Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Best twenty years of my life!

 I just love it when friends gather at our place to have a good time!  We celebrated in our backyard from 11 AM till 8pm.  Paul and Maggie , with Greg in the foreground.
                 Mary Jean looking too cute in her shorts.

Judy enjoying the peace

Jessica and Jakob from across the street.  
 Jakob was fascinated by the hazelnut shells in our garden.

Lovely Lisa and Katy gracing the buffet.

There is always too much cake.  I sent home great big chunks of cake with people, and we still have this left to take care of.   And a big bowl of pasta salad, and half a bowl of fairly piss-poor sangria I made.  The wine and beer got used up, and I carried around the deviled eggs to make people take the final 3.
"No presents"  I said.  "Your presence is gift enough."  But people brought bouquets!  Oh lord, I LOVE flowers! Thank you,  thank  you!
 The various seating areas worked out splendidly.  People gathered and talked and relaxed and were happy together.
And the grillmaster stuck to his post all day long.  We have left-over hot-dogs, too.  Wanna come and share our left-overs?

My brother, Denny, and his wife came from Redmond.  I felt really honored.  And he complimented my pasta salad!  Squee!

Paul and David came and brought me flowers.  More squees!

In fact, the whole day was filled with squeeful moments.

Now it's time to start cleaning up.  Damn, life is good!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

today in history

On the first of July in 1994, Kyle and I moved into our house.  On the 23rd, we got married in the backyard. The hottest day of the year.  So, to celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are hosting a barbecue in our backyard on Saturday.

We have been whacking weeds for days to get things in shape.  The blackberries and the morning glories are still carrying on their turf war in the north corner (Near the neighbor's dog pen.  The smell of dog poop renders us willing to cede the territory.)  Kyle sprayed with toxic chemicals and the morning glories took heavy casualties, but they are so well entrenched and so effective with their grass-roots campaign that the victory is only temporary.  However, their defoliation made the blackberry canes more accessible to long-handled pruning shears, and for the fist time in a year, we can see the back fence!

We topped our garden beds with 2 yards of broken hazelnut shells for mulch.  (We are in the  top hazelnut producing part of the world after all.)  It is lighter in weight than bark chips and is delightfully crunchy underfoot.  Cats won't poop in it, and slugs don't have the guts to walk across it.  Some people don't care for it color, but I like it a lot!!

We bought a bunch of annuals to fill in a little color, and I spent a couple hours yesterday potting up petunias.  Then I gave everything a nice big drink.  Last night, it rained for the first time in weeks.  Guess I should go try it in S. California.  They are crying for rain!

Still, Saturday is predicted to be hot and sunny, so I am planning on putting the food out with bowls of ice underneath them.  I was arranging bowls on the dining room table, and the cat traps worked again!

Months ago, we bought some Cougar Gold, which is reputed to be some of the best cheddar available.  We will be serving it Saturday.  It's going on a covered cake platter.  And I am planning lids or bug screens for everything else as well.  Deviled eggs, hot dogs, pasta salad, raw veggies, fruit, carrot cake, cookies, chips and guacamole, pickles, olives, whatever else leaps to  mind.  Sangria using that bottle of plum wine and the bottle of pomegranate wine, and maybe some two-buck-Chuck red, cranberry juice, sparkling water, oranges and lemons.  And whatever else it needs to taste good.  (Bourbon?) (I put cherry rum in the last batch of Sangria I made)  Our shopping list keeps growing.  And Friday, I am going to be boiling and baking and brewing all day long.  Saturday, buy a few more bags of ice and arrange everything nicely.

I got out the wedding photos and was kind of taken aback. Many family and friends have died over the past 20 years.  Yes, I'm at that age now.  But how did James Garner get to be 82 years old all of a sudden?  Not that he was at our wedding, but you know what I mean, don't you?  The way time runs over you like a rat in golf shoes?

Meanwhile, the sewing goes on.  Another quilt that was too fun to make.  I know all the stripes should run the same way, but I cut a few squares the wrong way and was so amused by the option that I ran with the randomness of it all..  And then there were little bits that got pieced together . . .

