Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Tinfoil Tulip

There's a popular restaurant here in Portland. It's called Montage, located under one of the bridges over the Willamette River, and open til 4 a.m. Very popular with the late nite crowd, and great most anytime simply because of some of the unique aspects of the place. Their specialty is Cajun fare, and it's very good, and it's just a fun place to go -- has a seating concept that's rather unique. There are long sets of tables, covered in white linen table cloths, nice little glass held candles providing a charming lighting decor. When you are seated,,,,say there are just two of you,,,,you may indeed find yourself cozied up next to the couple to your left or right and before you know it, you may find yourself chatting away with your new acquaintances. And while you might be chatting away, the kitchen, which is in plain view, may be flaming away some new fiery dish, and the chefs can be heard to yell at the top of their lungs,,,whatever it is they might be yelling about at the time. The whole event is an experience you are not likely to forget, and probably one you will find yourself not only telling your friends about, but encouraging them to join you after a late movie, a night out....or....just for lunch or dinner. Doesn't matter. The fun goes from opening til close, and the food is always good. Oh, and for the price, definitely one of Portland's "cheap eats."

One more thing the Montage does that is especially fun in its own way is ... after you finish your meal, if you have leftovers, and -- well, let's say you SHOULD strive to have some leftovers -- you would like to take them home, just tell your waiter so, and he will take them to some magical place where he creates a tinfoil sculpture with your leftovers, the likes of which you have never seen. Ok. Maybe not never.

The other evening my daughter went to the Montage with some friends for a bite of dinner, and sure enough, she came home with her own, very own tinfoil sculpture, the likes of which you've never seen. This one was a good three and a half feet high, a long, tall stem with a giant tulip fashioned at the top. The whole affair was quite lavish and fun. Now I was hanging out in the family room when my daughter came home with this flamboyant thing,,,and she had a dilemma. She wanted my grandaughter to see the tinfoil extravaganza in the morning when she awoke for school, but at the same time she wanted to have the leftovers for her lunch. Well, she couldn't very well just leave the sculpture out all night for my grandaughter to see it without risking the little -- very little, mind you -- ball of leftovers at the bottom of the giant tulip -- which little ball of leftovers created a rather stabilizing base for the otherwise would-be very floppy tulip thing. My daughter mulled over the dilemma in the kitchen, and expressed her puzzlement out loud, "What should I do?" I thought for a moment and said, "Well, we could get a pan of ice, put the tinfoil tulip in a strainer on top of the ice,,,that would let the cold come up and keep your leftovers chilled,,,and that should work!" Hmmmmmm, we both thought. Worth a try. So we did just that. And there the tinfoil tulip resided throughout the rest of the night.

Now comes the morning. I heard about this later, by the way. But it was just as funny in retrospect as it must have been at the time. Apparently my grandaughter saw the creation before my daughter had a chance to "show and tell." So my 8 yo grandaughter came to the bottom of the stairs and called up to her mom.



My daughter came to the top of the stairs, and answered her, "What?"

My 8 yo grandaughter says to her mother, "Mom, what's up with the foil flower!?"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Airport Garage Story

Got up at 5 a.m. and got to the airport at 6 a.m. My daughter's flight left at 7 a.m. Had some nice goodbye's - of course my grandaughter had a hard time holding back the tears. She loves and already misses her mommy.

I totally screwed up leaving the airport though. Typical. They have a new system now. In the old system you took your ticket upon entry, and paid at the toll booth when you left. Not anymore. You take a ticket upon entry, and then there are automated ticket pay stations at the elevators in the parking garage where you pay when you go back to the parking garage. So we put our ticket into the machine, AND our money, and the machine gave us the change and off we went. Wellllllll, when I got all the way down to the exit area, there were big green signs that said "PAID TICKETS". Well my ticket was paid,,,so off I go. Only to come to ANOTHER machine that says "Insert ticket here". And a gate down in front of me. Great. I have no ticket. I paid, got my change, and that was that. There's a yellow button on THIS machine that says "?". Yeah I got a question. How the heck do I get outta here??

