Rock A

River rafting on the Deschutes River was an August tradition for several years. Before kids, job transfers, divorces, and new houses separated us, we rafted with friends Dan and Colleen, and neighbors Jim and Lori, Ron and Rene. Sometimes Jim’s brother and his girlfriend.

Several of the boys made this trip individually and each knew the river well. Dan and his dad rafted the Rogue. Ridge took customers on a Deschutes River trip. A job perk.

Rafts rented from Deschutes U boat, each couple navigated their own raft. No guides. Everyone had gear. Eureka dome tents, therma rest mattresses, Gott coolers, sleeping bags, solar showers. We planned who would bring the kitchen dry box, the camp stoves, the camp oven, the kitchen tables. We planned our meals. No prepackaged dried meals for this group. Since we’d be on the river for 2 nights and 3 days, we divided up the meals, two dinners and two breakfasts. One top chef gourmet year, for the first dinner, Ron and Rene prepared chicken Marsala with couscous and dry iced Haagen Dazs bars for dessert. The next morning, Ridge and I served a western breakfast: hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh baked blueberry muffins. The second evening, Dan and Colleen made tostadas and served Tecate beer. Our final breakfast, Jim and Lori’s made to order omelets with fruit.

We always put in at Warm Springs and took out at Maupin. Day one was the longest day: 5 hours on the river. White Horse was the big class 4 rapid. We camped at Big Niger right after the White Horse rapids, a calm side of the river, shaded and nestled up against a huge rock. Day 2 had Buckskin Mary, a class 2 rapid. Some years we would pull our rafts over, trek up the river a bit, don our life jackets and float down the small rolling waves of Buckskin Mary. We camped above the locked gate, the dividing line between reservation and BLM land. The last day had Wapinitia, a class 3 rapid, and Boxcar, also a class 3, a short rapid but with big rollers.

Ridge and I rented a self baling raft one year. The mother of all rafts, it was longer at 18 feet with an inflated floor. We carried more of the groups’ supplies contained in the kitchen dry box, a large cooler, as well as all of our personal gear. After a relaxing 4 hours on the river it was time to pull over and scout White Horse. We hiked up the trail to the point overlooking the rapids and observed how several rafting groups navigated the rapids. Paid close attention to the way the water moved, and the way the rafters paddled to nudge the tip of the raft up against Rock A, and then slide into the V slick that pushed the raft past Rock B. The two huge boulders in the river were the trickiest part of the entire trip, and Rock A had the nickname “Ah Shit Rock”. Paying attention to how high the river was, where the entrance point to the V slick before Rock A was, and how fast the water was moving, were important details for successful navigation. Plan in mind we trekked back to the rafts. Life jackets on, Dan and Colleen went first. Dan successfully pulled back on the oars to have the front tip of the raft gently nudge Ah Shit. Then the raft backed up a bit, glided past Rock B, and floated safely down the river. Our turn. Ridge approached Rock A as he always did, angling the raft, pulling back on the oars to nudge the front of the raft off Rock A. Closer and closer we got. From my position at the front, the raft didn’t seem to be moving away from Rock A. Ridge kept pulling and pulling on the oars, but we hit Rock A broadside. The front of the raft went up in the air and started to flip. Ah Shit!

The next thing I knew, green water was churning all around me. Reaching the surface, I came up under the raft. Deceptively calm water, but floating along, I knew this was not the place to be. Taking a deep,breath, I reached overhead for the pontoon of the raft and pushed myself under again. More churning water and then, miraculously I surfaced to blue sky and the raft floating upside down in front of me down the river. Reminding myself to keep my toes up in front of me, I floated down the Deschutes until I saw Dan and Colleen pulled over on the side of the river. I paddled myself over to their raft and they pulled me in. Ridge soon joined us. He had been under the raft as well. It had taken him two pushes to finally be out from under the raft. We found our raft upside down but intact down the river. Most of our gear was still tethered to the raft, but the strap securing the lid of the dry box had loosened and we lost most of our kitchen. We eventually found a few more items floating in calm eddies downstream.

We rafted the Deschutes a couple more years after that. But we never had another self bailing raft, never carried the entire groups’ kitchen, and although I always scouted White Horse with the rest of the group, I never rode that rapid again. I walked along the bank of the river and met Ridge at the bottom.

Epilogue: we have heard that the high water of 1996 forever changed the Deschutes. White Horse is now a class 3 rapid and Rock A and Rock B have moved making it easier.

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15 Seconds of Fame

Our last morning in Paris, I discovered an error on the bill from the previous night’s dinner splurge at Les Ambassadeurs. So we took the Metro to the Hotel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde. Walked up the subway steps to the street. In front of the entrance to the hotel was a crowd of people. A metal barricade stretched from the revolving door of the hotel to the street where a black limo was parked. Red carpet on the ground from hotel door to car door.

