Monday, December 31, 2007


My mom sent me the lyrics to this old Christmas favorite.
Her comment, above the lyrics were "Enjoy!"
I'm not sure if she was referring to the lyrics or the subject matter...

PS: Be sure to sing it out loud, off key, nearly drunk, and vit yer best
Norveegan accent, ja der hey.

Sung to the tune of O Tannunbaum

Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... how fragrant your aroma
0 Lutefisk... 0 Lutefisk... You put me, in a coma
You smell so strong... You look like glue
You taste yust like an overshoe
but Lutefisk ... come Saturday
I tink I'll eat you anyway.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... I put you by the doorway
I vanted you to ripen up ... yust like dey do in Norway
A dog came by and sprinkled you ... I hit him vit an army shoe
0 Lutefisk ... now I suppose
I'll eat you as I hold my nose.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... how well I do remember
On Christmas Eve how we'd receive ... our big treat of December
It vasn't turkey or fried ham ... it vasn't even pickled spam
My mudder knew dere vas no risk ...
In serving buttered lutefisk.

Lutefisk ... 0 Lutefisk ... now everyone discovers
Dat Lutefisk and lefse makes-Norweigians better lovers
Now all da vorld can have a ball ... you're better dan dat Yeritol
0 Lutefisk ... vit brennevin
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Useful Quotes

Rachel is the self-professed grilled cheese master in the family. Today, as she was making sandwiches, she was telling Pam how to make them. Pam's an impatient cook and scorches her grilled cheese every time. (Hey, at least she's consistent!)

Two quotes from Rachel which are worth repeating in any situation:

"Mayonnaise fries better"

"You can't walk away from a cheese sandwich or else it feels betrayed."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Rachel wrote this story for her writing class.

The assignment was “Suspense.”
She got an A+.
Her teacher said that she nailed it.

As I stare out of my bedroom window, grounded for a week, I’m looking at the cornfield, large, empty, there’s fog floating over it. It’s Halloween night. Kids ring our doorbell and beg for food. How annoying.

Late the same night I wake up. It’s 2:00 in the morning. I’m strangely drawn to the window. I look out; I see a strange dark person-shaped shadow run into the cornfield. The shadow was carrying something. It looked heavy. I had to check this out.

I got my flashlight, a jacket, and courage together. I carefully and quietly opened my window. That was the last time I was ever in my room. I hit the ground with a sharp “crunch” noise.

“Darn! Owww!”

I had broken my ankle. I was stranded. The shadowy figure came towards me as I wallowed in pain.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Isn’t that nice that we can say that in this letter and nobody is offended? Sometimes it’s hard to say anything without looking around to make sure everyone’s still smiling.

Our past year has been a mix of the “same-old, same-old” with a few new developments. For one new thing, we finally got out and did some exploring in this part of Oregon and discovered a swimming hole. They’re rare around here, compared to the thousands of swimming spots back home in WI and MN. The ocean, while only an hour’s drive, is way too cold and violent for swimming. Really, you can’t do much more than wade into the turbulent 35-degree water. At least you can hold your breath as you ease yourself into Lake Superior. (In August.) Anyway, we visited North Fork Park on the Santiam River, up in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Lots of sun-warmed rocks to sit on, small rapids to bang your tail bone on as the water pushes you downstream, and strong undercurrents that make mothers of floating kids panic and seek rescue from complete strangers. The dog (part Dachshund, remember? This means he has short legs,) would try to step up and over the water, which resulted in a lot of splashing when he walked. Of course, that meant our four-legged furry bug chaser had to nip at the splashes, in case they were something good to eat. I think he peed out a gallon of river water before we got back in the van and headed home. We had a great time on our first visit and returned two days later to tempt fate again.

While reading this are you asking, "Has 'The Adventures of Pam and Frank' really been revived?"

Why yes, yes it has. If you have no idea why you are asking yourself this, you probably didn't know that Adventures started about eight years ago as an email update on the progress of us fixing up and selling our first little house in Minneapolis. We had stories of broken storm windows, toilet overflows, and spider eggs hatching. This later evolved into a time consuming website with monthly updates and stories. When we moved out here to Oregon, we just weren’t able to keep up with the website and it vanished. The new and improved Adventures of Pam and Frank is now a blog (which is what it really was in the first place, only that was before blogs were officially invented.) What’s a blog? That’s a fancy name for Web Log. An online journal, of sorts, where we can write articles and you can read them. You can even comment on them for others to see. We have two active blogs.

