Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Gift Buying Guide

I have taken it upon myself to give you some hints for gift buying for your loved ones or even casual acquaintances. If you follow these few simple guidelines it will help you to have a merrier Christmas. (Well, it could).

I’ll start with the ladies.....

#1. She doesn’t want a paid up membership to Weight Watchers for a year, or even a month. She may want it, but she sure as heck doesn’t want you to buy it for her. While we are on the subject make sure you know the answer to the question "Does this dress make me look fat?" Correct answer..."Of course not".

#2. After perusing # 1 you really shouldn’t have to be told not to get her a membership to a gym. But just in case, I’ll add that one next.

#3. Kitchen appliances and gadgets are ok if you tuck in a little something extra. Like, say, under the lid of that beautiful new blender you insert a new gold bracelet, or tickets to see her favorite singer.

#4. Her favorite perfume is a good choice. Notice that I said favorite. Don’t come up with a fragrance that she doesn’t like.

#5. Gift certificates always fit. Chances are you will not be able to buy her clothes, shoes, handbags or jewelry that she will like. So why not take easy way out. However, make sure it comes from one of her favorite shops. If she would rather watch paint dry than cook, don’t give her a gift card from a kitchen store.

#6. Don’t try to slip in a gift for yourself disguised as one for her. A new ratchet set is not likely to be on her wish list.

Now for the guys......

#1. Slippers, ties, bathrobes....they are out for most men.

#2. Unlike kitchen appliances power tools are always a good choice. I watched enough episodes of Home Improvement to know this. If memory serves me correctly the words Turbo Charged will make a power tool even more attractive.

#3. His favorite liquor is a good choice and at Christmastime you might be able to find a bottle of something in a handsome gift box or package.

#4. Before you pick up a year’s supply of his favorite fragrance check to see if he has a couple year’s worth in the cabinet already from Christmases past.

# 5. Again with the gift certificates. They work for men, too. The same silly rules apply.

#6. I haven’t conducted a survey, but I am guessing that most men would not be all excited about a gizmo for trimming nose hair. You decide.

I hope this helps you to have a Merry Christmas and frees you up from having to exchange unwanted gifts. Happy New Year, too.






Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Challenge of Words

I think it’s a good idea to know your strengths or more importantly—your weaknesses. If there is something that you are really lousy at doing perhaps you should give up and not do it.  You know, that expression “if at first you don’t succeed, give it up and quit making a fool of yourself” or something like that.

In my case there are lots of things I am pretty good at. I can cook well enough to keep my husband, Mr. Lucky, and me in the overweight category. I know my way around a sewing machine. I could balance my check book if I wanted to. With a little practice I can speak Pig Latin. (Is that statement politically correct?)

However, I have known for a long time that I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I like to sing or make somewhat musical sounds that could resemble singing to someone a mile away. If I pop in a CD or a cassette (yes…I still have cassettes) I make darn sure no one is around to hear me singing along. If it’s just me and the dog I’ll belt it out as though I sound fine. In the car, alone, it’s the same thing. I’m a master at sing-along. However, you won’t catch me making a fool of myself with those Karaoke groupies. No way. It’s no surprise that no one has called to invite me to join a choir, either.

Every once in a while I think fishing would be fun. What a riot …. for anyone watching. I spend longer than most putting the worm thing on the hook. Then I cast toward the water. My line usually gets caught on something on shore, in back or me or in front. I can do it both ways. Untangle, rebait, recast. A couple of years ago I figured that the pole was too cumbersome so I bought one of those pocket fisherman deals. Same thing. Obviously the length of the pole was not the problem. There might be a place for me on one of those funny sports fishing videos. If at first you don’t succeed ….blah, blah.

