Monday, March 31, 2008

Mmmm, tuna-noodley

Recently I resurrected a dish from yester-year and it's become a big hit in this house. So much so, that it's made its way into our weekly rotation. Thought I'd share...and if you've got a casserole, I'd love to hear the recipe. Casseroles are great: easy, cheap, great leftover.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

8 oz egg noodles (we use a bag of the No Yoke Dumplings)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (low sodium, reduced fat - it tastes just fine)
1/2-3/4 cup of milk
2 big handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of tuna, drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion


1/2 roll of Ritz crackers
1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted


Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions and then combine the first six ingredients in a casserole dish. In a small bowl, crush the crackers and then add the butter and cheese. Top the casserole with this mixture. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 25 minutes or so, till it's all bubbly and the top is browned.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Fight for Charlie!

After a rocky start, Adam is coming along really well with his flight training. So much so, that he's flying patterns at the actual airport and not having to go out in the boonies in the test area. Sometimes, I feel like I'm enrolled as well because I flashcard him all the time and I'm learning quite a bit. I had no idea that there was a military alphabet, but I have fun trying to remember it. Anywho, now what I look forward to when he walks in the door is how it went in the fight for Charlie, pattern, that is.

Charlie pattern is the most popular heli flight pattern at the school. It's popular because you can usually fly it even in iffy weather (for some reason) and the weather hasn't been good for the last couple of weeks. So, if you don't get Charlie - you don't get airborn. Students are only allowed to sign up 15 minutes prior to a flight block and they start lining up way before that, as it's on a first come, first serve basis. Adam has had the 7:30 a.m. flight block all this week and has left the house at 6:00. He's been the first one there all week and of course, he's pretty proud of that. It's kind of turned into a game for him.

He won't tell anyone exactly what time he gets there...Someone asked and he told them 6:25, a whole twenty minutes later than he actually does, because he doesn't want to be beaten there the following day. Additionally, one day this week while "flying" out of the house, he forgot his log book. A huge 'no no' - you have to carry it with you at all times when flying. He figured it out as he was sitting in the lounge waiting to sign up. Of course, the first one there.

So, he decided to leave his backpack there (apparently you can do that) and run to the truck, speed home, speed back and hope people thought he was just in the bathroom. Between the 10 minutes that this took him, a couple of other people trickled in to the school, and when Adam walked back in and sat next to his backpack, eyebrows were raised..."You were here?" one kid asked. "Yeah, bathroom..." Adam said, rubbing his belly.

"Liar! What has Charlie done to you?" I responded when he recounted the story to me. "But, I was there...Amy, it's getting brutal, I gotta do what I gotta do." was his response.

Fair enough. Gotta log those hours.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gorge Games

So, this looks like it could be a pretty good time. We're going to head out to the Gorge and check it out this summer. Anyone want to join us?

BTW, how fun does kiteboarding look?


Does anyone know who the song in this video is by? I love it and want to download it. Maggie and I have been trying to get to the bottom if it. No luck yet. Hoping someone will know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Amy's little dream world (in which she sounds like she's gone off the deep end)

I was pretty emotional yesterday when I wrote my post. In the words of the great Jack Johnson...sometimes it feels like a heart is no place to be singing from at all. I probably should have taken a deep breath before I spewed my thoughts to the Internet.

However, for the most part...I stand by them. I won't step foot in Walmart again. It's not just because of their paltry health care benefits for their employees. And, yes, I know - Universal Health care is not the answer - but jeez, we gotta do something different. It scares me to death that, being on my own, with no company benefits, if I get sick - really sick and can't work and can't pay for my health insurance anymore, then I'm f-ed. That's my reality.

I'm trying my damndest to be a smarter consumer. Maybe it's being around all these dirty hippies in Oregon, I have no idea. But, as I sit here, I'm drinking my stupid fair trade coffee, because I can't bring myself to buy anything else anymore. I may be a total sucker, but I'm buying it.

