Sisters, Oregon

I can’t remember anymore what I told you all about this trip to Sisters, Oregon. I planned it last fall, well before I found J. the contractor, and started the work on my studio. So part of my planning was to spend an extended time in Sisters to see whether or not I would actually like to live there. I love the town, and it is very artist-friendly. Plus, it would be a lot closer to my BF. I found a rental (I really recommend checking out Homeaway or VRBO any time you are planning a trip,) and booked two weeks. At the same time I found a 5 day workshop with a wonderful quilt artist and made a reservation for that class. I would have a couple of days to relax in Sisters before the workshop started, and then five days in the workshop. On the last day, my friend would join me for a few days, and then I would have a day or two alone to finish up my trip.

And that’s just about how the trip went. Except in the meantime, I had almost every inch of my house worked on, remodeled, or added on to. Which involved making the decision to stay where I was and be happy here. I decided to keep the two week trip to Sisters, as it would get me out of the house for some of the beginning kitchen renovation work.

Sisters is a beautiful little town. They have the biggest coffee shop I’ve ever seen, and it is always busy all day every day. It was one of the first places I visited as I arrived! They have lots of indoor seating, but its really nice to sit outside and enjoy the flowers and fountains.

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IMG_0538These huge hanging baskets are everywhere in the town!

IMG_0553I will write about my quilting workshop over on my quilt blog, so will not repeat that here, except to say that it was a wonderful workshop, I learned a lot, and really enjoyed it.

On the last day of the workshop, my BF arrived, and we set up shop on the dining room table of the house!

IMG_0599The very first time I visited Sisters, I heard Lindy Gravelle singing outside the coffee shop. Robin and I are HUGE Lindy fans, and I found out that she was performing at the golf course restaurant right in Sisters! We told her we were groupies : )

IMG_0606A storm rolled through before she even started singing, so they moved all the tables inside. It was a beautiful view.

IMG_0610Lindy does a wide range of music–classic Patsy Cline/honky tonk. She writes a lot of her own music. And she plays the heck out of that keyboard! She is really a great entertainer.

IMG_0615We both looked like this for a good part of the evening :)

IMG_0628One of the best parts of the trip was RIDING A BIKE! I LOVED riding that bike all over the place. It was so fun to ride where it is flat everywhere (Sisters is considered high desert.) Sisters is also a bike-friendly town, with bike trails and lanes everywhere. One morning I was riding through town and I spotted this potting bench. I really liked it, but not enough to haul it home.

IMG_0629Before she left, Robin and I took one more trip to the Stitching Post Quilt shop to be photographed in our natural environment.

IMG_0632Sisters is also a deer friendly town. The deer are everywhere, and don’t mind how close you come to them. This guy was in my front yard right outside the window.

IMG_0655On one of my evening bike rides, this guy was right in front of me on the road. I don’t know if Sisters is coyote friendly, but he sure wasn’t afraid of me. He trotted along to this spot where he was eyeing a CAT! The silly cat looked like he was challenging the coyote. I made a move so the coyote would run away, because I did not want to watch that go down.

IMG_0642Here is a view of the Sisters mountains. There were about five deer in that field, but they kept moving.

IMG_0667Another view of the Sisters. There was a forest fire somewhere in the distance, so it created a smoke screen.

IMG_0644And looking in the opposite direction, this big peak is called Black Butte.

IMG_0651Good bye, Sisters. I’m quite sure I will be back again one day.

IMG_0672Part of me thinks its kind of silly that a retired person would need to take a vacation. Aren’t I already on vacation every day? But I have to say that this was really very nice and sooooo relaxing. I kept reminding myself that I was on vacation. I didn’t need to worry about getting home to the dogs. I didn’t walk much at all, but I rode my bike every day, and sometimes twice a day, and I brought my PT weights and equipment, and did those exercises fairly regularly. I ate too much, but I alternated that with eating extra light once in a while. And I relaxed. A lot.

And now we return to real life. Sign by my front door:

Schedule for the day:

Let the dogs in.

Let the dogs out.

Let the dogs in.

