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26 Aug

Have I mentioned that I love the color pink?

Wildflowers on Oregon Coast

Pink is a beautiful color.

Tiny pink flower

I do. I really, really do love the color pink.

Pink California Poppy

It makes me happy.

Hermit Thrush

So, when I was gearing up for the new school year, I decided to go for the pink . . .

My new 'do


Traveling . . .

28 Jun


I like myself better when we’re traveling.  Greg and I haven’t been on a long camping trip since our Honeymoon (3 weeks in the Southwest) and I had forgotten/not realized/not known how much more relaxed, happy, and pleasant to be around I am when we’re on the road.

Little things don’t bother me.  Even big things, such as breaking down at a truck stop in Laramie, don’t make me stressed and anxious.  I snap at the kids less. I grump at Greg less.  I feel more engaged in each moment.

When we do weekend camping trips, I honestly find it to be less than relaxing.  I still have fun but camping is a lot of work and when I’m stressed from work . . . well, it’s hard to let it go for just two days.  Last summer, when we did our week in Sequoia, I felt some of what I’m feeling now but with this long trip, it’s pretty amazing how I have changed.  like the person I

708 in Valentine, SD

I’d hate to ask my family who they like better . . . but I know who I like better . . . Camping Liza.  So, the question is, how do I carry this positive, can-do, I won’t get thrown by life, whatever, let’s just solve the problem and get ‘er done attitude with me when I return to real life . . . because unless we start buying lottery tickets in every state, I will be returning to real life and I don’t want to be as stressed and irritable as I know I was this last year.  I’ll think on it . . .

New birds for today

16 Jun

If it’s Wednesday, we must be in Nebraska! We finally made it to Minden, NE today. Amusingly, whenever we’ve told people in Nebraska that we’re going to Minden, they have struggled not to say, “WHY???” They have politely asked things like, “Oh, do you have family there?”

Anyway, I woke up and went for a walk in Sidney, NE this morning. I saw Western Kingbirds as well as Common Grackles. Both are lifebirds for me. Hurrah!

Western Kingbird, Sidney, NE

For mammals, today, I saw more Pronghorns as well as a couple of adorable bunnies!  My daughter and her new friend caught a toad and they showed it to me.  Later, one tried to jump on my foot as I walked by.

I also got to remember why I will tolerate hot, sticky, humid nights . . . because fireflies like it so much!

On the road!

13 Jun

We’re on the road. For the next little while I’ll mostly be blogging on my camping site. Check it out … The Journey is the Thing. We’ll be camping for the next 5 weeks!

Thankful for good food

29 Nov

Oh, there are lots of things I’m thankful for but high among them is having a good weekend with my family, the time to cook really good food, and time to relax and rejuvenate.


I was in charge of dessert.  I made my husband’s favorite dessert.  It’s a secret family recipe.  His grandmother taught me to make it.  So, I call it Robechaud Cheese Pie.  It’s rich and delicious.  I also made pumpkin pie from scratch.  I was so proud of myself . . . I’ve never made pie crust before.  I was pretty nervous about it . . . I had a big can of Libby’s pumpkin and frozen crusts waiting just in case.  I’m glad to say that they weren’t necessary!  The recipe I used was from Martha Stewart’s website.  She has about 15 pumpkin pie recipes.  This was a very basic one, classic, traditional.  Fortunately, I know something about cooking because the recipe had an error in it.  It called for me to cook the pumpkin pie for about 1/2 as long as it actually needed.  I went to pull the pie from the oven and thought, “Uh-oh.”  I searched the web, including the other recipes on her site, and realized it needed 60 minutes, not 30 minutes.  I left it in for the requisite time and it was perfect.

My first pumpkin pie

I was happy.

Ruby was also happy. She loves Thanksgiving. She loves helping clean up messes. This was a batch of yorkshire pudding that had an unfortunate accident. Greg was mopping it up but Ruby really wanted to help. 🙂

Ruby helping to clean up a Thanksgiving mess!


