Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's 2009!

Well it's New Year's Eve and we're about to ring in another shiny New Year! (albeit one second late) as the news people keep telling me they have to add one second to this evening's time--in order to stay in sync with the earth--(which apparently like the rest of us is running just a tad late)

Anyway--I thought it would be appropriate for me to share the wisdom of 'Uncle Jay' and his 2008 year in review. This was sent to me by a good friend. And heck! Ole' Uncle Jay explains the year better than any broadcast or news report or article that I've seen all year. . .

(and he captures the entire year in about 3 minutes--which is about the average attention span of today's too-teched-out-for-words adult)

Enjoy! And I'll be back to posting next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Whatever happened to GLOBAL WARMING????

What happened to all that scare talk about global warming? You know, the polar ice caps are melting and the world is in for record high temperatures while green house gasses are eating away at the planet and folks are leaving their carbon footprints all over the place?

Don't get me wrong--I'm as conservation conscious as the next guy--and I like a green, clean planet. But the delusions of grandeur among mere mortal men totally cracks me up--as if they could really stop the earth from turning, or have the slightest effect on what has now been flagged as 'climate change'

Yes, indeedy! Since scientists and conservationists are baffled by the RECORD COLD temperatures in many places on this 3rd rock from the sun. . . we can no longer call this phenomenon 'global warming'. . . we now refer to what is happening to our planet as 'climate change.'

What a novel concept!

Take into account the fact that:

1)Last year the start of winter in South America was the coldest ever recorded. Why, in Buenos Aires it snowed for the first time in 89 years!

2)Let's look at Africa, Johannesburg, to be exact. Why they received their first snowfall last year in over 25 years!

3) Australia has had some record COLD summers the past few years.

4) And our friends to the north in Canada are bracing themselves for one of their coldest winters ever!

5) In my own little northwestern town they tell me our recent 'arctic blast' was the worst ever seen in 40 years!

According to experts, last year's global temperature was exactly the same as the year before. . . and the year before that. . . and the year before that! In fact, the temperature of this lil' orb has not changed much since the record set in 1998. That's when PANIC and the 'global warming' awareness set in.

Guess what? For a decade and counting, there has been no global warming! Now the experts tell us that carbon dioxide emissions are NOT to blame for 'global climate change' (FYI: we had to stop the 'global warming' moniker since it wasn't appropriate anymore) Here is what they've since come up with:

It's. . . wait for it now. . . THE SUN! Holy Ball of Burning Gasses, Batman--experts now claim that THE SUN seems to be the main agent in affecting our planet and climate change.


Why TONS of these brainiacs have gotten together to declare with emphatic assurance that climate change is a well known phenomenon--that the earth will go through cyclic periods of warm and cold as it makes its way across our galaxy.

Why--we could have an 'El Nino' (and then again--we could have a 'La Nina') It just depends!

I'm so glad that we have these folks in the know to tell us all this hard-to-figure-out highly technical scientific stuff, or else I could still be blaming these freezing cold temperatures and my pipes bursting and driveway covered in ice on the Polar Ice Caps melting because of too many folks barbecuing too many steaks.

Add insults to your fitness regimine. . .

Well, the new year is almost upon us and it's time to start dusting off those weights and clean out under the bed to grab those musty running shoes. . . and GET FIT!

Yep! Time to start making those 10,20,50 pounds of excess lard you've been lugging around go away. You know you want to start this brand spankin' new year off right.

So. . . . Are you ready? Are you motivated?

Or, wait a minute! Do you need that 'something else' that will properly set the mood and get you going in the right direction?

After all, 90% of weight loss is in your head (or maybe your gut) In any case, I've found the newest fitness marvel that will help you in your goal to trim your fanny--and also stimulate your mind at the same time.

This commercial is a keeper--truly--a keeper! So push play, grab some barbells and hurl some insults while you whittle those muscles into shape--you'll be fit in no time! (or at least you'll have some good comebacks at the ready--should you need them)

Oh, and by the way--good luck with those fitness resolutions!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008. . . Winter Wonderland!

Christmas '08 was a RAGING SUCCESS at the 'Showmethesale Estate'. . . although we DID miss oldest son and his wife not being there (due to our winter storm blast that kept many highways closed and surface roads treacherous to traverse, they were not able to make it)

We MISSED you guys--but look forward to your coming next month. . . and don't worry--we have got your presents and goodies saved in a big huge pile for you! (as the photos below will attest to)

Pile 'O Presents:

Pile 'O Goodies:

Oh! And speaking of our winter storm blast (the worst since 1950 they tell us) Here are some pictures to illustrate the truly 'White Christmas' we had this year--as well as the week leading up to it:

To be perfectly honest, downtown Portland never looks better than when it's covered in Pristine white. . .

