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Redmond, Oregon, United States

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lord's Acre Offerings in God's Country

The deep pit bbq at the Lord's Acre sale in Powell Butte, OR, has got to be on of Central Oregon's best kept secrets. My family discovered it the first or second year we lived here and have only missed one or two ever since. It's funny, most locals seem to either not know much about it, or, if they do, they've just never been. From the time you turn into the pasture/parking lot, directed by guides on horseback, you feel immediately the strong sense of community that bonds the people in this small, beautiful rural area that is pretty much just a dot on the map between Bend and Prineville. The routine is this: walk immediately from the car and get in line to buy tickets for a slice of homemade pie. It's a hard choice to make, but you do it and are never disappointed! Get a cup of coffee and eat your slice standing up. People watch or chit chat with whomever happens to glance your way. Once fortified with pie enough to tide you over 'till it's time to line up for the main course, wander over to see what's new this year at the Country Store; tole painted wooden decorations, hand sewn and knitted hats, aprons, linens; furniture. Take a look at the quilts that will go up for auction later that afternoon. At around 11:30 it's the cue for everyone to start lining up for the bbq that will be served smorgy-style from behind long make-shift tables on saw-horses. Chit chat with others in line or have someone save your place while you check out the official opening of the deep pit. Once the pit is open, the air is filled with that mouth-watering smell; the reason most of us have come; huge helpings of beef, lamb and ham are piled on plates accompanied by potato, and beans. This bbq is the most succulent, flavorful meat I have ever eaten. The pleasure is only intensified by being out in the fresh air and sharing my meal, standing at one of four rows of waist-high tables, family style, with scores of friendly people. I've never seen anyone in a bad mood while eating this meal! There is only pleasant talk and laughter between bites.
After you've eaten, head on over to the school and get a good, comfortable seat for the the auction. It's a real honest to goodness live auction with a lightening-tongued auctioneer. The pace gets pretty fast and furiouse when the quilts start to go on the "block". I've seen some quilts go for 1-2 thousand dollars! When the last "sold!" has rung out, it's time to make out way home to relax the rest of the day. There will be not rest for the community of Powell Butte, though! The ladies of the church will start the very next day baking the pies and making quilts that will go on sale next year on the first Saturday of November as it has been for the last 61 years!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

kiddie craft: make your own bug catcher/viewer

If you've ever ordered a frappuccino or other cold beverage in a cup from FourBucks coffee or any other coffee purveyor, keep the cup (lid, straw and all,) for your own handy, dandy bug catcher. I always have a stack of them around that I reuse daily just for other beverages. They come in really handy when my grandson, or friend's children are over. Less worries about breaks or spills. My grandson is into bugs these days and I realized one day that these clear cups, especially the ones with the dome top, are perfect for catching and looking at bugs. The cup is a great scoop and the hole in the dome top is perfect for poking in food, twigs, more bugs, etc. Scooping up more than one bug without the previouse ones escaping can be tricky, but it adds to the fun of the chase!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Surviving Vegas: how we lived through a timeshare sales pitch

During our second day on our most recent Las Vegas weekend, we, (my boyfriend DB, and I), were approached in a casino with an offer we couldn't refuse; $150 in free gaming and lunch, in exchange for "a couple of hours" of our time "taking a tour" of the new Grandview hotel. It sounded too good not to have a big catch, but we decided to take Geroge Carlin's advice and "take a damn chance!" We opted for the lunch tour the next day and walked away, feeling giddily optimistic, if not a little like suckers.
At the appointed time, we hopped on a small,crowded tour bus that whisked us away to the south end of the Strip to a generic looking strip mall. On the ride over, I asked a woman across the aisle if she'd ever done this before. Her expression took on a grim, wild-eyed look as she nodded yes. "How excruciating is it?" I asked. The grim/wild look remained. "Very! They try to sell you a condo and you tell them, no! no! no!. Then they make you talk to another salesman and you keep telling them, No!, Then they send you to another salesman and you tell them; No! just give me my incentives! Then they let you go!"
Turns out, she was exactly right!
We gave up 4 hours of our lives that day for: a stale donut and a beverage, a really decent deli-style sandwhich, short tour of the grounds and a model room in the Grandview, short tour of the Southpoint casino, and high-pressure sales pitches that seemed to go on forever. But, we perservered, and got the cash! They're pretty good at trying to wear you down countering every excuse you can come up with not to buy. A TIP, though, if you would be interested in buying into a timeshare, keep saying no until they start writing down some numbers you can really live with, because they'll knock a bunch of money and fees off the original offer. I think a savvy negotiator could probably get a really good deal.
Back to the money; we really did get $150 in gaming vouchers that we simply converted into cash. That part was so easy, we felt like we were doing something dirty! The whole time we were at the "tour," I'd expected there would be a "catch" that would somehow disqualify us from receiving our incentives, but, happily, that didn't happen and we were obviously tickled to have more money to sin with! We vowed we'd never do that again, it was so aggravating, but, I don't know.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

