Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tips For Driving In Bend

As the city of Bend continues to grow into a thriving metropolis, getting around in this town by car becomes more of a challenge than a joy ride. While out and about at lunch today I encountered some fairly oblivious drivers. Now I understand these aren’t the first and they won’t be the last, but because I see the same patterns of behavior throughout the entire city, I have to wonder if drivers really understand the rules of the road or about extending some common courtesy. So here are a few pointers to help make your motorized journey around Bend a little more enjoyable.

Pedestrians always have the right of way in the crosswalks.
Trying to cross any street (on foot) in Bend is like being in the Frogger video game. You know, the Atari game where you’re the frog and you have to try to cross the road without being squished by a car. In this town the pedestrian is supposed to have the right of way when waiting to cross at a crosswalk. If you happen to see someone standing at a crosswalk looking like they want to ‘get to the other side’, stop. If a car that is coming from the opposite direction has stopped to let a person ‘get to the other side’, stop. If you are driving down a one-way, two-lane street like Bond or Wall and the car that is ahead of you in the next lane over has stopped at a crosswalk there is a fairly good chance they are stopping for a pedestrian, so stop.

There is such a thing as ‘Roundabout Etiquette.
Bend has had this new phenomenon popping up all over the place the past few years and I believe we now reside in the roundabout capital of the world. I don’t know who at the City of Bend was elected to the Roundabout Committee, but they have done a fabulous job of organizing and managing the placement of roundabouts throughout this city of ours. Keep in mind that there are a few rules of Roundabout Etiquette that one should adhere to.

A. It is NOT the Indy 500 Raceway and you don’t need to enter it at Mach 1 as if you’re trying to win a race with the driver that is already in the roundabout. Doing so only makes that person have to slam on their brakes and possibly go into ‘road rage’ mode. It could get ugly.

B. Exiting a roundabout is the same as turning the corner onto another street and it’s a great idea to use your signal. Since 1942 or thereabouts, cars have had this neat little gadety-handley looking thing on the left side of the steering column. It’s called a signal or blinker if you will. It’s a wonderful thing and using it when exiting the roundabout is a spectacular idea so give it a try. (For those of you who signal BEFORE entering the roundabout you are either very proactive or just messin’ with those of us behind you.)

A little bit of courtesy goes a long way.
There is no doubt that chivalry is still alive in Bend as I have been on the receiving end of extreme courteousness by many drivers. I try to reciprocate and extend courtesy to others as well(you know the Golden Rule, “do unto others…”). It is an almost daily occurrence to do something nice for someone, (such as while at a stop light not blocking the entrance to the parking lot someone is trying to exit so that they can go ahead of you when the light turns green) and unfortunately they absolutely do not acknowledge you at all. Seriously, I’m not looking for anyone to throw me a party, but what happened to a little friendly wave when someone does that for you? Are these the people that BLOCK the entrance so no one can get in or out while they are stopped at a stop light?

Or what about the guy in the silver BMW X3 coming out of the McDonald’s parking lot by Costco today who just about ran over the pedestrian I had stopped for so she could cross the road. Had you just robbed BOTC and were trying to make a quick getaway or what? I know you saw the lady I was waving across the street. Would it have killed you to sit there for an extra 2.3 seconds so that she could SAFELY get across the road (because from the look on her face she thought it was going to be her death by YOUR shiny Beemer).

I know there are many more driving 'issues' I've not touched on and I'm not even going to mention the 'my light turned green but I still have to look both ways for the red light runners'. How about we all just slow down, throw some friendly waves around out there (and I emphasize friendly) and give some pedestrians a break. That would be brilliant indeed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One World Humor

I like all kinds of music but my radio is primarily set to the Christian station (unless Jon drives my car and then he changes it to country. He's sneaky that way). I'm not a huge country fan but that is what he listens to and so I just go along with it. Sometimes, just for fun and to mess with him I'll break out into 80's songs by artists such as AC/DC, Michael Jackson or Boy George. The cringe factor is fabulous.

