Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Here [I Am] Hanging on [Scenes] of Greens and Blues

Most of you awesome people who were born and raised in the 80s will know the song without even having to click the link. And you will also probably be able to figure out why it's applicable to the Nilla Life. For the rest of you, click here for the song that goes with today's song title post.

So after many postponements for various and sundry reasons, my mom and I finally took our trek down the Oregon Coast. Well, after a fashion at least :). We actually started out by taking I-5 down to Portland and going to the Portland Temple on Thursday night. This is a beautiful Temple. They all are, it's true. But this one is one of which I had seen pictures years ago and thought it was so beautiful. Sadly, by the time we were done with our session (and we were cutting it close on getting there, so we didn't take pictures beforehand), it was too dark for any pictures. But I did shoot this one. I think it was a nice way to start our weekend.
I didn't reserve any hotel rooms ahead of time. So we went on a wing and a prayer. But I had taken the time to find a hotel I trusted and it's location in Portland before we went. So our first night, we stayed in a Super 8 in a lovely town, and it was across the street from a Costco. So we got into our hotel room around 9:30 and got settled in. We weren't on any kind of schedule, so we just kind of did whatever. My mom had packed pop-tarts and cocoa and good insulated cups for cocoa. Turns out she had forgotten that bag at home. To say she was sad is an understatement. When she came back from the car after looking for them, she came in the room saying, "Depression." It was kind of funny. My mom likes her cocoa in the morning. Kind of like other people like their coffee. And she was all excited that she had bought her Ghiradelli (or as she can't seem to stop calling it: Garibaldi) brand cocoa mix. And alas it sat at home in her bedroom. So the next morning, we didn't check out until about 9:30 and we waited until Costco opened at 10 and then she got Swiss Miss cocoa (because it was the only brand there). We got a few other things as well and also went into Target to get a cooler. Because we forgot that too. By the time it's all over, I'll probably be the proud owner of like 20 coolers, because guaranteed we will forget the coolers we already own every time we take a trip. But we needed the cooler. Because we were stopping at a cheese factory during our trip. And we knew we'd be buying cheese. So after we'd done our shopping, we were on the road and headed for Depoe Bay, Oregon. It wasn't much of a drive. I think about 2 hours. And it was such an easy drive. Classic Debbie-ism of the drive: (in regards to not getting into the "slower traffic keep right" lane) "I would've, but I didn't want to. This is the lane that always stays." I laughed. Because if you choose not to, then you really have to change the wording to "I could've, but I didn't want to." Instead, the other cars passed on the right... We actually ended up getting to our hotel right around check in time (1:30), so we stopped there first, since we actually stayed in Lincoln City, OR, which is a few minutes North of Depoe Bay. So we dumped off most of our stuff and then jumped back in the car and headed South. We drove through the town of Depoe Bay, and there was nowhere to park. And after a couple of fiascos of trying to park places where we weren't supposed to, we decided to just drive down the coast a little further to see some naturally occurring things and then head back to Depoe Bay. On the way, we saw Boiler Bay, which is pictured below. My mom and I took several pictures there. It's just so lovely.

