12/29/08

On the Catwalk

First, Liz taught everyone how to model-walk.
"You've gotta have to have happy feet. You've gotta work what you've got."
video

Next, Val gives it a try.
"You have to be, like, Hottie-bo-...that's enough of that."
video

My mom gives it a whirl.
"Oh! I'm falling over!"
video

Steve happens upon the activity and is talked into doing a little turn.
"Steve-O! Steve-O! Steve-O!"
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Twelve Days of Christmas

I feel like I have been celebrating, visiting, chatting, drinking, recovering, eating, cleaning, giving, and receiving for days and days straight. Oh wait...I have! 

Day 1:
Holiday party at Missy & Clint's. Stefani & Ajai came up to go with us. When we arrived, it was a relaxed and very mature party of people in warm sweaters sipping wine. By the end of the night, the remaining folks were naked in a hot tub.

Day 2:
Company holiday party at King Estate Winery. Met all of Val's colleagues, ate great food, and the wine kept flowing. Snow blanketed the vinyards, and was falling in huge flakes during the party. Got introduced as "Valerie and her partner Sara" by the boss in front of everyone. Listened to very talented twin performers sing, only to realize they were singing really, really jesusy songs. But they were talented.

Days 3-5:
Winter Solstice for Jesus. Two days and nights of partying, parental style, with Dad, Leslie, Val, and also Matthew from down the street and Susie, another neighbor who happened to knock on the right door.


Day 6:
Monday. The dreaded food shopping. Spent extra Christmas money on stocking up the freezer, overloading on the expensive necessities (cat food, litter, TP) and preparing for Christmas dinner (we were in charge of ham, turkey, green bean casserole, salmon dip, and mashed potatoes...damn). Spent more than $200 and 2 hours in Winco. Not the best day ever, but productive.

Day 7:
Tuesday. Finished shopping. Shopped for hours and bought last remaining presents. Found the dart board I had researched for Val, and it was the LAST ONE there. Thank goodness I didn't procrastinate at home any longer than I did or it would have been gone by the time I got there. Got home, wrap, wrap, wrap, more wrapping. Later with Val went to Kinko's to assemble the project we made anyone. One hour and many staples and copies later, all was finished. Even more later, Jeff & Liz show up at the house, having escaped from Portland's weather. It only took them 6 hours to get here! Baked quiche for dinner.

Day 8:
Wednesday. Just when I thought I was done Shopping, Liz has a a few last minute things to do, so I ventured out once again. Got done on the early side, so drank wine before Christmas Eve at Aunt Alice's. Lasagna dinner followed by Christmas lights drive with Alice, Liz G., Val, and myself, plus SIX cats in her household. Needless to say, allergic Jeff sat this one out. Dinner at Alice's was followed by opening one present at home with Jeff and Liz.

Day 9:
Thursday. Christmas. Woke up early to pick my mom up from the airport. Got there and immediately returned because her flight was delayed. Picked her up at 1:15 four hours late. Diner at 4:00- Liz's stuffing was AMAZING, and so was the rest of the food. Sat TWELVE people around two tables squeezed into our tiny house. Presents at 5:00. Friends left and arrived all night. Played darts on the new dart board, wore our red socks from Julie, and ate, ate, ate. Practiced modeling skills on the catwalk.


Day 10:
Friday. Christmas hangover. Didn't get dressed all day. Slowly processed through gifts and messes from the day before. Spent all day with Aunt and Mom. Watched movies. Ate nachos. Val came home from work early and slept until 9pm, ate some food, and went back to bed for the night.

Day 11:
Saturday. Dinner party for Stefani's birthday in Tangent, where Phaedra is currently housesitting. Served dinner for 10, consisting of Val's famous meatballs, salad, bread, and a huge spread of appetizers. Drank wine, talked, and worked our way to the Dixie Saloon down the street. Sang karaoke, played pool, and danced the night away.