Someone starts talking to me from inside the machine. So I explain my dilemma. The voice says "the cashier at your far left will help you." Thank goodness no one was pulled up behind me...or how else would I have gotten out of there (needing to back UP, of course) to GO to the cashier at my far left. Oh hell yes,,,you KNOW if there had been someone behind me, and they had to raise the gate to let me out.....I woulda made a break for it. Stop ME. Go ahead. What are you gonna do? Put me in airport jail??

Hmmmmmmmm....on second thought.... back out and go to the cashier at my far left. Now I have to explain. And explain. And wait. While she is on the phone. While she is asking me allllll kinds of questions. What machine did I pay at? Was it at the first sky bridge or the second sky bridge? Was it at the machine on the left or the machine on the right? Lady, I have NO CLUE. It's not even LIGHT out yet. Ok. Ok. I tried. I tried very hard (with my grandaughter's help) to answer her questions while she transmits alllllllllllll my $3.00 paid ticket information to whoever was on the other end of the line. That "whoever" who holds the KEY to the GATE that is still DOWN in front of me. She comforts me with, "This happens a lot." I let her know I had no idea I was going to still need the ticket. I thought the machine ate it. It gave me my change! Heck, I'm gone! Ok. I'm trying. I'm trying. Patience. FINALLY, she says, "ok, he's going to open the gate for you." So my grandaughter and I drive thru the gate, and you can hear me muttering,,,,"So tell me please,,,,,and there was WHAT other OPTION????"

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Me n' Sandy Go To The Beach

So for my birthday the family and a few friends rented this really neat beach house we like to go to on the Oregon coast. We planned to stay several days, and we always look forward to these holidays. The core family goes, and then different friends have gone with us at different times. This time my close friend, Sandy, decided to join us. I was pretty stoked, (I love Sandy bunches and looked forward to hanging out with her and my family for my birthday holiday) and Sandy even agreed to take her car, which was fine with me. Now what you gotta know is,,,Sandy doesn't really drive out of town all that much. Oh sure, she runs all her errands in town and all, but when it comes to going out of town, her husband usually does the driving. So for Sandy, well, it's just not really her thing. But this time Sandy said she'd drive. Cool. I planned to relax, and enjoy the scenery.

I remember at one point the thought crossed my mind to warn Sandy to watch her speed especially in Washington County because I knew Hiway 26 was pretty well patrolled. Uhhh, I'd been pulled why. But then I remember a counter thought crossing my mind, something like, "not to worry, Sandy won't be speeding."


So here we are, on the LONELIEST stretch of highway on Hiway 26. Nothing but two lanes, the coastal range, not a whole lot of cars, and us. And here's Sandy comin' down this longgggg hill, which bottoms out at a crossroads to Vernonia, and Sandy is clippin' right along, let me tell you. At the bottom of the hill I notice a whole pack of cyclists congregated on a parking strip to our right. Immediately after we cleared the intersection we were back in the trees. And then the scenery changed. A car pulled up behind us, and the lights began to flash.

Oh my heck, we were being "PULLED OVER!"

Well, little did Sandy know, but I had just read an email that my daughter had forwarded to me about a woman who had been pulled over in the middle of the night (hey! not unlike our situation - it wasn't night, but by golly we were in the middle of nowhere!) by a FAKE COP. She had managed to talk her way out of a VERY SCARY situation, and as it turned out, just ahead, was a REAL COP who witnessed the false stop. The real cop forthwith arrested the fake cop, who turned out to be a security officer, and yes, that lady was VERY blessed to have gotten out of that in one piece. She found out about it when the real cop drove into her driveway when she got home that night and questioned her about what had just happened. Another woman my daughter works with actually knew the woman who got stopped. we are, in the middle of nowhere, nothing but trees whizzing by and I'm saying to Sandy,,,,,

"DON'T STOP. DON'T STOP! We don't know who that is! We don't know if that's a REAL COP!"

Now Sandy is panic stricken. (AS AM I already for heaven's sake!) Sandy is considering what to do.