This brings me to one of my latest endeavors. Words With Friends. I just started playing this game on Facebook last week. I am in various stages of a half dozen games. Some I have already lost and some I will soon be losing.  I have four going on with sister. From the get-go I knew I was destined to lose. Judy (I’ll call her that because that’s her name) is somewhat of a champion at board games. Since Words With Friends is a computer enhanced version of Scrabble I expected to be on the losing end with her SOME OF THE TIME. I didn’t expect to lose every game. Silly me. I did actually win one game of Yahtzee in about 1984. I have held my own playing Upwords with women who considered themselves to be wordsmiths. Did I mention that Upwords is a board game like Scrabble on steroids? But I have yet to master Words With Friends. In this case I am going to keep at it. Eventually I’ll win a game…maybe by default. Like maybe someone will forget it’s their turn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


 I stumbled onto a list of only 5 things (count ‘em - only 5) things that one needs to do to increase longevity. Now, I’m unsure about the need to increase longevity, but I gave the list a once-over. After all, it was for only 5 things and it specifically omitted the obvious: diet, exercise, cut down on sugary snacks, and control stress.

Here they are:

    1. Engage in a hobby (I have this one covered. Facebook surely must count).

    2. Go on a vacation (I’m willing.)

    3. Sleep in on the weekends (Should weekends really be different?)

    4. Connect with other people (Again with the Facebook thing.)

    5. Floss your teeth (keep reading)

I could pretty much understand the psychology behind 1 through 4, and # 5 made good sense but I had no idea that gingivitis and periodontal disease could lead to a 23 to 46 percent higher rate of death. Hmmm. So if this is the case I decided to go on step further and make an appointment to see my dentist.  Reading this bit of wisdom and the fact that I had just chipped a tooth got me moving a little quicker to get an appointment. Dental appointments are not a treat for me.

So, last week I was all settled into the dentist’s chair all decked out with the little bib thing they hang on you. I off handedly asked the dentist, Rich Bailey, DMD if he had seen the Bill Cosby routine about going to the dentist. He assured me that it was required in dental school. Dr. Bailey is so young–I was surprised he even knew who Bill Cosby is. (I should have asked him if he remembered I Spy, Bill’s first TV show). Anyway, my dental appointment was much less painful and stressful because of the Bill Cosby discussion and Dr. Bailey’s occasional imitation of one of the Cosby Kids.

A couple hours later I ventured off to yet another appointment. Feeling the need to explain why I was talking like I had just downed a quart of vodka I explained that I had just been to see Dr. Bailey. That’s when I found out that Dr. Bailey was indeed the creator of Billy Bob Teeth. Check them out here:

After having such a good time at the dentist, what with all the fun and laughter, I have decided that the longevity list is one item short. Laughter needs to be added.  That would be laughter. So, remember, if you see or read something remotely funny, especially if I wrote it, for God’s sake, laugh. Out loud. Like your life depends on it. Maybe it does.

Oh…and don’t forget to floss.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making a Fashion Statement.......

Today’s fashions must surely be a conspiracy. Who in God’s green earth would want to dress and actually leave their homes looking the way women and some men do today?  People are wearing ragged jeans which sometimes don’t cover quite enough of their backside. How about the undergarment showing? Back in the olden days you wore your underwear, well, under. Then there is the pajama thing. It’s like “I have new pajamas. I’m going to Walmart”. What’s up with that?

I have some very simple fashion tips which I am very happy to share at no additional charge:

  1. Bill Blass, the famous fashion designer, was quoted as having said “When in doubt, wear red”. I think this is a really good fashion tip. This little pearl of wisdom is especially helpful if you are going to be dining on spaghetti. Good ol’ Bill might have been referring to his designer fragrance, Red.
  2. If it is uncomfortable don’t, I repeat DON’T, wear it. That goes for clothes that don’t fit right. If you have to keep tugging and adjusting your clothes, just give it up and change into something that fits. Included in this would be girdles (I think you can still buy them. I know you can get something called Spanx. I saw them on Oprah). The topic of comfort in clothes brings to mind the days of cancans. Remember those garments from hell? What were we thinking?   
  3. Shoes. If you can’t walk in them from the get-go don’t buy them. One should avoid those pointy-toed things so high they put you at risk for nosebleeds. On the other hand, if the shoe fits, buy it in every color.
  4. Just because it looks good on the hanger doesn’t mean it’ll look good on you. I’m guessing that a lot of people don’t bother to try things on in the store before they buy. That explains some of the “people of Wal-Mart”. Or there is a significant shortage of mirrors in this country.
  5. Panty hose is out. Refer to # 2.

