Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Posts tagged ‘home from college’

Fickle Friday #6

Here it is the 2nd Friday in September and school is in session. I dropped my daughter off at college on Monday. She has figured out what she needs and has greatly reduced what she takes to her dorm room. This picture is her side of the room with much of her stuff. Her roommate (Japanese exchange student) arrives tomorrow. I’m sure they will be busy getting to know each other.

Now at home it is just me and the kitties. Speaking of the kitties, they are hanging in there with the toilet training. I was so excited yesterday when they both left presents in the designated spot. Tonight I opened up the little hole just a bit. Seems as if I have to take every change very slow. Sunni is the problem child and apparently hates change. So slowly we forge ahead.

The news chatter had such an interesting story about a moose who was eating fermented apples. Poor little guy apparently got a little tipsy and was got stuck up in the tree. This unusual act captured everyone’s attention as I received several e-mails about it and it has hit a few blogs I read too.  So here’s my addition to all this moose attention. This photo was taken from a window at my work. There are often moose at work (if the plural of mouse is mice, is the plural of moose, mece?) I have family that lives in the country and the moose often visit,once even stepping into their swimming pool to cool off. Several years ago there was a mother moose and calf outside of my daughter’s school entrance. We had to wait in the car until mom and kid wandered elsewhere.

My tomato plants are kicking into high gear. They are ripening up quite nicely. I’m guessing that the chillier air in the morning is contributing to the ripening. Since I have a black thumb, this is one of the first times I have had success with my tomatoes. I’m thinking that Mother Nature decided she had punished me enough and is getting my hopes up with this little bumper crop.

As I’m sitting her on the computer (no, I’m not physically on the computer), I’m watching The Invention of Lying with Ricky Gervais. Such a little unpretentious movie that I’m chuckling every minute. The man is a genius!

Winter is on its way. How do I know? Because tomorrow my snow blower is going in for maintenance. That means that when I get it back, I will be prepared. And based on my tomato crop, I’m thinking Mother Nature has me in her sight. And because I have a snow blower, I will need to use it.

Kind of hard to even think of snow because right now it is hot!  And I’m in need of ice cream!


Fickle Friday #5

Today is September 2, 2011 — or 9-2-11. I have a tendancy to notice simple patterns and like 9-2-11 because 9+2=11. Strange, but true!

Do you believe it is September? Wheat harvest is going on and summer is near the end. The weather did a little change and yesterday there was even fog when driving to work. Lows were down in the 40s F. and highs were only in the 70s F.  But I think Mother Nature was just teasing, because next week it will be in the 90s again.

Monday is Labor Day in the USA. That means no work! But it is also the day I have to drive Daughter back to college. I checked the weather forecast and it is supposed to be in the 90s F. ARG!!  Daughter can’t get the key to her room until noon and she has a 4:00 meeting. So we have less than 4 hours to  get checked in, move everything from the car to her room, and then grab her stuff that we put in storage. That might take 2 trips.

The worst part will be the heat. And then I have to drive home (about 3 hours) in Labor Day late afternoon traffic. That is making me anxious already. I will have to remember to take my Glee CDs to keep me engaged in sing-along during the boring drive home.

The Packing Process

Once I return home, it will be deja vu in her room.  In July, I had it all spotless. I’m hoping it will be mostly cleaned up when we pack up. She’s been sorting through her things and has actually packed some of her stuff already.  The cats are quite enjoying everything though; there are lots of nooks and crannies, bags, and suitcases to investigate.

After daughter is back at school, I will hopefully get back into finishing the house cleaning chores. And just when I get that done, it will be time to back up and store the patio furniture.

OMG – I’m watching Man, Woman, Wild on the Discovery Channel. It’s a show about a survival expert and his wife who simulate survival situations. Right now they are in a small boat adrift in the Bermuda Triangle. They have been there for 3 days, with minimal water and only a tiny fish or two they caught. And let’s not forget there are sharks bumping against their boat. Mike (the hubby) is suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration. So he tells Ruth (his wife) to give him an enema to hydrate him. Now that’s love!  And successful love, because he got better and they were rescued.

I’m thinking that I will stay out of the Bermuda Triangle. And if I get too hot on Monday while moving Daughter into her college room, I hope no one sneaks up on me and gives me an enema.

