Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bollywood video from Nia class

I love my nia class led by Leela Devi at Timberhill Athletic Club.  By her choreography and leadship, she can make us feel like Irish dancers or Broadway dancers, or any of a variety of styles.  I especially loved a Bollywood number, and loved that she videotaped us dancing it.  So here it is. 


Gary did most of the work on the garden, but he gave me responsibility for the plants he doesn't usually plant that I wanted, beets and carrots. And a raised bed that we filled with marigolds.  Also I put in and took care of a whole bed of azaleas, peonies, and nasturtiums after we took out an invasive plant which had taken over the bed.

Here is the vegetable garden.

I would like to list the things we harvested and preserved.  Gary made jam, from tayberries in his garden, as well as blackberries that we picked.  There are as many berries as anyone could pick on land near the dump, owned by the dump.  I discovered I like blackberries even more than blueberries in my smoothies, so I picked enthusiasticly and we froze as many as we could.

We had a good onion harvest.  We let them dry and then bagged them up.

Gary made pickled green beans and pickled beets.  I helped a little.

We got some nice pumpkins, and squash.

Peppers, the excess of which we froze.

Lots of apples - for applesauce and we also dried some.

Wild plums, which Gary is making into cordial.  The little ones are wild, bigger is from his tree.

The biggest crop was tomatoes. We had bucket after bucket after bucket after bucket of them. We gave quite a few away, but still had many. At first Gary and I worked together to freeze them.  He like to blanch and peel them, then freeze whole.  Then he went on a trip, and I needed to do something with the many more we had.  I made the rest into soup or sauce and froze.  It really was incredible how productive his 35 plants were, kept us very busy.  It will be well worth it in the winter to have so many tomatoes for soups, sauces, chili, whatever we're cooking.

Gary made jalapeno jelly.  We coughed for several hours after he chopped them up in the blender - amazing how something from them can permeate the air.

We had quite a few eggplants, and I experimented with slicing, salting, patting dry, and freezing.  We'll see how that goes.  We also had basil, and Gary made and froze pesto.  And we had a good harvest of green beans - blanched and frozen.  Gary did get a second freezer because we're purchasing beef from a neighbor.

Planting the garden, harvesting, and preserving is Gary's favorite thing to do, next to bowling.  I really enjoyed it, too.

Here is my nasturtium bed, which maybe counts since nasturtiums are edible?


I really appreciate that old friends have visited me here, and I have also made some new friends.  I have made friends at work, at my exercise classes, and at least one that I met through Gary.  It is fun that many are from different countries.  Maria, from Chile invited those at a zumba class to her house, so that was the start of some friendships.  Left to right it is Maria, Vesna from Croatia, Leela our teacher, Fran from Iran, and me.

Vesna invited friends for lunch.  Again Maria, Vesna, Burke from Australia, Amanda, me, Caroline from Switzerland, and Leela.

I had a gathering at my house.  This is before Ligaya (nurse friend from work) and Sue (met through Gary got there.  The group from left is Irena (new friend met through Vesna), Carolina, Consuelo (old friend), Karla (college friend), Maria, Linda (band mom from Nick's award winning high school jazz band), Ann (neighbor) and Vesna.

Sue, Karla, me, Linda

Consuelo and Ligaya

Ligaya, Vesna and I want to get together on a somewhat regular basis to exercise and support each other in other healthy pursuits like discussing nutrition.  We'll be inviting others to join us.  Here is Ligaya at Imagine Coffee, which is a great place.  And Vesna and I went on a hike to the top of Chip Ross park on a rainy windy day.  We felt so good about the exercise.

Half Marathon

Corvallis hosted it's first ever half marathon run and walk.  I was surprised when my sister Debbie said she was going to train for, and plan to do a run/walk for this half marathon. Didn't she realize she is over 60 (older than me!) and has never done anything like this?  I was afraid that she was sure to injure herself.  I used to run short races, and then walked Hood to Coast a couple of times, and was convinced for myself that I could not do that any more.  I felt problems in my knees when I tried to walk briskly for too long.  Anyway, she trained according to a book, and she MADE IT!  I was at the finish line and I was so very proud of her.