With all this being said some fashion rules were meant to be broken. Case in point…wearing, or not wearing, white after Labor Day. Here’s the deal. I bought a new shirt (on sale) specifically to wear with a pair of white capris in my closet. I have worn the white capris and the new shirt twice since Labor Day and I just might throw caution to the wind and wear them one more time before the month is up.  I might even sling a white purse over my shoulder and put on some white sandals. I’m not so worried about the Fashion Police showing up, but if those goons from TV’s What Not to Wear approach me I’m going to run like a Sasquatch is after me.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sites in Elk River, Idaho

So, this past weekend, my husband (Mr. Lucky) and I, along with our dog, Bonnie, ventured all the way from Orofino to Elk River. Elk River is about 40 miles over the bridge and through the woods from here. However in the interest of not shaking the heck out of our motorhome we take the long way around making it about 83.7 miles one way. We avoid a lot of gravel, dust, and ginormous chuck holes.

Elk River is home to roughly 700 thousand miles of ATV trails. Well, maybe not quite that many, but a lot of them. The forest around is noted for its abundance of huckleberries, and Elk Creek Falls.

It is also home to a Giant Cedar tree. It is thought to be 3000 years old and worth a look along the paved foot path to get to it. I’m not sure how tall it is but I wouldn’t want to climb it.

Having put our shoes to good use on Saturday trekking to the ‘Giant Cedar’ we (I) thought it would be a good idea to experience the legendary Elk Creek Falls (in Idaho, that's crick) which is a series of 3 separate waterfalls. The Forest Service has made a number of trails, mostly dirt, with viewpoints for all three of the falls. Did I mention this was a foot path, like the one to the giant cedar tree? Anyway, the trails are marked quite nicely every so often with mileage posts so you know how far to the next one. Ha. It was apparent that the Forest Service had an excess of 1/4 mile markers or maybe the guy or gal who put up the signs had a sick sense of humor. Either way we trekked along the longest quarter mile stretches in history. Three times. From one junction we chose to go to the Upper Falls....1/4 mile with an arrow to indicate the path. About ½ to 3/4 of a mile later when we reached the Upper Falls, the sign says it’s 1/4 mile to the Middle Falls. Another ½ mile and you can take the still scenic route to a viewpoint to the Lower Falls. We came all that way so why not? Another 1/4 mile in Forest Service signage is roughly ½ mile. Did I mention it was uphill both ways?

Along the way, when I wasn’t gasping for air, I was trying to think up ways to convince Mr. Lucky to go back to the parking area (after all it was only 1/4 mile away) and get one of our ATVs and bring it back to rescue me. It seemed more reasonable than having him shoot me and rolling me off over the bank. (There was a cold beer on the ATV). There was that silly rule about "no motorized vehicles" on the trail. Mr. Lucky is a stickler for obeying the rules. Well, most of them. Along the way the trail blazers did place a number of benches for folks like me to rest and catch their breath. Too bad they didn't install a few oxygen tanks.  

We saw quite a number of people, no one over 21, I’m guessing, some with small children in tow. One young mother had a child, maybe 15 months old, in one of those backpack gizmoes.  I cautioned her to allow other members in the group to take a turn at carrying him. No need she said. She would be fine. Hmmm. Over-achiever, I thought. One nice young couple passed us TWICE. They were really padding them off. I’ll bet they knew a shortcut.

If you happen to be in the northwest corner of Clearwater County stop at Elk River. We really 'roughed' it this weekend by only eating out once at one of the three eateries. If you happen to be a fan of huckleberries you can stop in at Huckleberry Heaven for pie and/or ice cream. Don't forget about the Giant Cedar and the Elk Creek Falls.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Shoe Dilemma

While at my computer one morning, still in my jammies, with my luke warm coffee on my desk, I decided it was time to investigate the workings of Dogpile.  A side note: I do a bit of “search engine details” for hire for clients with websites to help them get a better foothold in the search engines.

