Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Kitchen

After living here for a few months and sadly realizing that there is no one moment that our kitchen is tidy, I gave up waiting and took another picture.

The truth is this kitchen was designed by a moron who doesn't cook or have more than a couple plates and cups... and maybe one cereal box and a couple cans in their cupboards. Being a cooking, foodie family with a professional Chef as head of the household, we have not only lots of dishes, equipment, and seasonings/condiments, we have lots of food. We cook most meals at home from scratch, so those ingredients and supplies have to be stored somewhere. Too bad they don't fit here.

Ok, that's enough griping. First, look at what we did. This took me an entire day off and while Frank had to get used to it, Rachel and I instantly fell in love.


DSCN4735, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.


Align Left
The Kitchen: after, originally uploaded by passitonplates.

The paint is Behr from Home Depot and is called Espresso. Love it. It was initially my brother in law's idea and Rachel and I agreed it was the dramatic change this bland room needed. Besides the walls were kind of grimy and needed paint anyway.

The "After" picture was taken at night, but in real life, the room really isn't dark at all. The pale cupboards keep the room light and bright. Plus... the window over the sink and patio door (immediately to the right of this shot) are a southern exposure, which keeps it sunny in there.

What do you think? Would you be brave enough to paint a wall with a dark color like this?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

See our new fireplace? No muss, no fuss...
(No smell, no heat, either.)

Yule Log, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

We were channel surfing late Christmas Eve and wondered what this show was.

This is the Yule Log TV show. It's hour after hour of logs burning in a fireplace, with Christmas music. That's all. No talking, no plot. It basically turns your TV into a fireplace with the sounds of a crackling log fire and tracitional Christmas music.

What kills me is that the entire show is closed captioned for the hearing impaired with the same words that refresh with every verse and chorus:

♪ Christmas Music ♪

That's just too silly.

It's a little yard to see, but here is our faux fireplace on Christmas Eve.

I'm sure Frank enjoyed the closed captioning, letting him know there were Christmas songs playing in the background... {{sarcasm!}}

How goofy. Only in Oregon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

(Oh phooey the power went out)

An icy tree limb probably fell on a power line somewhere in my neighborhood as I was working on this. I'm super duper busy today, so I'll get to it asap... maybe later this afternoon? We'll see.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a really good excuse. Really! I even have pictures.

I'm way behind on stuff. The recent storm after storm after storm didn't help. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It doesn't snow here.

Last Sunday we had a bit of rain. Oh, yeah, and the temperature was an unbelievable 24 degrees.

Fluffy white rain. I think you Midwesterners might refer to that as snow, but it's not snow. It's just rain that got a little too cold. Because remember, it doesn't snow here.

Typical winter weather we've had all week, too. (I'm talking about the heavy rains.) In fact today was the start of week two of our typical heavy winter rain storms. It's the rainy season. Only problem, the temp hasn't gotten above 32 for more than a few hours an any given day. The temp has gone up just long enough to melt the previous day's snowfall into a slick crust that's impossible to walk on and dangerous to drive on.

Oh and by the way, since it doesn't snow here, the city doesn't have much equipment or know-how in the way of dealing with roads. Duluth, MN could teach this hilly town (and PDX as well) a thing or two, but it's been crazy what with the ice and snow. Since last week we've gotten well over 18 inches of snow. That's how deep it is on our patio bench, anyway. I'll share the pictures with you later.

Anyway, I wanted to explain this before you read the next chronological post (above): The Wordle thing. It has nothing to do with snow but explains why I'm taking on this project at this late date: I'm doing my Xmas cards.

Yes, I know it's late in the day on December 22. If you know me at all, this is to be expected, anyway.

Ok. Check out the post above. I jotted down phrases that explain our past year. I'm going to run them through and make a pretty picture.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The "Great Winter Storm Freak-Out of 2008"

