Thursday, February 26, 2009

An uncommon man (or woman)

I heard this quote on Dave Ramsey's show tonight and had to share it.
This was written in 1952 by a man named Dean Alfange, born in 1899. Alfange was a World War I veteran, a pro-Zionist (in 1943 he appeared before the House of Representatives and addressed them on the rescue of the Jewish people in Europe), and was the American Labor Party candidate for governor of New York.
He was also one of the founders of the Liberal Party of New York.
Strange how things change.

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security. I do not
wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and
dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk;
to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I
prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed
existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale
calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor
my dignity for a handout. I will never cower
before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and
unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the
benefit of my creations and to face the world
boldly and say, "This I have done with my own
hand, I am a man. I am an American.”

Bored, bored, bored!

Not much going on this week.
Worked all day Monday.
Had Joshua over on Tuesday, which was fun but now it's Thursday.
Pretty slow week and nothing to blog about.
So I'm going to tell you about one of my favourite things.
It will be the first of a series called "Things I Love."
My house decorating style would have to be called "eclectic," because I tend to buy things that I love, not necessarily things that look good together.
Here is one of the first things I bought because I truly loved it.

It's called "Rainbow optic vase" by Dan Bergsma. I was on a girls' beach trip and found it at an art gallery in Lincoln City. The one in the gallery was already sold, so I ordered and prepaid for one.
It cost $395.
But I loved it.
Jeff didn't kill me.
Didn't even get mad.
I looked online and it's now selling for $450.
Hmmmm. Not exactly an investment.
But I still love it.
It makes me HAPPY.
I found another of his vases online today.
Isn't it beautiful?

It would complement my decor perfectly!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Great Escape

Sometimes ya just gotta get away.
Which we did this weekend.
To the beautiful Oregon Garden Resort.
Two nights, breakfast buffet included.
Oh. The fresh buttered strawberry scones on Sunday morning!
Check out the bed...
Soft, downy comforter, cushy pillows, and ALL WHITE.
Just the way I like it.
It's a wonder I ever left that bed.

But leave it we did.
To hike the almost-8 miles of trails in Silver Falls State Park.
And yes, we saw every one of those ten waterfalls.
Some of them twice.

I love the forest in winter, branches all covered in moss.

Little ferns all growing out of the moss.

Finally, at the end of the day, two pairs of tired feet.
And yes, the boots and possum socks were AWESOME.
Not a blister in sight!

Spring has sprung....

...the grass is riz,
I wonder where the flowers iz?

Well, spring hasn't really sprung, officially anyway,
but my garden thinks it has.
Miniature iris sprang into bloom a couple of days ago...

Followed quickly by yellow crocuses.
Or is that croci?

Primroses, hardy souls from last year, are fighting the slugs and barely winning. It is true, you can plant your primroses in the ground after they are done blooming and they will bloom again next year. I think the trick is planting them where they get plenty of water in the heat of summer.

Are we bored yet?

Does anybody need crocus or iris bulbs?
They proliferate like crazy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Slugs and snails and.....

....puppy dog tails.
That's what little boys are made of!

We have four little boys.
They are all slightly quirky and more than a bit ornery and thoroughly adorable. Each in their own, unique way!
A couple of weeks ago I had three of them over for the afternoon.
It was a sunny day and the air was balmy, a promise of spring to come.
We blew bubbles on the deck and ate marshmallows.

We rode scooters.

Then we went for a walk.
We sat on the path by the new traffic island.
We ate marshmallows and waved at all of the trucks and cars that went by.
Some of them studiously ignored us.
But most of them smiled with delight and waved back at us.
How could they not?

Then we walked to the fire station and watched the firemen spraying water at their practice structure.
Three pairs of tired little legs walked home VERY SLOWLY.
Tommy kept asking, "WHEN WILL WE BE HOME, NANA?"

On Monday, we went to the zoo with Bethany, her four offspring, and Tommy.
We chased children all around the zoo.
We ate elephant ears, and admired the animals.

We walked a long way.
Tommy kept asking, "CAN WE GO HOME NOW, NANA?"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Useless fact of the day

What do you call a group of finches?
Answer: A charm.
Here is our charm of goldfinches.

So what do you call a group of Valentines Lindor milk chocolate truffles with white chocolate filling? Bought at Bi-Mart this afternoon for $2 a bag. Which wasn't as good as the $1 a bag Halloween truffles, but neither was I tempted to buy 25 bags, either.

Feel free to leave suggestions in the "Comments" section.
Maybe the clever winner, chosen by me, will win a bag.
If they're not all eaten by then.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Winter: The Great Equalizer

The thing I LOVE about winter is that it makes me so happy when it's over. I can't wait for my daffodils and tulips and crocuses to bloom. Almost all gardens look equally crappy in the midst of winter chill....or rain.
Oregonians crack me up. As soon as we get a sunny day, any time after March 1st, we drive in droves to the nearest nursery centre and stock up on colourful blooms.
Every year, I try to resist the urge.
Every year, I fail.