There are some Christian artist that I think are cool, but Toby Mac is probably the coolest. I mean, how many white Christian singers can use the word 'dope'(as in 'that's cool' dope, not the 'other' dope) in their songs and make it work? I was on YouTube trying to find the video for one of his songs that I really like and has a message we could all stand to listen to, when I came across this little ditty. It's brilliant and ridiculous and the family got a good laugh out of it.

Since I didn't find the exact video I was looking for, I posted the lyrics below (which was what I was really after). They're long, but worth a read.

One time
One world
Two times
One love
Three times
'Cause I’m a dedicate this song to everyone of God's children

Come as you are
Come just like you be
It's the bumps and curves of our history
But no blocks in the road that we can't traverse
And no wounds from the past that can't be nursed

All hate gonna to dissipate from our fate
No check, together we got a checkmate
All hate gonna dissipate and fade away
To make room for a brand new day

We got one world 'til its time to fly
We got so it's one love 'til we say goodbye
We got one world its enough to share
Til we’re called home and we’re caught up in the air we got

One world
I'll look out for you, you look out for me
One world
Together we can be perfect harmony
One world
I'll look out for you, you look out for me
One world
And I’m a dedicate this song to everyone of God's children

One world oughta be more than enough
And if its not, is God looking in pure disgust?
Wondering what the dilly with the silly I see?
When I made each of these in the image of me
Everyday is a chance for a new stance
Like every song is the beginning of a new dance
And everyone of us was made to reflect the light

And glorify the most high so bright
We got one world 'til its time to fly
So it's one love 'til we say goodbye
We got one world its enough to share
Til the king calls us home and we’re caught up in the air we got

One World...

Lets come together and love, Lets come together and love, Lets come together and love...

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Love Mondays

I love Mondays. Well, I love this Monday. Today the weather has been awesome and Jon and I spent a few hours with the Boz-dog biking along the river from Big Eddy. As you can see, from the picture, Jon was ecstatic about riding (because that's just the way he is).

Boz is absolute craziness out on the trail and here he is in his most impatient way telling me to 'hurry the heck up'. He can be lame like that sometimes.

It's views like this...

...and this that make me thankful I live in such an incredibly beautiful place.

The End...

A Sweet Treat Indeed

I'm not much of a dessert person but every-now-and-then I feel the urge to whip up something sweet and this recipe caught my eye. If you're in the mood for a pumpkiny treat and want a new recipe for Thanksgiving, this is it. Seriously. It's simple and that good.

Pumpkin Trifle (makes 8 servings)

What you'll need:
Pumpkin bread, prepared
1 package of instant vanilla pudding
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pumpkin butter (Trader Joe's is awesome!)
Caramel sauce
Chopped walnuts

1. Prepare and chill one package of instant vanilla pudding.
2. Beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until soft
peaks form.
3. Cut 8 slices of pumpkin bread into cubes. (I cheated and bought a Trader Joe's
pumpkin bread was fab-o).
4. In small serving dishes layer the following: pudding, whipped cream and pumpkin
bread. Top the bread with a dollop of pumpkin butter, a drizzle of caramel sauce
and chopped walnuts. Repeat so that you have two layers per dish.
5. Enjoy!

Now it's off to the bike trail to work off the Pumpkin Trifle from last night and the biscuits and gravy from Pilot Butte Drive Inn this morning. Monday isn't so bad when you're off!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh Happy Day

This is my absolutely ecstatic daughter at the wheel of her new 4-Runner (well, new to her but not new-new). If you click on the picture and zoom in on the head shot you can see just how big the smile actually is. When Jon and I were test driving this car a few days ago (we didn't tell my daughter we were looking at a car for her), my daughter called and said she had found the most amazing car. She started reading off the Craigslist posting and the crazy thing was, I happened to be driving the car she was talking about.

