Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bots and Brats About

If you have received an email from my address trying to sell you something or encourage you to do something that is ridiculous, please know that my 'old' gmail address was picked up somewhere by some bot or brat. I was going to cancel this account, but the only responses I get are from auto-response/out-of-office replies. I live in a Mac dominion so do know it wasn't from me; I am a real person with a real life and not nearly enough time to be a pharmaceutical vendor (but it appears I sell little blue pills rather cheaply!) or trapped in an African country under duress... 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On The Subject Of The Coffeehouse

Hi friends... Just waiting to know if we're going to FINALLY get paid what we're due by the soon-to-be-former proprietors of Parlor News. Since we sold it, there has been a lot of disappointment, broken promises and insincere dealings with this business that Scott and I designed and built from the ground up in 1996 for the community of Powell. I don't think that the community wants to be without a coffee house, but we won't be taking the helm to rebuild the business anytime soon. Thanks to all the generous contributions made by those that wanted to see us back there and tried to make it a reality. We'll be returning your contributions for our acquisition effort to you via Paypal very soon. We've been true to the spirit of keeping a coffee house in Powell and thank you for all the words of encouragement these past many months. Know that those of you that talked to us about what was important to you did not fall on deaf ears. We worked diligently with a good attorney to get through the obstacles that were put in front of us to reclaim the property when we were defaulted upon and hope that we won't be dealt with dishonestly yet again. Your kindnesses and advocacy will not be forgotten and I look forward to closing this chapter of our lives and moving along to happier times. As with any small business, customer dedication is something to be EARNED and not ever to be mistreated or taken for granted. The very same can be said for trust in business dealings. We certainly never took our customers for granted and always knew they were our first priority; when priorities shift, unhappiness is bound to surface. We just hope you know how appreciated you were when you came to see us at the coffee house. Here is to the hope that there will happiness for the aficionado of fine coffee and a community meeting place once again.

A special thanks to Cathy that started the Facebook group and has provided wonderful advisement and a great ear to listen. She'll probably remove the group soon, so don't be surprised when it's gone. Thanks to so many and we'll keep you posted on our next adventures...


Monday, September 27, 2010

For our friend...

A very special soul came into our lives over a decade ago. When I first moved here, I became acquainted with her while I was substitute teaching at the Middle School.  She is always pleasant, supportive and professional and it was an early joy for me to get to know her there. When Scott and I went into business, we were lucky to have her as a good customer. We appreciated her support and the early morning chats as she was on her way to school.  When Augusta arrived into our lives, she provided her with the kind gift of a book, Come Along Daisy, that has given us hours of joy as we read it to her. About 8 years ago, she also became part of our spiritual life as part of the family of St. John's. Her inner peace, her dedication and her strength have provided us with a living and breathing example of the many facets of joy. Now, as we think of her every day,  I can only hope she will know the joy will continue to accompany us as Augusta now reads the book to Charlie. 

Joy continues to illuminate and warm us and for that we will be forever grateful to you. Thank you for sharing your joy and your example with us, good friend.

With our love to you and your dear ones,

Augusta, Charlie, Scott and Justine

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rocking Moose

It doesn't make noise, light up, play annoying music or need a litterbox/bark collar.

It has a rope tail and sturdy antlers.

This moose is in need of a new home because its kids have grown up and are now neglecting it.

Call me if you want to schedule a visit to see if this is the moose for you.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Charlie Sparkler

Charlie was given his first sparkler today and it was recorded on a new iPhone by Chris, visiting from California.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

2010 March of Dimes' March for Babies

It's almost that time of year again for the Powell March for Babies. Visit our personal page to help us meet our goal of getting all our friends to contribute at least 8 dollar in celebration of Augusta's 8th birthday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lift Off

Lift Off
Originally uploaded by Scott & Justine fromWyo
When you're little, you really can fly...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gardening On The Avenues*

Box Garden By SherBeari
Originally uploaded by sherbeari
After months of setting them aside, diligently as each arrived in the mailbox, I have finally given way. The urge to get other, more crucial things done has abated. I've resigned myself to be perpetually behind on the cleaning, the tax prep, the studying; for a few precious hours I have to do an about face from the “what I should do today” mindset to what little legal, though questionable, pleasure I'll allow myself for a few warming hours this afternoon.

Bring on the stack of garden catalogs!

I do this to myself every year. I set aside those that arrive in the depth of winter, after the holidays are past but a planting spring is still a long, long time away. Gurney's, High Country Gardens, Seed Savers, Gardens Alive! I go online and look at a few more, request a catalog when I'm feeling especially hopeful and yard sassy. I look, imagine, calculate, retrench, calculate some more and, just when I think I'll send that order off I have less spine than a garden-variety slug.

I don't know why I do it to myself. After fifteen years trying to grow a lush, productive garden in this climate one would think I'd learned a few lessons. I think it is those lessons that sit on my shoulder, less the angel/devil of the conscience but more the Doubting Thomas. “Are you sure you want to order that? It says Zone 3 but truthfully probably isn't. It most definitely won't be with a garden hack like you. That hydrangea won't see July” Nag, nag, nag... but Doubting Thomas of the Avenues is probably right. So I listen and tear up the order blank that was full of my imagined hues of red and purple and pale yellow. I resign myself to numerous visits to local greenhouses that proves far more rewarding than only getting packets of seeds in the mail. Doubting Thomas still rides along, but I'm able to tell him to pipe down a little more easily when I'm eye to eye with that gallon size Big Boy plant that is pulsing with bacon, lettuce, and tomato potential.