I was trying to get the scenery behind us. It didn't work. And it was very sunny, in case you can't tell by the squinty looks.
But we found a couple of benches, one higher than the other. And so that worked for the timer shot. Of course, we weren't on the pretty side of the bay at this point. But good enough. Although I look like a giant. Geesh.
And this is the Devil's Punch Bowl. And me, of course. The tide was out, so I guess I didn't get the whole experience. But basically, when the tide is in, the water that ends up in the hole there goes in and out and it's basically "fighting" to get in and out and I guess it looks pretty cool all churned up or something. Probably would have been awesome to see. But still pretty cool that this is a natural thing.
So then we drove back up to Depoe Bay and this time we found a place to park. Hallelujah! So we walked around a bit. There is a lot of whale watching that goes on here when it's colder. So that's why they have the whale statue. For me it was just a great photo op :). It would also spout water periodically. I took a picture with the water spouting also. But I didn't include it here.
I like this picture of me and my mom with the Oregon Coast (and some random dude) behind us. I'm telling you, it is beautiful. The weather was fabulous. Windy at times for sure -- I mean, we were on the coast, after all. But so beautiful!
See what I mean?
After these pictures, we went across the street to Fuddy Duddy's Fudge and bought fudge and saltwater taffy. Saltwater taffy is like drugs. It is the best taffy in this world. Oh my gosh. I took pictures of it. But I didn't include them here. It's a hassle to upload a million pictures to blogger. Anyway... We got fudge, but all that fudge was for people here at home like Grandma and crossword puzzle/alligator Bob. Gifts. It's fun to get stuff for people. We also got to watch the owner of the shop making some fudge. That was pretty cool. No pictures of that though. Then we headed back to Lincoln City where we stopped at another candy shop. Because they advertised "soft peanut brittle" and we had a coupon from something I picked up at the hotel. And another person who works with us really loves peanut brittle but says the hard kind is not good for his teeth, so we thought we'd get him some of that. So when we finished there, we went to this 60s Diner for dinner. Those were huge burgers. Yikes. We weren't really hungry for the rest of the night. And yes, we did go back to the hotel at that point and just relax. I watched When Harry Met Sally on tv. I like that movie. And then we slept. Well, I did do some reading before that. Working on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and I'm nearly done with it...
The next morning we got up, checked out of the hotel, and headed up the coast to Tillamook, OR. Now, this is where we really were on a wing and a prayer. Because every hotel I could find online was booked. Yikes! The drive to Tillamook, again, was an easy one. We got into the town and found the cheese factory. But I wanted to stop into one of the hotels we passed on the road and see if we could find a place to stay before we went to the factory. So we backtracked. After going and turning around in someones driveway. And my mom picks the only one with someone outside. Hahaha. We did a lot of turning around on this trip. The first one we stopped at was Western Royal Inn. And they had rooms! Yay! And we ended up with a double deluxe which I reserved (because it wasn't ready for check-in, since it was only 11:30). But basically this mean we would have two mini rooms in our room. Sounded awesome to me. So then we went back to the cheese factory. So here I am outside of Tillamook. Check out that blue sky!
I'll have you know I stood in line behind a couple of kids to get this shot. Because it's fun :). Also, I should note that this factory tour thing was free. Like entrance was. I'm not going to lie and say we left there without spending money. This was the most expensive spot we hit on our whole trip. More expensive than any of the hotels individually. Eesh. But so worth it.
I took several factory pictures, but only included this one. Those big blocks of cheese are 40 ounds each. And in this picture, you see a dude who is running the slicer. He cuts the big blocks into a bunch of 5 pound blocks. I think that's what they sell in the store. Or maybe it's 3 pound blocks. Who knows. My mom would. She buys it. I'm too cheap. I buy off-brand. The whole experience was really cool. And I learned it takes about 10 gallons of milk to make 1 pound of Tillamook cheese. I guess that's why it's so dang expensive!
And they gave out free samples. Which was awesome. One of the samples was what they call "squeeky cheese" and those are cheese curds. They are saltier than cheese and they taste completely different from what you think cheese should taste like. And the texture is totally different. Rubbery. Kind of not my thing. But I had to try it. If you can try beech nut cola in the World of Coke and live to tell the day... Well then you can try cheese curds.
We bought more fudge at the fudge counter. Again, gifts. And then we went to the little cafe and got -- what else? -- grilled cheese sandwiches! And they were so good. And quite filling frankly.
But we still had to go over to the ice cream counter and get an ice cream cone. I really wish I'd have felt like I could have ingested 2 scoops. Because they had flavors there I have never seen in stores (same is true of cheese, which we bought gobs of). But I was already full from cheese samples and grilled cheese sandwich. So I just got one scoop of Grandma's Cake Batter (which I've never seen in stores) on a waffle cone. Which they made there, and is easily the best waffle cone I've ever had (I'm not generally a fan of waffle cones, but they smelled soooo good).
So the damage by the time we left there (not including the stuff we ate there) was over $100. In fact, now that I think about it, I think it was somwhere around $125. Yikes!
So we left the factory and headed toward some stuff to see on the coast (Tillamook is actually a bit inland). We saw Three Arch Rocks, which is pictured below -- with me.
Then we made made our way to Cape Meares State Park (I think that's the name of it). And I took a picture amongst all the Oregon pines. My dad loves pine trees ;). But seriously, this is pretty cool looking. We were hiking to the Octopus Tree.
And here I am at said Octopus Tree. Apparently it doesn't have a central trunk. Cool enough.

