Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories

It always seems like once fall is here, all the holidays come and go in quick succession!  Thanksgiving was fun, but a blur!  The kids were home with friends and significant others.  Our dear friends Mark, Barb and son, Tanner, joined us for the day.  Their daughter in in Africa on a Fulbright Scholarship, so it was time for them to have a new tradition for this year.  We had a turkey on the BBQ, and one in the far, so good, until, the oven decided to die!  It was a mad dash to put the pre-made stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes in the microwave to re-heat.

Our lovely KTB with her Godparents, Uncle  Mark and Aunty Barb.  I always love to serve buffet style from the counter.  I spent too many years feeling like a Traffic Cop, passing right and left throughout the whole meal!  This way, everyone serves themselves and we're done with it.

The best thing that we did this year was to share Thanksgiving stories between dinner and dessert.  We sat at the table and each person shared a memory of their favorite Thanksgiving.  It was interesting to hear the stories and to hear what mattered to each person... for me it's all about the stories and the memories!

My Mom has always been a stickler for a pretty table so naturally I fell into the tradition too.  When the kids arrived home on Wednesday, they found the tablecloth in the freezer where I'd put it so it would be easier to iron.  We made an "executive decision" to forego the tablecloth and just use placemats.  Dear son said he never remembers how a table is set, but remembers the food and conversation.. Ok, that did it!

I gave up trying to arrange everyone in the dining room.  The kitchen/family room is best--we can fit up to twelve for sure!

The water pitcher always reminds me to pour water when things get hectic!

Mom's china resides in my dining room cabinet since she doesn't host big dinners anymore.  She enjoys it when I use her lovely plates for a holiday meal.

Of course, Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without my Dad's turkey candleholders.  It's a rule in the family that whoever hosts dinner, gets the turkeys!  Hard to believe that my wonderful Dad has been gone ten years!  He loved Thanksgiving!  We think of him every time we bring these birds out!

Here's hoping you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner as well and are enjoying the blessings of the season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Going Vintage

Theses days I'm feeling a little like Santa's Helper working downstairs, making jewelry and thinking about what's IN and what's not. My daughter, KTB the fashionista, always reminds me to follow fashion trends but that isn't always easy to do especially when they change so quickly.   Last season, it seemed that chunky, colorful beads were in.  The Bold and Beautiful look was strong.  Now, however, it's all about Vintage Style.  Delicate necklaces are all the rage:

Especially seasonal the two are alike!

Snowflakes can be worn late into winter and will be especially popular with the Vancouver Winter Olympics coming up in Feburary 2010.

Flowers, leaves and birds, and bird's nests continue to be hugely popular.

Filigree is also huge, lots of it faux painted and sealed.

Rick says that I aways fill the space available with my business ventures (which usually means the whole house), but it's been hard to stay put in my office where's it's dark and cramped.  So... I moved my beading operation to the familyroom where I have better light, and the company of my little buddies keeping an eye on things.  Meet the ever adorable


and Molly!

And these beautiful views!  Even in late autumn, it's so pretty and peaceful.

Stay tuned for more hot jewelry looks in future posts!  As for me, I'm off to clear off the pool table before the college kids arrive home for Thanksgiving!  Maybe they will be enticed to stay home more!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chinese Gardens

Last month we took a couple of days of 'Staycation' and decided to explore some Cheap Dates in Portland.  Katie had the day off from school, so we invited her to join us.  I remember hearing all the buzz about the Chinese Gardens opening downtown, but couldn't believe that it had been nine years ago, and we still hadn't paid a visit so it was high time! 

In keeping with an Oriental theme, we checked out some downtown restaurants where we could grab a quick lunch before heading to the garden.  I went to the Internet and found Chef Naoko-natural and organic cuisine, at 1237 SW Jefferson St.  We decided to give it a try.  Don't let the innocent building or its small size fool you.  Once inside, you will be warmly welcomed and will find lots of attention to detail.  Aside from their regular menu, there is a Weekly News sheet full of interesting food tidbits, Japanese historical facts, and a hint of what's coming soon for the restaurant.
The food was fresh and delicious and came in a cute Bento box.

Rick and Katie had the Teriyaki Chicken

And I had a grilled natural chicken in a tomato sauce, with lovely spices, and a interesting bread pudding like 'thing.'  It was a great place, with fresh, organic ingredients, and everything prepared to order.

The Chinese Gardens are really amazing- truly an oasis within the city. Hard to believe they fit everything in one city block!  We just had time for a short visit, but it's worth planning to stay for tea, and to try going back for each season to see all the varieties of plants and trees in bloom.

I loved all the tiled roofs

They say that there's 52 windows/openings in the gardens and that no two are alike. The many points of interest were full of symbolism and stories, so it was nice to have the written guidebook to point things out.

I love the clash of culture and the mix of the old and new.

Not to mention all the beautiful details.  Everything is very authentic, since workers and materials actually came from China during the construction of the garden. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Game Day

I've never been much of a football fan until I became a Oregon Duck by marriage.  Truth be known, I'm probably in it more for catching up with friends and the tailgates, but my DH is a die-hard fan, reading the blogs each night, and being a season ticket holder.  I actually get up each Saturday morning and watch ESPN's Game Day with him so when we heard the show was coming to Eugene for the Game of the Decade with USC, we just had to make the two hour trek south.  We drove down with our friends (like family), Mark and Barb at 4 AM! Oh yeah, did mention it was rainy, dark and cold?  It was us and the long haulers at that hour, and as we approached  Autzen Stadium, it stood out like a lit up space ship.

Imagine the excitement with thousands of wild and crazy fans, many holding signs and cheering wildly, as Chip Kelly, the team coach, rode in on a motorcycle just like the Duck Mascot does as the team charges into the Stadium before the games.

We walked around the beautiful 150 year old campus, and arrived back at Autzen close to game time.  It was Halloween and Tailgates were in full swing, with plenty of costumed revelers. I had stop and snap a picture of this Michael Jackson and Thriller re-enactment.

Of course, anyone who knows Barb, knows that she loves an excuse to dress up as her alter-ego, Velma-here at the EconoLodge!

Once the game started, there was a feeling that momentum was on our side, and the Ducks beat USC 47-20!  There's supposed to be a five-minute rule before fans can go onto the field after the game is over, but that went out the window as crowds swarmed the field.  The top dog in the Pac-10 was displaced!!  I've never seen anything like it, and we just stood and watched in awe.

Here's the four of us-only the brave dressed up for Halloween!

ESPN Game Day sets up for the post-game show, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.

Like ants, the crowd moved over to see the post game ESPN Show.  There's lots of excitement around Oregon these days...will the Ducks make it to the Rose Bowl or (gasp!), the BCS Championship?  Pretty exciting time to consider the possibilities!