Day 12:
Sunday. Dinner party hangover extraordinaire. I was so, so nauseous all day. Took mom to airport. Made strange hodge-podge dinner consisting of stuffing, mac & cheese, and a party pizza. Slept and slept and slept, and also watched The Great Outdoors, one of the DVDs we got for Christmas.

Today: 
Slept in. Made coffee. Watching Star Trek. Next - Finish putting away gifts, take another batch of recycling to the bins, throw away Divinity that no one ate, TAKE DOWN CHRISTMAS TREE. It was a great season, but I'm ready to be done with Christmas. 

Now, what to wear for New Year's Eve...?

12/25/08

Christmas Eve

Liz and Jeff have been here since Tuesday because of the snowstorm forcing them out of Portland while the roads were still drivable. We're so happy they made it! My mom is in the air as we speak and will soon land in Seattle to change flights. It's looking like everyone is making it to Christmas as planned!

Last night was Christmas Eve, and Liz was bouncing off the walls excited about opening her presents. We decided to open one each. But Mama chose the biggest one, and her name wasn't even on the gift tag! That's a cat for you - "What have you done for ME this Christmas?"

We chose the order to open gifts by drawing straws, Valerie's idea. She broke four toothpicks into four lengths, and the length determined the order of opening. Maybe that's why she got the gift she did...a Star Trek T-shirt that reads, "Vulcan girls do it with logic."


Jeff got a Northface hat, and he gave Liz a set of sapphire jewelry...very pretty. Look for it on New Year's eve. Val got the afore mentioned T-shirt, and gave me warm comfy slippers to replace the ones I currently own, which are in an atrocious state of disrepair. Bless her.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

12/24/08

Winter Solstice for Jesus (Observed)

Every year, I spend a pre-Christmas weekend with my Dad and Leslie. Somewhere along the lines the party became less of a Christmas celebration and more of a birthday party for Jesus. 

I think it started the first time Zoe spent the holiday with us, and Jesus as a funny "Where's Waldo?" kind of joke started poppi
ng up. Just before arriving, we had come across the best ad in the Eugene Weekly, entitled "Jesus was a Vegetarian," and brought the clipping to Leslie, who had just purchased a "Beer Drinking Jesus" night light. All around us Jesus was funny. We bought party hats for Jesus's birthday and even made a cake that year.

Christmas 2002 - Sorry, my Dad has all the pictures with the party hats.



















In following years, including last year, the tradition continued. Zoe was not present, but Adrienne joined in the fun, and Phaedra too. As you can see, we have no reservations in celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.

Christmas 2007 - Here are some hats.











This year was an especially magical year to celebrate Jesus. The weekend we set aside to pre-Christmas with the fam was the weekend of Winter Solstice. The event became dubbed "Winter Solstice for Jesus," until we realized that Solstice fell on Sunday, not on the day of our Saturday celebration. Therefore, the event was renamed "Winter Solstice for Jesus (observed)."

Christmas 2008 - Winter Solstice for Jesus (Observed)
'



At the end of the night, in a bit of a drunken ruckus, we blew out the candles for Jesus and enjoyed his birthday cake. 
video
Until next year, happy birthday JC!

A Year in Art

I love creative media in art. This guy is amazing. Enjoy.

12/21/08

Things that Make me Twitch, Vol. I









  1. Christmas lights thrown upon a house without rhyme or reason, as if projectile vomited.
  2. The interchanging of the words your and you're as if they mean the same.
  3. Bryan Adams and/or Rod Stewart.
  4. People referring to Valerie as 'him,' 'he,' or the worst one, said by the cashier while we were at Safeway with Val's brother: "Are these your sons?"
  5. Drivers who dominate the left lane, only periodically venturing into the right lane when forced to, or forcing others to pass them on the right.
  6. The Keifer Kia Princess.
  7. The overheard conversations among OSU (oops, OS!) sorority girls in the bathroom at the Peacock.
  8. Standing water on the bathroom counter and/or water droplets on the mirror.
  9. The use of the word 'literally' for situations that are not, in fact, literal.
  10. Double use of the word 'is.'  The thing is is...
  11. Gross parents that yell at their children in the grocery store, usually for yelling.
  12. Photos of women pregnant with multiple babies.