But just check out this view of the coast! I sent a picture of this on my phone to several friends. So blue and green -- that's the Oregon coast. And those are the Three Arch Rocks behind me from the opposite direction than before.
This next one is just to beautiful not to include (same spot):
Again, still at Cape Meares. I mean, seriously! How blue is this water!?
This is the lighthouse at Cape Meares. We trekked a little ways to get to it. I'm not sure if it is still a functioning lighthouse. They had a gift shop, but since we didn't bring our money with us to this point, we didn't even go inside. But it was pretty.
The view at one of the spots on the way back up from the lighthouse.
So by this time, we had pretty much seen all there was to see that interested us. Plus it was after 2 and so we could check into the hotel. And so we did. I took the mini room in the back. And I looked out my window. And this is what I saw:
My mom said we can't seem to escape cemeteries... I was a little more worried that we might end up like this poor schmuck a la Psycho. Hahaha. Kidding. But it was funny ;). I mean, it's not like we were staying in some well-known hotel chain!
Actually this was a really nice hotel room. And having my own room was fabulous! So here I am just chilling and relaxing. It felt great! I watched Forrest Gump. Because we even each had our own tv. (Dad, this is the same night you were watching Forrest Gump, but it comes on a few hours later for me ;)).
Sunday morning dawned, and we packed up everything once again. Because we had realized we hadn't bought nearly enough cheese for everyone we wanted to give gifts to, we went back to Tillamook Cheese. And bought more. Yikes! So yeah, I think we spent over $200 at that place. So much for free ;)!
So on the way up to Astoria, we stopped at what I thought was Cannon Beach. This is important people. Because it's part of The Goonies! Well, it turns out this was a bit South of Cannon Beach. But it was the only public access to the beach. So we'd have had to walk all the way up if we wanted to go to the rocks. Which I would have done if I had realized there wasn't public access closer. Bummer. So this is one shot. This is actually Haystack Rock (the big one).
But we kept driving. And we got closer. Just no beach access. There was a family there taking pictures, so we offered to take one of all of them. And then they returnd the favor. so here we are at Haystack Rock. Next time you check out Goonies (and you should, because it's awesome ;)), look for the rock. We continued North into Astoria and went to The Column. This was reminiscent of Vulcan for me. The view below is Astoria and the bridge that goes into Washington State.
And here is The Column. With me in the foreground.
Yep, we climbed it. All 164 steps to the top. And while the walking may not be dropping the pounds as fast as I'd like, I have to say I think it has really conditioned me. This climb to the top didn't really phase me. So that was an awesome feeling.
And we were pretty high up. I always imagine horrors when I'm at heights like this... Like dropping my camera on accident. Or what it would be like to plunge over the edge. Ew. It gives me the heebie jeebies.
But what a view, huh?
So once we left The Column, with our map in hand that had the cool stuff circled, we headed off to see The Goonies stuff. Our first stop (after passing it and having to turn around) was The Goonies House. Apparently people didn't used to be able to go up to the house and had to stop here. But with the last two anniversaries of the movie (20th and 25th -- I feel sooo old), the homeowners have been more accomodating, which is nice. By the way, how cool would it be to live in the Goonies house? So anyway, I took ap icture by this sign.
Then I walked up the driveway to the house. And isn' this cool!?! Okay, or maybe I'm a dork. But I thought it was so cool! And yes, I have since watched the movie, and can totally see all this :). And it was really fun to go back and say, "I was there!" when that part in the movie came up. Love that movie.
But that isn't the only movie filmed in Astoria. In fact, several have been. This elementary school is where Kindergarten Cop was filmed. Say it with me everyone, "It's not a tumah." Hahaha. (Have to spell it phonetically to elicit the Arnold accent ;)).
Then we headed over to the Oregon Film Museum. And okay, so here's what's cool. Watch Goonies again and see if this looks familiar ;). It will. It's the jail from the opening scene of the movie! Soooo cool! It is now the museum. It's wild, because it's so small! And it seemed weird that it looked so big on the movie. Until I re-watched it. And now I see.
Once you go in, you come into a hallway that has movie quotes from movies that were filmed on location in Oregon. Not just Astoria. I took several pictures of the quotes (because I love movie quotes, after all). But this one had to be posted. Because "Goonies never say die!"
Okay, I had a picture of me with some of the memorabilia. But when I was trying to get rid of all the spacing, I accidentally deleted it. And I am too tired to go through the hassle of uploading it now with all the other pictures around it and all my text. But it was cool. It had the statue that was in the beginning of the movie that they knocked over and the mom's "favorite" part broke off and they glued it back on upside down. If you know the movie, you know the part, and you know the statue ;).
So there was a lot of Goonies memorabilia. But not a lot of other movies. A few things like a lantern thing from Ninja Turtles III. And a few things from Free Willy. But not much else. It's a new museum (it opened in June -- and I wish I'd have been there then, because some of the actors were there for the grand opening of it and the 25th anniversary and that would have been rockin' awesome. But you take what you get ;)). But anyway, so I went into the next room and saw all these cut-outs of the characters. So I took a picture among them.
And because there was a place to leave a note, I did! Some people left notes, some left quotes. I went with quote. And I put my favorite quote from the movie. One I've been quoting for at least 15 years. "This one, this one right here.... This was my dream, my wish. And it didn't come true. So I'm taking it back. I'm taking 'em all back." I love that line.
And then I posed with Chunk. Because I do love his truffle shuffle. Classic.
And then I puckered up to Bran. Because he was the cutest Goonie. Like ever. "I'm in here! With my eyes closed!" (I just noticed that his hand doesn't end up being in a particularly classy-looking spot...).
And Sloth is my buddy. Doesn't it look like he has his arm around me? Hahaha.