Jon and I decided to surprise her and when my daughter and I pulled in the driveway after getting home from our volleyball game last night the 4-Runner was parked in a spot on the side of the house that she couldn't see. When we walked in the house, Jon pulled some keys out of his pocket and handed them to my daughter and she totally freaked out. I mean, FREAKED OUT! If I would have had a video camera, I could have easily won $100,000 from America's Funniest Home Videos. She couldn't stop shrieking and laughing and hugging and laughing. I thought the neighbors would call 911 thinking someone next door was being attacked. It was the funniest thing. I think she called everyone in her phone book and told them about her new car. In fact, today when she was going to move the car into the driveway to detail it with Jon she was still giggly and jumping and shrieking and laughing about her new car.

While this isn't the best picture (the whole it's night and the shutter speed and whatever there is some blur), she's clapping her hands after hugging Jon and climbing in the car and asking him "can I sleep in here?"
This is good stuff! I love seeing a kid get excited like this. It's what life is all about!

Memories...good memories..!

Regarding My Post of Earlier Today

So I had this issue at work and I wrote a post about it on my blog early this morning. It involved an outside person posing as an employee and making accusations towards me with the intent of getting me in trouble. After receiving a review from my most loved critic (my husband) I decided to delete it because he thought it was a little too harsh and sounded somewhat bitter. That wasn’t the intention I had and I guess my tough love approach was a little too tough. I’m ridiculously human that way and that is why I have my accountability group (again, my husband).

I would like to say one thing regarding the whole debacle and that is when we do things to others with the motive of hurting them it is never right. Never. No matter what wrongs we think have been amassed against us or how justified we believe we are, it is not OK to do hurtful, spiteful things towards others even though we think they deserve it. Every person is guilty of doing such things, and that includes me. I am the first to admit how humanly crummy I have been or can be at times but I’m not going to carry the burden of vengeance towards others around because the weight of that is crushing. That is like having a semi-truck sized bag of bitterness on my back and life is too short to do that to myself. Learning to let go is one of the hardest things to do but it's necessary to allow ourselves and those around us to live life to the fullest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My One Rant Before The Election

My parents have had four McCain-Palin signs stolen from their yard. Now I realize they live on the 'west side' of town which demographically leans more toward the liberal persuasion. But, as I recall, it has been the liberal voice who has ranted the loudest about their 1st Amendment right to free speech. Having a political sign in ones lawn is exercising their right to the 1st Amendment.

On my parents street there are probably three houses that have McCain-Palin signs and 897 that sport Obama signs. One has to uh-soom that it is some cowardly, liberal, lame-o trespassing on to their property in the dark of night and stealing their signs because at any given moment there are still 897 Obama signs in yards on their street. Interesting that none of those are disappearing. I'm just saying.

Apparently this is not a phenomenon happening only in Bend as I was sent this picture in an email.

I guess some people take their right to free speech VERY seriously, and they should. The extremely liberal ACLU has fought hard for them to put signs endorsing the Republican Presidential Candidate on their property.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Much Needed Hike

I had quite an exhausting week that included traveling via school bus to northern Oregon and then the coast - all within three days. Besides riding on a bus, I got to take my first ambulance ride ever (no, I was not the patient, just the ride-alongee) and the EMT's, doctors and nurses in Cottage Grove are definitely very cool people. I was a total heathen yesterday and didn't make it to church (I keep waiting for lightning to strike). In fact, I didn't even venture out of bed until after 10.

The day was not a complete waste though. Boz and I headed down to Meadow Camp as it was a fabulous fall day and I've missed hiking that trail (I'm one of those that hates paying the 'fee' because I'm so cheap and so I wait until mid-October when they finally put the black plastic trash bag over the trail fee sign). Boz was digging that the river wasn't so high and he could run around in the creek beds.

There is an old rusted truck out there in pieces and for some reason it fascinates me every time I walk by it.

I also came across a deer leg. Yeah, lovely. I took a picture of it just to show my son who is an avid hunter and so I can freak my daughter out. But I'll refrain from posting it here because that's the kind of gal I am.