So in that endeavor I decided to check out Dogpile. It’s a search engine and newsy website with a canine theme. Instead of ‘search’ you click on the box that reads ‘Go Fetch’. Clever, don’t you think?  What better way to find out how they are doing but to enter one’s own name?  My name came up straightaway showing my business, my former business, my address, a facebook entry, and a blip in my cousin’s blog, KelloggBlogging/  These were scattered about on pages one and two. One page 3 the first listing was for Zappo’s Shoes. Go figure. How does Dogpile know about my shoe thing? I will admit that I have been to Zappos’ website, but I swear to the shopping gods I didn’t buy even one pair of shoes. I usually buy my shoes in person. We have a great little shoe shop here in Orofino. (By the way, they have a great reasonably priced selection of leather handbags, too). I rarely buy shoes on-line. Mind you, I am not opposed to buying them that way, but it’s the trying them on thing that gets in the way. Unlike toothbrushes, I want to make sure they will fit to eliminate the agony of returning them. Let me make this clear, personally I am not opposed to any shoe buying. None.

I now have a dilemma. If my shoe fixation is exposed on the wide world web it might be a good time to do something about it. Like decreasing the number of shoes in my “collection” might be a place to start. In my search for shoes to get rid of, I found only one pair worthy of going into the donation bag. A like-new pair of Saucony running shoes shifted to the top. I’m sure you have guessed that I don’t run, but it’s ok to have the shoes. I try not to sweat, too, and I own a couple of sweatshirts.

One pair was all I could sacrifice. I thought I would have a cold glass of Iced Tea and tackle this shoe purging later. Later like next week.

So before the week is out so are the Saucony shoes. Out of the bag and right back in the pile with the rest of my shoes. I couldn’t bear to part with them. They are practically brand new. Who could blame me?

Friday, June 29, 2012

A New Twist on Oreo Cookies

I just ran across a recipe on the internet for making Oreo Cookies. I didn’t go looking for it. It was just a click away on my Frontier homepage. As a fan of Oreos I was compelled to check it out. But why in the world would anyone think they could improve on Oreo Cookies? That would be like trying to make and bottle an improved version of Crown Royal. You really can’t improve on some things. Maybe some people just have way too much time on their hands.

Along with the Oreo Cookie recipe there was a place to click to get the recipe for making McDonald’s french fries. What? Do you suppose McDonalds has run out of them and we’ll have to start making our own? How about going to Wendy’s or In & Out Burgers?

A few years back some of my cronies had a recipe for Dirt Cake. The idea behind this clever recipe was to buy a bag of Oreo Cookies, (again with the Oreos) crush them with a hammer or some such weaponry, and incorporate the crumbs into the cake batter. Oh, sure. Rest assured I didn't get all giddy over that one. I never quite understood the sense in all that. Smashing Oreos? I take mine right out of the bag, accompanied by a glass of milk. A short glass, if you don’t a highball glass. It makes it easier to dunk my cookie.

Tucked away in my seldom used recipe box is one for making Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. At first I thought that might be a nice recipe to try. Then a wave of common sense came over me and I quickly abandoned that crazy notion. You can’t improve on, well, perfection. Especially not when you can go to the store and buy it. Back to the Crown Royal thing.

I’m all for making my own recipes when there is some money to be saved. Take chocolate wine. I found you can make your own on the cheap. In the stores it goes for around $11.00 a bottle. Here’s my recipe. Start with a ½ gallon of Sangria. I find Carlo Rossi brand to be just fine. Then you’re going to need some chocolate syrup like you would put on ice cream. Fill your wine glass (or your highball glass) about 2/3 full. Add a couple of good healthy squeezes of the chocolate syrup. Stir to mix, right in the glass. Add ice if you are so inclined. Enjoy. If you happen to be under the age of 21, go to your room and do not try this at home or anywhere else. Try it with Oreos.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pet Peeves

I am guessing we all have them.  I do—a boatload.  So in this piece (from the valley) I’ll address a few of them. There are the usual ones: gum poppers, interrupters, soup slurpers, and grammar slayers.

Moving along… Many TV commercials have made it to my Pet Peeves List. We all know that there are way too many, but to keep the shows going they have to sell something. I’m ok with that. I actually like some of the funny ones. Budweiser has done some masterpieces. But how about the one with two blubbering women making an effort to sell some sort of telephone gizmo? I have made a mental note not to buy the device they are hawking.  I won’t mention the exact name of the product. I don’t want to plug it here.
Have you noticed the number of huge pickups with oversized tires parked in the handicap zones? If someone were really handicapped they wouldn’t be able to get into one of those rigs. Add handicap placard abuse to my list of pet peeves.