Let the dogs out…

Re-Entry

Got up bright and early for the final leg of the journey home. I was about 5 hours from home, and I was focused on GETTING HOME.

Of course, I had to make my normal stop for fresh fruits and veggies. I weighed all my options, and decided to stop at a huge farm stand on a busy highway about 40 miles from home.

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Apparently, I made the wrong decision.

The good news is that neither I nor the people in the other car were hurt at all. It could have been a devastating accident, as the speed limit along there is 60 MPH (hello county, perhaps people should have to slow down when they are going by this huge, major tourist attraction?) and there were tons of cars on the road and in the parking area.

We were able to pull that dangling bit of bumper off, and I went and tearfully asked for a piece of rope at the farm stand, tied the rest of the bumper securely, and drove on home.

Ahhh, home. Oh my oh my. I knew what I was coming home to, but still. Its the practical logistics of it. No running water inside the house (except that toilet there. Which, believe me, I am very grateful for.)

This is the view from my living room, looking into the dining room (most of my beautiful coral red walls are gone) and beyond that, what will be the bathroom and the laundry room.

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A closer view. See that triangle above the window? Yeah, that’s open to  the great outdoors. J. the contractor said he hadn’t seen any bats flying in yet. Very funny.

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Just a view of the wall that will mostly be taken down. The door there has never been used since I’ve lived here. There was always a refrigerator in front of it! The entrance to the kitchen will be approximately where the window with the air conditioner is.

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Just a view of the studio wall–I lost my back door there, as that will be a shared wall with the kitchen. That was actually my idea, as it will give me more working room in the studio. We will be able to use that same door for the back door of the kitchen!

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J. the contractor’s outdoor work area. Yes, that is my stove sitting out there.

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Where the kitchen will go. J. took the old siding off this wall, revealing this even older siding!. I think this was the original little cabin, and then they added the living room onto it.

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Another view of the foundation. This is where my nice deck was…also gone. J. the contractor did a TON of other stuff that doesn’t show, like shoring up a weak spot in the dining room foundation, plumbing, electrical, and stuff I don’t know or don’t understand.

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The permits finally came through this past Thursday, so the first inspection is scheduled for Tuesday. And then cement…

Its only been two days, but already I am learning how to best live this way. Like, don’t buy fruits and veggies that require a ton of chopping (hello apples and corn on the cob, my new best friends : ) ) Oh, and I picked up a 99 cent bottle of hand sanitizer at the store–Yeah! much better than the wipes I had on my list. Oh, and do I hear you asking, “but where are you going to shower, Debby?”

Hah! Here is my fine construction work to make a semi-private showering place. I’ve always had hot and cold water connections out there–very handy for washing the doggies. Actually, I think this was originally built as an outdoor shower before I moved in here. Those fiberglass pieces are originally from the covered deck, and then I re-purposed them as the rabbitry roof. MLG just recently took down that old rabbitry, and guess what? These pieces came in very handy for my outdoor shower. I was so tired after fixing this the day I came home, that I didn’t even clean the outside of them off. I was quite proud of how I rigged up my old shower curtain!

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I’ll be back later in the week to tell about some of the fun stuff that happened on vacation.

Cambria Report

Well, I’m just a little behind–reporting on a trip that I returned from almost 2 weeks ago… but I had a few photos that I thought you might enjoy seeing.

I go to Cambria every year or so for my rug hooking “fix.” There is not enough time in the day for all the hobbies I would like to indulge. Rug hooking is something that has always fascinated me, and I’m so glad that I decided to learn how to do it. In addition, Cambria is a lovely place to visit, and it is actually priced very reasonably for 5 nights in luxury accommodations, all meals, and instruction with a nationally recognized rug hooker. I sound like an informercial, don’t I? Believe me, no one’s paying me to say this!

Here is a shot of the front of the lodge. This is where our classes are held, and where we eat all our meals.

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There are beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge, but I didn’t take any pictures of them this year. Here’s a link to a previous blog with pics of the gardens. Cambria is under a severe drought warning, and I didn’t think the gardens looked quite as lush as in previous years.