Today we had a dusting of snow. To you folks in the midwest who scoff at a dusting of snow, you'll be amazed at what it does to us here in the Pacific NW. We are expected to have an "Arctic Blast" (temps between 10-30F) for an entire week; a rare occurrence here. The last time we had 5 days straight of temps below freezing was 10 years ago. People are freaking out. The morning news had continuous coverage of the snow and they had reporters stationed all around town, showing off the trouble drivers were having on the roads. To be fair to local drivers, there aren't snowplows to clear the roads, and they don't use sand and salt like they do in WI and MN, so the snow falls, turns to slush, then freezes to the road when the temps drop at sundown... On top of that, PDX is extremely hilly and navigating an icy hill is something to be avoided at all costs. Unless you have a low insurance deductible for body work. Just imagine driving in Duluth, MN after an ice storm with no snow equipment taking care of the roads. Now multiply Duluth's population by 10, most of them not realizing what they're going to be driving into. Check out this video from the news. This is the Marquam bridge over the Willamette River in downtown Portland. This double-decker bridge has a height of 150 feet on the top deck, where the red truck has spun out. Vertigo, anyone? Nah, I'm not afraid of heights. I'll just stop right here and put chains on my tires, ignoring the other cars trying to drive around me on the ice. Idiots.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Eating Tips

Pam's note: I first saw this years ago and it circulates back to me
every few years. I love this one.

And no, Frank, I don't follow this religiously. ...Just parts of it.
Remember last Christmas I admitted to eating an awful lot of butter over
the holidays?

(Just kidding, mom. About following parts of the advice below. You
should already know about last year's Christmas butter diet; you started
it. Love you!)

Eating Tips for the Holidays

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet
table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see
carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any
other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000
calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an
"eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it!!!! Have one for
me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of
gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of
your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or
whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports
car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control
your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat
other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New
Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the
buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of
shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice of each.
Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always
have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have
some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party
or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.
Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Living room rearrange...

LR Re-Do, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

We've only been in the new place for two months - no, less than two months - and already I'm rearranging the living room. This is the view from the front door when Frank came home from work. Thank God he's a patient guy.

Oh, and just in case I haven't complained to absolutely everyone about the living room paint, the walls were supposed to be a teal-gray color. Not 1980's country blue. Oh well. It actually looks good with the dark furniture and yellow/red toned pictures and other decor.

I'll show you the finished room soon. I like it much better than the other arrangement. And yes, Rachel. I'll publicly announce that the new arrangement was your first idea when we moved in.

Which I vetoed.

You were right.

Just beyond the living room is the dining room. See that dark color on the wall above the sliding glass door? Wait until you see my dramatic and beautiful kitchen! Pictures coming soon, also. I just have to clean it up first - and figure out where to put homeless appliances to get them off the counters...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fruitcake in a Jar

My foodie friend Todd and I have a fruitcake joke going back and forth. In our 40-hr-week crowd, we are probably the only two who will eat the stuff. Lately he's been emailing me all sorts of interesting fruitcake-related stuff and this one was just too good to not share.

Don't laugh - you may be getting some of this for Christmas!
But seriously, this would work well with other quick breads. Here's a link to the site where this recipe, and other "bread in a jar" recipes were discovered:

Fruitcake in a jar

Yield 8 Servings

2⅔ cup sugar
⅔ cup vegetable shortening
4 eggs
⅔ cup water
2 cups fruit (see note)
3½ cup all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
⅔ cup raisins or nuts

Use wide mouth pint size canning jars, do not use mayonnaise jars, etc. Be sure to sterilize the jars, and tops according to manufacturer's directions.
Grease the inside but not the rim of the jars to make batter: dredge the raisins and/or nuts in some of the flour.
Cream together the sugar and shortening. Beat in the eggs and water. Add the fruit. Sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If desired, mix raisins and/or nuts into the batter. Note - the two cups of fruit is up to you. You can use any mixture of fruit that you like but no more than two cups.
• Two cups grated apple
• 1 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup pineapple,
• 2 cups shredded carrots,
• Mashed bananas, etc.
Pour batter into the sterilized jars 1 measuring cup of batter per jar. Do not use more or cake will overflow. And the jars will not seal. Place jars evenly spaced apart for browning on cookie sheet.
Place in preheated 325-degree oven.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove jars one at a time using two potholders (jars will be very hot) leave other jars in the oven but work fast. Wipe the rim. Place the metal disc on top in place then twist on screw ring to secure. You will hear it seal with a "ping" sound quite fast.
Open the oven, remove another jar and repeat.
Generally, any quick bread recipe works, but be sure to measure one cup of batter per jar. The cake will slide out whole, or it can be cut into sticks.
The cake should last for one year.
NOTES: great for gifts

Posted to Bakery-Shoppe Digest V1 #217 by Lea <lhoover@...> on Sep 04, 1997

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

smile awhile

Pam's note: OMG! Way back in the day (ok, it was 1998) when we got our
first computer and were hooked up to <strike>A-Oh-He11</strike> I mean
AOL (same thing) this was one of the first emails I received. I thought
it was so funny I printed it out and showed it to everyone at work and
we constantly laughed about it.