The other day a call was left on my answering machine.  Ok. Please call to reschedule your appointment. No number was left to call. Every office that employs more than 5 people has an entire litany of phone numbers. I was left to wonder what number to call to reschedule my appointment. Finding the right one in the phone book is a crap shoot.  Life would be simpler is the caller would just leave their number on the answering machine pretty much like my message says.
So you finally find the right number and it goes like this; “This is Myrtle in scheduling. I am away from my desk right now. Please leave your name, phone number, your account number, your mother’s maiden name, and the last 4 digits of your social security number and I’ll get back to you”.  Well, don’t be holding your breath. Ol’ Myrt didn’t say she would get back to you today or even this week. Myrtle in scheduling is probably at the water cooler discussing last night’s episode of Modern Family with Harvey from Human Resources. I remember when people actually answered the phone on their desk. You know--the one that their employer is paying them to answer.

In this piece (from the valley) I won’t go into too much detail about dumbass drivers. But they are out there. I’ll lump them together; the non-blinkers, who act as though the blinker is merely a suggestion. More aggravating than the non-blinker is the idiot who blinks for a right hand turn and then verves off to the left. Or the non-stop blinker. That’s the guy who drives from Portland to Seattle with his blinker on. Tailgaters. They give me the urge to slam on my brakes. The reason I don’t is the price of gas. I don’t know how the gas tank would take a hit from behind.  How about the ones who haven’t mastered the art of dimming their lights? They should be restricted to daylight only.
Then we have the incessant music. I am perfectly capable of eating in a restaurant and shop for groceries without the benefit of background music.  I can even operate a slot machine without the blast of music of which I don’t care to listen. Don’t get me wrong. I like music. You probably do to. It’s just that I want to choose my own.  Music is a pretty much personal thing. I lean toward classic rock, most anything Elvis, and Dixieland Jazz.  If my husband, Mr. Lucky, had his way it would be bag pipes and assorted Irish tunes. I am not opposed to outlawing rap, Hip Hop, and Heavy Metal.

Is it just me or have you noticed the overworking of adjectives? Like amazing. Childbirth is amazing. Shaking Bill Cosby’s hand would be awesome. The word totally gets too much air time, too. It’s often coupled with ‘awesome’ or ‘amazing’. You know, for a totally awesome whatever. Fill in the blank.
However, it would have been awesome if the jackal who called this evening to explain to me in broken English that my Windows program was in jeopardy had a sudden attach of amazing  laryngitis.  Add pesky phone calls to the list.

Last but not least is call waiting. How about when you are chatting with Eloise and she says, “Hang on. I have another call.” So there you are left in phone call la la land waiting for Eloise to get back on the line. She might as well have said, “Excuse me. I have a better offer.”
So…if you have a pet peeve leave a comment to let me know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Conquering Clutter

So, as I was making an effort to find the top of my desk, I unveiled a rather humorous printout I once made of a “how-to” for cleaning. This 2008 report was all about “a sparkling house in just 19 minutes a day”. It goes on to explain what you need to do in each room and the time it should take. For example you should be able to get the bedroom all spiffy in 6 ½ minutes. Ok. Right. It claims a neat bed will get you all fired up to straighten up the other messes immediately. Think how nice it’s going to be when you get ready to retire at night, what with the pillows plumped and yesterday’s clothes put in their places. Not to mention how your jewelry has been put where it belongs. Then there is the matter of the now tidy night table.

Off to the kitchen where in 4 ½ minutes you can have it company ready. Ha. This article didn’t mention that in some houses it would take over 4 minutes to find the ‘Swiffer’ let alone actually using it.
The bathroom….2 minutes. Give me a break.  

The living or family room should take 6 minutes. For me it would be give or take a couple of hours. Fluffing a couple of pillows, folding a throw, and wiping a fingerprint or two off the coffee table is not likely to get the living room ready for the photographers from House Beautiful to come by for a photo shoot.
All joking aside (really) I have stumbled onto a website that is there to help folks like me-the housekeeping challenged. It’s Obviously they know me (and maybe you, too). They make sensible suggestions for procrastinators like me. I have been a follower of the Phyllis Diller method of housekeeping. She advocated not cleaning your oven until all you could fit into it was a cupcake.  In my case that could be a butter tart.