Here I am in the jail cell with the Fertelli guy. These cells were tiny!!! It was crazy!

And here's Data's (aka double-o negative) outfit. Coolness.
After leaving the museum, my mom and I went to the Sunday Market that was just set up all around the town. Well, two blocks of it anyway. We just browsed. It was neat. But crowded as all get out! Then we went and found a hotel (again a little no-name thing). This one was the lamest of all of them. It didn't even have a/c. Thankfully we didn't need it. I'd not have been a happy camper if it had been hot. Trust me on that one. So my mom and I decided to relax for a while because we weren't hungry yet. So we watched Miss Congeniality. And then we walked to a Chinese restaurant. Because that sounded good to me. It was either that or Pig'n'Pancake (kind of like IHOP). But I wasn't feelin' it. In fact, I kept calling it Pig'n'Poke. Anyway, dinner was good, and we ate plenty and didn't finish our dinners and were full for the rest of the night. Oh, except for that stinkin' taffy. Seriously, that stuff is laced.
Our hotel fridge. Do you think we bought enough cheese!?! Gifts, people. Gifts.
The next morning we waited to check out until after 9:30 so we could hit that Film Museum again. Because my mom forgot to get something for one of the admin people who also loves The Goonies. But that was fine. Because I'd also neglected to take the opportunity to get my mugshot. So I took the opportunity before we left. I look like a criminal, don't I? All smiley. Also, my mom doesn't understand the concept of the mugshot... She is closer to doing a mug-body-shot. Hahaha.
And thus ended our trip. We drove the 3.5 hours home that day. Not a bad drive, but I was tired. We got home in just enough time for me to water my garden (I finally have 2 ripening tomatoes!!) and then go to the grocery store to get the ingredients for chicken cordon bleu. then I headed to Lea's to cook. And we hung out until about 9:30. Good times. Good times indeed. And for me, it really is good enough :).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back To School

For the kids, not me. And not quite. Another week and a half. But seeing as next weekend my mom and I will be cruising the Oregon coast, we did our party this weekend. And so following you will read the story and see the pictures. And Dad, there are food pictures, and there are kid pictures. And while I know you're only interested in one of the two of those categories (and I know it's not the food ones), you get to suffer through the category you don't like in order to get to the category you like :). Because I'm a mandemas. And what I say goes :). Also, this is somewhat of a song title post. So click here for a very short song. You will be rewarded. Especially you, Julie. Since I know you will recognize it :).

