Monday, December 27, 2010

In Memory of Lynda

My Mothers best friend died from Leukemia when she was 17 years old.  When I was born my Mother named me after her friend.  Very close to the same time the best friends brother got married and had a daughter.  His daughter was given his sisters name as her middle name.  Are you lost yet?  Her first name was Lynda.  So, Lynda and I were named after the same person.  And my first name was Lynda's middle name.

I am told we played together as toddlers but neither of us recalled meeting until High School.  When we found out about each other and that we were living close to each other in Southern California, we made a point to meet right away.  We were instant best friends.  It was the most natural thing in the world.

We spent the next four years trying to get through High School while we got into all kinds of mischief together.  We learned a lot about life. We learned that cheap wine is not your friend.  We both married our school sweethearts and moved to different parts of the country.  She became a Military wife and I became a Mother.  We both ended up with a boy and a girl, and both of our girls were born with a crooked foot.  My daughter wore a special shoe for her first year and Lynda's daughter had to have surgery on her foot.

We both suffered traumatic divorces.  Hers more terrible than mine. And we both remarried eventually.
Then she got cancer.

The last time I spoke to her was 2005 I think.  She was living in Las Vegas with her husband and seemed to be well cared for.  Her cancer had just travelled to one of her eyes and she had gone through a very painful surgery.  The next time I called her I was told they were divorced.  Her husband said that Lynda just "up and left" one day. He sounded so terribly sad.

I knew she went to Utah, but was never able to find her.  No one in her family was on Facebook or listed in any web searches I tried.

On Christmas Eve my Mother got a phone call from Lynda's Mom.  She wanted my Mom to let me know that Lynda had died.  I can't tell you how bad I felt.  The loss.  For me and for her family and loved ones.  For the rest of the world - she was a gift.  She was part of me.

I feel like I failed her by not finding her after she left Las Vegas.  I know that's crazy - she knew where to find me.  But still. . .   And I can't help but wonder if I'm next.  Our lives were on parallel tracks, and she was a bit older than me.  I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Storage Pantry Progress

We are making progress and we're enjoying the effort.  This is something Tim and I are both concerned about so we are working together on it.  We are already beginning to create new habits when it comes to shopping and cooking.  I am cooking more - and liking it!  Who knew? 

Anyway, in the picture below you see we have begun to fill the shelves.  The 4 Rubbermaid containers under the bottom shelf are full of things in boxes and bags.  The thought being that we can keep out the rodents that way.  Hanging on the left is a clipboard listing the contents of each of the 4 containers.  So far it's working out pretty good.  When we use something we cross it off the list, or change the quantity that's listed. Then we add it to our shopping list for next time.

We are increasing our water supply also.  The two liter bottles are drinking water, and in another area we have lot's and lot's of gallon jugs full of water that can be used for things other than drinking and cooking.  Without power we can't even flush a toilet, so in a short term emergency we can use a gallon of water to flush with.

Today, unbelievably, a tornado touched down in Oregon.  It did a lot of damage in the town of Aumsville.  After leaving Aumsville it came up through our town.  Fortunately by the time it got to us it was just very strong winds.  I still can't believe it.  BUT you never know and that is why we are doing this.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Big Snow of 2008

We don’t get snow very often where I live. Every few years we get to see the white stuff and it’s pretty exciting. If we’re lucky we’ll get a few inches that lingers for a day or two. But since we are not accustomed to snow, few people know how to drive in it. Consequently everything shuts down. Seriously. All of the schools close, and many businesses. Even though I have a 4x4 vehicle, my employer lets me stay home when it snows. It’s great fun actually. I get to bundle up and go outside with the dogs. They love to play in the snow and I love to watch them (or play with them)!

But in December 2008 this happened.