 I pieced the back too.  And for a batt, I used an electric blanket that I got at a garage sale for free because it didn't work anymore.  I pulled out the wire, ran it through the wash, and voila, a fluffy acrylic blanket with no wires.  it will keep those orphans toasty warm.

I have a friend (Hi Leslie!) who married a nice man in Malawi.  Turns out that they are running an orphanage, and could use some bright quilts.  I'd be happy to ship a batch, but I'm told that things shipped to Africa often go astray.  Anyone got any suggestions or advice?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sandy Mountain Days

 Today we drove up the Mountain to Sandy, Oregon, to enjoy the Mountain Days Festival.  It was great fun!  You can still make it on Sunday if you want.  There was a carnival with rides on the main drag, but the bets part was in the park behind Joe's Doughnuts (best doughnuts on the mountain - swear-ta-god!)

The park has this awesome play structure, and lots and lots of trees, but the real action was further downhill.

Local crafters and vendors had set up their tents all over the hillside in amongst the trees.  There were potters and quilters and soap-makers, people frying elephant ears and selling lemonade, people selling really neat wooden swords and pretty tinselly crowns with ribbons to trail down a girl's back.

There was live music and people picnicking in the shade.  There was a strolling magician, and there were gleeful kids playing in the crick (or creek if you're fussy.  I always played in the crick.)
We parked quite a ways away and walked to the park.  On the way back, we passed a house where people had evidently decided to take advantage of all the foot-traffic and have a garage sale.  They were pulling out boxes of stuff and stacking it on the lawn.  They had some pretty vintage blue glass cup and saucer sets, and no prices on anything.  A lady came out and I asked the price.  "I don't know," she replied.  "I'll go ask dad."  Five minutes later, she emerged with another box of stuff.  "He says everything on that table is five dollars a piece."   "Five dollars for the cup and five dollars for the saucer?" I asked.  "I'll go ask dad." and she vanished into the house again.  Five minutes or so later, dad emerged with an armload of stuff.  "Will you take three dollars for this?" I asked, holding up a cup and saucer.  in one hand and a twenty dollar bill in the other.  He looked flummoxed.  "I don't have any change. Let me ask my son-in-law."  Five minutes later, he re-emerged with another armful of stuff.  "How about I take two sets of cups for five dollars?" I asked.  "Take 'em all for five dollars." he said with a smile.  So I got four blue glass cups and three blue glass saucers for $5.  Deal!!

All in all, it was a splendidly successful expedition.  AND we got in almost two miles of pleasant stroll to and from the car.

Friday, July 11, 2014

it's good to be home.

 Breakfast with my brothers was a lot of fun.  The older we get, the more I appreciate those guys!

The stop in Madras at the Cup-n-Cake was wonderful.  Cheryl made iced earl Grey with orange syrup for me and OMG it was delicious.  And her coconut cream cupcakes are scrumptious.  You don't want to miss a crumb!

Then, driving over the pass, through all those green trees and blue sky and sunshine, between the snow-capped mountains, along roads I have traveled all my life.  I'm finding a visceral comfort in scenery I recognize.  There is a rightness to the sight of a sunrise over the hills of home.  Coming around this curve of the pass, and seeing those valleys and ridges laid out before you as they have been your whole life is a reality check.  I begin to understand why people get more reluctant to leave their homes as they age.

I managed to get a snapshot of the hills outside San Jose.  It looks dry and miserable to me, but I bet if I had grown up there, I would love it just as much as I love the pines and mountains of home.

All the driving gave me time to knit.  The baby surprise sweater is a great way to use up odds and ends of leftovers.

And I finished off three fish hats, but I left the other two in Madras for friends of my niece, Cera.

I'm kind of pleased with this one because I was trying to phase from black to white while working the decreases at the same time.    It was a good workout for the brain.  I had a 20 gallon tote full of yarn because we left home with intentions of a two week trip.  One week, with a lot of family time, didn't give me as much knitting as I had expected.