And we keep going.

We pass a driveway, a wee bit of a driveway with no house in sight.

We pass another.

The lights are flashing. Then I hear a siren.

I begin to think, "If we don't stop, this cop is going to start shooting."

I think, "Maybe I need to turn around and show this cop....HEY! It's just two ladies in this car. We're NOT CRIMINALS. We just don't want to stop. We don't know who YOU ARE!!!"

Sandy, now panicky, pulls over, in the absolute worst spot ON THE FREAKING ROAD and nearly runs us off the road over an embankment.

The cop gets out of his car, and no dummy is he. Sandy is so close to the highway that if he came up on HER side, he would probably have been hit by the first moving vehicle that passed. So what does he do? He comes up on my side of the car. Heck, I don't even open the window!! He taps.

I the window, and the first thing I say to this man is, "You don't know what we've been through!"

Sandy is asking him what we're being pulled over for. He lets her know she was doing over 75 miles an hour coming down that grade, right past the cyclists, and explains all the basic rules of the road to her. He asks for her insurance card, which of course she doesn't have an updated one, her registration, which of course she asks me what that is, and I suggest it MIGHT be in the glove box.

And me, I begin to explain to the cop about why we did NOT want to stop and THE EMAIL.

Well, guess what?

This cop looks at me and says, "I know about that email. You see I was the officer who arrested that security guy. And if you had read the rest of the email you would remember that it said if the car had RED AND BLUE LIGHTS, it was really a police car, Madam."

I think I shrank to about the height of a very small bug.

But, the good news is, that cop, bless his heart, only gave Sandy a warning.

And we had a GREAT TIME at the beach....and a GREAT STORY to go with it.

What a birthday!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Princess & The Pea

Someone who read my blog asked. Well, for one thing,,,,SPEAKING of BRAND NAMES,,,,,the can of cherries inside was the Knott's brand. Hey. That counts !! However, the cobbler topping needed butter and cinnamon added to it, IMHO. That will go for box #2 without saying.

Yesterday I worked on my room some more,,,,digging into all the corners, routing around in the closet, bagging stuff up into donation bags, and vacuuming in all those places that were under things. (eeeeyeeewww!)

I think I reallllly bogged down on that whole idea and project at the point just following when my daughter redid the "family room" in the house. The futon that was resident in there ended up in MY room, and worse yet, on top of my BED. bed already had 1) a nice, soft, thick albeit somewhat sunken-in-the-middle pillow-top mattress; 2) a foam topper; and 3) a feather and down "feather bed" on top of all that! I felt like the old fairy tale about the Princess and the Pea; you know, the story about the princess that had to sleep on top of 20 mattresses. I swear I needed a ladder to get into (let alone OUT OF) bed. Ok. I'm not real sure about the "princess" part. I then discovered I had to prop my 27" Panasonic TV up on telephone books on top of the stand it was sitting on....cause I couldn't see it over the edge of my now sky-high bed!!

Well I finally revolted and took the thing OFF my bed -- folded it in half -- and shoved it into the space between my bed and the wall. I've always been one to leave a space on the other side of my bed even if the room is small so I can get in there and MAKE it. (Uhhhh...not anymore!!!) Now it was filled up with folded-in-half-futon! My daughter and I kinda chuckled about the whole thing. Honestly, we didn't know WHAT to do with that darn futon. My daughter, the comedianne, said, hey it was ok, tho, just an extra "bumper".

Thank goodness my girlfriend bought the darn thing and came over Sunday and got it. The futon being GONE was kind of a corner I could see myself turning, and the leaf that I was waitin' on to turn over to do all this.

It is already making me feel much better as I get truly organized and I continue to go thru the things in my room. Plus we now have a brand new storage unit,,,,with NOTHING in it yet. LOL...we'll be fillling THAT up. No problem.