I did see this one little volunteer that I thought was just charming:

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Here is the rug I am working on. It is (obviously) a geometric rug. I wanted to do something that was less stressful this year, since I have a lot of quilting obligations (and home improvements) that I have been working on. This project was just right for that!

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On our way home, we stopped to see the elephant seals. All the young males were quite active! The sign said they were play-fighting to help strengthen their neck muscles for the real thing!

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Mostly, though, the elephant seals were doing what they do best.

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For what seemed miles and miles, they lolled on the beach.

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The food that they serve at Cambria Pines is quite good, and I noticed that they never serve fried food. Their vegetables are always fresh, and they usually have a salad bar available. But, you know. Still, free food. And plenty of it. My “strategy” this year was to go and enjoy. I didn’t bring anything with me except my Quest Bars. I enjoyed all the food, especially the desserts : )

So here’s the interesting thing (to me, anyway.) I came home convinced that I had gained 10 pounds. I always wait a week to weigh after any travel, to get an accurate weight, and I had gained 4 pounds. Eek. But today, I am back to the weight I was before I left on the trip. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t eat less than I usually do. I didn’t exercise more than I usually do. I just stuck to my normal (approx. 1300 calorie) diet, planned my meals every night, and got to the gym about 3X/week, walking and doing PT exercises in between.

So the question is… did I actually gain any weight on that trip?

The Escalator

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Readers of Shelley’s blog already know that I ended this trip with a VISIT TO SHELLEY! We had so much fun. We fit together like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump ref.) I don’t think we look alike, but one time Shelley posted a picture of herself at 12 years old, and I was shocked at how much she looked like the 12 year old me.

Anyway, we ended our trip driving together back to the DFW Airport. I was ever so grateful that she was able to drive back with me. Its just a 3 hour drive, but you know how it is when you are unfamiliar with the roads–it seems like twice that time.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, dropped off the rental car, and took the shuttle to the terminal. We had our choice of elevator or escalator, and Shelley asked “which one?” I said escalator–it was closer, and by now I’d been in one million airports and done this routine two million times. I had my giant 45 pound suitcase, my carry on suitcase, and my purse, all balanced precisely. As I got on the escalator, Shelley was saying something about “You know, I have kind of an Elf thing about escalators…” (insert: okay, I just googled Elf/escalator–that is hilarious!) and right then I lost my balance and dropped the big suitcase, which fell backwards onto the escalator steps! Which meant that it just kept clanging down one step at a time as the escalator continued to go up. With each clang, the distance between me and my big suitcase got further apart. I kept stepping down to try to get closer to it (while still balancing my carry on and my purse) and yelling at Shelley “don’t you dare photograph this,” but the escalator just KEPT ON GOING UP. Finally I knew my only hope was to abandon my carry on (which, the EVERY THREE MINUTE TSA ANNOUNCEMENTS warn you to NEVER do) and somehow hop over the HUGE suitcase to get below it and grab it. Shelley rescued my little carry on, and was laughing so hard she couldn’t have gotten a good picture if she had tried. I swear, it was like a Lucy and Ethel episode.

Come back soon for “Adventures with Shelley!”

Out of Town

Yes, that’s right. I am going out of town again. I am leaving this week on a trip to Haiti, which I am combining with a pleasure trip to visit a friend.

But what I want to write about was “how I ate” on my most recent trip to a quilt event. Yes, again. I am writing about how I eat when I travel. This time I tried a few new things, and so thought my experiences were worth talking about.

The event was the Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar. This is a very good, very organized event. The hours run long, but they put plenty of breaks between sessions–time to move around and yes, eat. For those of you who aren’t quilters, this is a “no sew” event. It is all demonstration and information, and you don’t have to bring your machine or supplies with you. I really liked that, since I usually end up making something I don’t like in most of the workshops I attend! Plus, easy peasy!

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Ricky does a concert and inspirational talk on one of the evenings. He plays a grand piano, but I couldn’t get a good shot of that. This is one of his Indian flutes.

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Alex Anderson and Pam Holland also presented informative and inspirational talks.