And apparently, dear hubby and I weren't the only ones to get in on the cross-country ski action:

Even with the chilling temperatures and icy conditions--dear hubby managed to take 'the Max' train in to work every day leading up to Christmas:

Others weren't so fortunate--and tried taking their cars:

Which lead to this little disaster on one of the streets of Portland:

Even the coast got pelted with the white fluffy stuff. Here's a picture of Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach:

Although--someone, true to form, managed to drag out the old 'woody' to the beach in spite of the snowy weather:

How often do you get to make a snowman on the beach?

Some areas boasted up to 3 feet of snow!

Even with all the chills, spills, and thrills these heavenly flakes bring with them--I have to admit--the beauty of the winter wonderland we enjoyed was absolutely breathtaking. Here are some photos around different places of Oregon that enjoyed this winter storm of 2008:

As for the big happy day of Christmas itself. . . we were hunkered down with a nice cozy fire enjoying all the gifts that Santa was able to bring, despite the freezing ice and snow. (good thing he can fly above that stuff with his trusty sleigh and reindeer)

Here's 'G-Pa' entertaining the grand sons (although Sam seems to be trying to entertain the camera guy):

Here's dear daughter and her hubby getting ready for all the merriment just about to take place:

The boys were really excited to start opening gifts--and every time we asked the lil' guys to smile--apparently they couldn't do it without shutting their eyes:

Meanwhile, the ole' man and I just took everything in and enjoyed the day:

One little footnote I will add here was that middle son was so excited with the lap top that Santa brought him for starting college this next semester--and so wrapped up in uploading and downloading stuff on it--he didn't even notice that I completely gave him a new look and hair do while he was messing around with it:

But as you will see in the background of the next photo, youngest son sure noticed! (and asked if I would add that picture on my blog) OF COURSE I WOULD! Nothing is more important than embarrassing your family members with a really stupid picture of them:

Yep! Christmas '08 was a rip-roarin' success. . .

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Night skiing in the neighborhood. . .

Since we've had the biggest snowstorm EVER that I can remember in the 15 years I've lived here--and nearly everything has been shut down for a week and the roads are an icy, snowy blanket of slippage and fun. . . I've been skiing every night around my neighborhood.

It's amazing to me that these photos were taken close to midnight--and it is still so light outside. . . the snow reflects the streetlights and Christmas lights shining down on it--and it is light enough to ski. . . it's almost like dusk--because the ski is a pinkish gray and is also light. . .I've waited to go late at night--because it is so calm and peaceful. . . no one is out trying to drive around in the snow (and the tire treads have made good tracks in the snow to ski on)

We don't get much snow where we live--up in the mountains there is plenty to spare--but down in the 'valley floor' where we live, we only get a few sparse snowstorms every so often.

It's been a long time since we've had a white Christmas--and this year Santa granted our wish with a vengeance! (be careful what you wish for) It's beautiful to look at, extremely fun to play in. . . but kinda hard if you have to travel around in it.

It has totally gotten me in the Christmas spirit and has been so relaxing to watch the snow fall from our living room window while we enjoy a cozy fire in the (newly fixed) fireplace. . .

So, since this is the EVE of Christmas Eve. . . I'll just go ahead and wish all my blogger fans a very

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fabulous Fall. . . Freezing Weather. . . and Polish Sausage, anyone?

OK. . . I know that title is wildly random and would capture even the slightest intrigued person to peruse through the post. . . so I hope not to disappoint.

But since I really didn't want to use the 'Odds 'N Ends' Part 3' as my post title-- because. . . well, at this point it would be so cliche. . . and since I have just a tad more random stuff to catch up on--I thought I'd put them all in the same title.

That way--if you are looking for info about autumn or winter weather or polish sausage--I've got all bases covered.

Now then---we'll start with Fall:

Fall is my most favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather, the changing color of the leaves, the back to school for the kids, football games, and of course--those fun caloric holidays that fall always brings: Halloween and Thanksgiving. . .

This year, for Halloween, my daughter outdid herself finding clever costumes for my grandsons. They went as giraffes--BOTH of them! And I am pretty certain you could not find two cuter giraffes on the planet.

Although Max was not too sure about this 'going up to stranger's houses thing'--He DID enjoy seeing candy put into his little pumpkin.

And Sam, of course, was a natural at smiling with those big baby blue giraffe eyes and saying the expected 'Trick Or Treat' at each and every home. He always gave the customary 'thanks' afterward as well. (although, he'd still gaze up at you with those big wide eyes--which seemed to plead: 'Please sir, can I have some more?') Needless to say--they got a TON of candy this year and did quite well for themselves.

Next on the list is WINTER. And oh my--as of this posting we are right in the middle of our first major snowstorm--which has the kids really happy because the schools are all closed. . . and many folks are happy too because some businesses are shut down. . . so of course we have taken advantage of this opportunity to go sledding with the kids, walking, traipsing and tripping through the ice and snow, putting chains on our car and driving around just for the sheer excitement of it (and to see who else enough is foolish enough to go out in this weather) and other dumb stuff. . .

