Thursday, February 21, 2008


Our landlord sold out to a corporation and now the house rules are changing. For one, we need to get a prescription for the dog.

I am not kidding. If you're just starting to get to know us, Frank is Deaf and part of Caesar's job is to alert Frank to activity at the front door, back door, and to tell Frank when I'm making a big breakfast. (Smoke alarm. Burning bacon or toast flambe.) The prescription is supposed to be proof that he's an assistance dog as opposed to "just" an ordinary pet. Honestly, I think no pet is "just" ordinary. If you have an animal sharing your home, wouldn't you consider your critter(s) to be absolutely necessary for your health and sanity?

Ok, Caesar takes his job a little too seriously at the front door. To the point where he has to spend a little quiet time in the box. (It's his dog crate. We're strict but not cruel.) Although today we had a stranger come to the door and ask if I knew any Mexican families in the neighborhood. I figured they didn't want to be bothered by a door to door salesman any more than I did, so I lied and said "New here, sorry." Caesar went nuts the whole time, and I could clearly see the difference in his behavior from his two "Hey I know you! Hi! Can I lick you! You haven't been here for a long time!" bark and the "Hey who are you? Why are you coming in? I don't know you! This is my house!" Today's bark clearly said "Back off, putz."

When I closed the door from the salesman Caesar looked at me as if to say, "Sorry, I couldn't help it," but I quickly got down to his eye level (way down because he's part Dachshund and part Jack Russell and he's a shortie) and said "Good Dog!" I reached up and grabbed his box of treats and put it on the floor for him to choose what he wanted. He grabbed a smelly cheese sausage thing and set it on the rug. Then he grabbed a rawhide stick and set that on the rug. I gave him a cookie (dog biscuit) and he took it then spit it back into the box. Picky, picky. After nosing around he grabbed one more smelly cheese thing, then went over to the rug to eat his snacks.

Weirdo. And we need a prescription for him.
Considering he is part of OUR warped family, that actually seems perfect.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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This week I decided that I am going to bring my plates to an Memorial Day art fair at the Lincoln Co fairgrounds in Newport, Oregon.

The first hurdle is getting the day off my regular job (weird work schedule). The second hurdle is figuring out how much merchandise I need to bring. Will be checking with the local artist on the coast who invited me to participate, and maybe will also check with the local Chamber of Commerce as well. This is the Cause for Paws benefit for the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, and it's an annual event, so I plan to check with them as well to see how they've done in the past.

The third hurdle is the hardest: I'm going to have to sew and sew and sew until I can't stand it. Then I'll get up and stretch before sewing some more. I have some product, but not nearly enough for any kind of art fair.

(10 minutes later) BTW, did you know that Blogger (that's the vehicle for this blog, if you're not familiar with all of this blogging stuff) has an autosave feature? I have to say I LOVE IT! My computer just shut itself off a few minutes ago without warning. When I got it back on I cringed as I checked this post and was relieved to see that nothing was lost. And I'm a fast typist - 70wpm.
Yep. Autosave is amazing!

Oooooh-kay. So. Art fair. Newport, Oregon. May.
I have time. (If I don't sleep between now and then.)
I hope.

Note to self: No more dinking around on the computer from home. Save the dinking around for when you're at your day job.

Note to others: Yeah, I'm fairly sure my boss will read this. I love my job.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

email from mom...
I think this just about sums up my own personal philosophy on life, and watching this movie confirmed to me that I am indeed on the correct path. Two minutes well spent.
Just click to start then sit back and enjoy.

Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:16 PM
Subject: Donna would like to share The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

I thought you would like to check out The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun:

(If clicking doesn't work, simply cut and paste the link into your Web browser.)
These are sooooo good. The timing is perfect.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In case you're stranded on The Rock...

First, a little background. The town of Pacific City is on the Oregon Coast, about an hour and a half from here. In PC, as many people call it, there is a single rock jutting up from the ocean, about a mile from shore. This is one of two "Haystack Rocks" on the Oregon Coast, and the thing is absolutely mammoth. Here's a picture of what we affectionately call The Rock.

This is the first picture I could find quickly, so look past the copyright and you'll see the rock standing out beyond the sand of Cape Kiwanda. The Rock is so huge that as we drive into town we can spot it 3 miles before we arrive at the beach. Rachel and I play a silly game of I-Spy where the answer each time is "The Rock."

