Sunday, November 30, 2008


Here's a fun little craft you can do right on-line. Check it out here.

Hectic Holidays - I'm Thankful

We got our lights fixed – yippee!!!

Then we went up on the mountain to get our tree. It was cold, wet and a lot of fun. The kids would have enjoyed it more if it would have been snowy - oh well. It was easy driving.

Then it was MacKenzie's Birthday! Happy Birthday MacKenzie!!!

The holidays are always hectic - I'm thankful for long weekends so we can squeeze everything in.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Murphy's Law - The Christmas Chaos Has Already Begun

Murphy's Law says, "If anything can go wrong, it will." Notice the left-hand side of the lights.

“I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once.” Jennifer Unlimited-

Wouldn’t you know it, my husband and I spent all day getting out the decorations, going through the lights, putting them up. We checked every strand before we started to string them, but . . . as you can see, a section is out. I keep telling myself – people aren’t perfect. Patience…patience…patience… I had a lot of practice at this art of patience, when the kids were little - but that was a long time ago.

“I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” Gloria Steinem-

Marriage and a career – that’s nothing, try adding kids into the equation – especially at the holidays.

We, Moms, want to pretend we’re perfect - at least for our kids - but Christmas is no time to pretend. . . at least when it comes to perfection. ‘Cause, come on, you might as well admit it right now, parents aren’t perfect. Heck, like I said, people aren’t perfect.

(So, tomorrow, we’ll redo the lights.)

And, here's my one helpful holiday site for you. I'm hoping this might help make your holidays a little happier and maybe even run a little smoother: if you're looking for a holiday recipe, just click here. Maybe, with the help of an EZ recipe, you'll be able to pretend you're perfect.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Officially Black Friday

Today is officially Black Friday. The Day after Thanksgiving is always the biggest shopping day of the year. And my daughter and I will be out in the throng. We will definitely be buying books and a few other things.

But yesterday was Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for. I had all my kids home with me and we had a wonderful day.

First my husband and I got up early and took the dogs for a walk. Then we came home and did some meal prep. After that, Jake, Luke, Kara, MacKenzie, Lars and I all went to the movies. The Boys watched Quantum of Solace, which is the 22nd James Bond film. We, girls, went and watched Twilight. It was the second time for me. But I sure enjoyed it.

We came home and had a wonderful dinner together and my brother, Steve, stopped by for a bit. A very nice evening, a very nice holiday. So much to be thankful for. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ANSWER to Thought for Thursday

ANSWER: The Autumn of 1621. Read more about it and watch a slide show here.



(I'm going to post the answer this afternoon - at 3:00 p.m.)

Hope you have a Happy Turkey Day!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Trip to the Library - Stocking Up on Books

My husband and I ran down to the library to stock up on books for the long holiday weekend. The Multnomah County Library has a Tree Growing in It!

The Beverly Cleary Children's Library has a brass tree sitting in the center of the room. It has all sorts of things carved into the tree and children come and rub the animals' faces. The more an animal is rubbed, the more he shines. It's a beautiful sight to see.

What a wonderful way to spend a holiday weekend: reading.

And, now on to more serious holiday subjects. It's time to talk turkey. If you need help calculating how long to cook your Thanksgiving bird, just click on the upcoming link and then scroll down the page to the "calculator" and this little helpful link will give you your exact Turkey Time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Go Green this Holiday Scene - Sustainable Thanksgiving Ideas

This holiday have a Sustainable Thanksgiving.

• Decorate using items found in your yard. Make a centerpiece out of pinecones, popcorn, cranberries, leaves and branches.
• Buy local produce, meat and fruit – if possible.
• Go green when you clean. We all may be doing a little extra cleaning up around the house. Why not try a few organic cleansers. Check out these ideas here.
• Compost your leftovers, or even spread a little peanut butter on left over corn on the cob and roll it in bird seed or sunflower seeds and put it outside for the birds.
• Turn off your t.v. and take a hike, go to a local park, or ride your bike. You’ll save energy and burn a few extra calories before the big meal.

And Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twilight the movie - My own review

I've read all the books by Stephanie Meyer in the Twilight series. I loved them all - so maybe I'm a bit biased.

However, I did not expect to love the movie like the books. So when I went to see Twilight the movie with a girlfriend from my bookclub, it was with no preconceived expectations.

Actually, to be honest, I thought I wouldn't really enjoy it too much. Was I ever wrong.

