29 July 2011

Preparing for Opening Ceremonies

There has been quite a bit of construction going on at the Western University campus here in Lebanon. In fact it seems like something new is happening in that field every day. In one corner of campus, a gym/cardiac rehab center is being constructed. A few weeks ago the field of wild flowers was mowed down to the height of the green at a golf course. And just recently, large yellow Caterpillar contraptions have been seen spreading gravel in multiple areas of Western's massive campus plot.

The foundation was set for this -

Some local towns folk, who were unaware that Saturday is the open ceremony for Western University in Lebanon, thought the circus was coming to town. Some may still argue that it is... On Saturday the Class of 2015, where students will receive their white lab coats. Which means... SCOTT IS HOME! They should give me an award at this ceremony for surviving seven weeks as a med school widow!

27 July 2011

Work Picnic

I started work at the OSU Foundation at the perfect time. The fiscal year (read: mad rush) just ended and most staff are taking a breather or vacation (almost the same thing). So it was the perfect time for me to join and gather my bearings before school beings and really, before football season begins. You wouldn’t believe how much fundraising is done around football! You may have already known that, and it’s really quite logical considering as so many alumni really center their school pride in the sport. I am not that type of alumni, but that is a result of my alma mater and my sports passion.

In any case, the last month has been a series of training sessions and test runs. I am sure that two months from now I will have a grand report for you on my progress

Last week we had a company picnic for families. Luckily for me even though I was husbandless, there were others in my same boat (thought most of their significant others were just at work). There were lots of kids activities like pinatas, water play, and crafts. The event was catered by Pig Out BBQ, which was quite tasty. There was also a mini concessions stand with snow cones and cotton candy (of which I have become a connoisseur). Then of course there was chatting, raffle prizes and BINGO. Can't remember the last time I played bingo?

I was pretty excited! Even though I eventually lost, I still consider it a successful work picnic.

25 July 2011

Linn Lanes - Lebanon

A new calling was extended to me at church! Drum roll, please ... I am the new 2nd counselor in Young Womens! There are only a few young women in my ward, but I am pretty excited to join them. It will be my first time serving with the young women since I was in Young Womens as a teenager. A lot has changed over the last 10 years.
Then again, not that much! My first activity was a combined activity with the young men of the ward and we went bowling at Lebanon's premier (and only) bowling alley, Linn Lanes. I have to say that being a teenager hasn't changed much... in one corner girls are flirting and hoping that that special guy will attend mutual. The deacons are trying to make jokes to impress the older young men and the older young men are trying to look cool to impress the young women. Oh the wisdom that comes in only 10 years, younglings!

Linn Lanes is your typical small town bowling alley, though slightly larger scale than Sitka's 'Lane 7.' Their summer hours are 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays and open until 1:00 AM on weekends. They have scheduled "Ballistic Bowling" hours with black and strobe lights, as well as a DJ. According to their concessions sign, they have the best burgers in town. But I didn't try those out on my visit for two reasons: One, the kitchen looked intimidating, to put it nicely... and two, I was there to chaperone the youth.

As we left there was a sign that said, "Top 10 Reasons to Go Bowling." Number one was, "Nothing sounds better than a strike," which made me think that the advertisement must have been written by a professional bowler. Gotta love a sport, where you can eat while you play it! Oh, and there will be many other chances to try their tasty burgers. I did, after all, buy a Groupon-type pass for Linn Lanes when the offer came around with the local newspaper. Scott is a big fan of bowling, and as Linn Lanes is the only bowling alley (read: entertainment option) in a near radius, there is a VERY good chance you'll see us there again!

22 July 2011

All Aboard!

Hidden in the middle of Lebanon is the old railway station. I discovered it one day after visiting a quasi furniture store. They don't sell hunchback furniture, they just aren't exactly an 8-5 establishment.

Anyway, the City of Lebanon has converted this old building into an office of sorts. I've found a couple similar railway stops throughout the area, which brings to mind all sorts of Avonlea-type scenes. I sat outside the station for awhile hoping I might see a train and wave enthusiastically as it went by.

I'm glad that Lebanon has had the good sense to preserve these historic buildings and even make use of them. The trains still go through the area, though they are mostly for cargo transportation now.

20 July 2011

Frog and Toad

Our apartment complex has garden plots for tenant use and I decided to put together a winter garden. While I'm waiting for seedlings to start, I decided to thin out some of the basil on my porch that is THRIVING! I'll keep some on my porch and some in my new garden plot.

So I came home from work and grabbed my trowel and basil. But when I grabbed the pot of basil, I found that I had a friend comfortably lazing underneath.

I'm not sure HOW he got up to the second story balcony deck, but I figure he wanted to wait out the rain under my basil pot. He lay curled up like that for another five minutes before the light woke him up and he clumsily hopped off to find a new home. I wonder if he has relatives in the area...

18 July 2011

Brewster's Barn

I was going to add a city location to that title, but honestly I'm not sure what city jurisdiction Brewster's Barn lies in.

