Happy 16th Birthday Mac!

“When you’re sixteen years old, will you still let me hug you?” I asked sweet, little Mac when he was small enough to sit in my lap. He said yes as if there wasn’t a doubt in his mind. But I still wondered. It seems like only yesterday.

Now, he’s driving a truck and stands about nine inches taller than me. So much has changed. But one thing has stayed the same. Mac still hugs me, hangs out with me, and lets me love him.

I’ve enjoyed watching Mac grow in to a man. His love for God flows naturally in to every aspect of his life. He’s a team player, a leader, a brilliant student, a natural athlete, a fierce competitor, and a protector of those weaker than him. And, he loves my cooking.

I’m thankful for a part in the story of Mac – a part close enough to know the fierce gladiator has a huge heart and a passion for life.

Next year he’ll be a junior in High School, a co-captain of the varsity basketball team, and I’m thinking he’ll be 6’4″ by the time he graduates. I’ll have to stand on the bottom step to kiss his face, but I’ll enjoy looking up at him.

Happy Birthday, Mac! You’re a good man and I have so much respect and love for you. I’m soooooo looking forward to the next few chapters of your life.

You Missed The Painting Party

Only one person R.S.V.P.’d to my painting party. God Bless Patricia! She flew out from Santa Rosa, CA., to vacation in sunny Potlatch. And what a vacation she’s having.

Oh…and my Mom came by to visit. She provided a ladder, packing materials, and entertainment while we worked.

Anyway, Pat climbs the ladder and paints the high places, and she paints the ceiling, and the walls. What, you may ask, am I doing? Well, she has the roller and I’m using a brush on the moulding. And my house has an abundance of moulding. Small moulding at the top, big moulding on the bottom, and medium-sized moulding on the windows and doors. I’m just sayin’…I’m working, too. I’m not convinced this is how you spell moulding, but Pat says it is and I want to keep her happy.

We’re using an oil-based paint on the walls, because they’re lathe and plaster stuck together with seven layers of wallpaper. If you take down the wallpaper you have to deal with crumbling plaster. And, water based paint make the wallpaper saggy. It just so happens that the oil-based paint is odor free. It’s my water-based, trim, paint that’s smelly. But it looks beautiful…so I’m a happy girl.

It turns out the biggest room we’re painting is the hallway (shown above). It has the most wall space – four full walls and seven (7) eight (8) – if you count the closet – doors. With moulding. And may I just say that doors are not my friends. Needless to say, I foolishly left them for last. I should have knocked them out first and just gotten it over with. That’s why you can still see the ugly, green doors the previous owners left me. You think that’s bad? You should have seen the green wall paper. And for the record, I prefer satin trim paint rather than super, duper, glossy paint shining on the door.

Two rooms down…two to go. Pat’s leaving on Sunday and I’ll have plenty left to do after she’s gone, but we’re getting the difficult part done now. For instance, the walls and ceilings all need color. Thankfully, I have a few friends who have volunteered to help me. But that’s for another day. Right now, Pat and I are having too much fun.

This painting project is supported by many small cans of Mountain Dew (Pat’s beverage of choice) and large glasses of 1/2 iced tea, 1/2 lemonade (mine).

Pain In The Neck

I’ve been getting adjustments at the chiropractor, and as a result, it’s got me thinking about pain. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the adjustments that cause the pain.

Before I moved here, I was regularly getting adjustments to correct a problem with the bones in my neck. Long story short, when I was a teenager, a benign tumor was removed from between my ribs, and the surgeon who sewed me up, well, he must have missed a few anatomy classes. I’ve got stronger back muscles on one side, which eventually caused the other neck and back muscles to fight to gain balance. Why can’t they all just get along?

Anyway, after I moved here, I just stopped getting adjusted. And the pain came back. But for some reason, I learned to live with it. I’ve gotten familiar with pinched nerves. I’ve learned to move and sleep differently to avoid neck grief. Relieving the pain wasn’t a priority.

Why is it that we can ignore pain and become accustomed to it? And then, when it goes away, we seem to forget that the pain ever existed? I’m going to have to do a little research and get to the bottom of this. I’m fascinated. And for the record, I’m thankful for my new chiropractor and all the pain relief he’s bringing.

P.S. That’s not my neck x-ray. Just pretend.

A Little Rest and Relaxation

We started out a little later than originally planned but made it just in time to join up with these Vietnam vets on their hogs. When I was younger, the line of rough-looking bikers would have generated a bit of fear. Now, I know it’s a favorite pastime for doctors, lawyers, ex-FBI agents, and even professors. Amanda says, “Hey. I saw a few girls.” I responded, “You weren’t counting pony tails were you?”

I was listening to a stupid book and Amanda was listening to music on her iPod. I took my ear buds out at looked at her. I asked, “Is that your music I hear over my book?” I was tempted to say something about how loud music would damage her ear drums. But it sounded a bit parental in my head. The bugs were dying on the windshield, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the view. I can’t remember the name of the dam but it was beautiful.