Here are some radiant spots in my garden right now.

My friend, Lori, gave me snowdrop bulbs a couple of years ago. They have multiplied aggressively and are the first bloom of the year.


Some kind of jasmine. Also from Lori.
I'll bet you wish YOU had a Lori too!

The ubiquitous goldfinches with the expensive tastes.

Raised beds, just waiting for spring.
Two beds of dormant strawberries, dreaming of little children who will steal their delicious fruits.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jump, Jive, and.......

Memo to Jeff:
Don't give me chocolates on Valentine's Day.
I already have a spare room full of good chocolate.
Inventory includes:
5 bags of Halloween Lindor truffles
2 Christmas tree-shaped containers of Ferrer Rocher
1 bar of Bloomsbury & Co fine chocolate from New Zealand
3 bars of assorted Lindt
2 bags of Ghirardelli squares
3 boxes of assorted Belgian chocolates wrapped in red and green
1 tin of Kirkland fine biscuits in Belgian chocolate
2 bags of red and green mint M&M's
1 dresser-drawerful of cheap Hershey's etc. for those with less-fine tastebuds (think "grandchildren")
and so on....
You get the picture.

Don't give me a dozen red roses from the florist.
I prefer my roses fresh from the garden, smelling sweetly of the sun.

Don't give me jewelery.
It doesn't thrill me any more.
Although those huge black pearls from China were kind of cool.

Just be nice to me.
Adore me.
All day.
Every day.
Not a tall order.

I think he's finally getting it.

Yesterday we went for a brisk walk at the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge.

Old man with binoculars.

Then we went dancing.
Think "Sock Hop, lots of swing music."
Including our all-time favourite....
Jump, Jive, and Wail.
Which will be the death of us some day.

P.S. Bethany has a lovely take on V-Day.
See "Life's Lessons" to the right>>>>>

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Possum Socks

Jeff and I are going to stay at the new Oregon Garden Resort next weekend. We hope the weather holds out and we can hike Silver Falls. SO....I needed some hiking boots. I found some half-price ($44.95) at Joe's. Formerly GI Joe's. Which name change necessitated a lengthy boycott by Charlie and me. We eventually caved, being MORALLY INSIPID and too many miles from another good sports equipment store. I am so ashamed! So, then I needed some good hiking socks. I raided Jeff's sock drawer and found his previously unworn, kelly green POSSUM SOCKS.


Here they are. Morally bankrupt hiking boots and possum socks. Yes, they really are made out of New Zealand possum fur. If you had ever met a NZ possum in the bush in the dead of night, you would know why.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Think, Therefore I Blog

I seem to have become addicted to several blogs. Nowadays, as I go about my days, I have little "light bulb" moments, thinking to myself, "Self, I could blog about that!"
So, here I am.

What can you expect to see on my blog?
Gardening moments and ideas.
Adorable grandchildren photos and stories. (Sorry, but I have to!)
Cool ways to become the WORLD'S BEST NANA.
Ranting and ravings of a frustrated Republican, although not too many of these because I'm trying to IGNORE all things political so that I don't get an ULCER.
Thoughts about THE BIGGER PICTURE.
Music Therapy Moments.
Ideas for making your world and mine a teensy bit better.
Updates on the Osborne clan in general.
Environmental tips.
Crafty-sewing-crocheting-type thingies.

And probably other stuff I haven't even dreamed of yet. So, come and visit me once in a while and let me know you've been here so that I don't think I'm talking to the ether. Although that would be okay, too.

These cuties were at an alpaca farm we visited last fall on a weekend getaway to Skamania Lodge.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

First Official Post...the UN-Christmas Letter

Dear friends
This is my official Christmas of 2008 letter. You and I both know that I missed it by a mile, but we won’t tell, will we? Shhhhhhh…..
This year has, as usual, been a mixed bag. We try to forget the crappy things, unless we happened to have learned GREAT LIFE LESSONS from them, so I’m going to hit some of the MOST LOVELY things that happened to the Osbornes this year, in no particular order.
Jeff quit his job at Bioject early in the year. Rat deserting a sinking ship, is what I called it. Their stock (of which we own quite a lot, although as Jeff reminds me, most of it was GIVEN to us) is now worth about 2 cents a share. He started with Tyco Electronics right away and, now that everyone who annoyed him was laid off a few weeks ago, is happy as a clam. Albeit overworked. He went to China for a week to straighten up the factory in Shanghai and contracted a lovely case of giardia (sp?) that made him sick for about 6 weeks. He also spent way too much money on gifts. I think the local vendors saw him coming. “Here comes a big, rich, American. Let’s double the price of everything!”
Sue (me) attended her CCNZ 50th anniversary reunion in April and had the time of her life. She felt like a teenager again and spent the week wearing a silly grin and feeling entirely giddy while hanging out with old friends. And I do mean OLD! She got to chase pukekos at The Lake, picked feijoas almost every morning from Mum’s tree, and ate too many fish and chips and Whittakers’ chocolate bars. Many other happy memories and not enough space to tell. Sue didn’t want to come home. Poor Jeff.

