Wednesday, August 31, 2011

VA Day 2

Day 2 of my Virginia vacation was awesome, plus a crushing blow.

We started the day with breakfast at "Bob Evans".  Katie & I were determined to dine at BE on our last x-country road trip, but only managed Cracker Barrel before we left the midwest and Bob Evans land.  My breakfast was good, and the biscuits were quite tasty.  Bob doesn't hold a candle to Cracker Barrel in the cheesy gifts area though.

Our next stop ended in disaster and disappointment!  Right across the highway from Bob Evans has always been my next dream stop: the strip mall location of "A Soldier's Life: Civil War Museum".  Somehow, in 6 years of visiting F-burg, I've never made it to this little museum.  And I was determined that this was the time.  Sadly, the Visitor's Bureau reported that the museum had closed/moved down by the James Monroe House, aka World's Saddest Museum.  The Visitor's Bureau told Cara that "he didn't get enough traffic, sometimes he only had 2 visitors a DAY".  She thought 2 a WEEK would have been a success.  Well, he also didn't have all his exhibits back up and was "focusing on his vintage photography".  Damn it.

We rallied after that disaster, and headed up to Mount Vernon:
Lovely.  The estate is beautiful, the mansion is beautiful and it was an interesting place to tour.  Granted, GW didn't have as many interesting inventions and whatnots as at Monticello, but the rooms have been restored to their original colors and decor and I really loved it.  I'd move into George and Martha's bedroom in a heartbeat.

The Perfect Hostess Gifts

for our Virginians, who sorely miss their favorite Pacific NW Products.  I brought with me:

Yep, you cannot get Tillamook Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheddar, Red Vines and Oh Boy Oberto! Cocktail Pep.  The Virginians were thrilled to get a taste of home :-)

PS good news!  We went to the Tillamook website and and discovered there are a few places in VA where you can buy the XS cheese.  So yay!

ETA: I made mac & cheese for dinner tonight.  OMG it was so good.  I outdid myself and Cara & Tony may follow me home on the promise of a regular meal of m&c.  :0

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

VA Day 1

not really anything too exciting to report.  Cara had to go to a work meeting today somewhere in Podunksville VA.  So Pooh  and I were left to our own devices for the day.  We contemplated going to the Luray Caverns (I know, they  are amazing), but somehow that didn't happen.  Instead, we did a tour of about 60 miles around Winchester VA and tracked down every thrift store in the area.  So I got a little inventory and did see a lot of lovely scenery and some amazing Civil War era towns.

Pooh was a good sport.  He cheered when I proclaimed "hells no, I'm not paying $5.00 to go in the Winchester Court House Museum" (aka up the stairs to the 2nd floor).  And spent a lot of time doing this:
We have big plans for tomorrow!  Bob Evans for breakfast, The Soldier's Life: Civil War Museum, then Mount Vernon!  They should be ready to ship me home after that whirlwind of activity.  But we still have much more to see...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yay! I'm in VA~

I am safely arrived in Virginia!  Tony and Cara picked me up at Dulles, which proves what good children they are, as traffic is horrible in DC. 

We  are going to the Luray Caverns tomorrow morning (Tony and I are going, as Cara has a meeting), and have plans to go to the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, the Civil War Soldier's Museum/Bob Evans (both in the same strip mall lol) and maybe up to New York for the US Open.

But whatever we do, or even if we do nothing, I'm loving seeing my Fred & Irene.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene(s) Update

A bit of news on the "Irene" fronts:

1. Hurricane Irene has passed through Virginia, and Cara reports that Fredericksburg escaped unscathed.  To her and Tony's delight I'm sure, she says Williamsburg is under they are spared my planned trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  Next time, you two are doomed.

At the urging of Southwest, I moved my departure date to tomorrow (Monday) so I shouldn't have any delays in getting to DC.  I'm excited for my week in VA!

2. Our other "hurricane" Lois Irene :-) spent the weekend with Jon and Lorraine.  I went over for dinner last night (fresh crab from Lopez Island--what a treat!) and she was having a pretty good time.  J & L's neighbor Bert came for dinner with his mom, who also has dementia, so it was kind of cray-cray.  But Julie is as sweet as Lois is salty so it was an interesting contrast.