So as I was saying... We planned a little "Back To School" themed party for my family. Mostly for the kids. But the grown-ups like food, so it's always a win/win situation. We came up with a few ideas. Christina thought up finger sandwiches cut into various shapes they might learn in school. So we had some numbers, some letters, and a few shapes like hearts, stars, and circles. Along with a funky looking hand (it looks like a fist) and a baseball cap. We decided on gourmet sandwiches like pb&j and bologna and cheese. Because what kid hasn't taken those sandwiches in their lunchbox?

Mom came up with idea of "paste" that is actually fruit dip. But you know, every kid has probably eaten their share of paste or glue anyway. So I think it was very genius. And something that gets the kids to eat the healthy fruit is always good, right ;)? Although it was so funny. Benjamin wanted another "stick" (which you will see in a minute) and Brad told him to finish his fruit. He said he couldn't. And I looked at him and said, "Why can't you finish your fruit?" And he said, "Because it's disgusting." I laughed! The kid is four! Was the word disgusting in my vocabulary at age four?
Alphabet pasta salad. It's a bit fuzzy. And mostly you see a lot of O's in there, which are actually the ends of the elbow pasta rather than actual alphabet pasta. But the alphabet pasta is in there. It's just really really small. And this pasta salad used one of my cucumbers from my garden again. I do love this pasta salad recipe. Much thanks to Meemaw (Julie's mom) for a tried and true recipe :). Family, it's in the family cookbook.

More finger sandwiches. These are the pb&j ones. They didn't cut so well as far as the letters went. We think it was the jelly's fault. Oh! And if you want to hear a really cute cute cute song that will get stuck in your head, click here :). Nevermind. I think they removed it. Bummer.
Our unsharpened pretzel pencils in a pencil cup :). These are what the kids referred to as "sticks." Anyway, my mom and I made these. I think they turned out cute! My mom came up with the idea.

And here is the overall look at the food. And the trays. I found those at Target and they were too cute to pass up. I thought they were only $1, because I found them in what I thought was the $1 section. Turns out they also have $2.50 things there too. And that's what these were. But it was for the kids. And they were excited about it. So it was worth it. Girls had Disney Princesses and boys had Toy Story 3.

And here I am with two handsome boys: Benjamin and Samuel. Benjamin is 4 now and Samuel is 6 and will be going into 1st grade.

Here I am with Desiree. Desiree is 5 and will be starting Kindergarten this fall. She is excited.

Here are Samuel, Benjamin, and Desiree eating.

Here I am with Emily. Emily is 1 and a half and has lots of years still before she starts school. But she gets to party down too. And eat and take pictures with her mouth full.

Here are Christina and Emily. Emily was excited about her stick (or pretzel pencil).

Saria read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to the kids, and then Tarylyn made oobleck. It is cornstarch and water with green food coloring to turn it green. And this is the coolest stuff ever. It looks liquid, but it's a solid the second you touch it. But if you put it in your hand and just lay your hand flat, it turns liquidy again. It's wild. I played in the oobleck a lot. This is my hand.

For dessert we had school bus banana splits. Some people had short buses. Saria was my big helper. She peopled the buses with gummy bears (thanks to Tarylyn for that idea). Oreo cookies were the wheels on the bus. And I don't care if bananas aren't really yellow. Their peels are. And they are always thought of as yellow. And it was a fun idea.

And here I am with Saria. Saria is 9 this year, and will be going into the 3rd grade. She reads way above her grade and age level. You can't tell it from this picture, but Saria was wearing an Auburn University t-shirt. I asked her what she was doing wearing that when her favorite Aunt Hila went to the University of Alabama ;). Nah, I'm kidding. I don't really care. But her t-shirt did kind of clash with my UA crocs ;). Courtesy of Elka (the crocs, not the shirt!).

And by the end of the evening, I was tired! But there is always time for one more picture with 3 of my most favorite people in the world. Aren't they cute?

So I got back to where I am house-sitting. And I got a shower. And played on the internet. And then I had to make a chocolate eclair cake to take to Lea's tomorrow for our Monday night feast. And really, I didn't even want to think about that chocolate eclair cake. Don't get me wrong, it's a fabulous dessert. But it didn't even sound appetizing after everything I'd already eaten! Ugh! And now it's midnight. And tomorrow morning will come bright and early. So I must go for now. One note, though.... It's taken me almost 3 years, but I finally figured out the smart way to load pictures into here and have them where you want them with little effort... You load them first and type around them! So sad that I didn't piece that together a long time ago...