Brewster's Barn is an antique shop that also hosts estate sales. The shop is literally in an old white barn in the country and finding it is tricky, even though there are signs every where encouraging shoppers to visit. If you travel down Hwy 20 between Lebanon and Albany, and take 226 past Crabtree, you will find a small sign indicating that a right turn will take you to Brewster's Barn. Then there are a few welcoming flags to let you know when you've arrived at the short country road that leads you to the store itself.

It's a quaint shop, the kind where you have to step over their golden retriever basking in the summer sun in order to reach a pile of goodies awaiting your inspection. Some of the pieces at Brewster's Barn are actually antiques, some are labeled "old" (like canning jars?) and priced higher on account of their ancientness.

Which reminds me, did I tell you about the time Scott and I visited a garage sale in Lebanon and bought a tent? I know perfectly well that I haven't announced that on the internet, but I will tell you that there we were invited by a boy of 7 to purchase his old toy dump truck. He had sacrificed the truck in the prospect of making some money, but he hadn't priced it.

"Do you have a kid? Or know a kid?" He asked. I replied that we had nefews, but no kids of our own yet. "Oh, well I'm selling that truck over there. It's $10... no $20. See, the price is a little higher, because it's old!" I laughed, but definitely didn't buy the truck.

Anyway, cute shop... Brewster's Barn. Bound to be some treasures in there, though the main treasure for me that day was the community-wide garage sale happening in Crabtree down the street. I bought a beautiful over-stuffed forest green chair for $15! Uh, yeah! Perfect condition, just needed a light cleaning. It's going in the office/guest room, which someday I will document.

15 July 2011

Taco Bus, Taco Bus

Sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly silly I will add new verses to this song. The Taco Bus in my town deserved a verse as I waited for my two (no adequate words to describe) awesome chicken tacos to be ready.

Taco Bus, Taco Bus
does whatever a taco bus wants
In the summer, I find them here
at the pawn shop

Yeah, they are definitely park outside of, and mooching electricity from, a pawn shop across the street from WalMart in Lebanon. But I have no cares for whence their utilities are found, only that their food meets my taco bus expectations. Don't worry, I waited a couple days after ingestion before I finalized the decision that the taco bus was indeed worthy of blog attention.

I guess it's not really a bus though...  Taco RV? Taco Truck?

13 July 2011

Emmons Meat Market - Corvallis CLOSED

Emmons Meat Market is located on Highway 34 in Corvallis, so it is something I see and now crave every day on my drive to work. I LOVE local butchers. Having butcher shops, and cheese stores, and bakeries reminds me so much of France where everything is made with quality local ingredients, daily. Emmons is no exception, though their meat really doesn't bring European thoughts to mind as much as Texan.

Emmons was first recommended to me by a colleague who frequents their lunch counter (open 10 am - 4 pm Mon-Sat). She told me that their pulled-pork sandwiches were divine. She didn't lie! You can choose between a half sandwich or whole, though half was not as small as I imagined. In fact it was what I had thought a whole sandwhich would be. They top the pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, and I even got to choose between sweet tangy bbq sauce and vinegar. I ate it up so fast, I didn't realize I hadn't photographed it until all that was left was my empty plate.

The lunch counter also serves exotic burgers... sounds odd. Teally they don't call them exotic, it just feels that way to me. Buffalo meat burgers or Elk meat burgers are options on their menu, as well as other sandwiches. And then of course, you have freezers of meet cuts and sausages to choose from and take home with you.

I literally salivate every time I drive by Emmons, thinking of the wonderful lunch my parents and I had there. In fact, I'm already planning my return with Scott because Fridays are Sirloin Tip sandwich day, and that does nothing but bring a smile to his face and tummy.

*Emmons closed in January 2014.

11 July 2011

The Original Breakfast - Albany

Business Card image, scanned July 2011

The Original Breakfast is something that I noticed on our first trip to Albany. Whether it is the bright purple exterior that caught my eye or sign that says it it World Famous for being featured on the Food Network, doesn't matter. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, in fact I would dare say... favorite! There are so many facets to breakfast, savory, sweet, liquid. It's tastiness has no bounds! And thus visiting The Original Breakfast became a priority for me from the beginning of my Oregonian experience. When my dad suggested going out to eat on the 4th of July, I was ecstatic to know The Original Breakfast had holiday hours!

Breakfast was excellent! I am a pancake kind of girl, and the pancakes were scrumptious. They had crispy, crunchity edges and I've been racking my brain and wealth of Food Network knowledge to try and figure out how they achieved that. Butter, Paula Dean? And a less dense batter... that's my best guess anyway.

I wish I had taken a picture of their Red, White, and Blue Waffle special. It was there belgian waffle topped with a MOUND of fresh strawberries and blueberries over a cream cheese whipped topping.  It created a stir in the restaurant and was definitely more than festive! They also had some impressive monster biscuits that should  have been documented, but I didn't want to look like a stalker. 

