Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've Been Off the Blog for Awhile But . . .

Check this out, Tengrain passed The World Famous Winlock Egg. while on the train. Don't you all wish you could see it in person too? We have a lovely guestroom waiting for you.

This is what I have been up to for the last few months:
  • 1 trip to Utah for me
  • 1 trip to Utah for Matt
  • 2 visits from Nancy (Matt's Stepmom) to Winlock (2 road trips with a motor home filled with furniture for our new house - she did all our decorating and we are most grateful)
  • 1 visit from my parents - their first to our new home and also their first time meeting Tom and Kathy. It was a really big deal for me to finally have my mom and dad meet my birthfather and his wife.
  • 1 giant housewarming party
  • a bunch of other stuff that a person needs to do when setting up a new home.
  • reacquainting myself with the printed word. I haven't taken the time to read for pleasure in far too long! I was so thirsty that I am reading four at once: Corvus: A Life With Birds, Deerhunting with Jesus, Edgar Sawtelle and a collection of Irish Folktales. I just can't make up my mind so I am reading them all.

I would like to mention that everything feels right and happy and normal again now. Amazing what a little breathing room in a lovely house can do for a person.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Guess what opens in Olympia today!!!!! Trader Joe's!!!!!! I am not ashamed to admit that leaving Trader Joe's behind was one of the sadnesses of leaving Los Angeles. By the time we left California we were pretty much exclusively grocery shopping at TJ's. In fact, when we decided to make the move one of the first things I did was do a search for the nearest Trader Joe's to Winlock. It was an hour away in Vancouver - too far for regular shopping. Before we even left Los Angeles I sent a message pleading for TJ's to put a location in Olympia - not that I am taking credit for this or anything. Olympia is the nearest place to us that makes sense for a Trader Joe's. I am not sure that Chehalis/Centralia could support one. Today is our lucky day. Olympia is only marginally closer than Vancouver but we find ourselves going north more often than south so this is a good thing.

Joe's Os for everyone! ($5 Cheerios can suck it)

Dryer Drama

I lost my cool yesterday.

Last Saturday Sears delivered our washer and dryer. They didn't hook it up. So we called our plumber and the earliest they could get here was yesterday. So, as the laundry piled up, we waited.

Our plumber got all the gas lines and waterlines ready to go but he informed us that he was unable to install the gas to liquid propane kit that came with the dryer because he would have to dismantle the entire dryer and it wasn't something he was comfortable doing.

I called Sears to ask why they didn't do the conversion. I was told that they could do the conversion but only if they did the install too. I said that the install was pretty much complete and all I needed was the conversion. They said they would have to uninstall all the work the plumber did, do the conversion and then reinstall. I said, "that is stupid", hung up and relayed the info to Matt. He said, "that doesn't make any sense because the delivery person said they never install gas dryers".

So, I called Sears back and said, "I feel like you guys are jerking me around. Why did you tell me you could convert my dryer but only if you install it? But you don't install gas dryers so you can't install it and that means you won't convert it, right? But why would you offer the conversion service which is obviously gas related if you won't do it because you won't install?". Sears said "sorry", they couldn't help.


I then called around to a bunch of local appliance repair services. I was told they would be happy to do the conversion and when could I bring the dryer into the shop? Well, I was hoping to have it done on site because, you know, I don't want to be lugging a freaking dryer around. Nope. No go.

I finally got wise and called our propane provider (Amerigas by the way). Do you know what they told me? "Lady, today is your lucky day! Our service technician is on North Military Road and you are only a few miles away. He will be there in a few hours". So, it all worked out in the end and the washer and dryer were put into service last night. Good thing too or else Matt would have headed to Utah with a suitcase full of dirty socks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

To Utah and Back

I took a whirlwind trip to Utah this past week. I left Tuesday after the mail route and returned on Friday. The point of the trip was shopping with Nancy. She has a golden touch when it comes to decorating and so naturally she is the one we turned to now that it is time to furnish the house. The first stop was her storage units. She already has some items picked out that she thought would be right for us and she was correct. After that we hit a consignment store where I bought a rug, a coffee table and a carved deer head! In the picture it looks scary but in reality it is smiling. Tom laughed when he saw it. He says it is a composite of about 3 different animals carved into one. He would know!