I went over this morning to take the twins birthday shopping and out to lunch, and Lois was definitely ready to go home, and crabby that I wasn't there to take her to Seattle.  I reminded her that when she is home, she wants to be anywhere else and she's always complaining no one takes her anywhere (not true btw).  That argument didn't cut any ice with her, but Lorraine is really good at putting up with her crankiness when Jon and I get fed up.  As Lorraine pointed out, HER parents drive her crazy and Jon manages them like a master, so it's all about that family dynamic.

Off to start packing my grip!  Will check in with my adventures in VA!

Friday, August 26, 2011

East Coast Apocalypse!

It certainly seems as though the gods are conspiring against my vacation in Virginia!  First the earthquake and now Hurricane Irene.  Southwest strongly suggested I change my trip plans, so now I'm heading east on Monday rather than Saturday.

Hopeful Irene will have moved on by the time I board my flight.  I like Denver but don't really want to spend an extended period of time in the airport there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Remember Mama

I am home for a couple of days before I head off to the maelstrom of freak geological/weather events that is the East Coast...

I had a nice week in Seattle, although most of my entertainment plans didn't pan out (the zoo parking lot was completely full, and other miscalculations).  Mom and I drove up to The Cabin to visit with B-Z, Bob and the kids/babies, and that was a lot of fun.  The babies are getting SO big!  Carsie is scooting around everywhere and pulling himself up on anything handy.  Hadley is a 4 year old dynamo, Maddie was super cute in her braids and flouncy skirt (I didn't check to see if she had on underpants, but probably not), and Allie -- cutest thing EVER.  The parents are a delight as well.  Mom was put to work placing stickers on campaign flyers, which she did well.

Whenever I spend a week helping care for Mom, I'm awed at the love and devotion of my sibs who take care of her on a daily basis.  While she is (thankfully) still able to dress, bathe and feed herself, it's an exhausting task to keep her occupied, to answer the same questions over and over, and to make sure she has her meals when she wants them, etc.  You guys are the BEST.

Anyway, I was thinking about all the good things I remember about Mom:

  1. Lois was an only child, with two parents who thought she was the greatest thing ever.  When she'd enter a room, her dad would proclaim "THERE SHE IS!" and she owned the room.  She was always the person who was the center of the action.
  2. Super artist, craftster, florist.  Mom could take a stick, 2 rocks and some moss and create a beautiful arrangement.  She sewed beautifully, I remember her knitting complex Aran and color projects, her Christmas decorations were always fab.  And she painted in both oils and watercolors, drew and sketched beautifully and sold many paintings.
  3. Great cook.  Her potato salad, mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes: Legend.  And no one could bake a pie as good as Mom's.  Her apple pie is still my idea of the perfect breakfast.
  4. Amazing storyteller.  This lady could tell a joke like a Vegas entertainer, including accents if needed.  As someone who is completely incapable of telling a joke, this talent awed me.  
  5. Hostess with the mostest.  I remember my folks giving fabulous cocktail parties, the kind you see on "Mad Men" with pitchers of martinis, cigarettes galore, broadway show tunes on the stereo and people all dressed up.  So cool.
  6. Snazzy dresser.  Back in the 60s, I used to LOVE going through Mom's closet, with her boxes of matching shoes and purses, hats, dresses etc.  Her glove drawer!  Her hanky drawer!  Her jewelry box!  All scented with her signature "Hope" perfume.
  7. Voracious reader of hard-boiled detective novels.  You couldn't convince her to read anything "Literary" but she did love her Robert Parker, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman crime novels.  
Those are just a few things I remember about Mom.  While she is unable to do most of these things now, she's still our Mom.  And every day I was there, she told me how happy she was that I was there.  And I made sure to tell her how much I love her.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Seattle Update

I've seen quite a lot of Mt. Rainier as I cruise the freeways here in Seattle, the weather has been lovely and you can see mountains in all 4 directions.