さようなら AUAP Students

AUAP students for cycle 1, 2011

My daughter works at college as an international peer advisor (IPA) for the Asia University American Program (AUAP) Japanese foreign exchange students. Students from Asia University in Tokyo, Japan, come to the U.S.A. to attend classes at her university to study English. It is her  job as an IPA to assist them in acclimating to American culture. She plans activities and outings to maximize their American experience.  I call her the mother hen of her Japanese chicks.

Check out the napkin foldings!

I have been fortunate enough to share in this experience with her by welcoming several students into our home. Last Thanksgiving, two endearing young ladies spent the holidays with us. We did a huge (almost 20 people) family dinner with the traditional turkey and pumpkin pie. The girls pitched right in and put their origami skills to work with napkin folding.  Everyone welcomed them and a great dinner was had by all. The next day, the girls (daughter, Mika, and Kazune) did the Black Friday early morning shopping. That evening, they made us a tasty traditional Japanese meal – ginger pork.. Yum yum! And they made the best sticky rice I have ever had. And all with groceries bought at the local store. I still have the recipe for the sticky rice and have made it a few times myself, but it is never as good as what they made.

Merry Christmas 2010

At Xmas, Rina spent several days with us. Still had Xmas shopping and cooking to do. And by far the best was my family tradition of Xmas morning breakfast with everyone!  The menu has been the same for decades and is loved by all. Land goop is a kind of omelette  which includes chunks of roasted potatoes, sausage, cheese, and of course, eggs. And then there is the perfect french toast. We had a lot of fun!  It also snowed so a little snowman was erected in the back yard.

The last cycles’ students have all returned to Japan and now my daughter is gearing up for the next cycle. She’s plotting and planning already, eager to get back to college and meet her new friends. She just found out who her new Japanese roommate is, so that has her flying in the air. Her leadership ability is growing, the dedication to her job responsibilities is high, and the compassion and true friendship for these students is immense. I’m so proud of her and her accomplishments this past year in college. Yeah, Binks, I’m proud of you!

Mother hen and her chicks

Making FDR Proud

After some serious spatial organization, I was able to pack the car with everything Daughter was bringing home. We ended up renting a small storage unit for some of her treasures that she will need in a month when she returns to college; truly needed items such as bedding and bicycle!

The oddest experience checking out of college was the financial overview. Daughter still had $65 on a meal card that if it wasn’t spent, it would go to the college. So off we went to the college store and food mall to spend her dough.

There were 4 for lunch, but that still left $48. At the store, we bought drinks, snacks, index cards, pens, pencils, electrical tape (that was for me), and assorted candies. After all was done, only $6.31 was left to the college. Not a bad spending spree for stuff that no one really needed.

Looking east

Looking south

Driving through central Washington we came upon Dry Falls. In the past (as in geological way past when), incredible floods washed through the area with strength, depth, and speed. An impressive falls was created–3.5 miles wide and 400 feet high– from the old Columbia River. At the time, this was the largest waterfall in the world. In comparison, Niagara Falls–at a mere 1 mile wide and 165 feet high–is literally a drop in the bucket.

I cannot explain how Dry Falls came to be, so following explanation was borrowed from  Go Northwest!® ™  

The falls were created following the catastrophic collapse of an enormous
ice-dam holding back the waters of what has named “Glacier Lake Missoula”. Water covering
three thousand square miles of northwest Montana, about the volume of Lake
Ontario, was locked behind this glacial dam until the rising lake penetrated,
lifted and then blew out the ice dam. The massive torrent (known as the
Missoula Flood) ran wild through the Idaho panhandle, the Spokane River Valley,
much of eastern Washington and into Oregon, flooding the area that is now the
city of Portland under 400 feet of water.

Reaching the Dry Falls area, this tremendous force
swept away earth and rock from a precipice actually 15 miles south of the falls
near Soap Lake, causing the falls to retreat to its present position, now known
as Dry Falls. The falls is said to be a spectacular example of “headward
erosion”. If this is confusing, given the present topography, it also helps to
know the falls are on an ancient course of the Columbia River. The river had
been diverted this way by the encroaching glaciers. It returned to its present
course as the ice retreated.

We continued north towards Grand Coulee Dam. Along the way is a string of alkaline lakes that are beautiful among the rocks and cliffs.

