Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Keeping Green

Our neck of the woods will soon get a traffic circle (Camas/Washougal) on Highway 14. I admit, I groaned when I read about it. Whenever we visit our family in West Olympia, we encounter traffic circles. Many of them. I don't like them (& that could be because I haven't quite figured out how to navigate them yet). But I learned something interesting about traffic circles yesterday. The high school band teacher sent out this interesting information: "Since internal combustion engines pollute the most—by far—when they are idling, the more we can keep traffic moving, the better. Traffic jams and stop lights contribute more to pollution than free-flowing highways and streets." With this information in mind, I will try not to hate the Olympia traffic circles too much. In trying to reduce my own carbon footprint, I purchased a reusable Trader Joe's shopping bag this evening (a nifty sky blue bag with surfboards-very tropical looking) and a bargain for only 99c.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Big Cheese

I am happy to report that approximately 8 or 9 pounds of cheese made it safely to Tehran. Mansour had purchased a huge block (at least 6 lbs.!) of Gorgonzola from Costco, along with a pound of Comte (my personal favorite), a giant netted bag of Baby Bell Originals (about 25 in the net). Mansour said he would ask the flight attendant to put the cheese in the fridge of the plane. We were hoping the cheese would make it past security first, then into the plane fridge. The cheese odyssey didn't stop there. Fari & Mansour had a 9 hour layover in Frankfurt. They got a room at the Frankfurt Sheraton (conveniently located in the Frankfurt airport). Thank ful for the tiny hotel fridges, the cheese was kept happy. Then another 5 hour ride in the Luftahnsa fridge to Tehran where the cheese made it through Tehran customs and is probably right now being enjoyed by Mansour & Fari with a cup of chiee (tea). My only regret is that I didn't photograph the pile of cheese before I left Portland. It was impressive.

Here is a link to an article from this morning's Oregonian newspaper: . It seems parents can blame the teenage years on the amygdala for the daily arguments in their households.

As promised, here is a picture of Naseem's new piercing. I shiver every time I think about it. Ouch!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So Long...farewell...

This afternoon, we took Fari & Mansour to the airport. It was a sad goodbye, as we don't know when we will see them again. It could be a few months from now or ? While at the airport, the bags were overweight, even the carry-on bags. Fari was told to remove 3 kilos of weight from her carry on bag. This is a photo of Naseem "guarding" the 3 kilos Fari had to remove from her bag.
Here is the last photo we took before Fari & Mansour headed through security.

After we left the airport, we headed out for some lunch. We were hankering for some Dim Sum. We wanted to go to our favorite, Wong's King, but they had a line out the door. Omid took us to another restaurant a few blocks away called Legin. We only had to wait 25 minutes, versus an hour for Wong's King. The food was pretty good. Their bbq pork buns tasted just like a warm Krispy Kreme glazed donut filled with pork. They were yummy. Here's a pix of Matty enjoying the bun.

birthday surprise

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, we decided to drive out to Skamania Lodge for their breakfast buffet and celebrate Naseem's birthday. Their famous brunch is on Sundays only, but they have a mini brunch on Saturday which was still delicious. The scenery was gorgeous and we saw some Golden Eagles. We stopped off at Bonneville Dam to look at the fish ladder. At the gate, the guard had to open the back to make sure we weren't bringing in any bombs or anything. That was new since the last time I visited. We saw one young Steelhead in the fish viewing room. That was exciting! ;)

We crossed over to 84 and stopped off at the outlet center to shop around. Naseem was in no mood for stopping. We asked her to be patient, as even though it was her bday, it was also her grandparents last day in the States and all that jazz. Nas decided to stay in the car while we shopped. By the time we got home, Nas was hopping mad. We tried to cajole her into just being patient...good things come to those who wait. But no. Patience is not for teenagers. I finally had to share the surprise with her and then she felt guilty for being such a pill. For months she has wanted to get her upper ear cartilage pierced and we said no. This was her surprise, that she could get the piercing she wanted. She was so excited. we went to the mall and she got her upper ear pierced - ouch! She chose a small 3 mm cubic zirconia post. When the woman at the store loaded the gun, I had this instinct that I better check just to make sure it was the correct earring Nas wanted. Good thing! She had loaded this honking 6 mm CZ into the gun! Nas would not have been happy. She apologized all over and I was so thankful I had the foresight to check. Whew! Anyways....Nas' ear looks so cute! Photo coming later. After the painful stop at Icing, we went to Hollister and bought some new things.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The kids and I came home and made our favorite after school snack: white chocolate, cranberry & frito popcorn. So delicious. Matty took off with the neighbors to run errands and ran into our old friend Mrs. Nicholson who wondered what he was doing with strangers (to her, not him). So funny and nice to know people are looking out for my kids. :)
Tomorrow Naseem is 14! Unbelieveable to think in just a few short years she will be in college. Goodness!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Holy Moly!

