Chicken Dance ~

Surely I’m not the only crazy old fool who still loves to do the chicken dance.  I’ve flapped my arms and clapped my hands to this catchy tune at kid’s birthday parties and fancy dress wedding receptions.  It’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Why is it called the chicken dance?  Well, now that I have a couple of chicken wrangling experiences under my belt, I’m here to tell you that chickens really do dance.

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  But, when it comes to chicken wrangling, I say grab your cell phone and shoot some video.  How cute are these ladies?

 

Thanks Vicki for sharing your girls with me and teaching me the ropes of chicken wrangling 101.

Hubs and I are actively seeking short term house sits on the west coast (California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia).  If you hear of anything, please let me know.  Or you can direct them to our new site Global House Sitting Pros.

Stay tuned for more house sitting adventures.

Cheers!

Nancy

One More Trip Around The Sun ~

Well it’s happened again, somehow I’ve managed to complete one more trip around the sun.  My 65th to be exact.

Sixty-five turned out to be a damn fine year if I do say so myself.  I am grateful for each and every moment, for adventures shared with friends and family, and way too many laughs to count.  Life is truly filled with magic moments.  And these days I take every opportunity to look back, reflect and savor my days on this planet.

So… I made a little movie.  It’s how I entertain myself when hubs is watching Mash reruns on ME TV.  Thanks to each and every one of you who made this movie possible by sharing your light, your laughter and your wine with me.  I am truly blessed.

And here’s my birthday gift to you… I gathered a few fun thoughts on being “older”.  Here’s the good, the bad and the what-the-what?

First the good ~

•There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

•No one expects you to run anywhere. (Except for Gil Peters – we expect him to run everywhere)

•In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

•Things you buy now won’t wear out before you do.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

•Your eyes won’t get much worse.

•Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

•Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

•Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

•Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

And the not so good…

•Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

•In dog years – I’m dead.

•You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•The twinkle in your eye is the sun reflecting off your bi-focals.

•Your wild oats have turned to mush.

•At 66 you find yourself at that awkward age – somewhere between desirability and complete senility.

•Everything that doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

The silver lining…

•Age is only important if you are cheese or wine.

•The older you get the better you were.

•Old age and treachery trump youth and skill every time.

•It still beats the alternative.

So as I prepare to celebrate my own “sweet 66” (all weekend long – thank goodness Monday is a holiday), I raise my glass to each of you.  Enjoy every magic moment on your own trip around the sun this year – whatever number it is.  Because…Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Cheers!

Nancy

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Dog Days of Summer ~

We’re officially in the dog days of summer.  I wasn’t really sure of the origin of this phrase so I turned to the every-trusty Wikipedia for some enlightenment.

It started with The Romans who referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky.

The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun.  (apparently this is no longer the case, but whatever) The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. The Dog Days ran from approximately July 24th through August 24th.

And there you have the sum total of my newly acquired knowledge about The Dog Days of Summer.

The late summer air feels different – heavier somehow.  Like change is floating in on the breeze.  Mid-August days are always hot and humid (some places more than others, thank you Portland) and I feel unusually slow and lazy. If I had a hammock, I would lie in it and sip a nice cool glass of my favorite drink Tazo lemon ginger over ice and read. And doze.  And read…

What I’ve been doing instead is playing with my camera – taking photos of dogs.  So I put together a little photo essay I like to call The Dog Days of Summer. Because, you know, every dog has his day.

I'm saving this table.

I’m saving this table.

Taking the dogs for a stroll

Taking the dogs for a stroll

I can sleep anywhere

I can sleep anywhere

dogatfarmersmkt

I met this cutie at the Hillsboro Farmers Market

Willis my grand-pup

Willis my grand pup

Tenzing the vineyard guard dog

Tenzing the vineyard guard dog

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer.  And be sure to drink up the wine before it turns sour.  I’ll do my part on that for sure.

Cheers!

Nancy

Field of Dreams ~

Field of Dreams – build it and they will come.

This weekend hubs and I slathered ourselves with sunscreen, loaded our cooler with ice, water and lots of snacks and drove down a dusty gravel road headed for a beautiful place that we will forever remember as the orchard in the middle of nowhere.

I had signed us up to be members of a small but mighty volunteer army whose mission was to transform a dusty field in a pear orchard into an elegant location for a farm to table dinner.  Talk about a make-over!

This dream team, a well-oiled machine of many talents and amazing can-do energy (plus hubs and I) rolled up their sleeves, put on their sun hats and got to work early Saturday morning.  In less than 36 hours something akin to magic had taken place.

I had my camera in hand so I could capture the transformation. It was such a cool experience that I put together this little time-lapse video to share ~

Congratulations to Kirsten and the whole Home Plate Dream Team.  You guys rock!  Thanks for letting us get our hands (and feet!) dirty and use a few muscles that must have needed it.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

Yummy Home-Made Cheese ~

Making home-made cheese is fun and relatively easy, especially if you start with the soft, fresh cheeses. 