It was the biggest snow storm Oregon had seen in 40 years. I think I was off work over a week. It was amazing and spectacularly beautiful. However, I live in a tiny town with one small grocery store. When it began to snow the shelves were wiped clean. No bread, milk, eggs, chips, butter, meat, pop, etc. In 2008 the last thing on my mind was being prepared for an emergency. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. Lucky for me, but not so lucky for him, my husband knows how to drive in the snow and never misses work because of it. (Thank goodness he doesn’t work anywhere near where I work!) Anyway, he was able to find what we needed. We were fortunate in the sense that there was just the two of us and the dogs. We had meat in the freezer and a little food in the fridge and pantry. If we had lost power for any length of time during that storm we could have been in a real pickle.  Without power we have no water.

Then a month or two ago I ran across an article on EMP’s and preparedness. When confronted with the question of being able to survive for any amount of time I was dumbfounded.  Why had I never considered this before?  I thought I was always "ready" for anything.  Not so.  Needless to say, it really got my attention.

Since then we have done our research, cleared a storage space and begun the process of actually storing food and supplies.  At this point I'm ready for the next snow or ice storm. I'm even ready for a loss of power, but not for too long.  We have quite a ways to go but at least we are on the right track.

I hope and pray we never have to rely on our storage for anything other than a snow storm.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had the meal at our house this year.  We usually do.  Turkey in a bag, as usual.  But this year Tim and I made the Pumpkin Pies!  Neither of us have ever made a real pie before and this is as close to real as we could get for a first try.  We bought the crust, so I guess we cheated a little, but still - we did it!  It turned out okay.  We did a deep dish and a regular dish.  The deep dish is the only one I have tasted and even though it was okay, I've tasted better.  Next pie we make will be with our own crust.

I am slowly making friends with my kitchen. Now that I have reorganized the cupboards it is much easier to work in.  I have caught myself actually enjoying it!  Tomorrow or Sunday we are doing our second big "shopping for storage" trip.  I got some money for my birthday and have decided to buy a food dehydrator.  Dried foods keep longer and better, and in less space.  I also want to buy a water bath canner but I really need a winter coat so what's a girl to do????  Oh well, the canner can wait.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Cabin - Part One

My grandparents had some land in the mountains of Utah, and in the early 1950's they built a cabin there.  They did most, if not all, of the work themselves.

 Now when I say "cabin" I am not talking about a one room rustic box.  This was a two story, five bedroom, one bath  log cabin on the river.  It even had a dishwasher and garbage disposal.  (It also had a Bat living upstairs at one point, but that's a post for another day).

After the first couple of years they realized they wanted a patio in the front (there was already a nice one in the back overlooking the river) so they tore out the bay window and built a covered patio.  But they still had the problem of only one bathroom.  They had large parties and a lot of family.  One bathroom just wasn't enough.  So they built an outhouse.  Yes, an outhouse.

From the front patio they built a covered stone pathway to the "outhouse".  From the day it was finished it became the "facility of choice" for every visitor.  My grandmother had a wonderful sense of humor and designed the building herself.  The fixtures were ornate gold, the chandelier crystal, and the flooring and counter top had real gold flakes suspended in them.  And of course the room was quite large with a shower, two sinks and a toilet.  But the fun part, and so typical of my grandmother, was the wallpaper.  It was little drawings of a Victorian woman in an antique bathtub, or wrapped in a towel, painting her toenails, etc. 

That's where I got my love of the country.  I grew up in the city, but spent every summer at the cabin.  Rivers, mountains, and Aspen trees. Hunting, fishing, and learning to shoot.  Pot-guts, Chipmunks and Deer.  And learning to drive the jeep. The pink jeep. (Someday I'll do a post just on that jeep!)

The picture above shows the original cabin in winter. I was never there in winter although my brother often was.  Inside that large bay window was a seat with storage underneath it.  The seat lifted up and on one side my Grandfather stored extra wood for the fire.  The other side was filled with toys and games.

There was a large old player piano that we all learned to play and sing along with.  That piano is now in my Mothers house and will someday belong to my younger sister.

This picture shows the new patio as well as the pink teeter-totter and wishing well.  To the left of the cabin is the covered walkway to the outhouse.  You can see part of it behind the teeter-totter.