She told me about the book "Younger Next Year" that she and Tony have learned from.  The idea is to stay in the shape that you are from age 50 on through your 80's, or even to recover being in better shape than when you start.  I have read it and am now working more on my fitness.  One ray of hope - Sheryl Van Fleet who wrote "The Recumbent and the Upright" said that long rides on her recumbent bike fixed her knee problems.  So maybe I'll be able to do more than I thought.

Mennonite Village

In September we moved our 91 year old mother to Mennonite Village, in Albany.  We will not sell or even clear out her house until she is ready.  Of course it wasn't easy for her to give up on the idea of living in her own home, but she has had some falls that caused her doctor to say that she cannot live by herself. 

We chose this facility based on recommendations of people who are familiar with facilities in this area.  Our mother is in assisted living, but they also have independent living, rehab, and long term care.  It feels good to know that whatever her needs they will be able to care for her.  I keep telling her to be grateful that she isn't in long term care, her quality of life is good with attractive facility, a room to herself, a kitchenette, carpeted floor, fun activities, good food, etc.

Debbie and I both live about a half hour away.  For Pam it is closer to 2 hours.  So she visits just once a week, for a longer visit.  Debbie and I have been going 2 or 3 times a week.  Of course there have been a few wrinkles to iron out, but we are overall impressed with the staff.  The woman in charge of activities is especially wonderful, she has worked hard to include our mother in all activities including exercise, music performances, wii games, etc.  For Halloween they brought out a number of hats for residents to have fun with.  Mother picked out a fun Christian Dior hat.

Another particularly wonderful aide seems to enjoy styling her long hair.  Our mother insisted we get a purple hair extension for her, as she saw one on an aide at the hospital.  We did, and the Mennonite Village aide will weave it in with her braid, making her look artistic.  She has also brought in, at her own expense, styling gel and clips to do up her hair.

We have been getting to know some of the other residents, and are starting to feel like we're part of the Mennonite Village family.  I am already fond of a number of the others.  Mother sits with different people at each meal, and there is usually some interesting conversation.  Our mother is frequently the one that gets conversations going.

I am so grateful that I have my sisters, it is great to share looking out for her amongst the 3 of us.  And grateful we always come to agreement on any issues relating to our mother.

Fourth of July party

Gary has an annual fourth of July party.  I arranged for a group Nick plays with, "Rocket Stove Workshop" to perform, which added to the fun.  The music was a funky New Orleans style.  We barbequed, and everyone brought side dishes for a fabulous spread.  Activities included croquet, kicking soccer ball around, and putting on the golf green.

I was so happy that friends of my own came.  Vesna and Burke and their families, who I met at exercise classes.  Becky and Ligaya and their families, from work.  Consuelo and Tom, old friends, came from Salem.  Dan and Diana Breen, plus Jill Hibbs drove down from Tigard.  My sisters came, which made me really happy.  And new-old friends Bryon and Sheryl Van Fleet who recently moved to Corvallis.  It was great.

The most patriotic dishes brought were by two who are not native to the USA.  Burke, from Australia, brought a scrumptious red, white and blue trifle.  Vesna, originally from Croatia, brought a huge platter of strawberries dipped in white chocolate with blue sprinkles on them.  I pretty much ate those instead of anything else.

We three sisters in our dad's hats

Da Vinci Days

For me, the most exciting days in Corvallis are "Da Vinci Days", a festival of science, technology, arts, and revelry.  It is always the 3rd weekend in July, and draws thousands of people.  There is a contest for human powered vehicles, and they compete on sand, mud and in water.  It is just amazing to see the vehicles people come up with, and they are all clever and decorative.

There is a community arts display, and the theme last year was connection.  Again, clever and fun.

One place I spent a lot of time was Greentown - a place with from many ecological organizations.  I learned so much!  I had no idea there were so many non profits as well as government agencies doing interesting work related to the environment.

There were also music concerts, and I loved seeing Bobby McFerrin and the Yellowjackets.  Really great straight ahead jazz that did my heart a lot of good.

I will include a number of my photos.