Today in the mail we received a statement from the hospital for my emergency visit two weeks ago. For three hours of care, the total cost was $4,513.75! The most expensive part of the bill was the CT Scan ($2649.00), drugs & an IV drip ($158.75), lab fees (304.00) emergency room charges ($1,402.00). I am so very thankful we have health insurance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Netflix this

We just finished watching a heartbreaking movie, Rendition. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal. I can't say anything else about the movie because I will give away too much information. It's a good movie in a very sad sort of way.

J. Peterman!?

Did you know there really is a company called J. Peterman? The same one Elaine worked for on Seinfeld. All this time I thought it was a fictional company.
If you want to check it out, the address is: I went on the site and in the women's section, they sell caftans. I have been in love with caftans ever since Andorra on Bewitched wore them. I used to dream that was how I would dress one day. Hasn't happened!

Monday, February 18, 2008

I have always admired my friend, Kate's thank you cards and notes, as she uses beautiful personalized stationery from Crane's. I thought I would buy myself some Crane's stationery a few years ago and visited a Crane's shop. To make a long story short...I still admire Kate's notes and didn't buy myself any (completely unaffordable). I have recently discovered Felix Doolittle (as recently as this morning). I was looking through Arezou's THE WEEK magazine and Felix Doolittle was mentioned there (for having adorable stationery, etc). I checked it out at The illustrations are so sweet and simple; and you can order anything from bookplates to bridal invitations at a fraction of the cost of Crane's. Now...I just have to decide on one design I like.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Birthday Weekend

This past weekend we celebrated Omid, Naseem & Cynthia's birthdays. Omid smoked beef tenderloin and 3 racks of ribs for dinner, along with his maple baked beans. The whole meal was delicious. We had bday cake for dessert (choc cake, bavarian cream filling and whipped cream topping).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Netflix This!

Last night we watched a hilarious movie (for the 5th time!)...The Party with Peter Sellers. It's terribly un-PC and full of stereotypes...but if you can get past will be on the floor laughing at Peter Seller's antics. Much of the movie was improvised and you can see the girl who plays Michelle Monet laughing throughout the film. The movie was made in 1968 and is full of those wonderful hairdos, costumes and architecture/decorating of the 60's. The first 3/4 of the movie is great, the last 1/4 I was waiting for it to be finished. Random fact: You'll recognize Captain Steubing from Love Boat in the film.

The photo was from yesterday afternoon. Check out Remy's cheesy smile. He had just visited his girlfriend, Ruby (Chocolate Lab from next door and an older woman!). :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's in your pantry?

Check out this link to photos of what people around the world eat in one week. The photo essay gives snapshots of families somewhere in the world, in their home, with the amount they spend on food for the week.

If you have time, also check out Check your vocab skills on this site; and earn rice for third world countries. Naseem and I have an ongoing challenge on whose vocab is better. So far, I'm winning! :) It's educational and you're doing a good deed at the same time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bragging Rights

I was just checking out the results of the last night's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (as we missed it). But...hopefully, we can watch it tonight to see the Sporting group.

My bragging point is this: Remy's dad, Hudson, is from Kizmar Vizslas (in North Dakota). Kizmar's Vizslas sired the two dogs who won ribbons at the show. The first dog won Best of Opposite Sex and the 2nd dog received an Award of Merit. It's kind of neat to think these dogs may be related to Remy in some way (at least their dads are all from the same breeder).
If you want to check out the Westminster site, click here:

Valentine's Day Dessert Idea

This dessert was in today's Oregonian newspaper. It combines some of my favorite things: orange sherbert & vanilla ice cream and Amaretto. If you've never added a shot of Amaretto to a margarita, you are missing out!
I will have to find the time to make this in the next few weeks. Until then, here's the recipe.

"Amaretto Creamsicles"

2 cups vanilla ice cream-orange sherbet blend (Breyer's and Dreyer's make similar products)
4 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (divided)
2 navel oranges
Let the ice cream-sherbet soften slightly, then put in a medium bowl with 2 tablespoons amaretto. Stir well until smooth, working quickly so the mixture doesn't get soupy. Place mixture in the freezer until firm.
Meanwhile, slice 1/2 inch off both ends of the oranges. Place one orange on one of its flat ends and slice downward following the curve of the fruit to remove the peel, including the white pith. Holding peeled fruit over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the segments into the bowl. Repeat with remaining orange. Gently stir the remaining 2 tablespoons amaretto into the oranges and chill until serving time.
To serve, scoop the ice cream-sherbet into pretty bowls and top with orange segments, drizzling any of the amaretto over the top.