I'm not surprised it survived this long and eventually circulated back
to me again, ten years later. (More proof that you should not post
compromising photos of yourself online. Ever.)
I hope you giggle at these until coffee comes out your nose - like what
happened to me ten years ago and again this afternoon...

You can't read this and stay in a bad mood!

1. How Do You Catch a Unique Rabbit?

Unique Up On It.

2. How Do You Catch a Tame Rabbit?

Tame Way.

3. How Do Crazy People Go Through The Forest ?

They Take The Psycho Path.

4. How Do You Get Holy Water?

You Boil The Hell Out Of It .

5. What Do Fish Say When They Hit a Concrete Wall?


6. What Do Eskimos Get From Sitting On The Ice too Long?


7. What Do You Call a Boomerang That Doesn't work?

A Stick.

8. What Do You Call Cheese That Isn't Yours?

Nacho Cheese.

9. What Do You Call Santa's Helpers?

Subordinate Clauses.

10. What Do You Call Four Bullfighters In Quicksand?

Quattro Sinko.

11. What Do You Get From a Pampered Cow?

Spoiled Milk.

12. What Do You Get When You Cross a Snowman With a Vampire?


13. What Lies At The Bottom Of The Ocean And Twitches?

A Nervous Wreck.

14. What's The Difference Between Roast Beef And Pea Soup?

Anyone Can Roast Beef.

15. Where Do You Find a Dog With No Legs?

Right Where You Left Him.

16. Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?

Because They Have Big Fingers .

17. Why Don't Blind People Like To Sky Dive?

Because It Scares The Dog.

18. What Kind Of Coffee Was Served On The Titanic?


19. What Is The Difference Between a Harley and a Hoover ?

The Location Of The Dirt Bag.

20. Why Did Pilgrims' Pants Always Fall Down?

Because They Wore Their Belt Buckle On Their Hat.

21. What's The Difference Between a Bad Golfer And a Bad Skydiver?

A Bad Golfer Goes, Whack, Dang!

A Bad Skydiver Goes, Dang! Whack .

22. How Are a Texas Tornado And a Tennessee Divorce The Same?

Somebody's Gonna Lose A Trailer

Now, admit it.
At least one of these made you smile.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Standing in the Santiam River

A meme was recently sent to me and since I can never answer the questions with just one or two words my long long reply is usually a good book.

One question wanted to know what I do to relax. Good question, since my favorite form of relaxation is only available in the summer. The holidays are coming and I think I'll need some winter relaxation suggestions.

Here's the question and my answer:

26. What do you do to relax?
I've got 3 boob tubes at home... I have a membership at Massage Envy in Keizer... No, for serious relaxation, how about standing waist-deep in water at the beach (I'd recommend something warmer than at the Oregon Coast, but you need big waves ... Lake Superior is a good choice) and letting the force of the waves push you back and forth. All those ions are really good for you. No beach with tolerable-warm water? Go to North Fork on the Santiam River and sit on a slightly submerged rock and let the water rush over your shoulders. That'll do the trick.

No, really, I'm serious!

What do you think would be a good winter alternative?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wiggle Squiggle

After Caesar eats supper he comes to the living room where we're hanging out and does the Wiggle Squiggle. He rolls onto his back and twists back and forth like he's scratching his back. Then he rolls back over and rubs his muzzle into the carpet.

He's probably scent marking, but it's so darned cute.

This is Frank saying Wiggle Squiggle in sign language. There's no official sign for the word, but the visual says it all. Frank's fingers are wiggling like Caesar's legs.

Posted by Picasa
Either that or Frank's signing something about a bug that has died and is kicking his legs one las time before he bites the dust. Happy Dog vs. Dying Bug... It's one or the other; both signs look the same.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our patio

Our Patio, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

This is our patio, taken from the other side of that spider web. Yes, I walked around the arborvitae, not through the web. Ick. Oh, you can see the spider web at eye level, at the top of the picture.

This is it. That's all there is. The only thing you can't see is the raised flower bed behind the arborvitae. The kitchen sink is just inside the window. Beyond the next white lattice is our neighbor's patio. Small spaces.