Instead I took this picture of my mother, who now may never pose for another picture by me. Sorry, Mom! Your presence and meal had to be documented.

I tried and tried to find the Food Network episode referred to on their sign (assuming Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives), but even this FN Restaurant Locator didn't have the reference. So we'll just have to take The Original Breakfast's word for it and trust that they are indeed "world famous." You can trust me, though, when I say that their breakfast choices were extensive and delicious. I recommend visiting The Original Breakfast if you are driving up I-5 (or visiting me) and have a hankerin' to break your fast.

08 July 2011

Parents on the Move

I mentioned before that my parents came down to visit me over the weekend. They have officially moved from Sitka, Alaska and are planning on relocating in “the lower 48.” Exactly where they will retire is yet to be determined. Temporarily, at least, they will be spending time in the LA area where grandchildren take precedence. It was so fun to have them in Lebanon, and luckily even though I just started my new job I didn’t have to work for the extent of their visit. Before their move, I kept a running list of things I wanted to do with them in town, and when my dad arrived he noted that most of them (if not all) involved food. Must I remind everyone that indeed my life revolves around my stomach? In any case, they obliged while requesting a couple stops of their own.

My parents wanted to see Corvallis, so I took them on Saturday to the grand Farmer’s Market. We ate fresh local raspberries and wandered through the massive crowds. As we neared the end of the row of booths, my parents realized that they have been in Corvallis before. A year ago while prospecting retirement locations in Central and Southern Oregon and they distinctly remembered the children’s water fountain in downtown Corvallis.

We shopped, and ate (I will post restaurant reviews next week), and ogled over this gorgeous farm home on the market in Lebanon. In fact, to see this home we had to drive just outside Lebanon through rolling hills and farm/ranch land. On the corner of the street where this farm home is located, is a quaint old school house. We couldn’t figure out why it was out in the middle of nowhere and guarded by a barbed wire fence, except that maybe it is pioneer era and they want to preserve it.

Can you see the painted story windows? We had to stop and photograph this historical building. In my mind’s eye I could see the children in their bonnets and suspenders walking through the fields to school.

We ended their stay by celebrating Independence Day with my sweet Relief Society president and her family. They have a country home outside of Lebanon with chickens and lambs. It was fun to celebrate the 4th with a BBQ and pyro-enthralled children.

We had a blast, and I get to see my again parents soon! At the end of this month they are coming back for Western University’s grand opening and Scott’s white coat ceremony. Exciting July!

06 July 2011

My New Cube

I am so excited to be working with the OSU Foundation. The foundation strives to emulate industry best practices, and by any standard they are very successful. So I am excited that I will be learning about non-profit management from the best... and I'm more than giddy to see my name on their cubicle and website directory.

Any ideas or links you may have for cubicle decorations would be appreciated.

I looked around at other cubicles in the building and found that adding color and wall hangings is essential to a peaceful feeling cube.

Luckily I have a head start, because the foundation family gave me  beautiful orange flowers on day one with a gift card to buy Scott and I some Beavers gear. My closet has never held so much orange!

04 July 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I'm lucky to spend the holiday with my parents, who are on the move from Alaska! How are you celebrating?

01 July 2011


Not only am I overwatered since leaving Sacramento, but I have managed to overwater my indoor orchid.

Note to self: excessive watering of an orchid plant may result in small mushroom looking fungi growing from the orchid pot.

As I have no knowledge of the care for orchids I took my plant to the nearest orchid genius. Harry, of Chula Orchids, happens to live just outside of town and he has 50 years of experience with these species. When I got to the location indicated on the website, there was no retail space. It was Harry's home. Somehow I was not very shy, though. Maybe it had something to do with the orchid mushrooms? He was gracious enough to tell me how to treat my plant. Two ounces of Clorox per gallon of water will help kill the fungus and wont hurt the plant, but he said my potting mixture was too soil-y. He told me to get some fir bark so that the orchid could breath better.

Orchids aren't used to receiving too much moisture, said Harry. Naturally, orchids grow by attaching their roots to a rainforest limb and are eventually covered with a layer of moss. The moss collects some moisture to give the plant sustenance, but the orchid doesn't need much. He told me that I need to let it dry out almost completely before watering it again. I thought I had... but apparently the visible area of dry space is deceiving. The orchid still retains moisture in the middle of the pot. Harry was impressed with my orchid's flower spike. So I must be doing something right.

As I traveled back downtown, I happened upon Central Bark. I walked into the office and asked if they sold small quantities of fir bark. They were more than willing to accommodate! I bought three small containers-worth of fir bark from their piles out front for $1! Way better for the plant than the Miracle Grow orchid mix I had bought at Home Depot, and less expensive too!

As I was leaving, the staff there asked if I had come all the way from Utah to buy their bark!

I had to laugh! That's probably a good hint that I need to think about changing my plates soon. The staff at Central Bark made sure to tell me to come back any time, especially since the drive isn't too far.