Sofa and upholstery shopping followed and it is all a blur now. We managed to fit a ton of shopping into our 2 days. Kate is out of school right now so she was able to join us. She is also furnishing the house she bought with Jason so we are all on the same track right now.

Matt is flying to Utah on Friday and he and Nancy will load up her motor home with our stash and drive it to Winlock over next weekend.

My washer and dryer were delivered yesterday but we still need to hook up to the gas and water lines so I have not taken them for a spin yet.

I don't expect to post for a while because I am feathering my nest. I have so much to do in order to get ready for Nancy's arrival. My mom and Dad will be here in the early part of September. Plus, save the date: we will be having our house-warming/open house on Sunday, Sept. 20th. If you are anywhere nearby or feel like heading to the NW, stop by and say hi.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fuel for Obsession

Watch Hammerdance videos and dance lessons at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We Met Some of Our Neighbors

Do you remember this video? I think we saw it way back in our Utah days. The man in the video is Lynn Chestnut. He and his wife stopped by yesterday to check the progress on the house. They saw it get moved and were curious how it turned out. I always love showing the house off. How shocked was I to discover that Lynn was the man in the infamous deer fighting video? His wife is the one filming and as I understand it, she was told to keep filming and not run to the rescue. The Chestnuts have a herd of elk and have "owned" bears in the past. They live in Toledo, not Winlock. Toledo is also the birthplace of Bigfoot. Not sure what is in the water over there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Woodpile

Pretty, isn't it?

Shirking My Responsibilities

I had many things planned Tuesday after the mail route. I had a long list of things I wanted to get done in Longview and around the house. Then Drew called.
I tried to say no but it was 100 degrees and what is the point of living in a place like this if I don't take advantage of it once in a while? Too bad Matt was stuck at work. I am a lousy wife!

My boatmates, Chris (the owner of the boat), his son, Dakota and Drew.

Drew and Dakota.

I do not regret abandoning my chores and spending the day on Mayfield lake. Not one bit.

Dinner Party

On Sunday we had Tom and Kathy over for the first meal in the Sister House. When Kathy asked what to bring, my only request was dinner plates! We are not really set up for guests yet! We had salad, pot pie and cherry trifle for dessert. It was really nice to cook a meal for them for once. They have fed us regularly for years now. There will never be any way to properly thank Tom for the beautiful creation that is the Sister House but it was nice to start with an inaugural dinner.

Bad Weather Mojo

The thermometer here is through the roof. Yesterday our temp climbed above 105 degrees! This is not normal Washington weather. I think the heat is breading bad mojo.

At the post office I learned that one of my customers was in an accident on the same road where one of the carriers crashed. It doesn't look good for her and I am sad. She is always really friendly and I like taking packages to her house. There have been other deaths on that road and I am starting to feel kind of spooked there.

Then out on the route, a heat addled bird flew in front of my car and I am pretty sure I hit it. Usually the birds get out of the way but not this one.

Later I saw a peacock in a shady patch on the side of the road. I looked closer and saw there were two. I drove by slowly so as not to spook them from their cool spot and realized that the male peacock was not resting but actually dead and the female was keeping a frenzied vigil. I understand that peacocks mate for life and I felt sick in my heart for her. I asked at the nearest house if the peacocks lived there but the owner's didn't know whose birds they were.