Notice all the plums and yellow leaves on the patio? There's a plum tree on the other side of the fence (off-camera, to the right) - too bad we didn't have time to do something to capture the plums as they fell. If we weren't moving, I would have liked to make some plum jelly or something good for Christmas presents. Oh well... next year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big Spiderweb

Big Spiderweb, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

At the side of our patio.

This is the extent of my Halloween decorating this year. Well, that and the fact that the rest of the house is still terrifyingly messy from moving!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Frank packed these boxes...

This is pretty self-explanatory.
I wasn't even involved in unpacking these boxes, so I have no idea how they were packed. He said he just threw stuff in there. It's now all in the cupboards - and it filled up almost a whole cupboard 30 inches wide, two shelves.
We have a lot of seasonings. (But we use a huge variety of herbs and spices!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Fridge Graffiti

"BooHoo - The food is not happy. You're eating it."

Mom's lesson in manners:

10. RAWR, originally uploaded by Adventures of Pam & Frank.

Can you read the tiny green words that describe how each letter is colored in?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The (practice) White Board

Frank bought this and a variety pack of dry erase markers for the kitchen. Before the board went up, though, the markers got some use...

Rachel tried out the dry erase markers on the fridge.

Happy Aligator...
is happy. He ate a squirrel.
Poor thing.

Lonely Monkey...
is Lonely

Yes, she knows it's misspelled. She doesn't care.

Actually, I think he's incapable of emotion if he's dead...

Rachel's drawings in hot pink and Frank's comments in green.

On the fridge, mind you...

...and he is very HAPPY!

Rachel's response to Frank's response.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cold? Bah.
She has no idea.

We moved from Minnesota to Oregon six years ago and have since acclimated to the milder climate. Mornings like today's, though, make me wonder if you can take the girl out of Minnesota but you can't take the Minnesota out of the girl.

This morning, fall is in the air. The sun was out, the dog left a steaming wet spot in the back yard when he went out for his morning constitutional, the air was crisp and cool, and the fall haze hid the mountains to the east. Perfect. (Ok, I'd love to see the mountains every day, but they'll be back.)

I was wearing jeans, ankle socks and flimsy shoes, a v-neck t-shirt, and a thin hoodie that I only threw on at the last minute because I'm wearing low rise pants and I would be sitting all day. I was hot (Uh, temperature-wise. Well, sure... I was hot-looking, too. Never mind I skipped my makeup and hair routine today...)

Happy with the weather, I had to laugh at this lady who was walking her dog along the side of the road. They were moving at a brisk pace and she was bundled up in a winter coat, gloves, and a long pink scarf srapped around her neck, cheeks, across her forehead, and sunglasses covered her eyes. Good grief, you'd think she was standing at an unsheltered bus stop in Minneapolis on a day when the wind chill was colder than 20 below. And she was walking at a pretty good clip.

Is this some sort of freaky Oregonian sweat therapy?
I see this kind of wardrobe choice more often than I expect and it always surprises me.
Maybe these people are recent transplants from California or Nevada? I really don't get it.

I'd like to see these people at the Holidazzle parade in Minneapolis, sans skyways. The Holidazzle parade is during the big Christmas shopping season and people actually stand outside for hours to watch the floats. The parade has only been cancelled for blizzards or -20 windchill... so that means people (meaning we) have stood outside (have frozen our tushies off) for an hour (or four) when the temperature is around zero (before calculating windchill) to watch a parade (and question our own sanity - of course, it's for the children... yes, the ones who are crying and whining that they're cold. Sissies.)

For those of you who have an idea what the Minnesota climate is like, but don't know a lot about Western Oregon, here's a comparison:

Minnesota: 75-100 degrees during the day and night, often very humid and muggy, lots of mosquitoes
Oregon: 60-90 degrees during the day, 50 degrees soon after sundown, comfortably dry but not arid, what's a mosquito?

Minnesota: +20 and down to -20 with windchill, very dry, lots of snow and ice that stays on the ground from late October through late March.
Oregon: 35-55 during the day, 35-40 at night, drizzly or foggy or rainy, snow maybe every other year but it only lasts hours or days so it doesn't really matter anyway. Ok, they close down roads and schools for half an inch of white stuff and they've never seen a snow plow here in the valley...

Now you know what I know about these Oregonian wimps.

You are officially entitled to laugh at them now.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pam's Confession

I have a confession to make. I hope this doesn't offend anyone.