The Adventures of Pam and Frank is for family updates, pictures, and stuff.

Ok, really, you're here right now. Save this in your favorites and visit often. We update this particular blog at least once a month.

The other one, Pam’s Inbox, is a growing, categorized collection of all the stuff Pam gets emailed to her, minus three things:

  • Chain Letters – “Send this to 5 funny women you know.” Or, “Send this to 20 friends within 3 minutes and your wish will come true; send this to only 5 friends and you will die in a horrible car crash.”
  • Glurge - “I want you to know you’re very special to me; return this email to me so I know I’m special to you too.”
  • and Angels – they just aren’t all that funny.
Save this blog in your favorites, too. Pam updates this site at least once a week with silly stuff, redneck pictures, and jokes you should tell your mother.

Meanwhile, read on - the stories here of Frank, Pam, and Rachel were this year's treats in our Christmas Card 2007.

Frank's Five-Fingered Hat

At the dinner table, Frank tries on a new style of hat

Five-fingered hats are all the rage in Frank’s world.
(The glove popped off his head and flew across the dining room as this was taken.)


Frank took a brief stint working at the Oregon School for the Deaf. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The kids were great and he loved working with them; it was the non-signing, hearing state employees he spent most of the day with who left him longing for his old job in a café at the Labor and Industries building downtown. During summer vacation he got a call from his old boss, asking “Is Frank still looking to come back? Can he start tomorrow? Our cook just walked out.” So Frank grabbed his gear and returned to the job he loves. When his old regulars found out he was back, they returned in droves and business picked up at the café. It’s not just his cooking, but his odd sense of humor that keeps them coming back for more.

Recently, they asked him to start arriving at 5:30am to open the kitchen. The previous lady came in at 5:00am, but they knew he could shave 30 minutes off her time with starting the ovens, pots of boiling water, and miscellaneous prep. Besides, they need him to stay until 1:30pm. He’s the only one who will wash dishes at the end of his shift without complaining. Or disappearing.

The new guy is still getting used to Frank, though. When certain regulars walk in, Frank starts cooking their “usual” orders and it’s ready for them by the time they pay. Some customers try to race Frank and see if they can pay before the food’s ready. Sometimes they win the race, but not if Frank’s keeping his eye on the door.


As for Rachel, she is developing into quite the musician. Last year she graduated from the cello to the bass. This year, she progressed from playing bass in Intermediate Orchestra to testing into Advanced Orchestra. The existing bassist in Advanced has trouble counting – an important skill for all musicians – and he was throwing off the entire orchestra. By the first week, Rachel learned that if she tunes him out, she can stay on track with the conductor, and she basically keeps the entire orchestra glued together.
Over the summer, Frank and Pam scrimped and saved and managed to put a Fender electric bass (guitar) on layaway at a local music store. After waiting forever, the new bass was paid off and it arrived home. We had trouble getting the amp out of the box, as the instructions were a little confusing.

When the bass was pulled out of the box, nobody was surprised to discover that no matter what’s in the box, it is the box that is ultimately more interesting. Pam helped pull the bass out of the box, then went into the kitchen to make supper. While she was in there, she heard a muffled, “Wa-wa-wa giggle giggle, wa-wa-wa-wa-wa- uh-huh, yeah, giggle giggle…”

What on earth…?

Pam looked around the corner and saw the box laying on the living room floor, but no Rachel. Where was the sound coming from? Then she heard it again. She followed the muffled giggling and discovered it was coming from inside the box.

Rachel was just talking on the phone, that’s all.

Yes, it is very confusing by the way, having her play the bass as well as the bass. Mom can’t keep them straight and Dad just points.

Rachel has had no formal lessons on the Fender (that’s the electric bass), but her training on the stand-up (that’s the huge wooden orchestra string bass) translated fairly well for her and made it possible to pick up the Fender and be able to play it.