I-Spy something with my little eye. Something.... gray.
Is it The Rock?
My turn.
I-Spy something with my little eye. Something.... really big.
Is it The Rock?
Now it's my turn.
I-Spy something with my little eye. Something.... covered in bird poop.
Is it The Rock?

By this time we have arrived and the dog is going bonkers in the back of the van because he sees other dogs on the beach roaming around off- leash and the nonsense is temporarily put on hold.

The Rock, a mile out, has no dock, no pedestrian facilities, no hiking trail, nothing. Nothing to grab onto if you swim out there and need to rest. It's just a rock. A really really big rock. There are sea lions and seagulls who hang out and eat mussels and other critters that may cling to it or swim in the waters, but no humans are legally allowed on or within a certain perimeter of the rock. The sea lions would probably take a bite out of you if you got close, anyway. They're pretty darn territorial and your smell is not of their tribe. The Dory Boat captains who jet on and off the beach are the only humans who get close, but even they maintain their distance from The Rock.

So today we were checking cell phone coverage for our area and pulled up this map. The Peninsula just north of Pacific City is Cape Kiwanda, upon which I sat as I took the above picture. The green dot just west of the Cape is the rock.

Imagine our endless amusement when we realized that in fact there is decent cell coverage on The Rock. In case you get stranded, I guess.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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Chai Date Bread

Another thing... I've been experimenting with steeped tea as the liquid in recipes and have come up with a few winners. Tea, especially flavored varieties, adds a delicate je nes sais quoi to baked goods that I find irresistible. Chai is fun to bake with because the spices in the tea lend themselves well to familiar baking ingredients, but the tea flavor is present. I once tried a mango chai tea in muffins with snipped pieces of dried mangoes in the batter. Unbelievable.

We drink quite a bit of tea at home, and prefer it English style, sweet and milky. Unfortunately, some of the herbal teas we bought cause the milk to curdle. When this happens the tea is relegated to the "brewed iced tea" shelf, and it makes great iced tea. (And preferred over Koolaid by the junior members of our household.) This winter the iced tea shelf still has several unopened boxes sitting on it and sorry, if it's cold out, I'm not in the mood for iced tea. It's been really cold this winter. The tea awaits.

But - the idea to bake with tea came up and problem solved: We warm the kitchen by baking, we get homemade warm treats to eat, and the tea gets used up before it gets old. The trick when baking with tea is to brew double or triple strength so the flavor can be detected in the bakery. And if a recipe calls for milk, not water, just add 1/3 cup of powdered milk to every cup of liquid tea and you've got your milk.

Here's a recipe for Chai Date Bread:
This recipe is simple and delicious. Try it with other tea flavors.

1 1/2 cup chopped dates
1 1/4 c boiling water poured over 3 chai tea bags, steeped 2-3 minutes (to make strong tea)
2 Tbsp butter
1 beaten egg
2 c all purpose flour, sifted
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325F, grease bread pan.

In a large bowl, pour the tea over the dates, add butter, and stir to combine. Let sit approx 15 minutes or until room temperature.

Stir in the beaten egg. Add the dry ingredients at once, stirring just until combined. Pour into greased bread pan and bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out dry.

Let cool to room temperature. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight before slicing. If you can wait that long. You won't die if you slice it up and eat it all while it's still on the cooling rack. Just lean over the sink or counter so you don't drop crumbs on the floor.

Better yet, make a double batch and hide the second loaf as it cools so you can refrigerate it overnight before slicing. (It really does slice better if it sits in the fridge first.)

This recipe was first posted by Pam in the Plate Diaries at

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Pork shoulder, ignored

Normally, when I cook something basic I try to get fancy and add extra ingredients, thereby ruining the whole darn thing. This time I managed to restrain myself while rummaging for seasonings and created something edible that I am proud to share.

Here's what we had for dinner last night: Pork shoulder, ignored. This was another simple recipe that took 5 minutes to prepare in the morning and it was nearly ready to eat when everyone got home.

A large pork shoulder (or pork butt) bone or no bone, approximately 5 lbs
Soy sauce
Brown Mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: Get out the big crock pot - or make sure all your pork fits in the crock that you have

Turn the crock to low and pour in just enough soy sauce to cover the bottom. Place the pork on the soy sauce, then slather on enough brown mustard to coat the exposed areas of the pork. Salt and pepper to taste - we prefer a generous coating of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Seriously, the better your ingredients are the better your results. Salt is inexpensive; ditch the blue round can with the umbrella girl and get some good salt.

