Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, Again

Wow, it's Halloween again. Last year at this time we were having a party at Hallasan Tower with our friends, and trying to perfect a treat-dispensing funnelator, because getting up to answer the door was cutting into our drinking time. This year, our friends are in Alabama, California, Virginia and Florida. Some of them have a new baby and others have one on the way. We moved halfway across the world, and oh yeah, my mother's dead. Crazy.

Funny, I thought I had a lot more to say, but I guess not so much. Happy Halloween, my friends! Eat plenty of candy, and don't trouble yourselves about poisoned treats. Just so you know, there has never been a documented case of halloween candy poisoning by a stranger. Click here to read an article about it. You should still stay away from those homemade popcorn balls, though, because those things are GROSS.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Sorry, no cute cat pictures or videos today. I know how popular they are, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. One day you get adorable antics by Henry, the next day it's piles of dreary crap. I would feel sorry for you, but I DID warn you. It's not my fault you don't listen!

I spent the day digging out my mother's peonies, and it really sucked. It was hard, dirty work, and not the really good sweaty productive kind that I can really get behind. It was just flat-out depressing. Every time the shovel hit the dirt it was like a hateful little song in my head: There won't be any flowers here next year because your mother's dead, your mother's dead, neiner, neiner, neiner!

I kept finding the tags she used to mark them. I'm sure it's to differentiate the colors and kinds, but they just have numbers on them, and I don't know what her numbering scheme was.

I'm pretty sure I was doing it wrong, too: I kept digging through some of the tubers. I was terrified the whole time that she was going to send some big scary birds to peck my head every time I cut off a root. Oh, and she would do it, don't think she wouldn't...

So now I have a giant pile of peonies that need good homes. If you want some, let me know. My understanding is that they will grow anywhere north of Montgomery, Alabama. I did have some in Shreveport, Louisiana and they didn't do well there. You can come pick them up if you're local, or I'm happy to mail them.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I promise this isn't going to turn into a blog about my cat, ya'all, but look at him drinking out of the toilet! He watched me put fresh water in his bowl, then turned his nose up at it and went out of his way to drink out of the toilet. Then he actually licked his chops! I don't know what I was thinking; I should have gotten a girl cat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


You've heard of sheepdogs, right? Or even sheeppigs, like Babe? But I bet you haven't seen a cat-herding sheep yet. Henry, our new cat with the magnificent tail, is pretty interested in the sheep farm behind our house. I took this video of him having a close encounter of the sheepish kind last night.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


You want marshmallows and tortillas for breakfast? Whatever. Here, have some whipped cream on it.

The cat just hacked up a hairball on the carpet? Whatever. Oh, now there's another one and he's headed for the clean laundry basket? Whatever.

Mouse poop under the car seat? Whatever.

Three thousand for a new transmission? And you won't be home for an extra three days? Whatever.

You want to hose the house down for an hour and a half? Whatever. Just shut the door next time, all right?

That stupid clown in North Korea is up to some more of his ridiculous bullshit? Whatever.

You want to watch Rescue Heroes fourteen times in a row? Whatever. In fact, make it eighteen and we'll just run it from breakfast to bedtime. Why are those things so damn short, anyway? Why can't someone just make a show that runs all day?

What? My wine box is empty? Now we have a SERIOUS problem; I will have to drag my ass to the store. What? Safeway is out of the Badger Mountain Organic four-bottle box that only costs eighteen bucks with my dad's club card number? Really, people, how much am I expected to endure?

Friday, October 8, 2010


I despise clams. They are disgusting, stinky, gelatinous blobs of evil. I don't care what part of them you use or what you do with them: fry them, steam them, or ruin a fabulous potato soup or a perfectly good bloody mary; they are always gross and I wouldn't eat one even if the only other source of calories on earth was light beer. Yes, they are that vile. Also, I like to live and let live and no clam has ever hurt, scared, annoyed or offended me, at least that I can remember.