12/20/08

Snow at the River House!

Snowy River House pictures on the River House blog! Check it out and add it to the list of blogs you're following!
http://wilsonriverhouse.blogspot.com/

12/19/08

Musings on Procrastination

Most of you who know me know that I'm a do-er, an accomplisher, a 'work before you play' kind of gal. It's not always true, although I would have you think otherwise. 

Private Procrastinator: (n.) one who favors unproductive pursuits in place of  necessary tasks until the last possible minute; done when not in the public eye

Case and point - The time is now 12:04 pm. Five minutes ago, I recieved a call from Val saying that she'll be off work at 2:00. Since I will be picking her up, I'll need to schedule in enough time to get there, and since it's snowing, a little more than usual. 

That gives me 1.5 hours (or less) to accomplish the following tasks:
1. Shower
2. Finish packing
3. Feed the cats
4. Take out the garbage
5. Run the dishwasher (nevermind, already did that)
6. Pack the car
7. Leave

Instead of doing these important, necessary things, with only 1.5 hours remaining, I am:
1. Pressing refresh on several websites to see if anything has changed.
2. Blogging about something that has no relevance to anyone but myself
3. Running the dryer to de-wrinkle clothes
4. Making a deal with myself that when the dryer buzzes, I will become productive

Here is how this will go down.
12:15 - Publish blog posting of no relevance. Shut down computer, but not before checking at least one more site. What a dork.
12:20 - Jump in the shower. Try to beat the dryer buzzer.
12:40 - Run around in a towel with wet hair folding laundry, packing a bag, marking things off my list. At least I have a list. See, I'm an organized at least.
1:00 - Kick into high gear and continue bustling about, but at twice the speed.
1:25  - Load the car, take out the garbage, remember last minute details, warm up the car
1:30 - Be on the way, right on time.

To wrap things up (and on schedule, I might note), you may think that I am a responsible person who takes care of things in a way you wish you did, but really, I'm just as much of a mess as anyone else. It's just an organized mess.

12/16/08

When Frosty Gets Caught

Rinsing or Wetting?

I have had a LOT of time to think, being cooped up in the snowy weather. HOWEVER, I have used it productively in many ways, such as cleaning the house, scooping the litter box, preparing dinner, and also, solving a puzzling mystery.

And the mystery is - My friend Rachel once met the person she believes to be the only other individual in the world who wets his toothbrush after putting on the toothpaste, like she does. And really, it's true - Who does that? Most people rinse off their brushes first, and then squirt on the paste. But the question, before I solved this great mystery that has long perplexed mankind, is...Why? Why before and not after?

The solution - The answer lies in the question:

"Why does everyone else wet their toothbrush first?"

Key word: Wet. 

If you think of putting water on your toothbrush as wetting it, I suppose it doesn't matter the order in which you do it. However, I believe that most of us do not think of it as merely wetting the toothbrush. I submit that the rest of us think of it as rinsing the toothbrush. Eliminating what unknown funk has settled upon the bristles since it was last used. And, whether it makes a difference to the germs or not, we still think if it as rinsing, and not wetting, which logically explains why we put water on the brush before toothpaste.

There you have it. Mystery solved. I also think that Myth-Busters tackle this one in a future episode. There have been others about toothbrushes, but I don't think there is one about the futility/necessity of rinsing a toothbrush prior to use.

12/15/08

Look who got out of bed...

...four hours later!

Went on a walk with Christie and Corey...slip-sliding around Springfield. Got coffee. Chatted. Slip-slid back. Had good times in the snow. Fin.

