the top of the hill the wind kicked in. Throw in a few semis and farm trucks throwing up sheets of water as they passed and woo whee, what an adventure! We couldn't draft off each other because of the dirty water spraying off the rear wheels, so it was each person for him/herself. We got back to the shop at 7:00--sopping wet. It was a hard ride. An oh-my-gosh-I-hope-I-can-make-it-in ride. But an exhilarating and strangely satisfying ride. Yes, a fun ride. (And now I must get ready for Saturday--some of us are driving to Ellensburg for their annual ride. And even though rain is predicted, we're told it never rains for this ride. I hope it's true!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

...the bug in my iron

Yup. There is a bug in the water reservoir of my iron. I was going to iron my clothes for the week on Sunday, but noticed a long, black bug inside. Gross. So I shook the iron upside down. Added more water and shook it again. And again. And again. Felt like I was playing one of those old hand-held water games where you push a button to try to the playing pieces to move where you want them. So...what to do...I looked in my closet and decided that by shifting my summer clothes to the back and bringing out my long pants that I could get by for a few days without ironing. So I filled the iron again, but this time left it face down--thinking that...ewww...the bug would turn to mush and THEN I could shake it out. But...I didn't realize that the water would leak out of the iron when left in that position. So now I have a nasty, partly turned to mush bug in my iron AND a soggy ironing board cover. ( I felt compelled to leave the computer and go try again...the bug isn't as mushy as I'd like it to be.) And this isn't any old iron. This isn't a $20 cheapo from Wallyworld. This is a fairly new Rowenta that I absolutely love and I promise my sister that I really didn't leave water sitting in it to attract the bug in the first place. Honest I didn't. I don't know why it decided my iron was a good place to hang out. And I'm running out of school clothes. Yes, I have more clothes than any one person needs. (I will be flinging soon.) But there are clothes that I want to wear that need to be ironed. And this bug in my iron is a metaphor for all the things that 'bug' me. I am impatient and want things when I want them and I want all the 'bugs' to be worked out so I don't have to deal with them. It's driving me buggy.

...peeing on the Oregon Trail

I actually wrote this on September 10th, before I even was officially blogging. Chasse and I went back out there today and I remembered to take my camera this time. It wasn't as beautiful a day as the first time, but still pretty nice to be out. And, the fall colors are starting to show a bit. Who knew sage brush and desert prickly-thingy bushes were so beautiful? Here's what I wrote on the 10th:

So today is one of those absolutely gorgeous, I'm-so-lucky-I-live-in-NE-Oregon days. Lots of sun, no clouds, NO WIND!, and warm enough to run around in a sleeveless top and shorts. I got home from school a little after 4:00, dinked around on the computer and thought, "Why am I not outside???" It's not a biking day, so what to do, what to do. I remembered seeing an historical marker for the Oregon Trail on our last bike ride out past Echo. So, I loaded up my ancient dog (who seems intent on living forever), and went for a drive. We stopped at some blackberry bushes but they seemed to be pretty well picked over. I tried to get the dog to run with me in a nearby, newly mown field, but the stubble hurt her feet. So back in the truck and a little further on down the road we went. We got to the Oregon Trail marker and I read the informational sign while Chasse sniffed around. Then we set off, following the wagon wheel ruts that were formed in the late 1880s. Then it hit me. The water and coffee I had had earlier hit bottom. I had to pee. Now I'm not normally your 'dropyourdrawersandpeeanywhere' kind of gal, but I really had to pee. And there was no one around, except my old dog. (She IS the dropyourdrawersandpeeanywhere kind of gal and frankly, it's getting to be a pain.) So, taking one more look around just to be sure, I got rid of all that water and coffee. Ah, relief! The walk was so much more fun after that. The canyon was quiet and secluded and quite dry this time of year. I got to wondering what those pioneer women were thinking as they jostled their way up the hill (Lord, Lord, what have I gotten myself into?--not so different from what I was thinking 19 years ago when I rolled into Umatilla for my first teaching job!). So there you have it. I peed on the Oregon Trail today.

I wonder what critter lives down this hole? There were plenty of holes like it, but never saw the critters.

Cat scat. Big cat scat. Never did see the big cat. Am glad of that.