I am thankful for fall days such as yesterday and that I live in an awesomely beautiful place where I can take full advantage of them. Soaking it up.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Wouldn't Write It This Way

Today is one of those 'down' days. There is no joy in my spirit what-so-ever and that sounds so selfish to me. I know I am blessed beyond measure. I have a house to call home, food in my cupboards, friends and family who love me, a steady job with great benefits, cars that are paid off and a dog who thinks I rule the earth. But there is one area of my life that brings me tremendous sadness and it has been on my heart and mind with a vengeance lately.

Sometimes I think God does that to us, brings the hard stuff to the surface and makes us think. And I do so morning, noon and night. I think about God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." From where I stand, there is no hope in this situation, it is hopeless. From where I stand, there is no future either. But I know that I'm not the author of this story and I don't know the ending. I have to trust that God will supply the hope that I need for what is to be in the future and His plan in this is greater than anything I can fathom.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

People Who Matter Most

My lovely friend in Colorado sent this two-part quiz to me this morning. See how you come out on the answers:

Part 1
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

I did not get one answer right. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I have no idea as to the answers, but in all honesty I could care less.

Part 2
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

This one is easy. I can come up with all kinds of answers because the people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.

Ok, that was a bit fluffy, but I think sometimes we take those who mean the most to us for granted. It's a reminder to be thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life.

Counting my blessings...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bend Is Not Experiencing Global Warming

Yes, that is my most ridiculous dog Bozley thinking the same thing I was this morning when I went out to scrape the windows, "what gives...snow already?" (Jon would argue that Bozley actually thinks, but I am positive the dog has conversations with himself in his head.)

As for waking up to snow so early in the fall, I have to argue the idea of global warming since it doesn't seem to be happening in Central Oregon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Days Like Today

Do you ever have days like this? Mine. Is. Today. Probably the only thing that could make it better is an order of biscuits and gravy from PB Drive Inn...or the weekend.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Boys Being Boys and Other Simple Stuff

A 'Beary' Interesting Situation
Not sure what got into my son and stepson this weekend as they have never really been ones to hang out with each other. And I don't know who came up with the idea, but it involved a large teddy bear, a skateboard and a gazillion feet of fishing line attached to the bear. I knew they were up to something, but at times I choose to be a completely irresponsible parent by not getting involved and let boys be boys. All I saw was our neighbor's big truck stopped front of our yard and the teddy bear moving slowly across the front yard. Apparently our neighbors lack a sense of humor and decided to take the bear hostage. When the lovely policewoman pulled up and took the bear out of her trunk I was laughing hysterically and it was all she could do to say with a straight face, "what the boys did isn't illegal and maybe they could just keep the bear on this side of the road." I don't think we've laughed so hard in a long time and our neighbors(those little rays of sunshine in the hood) really need to loosen up and have a sense of humor. After all, they do live a few doors down from one of most ridiculous blended families in the city.

Simplify. Life.
The message at church right now is about getting back to simple living. It's true that we are an over committed, overloaded, overworked, over accumulating and overwhelmed society that has overly complicated our lives. At my house are three TVs, four computers, closets full of clothes and who-knows-what-else, excess furniture, books, drawers of junk and that's just the beginning. Out back is a storage unit full of bikes, motorcycles, car parts, old paint, miscellaneous household and kid stuff, an enclosed trailer full of junk, a side shed and garage filled with more bikes, a law mower, some weed-eaters that don't work, unused camping gear, broken Christmas lights, more car stuff... and the list could go on. Most of it is unused,has been sitting for years and is clutter in our lives. On top of that are the hectic schedules, cell phones stuck to our ears and computers we take with us wherever we go. Jesus had the right idea - we don't need all of that to love God and love people. Simplifying doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Friday, October 3, 2008

When Friday Starts Out Like Monday

After the morning I had, I was beginning to wonder if I missed the weekend and my Thursday went straight into Monday, or what. The alarm went off way too early and instead of hitting the snooze button 82 times I should have just set it for an hour later. And, because I got home so late last night and all I could think about was crawling into bed and sandwiching myself between my down-filled pillow top mattress and my down comforter, I forgot to set my coffee pot. I hate waking up and not being able to just push the button and presto, coffee. Normally when this happens, I pretend I'm sleeping and Jon will get up and make the coffee - but since he was out of town last night the task was all mine.