Snowing and Other Thoughts

 I can't remember the last time it snowed all over the state before Christmas! I want to say it was February before it snowed here last year.

I'm off of school today, and actually suffering from a huge case of cabin fever. Val came home after trying for an hour to get to work, thankfully safe. With no damage to my car.

We discussed what to do with the day, and I rattled off a laundry list of fun things to do when it snows. We left it undecided, with Val not feeling too excited about any of the options, and I ran outside to take this picture. When I came back in, she had gone back to bed. Great.

Now I'm sitting here over frequenting websites for any little change. Thought about calling folks, but Christie is nestling with a movie at home and everyone else is far away, so I'm not sure what to do with myself. The only option, really, besides vegging out (which I did yesterday) is to work on school stuff. On a snow day. It's not that I don't know how to relax, it's that I have been relaxing all weekend and I can't do it anymore. 

This is why I wouldn't survive where there's actual, persistent snow.




12/14/08

12/9/08

Letter to Register Guard

Dear Register-Guard,

I'm writing on behalf of myself and my partner, a long term same-sex couple looking forward to marriage and children and all the frills and follies of a committed partnership. I was thrilled to learn that your publication has chosen to announce the births of children to same-sex couples in our area. Thank your for taking this important step of recognizing our civil rights. I look forward to announcing the birth of my future children in the Register-Guard, as well as the domestic partnership my partner and I will obtain beforehand.

Sincerely,
Sara Hoskinson
Springfield, Oregon

9/27/08

NO on 58, 60, and 64

Hello Friends,
There are several measures on the Oregon ballot that will put the Oregon school system and its students in jeopardy, and as a teacher, I am very concerned.


Measure 58, if passed, will limit my ability to support English language learning, which will have life-long consequences*** as a result of students slipping through the cracks. The logic of the bill is completely unsupported by research on effective language learning, and will inevitabley cause a strain on our society and economy by underpreparing kids to be productive citizens.


Measure 60, by paying teachers for students' test performance, has the potential to turn our students into test-taking machines, rather than high-level thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators that they will need to be to bring success to themselves and society.


If you support me as a teacher, and you want to make the best decisions for our kids, like we teachers do, please vote no on measures 58, 60, and any other measure promoted by Bill Sizemore, who has been a threat to Oregon schools since I was a student within in them.


Below are some resources for more information. I appreciate your taking a few minutes to think about Oregon's kids.

:-) Sara



From the Oregon Education Association
The OEA makes voter recommendations in the interest of children, and takes no other political issues into consideration. These three measures have the most negative effect on Oregon schools.


Measure 58: Sizemore's ELL Limit
Vote "NO".
Here's why: http://www. oregoned. org/site/pp. asp?c=9dKKKYMDH&b=4419733

Measure 60: Sizemore's De-Merit Pay
Vote "NO".
Here's why: http://www. oregoned. org/site/pp. asp?c=9dKKKYMDH&b=4419743

Measure 65: Top-Two Primary
Vote "NO".
Here's why: http://www. oregoned. org/atf/cf/%7B3f7af7ec-f984-4631-a411-148cd1fb8421%7D/ELECTION08%20-%20BM65%20TALKING%20POINTS. PDF

In the coming weeks, the OEA be making the case for each of the following positions on their web site:
Measure 54: Vote "YES".

Measure 55: Vote "YES".

Measure 56: Vote "YES".

Measure 57: Vote "YES".

Measure 59: Vote "NO".

Measure 61: Vote "NO".

Measure 62: Vote "NO".

Measure 63: Vote "NO".

Measure 64: Vote "NO".


State-level Candidates Recommended by the OEA:
Secretary of State - Kate Brown
Attorney General - John Kroger
State Treasurer - Ben Westlund
Bureau of Labor and Industries - Brad Avakian

See the OEA web site for more information on their recommendations.

http://www. oregoned. org/site/pp. asp?c=9dKKKYMDH&b=3855809


NEA Recommendation & Web Site of Barack Obama
The National Education Association, whose sole basis of recommendations is the health of our public schools, recommends Barack Obama.
I feel the need to note here that John McCain did not even bother to fill out the paperwork to seek the endorsement of the NEA, which to me, conveys disinterest in education entirely. It's one thing to bail on Letterman, but quite another not to give priority to our schools.