And yep, in answer to the other question I got...I got allllll the stashed stuff at that same thrift shop the day I went back for my Senior Discount. hehe Now I'm filling a bag of stuff from my room-- donations ya know -- and guess where I'll be taking it. Ya think it's guilt?? :o)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Cherry Cobbler Story

So I'm at the Dollar Tree this last Friday, and I see this box, one of those mixes where everything is in the box,,,for "Cherry Cobbler". It has a can of cherries, and this streusel type topping in the box. And, like you ALWAYS say when you're at the Dollar Tree -- "it's only a DOLLAR!" Shoooooot, I bought TWO !!

When my daughter came home I showed her my find. She was chuckling, cause I was pretty excited about it. When I told her I got them at the Dollar Tree, she frowned a little, came over and looked more closely at the box, and said, "What kinda cherry cobbler you gonna get for a DOLLAR?" I looked back at her in astonishment, and said,"But, look! It's Banquet!!!"

My daughter retorted, bent over laughing, "BANQUET AIN'T NO BRAND!!"

We both fell out laughin' ! And these are the moments, they are, they are...

Moving stuff around...

This was such a good thing. Monday nite I totally rearranged my room. My room is 9'x12'...I measured it. I got out some graph paper and started a whole mathematical process to determine where the queen size bed could go, where the 27" TV could go, where the 5'x3' table my computer resides on could go, where the dresser could go, and where the TRUNK could go. Then as I began to plot it out, I got one thing drawn on my graph paper,,,,my bed,,,just move it from the wall by the window, straight across the room to the inner wall. I suddenly could see it all. Simple. Just DO IT! Move the TV (which sits at an angle) over to the window area, and move the trunk which was in the hallway by the door, next to the bed, and yes, the dresser had the same "footprint" as the trunk, just lots higher,,,,so,,,,it could live nicely in the space in the hallway by the door. Don't move the 5'x3' table at all. Wow! And, I did it!!!!

My daughter and my grandaughter both loved my new digs. Heck, my daughter came in and hung out til she practically fell asleep on my bed, while I sat in the chair at my "desk" (table) and we watched a sit com together. She said, "it's so much more welcoming, inviting,,,,why, it's feng shui !" Or however you spell that feng shwee thing!! It was so nice having time together in my new digs. :o)
I have plans to box a LOT of stuff up and get it OUT of my room. My room had become the "storage" place for a lot of extras. Christmas decorations, gift wrapping boxes, I think of it, and I wonder what in the did I ever CRAM all that into my closet and still have room for ME.

Changes. A good thing.

Monday, October 03, 2005

an evening at the thift store

Last nite the family decided to make a stop at one of the better local thrift stores. It must remain nameless, however. You'll see why. And, trust me, better means many of the clothing items are brand can tell by looking at the tags...many of which have obviously never been worn.

Now we had a plan. Mondays are senior citizen discount days. This was Sunday nite. Shopping was at full thrift shop retail. Hey! The discount is sizeable. 40%! So anything that sells for $10 is only going to cost $6. Come on. That's quite a reduction. Nearly half!

We had already called and confirmed that the store would NOT hold any items over nite so that "gramma" could pick them up Monday at the discounted price. So we thought, well, we'll just pick out what we're going to get and then tomorrow "gramma" can go and make the purchases. Ah, just one glitch. HOW to assure that those very items would be available? That was the question.

Well, we dealt with it. I found a dresser and theorized that if I were to put some of the items inside the bottom drawer of this dresser, by golly, they might just be there in the morning, first thing. So in went three pairs of shoes.

Then my daughter hung the clothing items she had found for my grandaughter in amongst the kids' clothing items, and wandered off to shop some more. She had also included a cool pair of brown wide leg pants she found for herself. Shortly after she had hung the items in place, I noticed a store worker with a basket of items standing right in front of our little "stash"! Now it was near closing time. We were hanging out til the last minute to assure our goodies were intact for the next day's shopping. I planned to do that while everyone else was at work and at school. When
I noticed the store worker, I panicked. I made a ruse of browsing items directly next to the store worker...some puzzles and games, which kept falling off the shelves, and landing on my feet. Some of them were even heavy and banged my toe. With a sigh of relief, I noted she finally left, and I surveyed our little "stash" was still there. I remember thinking, she's going to see these belong in the women's section or something and take them away. Our plan could be doomed!