We finally climbed out of the car and stretched our legs in Leavenworth. It’s a cute little Bavarian village. We grabbed a bite at McDonalds and enjoyed a short walk around the streets.

The streets were all torn up. We found a little poster that showed all the changes being planned. The streets will soon be made of cobblestone. Some of the shops were closed, and many of the restaurants were closed during the construction.

Once we made it to Everett, the journey on Interstate 5 north to Bellingham was such a pleasure. After winding our way through the mountains on two-way streets and then getting stuck behind slow drivers, the freeway was a beautiful thing. I kept saying, “I wonder what the speed limit is here.”

We called Craig and he met us at a little Italian restaurant in Fairhaven. After eating delicious pizza, we boxed up the leftovers and headed for Craig’s house. His house is surrounded by trees and bushes and sits across the street from Chuckanut Bay. It’s peaceful and quiet and a lovely place to relax.

The view from the kitchen window makes washing dishes a pleasure. He’s got a big ol’ kitchen with tons of cupboard space. There’s artwork all over the kitchen counters. I was convinced I’d break something. It seems a little impractical but the pieces are really beautiful. Craig loves glass. Really breakable glass.

Amanda and I shared the upstairs bedroom. I let her use the attached bathroom and I took over the downstairs bathroom. It was somewhat strange brushing my teeth amongst pieces of artwork, but I enjoyed every minute.

There’s a Joan Irving piece on the shelf in the shower. It seemed odd putting my shampoo next to it.

We visited downtown Bellingham with a first stop at the farmer’s market. Then we took a drive out to La Conner, home of the Tulip Festival. It’s a sweet little town with fun shops and nice restaurants.

We walked down to the water and looked at all the boats. I spied an Italian pottery shop. Craig found every single art gallery. There’s a little shop called “Go Outside” with an odd shop owner. He reminded me of Bob Newhart. He’d be a great character in a story. Craig started to get a little pensive, so we stopped for a bite to eat at a little brewery.

We dropped Craig off at his house and found our way to Bellis Fair mall to get some shopping in while he was eating dinner with the governor. I’m not kidding.

Much later, when we were tired and hungry, we met Craig in Fairhaven at On Rice for Thai food. He told us about his dinner while we enjoyed our curry.

The next day we headed for Canada. No wait at the border. We stopped in Richmond for an early lunch at an Asian mall. At one end of the mall is a Maserati store. Are you kidding me? I had to get a picture. I would have stuffed the car in my beautiful backpack, but I wouldn’t have been able to carry it. :) The main attraction in the mall – Dim Sum.

Clearly authentic Chinese food. We were the only non-Asiancustomers in the restaurant. They kept looking at our table to figure out what we were eating. They probably expected to find hamburgers. Silly people.

Next stop, Ikea. We passed the “showroom” and went straight to the marketplace. Candles, candles, and more candles. I found some great jars with wire lids for my kitchen.

And off to Grandville. The public market on Grandville Island is a cooks dream. I stocked up on two different grades of maple syrup, herbs, flavored sea salt, and spices. My favorite deli counter supplied great cheese and tasty salami and soprassata. I also managed to get a few pounds of tasty bacon.

From the bakery, we bought a loaf of challah bread for making french toast. Amanda got a chocolate brownie bar and I had orange shortbread cookie. Yummy.

I should have taken pictures of the market, but I completely forgot. Besides, my hands were full of bags.

We ended the night with dinner at restaurant just north of the U.S. border. Mathew and Sarah, Craig’s friends, were meeting us for dinner. They got stuck at the border crossing for two hours. We waited. And snacked on edamame. The most odd appetizer I’ve ever seen on a menu. I’m guessing it’s fashionable to eat soy beans. I found it quite bizarre.

On our last day, we made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for Mom’s butter then we went to a sweet, little Mediterranean store. Lots of Greek supplies. I found my Mom’s red dye for Easter eggs and some #2 pastitio noodles.

We packed up our stuff and headed home. We took a different route through Seattle. Traffic was light and the journey was about two hours shorter.

We were well rested, anxiety free, and ready for the long drive home. Why is it always faster on the journey home?

I finished listening to my stupid book and enjoyed the scenery and the speed. Surprisingly, Amanda never slept in the car. She was a great travel partner.

The drive through Snoquamie Pass is beautiful. It’s especially pleasant without the snow. It’s over there…on the mountain. If you look real closely you can see it.

We made a quick stop in Cle Elum to visit a few shops, including Glondo’s. He makes his own pepperoni and salami. How’s a girl supposed to pass that up?

Amanda took over the driving as we left Cle Elum. Who’s afraid of driving stick shift? Not Amanda.

I managed to snooze for quite a few miles, only waking up when my neck snapped forward. I woke to beautiful views and started taking pictures through the sun roof. There were far too many bugs dead on the windows.

Once you cross under the trestle bridge, the scenery gets a little boring. I’m pretty sure I snoozed a bit more.

But this bridge also means you’re halfway home. It also means fewer gas stations and bathrooms.

So close to home.

And finally we’re back in Idaho.

Home Sweet Home!




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