Thursday, June 10, 2010

Please Don't Forget Me!

I haven't been visiting my friends in Blogland lately--much to my dismay! And sadly, neither have I been posting anything in my own two blogs. Not that I don't want to. I really miss all of you! And, I have lots to tell you. But either I've slowed down considerably in my old age, or I've heaped way too much on my plate! Actually, it's probably a combination of the two. All I know is that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. So, I've hired one of the girls in my neighborhood to come help me every Saturday for the next three months!

The slightly warmer weather plus the abundance of rain has precipitated prolific weed growth in my flower beds this Spring. It's also encouraged my lawn to grow from 'newly mowed' to 'past my ankles,' in less than 48 hours! OK, so I exaggerate a little, but not by much--as you can see in this photo.

Yes, it's been an unusually rainy Spring, but we hope some positive thoughts, a clean deck/lawn furniture and some potted flowers will attract some warmer, sunnier weather!

One of my neighbors has asked if he can rent half of my two-car garage. The extra income will come in handy, but clearing out half of the stuff in my garage is going to be the 'mother' of all challenges!

Where does all this stuff come from anyway? I just cleaned my garage a year ago, didn't I?

Anyhow, that's why I haven't visited your blogs lately, and why I probably won't be coming around for awhile longer! But, I promise I'll be back. So please don't forget me.


Homestay Mama

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I got tagged!

I got tagged by Katie at Tatersmama's Take on Things in the Photo Tag Challenge. The directions were:

1) Go to your photo files, select the 8th photo folder.
2) Select the 8th photo in that folder.
3) Post that photo along with the story behind it.
4) Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same!
Easy peasy!

Maybe that's "easy peasy" for Katie, but it's downright embarrassing for me! You see, I have photos in my computer that are for my eyes only. Well, I might let very close family members see them. But not the whole world!

Unfortunately, I'm no spring chicken anymore.
The big 7-0 is approaching ever so fast. And it's scary!
That's a hard thing to admit, but I'm admitting it now so you won't judge me too harshly when you see the photo I have to post to meet Katie's challenge!

Please promise you won't laugh, or snicker!

And now the story behind this photo.........

This is my youngest sister and me taken on Labor Day four years ago in her backyard swimming pool. She owns a farm in Oregon. They get more "vitamin D" where she lives than where I live up here in the city of perpetual rain--which is rather obvious from the color of my skin! I am so white, I glow in the dark; I glow in the light. Heck! You'll notice I even glow under water!

Also, be glad, be very glad this isn't a video--because you're spared from seeing buffalo wings in action! (True confessions are so painful!)

But the most painful part? My legs! You won't catch me in skirts. I wear long slacks or jeans all of the time, so it's easy to go days without shaving. Or weeks! Or even m.....
(Dang it, Katie! This is downright mortifying. It ranks right up there with my most embarrassing moment!)

The reason I even donned a swimsuit and jumped into my sister's pool that day was because it was unusually hot for September and it felt so good to cool off. I knew no one would see me except my sister and her daughter. And, I knew they'd still love me, hairy legs and all!

So, now that I have no ounce of self-respect left, I'm going to tag these eight people:

1. Gramma2Many at Yes, They Are All Mine
2. Karyn at CanDarBry Garden
3. Cee at Cee Lew
4. Bridget at Bridget Beaver is in Japan
5. Robynn at Robynn's Ravings
6. Libby at Neas Nuttiness
7. Mountain Woman at Red Pine Mountain
8. Karen at My Funny Dad, Harry

Just follow Katie's "easy peasy" rules above; then cross your fingers and hope your photo isn't as embarrassing as mine!

Crawling into a hole now,


Homestay Mama

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ree's Here!

There just had to be a happier ending to my week. After losing my little Athena on Tuesday and getting the flu on Thursday, I needed some good news! Thankfully I was feeling much better this afternoon, so I got on my computer and started catching up with my blog reading.

Oh. My. Gosh!

Ree's here! In Seattle. She's signing books right now!

It was my chance of a lifetime. But was I well enough to go? I had taken my temperature at noon and it was normal. It was now 5:00 pm. I checked it again--still normal. Good! I figured I couldn't be contagious. Ree was just a couple miles away; I would kick myself forever if I didn't go!