This shows part of the outhouse building.   Someday I will ask my Mom if she has any pictures of the inside.  It would be nice to record them here for the family to share and remember.  The cabin now belongs to my cousin, whom I have not spoken with in many years.  Sadly, my grandchildren will never get to experience the cabin that holds so many of my life's memories.  I would have loved to share it with them the way that my Grandmother shared it with me.  Hopefully this blog will give them a glimpse into the past.
More to come!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Those Spices Are How Old???

This is my furlough week for November so I decided to make good use of it.  I decided to clean out my spice cabinet for starters.  I found out that spices are only good for about a year.  I threw away Paprika from 1995, Ginger and Ground cloves from 1996.  Seriously!  By the time I was done I had three paper grocery bags full of spices and food to throw away.  It's amazing the things you don't know when you can't cook!  All the more reason to learn.

Let's Go Shopping

I found a great book on food storage and preparedness.  It's called "Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook" by Peggy Layton.  It's wonderful. Even Hubs likes it - that says a lot.

Anyway, the more I learn, the more organized my thoughts are getting.  I must admit to feeling a bit ashamed of myself.  I have always been one to stock up on toiletries.  We always have extra tissue, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. and I realized over the weekend that I may not have any food in my pantry but by gosh I have SIX extra black eyeliner pencils!  How shameful is that?  Where are my priorities for crying out loud? 

So we went shopping to rectify the situation and balance out the "inventory" a bit.  We went to a grocery store that we had heard about but had never shopped there.  It is known for having a lot of bulk foods and good prices.  Winco is the name and OH MY GOSH it was unbelievable.  I hate grocery shopping and I actually had a blast there.  The prices were amazing and the variety of bulk foods was astonishing.  Needless to say, we came out of there with quite a bit of food.

Next we went to Costco.  There were just a few things we knew for sure we could get there for a better price.  After that my feet were done. I ended up with leg cramps all night from the concrete floors.  But hey, you should see how nice my pantry is starting to look!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my sons 40th birthday.  Nine days from now I will turn 57. Yes, I was practically a child bride, but we will leave that for another post.

I wanted to make this birthday special for him, something he would always remember.  When my Grandfather passed away in 1977 I inherited the ring that he inherited from his father.  In other words, the ring originally belonged to my Great-Grandfather.  Having the ring end up in my possession is, in itself quite extraordinary. My Grandfather had 10 siblings and some of them wanted that ring.  It had belonged to their father after all, and they thought I should just turn it over.  I didn't.  I kept it. 

For his 40th birthday, I passed the ring on to my son.  He was very touched.  Along with the ring I gave him some printed material about his Great-Great Grandfather so he would know something about the man that first wore that ring.  I feel so good about it. It ended up being just as memorable for me as it was for him.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Steps to Preparedness

Yesterday we decided to tackle the room in the basement that we are going to use for storing our supplies.  Our house is called a "daylight basement" house because it is built on a hill.  We live in the top floor and the "basement" contains 2 single car garages and a one bedroom apartment.  The smallest garage is the one we call the greenware room.  Right now we use this space to store our canned pickles, our canning supplies and all of our Christmas decorations.  There are floor to ceiling shelves on 3 walls.  We don't use it as a garage so the garage door is blocked with shelving and junk.   The bad part of this is the mice. We fight them all the time.  So the room is not very sanitary and that bugs me.  We are working on ways to keep things clean, such as using trunks, covered plastic tubs, and even an old cedar chest.  Anything we can put food in and keep the critters out.  Today we made huge progress. 

This is what we started with.  Lot's of shelves but a huge mess.

Hubs began to reassemble some old shelving we had taken down and saved years ago.

 By the end of the day we had this. 
 The cedar chest on the floor next to the chair is filled with water, flour, sugar, and 2 cases of Top Ramen.

 The finished shelving had bars nailed to the front and sides in case of an earthquake.
Now the jars will stay put - hopefully.
We have a long way to go, but at least we have a space now.