17 Sep


This seems like a cruel jest.  A few days of perfect weather, after nightmarish heat and then . . . back to Nightmarish Heat.  Whine, whine, whine!

(Oh, that current temp of 56F was the 6am temp.  Sigh.)

Wordless Wednesday: How I spent my summer vacation!

12 Aug


Bonus points to those who can ID the bird in the photo above (half-point to those who can even spot the bird in the photo).
Note: You can click on the picture to embiggen it.

Orchid Overload

14 Feb


I’m going to need advice from the Orchid Goddess, Julie Zickefoose, on this one. I attended a Valentine’s Party yesterday with a gift exchange. One of the women opened this amazing orchid and said, “Oooo, I’ll kill this one quickly.” So, when someone stole my beautiful little bird house from me, I didn’t hesitate to rescue this amazing orchid-boganza and bring it home. It’s cheering me up just to walk into my kitchen and see this much beauty staring back at me.

Bridge out

4 Feb

Bridge Out

With the uncertainty about my job next year, I’m feeling a bit like this picture.  I’m on stable ground now but I know I will have to cross this shaky bridge soon.

This is impacting my health, my patience levels, and my happiness.  And, as a teacher and as a mother, I find that being healthy, patient, and happy are really important.  But, everyday now, I have a churning stomach, short fuse, and a bit of a gray cloud following me around.

My husband and I were talking about all this deep stuff about how the economic uncertainty is affecting us — he has had jobs canceled (he’s an architect) and I’ve been given notice that I’ll get my notice . . . I’m noticing that both of us have a tendancy to escape right now into tv and food and silence.

It’s a bit like the Nothing in The Never Ending Story . . . it’s coming and seems unstoppable but if you give in, you just speed it along it’s way.  So, we’re fighting the nothing, the blahs, the blues.  Remaining optimistic . . . it’s a good thing.

Playing with a new toy

29 Jan

Ruby's Face

I am a serious, life-long Mac user. I bought my first Mac computer when I was in college. Back when Mac was starting out, you could go to the computer store and “test drive” one for a few days. I was sold and it paid off, too. My senior year in college, I took the most units I’d ever attempted and made Dean’s List for the first time ever as well. So, yeah, that’s pretty awesome stuff there in that box. Loved it. My computing life has been filled with a series of Macs ever since. And most everyone I know is touched by this love of the Mac. It’s good stuff.

So, it should be no surprise to know that I use iPhoto for most of my photo storage, organization (ha!), and even photo editing. I love me some iPhoto. iPhoto is part of a suite of applications called iLife. And a new version was just released. iLife ’09. I ordered it up based solely one ONE feature.

iPhoto recognizes faces in your photos and helps you to organize them. Hot diggity dog!

So, when it came on Tuesday, I wasted no time installing it and starting to play. But, it had to go through all my pics and catalog them a process which took — according to iPhoto more than 600 minutes. I left it running while I was at work yesterday. Yes, I did.

So, last night I was playing. Going through pics and telling iPhoto who each face was. It then makes a catalog of the faces and suggests other pictures that might have that face in it. Once it gets a baseline on each person, it starts to suggest on each picture “Is this Ruth?” Sometimes it’s right. Sometimes it’s off. But, it’s fun, that’s for sure!

As I was doing this, I’d run into a photo or 10 of Ruby and wonder . . . hmmmmm.

My husband, meanwhile, was playing with other parts of the software (we bought a Family Pack) and sent me an article with 20 helpful hints [click] on using iLife ’09.  The authors were able to get their computer to recognize their cats’ faces.  Game on.

So, I’m working on the computer recognizing Ruby.  So far it’s not working on it’s own but I feel we’re still in the training phase.  And, let’s face it.  I take way more shots of Ruby than my kids.

But what I’m wondering is . . . will it recognize birds’ faces, too?