I’m not sure where I learned the paper bag method of tidying up. It could have been from Phyllis. Evidently I was not the only one to use it. By the way the paper bag deal was not mentioned in the get-it-done-in-19 minutes program. For the inexperienced paper baggers the idea is to throw anything loose from the counter tops, floor, chairs, and stuff visible under the furniture (i.e. shoes, toys, pets) into a paper bag. I can proudly (ha) say that I taught my sons this technique when they were quite young. I would tell them to grab a paper bag and fill it. That was usually followed by an announcement that “Grandma’s coming”. Later I just had to say “Grandma’s coming” and they scrambled about filling bags. It worked like a charm. One of the big problems with the paper bag technique is that after a decade or so you have so dang many paper bags around stuffed with old report cards, newspapers, an occasional electric bill, broken shoelace, missing sock. The list goes on.
The program suggests that you de-clutter for 15 minutes a day. I’m up to 2 days now. That makes 30 minutes. Do you see where this is going? I just might, I repeat might, get control of the clutter in…let’s see at 15 minutes a day x 7 days a week x 52 weeks in a year….by the year 2014. I’ll give it my best shot. In the meantime if you hear me say "Grandma's coming" hand over the bag.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Five Pocket Jeans

To setup this blog I’ll provide a little backstory. When I was but a child my mother belonged to a group of ladies who got together every week or maybe it was monthly for meetings. They called it the Hit and Miss Club. Aptly named, so that they could hit--or miss--the meetings. No pressure. Their purpose may have been to simply get out of the house for a few hours with or without their preschool aged kids. Kids. That’s where I come in. My older sister and brother were in school so I led the charmed life; it was almost like being an only child for a few hours everyday. I got to go to the meetings with my mother.  I was allowed to wear a “good” dress and my Sunday school shoes. Before one meeting I waited as my mother got all gussied up, as ladies did in the fifties. Going to something as important as a Hit and Miss meeting on a Thursday afternoon would require wearing a frock more upscale than a house dress. No pedal pushers, either.  In the 50s a proper woman wore a girdle. The purpose of a girdle was twofold. It made darn sure that there was no jiggle in the derriere, and it held up the ladies’ nylon hosiery. Back in those days, hosiery came in two pieces, unlike panty hose.  After Mom was all decked out in her navy blue skirt and jacket she commented on the unpleasant fact that her girdle did nothing but “push the fat up so that it was above her waist”.  During the meeting somewhere after the reading of the minutes and before the refreshments were served I announced to everyone that my mom’s “girdle pushed her fat up so that it was above her waist”.  Needless to say my mom was mortified.
So….not long ago I discovered a pair of jeans in my size (or so I hoped) when I bought them. Now these were not my usual pull-on with the elastic casing at the waist. These were the real deal; genuine Lee Riders 5 pocket jeans. The big come-on was the slimming effect created by the “slimming tummy control panel”. What could be better? Well, that “slimming tummy control panel” and the $10.00 price tag. All this in one pair of 5 pocket jeans? Off to the checkout counter I went before the Jeans Police appeared and said “Move away from the $10.00 jeans and no one will get hurt.”
I took my newly acquired jeans home and tried them on. Well, guess what? The amazing “slimming tummy control panel” seemed to be doing its job. It took a good look in the mirror for me to realize that the “slimming tummy control panel” did nothing but push the fat up so that it was above my waist.  Paybacks are hell. But, as soon as I get them hemmed up, I’m wearing them anyway. If I don’t shorten them by a couple of inches I’ll be forced to wear stilettoes to keep them from dragging through the mud.  I plan to pair them up with a big oversized sweater in an attempt to conceal the bulge above the waist.  After all, they were only $10.00.
By the way, my mother hasn’t been to a Hit and Miss meeting in several years.  Maybe decades.  Hmmm.  One can only guess why.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Butter Tarts

