Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The air flow in the Honda Fit was not very impressive the last time we used the air conditioner. Mr. A said that we needed to change out the cabin air filter.

So, where the heck is it? Hidden behind the dash...somewhere. Good thing Mr. A has the factory manual...the info was not in the owner's manual, except for saying, "Take it to the dealer, stupid!"

So how hard could this be? It's behind the glove box. Two screws and voila! The glovebox falls out to reveal the filter thingy and lots of wires!

Eeeuuuwww! Here's the dirty filter. Lots of greenish/grayish Chico pollen there! That can't be good for the nose!

Here's the filter holder, the old nasty filter and the fresh new filter. We're breathing easier already!


Great year in the garden for plants that like it a bit cooler! This clematis outdid itself.

I've had good luck with this birdhouse every year. The clematis likes to twine around the bluebird house. Each year it is more spectacular. The English (House) Sparrows also used this box this year. As they say in Real Estate..."it's location, location."


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We brought Chase home last night. He was overwhelmed but settled down after checking out all the rooms. Izzie took it in stride after a few bats of the paw. Then she sat with her back to us for the rest of the evening. Cat language for "my humans are could they do this to me?"

It's morning on the front porch. Time for sniffing the cat, again.

Doggie walk with cat supervising, of course.

The old dog walking the new dog! Hiking a leg on the neighbor's hedge. (The new dog, that is!)

Izzie heads for the house...a cat can only take so much!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We celebrated my birthday with Tom & Peggy Hansen who were in town for a couple of days visiting their friends the Jacksons before heading back up to Washington. We ended up at McGrath's Fish House for dinner and you can see what happened to this old trout!

They were all thinking, "I'm glad it's her and not me!" Good times!

Dig in everybody. Sharing my complimentary birthday sundae with everyone works well. Don't have to feel guilty that way!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Freeloader Dugan Schoenfelter used to show up frequently at dinner time at the Ashcraft farmstead. One night Jack's mom, Myrtle, served him pie. With a mouthful of pie, Dugan asked, "What's the matter with 'dis damned crust!" Myrtle said, "There's nothin' wrong with that it and shut up!"
So it's been the Ashcraft family joke ever since. Hopefully no one will ask me that about this cherry pie!

My 100+ year old maple rolling pin, used by Jack's grandmother. I call it my good luck rolling never fails to produce a good pie crust! The can of Michigan tart pie cherries is from Grocery Outlet. I use 4-cans for one 9" pie.

Yeah, I like to get fancy with the top crust. A simple design for the Father's Day pie.

Into the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes...then 350 for about 35-40 minutes.

Out of the oven all bubbly and hot by 9am so it can cool.


That expression says it all! He was happy to see us again. He is still in doggy jail at the shelter, awaiting the BIG SNIP...then he can go home with us. We've gotten out the dog beds, squeaky toys and leash, so all we need is Chase! And, by the way, he CAN bark! It's a BIG bark for such a small dog!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


His name is "Chase."
He was found abandoned, chained to a tree without water or food for at least 7-days!

Chase in doggy jail at the Humane Society on Saturday. At least he'd had a bath and was more upbeat than when we first saw him on Friday.

Who could resist that face! The minute I saw him, I said to Jack, "That's the dog!"
He comes to Southern Oregon from Fresno. He traveled to Oregon with 49 other small dogs. It seems that small dogs are in demand here, more so than in So. Cal. Someone took pity on him and turned him into the shelter in Fresno.
It's hard to imagine someone being so cruel to a little dog!

When we first saw him, he was filthy and traumatized by all that had gone on. He sat in my lap and just hugged my body. I had to burn my clothes when I got home but we knew he was our dog! We did the paperwork and paid the $250 adoption fee. But we couldn't take him home until he has the "big snip". But we do get visitation everyday!With Mom in the visitors yard.

Checking out the smells from some of his tribe.
Below, with his new Dad! We hope to bring him home early next week, right after his surgery.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Thanks to my best friend Carolyn, I've enrolled at Baxter Fitness. She gave me the basic membership for my birthday. She and Jim have been going to Baxter for many months and she has raved about it. I kept thinking that I should check it out, but her thoughtful gift forced me to get with the program! Many thanks to her! Baxter is a low key fitness company which caters to folks 50 & beyond. Obviously it's not a pickup spot, meat market or a spot for hotties, but it is a great place for a sensible workout.

The first this that I do is get on the cycling machine. All the machines are set up for five minutes only! Yes, that's the way they do it...crank up the resistance as you improve (I'm 11 out of 20 so far on this). They claim that you derive just as much benefit from 5-minutes at higher resistance than 10 minutes at a lower resistance. So far it's hard for my reptile brain to get that...I just naturally think that I should be doing MORE or I won't get any benefit!