But the bad bird day wasn't over. Towards the end of the route I came upon a Canadian goose wandering down the middle of the road. Something was wrong with his wing and was breathing heavily through his open mouth. Like a fool I tried to chase him down. To what end? To squirt water on him? To grab him and stuff him in the mail wagon with all the mail? I don't know what I was thinking. The best I came up with was to chase him off the road into a shady glen and hope for the best.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Matt Buys Shotgun. Does Not Join NRA

Last weekend Matt went to a gunshow with Tom and Mick and came home with a 70 year old shotgun. He is in love. He took it over to Tom and Kathy's house to try it out. I am proud to report that he hit his targets on the first try. He even hit a stick that Tom threw in the air. Matt modestly claims beginner's luck but I think he is naturally a crack shot. BTW, I also shot the gun and didn't like it. I think it is too noisy. Shhh.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Our friends Jill and Casey just broke ground on their house building project. Good luck kids! They have a blog. Go give them some love here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Walk With Me

Slap A Star On It!! The Sister House is Done

For those of you who don't know, this star is Tom's brand. You will find it on his projects large and small. The Sister House brand is located on the top, right corner of the pantry screen door.

Never has a signature looked so beautiful!

Russell wonders why all the fuss about approval from the County when he has already given his stamp of approval.

I am sure you realize that when I say DONE, it is just according to the County and the bank. We still have a long list of things to do (backsplashes, shower rod, exterior trim paint, varnish baseboards, fence, landscaping, carport, etc.) But words fail me as I try to think how best to describe my relief. My entire world has been shrinking down to the goal of getting that signature. Now that we have it, I can see the rest of the world in full color again. Feels real good.

I have made a video walk through of the house that I wanted to post tonight but it is taking forever to load onto YouTube so I will post that tomorrow.

I predict a night free of anxiety dreams for the first time in months.

Also, guess where Matt is tonight? That's right. Frogging. It is that time of year again. The Toledo Cheese Days frog jump is Friday night.

And do you realize that this blog began nearly 2 years ago? My first post regarding this adventure was on July 20, 2007. We moved to Winlock at the end of July '07.

As long as I am reminiscing, this is what we were up to a year ago.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wanna Eat Something Tasty?

Dice up some onion and soak in fresh lime juice. Cube up some watermelon and cut up some jicama. Use your hands to gently toss the watermelon and jicama into the onion and lime juice. Sprinkle chili pepper and cumin to taste and toss. Crumble up some cotija cheese and chop up some cilantro. Sprinkle liberally over the top and serve ASAP. This dish does not like to wait to be consumed.

I find when I am missing Los Angeles I am usually missing food. Matt and I liked to buy bags of fruit from the street vendors. The bags usually had some sort of melon, mango, papaya, pineapple, maybe jicama and always spices, chili powder for sure and I don't know what else. So refreshing. The above dish is the result of a Los Angeles craving on a hot day. I knew kind of what I wanted but Googled the ingredients anyway just for reassurance that I was on the right track. I found a recipe with everthing I was jonesing for except the recipe called for cumin, something I hadn't thought to add. Yummy!

His Mother's Child

Just like his Mom, Dar, Matt likes to photograph bugs. She is very professional about it her husband even had a book of her work printed (we have a copy if anyone wants to have a look). Matt is still at the point and shoot stage of bug photography. These are my favorite recent pictures.

We don't know what sort of bug is shown in the last 5 of the 6 shots but w like to call it the "pug bug".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

It Has Been 10 Days or So

Funny how I had forgotten how fantastic Michael Jackson was. I was in junior High when Thriller came out. My girlfriends and I were obsessed. We got a friend this nearly life-size poster of MJ for her birthday that year.
Her dad didn't like it. He didn't like a poster of a black man on his daughter's wall. We didn't understand. I think that was my first encounter with racism.

For me, until Michael Jackson, popular music was just something playing on the airwaves and Friday Night Videos. I didn't know it could be an all encompassing sensory experience until he started dancing. It was like a new language. I remember watching Thriller in music class. Even our teacher was under his spell.

