Monday, June 29, 2009


(CE)2 has adopted a highway: Highway 99W from McDonald to Highway 217 in Tigard. Our first trash pickup was today, and since school's out for the summer, just five of us were there to clean the entire 2-mile stretch (4 miles, really, since we scour both sides of the road). Fortunately, my mom also helped for a couple hours (and scored our group free Frappucinos!)

For 6.5 hours, my group donned brightly colored reflective vests and picked up tiny pieces of trash, including more cigarette butts than I could ever count. If you're one who chucks your butts out the car window or drops them on the sidewalk before boarding a bus, please reconsider. Seriously. It's rude and disgusting, and, contrary to popular belief, it really is littering. Two (CE)2ers picking up trash today are smokers. They each vowed to never again flick their butts. YAY!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I am shocked by the news of Michael Jackson's death.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

30.25 miles!

After months of thinking and planning, we finally did it... Solstice Stupidity! We hiked the entire Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park... 30.25 miles!
The event started Friday night with a sleepover at our house. Tim, Laura, Jacob, Lindsey, Brad, Eryn, Joyce, Sarah and I spent the night laughing, eating, disbelieving and a little sleeping. We were up at 3 a.m. to get nine people dressed, fed and ready to leave by 4 a.m. This is what it looks like in our driveway at 4: After dropping a car at the end of the trail, we parked at the Hoyt Arboretum, booted up and walked to the start. We snapped a couple photos and hit the Wildwood together at 5:40 a.m. Our first organized stop was at 53rd, about 9 miles in. Laura's parents were there, car loaded with bags we'd each packed with food and clothes. It was nice to get off my feet.

We naturally split into two groups, the faster maintaining 3+ mph. We felt great, chatting, listening to iPods and hiking in silence for another 10 miles. Mostly, we had the trail to ourselves. But we passed some runners and a few people with obnoxious dogs. At one point, someone said, "Good morning!" I looked at my watch and it was only 9:30 a.m. or something. WOW. It sure didn't still feel like morning!

Around mile 20, I think we each started feeling some pain. But we were still going strong, especially knowing that another rest stop was just ahead at 25. Brad's parents were waiting at Germantown Road with more bags full of our clean, dry socks and food. Donna brought us homemade monster cookies - the best cookies I've ever eaten... ever. Jacob let some of the pressure off his feet. Brad's folks picked up Laura about milepost 19 after she decided to give in to nagging knee pain. At the rest stop, we waited for the others to catch up so we could all finish together. When asked if she wanted to finish, "HECK, NO!" was Eryn's response. She was more than pleased with her 25 miles.

The rest of us got back up and pressed on to finish what we started. (Eryn and Laura returned home, showered and napped while we hiked!)

We slowed considerably, with each step getting more painful. With hindsight, some of us decided that our last stop was way too long and let our bodies cool down too much. We stiffened, and the pain set in. Still, we kept going.
Quarter-mile markers dot the entire trail. You can't imagine the relief when we spotted this one:
Just a short while later, at 6:40 p.m., we hit the end!! Tim snapped this wonderful photo of our sheer exhaustion at the finish sign (Except for Lindsey. Notice her huge grin. She ate 3 monster cookies at the rest stop and was so buzzed on sugar that she practically ran to the end.)
We pulled it together for this picture and don't even look tired! (Though I'm sitting because squatting was truly out of the question)
We took turns laughing at each other as we ate pizza and celebrated our crazy accomplishment. Our feet and legs hurt so bad that we could barely move. It was hilarious!

I can't say that I will do it again (I can't say that I won't do it again, either), but I'm so glad I conquered the Wildwood Trail with my best friends! What a wonderful day. What wonderful memories.