So far, my trip has been nice, though not super-exciting :-)  Mimi is fine and feisty as usual, we took a trip over to Mill Creek the other day to eat lunch with Susna, stopping at a couple of thrift stores on the way, and at Ostroms Drug & Gift in Kenmore to visit with The B and buy Cara a cute birthday present.  Seriously, readers, if you live anywhere near the north end of Lake Washington, Ostroms has the BEST gifts.  I'm not lyin' or just saying that bc The B is my little sister.  She is probably the world's greatest gift dept. buyer.

For some insane reason, I decided to stop at the Bothell Safeway on that trip to pick up a few items.  Now I know why this store is being torn down.  The sooner the better, because they have obvs. given up on restocking it.  Like sometime in 1973 they quit restocking.  They didn't even have a loaf of FRENCH BREAD for the love of mike.  Or anything else I wanted.  I'm pretty sure they would have had any product from the 1960s I might have wanted though...

Yesterday, I met up with Sue and we went to her weekly Knitter's Night Out at "Serial Knitters" in Rose Hill. Awesome store btw.  Her knitting buddies are great, and it was fun to get together with fellow needle-nuts for an evening.  And The B joined us so that was even more fun!

I'm trying to decide if today Mom and I should:
  1. go to the zoo.  My favorite place in town.  and they rent wheelchairs so I can puch mom around when she gets tired.
  2. take the ferry to Whidbey Island.  Beautiful day to be on Puget Sound.  And I love Langley. 
  3. Go to the "Shoreline Days" parade over on 15th Ave (just a few blocks away)  Who doesn't love a parade?
  4. Find a farmer's market and wander around
All good ideas.  Will run them by Mimi and see what appeals to her.  And we're off!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Go See This!

Katie, Pia and I went to "The Help" last night.  With trepidation, as we loved the book on DVD SO much, we were afraid the film actresses wouldn't measure up.  Not to mention how Hollywood generally ruins any good book they turn into a movie.

Not to fear.  LOVED IT!  The actresses are amazing, the storyline is pretty faithful to the book and it was wonderful.

The only bad thing was the totally craptastic series of previews we had to sit through.  1. the films being advertised were so not aimed at "The Help" audience (which at this show was mostly women, mostly over 50) and 2. they just looked like really really terrible movies.  So if you're planning to see this movie in Spokane, feel free to come about 45 minutes late, and you'll miss all the ads and the terrible previews.

WW Update

amazingly enough, following the Weight Watchers "Healthy Choice Guidelines" resulted in a good weight loss last week, 2.2 pounds.  Which brings me up to almost 10 lbs. lost, so I'm happy about that.  Long way to go, but that's okay.

I'm packing to head to Seattle for a week of mom-sitting.  Hope to see some of you while I'm there, and to have some blog-worthy adventures.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I've been having so much fun this week on Facebook.  Yes, uber-shy Lavs has shown herself to former classmates on FB, in the "You Know You're From Bothell" group and reliving some great memories from my childhood.

And here's a priceless memory: our Senior Class (of '72) Homecoming Float in flames during the parade.  For some insane reason, our advisor permitted us to have A LIVE TORCH ON A FLOAT MADE ENTIRELY OF TISSUE PAPER FLOWERS.  With the inevitable result at left.

Needless to say, our class ended up in last place in the Homecoming Spirit competition.  Although I think we should have won based on our sheer entertainment value.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Cool Garage Sale Find!

Well, cool to me :-)  I got a plastic bag of "old stuff" at a garage sale this morning, for a quarter.

Inside, there was:

  • This catalog advertising B. Altman's (I think this was a fancy NYC dept. store) January 1918 White Sale.  I heart these dresses so much.  Pretty sure my last life was as an Edwardian Lady (or more likely, the poor shlub who had to iron that Edwardian Lady's lovely white linen dresses)
  • "Home Needlework Magazine" from April, 1914.  With an amazing wedding gown (sadly, you had to send away for the pattern), lots of wonderful crochet and embroidery patterns, and a lace bag that I might actually knit bc it's cool
  • a 1914 Royal Society pattern for a "Fancy Apron" transfer pattern, which is unused and in amazing condition.  You iron the transfer pattern onto fabric and embroider the design.  Too fancy for me, as I spill all food on myself, but pretty neat nonetheless
  • Another transfer set from the same era, "Progress Transfer Initials" with 354 letters to stamp with an iron.  Again in like-new condition.  Everyone's getting monogrammed linens from me for Xmas :-)
  • A "Ladies' Blouse" pattern envelope, again from the early 1900s, very cool but only has one of the pattern pieces so won't be sewing that.
  • Another transfer pattern for a "Wild-Rose Scalloped Border" to embroider on a "petticoat, chemise or drawers, and on a nightgown".  Love.
  • And a pattern for "A Ladies' Bungalow Apron" which I'm totally enamored with:
THIS is the garment I have been looking for, but didn't know it existed until now!  FULL BODY COVERAGE, people!  Those who have eaten with me will know that this should be my daily uniform.