Put the lid on your crock pot and ignore it for at least 6 hours. Crank the heat up to high for the last hour while you hang up your coat, take off your shoes, check the mail, make any side dishes, and set the table. I get home 4 hours after Frank and Rachel do, but I see leftover spaetzle in the fridge, so I know that was one of their side dishes with the pork.

Fantastic. Cooking transforms mustard and until you try it you'll never believe what it can do to a dish. Brown and yellow mustards are both good, but I prefer the earthier flavor of brown mustard when cooked. Try mustard and white wine or vermouth (!) on chicken - also amazing.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine Greetings 2008

Image copyright (C) 2008 Pam Hawk

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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The Weekend Houseguest

We had an interesting adventure this weekend. Our brother in law took our sister out of town on a surprise trip for the weekend. They had made arrangements for their son, but needed a place for their pooch to stay.

Enter "Bear," a gentle, elderly Pekingese.

Our doggie, Caesar, is just under 3 and has never lived in a home with another dog. As far as we know, anyway. We were his third home when we adopted him from the Humane Society, when he was 18 months old. If Caesar is just under 3 (he's 34 months old this month) and dogs age 7 years for every human year, then that makes him equivalent to a young whippersnapping 19 year old brat. Bear, on the other hand, is over 10, so when he arrived we had a senior citizen meandering through the apartment, looking for a comfortable place to sit. Peacefully.

Here's a little replay of events at home when Bear arrived on Thursday night...

Young Whippersnapper: Hey hey hey hey hey hey! (That's him barking.)
Hey hey hey! Huh? Oh, it's you. (They had met before, a few times. After the ritual sniffing in their earlier meetings, they tried each had humping each other to learn that this was probably not going to get very far. No point carrying on if you were at risk of having your da-da snapped off my a snarling partner.)

Old Man: What? Oh. Where's the couch?

Young Whippersnapper: Hey why are you here? Where are you going? Hey, that's my kitchen.
(sniff sniff sniff) Nice butt.

Old Man: (sniff sniff sniff) Yep, that's your butt.

Young Whippersnapper: (sniff sniff sniff) Dude, you've got dog breath.

Old Man: Get out of my face. (wandering toward a bedroom) Where's the best place to lay down around here?

Young Whippersnapper: (marking the floor in the doorway of mom and dad's bedroom) This is my bedroom. Keep out.

Old Man: (sniff sniff) Hey, my humans have a smelly room like this, too.

Young Whippersnapper: (marking the floor in front of the doorway of the bathroom) This is my bathroom. Keep out.

Old Man: (sniff sniff near Rachel's room) Whose bedroom is this?

Young Whippersnapper: (trotting toward Rachel's bedroom doorway then getting scooped up and put in his crate) This is my - hey! You can't put me in here!

Old Man: Thank God. Peace at last.

Later, when the Young Whippersnapper was released from prison,
Young Whippersnapper: Wanna play fetch, huh? Hey, let's play tug-o-war! C'mon old man. Ooh-ooh I know - Let's chase invisible bugs! Hey hey! I know! Let's play leap frog. I'll be the leaping frog. Here I come; Duck!

Old Man: If I hold very still he'll think I'm a statue.

Things calmed down when Caesar realized Bear was most content to lounge (and snore loudly) in the bed that arrived with him.

Mealtime, however, was lots of fun to watch. Bear has allergies and so his humans have him on a special diet. He gets soft food, while Caesar gets dry kibble. Bear was too depressed to eat at first, but by Sunday he decided he was hungry enough to eat. While preparing Bear's bowl, Caesar would drool. To slow Caesar down and keep him at his own food bowl, he got a glob of schmaltz (chicken fat left over from the roasting pan) in the bottom of his bowl under the kibble. We put down both food bowls in front of each dog. Caesar dug in right away, stealing glances at Bear to see if he had started eating or not. Bear sniffed his food, looked longingly at Caesar's bowl, then stood there as if deciding what he was going to do about the obvious discrepancy between the two meals served. Hunger may have gotten the best of him and he dug in.

The two furballs finished at the same time. They walked over to each other, sniffed each others' snouts to see what the other had eaten, then nosed over to the opposite bowl and licked any flavor remnants from the meal they hadn't had.