From the trailers, I thought that Jacob would look about 12 years old, not much of an arch enemy for Edward. However, in the film, Jacob was much better than I'd expected.

The only thing I really didn't like was Dr. Cullen. He wasn't what I'd expected, he wasn't what I'd hoped for, he just wasn't...

And, the makeup was over the top and could have been thought of as campy - by someone - but not by me. The vampires from the Cullen family were more "white" than pale, which I thought was a mistake. However, I loved little perky Alice - she was perfect.

And Edward was much better than I'd expected. The movie was a lot better, all around, and a lot of fun for a girls' day out.

I might even see it again - with my daughter.

So what did you think of the movie?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Laurelhurst Park in Portland Oregon

There are so many parks in Portland - it's unbelievable. Within walking distance of my home is Mt. Tabor Park, Laurelhurst Park, Normandale Park and probably a few others.

Last Saturday was such a beautiful day we decided to take the dogs to the park to play.

Here are a few photos from our walk.

Friday, November 21, 2008


ANSWER TO THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY: R.S.V.P. comes from the French expression "répondez s'il vous plaît", meaning "please respond". And etiquette requires that you send your regrets, if you won't be attending. You are supposed to respond one way or another.


Portland State University envisions city as its green lab. Read all about it here.

PSU plans to use a $25 million donation over ten years to become a leader in sustainability. How cool is it to get a $25 million donation and what an earth-friendly thing to do with the money.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY - A Question of Etiquette

QUESTION: What does R.S.V.P. mean? And, if it is written on an invitation, are you supposed to respond even if you aren't coming to the event?

I guess you got two questions - for the price of one - and FREE is a very good price.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NaNo WriMO- Portland Center Stage Offering a Reward

If you are involved in the Nano WriMo and coming to Portland, Oregon for the holidays, you should click on this link: here.

Who wouldn't want a family four-pack of tickets to Dickens A Christmas Carol?

I think it is wonderful of Portland Center Stage to reward writers for staying on task.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I sat down a few weeks ago to watch a show with my husband and daughter, which is a rare occurrence in my house. Usually, I’m reading a book or writing. Anyway, we were watching True Blood on HBO, when I got a little uncomfortable. I mean I turned to my 20 year-old daughter and said, “Can they do that on T.V.?”

She shook her head, like I must be an alien pod person, and said, “It’s HBO.”

I said, “Yeah, but can they do THAT on t.v.?”

She looked at me like I’ve been living in a cave or something and groaned, “Duh. They can do whatever they want.”

So anyway, I’ve been enjoying the series but a friend told me the books are even better. So I ran out to my local Borders and bought Dead Until Dark.

It’s a quick read at 292 pages. And I read the entire book on my airplane ride from North Caroline to Portland, Oregon.

So, you can grab this story and finish it in no time. And, to be honest, I liked the story better in the book than on t.v. Not that the actors aren’t all gorgeous on HBO but Sookie Stackhouse comes across as a smarter character in the book – at least to me. And, Bill Compton seems stronger in the novel than in Hollywood.

This isn’t a Twilight experience even though it has romance and is a vampire novel. It’s more complicated in some ways.

In Dead Until Dark the vampires have “Come Out of the Closet” and are living amongst the humans. They drink synthetic blood – or at least the ones who are “mainstreaming” and trying to live their lives without sucking off the humans around them. Plus, there are more characters with special abilities than were found in Stephanie Meyer’s books. Sam is a shapeshifter and Sookie is a clairvoyant and – I have a feeling – there’s more to it than that.

VB (Vampire Bill) and Sookie seem like star-crossed lovers. They both are unique and drawn to each other. But, VB isn’t all good. He’s got one wicked temper when pushed too far. And, with super human strength, a bad temper is a real BAD thing.

I just bought the second book in the series, Living Dead in Dallas, and I’ll update you all after I read that story.

But, if you like a quick story that keeps you turning the pages, Dead Until Dark is a fun book to pick up. And if you don’t have time for a quick story, you can always turn on the t.v. and watch the HBO show. But, remember, the books are better.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wedding Photo Challenge

challenged writers to post their wedding picture on-line. Brenda posted her photo here. Kelly posted her picture here.

3 kids, 3 dogs, numerous pets and homes later, my husband, Lars, and I have been married for more than 25 years. It's hard to believe that the years have gone so fast.

Do you remember taffeta dresses? These are horrible!!! But at least they make me look thinner ;-) There's always a silver lining.

The wedding party is my sister Brook, my sister Tammy, Linda, Andrea and my niece Shawna. On the men's side is Skip (Dan), my husband's brothers and my nephew Michael.