When I arrived, a rainbow hovered over Third Place Books. That was a good sign.
The parking lot hadn't been this full in years!
I went in, bought my book and got my ticket--"J."
Uff-Da! It was going to be a long wait!

Then I saw Ree's daughter and her mother-in-law and asked if I could take their picture. They were both so nice and friendly! And relaxed, too. They were sitting at one of the tables in Third Place Book's Cafe.

Ree's daughter is very tall for her age. It runs in the family, they told me. She is so cute, so mature, so wholesome-looking! She has a famous mother, but she didn't act stuck up in the least. Now that's a real testimony to the great parenting of PW and MM!
MM's mother was so easy to talk to! I could have chatted forever, but I felt that would have been a tad presumptuous and bad-mannered on my part, so I didn't.
MM's Mom's cousin and her husband came up from Tacoma to see their relatives. I should have asked their names, but my mind was so giddy just being there, that I couldn't think rationally! While I was there another young lady at the same table gave me an extra ticket that had been given to her. It was an H! God was looking favorably upon me!
The lines snaked through the book shelves. Some people had waited a very long time.
I don't know who these gals were, but I took their picture anyway. I wasn't sure whether I'd be so lucky later on and took as many pictures as I could. This was a little past 6:00 pm.
I knew I had at least a two-hour wait before it was my turn, so I started to head home. But then I discovered my friend, Gramma2Many and two of her daughters. They had been there since 4:30 pm! They had the letter "I" and were playing Phase 10 to pass their long wait. We chatted awhile, then I went home and started writing my post.

At 8:30 pm I went back. By now it was dark. Gramma2Many and her daughters were still playing Phase 10. I joined them and played a few rounds. And then they called my letter -- H.
My heart started racing! My spirits soared. I was going to meet the Pioneer Woman in person! Ree, the most famous blogger in the world who is young, beautiful, gifted at writing and always composed!

Then to my horror, I discovered I had left my camera card at home in my computer! I raced back home!
When I returned, the I's were in line. The bookstore lady most graciously let me in with the "I" group. I found Gramma2Many and her daughter and joined them in line.
Then it was my turn! It was 10 pm. I felt tongue-tied, but I'm sure I babbled like an idiot. On the other hand, Ree was very composed, gracious and charming! You'd never know she had been smiling and signing for five solid hours! She's an amazing woman and I had the privilege of meeting her! Wow!

What a wonderful blessing at the end of a very hard week!

PW, you're the best! I'm so glad you came to Seattle and that I got to meet you! Today you saw our rain. I am wishing sunshine for you tomorrow--with a view of our beautiful mountains.

Have a wonderful and safe journey.


Homestay Mama

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Athena, 1999 - April 13, 2010

Athena and Mommy, 2001.

Naughty Athena! 2003

Fooled by a Faux Lizard

Spooked by the moving box!' 2004

You don't see me! 2005

Ki-Bum, Hiro and Athena, 2007

Athena and Hyun-Wook, 2007

Contentment, 2008

Athena and Mommy, 2009

Portrait of Athena

Under the Deck - Final Resting Place, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

PW's Cat Photo Assignment

3-15-2010 Sad update--please read the paragraph at the end.

The Pioneer Woman had a cat photo assignment recently and I felt like submitting a photo of my Athena, but when I found out it would require signing up for a Flickr account which in itself required opening/having a yahoo e-mail address, I decided it would be easier to post Athena's picture here! Fewer people will see it, but that's OK with me!

I love this picture of her. Look at those eyes!

I thought you also might like to hear Athena's story. She was born in Washington state (I'm guessing) in the summer of 1999. She had just weaned what was probably her first litter of kittens when she came to live with me. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

My previous cat had been a beautiful Himalayan with the coloring of a Siamese. Puff had the silkiest of fur and the most gorgeous blue eyes. But at 13 years of age, she started getting sick--kidney failure--and I finally had to put her down, which broke my heart! It was December 1999,when one of my homestay students dug a hole for me in the frozen soil under the deck and we laid Puff to rest. I put a paver to mark her grave and when spring came I planted primroses over her grave. Then I vowed I would never own any more pets.