random thought for the day: if I owned a fish 'n' chips shop, I'd call it: "For the Love of Cod"

If you are familiar with Oregon; (and if you pronounce it "or-ee-gone", you're not,) then you would know that most of the state is not a lush green valley, but a scrubby green desert that is filled with charms all it's own. Here in Redmond we are in Central Oregon's "High Desert." We have nice, hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Portland is about 300 miles north on the main highway, and Bend is 14 miles southbound. If you're into year-round access to outdoor activities, this is the place for you to ski, bike and hike. It's also a great place to kick back and relax by the bbq with a great local microbrew. Some of my favorite things about Central Oregon:
  1. day hikes in the cascades
  2. Smith Rock
  3. Deschutes Brewery microbrews
  4. the Lord's Acre sale in Powell Butte the first Saturday in November
  5. the view of the Cascade mountains along the Old Bend-Redmond Hwy

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Zombie ate my Neighbors

Even if Rob Zombie did eat my neighbors, I wouldn't tell on him! He's my new horror movie makin' hero. I've had a soft spot in my heart for him ever since I saw him on MTV Cribs and he was lovingly showing off his movie collection. He truly loves the genre and you can see it in his movies to date. I loved the idea he had behind the retelling of Halloween and I think he did it up nice. I especially enjoyed the actor who played young Michael Meyers and Sherrie Zombie is a real natural actress. She was scarily believable as the sexiest psycho you ever saw in the first two films and now as a mom just trying to keep it together as best she knows how.
Something that I was sure was gonna happen but didn't (but I'm sure it was considered,) is that I thought Michael would finally utter one word after 15 years of silence when he finally got face to face with is litte sister; "boo." His voice would be all creaky and hoarse from years of unuse; scratchy and creepie...... Did anyone else anticipate that? Would it have been too corny? Maybe. Maybe that scene will be in the directors cut!

"I need it by Monday" or how to get your package delivered on time

My work for a parcel delivery service is mainly focused on correcting problems that lead to delivery delays. With the holiday season in mind, I thought I'd post some tips that can help to better ensure your package will get where you want it to on time:
  1. always, always double-check the address on the label. Mispellings, incomplete or transposed numbers are the most common errors. One number off on a zip code can make the difference between your parcel going to the east coast instead of the west coast.
  2. if the label is not printed for you, you should block print the address on the package. Handwritten cursive letters can be easily mis-read, (i.e. e's and i's, 5's and s's.) Sometimes they are barely legible.
  3. always include a last name. While it is sweet to address the parcel to "Mary, Stan, and Beelzebub," it takes much more time to resolve an incorrect address if you can't look it up by last name.
  4. include a contact phone number. The recipient's phone number cuts out a step or two when an address is in question, but at least include your phone number on the label.
  5. put address and package tracking information inside the package as well. Packages frequently get wet and torn or labels smeared.
  6. realize that your parcel is not the only one on the truck. It will travel for miles with hundreds of other parcels of varying weights and sizes. Pack your item so snugly that you can't hear it move if you shake the package vigorously. Wrapping paper alone will not survive even a short trip without a tear. Either put the gift wrapped item inside a bigger box or wrap once more with sturdy brown paper.
  7. masking tape and paper tape do not hold up. clear, wide, plastic tape is best; use liberally!