I love finding these needlework treasures.  I always feel like I'm saving something precious that some woman carefully preserved for many years.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Little Weight Loss Update

The pounds are not exactly flying off, but I've lost 7.5 lbs this summer (4.8 lbs since I started going back to meetings).  So that's at least heading in the right direction.  Katie and I have been attending Weight Watchers meetings faithfully, and I'm sure Pia will join us as soon as she wraps up her camp job.  And I'm getting out walking at least a couple of times a week.  So improvements are being made, a bit at a time.

I am going to see if I can REALLY do a good job this week in keeping track of everything (like a good WW is supposed to do).  Keeping my food and activity journals accurately every day, taking a vitamin daily, drinking liquids (esp water, although WW lets you count everything except pop and booze as a liquid now), and getting in 5 fruit and veg servings every day.  Will report results next Wednesday after my weekly meeting.

And I'm thinking if I actually follow the program like I'm supposed to, I'll see a pretty significant weight loss :-)  Imagine that!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I went to water our Potatoes in a Garbage Can this morning, and this Yukon Gold spud was peeking out!  And I can see more of them almost ready to dig out.  PLUS we now have 3 tomatoes!  Yay, we are gardeners after all!

Things NOT To Do When You Are Home Alone

Pia & Katie (and Lulu) are at camp this week, which means I'm home alone.  Normally, I don't mind a little solitude.  But I keep trying to freak myself out.

  1. Do NOT read any even a little bit scary book.  I'm reading a John Grisham book, which shouldn't be scary at ALL.  But it involves a creepy killer.  Yikes.  I have to check the door locks at least 10x before I go to bed.
  2. Ditto on any scary TV shows.  And that would include anything involving murder, thinking about murder, talking about murder, or showing murder.  So pretty much every show I usually enjoy watching.  The good news is that I can watch Hoarders without anyone yelling at me.
  3. Do NOT Turn off all the lights BEFORE you head to the bedroom.  SCARY!
  4. It's probably best to forget about reading the newspaper.  That's full of scary stories.
  5. Try not to have super-sonic hearing late at night.  Every little creak in and outside of the house is enough to put me on hyper-alert.
GET HOME SOON GIRLS!  I'm a wreck without you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Cara!

You get a recycled picture from last year bc I am still trying to figure out how to use Pia's Mac...but I'll try to make this post "fresh".

Our girl has a birthday today.  She's too far away, all the way over on the East Coast.  We miss her like 60. She's this:

  • The person the room always revolves around
  • The Family Fixer (doesn't every family have one of these?) She always makes sure everyone is doing okay and if they're not, she Fixes It.
  • Tough-Nut Scrumpy Outside
  • Gooey Marshmallow Inside
  • The Sports Nut.  You name the sport, she's either watching it, has watched it, or is going to watch it.  And that probably includes the Bass Masters Tournament and Jai Alai.
  • The Car Gal.  Got a problem with your car?  Ask Cara, she can tell you what to do, where to go and how much it's gonna cost.  And will mail you the parts to fix it.
  • The Reluctant Traveler.  HATES and I do mean HATES flying.  We're talking dread, misery, restless leg, air-sickness bag usage, drugs necessary air traveler.  And yet she will fly to spend a vacation with her family.  That's LOVE.
I love you so so so so much Cara Lee!  Have a happy birthday, I assume y'all will go to The Tavern for your weekly dinner.  Be sure they make Sloppy Joes and Niblets for you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy B-Day to My Little Lulu!