But one day in May of 2000, Barbara, one of my dear friends who lives out in the country about an hour north of me, called and begged me to take a stray cat who had taken over her carport. Putting two and two together, Barbara guessed that someone had gotten this cat as a cute kitten, but when she ended up pregnant, they no longer wanted her and dumped her along side the road. She'd had her kittens in the woods, and then being a smart mother, knew she was going to need to find food for herself in order to sustain her little ones, so she went foraging and found a 'gold mine' in Barbara's carport--a big dish of cat food that she soon commandeered for herself, and a place for a new nest for her kittens where she brought them one by one. Then she posted "keep out" signs around the whole carport and wouldn't let Barbara's cats even come near their own food dishes! What audacity!

"As soon as she weans her kittens, please take her," Barbara begged me. "She is terrorizing my cats and I can't keep her!"

I didn't want another cat, but I couldn't say no to my dear friend. So a few weeks later, one of my homestay students and I went to Barbara's home to pick up this unwanted cat.

"What shall we name her?" I asked him on the way home.

"How about Athena," he said. "I think Athena means the goddess of love."

However, we soon found out that Athena's temperament was anything but loving! She was small for her age, and she was feisty! After looking up her name on the Internet, I found out Athena was the Greek goddess of war! So my Athena had been aptly named after all!

Now fast forward to today. Athena is 11 years old. She is still stubborn, still rules the roost and sometimes drives me crazy! For example, she insists on eating her wet cat food with her right paw (she refuses to eat dry food!). She scoops it out of the dish, and brings it to her mouth. When she's through, she does several quick flicks of the wrist to get the remaining food off her paw, then walks away leaving gravy footprints across the hardwood floor onto the area rug where she finally sits down to clean her paw. There is always a big mess around her dish and little flecks of gravy in a 6 foot radius--on the glass patio doors, on the front of the refrigerator, on the basket holding the potted Chinese money tree, on the bar stools.....

So, last summer I moved her downstairs to my home office just off the back of the garage. It is nice and warm in my office. It has a large window with a sunny southern exposure. She preferred to be upstairs in my bedroom, but she eventually adapted. Now the kitchen stays clean, but my office has become crowded with cat bed, cat toys, litter box, food and water dishes, and of course the perpetual mess around her dish.

So, last week I finally got the brainy idea to have my nephew, Josh, install a cat door in my office door, a high shelf at one end of my office for her bed, and a permanent shelf under the window. I figured that should make both of us happy. She could sleep in her comfy bed up on the shelf, or she could sit by the window and watch the goings on outside. Or, she could exit through the cat door into the garage to eat and poop. Finally, my office would stay clean and Athena's mess would stay in the garage. A win-win solution for sure!

Athena hated the cat door--refused to have anything to do with it! When I tried to teach her to use her head to push the plastic flap open, she braced her paws against the sides of the door and wouldn't budge. So I pushed her through the door into the garage. She ran and hid, and no amount of calling would entice her to come out.

The next day I noticed she was limping. Oh, no! What had I done? Guilt and remorse washed over me like a quick drenching rainstorm. I took her to the vet who examined her but couldn't feel any broken or misplaced bones, so she prescribed a low dose of pain medicine. But when Athena didn't get better and refused to eat for 3 days, I took her back. The vet took x-rays and did blood work. No broken bones, nothing out of joint, her thyroid, kidneys lungs and heart were fine. But there was indication of soft tissue inflammation in her right elbow. The vet ordered complete bed rest. Very little walking, absolutely no jumping and no going outside! She wanted her confined to a cage for two weeks--a soft-sided cage so she wouldn't try to get out--where she had her food, bed and litter box close by.

So that's where she is today--in her hospital bed back in my bedroom so I can keep an eye on her. Athena is happy with this arrangement and she's loving all the pampering. Maybe it's my imagination, but she seems to be milking this for all it's worth!

She's a smart one, my Athena!