Anyway, I just feel like we're on the wrong path in this country and the Walmart story is just a symptom of a greater disease. It makes me really sad to know that a lot of people have stopped caring. And instead of sitting around and asking myself what I can do, I'm starting to do little things. I pay a little more for my groceries, I don't buy as much "stuff", I vote for people who I think have the same beliefs I do, I volunteer for organizations that matter to me.

I've got nieces and a nephew who I want to see a better world. I know that's hokey, and I'm sure you're all thinking I'm a little lulu at this point, but I don't care - it's true.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunday evening, we watched an hour-long special about Walmart and their questionable treatment of their employees and suppliers. And we all know that they're taking out the Mom and Pop shops town by town. Here's the thing though...they've got us - because no other company can afford to charge as little as they can for products. Who's going to fault a struggling family of four for trying to get by and in doing so, shop there? Not me.

However, I do have a choice. I'm not rich, but I don't have mouths to feed other than my own and I can afford to shop elsewhere at this point in my life. I was pretty disgusted with that company on Sunday evening, but a story I just read has outraged me and I vow to never step foot in another Walmart.

It's complex. I've struggled with this, because in the past I've looked at it from the employee's perspective...If everyone stopped shopping there, they will be out of a job and of course, I don't want that! I'm sure that there are people who would argue the opposite: that Walmart has saved struggling towns and provided hundreds, thousands of jobs for folks who would otherwise be unemployed. But does that make it OK to charge someone making minimum wage an outrageous amount for their health care coverage? You're telling me, that this corporation can't adjust their bottom line to take care of their own?

How long can I stand by and hear story after story about their inadequate employee health care plan among other things and then continue to walk through those doors and spend my money there? I can't. Please read this story, and if you agree with me, don't shop there.

Maybe if enough of us take a stand, they'll step up.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Quenching the thirst

Adam made us grilled cheese’s for lunch today and while we were eating…

Amy: Can I have a sip of your drink?
Adam: [picks up his can of ginger ale to feel how much he has left, and then puts it down.] Nope. [smiling]
Amy: Why not?
Adam: I ask you at the beginning of every meal if you want a drink and you always say ‘no’, and then in the middle of eating you ask for a sip of my drink, and you drink most of it. It’s annoying.
Amy: Is this your way of teaching me a lesson?
Adam: Yep.
Amy: You’re an ass.

Then, as I got up to get my own ginger ale, I started laughing, because it is so true, not five minutes before, he asked what I wanted to drink with lunch. My response? Nothing.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Make it stop.

In the middle of the night, I heard what I thought was the bass of yet another suped up honda civic. There's lots of those around here. Why do people think it makes them cool to blast their music in their low-rider? Does it make them cool? Maybe I'm the uncool one. Highly likely.

Anyway, I thought I heard another one...parked outside in the middle of the night. The sound was so distinct. Bah bah, BUMP, bah, bah, BUMP. Usually, this can be heard briefly, as the car passes by. But, this time, someone was parked right outside.

"Make it stop." I said to Adam, who then got up to investigate where the car was. He walked around the house, looking out all of the windows and couldn't see the car. But, he heard it too.

Finally, he walks toward the back of the room and starts laughing, quietly. "If I tell you to come and put your ear up to the wall, you have to promise not to bust out laughing and bang on the wall." he whispered.

The culprit was our neighbor (we live in a duplex), snoring. Snoring louder than I've ever heard anyone snore in my life. But, that's what it was, for sure. And it was funny, and I did laugh out loud. Adam gave me the other side of the bed, with the fan and I slept like a champ for the rest of the night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I love me some bluegrass, and boy do I love this

I was disappointed when I learned that Nickel Creek was breaking up, I've always really looked forward to what they were going to come up with next. There's something soothing, to me, about Chris Thile's voice - and that mandolin - wowza. I was however, far from disappointed when I downloaded his newest effort, Punch from the new ensemble, Punch Brothers.

It's simply beautiful.