So today I have unpacked the RV, and my 20 gallon yarn tote, and am now sitting quietly, counting my marbles before the next big push begins.  Our 20th anniversary is at the end of the month, and we are planning a party in the backyard.  Y'all come!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Good morning!!

There is so much to be said for a hot shower and a good night's rest.  I was a real whiner when I wrote the last post. This morning, everything's coming up glorious.  These are the same mountains I woke up to for the first fifteen years of my life, and it's good to wake up to them again.  The sunrise is pulling a rosy blush down the snow-capped peaks.  The air is clear and dry and cool.  I hear Killdeer (birds) and OMG I just saw a covey of quail scamper past!  Good morning, good morning!

Looking forward to breakfast with my brothers.  When I was a teen, I had no use for them.  The older I get, the better I like them.  We should all live another thirty years.  They'll be cranky old centenarians by then, and I'll probably have evolved into that crazy cat lady with a house full of yarn, but I'll still treasure them!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

my butt is weary

We got in over 600 miles today.  Sometimes, Kyle gets the bit in his teeth and he just won't stop driving.  If he could figure some way to handle those excretory processes while  still keeping both hands on the wheel,  . . . oh, I'm just cranky right now.  He is a sweetheart and it's not as if I got down on my knees and begged him to stop.  We grabbed a couple of hard-boiled eggs and left Watsonville about 7:30.  We drove north past SanJose, past Los Gatos (I waved to the cats but couldn't get a photo) past Silicon Valley.  San Francisco was buried in a fog bank to the west of us.  The scenery went from lush greenery with maples, pines and oaks, to gently mounding brown hills with the occasional cluster of oak trees like a beauty mark on the breast of a dusky young woman.  We slid past Sacramento, and those swelling brown hills flattened out into the bare, dry basin.  We finally stopped for gas.  I know we took a break so Kyle could eat some left-over pizza.  And then it was "'Drive,' he said!" and we continued to drive for home.  The closer we got to Mt. shasta, the prettier the scenery got.  Things like trees hold a great deal of appeal for me.  Clouds were building above the mountains, and we could see those fuzzy grey patches where the rain was bucketing down.  Finally, about 20 miles from the Oregon border, we drove into a thunderstorm.  It came down so hard that it washed the bugs off the windshield.

On we drove.  and on.  Finally, about 6:30 we stopped for dinner in LaPine, Oregon.  The Harvest Depot cafe has great chili, good fried chicken, cheerful, personable service, and decent prices ($10 - $20 per person for dinner.)   Give them a try if you get hungry in LaPine.

And then, sigh, back on the road.  We have finally thrown out the anchor in my home town of Redmond.  We will meet my brothers for breakfast tomorrow morning at 7, then head north again.  Cheryl, we are planning on stopping by the Cup'n'Cake for cupcakes and hot beverages - 9 ish?  We'll call when we're leaving Redmond.  I have two fish hats to deliver to Cera.  Hugs and love till then!

at last!

Sorry this has been so long in coming.  Google didn't want to let me in to Blogger.

Holiday hejira  7/3/14

On the 4th of July, Kyle’s sister,Lydia, and her boyfriend, Harry, throw a big party at their home in El Segundo, Ca.  This year, with the RV, we have decided to drive down and attend.   And then - - maybe - - the Grand Canyon.  Maybe.

So, Wednesday at 11 AM we loaded up the kitties and set out.  We have the latest Monster Hunters International book on audio, and my how the miles sped by as our heroes performed astounding feats of strength and glory, defeating the minions of Hell and the Old Ones.  The I-5 freeway in Oregon rolls through lush greenery, down a tranquil valley, and then up into the piney heights of the Siskiyou Mountains.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful drive.

And then, we got to California.  The landscape didn’t immediately turn sere and brown, but it was tending that way.  The temperature continued to rise, and the AC in the rig was not up to the task so we sweated as we cruised along.  We heard a funny pop, but nothing seemed amiss, so we never even slowed.  Next thing we knew, an SUV drove up alongside us in the fast lane, and both the man and woman in it were making frantic gestures.  We pulled over.  They carried on. 

