Friday, February 29, 2008

Maybe it’s not beginner’s luck

My Pacrats ski racing team has ended up doing pretty well this season. With three races down and two to go, we’ve now moved into 1st Place in the league!!!

I’m happy to say that as a first timer my contribution has not been inconsequential. I placed 4th in Race #2 and they moved me up to the next faster class for Race #3. I somehow managed to finish 3rd even in the faster class of racers.

With two races to go this season, we’ll see if we can hold onto it.
Go Rut-Riders!

Climb On

I applied for the Mazamas Advanced Rock course in January, and just received word this week that I passed the skills test and have been accepted to the program! This is a very comprehensive course intended to develop competency in leading 5th class rock using the traditional form of climbing - placing protection.

The class will involve climbing almost every Saturday in April, and almost every Saturday and Sunday in May and June, plus about 10 weekday evening lectures.

I’m excited to have this opportunity to further develop my climbing skills, but the next couple of months are going to be very busy!


My friend, Kim, is celebrating her birthday today. It doesn't happen often, so it's a very special day! YAY!

-Liz :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

All done!

Our taxes were a team effort this year. Brad did the federal, I did the state, he checked both and I filled out the PDF files on the computer. The forms await his signature, then they can go to their respective department of revenue offices. Hopefully our refunds will be direct deposited soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cape Horn

Jacob and Lindsey joined us Saturday for a rare warm, dry, sunny February hike in the Columbia River Gorge. We chose Cape Horn, a trail that I hiked last May with my dad. It was new to the others.

The wind was wicked on the exposed spots, but the sheltered areas were toasty warm.

The trail was much different than on my last trip. The waist-high wildflowers and the snails were absent. Instead, we saw patches of snow in the shade! It was a gorgeous day and a fun hike. We're anxious to return when the plants come to life.

Not a trail for those afraid of heights:
Time for snacks:
This would have felt great on a really hot day:
Lindsey braves the over-hanging rock:
Even in the winter, this trail was beautiful:
Don't you think a chainsaw would have been easier than building a bridge over the fallen tree??
-Liz :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Evan Almighty

We heard some bad reviews about "Evan Almighty," in which God (Morgan Freeman) tells freshman Rep. Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark. But since we have Hollywood Video's MVP rentals ($14.99 a month for all the rentals we want!), we went ahead and picked it up.

With low expectations, we put in the DVD and started to watch. We were laughing within minutes. The Biblical message started good, but we worried that strange Hollywood theology would soon take over. We were surprised all the way around: The movie was fairly funny, and the theology stayed on track.

Certainly, it's no movie-of-the-year candidate, but for a silly, clean, family movie good for a few laughs, it's a winner!

-Liz :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Well, I've just completed Week Two in my training for the Tilikum 10K. It's felt pretty good, and the weather has been very cooperative. I hope my legs and lungs continue cooperating, as well :)

Six weeks to go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Time to catch up

There are lots of things that I don't miss about my nine-year stint at KOIN. But there are some things I miss a lot... like my good friends. I met up with one of my favorite buddies today for lunch.
Tim filled me in on all the office gossip, as well as the great stuff going on in his life. It was so nice to reconnect after 8 months. (And thanks for the YUMMY salmon at Tom's Bento, Tim!) He plans to join us on our 2008 Mount St. Helens adventure. Hopefully we'll see each other again before that September date.

-Liz :)

Group shot

Here's the group shot from our little college reunion earlier this month. Hopefully we'll see these guys again before another 10 years pass.
-Liz :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The lunar eclipse happened right outside our front window last night! I ran onto the porch a couple times to capture the event on camera. Surprisingly, my little Cannon PowerShot A85 (with tripod) did pretty well. I wasn't really expecting to see anything, but here it is!
-Liz :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spring nears

It may still be winter, but my garden is showing signs of the coming springtime. First up - the yellow crocus in my front yard and the little daisies in my eco-lawn.
For a real treat, check out my friend's photos of his crocus. Breathtaking!
-Liz :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

First Presidents' Day off

What does a newly retired softball coach do on the first day of Spring Training? Or not.
How about ice cream instead?!
It's hard to put down the clipboard after 20+ years of coaching, but a beautiful day at the beach with your kids isn't so bad.

-Liz :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Irish sign

My aunt, Kari, just returned from Ireland. She took some amazing photos, but this is my favorite!

-Liz :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sweet treats

I made some fun Valentine's Day treats this week. The cupcakes came from a box, but I added red food coloring to jazz them up. They were treats for my handbell choir. The sugar cookies were also from a mix, again with coloring added for fun. My mom's students will get to chow down on them later today.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!!
-Liz :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let the training begin

A year ago, several of us trained for the Tilikum 10K run, which raises money for needy kids to go to camp. Brad, Tim, Eryn and I tackled the longer run while Laura, Sarah and Ursa stuck with the 5K option.

Here we are before the run at Champoeg:
Brad nearing the finish line:
My turn:
And here's Eryn!
Yay! We all made it:
Well, it's that time again, and that means lots of training for me. I've used The Beginning Runner's Handbook in the past, and I started up again last night with a 48-minute run/walk. My mom has also been doing the program and might try the 5K run this year - if her knee allows it.

Anyone want to join us?

-Liz :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

What a weekend!

We had a terrific weekend filled with friends and fun!