Anyway, one of the teachers recommended she play the Fender in the combo that accompanies the middle school’s jazz choir. Rachel agreed and was in. She has since switched over to the stand-up because of the softer sound behind the choir. Pam’s glad of the change. It was a real pain in the patootie for Rachel to haul the Fender back and forth to school, no matter how cool it looked to be carrying a Fender (ok, and the heavy amp, and a tote bag with the power cords) through crowds of kids.

Rachel’s current project is to listen to the bass line in a song and try to copy that on the Fender. Sounds of Green Day and The Arctic Monkeys periodically vibrate out of her bedroom. Last night we put the headphones on Frank and turned the volume up as loud as we dared, then she played a few things for him. He didn’t turn ashen or implode or anything, so he must have liked it. He took off the headphones and tried to put them on the dog, who ran away.
What do dogs know?


This year Pam turned 40, and she immediately decided that if 50 is the new 30, then she must now be 20.

She has applied to the local college and starts classes this winter. Her plan is to finish her BA degree at Portland State University with a double major in Business/Marketing and Advertising Management. She’s got so many Graphic Design credits already, that two more classes are all she needs to get the double major. To make things easier, she found out that she qualifies for tuition reimbursement from work, and her job in the call center allows her to study between calls.

Pam has also been busy working on launching her own business, Pass It On Plates, which makes and sells a gift packaging concept for people who give home made food gifts.

The website for the plates and diaries is

During the process of launching the business, she found that while time consuming, it was easy to develop the product and make the components, design and build the website, and figure out the business aspect of all this. The part that frustrated her to tears was when she needed to get her easily designed website onto the internet. While learning a whole new language, she banged her head against the wall, pulled out her hair, and whined to Frank throughout the whole process of logging in to her host (you’d think that would be easy!), configuring her DNS (‘domain name server,’ maybe?), finding an FTP program (could stand for ‘file transfer protocol?’) then actually using the darned thing to upload files to her new “under construction” website.

“You mean this program doesn’t come with SSL and I have to have SSL? What is SSL and how much is that going to cost me?”

“Hmmm, simple guest book php. What’s php? It says ‘Download and configure in under 5 minutes.’ I’ve been fighting with it since 6:00 this morning but it still doesn’t work, and now I’ve got to get supper on.”

“Pick a shopping cart? I’d like a blue one. Ohhh, I have to pick a shopping cart service. There are 30 choices listed here, and their features include words I don’t understand.”

Through the miracle of we-don’t-know-what, the website is live. The links work, the pictures show up, and the email program works. The dents in Pam’s forehead are healing, and the bald spots where she yanked out chunks of hair have started to fill back in.
With gray hair.

Meanwhile, if you visit the website and want to buy something, be advised we only accept mail order at this time. Online shopping will be available as soon as Pam has completely recovered from the self-inflicted injuries sustained while getting the website online.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Mother's Xmas Tree

(Sorry Mom, just had to share!)

For those of you who haven't been to the farm, my mom and step dad live at the edge of a large forest, and have 40 wooded acres. Among other trees, there are thousands of spruce, balsam, pine, birch and maple trees covering the back 40. Ever since we moved out there at Xmas 1978, we've tromped through the woods to cut down our Christmas tree. (See my Xmas Survey for a story about Pastor Hanson's "lovely" tree we cut down from back there one year.) Yes, there's a big hill going down to the creek on the back 40, and trees growing on the hillside have a curve in the trunk which has taught us of the importance to wire the Xmas tree to the wall so it won't fall over during dinner (see my Xmas survey for a story about that, too.)