Our rig has four tires on the back axle.  The inside tire on the driver’s side had blown.  We  have an app on our phones to help us find things, so slowly, carefully, we made our way to the nearest tire dealership in Sutherlin, CA.  The entire sidewall of the tire had separated from the tread.  It came off the rim in two neat pieces.  The main body of the tire would have made a good planter if you’re into that sort of thing.  We bought a new tire, (thank you Les Schwab Tires) and continued on. And on.  And on.  We stopped for gas in Castela.  We stopped to eat  outside Redding.  We put in 735 miles that day before we pulled into a rest stop for the night.  And still, it was hot.  It was 97 F inside the rig when we lay down naked on the bed.  It had cooled down to 75 when we gave up at 4:30.  We got up, got dressed, ate some hard-boiled eggs, and got back on the road.

South of Redding, the scenery palls.  There are miles and miles of flat fields.  At one time, this was the market basket for Western America.  But there has been a drought.  It’s flat, bare brown fields s far as the eye can see, occasionally interrupted by groves of almond trees and the occasional stockyard located fragrantly close to the freeway.  Along the west side of the valley runs,  -  well, -  I would call it a series of high ridges, but around here it might be considered a mountain range.  Along the east side of the valley was a murky brown haze  I guess the Sierras are hidden back there under the air pollution somewhere.

11 AM we pulled in to Bakersfield for gas.  We filled up, paid, and the RV refused to start.  Here we are, taking up a whole lane of pumps, and the battery is dead as a mackerel.  It has taken 40 minutes for AAA to get to us, it’s 104 degree outside, and it looks like the new tire will be joined by a new battery. 

But no one is shooting at us, and I’m not pregnant, so things could sure be worse.  At least we are parked in the shade, and thank God for AAA!  They will bring us a new battery.  And we can have a leisurely lunch.

7/6/14  5:30 AM

After a whirl of activity, at last, time to pause and count my marbles.  The new battery was installed, though, since we were Oregon AAA instead of California AAA, the battery cost us $185 instead of $105.  (gnashing of teeth)

And we carried on along the Salinas basin  Looking at the map, I see that there is so little topography that the roads all go in neat, straight lines. It’s a tidy grid.  Until the freeway gets to Grapevine Hill.   This must have been a nightmare in the old days.  It’s a precipitate series of hills forming the south end of the basin, separating it from Los Angeles.  Even today, with modern engineering and freeways, it’s a damn steep climb.  I was impressed that they have put a six lane freeway through here, and I was further impressed by the speedy flow of traffic.

Said speedy flow clogged right up as soon as we got into the LA Basin.  We had been cruising along at 55-60 miles an hour.  And suddenly, we were creeping along at 15 to 20 miles an hour.  It took us three hours to travel our final 60 miles. 

LA traffic is a different sort of beast.  In Oregon, you use a turn signal to indicate that you intend to change lanes.  Evidently, in LA, turn signals are an indication that you want the people along side to speed up and cut you off.  And motorcycles do not use the regular traffic lanes.  They zip BETWEEN the moving lanes of cars.  You will be proceeding sedately along in your section of the traffic jam, nodding and smiling at the folks in the cars next to you, and suddenly a motor bike will whizz down the 5 foot wide aisle between cars and disappear into the distance.  I think they call those daredevils, “organ donors.” 

But we finally made it to Kyle’s brother’s home and anchored the barge.  Kyle’s brother, Dennis, and his wife, Yolanda, could not be kinder or more hospitable.  This has been an oasis of peace.  Their oldest boy, Alexander, has grown to be a handsome, charming, mighty young man.  He was an adorable toddler twenty years ago when we married.  I feel time racing over my skin like a rat in cleats.