We drove through Electric City and end up in Coulee Dam where Grand Coulee Dam resides in all its glory. A few weeks ago, due to melting of the heavy snow in the mountains, there was water spilling over the top. But only a dribble when we got there (drats!). Apparently it is rare to allow spillage over the top, and we missed it!

The spillway, with no spillage

Water jugs from all states

Aerial view of dam looking southeast

Laser light show

Grand Coulee Dam was started in 1933 as a relief to the Great Depression in the United States and an effort to provide power to the northwest. The dam is the largest U.S. producer of hydro-electric power for Canada’s British Columbia province and many cities and states in the western United States. Besides power, the dam is a source of irrigation water for eastern Washington state. Without it, farming would be extremely limited. And let’s not forget the creation of Lake Roosevelt, named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, who championed the project.

During the 8 year construction period, a world record for concrete pouring was achieved. 20 thousand cubic yards of concrete was placed in one 24-hour period. This records still stands today, over 70 years after the dam was completed.

Grand Coulee Dam stands today as one of the largest concrete structures in the world. The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest, with over twice as much concrete used.

In 1951, jugs of water from all states and territories were simultaneously poured over the top of the spillway as a symbolic pouring ceremony. This ceremony was to demonstrate that everyone in the U.S. contributed to the project.

One of the more recent “traditions” (started in 1989)  has been to project a laser light show on the spillway. Although we did not stay until 10 p.m. to watch this, I found a cool picture.

Strangled Plans

All systems were go for picking up Daughter from summer college on Tuesday/Wednesday. And then the strangulation of my plans; remember, I plan my next breath (read here). Daughter found out about a work-related luncheon that occurs on Wednesday, which would push the plans back one day.

I broke that planning choke hold with tenacity and said “That’s OK, just let me know by Monday night.” I amazed myself and it truly does not matter whether it will be Tuesday/Wednesday or Wednesday/Thursday. Now that I have had a few minutes to even think about it, later would be better; gives me a bit more time to finish up some things around the house.

And I am now considered Ms. HandyMouse as I replaced a broken light switch without electrocuting myself or burning down the house! I read a couple of fix-it books, checked out info online, and just did it. The only slight snag was that the broken switch was in the basement with no outside light available. Needing to hold a flashlight while doing electrical work is a juggling act to behold. But I did it and “let there be light.” The sad part is that the light switch broke 2 weeks ago and I have been petrified to fix it.

Guess all those raspberries I had for breakfast gave me strength to overcome my unreasonable fears and anxieties. Did you know that raspberries are high in anti-oxidants, vitamin C, K, and E, and rich in B-complex goodies!  They are the wonder berry, and very berry tasty too.

Too bad ice cream can’t do that.

Curses! Not Really…

Moving Stuff Home

Look at the middle of the pix and see a game called “Curses.” Santa gave that game to Daughter last Xmas.  “But what is it doing in the middle of your living room?” you may be asking.  Yes, the prodigal daughter is home for maybe 2 weeks before she goes back to summer school.

All that work to clean the house and in 5 minutes it is destroyed. This time we plan to get plastic containers and divide her stuff into seasonal clothing, school books, housewares stuff for future apartment living, and stuff for yard sale, charity, and trash. So although it is a mess now, it will be better soon.

It is exciting to have Daughter back even for this short time. Right now she’s folding laundry clothes. Because I have friends coming to visit in a few weeks, Daughter has agreed to help me finish cleaning up the house, especially her room (where friends will stay). For all of her assistance, I agreed to buy her a climbing harness. Does this count as bribery or just paying for a job? Or am I contributing to a future of her up-in-the air  (ha, bad pun)?

Food and dining has always been a gastronomical part of our life, so we have made a short list of favorite places to eat. But things change; not better or worse, just different. Last night we went to a local Chinese restaurant and I was expecting to order our favorite: egg foo yung and lo mein. But instead of lo mein, Daughter ordered tofu with broccoli. She gave me of bite of tofu. Having never been a fan before, I was reluctant, but tried it — wow, it was tasty!  And we are slated to go to a wasabi/sushi place. Daughter is vegetarian and very into Asian food (and everything else Asian too). So I guess hot dogs are out.

I’m renewed and happy Daughter is home!!!