It all started innocently enough. We were “snowbirding” in Arizona in a small, cozy RV park  when I had my first taste of Butter Tarts. For those of you unfamiliar to them, as I was, they are melt in your mouth delicious and they just happen to be a holiday favorite of Canadians. One of the Canadian “parkers” made them, not once, but twice and kindly shared them.  Let me tell you – they are wonderful.
So, I decided to give them a try. I found a recipe online, rounded up the ingredients. That took only one or two trips to Safeway.  I cleverly used a coffee mug as a rolling pin substitute to roll out and wedge together the pieces of a box pie crust. I asked my very capable husband to light the propane oven and set the temperature. After removing the contents of the oven (a selection of miscellaneous pots and pans) the mission was accomplished. A side note: Motorhome dwellers usually store stuff in the ovens.  The microwave doubles as a cupboard for the dish draining equipment.
Moving along….the butter tarts in the oven. Moments later the smoke alarm goes off.  Yet another side note: When the smoke alarm goes off our dog gets panicky. Not much bothers her but she knows that when the blaring of the smoke alarm will cause her people to be talking loud (code for yelling) at one another. He says, “Can’t you remember to turn on the */@*%#& fan?” I can’t print my response.  Fan gets turned on. Window gets opened. Smoke is filling the 31 foot motorhome.  Smoke alarm goes off again. Door is opened. A second fan is turned on. Oven is opened to check butter tarts and more smoke fills the motor home. They are not burning. Hmmm.  By now, the smoke is so thick we can’t see down the hall to the bedroom. I hit the smoke alarm with a broom handle to shut the thing up, attempted to calm the dog and checked butter tarts again.  They still are not anywhere close to being done, but out they come.  In the fracas the timer quit working so I am clueless as to how much longer they should cook if I would be crazy enough to return them to this appliance from hell that used to be known as an oven.
The smoke is starting to clear.  Thinking it would be a good idea to try to find the source of the problem a closer look in the oven from hell we found a piece of sponge that was placed between a couple of the aforementioned pots to prevent rattling and banging when we are moving. It took the better part of an hour to scrape the piece of melted spongey stuff off the oven rack.
The end result…. I was able to choke down a couple of the undercooked butter tarts just to make sure they were not suitable to share. The remainder hit the garbage. My Canadian cronies don't have to worry about any competition from me in the Butter Tart construction.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greetings from the Valley

I'm calling this blog "Piece from the Valley, because it is just that...a piece written from specifically the Clearwater Valley which is nestled in the North Central Idaho along the Clearwater River. I live in Orofino. Population somewhere around 3700.  It's a beautiful place to live, recreate, raise kids, and shoot animals for fun and freezer filling.

I am what I like to call a lifer. That would be someone who was born and raised here in this general area all his/her life. Hmmm. My maternal grandmother was a lifer. My mother, her brother, my brother, my husband, one son, and a bevy of cousins... all lifers. All without the stigma of incest, too. Many of my friends and relatives cashed their first paychecks and fled. And sometimes they return to revel in their golden years here in this peaceful valley. We lifers let them come back. After all, they have big retirement checks deposited to their checking accounts every month, money to spend in our stores and eateries, and they can help educate our kids. Perfect.

At one time this community was a loggin' town or so the folks thought. Little attention was paid to the fact that the surrounding areas were littered with farms. A prison and a mental hospital employed a whole lot of people, and a bunch of federal and other state jobs contributed to the workforce. Let's not forget tourism.

One day someone got the not really brilliant idea of calling Orofino the Steelhead Capital of the World. If you look that up on the internet you'll find it's one of many Steelhead Capitals of the World. By many, I mean hundreds. Nevertheless steelhead fishing is thriving here on the Clearwater River. It would appear that the 'Steelhead Capital' tag worked its magic in getting the tourists to mosey into town. They bring their fishing boats, poles, assorted tackle and an occasionally, a wife. Luckily for the proprietors of sporting goods shops they usually don't bring just the right hook or lure or the current gadget for catching the 'big one'.
Personally, I'm not into fishing. But I have no problem eating the fish someone else catches. So you might see me down by the river trying to hustle freshly caught fish from anyone lucky enough to have caught one. I'll be the one wearing the big, goofy hat.