-Liz :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Table Mountain, June 14, Garden Party

We planned to backpack Eagle Creek last weekend, but a forecast for thunderstorms Saturday night in the Gorge prompted us to alter our agenda. Instead, we got up early Sunday and headed for Washington's Table Mountain. We hiked part of the trail last year during a rainstorm, but most of the adventure was all new. It's a beautiful route from Bonneville Hot Springs through the forest.
After a while, you reach the Pacific Crest Trail. Then you hang a right at Heartbreak Ridge Trail and head up, up, UP! It was just .6 miles, but it might have been the steepest trail we've ever hiked (aside from mountain climbing)! We were under a deadline to get home, so we made the next viewpoint our turn-around spot. We're anxious to get back out there and finish what we started.

We forgot to take pictures are the top, so we snapped a "summit" shot when we got back down to the PCT:

We had to get home in time because Sunday night is Garden Party night at Michael and Kendra's farm in Newberg. Everything's in the ground. Now we just tend to the little plants until they become dinner!
Lettuce, anyone?
Thinning the carrots:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adventures with strawberries

There is nothing like an Oregon strawberry. And when they are in season, you have to move fast before they're gone. So Mom, Eryn and I bought four flats of berries from the Parsons Farms stand near our home and turned the beautiful little berries into yummy treats!
We made 80 jars of amazing freezer jam before we were too tired to mash anymore fruit.

Then Brad sliced some for drying.

But there were still more berries... time to get out the pie book.
And the homemade pie crust he had waiting in the freezer (along with a store-bought one).

He created this beauty:
YUM! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Birthday weekend

My birthday weekend was a bit different this year, full of ceremonies, parades and parties! Friday (6/5) was Graduation Day at THS. That means rehearsal (outside in the rain), CE2 BBQ, ceremony (outside not in the rain!), cleanup and then Shari's at midnight. It was terrific to see dozens of CE2 students walk across the stage after earning those diplomas!

Saturday we were up early for the Grand Floral Parade. Tigard, under the leadership of Assistant Director Kati McKee, led the march, playing "Eye of the Tiger", "Celebration" and "Tear the Roof Off" for miles.
Sunday was family reunion day and group birthday celebration at Brad's folks' house. Uncle Dick and Aunt Louise were in town, so it was the perfect time to gather.
The birthday gang: Barb on June 4, me on June 7 and Steve on June 9.
Since Sunday was my actual birthday, I got to eat my veggie burger off the special red birthday plate! I also got to choose the dessert - strawberry shortcake. Yum!
Donna made me this sweet pop-up card:
Monday was birthday burrito dinner at our house for my family. I neglected to take photos of the truckload of plants the brought me!! :)

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

It was my turn to provide the main dish for our weekly Garden Party. I searched and came up with this recipe for Slow-Simmering Barbecue Sandwiches. They were a big hit. Try it in your own CrockPot.


  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 3-pound beef brisket
  • 3 T vinegar
  • 2 T Worcestershire sacue
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 c bottled BBQ sauce (I used about 2 bottles of KC Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar)
  • hamburger buns


1. Trim fat from brisket. Cut the brisket, if necessary, to fit in a 3-1/2- to 4-quart crockery cooker. Cover with onion slices. Add water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and cumin. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

2. About 1 hour before serving, remove the meat from the cooker. Discard cooking liquid. Using two forks to pull, shred meat and return it to the cooker. Stir in barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Serve atop split hamburger buns.


Friday, June 12, 2009

No drooling!

"Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around drooling in the corner," the senior George Bush said. "Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life."
Bush celebrated his 85th birthday today by jumping out of a plane. Here's the story from USA Today. I liked his quote :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Christian, our Cascade Education Corps crew leader, decided that our students should learn about camping. So he invented Camp Day. Last week, we loaded backpacks and "hiked" down to Cook Park. We learned about gear, choosing a camping spot and how to poop in the woods. And we all set up tents and made fires to cook our hot dogs and s'mores. Then came the water balloon toss, which quickly turned into a water balloon fight. It was SO fun, and a wonderful first-time experience for several students. Hopefully we'll make it an annual event!