We were married at Crystal Lake Church, which was also called the Little Church in the Woods. Our marriage has lasted longer than the church. The Little Church in the Woods isn't there any more.

It was a beautiful setting but no one told us there was going to be a parade the day of our wedding, which blocked off all the roads to the church. My aunt and uncle couldn't make it and some of our friends never got to the church. But, luckily, the reception was on-site so by the time the reception was over - so was the parade.

Maybe some people might have gotten upset - I didn't even notice. I was just so happy to finally be Mrs. Kasch.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Craaa-zzz BizzzzEEE Day - TGIF

It was a busy day at work.

After work, I rushed off to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Then, I hurried from that celebration to The Lucky Labrador to catch up with Kidlitosphere blogging conference attendees. It was a quick reunion - my son Jake stopped on the way home from work with me.

I ran home picked up my daughter and drove to a friend's party in Vancouver, Washington.

It was a fun - but busy - night. How'd you spend the evening?

Friday, November 14, 2008


ANSWER TO THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY: There's something rotten in the State of Denmark. It was Hamlet's story, set in Elsinore, Denmark. Read more about it here.

This is the moat surrounding the castle:

And, now, for Earth-Friendly Friday.

We writers all use computers made of plastics but is that the best option available? Not any more. Bamboo laptops are earth-friendly. Read more about them here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Buy Books for the Holidays

Need a

Buy some:

Who wouldn't want a good read on a dark and stormy night?

It's winter: wet, cold and time to curl up inside a cozy chair. So, pull the blanket up around your chin and read, read, read.

Jen Robinson has a post about this very subject. Read it here.

And, if we still haven't convinced you, read this post here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Humor from the Pacific Northwest

We know you are from the Pacific Northwest if...

1. You know the state flower (Mildew)

2. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.

3. Use the statement 'sun break' and know what it means.

4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.

5. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.

6. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.

7. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the 'Walk' Signal.

8. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, it is
not a real mountain.

9. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and

10. You know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Salmon.

11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima,
and Willamette.

12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.

13. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food.

14. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark- while
only working eight-hour days.

15. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.

16. You are not fazed by 'Today's forecast: showers followed by rain,' and
'Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers.'

17. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation.

18. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.

19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through
the cloud cover.

20. You notice, 'The mountain is out' when it is a pretty day and you can
actually see it.

21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still
wear your hiking boots and parka.

22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.

23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.

24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.

25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones
after such a long time.

26. You measure distance in hours.

27. You often switch from 'heat' to 'a/c' in the same day.

28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.

29. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining
(Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk Season (Fall).

Monday, November 10, 2008


Okay, Rebecca is a classic and I’ve even seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie – maybe 30 years ago. This mystery-movie was filled with shadowy suspense and intrigue; however, the book is an entirely different beast.

Du Maurier fills the story with beautiful settings, scenes and thoughtful reflections but, for me, it was rather slow. I actually had trouble getting through the entire story.

I was half-way through the book when my book club met to discuss it – and I can usually read a book in a day or two. But, nowadays, life competes with my reading time so the story has to be quick-paced to keep my attention.

Maybe I’m a little ADHD – but Rebecca would not be on MY list of “must reads”. I know there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with me because, like I said, after all, it is a classic and the book that du Maurier is most known for.

I'm not saying anything to knock Daphne du Maurier. She is a beautiful wordsmith and able to get the reader “into” the story but, for me, it was just too slow.

Another odd thing about this book is that du Maurier never names the main character. It's not until after she marries Maxim that she becomes Mrs. de Winter but she is always overshadowed by his first wife: the beautiful Rebecca – so much so that she never has a name of her own.

By the time the second Mrs. De Winter (the unnamed MC of this book) comes down the stairs for the ball, I knew what she’d be wearing and what would happen – so no surprise there. And, by the time Maxim revealed the truth to her, I knew what he was going to say – so no suspense or mystery there for me either. And, without Hitchcock’s wonderful cinematography, I found the book lacking.

Maybe in the late summer of 1937, when Daphne started to write Rebecca, life moved at a slower pace and weaving words in a wonderful mesmerizing way was enough for most readers but, like I said before, it was too slow for me and I found my mind wandering away from the story.

But, if you are looking for a quiet, slow, literary read of an old classic, perhaps Rebecca is just the book for you. And, the last third of the book IS interesting - especially if you've stuck with it to get here.