Obama's election website states, regarding his education policies:
"Throughout America's history, education has been the vehicle for social and economic mobility, giving hope and opportunity to millions of young people. Our schools must prepare students not only to meet the demands of the global economy, but also help students take their place as committed and engaged citizens. It must ensure that all students have a quality education regardless of race, class, or background. Barack Obama is committed to strengthening our public schools to maximize our country's greatest natural resource - the American people.
"


For more on his educational policies, go to http://www. barackobama. com/issues/education/

***An article about the consequences of dropping out of school, a likelihood for ESOL students not properly served by public schools because of measure 58: http://207. 12. 35. 10/Default. aspx?tabid=67

8/13/08

Number One Fan

This made me laugh. So, then, is Michael Moore is own biggest fan? Gotta love facebook.

469 fans - Become a Fan
Other Public Figure - See more Pages

2/4/08

What has he been puffin?

I challenge you to list some action verbs that best describe what is seen here: A tufted puffin at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in the bird aviary, taken during Val's and my most recent coast adventure, which was, as a side note, an amazing coast weekend for a bazillion reasons*.

Enjoy the video, and again, descriptive verbs?
video

*Our coast trip was awesome because
---Ocean view in our hotel room was a mile long
---Rogue brewerey: Not only did we have a tour, but the brewmaster put on tap a beer that is uberseldomly ever put on tap anywhere because it is bought out by private consumers prior to even being brewed. Yum. I also got a sweatshirt.
---Can you say, "Jacuzzi tub with an ocean veiw?" (I can.)
---Hottie girlfriend in jacuzzi tub
---Mo's. Enough said.
---King sized love nest.
---Sea otters: Quite possibly the cutest things with whiskers.
---Jelly fish: Woah man, trippy.
---Discovery of the The Wildflower Grill (This sums it up: Crabcake benedict. Seriously.)
---Two hour marathon of Women of Ninja Warrior while soaking in the jacuzzi tub.
---The Muppet Movie was our arrival night relaxation activity...also while in the jacuzzi tub.
---Heated swimming pool and hand stand competition. I won.
---Calamari and crab alfredo dinner. Val had fish tacos. Keep your comments to yourself.
---Oceanside sudoku puzzles and coffee first thing in the morning.
---Cribbage on the beach.
---Pupu platter of salmon, cheese, crackers, salami, etc.
---Mimmosas...in the jacuzzi tub.
---Did I mention it was sunny all weekend? Because it was, so ha ha ha.
---And the number one reason it was awesome: I spent it with the love of my life.

1/30/08

River Blog

The River House Blog is updated: http://wilsonriverhouse.blogspot.com/

Eugene Moment

While driving down Washington street in Eugene last weekend, Val and I spotted a truck with a broken window. Rather than covering the hole with plastic or cardboard, this creative Eugenian had improvised. Wedged in the space where the window once occupied, and doing a fabulous job of repelling water, was a bright blue yoga mat. I love Eugene.

1/21/08

News

I just thought everyone should know that Val and I are going to see Zoe March 21-25 and I'm really REALLY exCITED!!!!! In other news, we saw Sea Monsters 3D at the IMAX theatre in McMinville Saturday, and I give it three thumbs up. We also went to the Aviation Museum and saw the Spruce Goose. It is, literally, a sky boat, and quite awe-inspiring.

Oh, and happy anniversary to Roe v. Wade (yesterday), which allows women to make their own choices about their bodies. Things are getting a little scary out there for reproductive rights, so keep your ears open, vote, and get involved. Politicians really shouldn't be the ones making choices about your body.