I don't think we will be able to store a years worth of food, but we will do what we can. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Results and How Our Bread Turned Out

This morning I was doing "the happy dance of joy" because we have fired Pelosi!!! I cannot think of anything better than that except firing BO.  I am terribly disappointed in our Governor race here in Oregon.  It is so close but I think Kitzhaber is going to win.  He was Governor of Oregon for eight years and couldn't do anything right.  Now he wants another chance, and of course the unions love him.  Oh well, if I dwell on it I will just make myself miserable.

Now for the cooking report.  We made the soup and it turned out very good.  We froze some and ate the rest over two days.  The bread was a lot of work!  But we did it and it tasted pretty good. Not fabulous like I was hoping - I mean "home made bread" ???  Doesn't that just conjure up wonderful thoughts?  We made wheat bread this time, so maybe we will have better luck with white or sourdough.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today is The Day

Pray, Vote, and pray some more!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Preparing For An Emergency - I Think We Are The Emergency!

I think we need to be prepared for an emergency.  Not just a natural one like earthquakes or severe weather, but the unnatural kind like terrorists bring.  There are many people that are already secure in their food and water storage.   We are just getting started.  After reading some other blogs about the kinds of food to store, I got worried.  All this talk about flour, sugar and rice has me very concerned.  Add to that a bunch of dried beans and I am scared to death! Why?  Because I can't cook.  I have no real idea how to make a meal out of those things.  I know how to cook rice.  Guess that's a start! 

So I told my husband we needed to learn how to cook so we could survive a disaster.  He agreed.  We decided the first thing we would do is learn to make bread without a bread machine.  (No, I have no idea why this came first, maybe we were hungry.)  Anyway, he wanted to make sour dough bread but the ingredient list included "sour dough starter".  So off we go to Walmart to buy flour, baking soda, active dry yeast and sour dough starter.  We were able to find everything we needed except the starter.  At the check out counter we asked the checker if she knew how to bake bread.  We told her we were looking for sour dough starter.  She said she thought it was a specialty item and suggested we check on the Internet.

When we got back in the car I pulled out my iPhone and looked up "sour dough starter".  Much to my surprise I learned that it is not something you can buy.  You have to make it yourself!  Hubby and I were in hysterics.  Maybe we should start with some plain old white bread :)

The next thing we decided to try was beans.  Many years ago I made Navy Bean Soup with Ham.  I think it was tasty - who knows, that was a long long time ago.  Anyway, we bought ham hocks and dried beans, and I found a recipe on the Internet.  Tomorrow we are having homemade bread and Navy Bean Soup.  Please say a prayer that we don't poison ourselves.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A New Direction

I want to change the direction of this blog.  I intend to make it more personal and less political.  I will still have my say about the government occasionally, but for the most part I am going to start writing about my life.  I have two young grandchildren that someday will need to know two things.  One is that their Grandmother fought for their freedoms and their future way of life.  The other is family history, sort of.  At least from my perspective. 

So, here's to a new direction -

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Am A Proud Member

Of Americans For Prosperity.   I am a bit surprised that Obama fears us.   I kind of like that!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Socialized Medicine

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would have Socialized Medicine in the USA. I still cannot believe that so many people in Congress are supporting this. When is this nightmare going to end? They do not have the RIGHT to do this to the American people. I am so angry I can't even think straight right now. It just makes me sick, sick, sick. Next thing you know, they will be withholding treatment unless you can prove you are a Democrat. 

So what are we going to do about it? Why is there not a HUGE movement to recall this lunatic? Sadly, he is surrounded by power hungry politicians that are just like him. We desperately need to clean house. I promise not to vote for a single incumbent in the next election. And I will ask others to follow suit. Of course, every incumbent on my ballot is a Democrat, so that will be easy.

Why are they so quick to destroy our lives but not their own? Why do they think we would support this madness when they would never consider giving up their own medical benefits? I am so angry.

Note to Ms. Pelosi: You can kiss my American, Freedom Loving - well, you get the picture.