Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas 2004

The family shot. We got up at 7:30, Spencer woke us and I immediately made the coffee. Lauren was in a frenzy (can you blame her?). We had gotten to bed at a reasonable time and were all relatively coherent. We exchanged half the presents and Erik called from the Philippines. We had a great time talking with him ... almost for an hour! During that time Andrew called from Taiwan and spoke to his mom til his card ran out. We were all very uplifted by the boys calls. We returned to the presents and then had a big breakfast.

After breakfast Sissy had to bake a cake with her new appliance. When her cake was finished she had chocolate icing all over her...I missed that Kodak moment! Drats!

Spencer poses with his new skateboard. Cool graphics, no?

Here's the food shot. Not seen were my cookie cutter tree bisquits. Erik wants us to send him home recipes and the products to make his mom's Marinara sauce and my Clams Carltonni. Expect a box, buddy!

I have been pacing myself with the food, but we all went overboard. I have yet to have a slice of the apple crumb pie with a generous scoop of Hagen-Daas ice cream.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Oh Christmas Tree

As the holiday approaches, we frantically drive back and forth to the malls. It's nice just to relax and look at the tree sitting brightly in the corner. We went to the lot and found this grand little noble. In its stand it nearly reached the ceiling. The girls attacked it with all our pretties past and present. I haven't noticed the smell of the tree this year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Here's mama as we celebrate her ** birthday. Earlier Linda came by and watched Lauren and the mom and dad went out for some Mexican seafood. Dawn had a shrimp and chilli pepper dish and I had crab enchiladas...yum! We also enjoyed a magarita, too.

When we returned to the house Linda, Lauren and Spencer had made plates full of Christmas cookies. We lit the candles on top of the Death by Chocolate cake I had made and sang Happy Birthday to mom. And... and... Erik called from the Philippines to wish his mom a happy birthday. What a good boy!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Erik's going to Thailand

Erik, Andre and Caio say their prayers for fun on the upcoming trip to Thailand. I hope the Thais take pity on this rambunchous group.

Here's the whole crew, in uniforms at Tato's house against the backdrop of the Philippines flag. School uniforms, prayer ... it's a long way from Kansas.

More like it. These dudes are ready to take a break from their 7am to 5pm school schedule. I hope I can get some great pictures of Erik's adventure.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Lauren's Ballet Practice

Aren't they precious? Every Wednesday the girls troop down to the dance studio and practice ballet. Lauren said she prefers gymnastics, but is warming up to ballet.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

In Mom's Clothes

Earlier this evening Lauren decided to dress up. Althought the size may not be the best fit, she had the poise and charm of a New York model. She insisted that I take a picture and put it on the blog. What a kid!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Jackie's Fashion Show

Who are those gorgeous models! Purple velvet and all smiles. Dawn, Lauren and someone else's baby ready themselves for the runway at the Reid Opera House. This afternoon tea and fashion show was a great hit and the girls really strutted their stuff. Yea! You guys look great!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving at Pam and Larry's

Here's my cousin, Pam and her husband, Larry. They are such fun. Here poised above a delectable turkey, they "ham" it up for a shot against the backdrop of their gorgeous and functional kitchen.

Getting ready to sit down for our traditional dinner. We had, Turkey, cornbread stuffing with ham, yams with a berry,cilantro and jalepeno sauce, cranberries with a all spice type glaze, steamed spinach with roasted pine nuts and other fine dishes to boot. Later for dessert we enjoyed a berry cobler, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, Stohl bread and great coffee and tea.

Dawn and Pam capture this photo op against the backdrop of the atrium. Their home is beautiful. The craftsmanship and design of their 1925 home make it gorgeous, sensible and very Northwest. The atrium has a wet bar, heated stone floor and leads out onto a tiered deck and patio area.

Dawn looks at the photo album of the restoration. Pam and Larry lived in a motel for four months while the work was being done. The walls all have a different medium pastel tint which is very human and warm. Can't say enough about how nice a job was done there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Checker Hitch & Bumper

This probably isn't a big deal to anyone but me.'s my blog..mine, mine, mine. After many attempts ending in failure, tonight I successfully removed these two royal pains. Now I can drop the gas tank and begin its' restoration. The back bumper is lousey with rust, but I will get some opinions and see if it can be saved. I earlier fired up the kerosene heater for the first time this winter, it wasn't long before I was down to my t-shirt.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mary in Repose

Mary, Lauren and I spent the day at the house. Here Mary is calling back home to see if all is well. It was. We enjoyed the day with conversation and reminicing. I hope her trips out here aren't soo far apart. I am soo excited for her and Linda. They are leaving early Wednesday morning for a few days in London and then off to Paris for a week. E N V Y..... Fromage, vino ...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

Mhaire, Linda, Dawn, Mary and Lauren pose before a table of delectables. I had to name them for Erik's sake. We all had a great time. Timothy and Robert are absent and I am taking this picture. Beer, wine and conversation were abundant.