I have to say that part of the fun involved in tromping through the back 40 is taking giant steps to walk through last week's snowfall. The snow is just deep enough to creep over the tops of your mid-calf-high boots and drip down past your ankles...not to mention the snow rash you get when walking across snow crust that you think is thick enough to support your weight - only to find out that six steps into the crust, your right foot sinks down, again about mid-calf. The crust is just strong enough to tug your pants out from your boot, exposing your toasty leg to anything under the crust. In an amazing balancing feat, (you don't want to fall over and make the situation worse*) you lift your right foot to get it out of the snow to discover the crust is also strong enough to hold your right boot hostage. You have also discovered the wonderful science of weight displacement, or whatever it is, that caused the crust to break through when you shifted all your weight to the left foot. Now you're standing on one leg, waving a sock covered right foot in the air, trying to decide if you will be able to slide your foot back in the boot if you poke your foot back into the same hole you just made in the snow crust. Did I mention that you're developing a nice case of snow rash on your left leg? Of course you are, and it's getting numb and starting to bleed. You poke your right foot back into the hole in the snow, and snag your toes on the edge of the boot as your foot slips back into place. At the same time, it occurs to you that all the loose snow between the crust and the top of your boot was pushed into the boot when you stuck your foot back in there. It is starting to melt and your sock is soaking wet and coOoOoOold. You stand there, grumbling. "Any tree is fine. Just cut one down and let's go.” But nooooo, everyone else wants to go deeper into the woods and keep looking for the perfect tree. One that is guaranteed to fall over no matter how securely you wire it to the wall.

*At least you maintained your balance while standing around on your left leg. The other scenario is that as you pull your right foot out of the stuck boot, you fall over onto and into the crust. Your warm butt, which is not clad in a waterproof snowmobile suit, melts the soft snow under the crust, and cold seeps up your spine. That gap between the top of your pants and the bottom of your shirt, which wasn't quite long enough to tuck in, has allowed a trickle of cold melted snow to go down your crack. You feel snow rash start to develop on the small of your back. You try to stand up and everyone laughs at you. The crust is just strong enough to with stand the weight of your legs, and kicking the crust does nothing to crack the icy layer on top of the snow, and so your feet and shoulders are a good 18" higher than your butt, which is now developing a nice case of frostbite. Is that a rock or an exposed tree root bruising your tailbone and left butt cheek? One person in your party stops laughing at you long enough to stick their hand out and help you get up. (That's only because they're the only one afraid of you when you're mad.) Forgetting that your right boot is not on your foot but is still buried somewhere in the crust, you stand up. You stagger from the shock of the cold all over your foot and the jagged snow crust scrapes an angry red mark across your right shin. You teach your Christmas tree hunting companions some new words: &%@#*!! and &^$*#@&!!! Unless of course, you've invited the church pastor and his family out to hunt for Christmas trees with you. Then you tell them the trees near the edge of the woods are usually the nicest. And the flat side will make it set up against the wall much better than if the tree was perfectly round. But nooooo, they're throwing snowballs (at you) and having a great time, singing Christmas songs and eating the pristine snow off their mittens, and they want to forge onward.

Oh, hunting for the perfect Christmas tree in the woods is such a joy and the perfect way to start the Christmas season.

My parents also have a big wood furnace that supplies most of the heat to their home each winter. In addition to the big outdoor wood-burning furnace, there's a cast iron wood stove in the living room, and every time I think of the words "cozy" or "winter" or "fireplace" I mentally smell the wood smoke from the wood stove, and hear the quiet roar of the fire, the soft whoosh of air being sucked into the stove through the little vent dials on the door of the stove, the clank of the door being opened, and the hiss of water evaporating from the old tea kettle to add a little humidity to the normally dry air. By the way, did you know that a spark from their big outdoor furnace ignited the woodpile this fall? The fire dept sent a truck and saved a good a portion of this winter's fuel, so they'll be ok. I hope.

But I digress.

I mention these things to establish that my parents have trees and they also have tools with which to chop down trees. Imagine my horror when Mom sent back the Xmas survey to me with this answer to the Christmas Tree Question:

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Hm. She must have lost her boot or fallen over in the snow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Xmas thingy - at long last