Then, in high school, I moved on and dived into New Wave. It was all about listening to a prescribed set of semi-obscure bands and Michael Jackson was waaay too popular for my new mindset. After that he ended up in the margins as he got weirder and wackier. It was easy to point and laugh at the pictures and stories. But now, as I re-listen to all the music and really give a thought to his tragic trajectory I just feel so sad. Between his abusive upbringing and his isolation in a level of stardom that left everyone else far behind, did he really ever have a chance?

Matt is wondering how long this re-awakened obsession with Michael Jackson will last. The music makes me happy. I hope is lasts a long time. I hope I never forget about his brand of magic again.

One more video (I am using grainy live clips because I LOVE to hear the crowd FREAKING out!)

First Night

I was kind of grumpy on the 4th of July. Not because of the holiday but because the stupid final inspection keeps getting pushed back and I am tired of having that hanging over my head. Well, I guess it is sort of the fault of the holiday. The shower door that was supposed to be installed on Wednesday so we could be inspected on Thursday didn't get installed until Thursday but a Friday inspection was out because the county was closed for the holiday, and so the inspection is now scheduled on Monday. Yesterday I kind of cracked at the seams and so Matt and I unpacked the TV and all its attendant paraphernalia and carted it upstairs. We went to the grocery store for some fruits, veggies and ice cream. Loaded up our new refrigerator. Made lime sodas with ice from our new ice maker and watched movies in OUR HOUSE - final inspection be damned. And guess what, Lewis County? We even spent the night sleeping upstairs on our soft, soft carpet, camping style with pillows and blankets, even though we don't have our certificate of occupancy and even though the window upstairs is not up to code for a sleeping room. So there! I feel much, much better now!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Kittens

Norah and Audrey got another rabbit. Only this time we didn't save it. We heard the ruckus outside but all the flashlights were dead and we couldn't(wouldn't?) find the murderers in the forest in the dark. The next day Matt found an explosion of bloody rabbit fur outside and then he found the front half of the rabbit just inside the cat door and kindly disposed of it before I stumbled upon it. He is a good husband.

So, What's Up With the House?

We were hoping to get our final inspection done last Thursday but we hit a couple of snags. (What?!? A snag? Unheard of!) The glass shower door I had ordered needed to have studs in the wall behind where it attaches and the guys who came to install it said I had 2 choices: order another type of shower door or break open the walls and add the required studs. Guess which option I chose? Hint: the new shower door will be here Wednesday. The other snag involves door handles. You know the little plates on the edges of doors where the latch is? Our doors don't have an indentation for those plates to sit in so we couldn't install the handles. My knees got wobbly at the thought of chiseling out 14 of those indentations without gouging the doors or digging too deep. The company that supplied our doors and windows lost out in this lousy economy and no longer exists (sadness) so I called another door company and they are sending someone out on Wednesday to cut out the holes for us. Some things are just WORTH paying for.

On the "Good News" side of the ledger sheet, the carpet has been installed upstairs! It is the first room to be 100% complete. We LOVE it - sooo cozy. I was varnishing the inside of the closet door and got a little light headed so I decided to take a nap on the carpet upstairs. IT. FELT. SO. NICE!
I have also done no fewer than 3 loads of dishes in the DISHWASHER! Hal-freaking-lelujah. In addition to boiling eggs my stove has been put to use wilting rhubarb in honey for a salad, baking cookies for Father's Day, Jalepeno Popper Dip (I found the recipe by following a link on Jennifer's blog - it was a big hit!) and Caramel Crack for the Gillespie's party. We are hoping to get our final inspection done this coming Thursday provided there are no more hidden snags. And on Friday our refrigerator arrives! Yay! We still haven't ordered our washer and dryer. They are the next major purchase. I can't wait!