Before the 'arctic freeze' set in--and while it was only cold, and rainy and miserable (without the snow and ice yet) we went and checked out the 'Holiday Express' with dear daughter and her family:

The little grandsons were REALLY excited to be on a train--ANY kind of train--never mind how old or decrepit it was:

I would post pictures of the rest of the family--but they don't show the same enthusiasm as the grandkids. . . however I did manage to snap a photo of my daughter and her husband when they were looking somewhat pleasant:

The highlight of the trip was when Santa came to visit and passed out candy canes to the kids and sang with them. Sam was heard to exclaim (after receiving his candy cane from Santa): 'My GOSH! These are bigger than the church ones we got. These are the kind I like, baby!'

Now for the 3rd and final thing I wanted to post about: POLISH SAUSAGE!

I know what some of you are thinking--what does polish sausage have to do with anything, and why would anyone post about it?

To answer the first question--Nothing! To answer the second question--Because I actually had a great time eating it, that's why!

Here's the scoop:

A couple of months back, dear hubby and I went with some friends to this little spot in downtown Portland called: 'Grandpa's Cafe And Polish Deli' because these friends had been to the Polish Festival on several occasions and tried out this cafe and deemed it: 'Good and cheap eats' and that was enough to get dear hubby motivated in this slumped economy.

Amazingly it did not disappoint! This place served authentic polish cuisine with such items as:

Pierogi (dumplings)
Golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls)
Kielbasa I Bigos (sausage and hunter's stew)
Nalesniki (crepes)
Placki (potato pancakes)
Flaki (tripe soup)
Chrusciki (angel wings)

And the stuff was GOOD! And PLENTIFUL! And yes, CHEAP! The most expensive thing on the menu was 6 bucks!

Grandpa's Cafe sells also meats, kielbasa, over 100 products from Poland, and about 15 different kinds of Polish beer:

The place is not much to look at--it sits underneath an old dance hall and library--but the atmosphere is warm and friendly--and the food is very good.

It was one of those unexpected surprises and if you are in the Portland area--you gotta try it out at least once. Oh--grandpa is nearly retired now, so it's only open when he's working--which is Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. . . otherwise he's napping or resting or gone fishing. . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stand By Me. . .around the world. . .

I am inserting this Youtube video in here that was sent to me by a friend from Croatia.

It is WAY COOL--and since this is an 'Around The World Version' of the song. . . I think it only appropriate that it was sent to me by a friend from another part of the globe I met over the summer. . .

Turn up your speakers, sit back, watch, listen and ENJOY!

Odds 'N Ends Part Two. . . Fixing the Fireplace

Well now, if you've been faithfully (or even a bit UNfaithfully) following my blog, you will note that this past spring into early summer we had the KILLER REMODEL project of our home (where we practically demolished and torched the old place and put up a new one)

One thing that we ran out of time, money, and resources for--but that we really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY wanted was a fireplace that actually worked.

We'd been living in this home for 15 years and used the fireplace maybe 3 times (each time turning into a smokey, sooty disaster)

We had estimates of redoing it and putting a wood-burning stove in it's place from a few to several thousand dollars. . . but after what we just spent--we were really trying to do something simple (like just FIX it so we could use it) and be cost effective at the same time. (like CHEAP)

One of the things dear hubby heard that made him perk his ears up and cock his head to one side (just like the dog used to do) was when one guy told us that before we could do any major renovation to the fireplace, we needed a 3 foot extension for it.

Apparently the nice people who built this home (back in the late 60's) were trying out those 'funny cigarettes' at the same time--and managed to install our sliding glass door backwards, put all the electrical wall outlets in upside down, and short our fireplace chimney by just a few feet (thereby not creating enough draft--and causing it to smoke horribly every time it was used)

After listening to all the things horrendously wrong with our home by all the various contractors and renovators that came traipsing in and out of our lives this past summer--we wondered how in the heck we ever managed to live in it for so many years without some major mishap. . . but I digress. . .

The idea that caught my dear hubby's fancy (and just wouldn't let him go) was the thought that we could FIX our fireplace! All we needed was an extension--and he began researching on the internet to find just the right size (3 feet) at just the right price. (cheap)

The glorious day came when the package with the fireplace extension arrived at our door and dear hubby was on the roof with it in a flash. . . and doggone it, if he didn't become the HERO of our HOME! It worked like a charm--and we have had a glowing fire in our fireplace every night since! (and the fact that it is now winter time and cold as the arctic also motivates us to use it on a daily basis)

In fact, because we've missed out on 15 years worth of fires in our fireplace--I'm sure we'll continue 'lighting up' until next August. . .