UPDATE: Yesterday Athena wouldn't eat or drink anything. She was also walking with even more difficulty. But now it was her right hind leg giving her problems. So back to the vet we went again today. What they were seeing now, they said, was not a soft tissue injury at all. They are pretty sure she has cancer--and it's affecting the nerves on her entire right side--the nerve impulses aren't able to connect between her brain and her leg muscles, so when she tries to walk, the right side won't coordinate/cooperate with her left side. I think it's just a matter of time now. They hydrated her and gave her a steroid injection. That did improve her appetite and she ate a can of food tonight. She's sleeping in her favorite spot in my office right now while I'm on the computer. I'll take her back upstairs to my bedroom when I go to bed. I'm praying that God will take her quickly so she doesn't have to suffer through a lot of pain. My emotions are too raw right now to put her down. But if I sense she is in a lot of pain, I'll have to. As you can imagine, things are kinda hard for me right now!


Homestay Mama

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In the Pink

Pink is popping up everywhere in Seattle this month, and it is beautiful!
It's popping up at the park...

and lining the streets...
It's cascading from branches...
clustering in bushes...
playing hide and seek among the leaves...

and, creeping along the ground...
Pink is popping up in flower beds...
in everyone's yard, but mine! I'm out of touch with my neighbors. My yard is yelllow.
But my kitchen is in the pink!

Enjoying our early spring,


Homestay Mama

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Meeting Lacie

You may remember this photo of my nephew and his wife, Josh and Bridget and my friends, Cheri' and Ron. Josh and Ron remodeled my kitchen several years ago and I wrote about it in this post.

You may also remember this post about Bridget's baby shower.

Well, this week they came back to visit me and I finally got to meet my new little grand-niece, Lacie, who is now nearly seven months old!

Lacie is a real sweetie. She's got a genuine sparkle in her eyes and the cutest of grins! She laughs a lot and cries only a little when she's hungry. What a good baby she is! I think it helps that Bridget is a stay-at-home Mom and that Josh spends a lot of time with Lacie, too.

Josh also did a few handyman jobs around the house for me while they were here this week, and for that I am most grateful!

We had a wonderful visit!



Homestay Mama

Monday, January 25, 2010

Korean Supermarket

When he returned from Christmas break, Tae Woong, my South Korean homestay student, decided he would learn how to cook and make his own meals from now on. I didn't blame him. When you're in a foreign country, the stresses of learning a second language are easier to deal with when you can eat your own comfort food. For South Korean students that is easy to do because a large Korean-American population lives here in the greater Seattle area and there are plenty of Korean food stores to choose from.

So Tae-Woong and I drove to a local Korean supermarket. Now I've been in Korean markets before, but this one is new--and huge! They have everything imaginable, and more!
Dried squid for snacking. (Probably healthier than American potato chips.)

Spicy pepper sauce--a staple in Korean cooking--as in Kim-chi.

A wall of soy sauce--every kind imaginable for the discerning chef.

More dried squid.

Dried seaweed--for wrapping around a spoonful of cooked rice and eating as a side dish to meat.

Dried Korean chi-namul (dried wild aster). You'll not find this vegetable in many, if any, American supermarkets.

Cooked and seasoned dried squid--a snack that is popular when drinking beer.

And alcohol made from rice--both the alcohol and the bottle are white!

Wait a minute! Did you say alcohol? Hmmm, yes, that is a pretty bottle, Tae-Woong, but I'm sorry--no drinking alcohol in my house.

Ah, finally! Here's something I recognize--mochi--it's a Japanese treat! I guess Koreans like mochi, too! (My favorite is mochi with sweet bean paste inside.)

Gourmet 'sticky' rice.

And, of course, the 'Cadilac' of rice cookers!

This one is identical to the one that Ki-Bum and Hyun-Wook's parents bought for me a couple of years ago. We use it all the time! You can use it, too, Tae-Woong.

"OK, Mother, I'm ready to cook. How do I make bi bim bop?"

Bi bim bop? It's a staple Korean dish--best described with a picture. Here's one I got off the Internet. Tae-Woong hasn't actually made bi bim bop yet, but he says he will, soon.

Learning how to cook doesn't happen overnight, you know!

Good Luck, Tae-Woong!


Homestay Mama