I recommend that you grab a beer, or a ginger ale, get comfy and spend some time with this album. Only if you want to. I won't make you. I just wanted you to be aware that this album exists, if you weren't.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

High of 53 degrees and a 70% chance of rain

That pretty much sums up the forecast for spring in Oregon. In case you were wondering what you should wear on your visit here. When you come visit me. Really that seems to be what the weather people say every single forecast that I happen to catch.

What I find really funny is that one station even does a check of itself...Like...let's see how I did forecasting the weather yesterday: 53 degrees, check. Rain, check. I'm a genius at my job. Give me a break dude, I could have told you what the weather was going to be today. Do you really deserve a pat on the back? I don't think so.

The weather in Wallagong, Australia was quite lovely yesterday...I can tell you that because I saw it for myself. That's right...All thanks to my handy-dandy webcam. Chia, who is studying abroad this semester, showed me around her apartment which ended with a view off her deck...which I couldn't really see because the sun was so blinding.

Although, I didn't get a peek outside at all the snow they "supposedly" are getting in New England...Suuuure, it's snowing again...I was in Maine over the weekend, attending my niece's 3rd birthday. Thanks, webcam! It was really cool being able to watch her open her presents and eat the cake and it was also funny that she still has no use for Adam, even though he's 3,000 miles away.

Although many of us are living several miles apart, thanks to the webcam it doesn't really feel like it. It makes my heart happy to see everyone. I can't explain it, but it's different than seeing a photo or watching a video...It literally feels like we're in the same room. It's a familiar face when nothing around me is familiar.

If you don't have one, get you one and then I can see for myself the weather where you are - and your smiling face.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Switching it up

"Just out of curiosity, how much would I have to spend on a horse to just do some local shows with?" I asked my riding instructor. I tried really hard not to look shocked when she responded with $20,000-25,000. This got me seriously thinking about my riding goals. I said to myself (in my head, not out loud) Amy, it's time to re-evaluate here.

What's important to me about riding, why do I love it?

*the challenge of riding a horse that's difficult and eventually figuring him out (I say him because I really don't like mares, sorry to all you mares out there)
*it's fun

The thing is - I love Saddlebreds. So, I started doing some research and discovered, really to my surprise, that they do other things than just prance around the show ring. They're a versatile breed - cool! They jump, they do dressage, they're great on trails.

I started talking to one of my friends who has always ridden hunt seat and she had the same reaction to that high price tag. We've always banged heads on our riding styles. Apparently, I can get what I'm looking for without having to take out a loan!

So, I looked around and found a hunter/jumper barn close to my house. My first lesson is next week. THIS is seriously going to be hilarious...Me, going over fences - never thought I'd see the day. And yes, I'll be wearing a helmet.

My new goals?

1. Learn how to do this hunter/jumper stuff on lesson horses for the next couple of years.
2. Find me an awesome Saddlebred to team up with.
3. Have some freaking fun!

If you're interested:

American Saddlebred Sporthorse Association

Harry Callahan, a pretty famous horse outside of the typical Saddlebred showring.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Could it be the devil?

Before moving out west, we did not have cable in our little cabin. We had the rabbit ears going on...and could get three really was enough. Some days, the tv would even come in so good that you could believe you did have cable for a minute.

Well, our little friend, cable, is back in our lives and I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

I'm finding myself staying up late, for sure losing brain cells on shows like My Big Redneck Wedding...Which, for as funny as it is - if you haven't seen it and the opportunity presents itself, I highly advise that you indulge - especially if the bride and groom are Gail and John. Anyway, I can't get that 1/2 hour back.

I wish that cable companies would allow you to choose which channels you wanted...I'd probably only want a few, I'm thinking...the Discovery Channel - I love Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, the Food Network, Animal Planet and maybe one local one for the news. That would be it. Right now, there's just too many choices and it's so tempting to keep flipping, late into the wee hours...Maybe it's time for a little self-restriction on the old tv.
the wisdom's in the trees, not the glass windows - j.j.