Welcome to the 'Christmas Edition' of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire email and paste into a new blank e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person who sent it to you. It's the e season to be cheerful!!! 1) Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper with all kinds of frou-frou Martha Stewart-like accoutrements attached through the miracle of the almighty glue gun. Otherwise, after wrapping it in paper, I like to go nuts with the curly ribbon, wrapping it around and around and around the box so it takes 20 minutes to open the dam thing. 2) Tree real or artificial?
For economic reasons we've been stuck with the same fakey the last 7 years or so. I'd like to get a pre-lit fakey. Actually, a pre-lit real tree would be great but if I went out and got a real tree, my hubby would never pre-light it for me before I start in on my work. Unless I allowed him to pre-light it with his Zippo. (That's a cigarette lighter, you know.) I grew up on a farm with a forested, hilly back 40, and we always had a real tree. Most of the time the tree had grown on the hillside and we had to wire it to the wall because the trunk was crooked. We often invited the pastor and his intern out to tromp through the woods and cut down a Christmas tree. One year Pastor Hanson pointed skyward and says, "I want that one, there." So John felled an entire 50 ft pine tree and cut 6 feet off the top for the Pastor. It was beautiful, but the worst tree they ever had. Sap dripped all over their living room floor.
So I guess I don't mind my fakey tree. It's sap-less.3) When do you put the tree up?
Usually by Christmas. It's December 10 today, and the Christmas boxes have been sitting in the spot where the tree will go for the last 8 days. We finally got the thing put together last night, but no lights or ornaments are on it yet. We'll see how long it takes me… 4) When do you take the tree down?
When Rachel was a baby, the tree came down during Christmas dinner. I mean, it literally came down on the dining room table. But as for when we intend for the tree to come down, there was one year when I was a teenager we took the tree down on Valentines day. Well, the needles took themselves down long before that, but we took off the ornaments and hauled out the spruce skeleton as a fun(?) Valentines activity. Disposing of that carcass was an act of love. 5) Like eggnog?
By itself, in my coffee, with brandy, sure!
(Is there butter in it? See #15)6) Do you have a nativity scene?
It was a simple triptych (a 3-piece hinged fold-out thing) but it broke and never replaced it. All the new ones don't compare to the one I grew up with, and I just don't like them. It's just little plastic figures a la 1972 in a shoebox lined with tan velvet for the straw floor and brown velvet for the night sky. One of the three kings has a facial expression like he had just sucked on a sour kiwifruit. Another king's face looks like a victim in a painting by Goya. (Look it up.) I love those little guys. 7) Favorite gift received as a child?
Butter. (See #15)
No really, it was when I was seven. I received a tape recorder and the book "And Now, Miguel" with a set of tapes of my dad reading the book out loud to me. He played acoustic guitar as bumper music between chapters and sections. The book is long gone, but I still have the tapes.8) Hardest person to buy for?
My Dad and my Step dad John. They either have everything they need or are happy with what they've got. So I always fallback on food gifts whenever possible. Guy's gotta eat.
(Maybe butter would be good. See #15)9) Easiest person to buy for?
Frank and Rachel. I pay attention through the year when they unconsciously make out their wish lists for this 'n' that. 10) Worst Christmas gift ever received?
Three Yahtzee games from various relatives. Santa brought me extra Yahtzee scorecards that year. I am an only child. Who am I going to play all the Yahtzee with? Helloooo!
This may have been the first year I recognized the genius of careful re-gifting. 11) Mail or email a Christmas card?
Mail. My favorite is still the Xmas card I sent out with all the lampooned songs. That was fun. Still trying to top that. (Xmas Haiku was funny, though.) I lampooned about 7 or 8 songs to tell the story of what we did that past year. Later my mom told me she showed it to my H.S. English teacher at some community party and he and his brother sang my entire Christmas card - in harmony. 12) Favorite Christmas movie?
It's a tie between Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. I can quote both. quote both. Can you?13) When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Depends on when the paydays fall. One year I had it done by Halloween. I have failed to achieve that accomplishment ever since. As for supplies, every 5-7 years I stock up on paper and cards in January. (Whoops - the secret's out!)14) Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Of course. But I'll never tell what, or to whom. (Or how often!) I figure if the gift is perfect and my recipient loves it, then it doesn't really matter. The point is to make people happy, right?15) Favorite food to eat on Christmas?
Mainly butter, I guess.
Smörgåsbord: Sandbakkels (it's a Norwegian butter cookie shell), fattigmann (another Norwegian cookie), Swedish meatballs, Potato sausage, lutefisk in butter sauce, lefse with butter, hard tack with butter and pickled herring (wine sauce, not sour cream) (I didn't see the butter theme until just now. Hm.) And of course, there's all of Frank's ethnic stuff: wild rice, fry bread, fish…