“What’s going on?” I asked the teenager standing next to me.

“It’s Madonna! She’s about to leave!”

Excitedly, I looked at Ridge. “Madonna!”

He said, “Do you want to stay?”

I thought, “Hmmm, Madonna or last day in Paris? Madonna or last day in Paris?” No choice really, “I don’t want to wait around. Let’s fix the error on our dinner bill and go.”

But how to get around the barricade and into the hotel? We watched someone walk through an opening near the building, up the three steps to the landing, and push through the revolving door. “Let’s go,” Ridge said.

Walking into the hotel behind Ridge, switching sunglasses for eyeglasses, I tried to scan the lobby for a glimpse of an entourage and perhaps . . . Madonna. The reception area for the restaurant was at one side of the hotel lobby and up several steps. We met with the maitre’d who apologized and left to fix the bill. We sat down on the sofa and continued watching the people in the lobby. When the maitre’d returned and our transaction was completed, I asked him, “So why are all of the people waiting outside?”

He leaned in closer and whispered, “It’s Madonna. She’s about to leave.”

Another moment of giddiness, “Madonna!”

Ridge again offered me the choice, “We can stay!?”

Madonna or last day in Paris? “I don’t want to wait around. Let’s go.” Leading the way to the exit, switching back to sunglasses, still scanning for HER. No luck.

I pushed through the revolving door, and . . . screams and flashes and more screams and more flashes. I froze. Was SHE behind me? Turned around . . . and saw Ridge . . . who turned around and saw . . . no one. He looked back at me. And I looked back at the crowd. Embarrassed and staring at the ground, I quickly walked the red carpet as the screams faded and the flashes stopped.

Away from the crowd, Ridge and I looked at each other and laughed. “They thought you were Madonna!” he said.

“Yes, but just for a moment. I was in such a hurry to get out of there, that I couldn’t think. Should have danced down the red carpet singing ‘Like A Virgin’.”

I was Madonna, for 15 seconds.

Hat Design??

What makes a beautiful hat? It’s a combination of elements. Perhaps …

Color + Texture + Detail = a unique hat.

Basic black yarn + staggered eyelet stitch + black square button

or

Bright blue yarn + double ridged rib stitch + pewter button and thin silk yarn added in the brim

Sometimes the detail is in the color.

Cognac heather yarn + double ridged rib stitch + the color tone variations in the “heather” yarn

Sometimes the detail is in the yarn.

Dark gray marl yarn + pillar stitch + the blending of white and dark gray strands in the yarn

And sometimes the detail is in the stitch.

Denim blue yarn + knit 3/purl 1 stitch + the rolled up brim highlights the reverse stitch, a knit 1/purl 3 pattern

hat collage

Endless combinations. Happy knitting.

Not Bread and Butter but . . .

Congrats to one of my favorite shops on Etsy: Portland based Bread and Badger. We love our set of 4 pint glasses sandblasted with the state of Oregon and “I like it here.”

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BreadandBadger/about

In a December issue of Forbes magazine: Running A Startup From Home: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Click on the link and scroll down for the bit on Bread and Badger.

http://onforb.es/1aDEppF

Even Better Leftover

That’s the test.

In an accordion file folder, I stash recipes I want to try. Categorized: breakfast, baking, cookies, desserts, chicken, pasta, braising, meat, fish, salads, soups, sandwiches, pork. Thinnest section is fish. Can’t seem to get my hubby interested in fish. He’ll catch it, but he won’t eat it!

About once a week, I select a recipe from the file. Shop, cook, eat. If it’s good (hubby rates it “make this again”), the recipe gets promoted to a notebook, with my notes and a page protector. I am a messy cook.

Cooking for 2, we usually have leftovers. A few recipes have received our rating of “Even Better Leftover.” Delicious the day they are made, but better frozen for later, thawed and cooked or reheated. Yes . . . really . . . hard to believe, but true.

On my list, Even Better Leftover:

*Lasagna, (slow cooked meat sauce, light on noodles and cheese)
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Worlds-Best-Lasagna/

*Tex-Mex Lasagna (Cuisine at Home magazine, October 2012)

*Burgundy Mushrooms, from The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, better leftover in mushroom soup

Do you have a Even Better Leftover recipe I should try?

A Cool Tool

Point. Focus. Click. What do you do with the pictures you take? Post a few on Facebook? Print a few for Christmas cards? Recently I tried an online photo editor that is free and relatively easy. It has become one of my favorite things. I have plans for this tool.