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Back to our food discussion! That last trip I took out of town I ate a little too much sugar and wheat, and I didn’t like how I felt. So I left determined to not eat (much) sugar or wheat on this trip.

Here’s a few of the things I did. I took my own yogurt and granola with me. I took some of my low calorie baked goods with me for breakfasts. I took some of my favorite Quest protein bars. And I grabbed my bag of Skinny Pop popcorn for snacks in the evening.

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I knew there was a Costco just down the road from the hotel I was staying in. So after I made sure there was a little fridge in the room, I headed over to Costco for a bag of my favorite salad mix–the Kale Superfoods salad. This salad still seems like a treat to me. While I was there, I got a box of their cherries. I was set! I had food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and would only eat out for dinner.

My favorite department at Costco!

My favorite department at Costco!

In the morning, I checked out the breakfast buffet, and got a few eggs to try (yuck–discarded.) I ate my own muffin and had some coffee. But look! I had a container for my salad!

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Here’s how to pack your yogurt and granola for lunch, if you forgot your little container with the ice in the lid… (file under: where there’s a will, there’s a way.)

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Every afternoon they had a 45 minute break about 3pm. Ahhh, just the right time for my coffee break! (and mandatory Quest bar.)

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Now, in the interest of full disclosure on “how I eat when I travel,” let me fill in the blanks. The first night I had dinner with some old friends. I made a good choice for my dinner, and for whatever reason, they did not serve bread with dinner!! Weird. But good for me, because if it was there, I would have eaten it.

The second night the hotel had given me a free entree coupon for my favorite restaurant–Texas Roadhouse. And oh yes, I certainly did eat their bread. And the third night I went with some new friends to a local hamburger joint! That was really delicious. We split an order of garlic fries three ways, and the burger was really normal sized. I really enjoyed that meal.

Oh, and one day I had time to drive around the town a bit, and happened upon a See’s Candy store. Ruh roh. But I have a new plan. If I do go in, I only buy 2 pieces. So much better than going in and buying half a pound and then trying to NOT eat it all at once!

The event ended at 5:30 on Saturday night, and I thought that I would stop for dinner on the way home. But I decided that I really wanted to get home and could wait until then to eat. Only thing was, I needed to go to the bathroom. Okay, perhaps I could have found a bathroom somewhere besides in the Coldstone Creamery… That was probably my poorest decision all weekend. But I enjoyed my small serving, and even left a bit of it uneaten. And that was dinner.

So even though I did not stick completely with my plan of no sugar/no wheat, my food amounts and choices were quite reasonable, and I did not gain an ounce. I kept in mind some very good advice from my friend, Cammy:

Adaptability – It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes life interferes and the plan gets fuzzy. In the past I had an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset and generally caved into the chaos. I still do that sometimes, but more often than not, I’ve learned to adjust and adapt and do the best I can in a given situation.

Back home, the little dogs were happy to see me. Speaking of adapting to a given situation, they seem to adjust quite easily to all the changes around here.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The "dining room" aka furniture storage receptacle.

The “dining room” aka furniture storage receptacle.

As long as they have a soft bed and a heater, they are happy.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

And now I must end and pack my bags (and do a million other last minute things! Eek!) I will have lots of adventures to tell you about when I return!

Vacation Adventure!

This visit with my BF was so fun–it was like we were visiting all the different aspects of our life–past, present, and future!

Like I said, this time my BF and I had someplace fun to visit every day I was there. She lives in Oregon, and this time I found that it was actually cheaper to fly there than to drive. So when I arrived, we had time to visit my favorite thread shop and fabric shop (present life). Yumm. Colors are almost as luscious as any dessert!

The next day we set out for Sisters. Of course, the famous Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show is held here in July. But its almost more fun to visit this town when its not quite so busy. The quilt shop is fabulous, and we also went to Bend to visit another of our favorite quilt shops.

On the way to Sisters we spotted this gallery that seemed to specialize in large outdoor metal sculptures. Very fun to look at!

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We stopped at one of my favorite spots, Belknap Hot Springs, for a bathroom break (the bathroom was INSIDE a building!) It is right on the Mackenzie River. A glorious spot!