Mhaire and Timothy capture us in this shot. It felt like a press conference with all the flashs going off. After dinner we had fruitcake, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, ice cream and coffee.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Mary Visits From Charleston

Mary showed up with Linda and they brought a huge Chinese takeout feast. Both were a little tapped out from having airport delays, etc. Mary looks great and both are looking forward to their trip to England and France. Specifically, London and Paris.

Its great to sit and chat. Catching up on all the relations and situations. I have asked that they find me something very French to put into the Checker. An Eifel Tower or Beret would be cool.

We are looking forward to sharing an early Thanksgiving with them. (They leave early Wednesday morning) Spencer has requested leg of lamb and Mary wants salmon. Wow, sounds good to me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Spencer's Band Concert

Here's our band man...Spencer. The group, a combination of South Salem High, Judson Middle and Leslie Middle regalled the audience with some rousing patriot tunes to commenmorate Vetrans Day. This is as close as we have ever gotten when he was playing. I could even hear his clairinet! No burps or honks were heard. Great job Spencer!!!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Post Election Payoff

Today in the mail arrived 12 coupons, each representing a free pint of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Our hard work in the campaign paid off! I'd hate to do the calories burned to calories received...B&J would lose.

Chocolate, Vanila, Peanut Butter Cup and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. 1/2 cup equals 350 calories. I tore into the Peanut Butter Cup and growled when anyone even looked at it.

Pictures of Erik...Friends

Erik at Pagsanjan Falls

All of the exchange students (but Lewis) at a resort in Mindoro L-R Bruna(Brazil) Andre(Brazil) Vanessa(Canada) Alejandra(Mexico) Victoria(Wisconsin) Me Camille(Brazil) Caralie(Canada) Caio(Brazil) Sheila(Canada)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day in Precinct 0371

Joy, myself and George take a moment in door to door canvassing to strategize over a map. It was pouring rain. They are such troopers!

Sidney and friend in from the cold and wet. Friend locked his keys in the car. Dawn drove them home to get another set.

Many thanks to Laura, Benno, Cy, Xann, Kathy, David, Dale, Glenda, Dawn and Carol "Sunshine". We did our jobs and won our state!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Spencer's Halloween

Spence and his goulish gals pose momentarily in the light.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Pre-School Halloween Party

Ain't they cute... what kingdom wouldn't love to have these Princesses. From the left is Emma, Delaney, Lauren and Bailey.

Jeanette does a great job with the kids. Lauren adores her!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


This that look I get when I get him up too early and ask him if he wants to come to work and make twenty bucks. He can't resist the money, but his metabolism can't cope with the time change. He really can be a great help when he kicks into gear. Guess I wasn't any different, but its been so long I guess I've forgotten!

1967 Checker Update

Here's my lovely headache. I have been slowly making progress on the removal of this trailer hitch for about a week. I thought I had it licked only to discover two well hidden bolts. I can't get the gas tank off to access them and I can't reach them because of the gas tank. Catch-22. If that ain't enough salt in the wound, as I work around the rear bumper I am discovering how bad it's condition really is. You can see in the picture the holes, but feeling underneath the backside, much of what you see is just chrome...the steel rusted away.

Here's "Plan C". I have given those nuts the last epedermis I have to offer, I went to Harbor Freight and got the infamous Nut Slitter Package for a mere $6.99. I am waiting for my moment and when that hitch isn't looking I'm gonna slap that Nut Slitter on and sliiiiiittt my problems away!

Hey looky here! The front end put up a bit of resistance but has relinquished her chrome. I am cataloging and drawing figures of the disassembly and bagging all the little stuff and putting it neatly away. And I only punched one hole in the radiator. (so far) I want to blow off that silvery piece in the front, get out the radiator and that front housing. Why you ask? So I can have a full open front when I pop the motor out.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What! Another Checker

Jerry snapped this shot of me barrelling down I-5 corridor at about 72 MPH. Yes, I got another Checker. I must be mad, but this 1976 Checker has got a lot to offer. It's a daily driver, got a powerful 350 chevy engine and the famous Hydromatic 400 tranny. How could I say no? We drove up from Salem leaving at about 9:00 am Thursday. We arrived at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library where we introduced ourselves to Jon and Joyce Garner. After a close inspection I was thrilled at the test drive and cinched the deal by the time we arrived back at the library. This car purrs and can lay a long track of rubber, too.

Jerry and I decided to stop off at Mission Mill and show the gang the new acquisition. Poor David wasn't around at the time and later in the afternoon barrelled into the drive at home and wanted to see and hear it. His prelimenary inspection was one of approval and he said he would help me troubleshoot the idle problem with the car. (recirculating pre-heater tubes, etc.)