On Sunday night Bear's humans arrived and the quiet, depressed, sedentary pooch suddenly became a wiggling ball of happiness. Soon he was out the door and heading back home. Our hypermutt, realizing he was the solo dog again, sat down by the door, stuck his nose in the air, put his ears back, and grinned.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Nerdy excitement

I admit it, I'm a big nerd. Those of you who really know me well have probably realized how appropriately named I am. Pam spelled backwards is map and I gotta say I love maps. Some of you realized this long ago and have since given up on trying to understand. It's okay.

It's an ongoing obsession for me. At work while I'm on a phone call and waiting on hold, I'll pull out my big atlas (everybody in my department has one) and study the region that my caller is in. I try to figure out the topography based on roads and rivers, and try to get an idea whether my caller is more rural or urban. I look for funny names in the map. (For example, there is a Jackass Creek between here and the coast. That cracks me up every time we drive past it.)

No surprises to anyone when I added the little ClustrMap on the side of this blog. I added one to my Pam's Inbox blog, too. When you visit either blog, the map collects the geographical info from your ISP. Or in simpler terms, it puts a red dot on the map to show where your internet comes from. Small towns may have a dot at the nearest city, but it gets close. The bigger the dot, the more visits from that area.

Imagine my nerdy excitement when, about a month after installing these maps, I see I've had visitors from Western Canada, Texas, the middle of the USA, the North Atlantic, and Detroit! Yes, I also see your visits from The Twin Cities, Northern Wisconsin, Florida, Southern California, New Mexico, Idaho, and Oregon - those I expected to see. I just didn't know I knew anyone in these other places and I have to say I am absolutely thrilled. Hello everyone! (I'm waving.)

Hold on to your hat; there's more. I clicked over to my Inbox blog and just about fell out of my chair. France, England, Germany, Netherlands, and Finland! (Wanna see? Click here, then scroll down to find the map.)

I'm absolutely beside myself with glee.

Will you do me a crazy favor? Will you send a link of this and/or my other blog to someone far away? Know anyone in Asia, Africa, South America, or Australia? Greenland? Hawaii? To see so many dots scattered all over the world would put a huge grin on my face for months and drive Frank and Rachel absolutely nuts to see me so ecstatic over something so nerdy.
Thanks! xoxo

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
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Friday, February 1, 2008

The Collage

Since registering my business, Pass It On Plates, I've been getting some interesting stuff in the mail. Yeah, lots of credit card orders and free pens with my name printed on them, but also some packaging and store fixture catalogs. (I'm registered as an online store, so uh, not really sure why they think I need clothing racks and glass cases, but hey I'll thumb through their catalog. Always been curious how much those things cost, anyway. Maybe I'd want something as a household fixture or garden ornament. You never know.)

Tonight Rachel had no friends to chat with on My Space. That's a first. So she's bored and wants some magazines to cut up and make a collage for her school binder. I'd just thrown out a bunch of catalogs and magazines, so I shrugged and indicated the store fixture catalog sitting on the dining room table. I have no plans to buy printable shopping bags or t-shirt folding boards (they're $98 for the cheap ones!) so she can hack it into pieces for her art.

She worked quietly for 30 minutes so I checked on her to see what she's got so far. Large exclamation points, fisheye mirrors, and mannequins. Sounds like she's planning on creating a shocking scenario...
Uh, I don't think I wanna know. I'll plead innocent when her principal emails me to schedule a discussion about Rachel's binder. Oh. She says she plans on dressing her people with random articles of clothing. This ought to be interesting.

The catalog first arrived in the mail yesterday, so I browsed through it over dinner. When I came to the mannequin page, I stopped. Frank and Rachel happened to look at the catalog at that moment and we all exclaimed, "I want one of those!" They're just $389 for the full body, sans hair and anatomically correct naughty bits. A bargain, really.

Some mammequins are . . whoops. Well, no, actually that's correct. Some are mammequins. Others are mannequins. I was going to say some are only the top half of the body and some are the bottom half. Both genders are represented, so yes, we have mannequin bottom halves and mammequin top halves.
The point I was going to make is that some mannequins are rather endowed (yet smooth like Barbie's gay friend Ken) and Rachel decided that it'd probably be better if she omitted them from the collage. At least she knows where to draw the line.

When the masterpiece is finished I'll post a photo of it for you to admire. God help us all.


email from Pam's mom

This cracked me up.

'Say, answer me this....How do the wood peckers hang upside down to eat
suet? I know with their feet but why not unright? They are crazy.

Today, I shot a red squirrel up close, he fell kapow on the ground and
later was gone. Now where did he go? Who ate him? No blood

so I musta just knocked him out.????

Wood peckers all over the place.

Donna K'