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Sisters is such a pretty little town. Even the bathrooms are decorated–look at that quilt mural on the walls of the bathroom! (hmmm, do you sense a theme here?…)

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And another view of the little water feature:

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Friday it was time for the Black Sheep Gathering. This was the reason my trip was planned for this weekend. In our past lives, my BF and I were both vendors at this event. I made and sold fiber blends, and my BF raised Jacob sheep, and had some of their lovely fleeces for sale. This is such a fun event. They have a sheep show, a fiber arts show, tons of vendors selling every kind of fiber (and yarn) imaginable, and lots of demos all day long. It was so fun to visit a part of our lives that we have mostly left behind (she no longer has her sheep, and I don’t sell fiber. I do still spin and knit a bit.)

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It is so fun for us to go through the sheep barns. BF connected with an old friend who had bought her flock years ago. And she got to see the great great granddaughter of one of her sheep win Grand Champion Ewe in the show!!

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I was fascinated by these sheep–look at the length of that fleece! They are called Teeswater sheep and are a fairly recent import into the United States.

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I love the little Shetland sheep. That is the breed I would have if I were ever to get sheep. Their dainty little legs are so cute, and they come in a million colors and coat types.

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We went back Saturday for one more look. They were giving a sheepherding dog demo that day. I think you can see the intensity of this dog as he worked with the sheep. They explained that the shepherd occasionally gives the dog a ‘down’ command just to give the sheep a break!

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And then it was off to the coast for future life! I can assure you that this will only be the future life of my BF and her husband–they are now scuba divers! I don’t even like getting my face wet. Going 30 feet down is not gonna happen! But it sure was fun to go over to the coast. Sunday morning we dropped her husband off at the designated scuba site, and then we visited a few more quilt shops (surprise, surprise).

This is the jetty where the scuba divers go into the water. Climbing over all those rocks is another reason I will never be a scuba diver!

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My BF. She said, “I guess scuba diving is not a spectator sport.” LOLOL.

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It was a fabulous peaceful day.

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And then it was time to come home to my little doggies. I love traveling, but I’m always happy to come home these days.

 

Hello Again

Hello again. Sorry ’bout that. I had a this ‘n’ that post almost written before I left for a little visit with my BF, but I ran out of time. We had a great time together–it was more of a VAcation than a STAYcation this time. We usually hole up in her studio and quilt all day-every day when I visit, but this time we were in the car every day going here and there. It was a lot of fun, and I have loads of pictures to share with you, but I’ll get to that in the next few days.

So here’s what happened BEFORE I left. I had a very fun blogger meet-up with old blog buddy Juice (well, SHE’s not old. She’s one of my oldest blog friends. Oh dear, that didn’t come out right either. I’m sure you all know what I mean…) Anyway, we got together for a crafting day! Me with my quilting, and her with her cross-stitch.

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Chloe is her wonderful little dog–quite the personality, and if I remember right, she was going to run for president, but “no thumbses.” Noah volunteered to be her running mate.

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Juice lives in an apartment complex, but its like a walk in the country–lots of duckies and squirrels there.

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Chloe is quite the squirrel hunter.

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(Can you see the stupid brave squirrel up there giving her the eye?)

And Juice knows me well. The day ended perfectly with a visit to Pinkberry!!

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(LOL, we ate our froyo before we remembered to take a pic.)

I don’t make this blueberry topping too often. But I sure enjoy it when I do! This time I followed Lori’s directions, and at the end added a little of my sugar free syrup. It made a perfect topping for my protein pancakes.

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While we’re on the topic (we were discussing “blue,” right?,) here’s a picture of my favorite blue flower. I think they’re morning glories, but the nurseries label them “blue dawn flower.” I think that is a sales gimmick. Whatever, I love them.

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I know I haven’t been posting as often lately. Besides this latest trip, it is mostly because I am working so much on my art quilts. I have had lots of inspiration and ideas lately. I think its important to work when the inspiration is there. Sooner or later it will wane. And then you will probably see more posts from me!

The end.

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