With life being nothing more than a series of lessons, I embarked on a new gardening method last year and I believe it's going to stick. Previously, I had mixed in my vegetable plants with perennials around the yard and found last year to be my limit of that. I have some very sunny spots along the back of my house that seemed to be the right place for tomatoes, tomatillos and assorted peppers, but the mountain bluet and the Persian coneflower had other ideas and crowed out the edibles. I did get a few tomatoes, but the soil was too low in calcium and I had to trim away more than a few bottoms in making up the batches of backyard salsa. Along our boulevard my husband constructed two raised beds for our first try at the practice of square foot gardening. We visited the website and noted the basic principles. We raided the garage for untreated wood and used up what I'd been stubbing my toes on for years in building the boxes. We had a good supply of compost from a castoff compost bin, bought very little in the way of potting soil, making a useful home for the ripped open bags that no one else seemed to want, and we were off to the food growing races. We planted seeds that we had on hand, many for years, and set to work planting in the warm, dark soil.

It was an important time for our daughter, just 7, to see what effort we went to in planting the boxes. We had good talks about where food comes from, the importance of taking care of what we hoped to eat, the encouragement to not throw the dog's tennis ball into the center of the boxes, and the best use of water. We wrote down what was planted where, talked some more about watering, reminded her little brother that we were growing delicious vegetables for the dinner table and waited. She had been particularly excited to plant her own packet of flowers in her own square. She checked daily, waiting for the emergence of the seedlings. Up came the radishes that I had over planted, the turnips, the beans, the mixed up assortment of lettuce and even the wisps of new carrots – but no flowers. We watered more, I explained all the reasons I could come up with as to why the lovingly-tended seeds were not cooperating. Finally and well into June, on an excursion across town, I made a quick dash into the greenhouse at the Co-op and found a six-pack of Dianthus. With over three hundred species of that plant documented and a reputation for hardyness, I figured at least these six could survive a summer on the maiden voyage of our over-loved boxes. I planted under the cover of dusk and waited a couple of days before I called my daughter with an exuberant “LOOK! Your flowers are blooming!” to see a look of joy on her pink cheeks with no sign of her understanding of the gardening deception perpetrated by her germination-challenged mother. She cared for them throughout the summer and took great pride in their growth and color over the picket fence.

As this spring makes its tentative approach, the challenges of past years becomes part of garden amnesia and the soil in my corner of the world is full of promise renewed. The raspberries will continue to produce and bring us jars of jam, I'll remember to net the grapes in the hopes that we won't lose every grape cluster to some opportunist of the animal or insect kingdom like last year, I'll again look into acquiring a cider press, to expand our enjoyment of the local apple abundance, make more delicious plum jam with the help of a neighbor's prolific tree and dream of my garden boxes' palatable potential. If I have my way, my yard will have less grass to mow and a multitude of boxes with bountiful salad makings. Come September, if you have more peppers than persistence, give me a call and I'll make sure they have a glorious home in a jar of heirloom salsa. Now, if I could just get a nice little goat that I could name Fido to take care of the lawn maintenance and retire our limping-along lawnmower, I would be in home farming paradise.

*Originally published in The Powell Tribune special section "From The Barnyard To The Backyard" on March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Itty Bitty Boy

Photo 285
Originally uploaded by Scott & Justine fromWyo
I know late night worry sessions. I've had a couple of episodes this year with Charlie, who is on the itty bitty side, where bigger boys went after him, he lashed out and, after the fact, I found out he was standing up for himself. I've tried to teach him a combo of things with these episodes: if he needs help, he needs to go get a grown up and if it is too much he needs to walk away, move away, find a place where he feels safe and not resort to lashing out. After reading a report from preschool, that seems to be opposite of what they want to see. They talk about him not interacting enough with his peers, moving off and playing independently and, according to them, "shutting down" when things become too raucous. But, he's also singing along to John Doe lyrics, reading over my shoulder while I'm on the computer, using Google to search "thomas" and "veggie tales" (and getting a little irritated that Thomas Jefferson keeps popping up on the screen), and carrying around the old cat in adoration (and the cat's irritation). He is who he is; I get frustrated, he gets frustrated but at the end of the day he climbs onto my lap, hugs me and tells me he loves me. And, I can't but help loving him from start to finish. If he is exotic-chaotic-and-a-little-neurotic to others, so be it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Little Boy on Skis

Charlie had his first visit to Sleeping Giant on skis....

Charlie at Sleeping Giant from Justine Larsen on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thoughts South

It's been nearly impossible the last few days to not think of the natural and human devastation in Haiti. I don't know a soul there, but I know those souls surviving the terrible quake are suffering.

There are many ways to help, and hope...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cleaning Out The Cupboards

I ended a day spent tidying up with a recipe to match. I used all the partial packages of dark chocolate, semi-sweet and butterscotch chips from holiday baking with some of the "gonna lose that 2009 weight with healthy breakfasts" oatmeal and came up with this:

Cleaning Out The Cupboards Cookies

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) mrgarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
a 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips or a mish-mosh of what chips are around the shelves of the pantry and refrigerator. Toss in some nuts, if you're so inclined.

In a food processor pulse 1 cup oats until ground fine. In a large bowl stir together ground oats, remaining 1/2 cup whole oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy and beat in vanilla and peanut butter. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chips and nuts, beating just until combined. Chill cookie dough, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week. Do your best not to eat it by spoonfuls.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Form rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Eat with restraint... Or not.