So you can imagine my surprise when Shane and I found ourselves at the beach with oddly shaped shovels, attempting to scoop their
sharp-shelled sliminess out of wet, cold sand. On the bright side, it was a beautiful breezy day at the coast, and the afternoon light was absolutely fantastic for pictures. Too bad I got only this single one before my camera battery went dead. Overall, it was a semi-successful trip, if you define 'success' as 'keeping Shane from throwing himself into the frigid Pacific and coming home with minimal bivalves', which I DO. We had a nice time with Grandpa, then stayed over for a breakfast of blueberry pancakes.

When we got home, Henry had climbed up on the kitchen counter, opened the cabinet with his food in it, and knocked the bag out on the floor. He DID have food in his bowl, in case you were wondering. Oh, wait. Have I not told you about our new cat, Henry? Look at him, isn't he FANTASTIC?! We LOVE him, even if he is a bit too clever for his own good sometimes.

I think I will stop typing now. I could write a lot more- I have rodents in my car (sure to be an entertaining tale!) and Lloyd and Weston are stuck in Montana with a truck, a boat, a dog, beehives and several relatives, but to keep on would really just be boastful, don't you think? Besides, it's getting on to wine'o'clock. Smell ya later, friends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


After a long battle with lymphoma, Carol Ann McNeely died peacefully at home on September 18th, 2010. Carol was born on March 15th, 1938 and grew up on her family’s homestead farm in Rainier, Oregon. She attended Oregon State University and then worked in public service for a variety of agencies in Europe and the US, retiring from the Federal Aviation Administration's Renton Office. She began her public service career with the U.S. Army in Europe’s Judge Advocate Division in Heidelberg, West Germany in 1962. Later there were stops at General Service Administration in Auburn, Washington, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle. There were also brief stints at Boeing and Auburn Hospital.

She was an avid gardener and was always delighted to share her knowledge, some good compost or a few bulbs with her friends and neighbors. Her flowers regularly garner compliments from the neighbors and passersby.

One of Carol's passions, second (or perhaps not) only to her love of gardening was 'rooting' out and writing about her family history. Her accomplishments in this arena were impressive, and she spent several years painstakingly compiling a comprehensive history of her family, resulting in a 400 page book that details the Hackenberg family in Europe, their immigration to the U.S., the trip west across the Oregon Trail and their life on the homestead, which is still in the family. While she spent all her adult years in the Seattle area, the homestead farm was never far from her thoughts and she visited there with her ‘Washington’ family often.

Carol was an enthusiastic music lover and accordion player and friends and family were always prepared for an impromptu concert; sometimes they would have to sing, sometimes they got lucky. She was a country music fan and knew all the old tunes, to sing or to play.

Carol was an intrepid traveler in her early years, leaving Oregon State University and her family for a job in Germany for the U.S. Army. She visited much of Europe during this time, even touring the U.S.S.R. during the cold war, when not many Americans had been there. Her stories from this time were legendary, like when she turned the wrong way down a one-way street and found herself surrounded by about a thousand Spanish soldiers on horseback, coming down the street the proper way. In a parade. During some of these foreign travels, Carol became an early critic of the ‘Ugly American’ syndrome when she was frequently embarrassed by the behavior of her fellow tourists. Her favorite spots to visit, though, were Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast and Vinegar Mountain, in Eastern Oregon.

She was a great baker and a bit of a health food nut. She won a prize for her sourdough rye bread, but tried to slip her kids ‘comfrey milkshakes’ consisting of comfrey, castor oil and wheat bran. She was interested in social issues and was always looking out for the underdog; she was always the first one to offer help to anyone who needed it.

Carol was devoted to her family and loved baking with her grandkids and teaching them garden tricks: the best way to kill a slug or how to propagate a rose. She was married to Cyrus ‘Mike’ on June 4th, 1966 in church with same day receptions at the farm in Rainier, Oregon and at the family home in Renton. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in her name to the Oregon Historical Society (