Hubs and I have taken several cheese classes and I’m proud to say that we make some mighty tasty chevre, fromage blanc and ricotta. A while back, feeling a little cocky about our cheese making abilities, hubs and I attempted to up the ante with a mozzarella class.  That was a whole new ball of wax (er…cheese) entirely.

Here’s how our mozzarella making adventure went ~

cheesemaking equipment

Equipment needed:

A large pot for heating water and milk

A bowl for working curds Continue reading

Really Big Balls!

Really Big Balls…bowling balls to be precise.mondo croquet

That’s what it takes to play Mondo Croquet. And a sledge hammer. And some rebar rounded to form wickets. Stir in about two dozen free spirited Portlanders. And, voilá! It’s an afternoon of quirky and highly competitive fun in the park.

There was no way I was going to miss this! Hubs, as usual, was a more than willing sidekick. Continue reading

A Little Red Wagon ~

I was a deprived child.  I did not have a little red wagon of my own.  I did, however, have shiny metal roller skates with a key.

So I guess that makes up for it.

I don’t know if the two grown-up kids in this video were wagon deprived in their youth or not, but to me they are two shining examples that there is still a little “kid” in each of us no matter how grey hair our hair or how many wrinkles crease our cheeks.

Whatever you do today, let the child in you come out to play.  Because it really is the simple things in life that bring us joy.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

The Big Float ~

It rains in Portland. It rains a lot!  So when summer rolls around and the sun finally shines its happy light on us, everyone heads for the great outdoors and some fun in the sun – Portland style.  Which is how hubs and I ended up at The Big Float.

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

This year more than 2,500 souls dragged their pale white bodies, their favorite flotation devices, kids, friends, grandma and in some cases, even their dogs through the streets of Southwest Portland making their way to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to pay the $6 fee that allowed them to participate in one of Portland’s most unique summer events. Continue reading

I Did Then and I Still Do ~

On the road of life, it’s not where you go, but who’s by your side that makes the difference.

walking the camino de santiago

wandering the roads less travelled

It’s our anniversary today.  Eleven years have zipped by so quickly.  Apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Last year on this date, when I sat down to write an anniversary post and share my gratitude for the wonderful man who has shared this crazy life with me for the last ten years, I  circled back to a post I had written way back in July of 2012 for a quick walk down memory lane and a spark of inspiration.  It took me right back to that beautiful morning 11 years ago.  That post expressed my feelings perfectly.   For once, I seem to have gotten it right the first time.  So, I’ve decided to make it my special Anniversary Post.  Every year I’ll bring it back, dust it off, and change the date, because…

I did then, and I still do.

Eleven years ago today, on a beautiful sunny morning, I put on my new dress, a pair of strappy sandals with heels, took  extra care with my hair and makeup and then walked with my best friend out to the very end of the point away from Rosario Resort on Orcas Island.  We stood there under the branches of two huge oak trees whose trunks had grown twined together and looked out at the Puget Sound.  Boats glided by.  Birds soared and swooped.  The ferry passed and we waited.  In the background the lawnmowers hummed and leaf blowers buzzed as the head groundskeeper and her crew tended to their daily duties of keeping Rosario lush and beautiful.  We waited and then waited a little longer.  We watched a car approach slowly and come to a stop at the end of the narrow dirt road.  Finally, she was here.  The woman we’d been so patiently waiting for.   Another Nancy, and she had come to join my friend and I in marriage.  Fifteen minutes later we were husband and wife.  Becky (the head groundskeeper) and Barbara (a neighbor of the minister) were our witnesses.  I cried from beginning to end and, of course, never thought to bring a hankie.  An hour later, after a champagne toast, my new husband and I set sail on our first adventure as a married couple – kayaking in the San Juan Islands.   Cheers to this wonderful man who has brought so much laughter and joy to my life.  I loved you then.  I still do.  I always will.

We’re off on Life’s Next Excellent Adventure. July 18, 2003, Orcas Island WA

Here’s to many new adventures to come and my wonderful partner-in-fun who willingly goes along for the ride wherever the road leads.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

Happy Fourth of July ~

Happy Fourth of July!

Greetings from Hillsboro, Oregon 1988. 

Fourth of July Parade

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy

I love a parade.  And one of my all time favorites is in Hillsboro.  It’s the largest 4th of July parade in Oregon.  Everything from kids decked out and ready to strut their stuff to giant John Deere tractors roll right down the middle of Main Street.  Jazzercise mamas, high school bands, church groups, hand-made floats on the back of flatbed trucks and even a local politician or two round out the entertainment.  It’s definitely 2 1/2 hours of small town wacky bliss.

America truly is a great big melting pot of weird and wonderful.  And that’s exactly why we mark this day.

Whether you choose to celebrate at a small town parade, enjoying brauts and brews in your neighbor’s backyard, lighting off bottle rockets under the cover of darkness (oh no, please don’t!) or stretched out on the grass gazing up at a night sky filled with flash and sparkle, enjoy the day and savor the moment – from sea to shining sea.

Cheers!

Nancy