Before I confess, I need to point out that when it comes to eating, people are either foodies or not. If you are a foodie, you know you are, and if you are not a foodie, you probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Foodies are those who eat adventurously, eat globally, and enjoy trying new things.
Non-foodies prefer to eat familiar food, dining on tried and true standare fare.

My confession: We tend to refer to the non-foodies as "White Breads."

Huh? Why? Think of bread.
  • White bread is popular, well-known in the US, always good, always the same (no surprises) and goes with anything you put on it.
  • Foodies eat white bread too, but if you peek in their grocery cart you may also see: ciabatta, sour dough, pita and other flatbreads, focaccia, artisan breads, naan, lavosh, challah, etc. Technically these breads are white but far from being "white bread."

Now-- I am friends with a lot of foodies and white breads, and really don't intend to insult anyone who is reading this and realizing I think of them as a white bread. It just is what it is. If you are a white bread, I like you for who you are and I don't want you to try to be someone you're not.

Foodies tend to flock together, getting together for foodie meals, meeting at foodie restaurants, sharing foodie recipes, and talking food in general. When I meet a new foodie friend, I'm always happy to compare notes and share tips.

Lately, I've been enjoying foodie conversations with a new friend, "G," who has not only traveled a lot but grew up as a foodie. G sent me an email today that lists his favorite restaurants. Note that none of them are here in Salem. Salem is a White Bread town for the most part. Three hundred restaurants, half of them are Mexican and most of the rest are Asian or chain/fast food. Mexican and Asian food is fine, but that ratio is sadly lopsided if you're looking for variety.

Habibi is one of my PDX favorites (although last time I was there the service was terrible upstairs, where we were sitting.) I will make a note to check out some of G's favorite restaurants next time we head up to PDX. Not big on soup, I'd still check out the two Pho restaurants to see what kind of noodl-y dishes they have. I still miss the Curried Mock Duck that Frank and I would get at the Vietnamese restaurant behind our Uptown Mpls apartment (at 36th and Colfax.) Maybe one of the PDX Vietnamese joints would have a great Curried Mock Duck.

G's list:
Biwa on 9th and Ash in Portland
Best Baguette on 82nd and Powell in Portland next to Carl's Jr
Habibi Middle Eastern food downtown Portland a few blocks up from Broadway
Chopsticks Thai/Chinese food on Hawthorne in Portland
Wong King's Seafood Restaurant (best dim sum in the northwest) 82nd and Division
Pho Hung 3120 SE 82nd Ave Portland for Vietnamese food
Pho Van for more Vietnamese food on Hawthorne and 82nd

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The "Before" Pictures: first floor

We had gotten the key earlier that day and were given the go-ahead to enter after 5pm when all of the mortgage funding had been completed. (A little different from how things went down in Mpls, but... whatever.) After I got home at 9pm, we grabbed the dog and walked over to check it out. Rachel and I took a collection of pictures while we were there.

I love Rachel's pictures. She laid on the dining room floor and shot picture after picture of Caesar. Look at his wagging tail. Funny pooch.

Yes, there is a resident family of elves living in the cupboard under the stairs.

Without giving you captions for each individual picture, I'll explain here. What you see is the living room and stairs to the second floor.

Beyond the living room with the hideously gigantic mirror (that we asked them to take with them but I guess we bought it - anyone want a mirror?) is the 8'x8' dining room, sliding glass door to the patio, and the kitchen sans refrigerator.

We'll have to get our extra fridge out of storage this weekend.

(Yes, that is a burned out light bulb. You are very observant.)

No, our fridge doesn't fit in the spot - too tall, at least. This means we get to learn quickly how kitchen cabinets are installed so we can un-install the cabinet over the fridge space. I think we'll just move the cabinet up. On the other hand, there is a water line going to the fridge so for the first time ever we will be able to hook up the ice maker. Yippee! Now nobody (all of us) gets blamed (by me) for being the idiot who put the empty ice tray back in the freezer!

Rachel was smart to bring dog toys which she tossed for our hyper pooch to gladly run after.

Frank checked out the instructions left on the counter and then became his goofy self, catching my eye in the mirror and daring me to take pictures of him, then hamming it up and flexing his muscles, then lifting his shirt to check out his pecs. Yah, right. Ok.

You know that look that wives give their husbands? The one where the wife rolls her eyes and shakes her head and you just know she's thinking,
"Good grief, how many kids do I really have?!"

I do that a lot.

Here's a link to the rest of the photos from this flickr set: Home Improvements