By the time I left the house I thought there was something amiss about the way I was seeing things - so I did the 'eye test' while driving in the dark on the way to work. It's the one where I think I may have gotten my contacts mixed up. Unfortunately, my vision is different in both eyes and yes, I have put the right contact in the left eye and vice versa. It's like one eye is really clear and the other is looking through a fish bowl. Crazy, I know. So I close my right eye and wow can I see really well with my left eye. I close my left eye and whoa, not so good. Yep, mixed them up. Just for fun, try switching out your contacts with no case to put them in or contact solution (you can't use spit - that's disgusting) while sitting at your desk. Good times.

Since Jon took my car out of town that means I get to drive the Ebay special. Right after Jon became the proud owner of a 69 Camaro he thought he should add a 70 Chevy short-box truck to his collection of one classic car. He found one on Ebay and in a moment of 'my husband will love me forever if I buy this for him compulsivity', I became the highest bidder of that flat-black lowered truck. (I'm still waiting to be surprised with a 61' Impala). I know guys into cars think it's cool to smell like a carburetor and oil, but the only time I've ever been OK with that was after riding my snowmobile. Not so much though when I'm walking into work. Somehow carbureted CK One just doesn't do it for me. When I got out of the truck, my key chain with all of my work keys got caught on something, broke, and yes, you guessed it, my keys flew everywhere. Luckily my cell phone makes a pretty good flashlight...

I am ready for the weekend no doubt.

What Would You Do

I came across and interesting scenario and it made me think of the bail out that was passed by Congress. That whole thing is just too big for me to get my mind around. While there may be some good things about the bail out, there are some really scary things that make me wonder if it truly is in the best interest of our country. It's like being presented with an opportunity to donate money to a family that is in desperate need of food so that the children can eat, but you also have to give the same amount of money to a person who will buy meth to feed their horrible habit. What do you do?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jesus's Top 10

Since I've known Jon his black hair has become a little more salt and pepper, but in a distinguished kind of way. I'm sure some of the gray is due to the fact that I've forgotten more than once to set the coffee pot the night before, and sometimes I throw my clean clothes on his pool table just because, or maybe it's hearing me yell 'Jooooonnn' from the bottom of the stairs in that most annoying voice and him thinking 'Dang, what now. Doesn't she know I just got my new Super Chevy magazine in the mail today?'. Regardless of the gray I may have caused, I know that I'm on Jon's Top 10 list. Some days I may be a little lower on the list than others but I'm OK with that.

There are times when the most ridiculous things pop into my head and it usually happens when I'm driving from point A to point B. Today I was thinking about Top 10 lists and thought to myself if Letterman has one, does Jesus have one too? If He did, what would be on it? Here is what I think it might look like.

1. God. (Duh).
2. Holy Spirit.
3. People - from all walks of life. He's very accepting and cool that way.
4. A 1961 Chevrolet Impala (Jon would argue that it is a 69' RS/SS Camaro in Cortez Silver with black SS stripes, but this is my list and he can put that on his own list).
5. Vacationing in Mexico. The people are awesome, the food is yum and Corona tastes better there. Ok...ok...he can turn the Corona into wine.
6. Volleyball is most definitely Jesus's favorite sport. You think he's not competitive? Jesus, Gabriel and the hosts of angels vs. Satan and his goons. That would be a barn burner!
7. Johnny Lang and DC Talk. I'm sure he likes the traditional hymns, but Johnny's got soul(!) and I know he jams to DC Talk. Boomin'.
8. Pepperoni pizza, Cibelli's style. Hey, there is more to food than just fishes and loaves.
9. The 'color' white. Not just because a zillion women are happy it's no longer taboo to wear it after Labor Day, but because it represents how much He loves us.
10. Bend, Oregon. Because He is the creator of beauty and let's face it...we live in an awesomely amazing place.

Is this absurd? Yes. But I think Jesus has a sense of humor. After all, He created us and we are ridiculous.