Here is one more review, in case you want a second opinion.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


This was a great first conference! I've been in North Carolina at the Write2Ignite conference in Indian Trails.

So many friendly people were willing to share their advice, tips, hints and even a meal or two:

Jonathan Firesen, Author of Jerk, California, Suzanne Hadley, Editor of Clubhouse Jr., Nancy Lohr, Acquisitions Editor of JourneyForth Books and so many more.

Here are some fun photos from the event.

These are the organizers of the First Ever Write2Ignite Conference: Samantha Bell, Jean Hall and Dr. Gail Hayes:

Sandra Epps is the founder of Sandy's Land a publishing house and children's entertainment services.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Silliness - Start the Day with a Little Humor

Okay, the week is over and we all need a little rest and relaxation. So, why not start the weekend out with a little humor. Here have a few language laughs - on the internet.

Friday, November 7, 2008


ANSWER TO THOUGHT FOR THURSDAY: According to everything I've read, the Advent Calendars originated in Germany. You can read more about them here.


I was shopping this past weekend with my gf, Des. And when we both bought some items, she told the clerk, "No thanks. I don't need a bag." And then she took the socks off the itty-bitty hanger and handed it back to the cashier.

I asked her what she was doing. She said, "I'd just throw it away and they can reuse it."

I never even thought about that. Des is sooo smart.

So, next time you're out shopping, don't get a bag and hand back any reusable packaging to the clerk. It will leave more room in your garbage can and help save resources at the same time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


QUESTION: Where did the Advent Calendar originate?

With the holidays sneaking up on us, I thought it would be fun to start thinking about upcoming traditions and how they got started, and when.

So take a guess.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Writing Wednesday

So many people are involved in the writing Nano challenge - trying to write 50,000 words in a month. YIKES!! I didn't join in this year - maybe next year, when I'm older, wiser, and - hopefully - a better writer.

Agent Rachelle Gardner did a post on the process of getting published, you can read it here.

But both of these things made me start thinking about the writing/publishing industry and how hard it can be to navigate the writing waters.

I have a couple of manuscripts I'm hoping to get published and the only thing I can say about this industry, at least for me, is:
Waiting is the Hardest Part.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Tonight we begin a new era!!!

Ello is right!!!

Starbucks Gets in Trouble for Doing a Good Thing

I think it is so sad that "no good deed goes unpunished." I mean, come on folks, we all know what the intent of the law was. No one wants people to bribe people for votes - but the intention was to keep people from being paid to vote for a particular candidate or ballot measure not to punish people for saying, "Good job" for having already voted.

There is common sense and then there is . . . I don't even know what to call it when people complain for getting free coffee. What is the world coming to?

Here's the article that sent me on my rant:

Authorities Eye Voter Perks
By Frank Ahrens

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 12:27 PM

Businesses that hope to reward voters today for exercising their patriotic right might be committing a felony.

A number of companies, including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's and California Tortilla, said they would give out free food and sweets today to customers displaying an "I Voted" sticker.

But such freebies might be a violation of election laws -- they could be viewed as bribes even after a vote has been cast.

Leave it to the law to spoil all the fun.

In Georgia, the secretary of state's office issued a statement yesterday reading: "Businesses are free to offer 'Election Day' specials or sales for all of its customers, but gifts, incentives or specials just for voters is prohibited under this provision."
Which is good news for the cheap, hungry and disenfranchised of the Peach State.

To comply with similar election laws nationwide, businesses have devised a work-around.

For instance, Krispy Kreme has tied its voting promotion to its famous "Hot Doughnuts Now" signs that glow in store windows when the circular treats roll off the assembly line, freshly bathed in warm glaze.

“Anyone who visits a participating Krispy Kreme shop today and simply mentions our 'Hot Vote Now' promotion will get a free doughnut," company spokesman Brian Little wrote in an e-mail today. "No one is required to show an 'I Voted' sticker." The stores in Alexandria and the District's Dupont Circle locations are participating in the promotion today.

Ben & Jerry's said it would give away a free scoop of ice cream from 5 to 8 p.m. today to customers displaying the sticker, but then learned about the law.

"Originally, we planned to give free scoops away just to those who voted," said Walt Freese, chief euphoria officer of the wacky Vermont ice cream maker. "We found out afterwards that certain laws may not allow it. So instead we're celebrating our election with a national party," he said.

At Starbucks, which promised a free "tall" coffee today to anyone displaying the "I Voted" sticker, free joe now flows for all, voter and non-voter alike.