Pass the butter! 16) Clear or colored tree lights?
I prefer clear, but if I can talk someone into putting the lights on the dang tree for me, I'll let them decide what color to use. 17) Favorite Christmas song?
Lo How A Rose … and Christmas Dragnet by Stan Freberg18) Travel during Christmas or stay home?
If I can't load a ton of stuff into my suitcase and hit the road to visit folks during Christmas, then I like to have everyone over. It doesn't matter, just as long as there are lots of happy people.19) Can you name Santa's reindeer?
Is this a test? By the way, it's Donder, not Donner. Did you know that?20) Angel or Star on tree top?
I have a retro 1930's glass ball with a pointy thing on top of my tree. You know what I mean? It's red and gold.21) Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?
One on Christmas eve the rest on Christmas morning, and more when we get together with the rest of the family.22) Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Musical Christmas toys in the stores in September, Christmas Muzak in the stores on Nov 1… When I was a kid, all the Christmas festivities began the day after Thanksgiving. Now it's already in your face while you're swerving home from your drunken Halloween bash. I love Christmas, but my God, two whole months is a lot. It's like eating a whole box of chocolates instead of treating your self with one or two. Or three. With butter.23) Favorite tradition?
Butter. No, really, it's butter. I love the traditional food that my Norwegian Grandma made, the traditional Ojibwe food from Frank's side, getting together with all my friends and relatives, and trying to re-create all the Christmas memories from my childhood. Pass the butter.

Small Towns

Those who grew up in small towns will laugh when they read this.

Those who didn't will be in disbelief and won't understand how true it is.

1) You can name everyone you graduated with.

2) You know what 4-H means.

3) You went to parties at a pasture, barn, gravel pit, or in the middle of a dirt road. On Monday, you could always tell who was at the party because of the scratches on their legs from running through the woods when the party was busted. (See #6.)

4) You used to 'drag' Main.

5) You whispered the 'F' word and your parents knew within the hour.

6) You scheduled parties around the schedules of different police officers, because you knew which ones would bust you and which ones wouldn't.

7) You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how old you were (and if you were old enough, they'd tell your parents anyhow.) Besides, where would you get the money?

8) When you did find somebody old enough and brave enough to buy cigarettes, you still had to go out into the country and drive on back roads to smoke them.

9) You knew which section of the ditch you would find the beer your buyer dropped off.

10) It was cool to date somebody from the neighboring town.

11) The whole school went to the same party after graduation.

12) You didn't give directions by street names but rather by references. Turn by Nelson's house, go 2 blocks to Anderson's, and it's four houses left of the track field.

13) The golf course had only 9 holes.

14) You couldn't help but date a friend's ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

15) Your car stayed filthy because of the dirt roads, and you will never own a dark vehicle for this reason.

16) The town next to you was considered 'trashy' or 'snooty,' but was actually just like your town.

17) You referred to anyone with a house newer then 1955 as the 'rich' people.

18) The people in the 'big city' dressed funny, and then you picked up the trend 2 years later.

19) Anyone you wanted could be found at the local gas station or the Dairy Queen.

20) You saw at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town or one of your friends driving a grain truck to school occasionally.

21) The gym teacher suggested you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.

22) Directions were given using THE stop light as a reference.

23) When you decided to walk somewhere for exercise, 5 people would pull over and ask if you wanted a ride.

24) Your teachers called you by your older siblings' names.

25) Your teachers remembered when they taught your parents.

26) You could charge at any local store or write checks without any ID.

27) There was no McDonald's.

28) The closest mall was over an hour away.

29) It was normal to see an old man riding through town on a riding lawn mower.

30) You've pee'd in a cornfield.

31) Most people went by a nickname.

32) You laughed your butt off reading this because you know it is true, and you forward it to everyone who may have lived in a small town.

I would not have wanted to have been raised any other way!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


...and Frank has such an intense look on his face... LOL
Click the picture or the link below to start the fun.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bigger, Better, Louder?

Rachel joined Orchestra when she was in 4th grade. She began on the cello, then soon moved to bass. Yes, this is the big stand-up stringed instrument at the back of the orchestra. She loves it.