Well, AFTER the store worker left, along come these two ladies with their basket...and wouldn't you know,,,,,they stop DIRECTLY in front of our "stash" and the NEXT thing I know, this lady is putting a pair of the stashed pants, a deep red pair, INTO HER CART!!! I was completely panic-stricken by then, and I slowly, nervously, walked over to her cart, and gingerly pulled the red pants OUT of her CART and said, "I'm so terribly sorry, but I just can't let you have these!" Then I carefully explained that we had just hung those items there temporarily while my daughter shopped elsewhere in the store, and I was just browsing nearby (my job? albeit, self-imposed,,,to keep an eye on everything). I apologized profusely, but in the end, I KEPT those red pants in my hands, and then I noticed the other lady was handling the fabric of the brown wide leg pants still hanging on the rack that my daughter had put by earlier. Now I reach past the second lady, and grabbed all the items that we had earlier hung there, two shirts, and three pairs of pants, and heck if I didn't just have to walk away,,,again, being as nice as I could possibly be about it,,,but nevertheless, I was NOT giving up my claim.

After I told my daughter what had happened (naturally my daughter cracked up), we sat down in the easy chairs for sale at the thrift shop, made a list of everything, which also included a dress for my granddaughter's Halloween costume (the theme for which has been determined to be "Ghetto Fabulous"), which we had hidden underneath the most godawful chartreuse polyester knit dress we were SURE no one would give a second glance at until after I got to the store at 9 a.m. to assure the purchases...after we made the list, I found another empty bottom dresser drawer,
and in went the shirts and the pants. At 7 pm, closing time, we left, laughing hysterically all the way home over our combined craziness. My daughter called her friend and told her about our ordeal, and the friend said, "Man, what the Symons family won't do for a bargain!!"

Friday, September 30, 2005

Leo killed Laura last nght...

Proving once and for all that the spirit lives on long after the body is gone.
I was busy doing something on the computer and I could hear Leo in the hallway near the kitchen playing with Laura. Little did I know he was examining, CSI autopsy style, a now dead , small, uhh previously stuffed, Veggie Tales character named Laura. Laura was stuffed carrot with gold braids, and a little voice box inside her that had several "cute sayings". I got up from my post at the pc and discovered the violent nature of the attack had indeed been fatal, and examined her remains. Not much left. All her insides were strewn from one end of the hallway all the way out to the living room. Actually I was not sure it was Laura, because where the remains came from, that is, the shell of Laura, was nowhere to be seen. And the remains didn't tell me much. They looked like any other stuffing one might see - and could not be distinguished from any other stuffing. I didn't examine the contents of the stomach. Had I, I might have learned more about where poor Laura was at the time of her death. Sadly, I gathered up the stuffing and put it in the trash and told Leo in no uncertain terms that he was indeed, a BAD BOY, altho I still had no idea who the deceased was. But it was sure that he'd been up to no good, from the size and amount of devastation at the crime scene.

Later I was in bed, when I heard the plaintive cry, "Good Morning, George. How are you?", and "Let's go say some nice words. Come 'on!" I got up - well, mostly because it was 2 a.m. - and looked for Laura. I know the sound of Laura's voice of course. There was Leo, on the steps, with the shell of the former Veggie Tale Laura. NOTHING left but her spirit!!! (translate, gold braids, an empty velour carrot shell, and a voice box!) I didn't believe in ghosts before this. I think I might now. If he finds her again before Halloween I think we are in for some trouble.

Needless to say, what is left of Laura is resting in peace, on top of the entertainment center. Nothing left but a box, a shadow of her former self. It was the only place I could think of high enough to clear Leo's jump. Especially after the "candy bowl on the coffee table" incident of yesterday evening. At least they were sugarless. (Yes, Leo IS the family dog!)

Brand New Day!

This is truly a brand new day for me. This is my first blog attempt. Let's see how it goes.