Here I am doting over the little darling. Later I gave the family a drive around South Salem. I think they like it, too. Later, later about 45 minutes before "Survivor" (one of my gotta watch shows) I took her out for a solo spin around town. She turns heads... did I mention... she turns heads!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

It must be late...

Showed this to my sister (the one on the left). She cracked up.

Oh My God!

Erik this is for you. You wanted to see my new thinner physique. I told you I would not show my true turkey white so out comes photoshop and ..well I guess after giving my self a deep tan I just couldn't stop. Hey, what do you think of the makeover? I swear I did not take off any of the outline. I am now 34 pounds lighter. Tonight I had a large sprout salad with grilled chicken and a large delicious glass of chilled water.

Checker Trunk Day

Today I tackled the trunk. I only broke 3 of the the 4 bolts holding it to the car. Other than a test strip with the stripper it was covered in this rhino skinned grey paint under which lay yet another grey , a robbins egg blue and a base of red primer.In spite of the nuts breaking the piece came off relatively easy.

Here's a shot of the trunk with the mat removed. The mat just needs a little repair and a good cleaning. The walls of the trunk are great. The bottom of the trunk is a troubled area, but not impossible. From the picture you can see the tire well has rusted completely through. I will get to use the Rust-Mort and recapture all the rusted areas. The hole will have to be patched with sheet metal shaped and then welded into place. I will learn to weld right here. Maybe I will take off the gas tank...heh?

These are my friends...the guy on the left likes to boil paint off metal. After 2 to 3 applications and much elbow grease paint gives way to bare metal. The guy on the right makes rust tremble at the sound of his name...Rust-Mort. This is a winning team.

I did the deed at the top of the driveway on a couple of sawhorses. Usually, I will apply the stripper and let it set for about 30 minutes. Then I get the putty knife or another scraper and lift the paint away. It is tediuos and a process that can eat a day right up. It will be cool if I can disassemble most of the fenders and hood and work them flat on the sawhorses.

Here I am with the trunk lid down to bare metal. There wasn't a gram of paint on the piece. I finished it with a good sanding. Then I layed out the tarp and put on my first application of grey primer. Yes, I really felt I had taken a big step forward and admired the painted trunk lid for some time. the reality of the situation is that this piece may be only 8 square feet of some 148 square feet I have to do. God help me!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Checker Garaged

Home at last, thank God Almighty, she's home at last.

Today, I bit the bullet and decided I was going to get the Checker in the garage.
With the weather expected to turn rainy and the ever present danger of vandals the car was at risk on the street. She started up straight away, I ran her back and forth to loosen her up. I had wanted to drive it in directly, but opted to just get it up to the level surface at the top of the driveway. I was hampered by the fact I would have to run her up in reverse because 1st gear isn't working. After about 2 attempts and a full head of steam I ran her up the driveway with just enough power to crest the final tires to the level. I didn't want to count on the brakes and the time it would take to "pump them up".

She made the journey fine with a few of hiccups and a shudder or two.

Neighbor Steve was orchestrating from a safe distance and did the right thing after she landed... he brought out the cigars. I fetched the IPAs. After much discussion it was time to talk great things of old cars. Old cars, cigars and brewski ...not bad, not bad at all.

OK, so after dinner and taking Spencer's friend David back home. Time for round two. I went out to drive the car into the garage, but opted to rock her back and forth (pushing) to line up and slowly, safely steer her back into the nest. I had promised Dawn to put a diaper under her and did! So babys fed and curled up in her new home.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Apple Pickin' Time

In the back corner of the yard is an apple tree. It leans over the corrugated metal roof that protects the patio. At any given moment day or night the apples fall onto the roof sounding like a huge drum. It makes makes me jump up from a dead sleep. Anyway, I finally got it together to harvest the apples. I was the picker and this Northwest Beauty was the packer. She and I sampled the product, too. Yum, that apple tree produces great tasting apples.

I don't know the variety, but I will call it "Red Drum" Red Drum is a slightly tart, crisp sweet apple. The birds love it, too. I have seen what appears to be worm holes, but haven't seen any critters, yet.

Here's my crude, but effective device for apple pickin'. I used a 2x 2 pole, bolted 1 x 2 for the picker part and bolted a big ass can underneath. It's only drawback is it is probably a bit heavy and short. (Sounds like me!)

Harvested 100 pounds of apples in an hour. I went inside and got on eBay and using PayPal I bid on a Buy It Now item. It is the latest model in its day (1956) apple peeler, corer, etc. It's coming out of Pocatella and I hope it will be here Wednesday, Thursday. I can't wait to make some delicious homemade applesauce.