It started Thursday evening with Kim, Emilie, Janna, Quincy and Chance came over for homemade pizza. Kim and her baby girl were in town from California for our 10-year college reunion. Brad and I were heading out on a mountain retreat planned before we knew the reunion dates, so we got together early to catch up. The house was full of energy with three little ones running (literally) around!
Jamie and Scott were in from Idaho, so we all met again for lunch Friday at Davidson's. (Someone else got the group shot on this one. Hopefully I can add it later) We hadn't seen Jamie since college, and it was great to hear all about her crazy life!

Right after lunch, Brad and I jumped in the already-loaded mountain car and drove to Black Butte Ranch near Sisters, Ore. It was so relaxing to get away and hang out with friends. We had a great time playing games, eating lots, snowshoeing, hot tubbing and laughing. The adults-with-no-kids shared the game room upstairs. For Brad and me, that meant bunk beds in a closet! We got good sleep but also got good laughs when other couples were talking about not being able to find their spouses in their KING-SIZED beds!
Saturday was warm, calm and clear, so we went on a short snowshoe/cross-country trip around the ranch. We got lost a couple times but eventually found our way to the meadow, where we had an amazing view of several surrounding mountains. It was Sarah's first snowshoe adventure - yay!

Now I'm avoiding my post-vacation chores. I really should get back to those :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Potato and ham steak soup

An ad for Cook's Ham caught my eye in a magazine. It was an easy recipe for potato and ham steak soup. Since I had a chunk of ham left from an earlier meal, I decided to go for it.

As usual, I mostly followed the recipe. But I didn't peel the potatoes and I used non-fat milk because that's what I had. I also doubled the chicken broth because there wasn't enough in the pot to boil the veggies.

This was a very quick and simple soup recipe that had a lot of good flavor. I don't know that I would make it again just because I already have a favorite. But it wasn't a wasted effort. I liked the thickness and may try the same technique next time I make my usual.

-Liz :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Racers Ready! 3...2...1

When my coworker Bruce sent out an invitation to join the FLIR ski racing team it didn't take much arm-twisting to convince me to give it a shot. The added incentive of free food and discounted lift tickets proved too tempting to resist.

Bruce is the race director for
PACRATS, a local recreational racing league made up of teams representing various local ski clubs. There are five dual slalom style races over the course of the season. Participants are grouped into classes from beginning to elite according to a handicap system based on past performance.

I haven't had much experience racing. I'd run gates maybe ten times prior to this season just for fun, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With two races out of the way now I'm starting to get into it. I still have no idea what I'm doing, but it's fun to try and go fast. So far, my team of ten has earned 61 points - 18 are mine! I'm chalking it up to beginner's luck.

Me and a few of my teammates from team "Rut-Riders"

Cheesy yummy

I love fondue! Cheese is my favorite food group, and when you melt some and dip stuff in it, I'm just about in Heaven. So when our friends started discussing a fondue party, I got VERY excited!

Someone decided it should be a formal affair, so on Jan. 26, we all put on our nicest duds (leftover bridesmaid dresses and cruise wear) and gathered at Aaron and Irene's new house for the Fondue Formal.

The first course included several cheesy options and a tomato sauce - and tons of bread, veggie and meat dippers. My fav was an excellent garlic cream cheese sauce. Then came the desserts! There was a rum sauce, a butterscotch, a chocolate and a peanut butter. Brownie bites dipped in Eryn's peanut butter sauce were AWESOME! It was so good that she made it again for my Super Bowl party.

I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures, but other folks were kind enough to share. Everyone looked fabulous, and we had a wonderful time! I think it should be a new New Year's tradition.

-Liz :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

It's OK to be jealous

What's my favorite thing in the world? A house full of awesome friends having good treats and lots of fun! Another favorite? An exciting, nail-bitter football game (especially when my team wins!).

We got all that today with our annual Super Bowl party. I truly didn't care who won, but I picked the Giants during the opening plays so I'd have someone to root for - good choice! So I had all my favorite people at my house (a lot of them, at least) for a great game. YAY!

AND, we just got a tuner for our HD projector, so we watched the whole thing in perfect clarity on our giant screen:

Plus, since I'm the football fan and Brad really couldn't care less, he took over the hostess duties and let me enjoy the game. (I know, he's a great guy!)

Life is good. (Go Giants!)
-Liz :)

Reward night!

While on a hike on New Year's Day, my family agreed to a fitness challenge to keep us all motivated to work out regularly. We have a shared Google Calendar on which we record our workouts and keep track of each other's progress. We have minimum weekly goals that must be met to partake in the monthly reward.

We all made it, so last night mom, dad, Brad, Eryn and I went out to Thai Orchid and then to our house to watch "Miracle." I'm so proud of everyone for sticking to it and making workouts a prioritiy! Hopefully everyone will complete February's challenge for another fun reward!

-Liz :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mount St. Helens, here we come!

I have just purchased 11 permits to climb Mount St. Helens on Sept. 6. The limited permit sales opened just this morning, and I was ready with my list and credit card! (Some people think I'm CRAZY for planning things so far in advance, but I took a peek at the June dates and the weekends are already booked!)
(last year's view from the crater rim of the dome building inside)

This will be my fourth trip up the decapitated volcano, each time with a different group of cool people. The 2008 team includes: Liz, Brad, Steve, Tim, Christine, Jakob, Kendra, Michael, Wes, Gregg and Gregg's mystery guest.
(last year's giant group)

Anyone who wants to join the fun is welcome to get permits on their own and come along!

Click HERE to read about climbing MSH. I can't wait to hit the trails and start training - YAY!

-Liz :)