I'm also getting a good workout on my upper body, which has always been my weak point. Getting rid of those ugly buldges around the back of the bra and those jiggly parts on the upper arms is my goal here! Maybe Niecey likes her jiggly parts, but I sure don't like mine!

My "personal trainer" Damon giving me tips about rowing...I suck at this but I'm starting to get the idea. The trick is in the way you go forward and back, rotating from the hip! I really need some music with this! Something Latin would be good!
Damon says he isn't ready to "cut me loose" to do the workout on my own, but I'm soooo ready! Just get over it, Damon!

The cat says, "I'm glad I don't have to do that stuff to stay fit...I just climb up on the trellis and watch my bozo humans at work.
Thanks again to Carolyn for the membership.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Jack's drawing of a famous Alfa race car that will be on the cover of the Alfa Club magazine at some point.

We were invited to "tour" with the Portland Alfa club. 14 cars made the trip down from Portland to Ashland. We joined up with them the next morning in Ashland for a back road excursion to Grants Pass for lunch at the all new Riverside restaurant.

We made it as far as Talent when our leader's Alfa (a 1959 Giulietta Sprint Coupe) just quit. Out we all climbed to watch the cows in the pasture while drivers gathered to offer suggestions. One old guy seemed to know what to do.

How many old non-Italian men does it take to fix one Italian car? Hummm.

Yes, it's a pretty car! After a new coil wire and a stop at RC for new spark plug wires (you wouldn't want to check those things BEFORE your toured...), they finally caught up with us at Cantrall Buckley Park where we waited around for about 45 minutes.

Moving right along, we traveled on at about 50mph on North Applegate Road until we had to stop for a deer in the road. We were leading the pack in the Miata (luckily for the deer) so we had good brakes and stopped quickly. The driver behind us in an Alfa 1600 Sprint did not...he locked up the brakes, did a right turn spin out into the dirt banking. Luckily he didn't hurt his car and better yet...he didn't hit us. There was much squeeling of brakes from the cars behind us while this went on!
After we got the old car out of the embankment, we continued on into Grants Pass for lunch.

Part of our group at the Riverside.

The famous Caveman bridge

Jack with Alfa drivers. Lars is displaying the drawing that Jack gave them as a thank you for inviting us on the tour. A glass of wine did wonders and we motored back to Medford, leaving the "Alfisti" to their own devices.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Eat your snow peas, please!

After the heavy rains of the last week, I finally got out into the garden for more than a quick look. I discovered that the snow peas were encouraged by the cool & damp conditions to set lots of pods.

Enough for dinner? Yeah!

Raw ingredients for a good stir fry tonite.

Luckily, I had some Yakisoba noodles (ginger & soy sauce flavor)

On the stove with some leftover BBQ chicken and some onion & broccoli. Add the pea pods last, cover and let them "steam" for only about a minute. You want them bright green and shiny. "Al dente" remember him, good old Al.

Quick and easy! About 15 minutes from garden to table.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

13 months and counting down!

Joy and Tom are learning the 6-count swing. This is their second lesson. We teach couples using the basic elements of directional movement, timing, lead & follow and styling. This is the time-tested Arthur Murray method that all our dance instructors used.
Jack & I teach private & semi-private lessons in our mini studio in Medford.
Because Joy and Tom are taking private lessons, they are progressing more rapidly than if they were taking a group lesson. We can work with them and stop bad habits before they get repeated and into muscle memory.

Joy and Tom work the basic steps in swing. Joy is a professional hair stylist & accomplished equestrian and Tom is a retail store owner and professional piano rebuilder & tuner on concert pianos. They have a 3-year old son, Adam, who keeps them on their toes literally!

After a long day at work or keeping up with a 3-year old, it's not easy to concentrate on dance steps. We always review the previous lesson with our students before adding new steps.

Above: Doing the "cuddle" or "basket" step looks easy, but requires good footwork.

At the end of the lesson, we review with a final dance to music. Then the real work starts: that's homework. We use a printed handout to remind our students of the steps that they have covered. Then we assign homework...lots and lots of hours of dance practice are required to build muscle memory. The older you are...the more hours it takes!

Joy & Tom have a goal in mind with their dancing: a big wedding in 13 months where they'll look like pros on the dance floor. Yes, they have started just in time to get the basics in swing, fox trot, waltz and cha-cha...if they practice allot!

Below: Trying an outside underarm turn.