Now that she's in 6th grade, she and one of her best friends, Sam, have been the two bassists in Intermediate Orchestra. This week, however, she will leave Sam as she moves into Advanced Orchestra.

On top of the class change, I dropped off her practice bass at school yesterday. The big ol' beast is too huge to lug to and from school every day, especially on the bus, so we have one bass at home that she uses for practice, and she has another bass at school for class and concerts. The old practice bass was a real beater. You'd have to be careful to not get slivers on the edges of it. But hey, it was a free loaner, so nobody's complaining. The beater was a 1/4 size bass, which I think was about 5' tall with the end pin out. We traded it in yesterday because she is now tall enough to play a 1/2 size bass - somewhere between 6-12" taller than the other one. I haven't seen it out of the case, so I'm not sure exactly how big it is, but I think her teacher said it's 6' tall. It only fits in the van with the 3rd row seat removed, so it's big.

This move into Advanced was not without a little extra work. To make sure she would be able to keep up in Advanced, her teacher gave her a worksheet of rhythms to clap out. He wanted her to demonstrate she could read music well enough to be able to correctly clap the rhythms on the paper. She asked for help with it and I taught her the things my mom taught to me years ago, when I studied piano. I tell ya, if I hadn't had the music training back then, I would have never been able to help her with this. These rhythms were difficult and incorporated swing, signature changes, 6/8 time, and triplets. Whew! If you have no idea what I just said, imagine how she felt when she first looked at the sheet of music. About the same.

She begins Advanced Orchestra on the first day of school following Thanksgiving. This class change puts her in a different math class (same teacher, same material, just a different time slot and a different group of kids) and instead of early lunch, she'll take the last lunch of the day. When her Orchestra teacher asked if she had any friends in the late lunch, she said, "Yeah, I know some upperclassmen." Well la-de-dah, I guess we have a BKOC. (Big Kid On Campus.)

I hope the change doesn't create any hard feelings between her and Sam, but we're really proud of her getting this far. She's also feeling pretty good about herself for getting bumped up into the advanced class.

Can't wait to hear her practice her advanced music on her bigger taller instrument. I'm sure the neighbors feel the same.

At least she doesn't play the bagpipes.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The other blog

Be sure to check out Pam's other blog.
It's weird.

"Adventures" returns!

Crack open a cold beer and toss a handful of confetti into the air and help us celebrate! (Torn bits of bar napkin will suffice if confetti is scarce.) After a 5-year hiatus, the Adventures of Pam and Frank have finally returned.

Not surprisingly, the return of "The Adventures of Pam and Frank" coincides with ...
(drumroll please)
... home improvements.

Yes, we still live in an apartment, but a flooring replacement drama got us thinking. Well, it got Pam thinking. And grumbling. And Frank typed a nice letter to the apt manager explaining his plight of having to live with a grumpy wife who complains daily about the not-quite-finished flooring replacement. One fine day Pam told a friend about "the toilet drama." The friend said, "You are going to write up that story, Dr. Seuss-style. I want to read it whe you are done."

In the midst of rhyming the words leak, reek, and freak, Pam realized it was high time to revive the hibernating periodical. Yes, the old website died and faded away, so "back issues" are not readily available. (Ok, Pam has printouts of every newsletter update ever sent. At her desk. At her day job.)

If you would like to subscribe to updates to "The Adventures of Pam and Frank," register a user name with this blog host and follow the instructions to subscribe to this blog. Just click the orange square at the top to get started.

Stay tuned for the story of the toilet drama.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

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About Us

With us it's always something.

Follow this chronicle of Pam & Frank's latest adventures through family life with silly kid(s), recipes that sometimes actually turn out as planned, road trips, crafty homemaker-y stuff, and various home improvement projects...

All viewed through the rose-colored glasses worn by a couple of Midwesterners transplanted to the Pacific Northwest.

If you're just getting to know this silly duo, be forewarned: they are about as silly and random as they come, and they're now influencing the next generation.

  • Frank is Deaf and has a bad habit of pulling hearing pranks when people are watching.
  • Pam is hearing and likes to tell people how Frank never listens to her.
  • (Rachel is their poor teenager who tends to roll her eyes a lot.)
None of them can do anything "Normal."

Are you ready for their next adventure?
Brace yourself.