Sue and friends

The pukekos, of course.

While Sue was in NZ, Jeff, Jon, and Charlie went to Washington DC. The boys had an astounding time and even forgave Sue for the fleapit hotel she had reserved for them.

THE BOYS somewhere in Washington D.C.

Charlie fulfilled his goal of joining the Marines in June and spent the next 13 weeks wondering what the heck he had done! He said that after a few days he thought maybe he should’ve gone on a mission. Too late now, my boy! Seriously though, he excelled in boot camp and is now stationed in Camp Pendleton in California. He is an infantry gunner of some sort. We expect he will be deployed to “somewhere” in September. Mom and Dad drove down to his graduation and marveled at the intensity of the whole boot camp experience. Jeff, of course, had been through it in the Coast Guard, but it was slightly HORRIFYING for Sue. He has been home on leave several times since August and we think it gets harder for him to leave each time. He is appreciating home and family like never before. Hooray! And we tend to dote on him just a little, what with his future looking to be kind of dangerous.

Charlie's graduation in San Diego

Jeff attended his high school reunion in September. No, Sue didn’t go with him. Eeeeek! (That’s the sound of her running for the hills.) He was under-impressed but got to spend some quality time with sister Theresa and her family and came home with some LOVELY electronic bug-zappers. Thank you, Rick. Then a few weeks later, some more arrived in the mail. What’s with that?
Jon and Jennie moved to Newberg in August. Jon is taking a well-deserved sabbatical from school in order to earn money and pay off debt. And, I suspect, to de-stress a little. We are loving the chance to get closer to his boys and also develop a closer relationship with Jennie. He was lucky to get a night shift job at Intel right before they did a hiring freeze. The hours are difficult but the pay and benefits are great. Tommy is completely bilingual and it is a kick to hear him switching effortlessly from Spanish to English. Sometimes he makes up his own words, using parts of each language. He doesn’t like to say “with,” so he uses the Spanish “con” instead. As in, “Nana, you come play con me?”
Jeff and Sue acquired (as in bought, for mega-amounts of dollars) a recumbent tandem in the spring. The plan was to ride together so that Sue didn’t get left behind all the time, which is what tends to happen on group bike rides with our maniacal friends. Yes, the same maniacal friends with whom we were climbing the mountain last year! They (Jeff and Sue) had only put in about 100 miles riding practice when they tried the 54-mile-route of the famous Strawberry Ride in June. They had a couple of nasty crashes while attempting to ascend hills and Sue’s ankle got badly wrenched in the process. Thought she’d broken it again, but it was just badly sprained. The bike, apparently, is very tough. They finished the ride but were slightly leery of the darn bike for the rest of the summer. Oh well, 2009 is a NEW YEAR and full of fresh resolutions:
1. Ride the darn bike!
2. Don’t fall off.
Annie had an up-and-down year but is now entrenched in school, (studying for her criminal justice degree), working at the mall, and living in her own apartment. She comes home fairly often to visit, play with her nieces and nephews, and raid the fridge.
Sue had the plate and screws removed from her leg in December. There is now less pain and less grumpiness. Good news indeed.
Bethany keeps very busy with her four kids, who are all totally cute and brilliant. Bethany and Chris have been enjoying their house. Bethany paints and sews up a storm and Chris makes things (we’re not sure exactly what) out of wood. If you want to catch up on Bethany's family, click on "Life's Lessons" in my blog list.
Other lovely things:
Jeff and Jon built raised grow-boxes so that I can grow an awe-inspiring vegetable garden this year. We already planted blueberries and kiwi vines and grape vines. We will be so HEALTHY. We got produce bags from a local farm every week through last summer and I discovered that I LOVE fava and garbanzo beans. Also found out that Jeff has always likes beets but had never bothered to tell me. Who knew?
We had a composite deck built over our UGLY concrete patio. It is BEAUTIFUL.
We painted and wallpapered and re-carpeted and got a new front door and now our house almost looks like new. It makes me HAPPY. Charlie’s room is in a jungle theme and has GIRAFFE and ZEBRA paintings on the walls.
Our garden is full of goldfinches feeding on very expensive nyjer thistle seed. Yes, that word IS spelled correctly.
Jeff is considering my wish to go and volunteer with the orangutans in Indonesia. (“But dear, what about the terrorists?”)
Charlie tells us that he has quit cussing. This makes his Mom VERY HAPPY.
Jonnie bought a tiny yellow poison arrow frog and named him Michaelangelo. Some things never change! He is as gleeful over it as he ever was.
We have been married for 29 years this month. Miracles never cease!
Our kids all like us, I think, and our grandkids adore us. What else could two slightly weary, graying, cuddly (as in “ewe’s not fat, ewe’s cuddly”) people want?

Love and blessings to you all.

Jeff and Sue, who are HOME ALONE, AT LAST!