Garibaldi Collage

Garibaldi, Oregon on a clear and warm September day. So easy to create with PicMonkey.

http://www.picmonkey.com

Confession #1: I have a terrible time remembering what everything is on my camera. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance? My camera is set on Auto and I usually get a pretty good photo, but sometimes . . . PicMonkey has an Edit a photo section where I can play around with the exposure or color or sharpness of a photo.

Confession #2: I don’t like to read directions or manuals. New computer program? I won’t read the manual, I’ll jump right in. The Help button is my best friend. PicMonkey is easy to use. I love the Collage feature. Download my photos, choose a Layout (Ducks in a row, FB Cover, L-egant, etc).

Picmonkey is free, but there is also an upgrade option. I haven’t gone there yet . . . but the Jigsaw layout is calling me.

Sweaters Collage

A collage for my LoopsAndLines “About Page”.

Patons Collage

A collage of yarn color choices for hand knitted hats. And yes, PicMonkey has a tool that lets you add words.

So my plans for this tool? I want to experiment with the Card layout, see if I can do something different for next year’s Christmas cards.

Confession #3: I can get so focussed, that something obvious will pass me by. If you have a great idea for how to use this photo editing tool, I’d love to hear.

A “Type”

We are participating in a 30 day Bible Study using a guidebook based on the TV miniseries The Bible. Daily 20 minute reading. Discussion and video clip on Sunday. Changed my understanding of the Bible on Day 2.

A “type” in the Bible is a “story or personality that points to a future reality.”

Type: God told Abraham and his 90 year old wife Sarah that they would have a son. Isaac.
Centuries later, an angel told Manoah whose wife was unable to have a child, that she would give birth to a son. Samson.
Nearly a millennium later, an angel named Gabriel told Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would be blessed with a child. John the Baptist.

Future reality: An angel appeared to Mary and told her she was to give birth to a son. “That angelic announcement heralded the birth of one who would fulfill and surpass all the promise and greatness of Isaac, Samson, and John the Baptist put together. He would establish the New Israel, as Isaac had founded the old. He would deliver the oppressed and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1), more than the strength of a thousand Samsons could have achieved. And he would bring a sinful and hurting humanity to the Lord their God, and ‘bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair’ (Isaiah 61:3a).” p. 89-90, The Bible by Bob Hostetler.

There are so many more examples from the temptation of Adam and Eve; Noah and the ark; Abraham, the father of religion; David and Goliath.

This study has changed my life. I see the old familiar Bible stories in a new way. I hunger for more.

The Three Rs

Reading

Writing

Arithmetic

Right? (I am not counting that R.) Years ago, a former State Superintendent of Oregon Schools stated that the traditional 3 Rs were being replaced with new Rs: Relationship, Relevance, and Rigor. The importance of those Rs became evident in my classroom.

Relevance: This R is a must. Readers read, writers write, mathematicians solve problems. I tried to create lessons and activities that had real world importance. Help kids see the connections.

Rigor: We want all schools to work on this R. In a classroom of 25 students, there is not one level of rigor, but 25.

Relationship: This R was the key for me. Every school year it took a month or two, but once I knew my students, things started to click. I knew each learning style, each individual’s abilities and disabilities, each personality, each child’s willingness to accept challenges.

Those 3 Rs are seeping into my retirement . . . another R! Yesterday I realized that tutoring 2 children together, impacts my Relationship with each child, and affects potential growth (Rigor). The most efficient use of my limited time is one to one. I can focus on one personality, one set of learning strengths and needs.

I fill my retirement days with classes, volunteering, joining new groups. Activities that I look forward to, want to keep doing, have a blend of my 3 Rs. For example, I love my exercise group. Exercise is Relevant (keeping me healthy), it is Rigorous (no explanation needed), and I have a bunch of new friends (Relationship).

Relationship, Relevance, and Rigor . . . if I feel them in an activity, I am finding I look forward to doing it more.

‘Tis the Season

It was a busy weekend. Spent yesterday printing invoices, wrapping knitted items, downloading shipping labels (I love my DYMO LabelWriter!), boxing or envelope-ing.

photo copy 3

photo copy 2

photo copy

Suffering

Today marks the anniversary of my cousin’s death.

My husband and I count the years since a cancer diagnosis.

We feel hope when an estranged family member reaches out.

Each situation upon initial occurance causes suffering. The despair over a tragic death. The immediate rush to fear when we heard the C word. The questions and guilt and self doubt over the causes of a break in relationship.

Looking back, it took a while for me to recognize God’s compassion in my suffering. It’s as though I was in a deep dark well. Hands out feeling around for direction. Eventually I looked up and there it was. The light or voice or Spirit of God comforting me, guiding me. He was there from the beginning, I just didn’t hear Him.

My lesson, I am never alone in suffering. God is always there to hear my call. Let me imitate Him when I see suffering around me. Let me listen and comfort.