Dennis had rented a car for us, so July the 4th we drove across town to Kyle’s sister’s place and her annual barbecue.  Lydia and Harry have thrown this bash for years.  Harry invites everyone he knows, even total strangers, and many of the people have no idea who Lydia is.  She had everything beautifully organized and set up, with red table covers and red and blue plates, white plastic forks and paper napkins, pots of white flowers on the tables, snacks scattered around, washtubs full of beverages and ice, trash cans and recycling bins and food – Lord the food just kept coming!  People brought salads, fruit, deserts, munchies (slices of water chestnuts wrapped in bacon and drizzled with maple syrup!) Lydia and Harry provided hotdogs and hamburgers.  One of Harry’s pals served as grillmaster. Kids splashed in the pool.  Guys looked over and admired Harry’s collection of vintage cars.  People ate and circulated and chatted, or not.  Even though we were outside, the noise level was so intense that it was hard to hear someone across the table from you.  Of course, the fact that they live about a mile from the LA airport may have made a difference, too.  Every fifteen minutes or so, another jet took off overhead.

People just kept coming.  We left before dark, not wanting to chance the freeway after the drunks, dazzled by fireworks and a day at the beach, got out and started driving.  Back to  our little haven of peace at Dennis and Yolanda’s house.  I slept as if I had been shot and stuffed.

On the fifth, we took dear Alexander and went to spend time with Kyle’s mom.  She has been having trouble with her laptop, so the two tech savvy guys got to work on it, and she and I sat and chatted.  It’s really intriguing to me to see his original territory.  I’m so lucky he moved up to Oregon!

But his mom has not been well lately, and her energy began to flag, so we packed up her computer and carried it off with us to continue the repairs.  And eventually, the guys were able to go on line with their computers and track down a fix for her computer.  They have it set up for her now and we will deliver it today.

July 8, 2014

On Monday we drove out to Temecula and visited Kyle’s Aunt and cousins for the day, spent the night in their driveway, and got up at 5 to head off for Monterey.  LA freeway traffic is – I guess appalling is the word.  I thought you took the freeway to make better time.  It’s a creeping parking lot!  I’m really looking forward to getting out of town.

California Highway 1 between San Luis Obisbo, and Carmel, is stunningly beautiful and scary as any RV driver could wish.  The narrow, twisty road  is carved into the side of these steep, steep hillsides (with no guard rails on the precipitate cliff side, hundreds, maybe thousands of feet above the jagged rocks and the gnashing ocean.) We averaged 30 miles an hour for 8 hours.  Some of the corners were so sharp that we had to hug the rocks to get around them.  

And there is NO SHOULDER!  If you think you want to take your bike on this road, you probably should drive it once to see if you seriously want the risk your very life.  Will you even notice the scenery if your heart is pounding out of your chest with the climbs and the near misses?

I took a picture of this guard rail as we passed because it was such a rare sight.

Also, if, like me, you are nervous driving along the edge of a cliff, you should drive the road from south to north so you are between oncoming traffic and the cliff face, rather than facing oncoming traffic with the gaping void on your right hand.

Many of the cliff faces are covered with wire mesh to keep rocks from jumping off and hitting cars.  Some of the mesh is re-enforced with steel cables.  Some looks like fencing for a high security prison.

And yet, every corner brings you sights like this.  The ocean is a thousand shades of blue, the fog slips in and out, and birds soar on the updrafts like angels dancing.  It is breathtakingly beautiful.  The driver, however, will never get to appreciate the view since there will always be another rented RV with an inexperienced driver coming around the next corner with two wheels over the line, crowding you into the wall on the hairpin curve.   I'm so glad we did this.  And so glad we don't have to do it again.  

However, I will want to come back and spend a couple of days touring San Simeon, the Hearst castle.  But the road isn't nearly as scary down at that end.

This is our first long trip, and we are learning a lot.  The price of gas varies from $3.99 a gallon to $5.49 a gallon.  Some credit cards limit you to $100 worth of gas.  Less than 20 gallons? That will get us 200 miles, if we're lucky and don't run the AC.

And we have at least two different modes of travel:  There's the take - your time, stop for photos, let's go back to that produce stand - set up early and head out late - sort of travel, and there is the - leave at oh dark hundred, put your foot down, drive till you drop and dry-camp at the side of the road - sort of travel.  Guess which I prefer?

So today, we are heading back to Oregon where there is no sales tax and you don't have to pump your own gas.  We will wave to SanFrancisco as we pass.