"To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee," Starbucks spokeswoman Diana Fullerton wrote in an e-mail. "We're pleased to honor our commitment to communities on this important election day."

So today's lesson is: Vote or don't vote -- either way you get free food. Probably not quite the message the companies had hoped to impart.

A Day at the Beach - Lincoln City

Lars and I spent the weekend with Bob, Des, Angie and Jack at their beach house, which has a beautiful view of the ocean.

Lars and I drove down to the beach on Saturday, right after Kara's team had their first home game.

Sunday afternoon we all drove down to the beach access, which was about five minutes from the house.

See, here in Oregon, the ocean and beach are public property.

No one can own the beach. That is just one of the reasons why living on the West Coast is soooo wonderful.

Anyone can visit the ocean and enjoy it. You don't have to be rich to walk along the sandy beaches. So we did.

But that was just part of the fun.

Angie and I did some bead work Sunday afternoon. Together we designed a pair of earrings and then Angie designed a pair all by herself, too.

Des turned the designs into earrings, which they gave to me as a gift.

Then we ate chocolate covered bananas, which Angie made for us as a treat.

We (Des and I) also worked on some of our knitting.

Des made this beautiful Scotty bag by knitting the material and then felting it. She said it would be easy to hide any mistakes with felting - not that she needed to hide anything - I'm sure all of her projects have been perfect. But, I'm going to have to try that felting.

Des made three beautiful bags. And, it looks like a fun project to try.

Coming home, along Highway 101, we saw the most beautiful trees and fall colors - it was peaceful, relaxing and a wonderful weekend. Even if we were, like Kara clarified for me, first losers.

That's what she calls coming in Second Place - at Trivial Pursuit.

Monday, November 3, 2008

WHY We Should Vote

Here's one reason:

And Here are a bunch more reasons put together by Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray blog:

Mr. Bill's Traveling Trivia Show

Saturday night, November 1st, my husband and I - along with some friends - went to Mr. Bill's Traveling Trivia Show in Newport, Oregon.

Bob, Des, Paul, Kathy, Lars and I went to play this team Trivial Pursuit at the Rogue Ale Pub. We played under the team name of Chuck's Brother and the Dweebs (that's there for Bob - who just happens to be Chuck's brother).

It was a lot of fun and I think we were tied for 2nd place - with a couple other teams. Some of the questions were super hard but people managed to get them (all 18 of them) correct - I have no idea how they did it. Jealous of those brainiacs.

And, I'm not saying they were looking up their answers on their Blackberry or anything - but don't think the thought didn't cross my mind. It's just that I don't think it would be fun to Win if I wasn't playing fair.

Remember, I never made any accusations - just saying the idea popped into my own head - but then I'm waaaay too competitive.

Anyway, back to the fun and games.

Mr. Bill asks the questions, three at a time, and each team writes down their answers then turns them in to the scorekeeper. Most teams compete for the fun of it - but like I said, I was playing for the prizes.

We even won one $7.00 off coupon. And some people won t-shirts, hats and other prizes.

I'd never done this Traveling Trivia before but I would definitely do it again - even if I am a DWEEB.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Learning to Knit, Knitting Circles

I'm hoping to know how to knit sweaters by the time I have grandkids.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Portland, Oregon in the Fall

Portland, Oregon (the home of Powell's Books) is one of the prettiest places in the Pacific Northwest. Of course we tell people it rains all the time - to keep them from moving here ;-)

Actually, it rains in Seattle a whole lot more. Plus, Seattle seems to always have gray clouds hanging over head. And, I love Seattle.

But Portland is only an hour from the Mountains and some amazing winter sports. Mt. Hood is about 50 minutes away and offers so many ski resorts I couldn't name them all. But a few of the best known are Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Meadows and Ski Bowl.

Then travel an hour and a half the other direction and you'll be at the ocean.

Still, it's about two hours to the high desert, and we live smack dab in the middle of the valley.

Oh, and the Gorge, is right down the road, (hwy 84), which offers some of the best windsurfing in the world.

And Portland is the home to Forest Park, which covers over 5000 acres and is the largest city park in the country.

Only about 5 minutes from downtown Portland, Forest Park offers a 40-mile loop trail system.

And then there is still Washington Park and the Rose Gardens to see and the Japanese Gardens, and . . . there is just too much to cover it all in one blog post.

With all this to offer, it couldn't be any prettier. Plus, a river runs through it.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Just look at these photos, which I took from inside my office.