Across the North Cascade Highway

After leaving the Methow Valley we headed west over the North Cascades Highway. It is closed during the winter between Nov & May. It was beautiful! Our destination on the other side of the mountains was Bellingham where we visted Andy. Bellingham is a really nice town (Andy is nice too :)) and we were reminded that we should get up there more often.
(This picture makes me laugh)

Winthrop, Twisp & Mazama, WA

A few weekends ago we took a little trip up north with Tom and Kathy. The idea was to visit the lumber yard from which we purchased all of our siding and interior wood. The area we went to is on the east side of the Cascades and is called the Methow Valley (FYI, it is pronounced met-how. I called it meth-ow and was corrected). This is a picture taken from our room at the Mazama Country Inn were we spent Friday night.

And this is our room. How cute is the sleeping loft? I admit this is the entire reason I picked this place after looking at a bunch on the internet.

This is NOT were we stayed although it was beautiful. It is the Sun Mountain Lodge.

A view from the SML grounds looking over the Methow Valley.

The next 2 shots were taken inside the SML wine cellar. For $150 a person can rent the room for private dinners. I'll take the seat under the polar bear.
If you don't want to add $150 to your dinner bill you can settle for eating in the dining room and this breathtaking view:
Along with the polar bear we encountered stuffed deer, javelinas, wild boar, and a bunch of other unfortunate creatures whose pictures did not make the cut.

And here is the reason for the trip:
You can get pretty much any wood you want from this place. We thought they milled the lumber on location but turns out they just source and house the lumber. When a customer calls to request something, they send it out to be milled in Tacoma. Those bays full of cedar smelled wonderful. People tell me my cedar house smells nice too but I truly can't smell it anymore!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Full Oval

The sink and stove have been put to use. I can't say it was for some grand dish. I hard boiled some eggs. As I post this I realize there is some poetry in that, considering that this blog is called Eggtown and in just 2 weeks we will be celebrating Egg Days here in Winlock. The other day on the mail route, one of my customers asked me if I wanted some eggs because her chickens had laid more than she could use. I happily said yes and she came out of the house with 2 dozen (!) eggs! I got home from the route and the propane man was just finishing installing our tank. The next day our plumber finished nearly all his tasks here so I had a working kitchen sink (heavenly choir singing) and a working stove (angel harp orchestra). And now I have 24 hard boiled eggs. Full circle.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sometimes I Miss Los Angeles

I am 100%, absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, snowball's chance in hell certain that this will never happen in Winlock. Thanks Tengrain.

Update: I wrote about this story at the time but it bears repeating here. When we moved up here one of Matt's coworkers gave him a hammer as a gift in preparation for house building. He engraved it with Matt's initials, M C. I still laugh about having MC Hammer in da house.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kathy Saves a Fawn

The other day I got a call from Kathy. "Bring your camera, there is a fawn by the side of the road that is less than a day old", she said. The mother was nowhere around and the fawn was so new and delicate that when it tried to stand the wind from passing cars blew it over. When I got there it had made its way from the edge of the road into some grasses. Wildlife services had not arrived by the time I left so we never found out what happened to it. Hopefully the mother returned and guided it to safety. That is the story I am sticking to.

Lord Have Mercy

File under: This is how we do things in the country.

People of the internet, you are going to need a backstory before viewing these pictures. Sigh. Here we go. A few weeks ago Tom and Kathy were having trouble with their chicks. Something was eating them in the night. It was determined that the culprit was a raccoon. The household was on guard and when Walker raised the alarm, Tom grabbed his shotgun and headed outside (3am with Kathy laughing hysterically from inside). The two of them treed the raccoon and it was dispatched forthwith, its tail blown clean off.

Tom delights in teasing me because I am a vegetarian and he is a blood thirsty hunter. Last night after dinner at their house Matt and I went to leave and what is tied to my antenna? That's right. The RACCOON tail. Matt referred to me as Davy Crockett's chauffer and laughed all the way home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breaking News!!!

We have water!

We have lights!

There is still a bunch more work to be done. The water is not yet hooked up to the sewer pump and the hot water heater won't be installed until next week. It will be a few days yet until the electrical work is finished. These are currently the only working lights but it is a start! I wasn't expecting the lights to turn on and just happened to be standing in view of them when they did. I squeaked in excitement.