Oh my little grandpuppy!  Here you were on the car ride home the first day.  Your name was MIA (terrible dog name, btw.  Gary is better than that!) and I'm proud to say I immediately KNEW you were Lucy.  You were skinny and scared and a wee bit neurotic.  Except for the skinny part, we share some of those traits :-)  Now you're a sassy two year old:
Always smiling, always happy, always a good friend and companion.  Even though you are terrible on a leash, I will always walk you to the park.  I will always throw your tennis ball (even though I'm a bad tosser, due to bwoken awm).  I will always let you sleep on "your side" of the bed, even though your black dog hair looks awful on my white sheets.  And I will always be your grammy.

The Birthday Month

August is a crazy birthday month in my extended and immediate family!  During August, we celebrate these birthdays:
  1. Lavs
  2. Lucy-Lou
  3. Cara
  4. Jamie
  5. the twins (Liam and Alex)
  6. Ray
  7. Jon
And I may have forgotten one or two.  Of course, everyone who is born in August is a fabulous human being (or dog)!

I had a low-key birthday, which is fine by me.  Once you hit the 50s, do you REALLY want to celebrate each passing year?  I'm fine with a phone call from my kids (which I got from each of them, nice work children.  Even though I have phone phobia, I like talking to you).  Pia got me a great card that said "happy birthday cake-killer"; she tried to find pie-killer but no luck.  We enjoyed our drive home from Ellensburg, and she let me stop at my favorite thrift store in Moses Lake and pick up some vintage patterns (and she found an AWESOME velour and metallic dress for camp hi-jinks), then she treated me to pizza.  I got a gorgeous shawl from Susna:
which I'm over the moon in love with :-)  I seldom receive knitted gifts (cuz I can just knit my own stuff), so it's a special treat.  LOVE IT!!!!  I also got an adorable piece of yard art from The B, a chicken saying "BAWK", which is perfect.  Cuz y'all know how I love me some chickens.

On the down side, my computer is officially DOA.  Boo.  But P  is letting me use her Mac (and I'm relearning all the Mac commands I haven't used in ages), which is nice of her.  And Cara has a laptop she's going to let me have, thanks Car!  Of course, few of my files were backed up so that's a real PITA, but I think I have most of my knitting patterns saved on Rav and I'll just have to recreate the rest :-(

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Quick Seattle Trip

No pix or anything exciting to report, but I had a nice few days in Seattle.  Helped Susna by happily accepting all the knitting mags and patterns she decided she didn't need, went to TWO knitting evenings with her (this gal knows lots of knitters) and got to see the B both at the Ostrom's Sidewalk Sale (which was AWESOME.  I was expecting a Precious Moments crap-a-thon plus grab bags, but they had really good stuff) and at the knitting night at Serial Knitters.  Plus spent a night at Mom's house and can report that she is still putzing around :-)

Also stopped by the cabin on my way to pick up Pia in Ellensburg and got to see Meg, Ryan, Hads and Carson.  Those babies!  So cute!  And getting so big!  Carsie is going to be walking before we know it, and Hadley will be driving next week I'm pretty sure.

It's good to be back home in my own bed, but visiting the fam is always fun.

PS computer still broken.  Hoping for a miracle.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


My computer just crapped out.  Like I have "the blue screen of death" whenever I try to start up my computer. SHIT SHIT SHIT.  That is all.

A Tomato!

We have ONE tomato (and it's about an inch in diameter)!  Katie and I are very excited to find that single little green tomato on our Topsy-Turvy Tomato Plant.  It's our only gardening success story thus far this year.  Our TT Strawberry plants are growing like mad, but all we have gotten so far is NUBBINS which are as horrifying as they sound :-(  I think we maybe got 4 green beans on our pitiful plants.  I am counting heavily on The Potatoes in the Garbage Can to salvage my wounded gardening spirit.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Fun

I was kind of bored this morning (after cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen), so I decided to dye some yarn.  I have some natural dye, which is always fun to use.  This time I tried Woad, which is crazy.  It looks all yellow-green in the dye pot:
But as soon as you take the yarn out of the dye bath and expose it to air, it turns blue:
One skein didn't "take" as much dye as the others, but I'm overall pretty pleased with this little experiment.  BTW, Woad has been used as a dye for thousands of years, starting back in the Neolithic Age, so that's a fun fact!