Pointing allowed!

It was so exciting to open the mail yesterday. We received a package from our friends at NW Vizsla Rescue. 100% of the proceeds go to help Vizslas w/o homes. I only wish the shirts were grey or white, I don't care for these color choices too much. I also ordered Omid a tshirt. His is very clever. It's the old 'visa' logo, but says Vizsla. And...if you know Vizslas, the slogan on the back of the shirt says, 'They're everywhere you want to be.' That is the truth! It's Omid's bday today (we're finally the same age!) and I will give him the shirt tonight. Maybe he'll wear it for casual Friday at work this week. Happy Birthday Omid!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yesterday was a mixed day. Fun and sad. First thing in the morning, we took Remy to the field by our house and let him see 100's of Canadian Geese. He was on point and it was so neat. He chased one group of birds and surprised another. He had a great time. We went back home and had breakfast. We gathered for a quick family photo before Arezou had to leave to go back to Chicago. Remy was supposed to be in the picture, but chose to try to get a radish out of his Kong instead (you can see his "blur"). After this pix, we dropped Naseem off at a friends house and the rest of us drove to the airport. We saw Arezou off and then went off to visit the new shops byIKEA. We shopped for a bit and then came home. At 5:30, we met a bunch of friends at Big Al's for a bowling birthday party. It was so much fun. It was way too busy there, and I am glad I didn't bring my purse - there was no way to keep track of it. Anyways, in the first game, I got 4 strikes! I don't know how that happened (must have the been the bowling lessons my parents signed my sister and I up for when we were 7 & 8 - no kidding!). Then in the 2nd game, I got 3 strikes. My right arm is sore, because all the light b-balls were taken and I had to grab a heavier one. Omid didn't bowl, he sat with Fari & Mansour and cheered me on. Afterwards, we dropped off Omid's parents who were tired, and we took Lin's kids and went to our friends' house for bday cake. It was a fun night (& Nas said she didn't want to go as it would be boring!). :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Traveling Stone...

Last night at around 8 p.m., I was loading the dishwasher and I had a small pain in my back. I thought I might have a bladder infection, and drank some water. The small pain quickly became a big pain and I went to lie down for a few minutes on the floor. Fari & Arezou were over and Arezou made room for me on the couch. I told her I had a 'twinge' or something in my back and I needed to put pressure on it. The very next minute, the pain was so sharp I got up to get some Advil and knew I must have a kidney infection. I told Omid I was going upstairs to lie down, as the pain was so bad. Omid followed me upstairs and I immediately burst into tears. It felt like I was going into labor - full blown contraction like pain! Omid massaged my back, and I was trying to breathe & tell him where the pain was & cry at the same time. He called his Mom upstairs and together with Arezou & the kids, they conferred (with the help of a phone call to the Dr. & Web MD & a friend of Arezou's who is a Dr.) I needed to go to the hospital. This is all happening in about 7 minutes. I had awful nausea as well and was so hot.
Omid took me to the ER and on the way there I was praying that we would be the only ones in the ER. The ER has Valet parking (which was so nice & free to boot), so we didn't have to worry about finding a place to park and walk (because I couldn't I was so doubled over with pain). When we went inside, the ER was packed! I looked at Omid and really started to cry. I could also hardly breathe. There was a line to check in (we wre 3rd). The two people in front of us were so nice, they begged Omid to cut them in line. The first man in line was there his sick toddler (& I felt bad cutting). I was thanking him through tears & sobs (& thanking God for not making us wait). Omid checked me in and we didn't even have to wait 5 minutes. A nurse whisked me back and immediately got an IV started. I was given medicine for the extreme nausea and pain. I was asked to give a sample of urine and I tried, was so little. I had the IV in the bend of my elbow on my right arm and then the lab tech came and took blood from my left arm (same elbow bend - I can barely bend my arms it hurt still this a.m.).
The Dr. was great! He got the pain under control with shot of a pain med called Dilaudid, that is 10 times stronger that morphine. It did the trick. He said I had a classic textbook case of a Kidney stone! I couldn't believe it. I thought that only happened to people much later in life. Guess not! I was given a cat scan to be sure. By this time, the pain medicine worked and I wasn't in pain anymore. The nausea was worse and I got sick. The cat scan confirmed that the Kidney was swollen and also the ureter, and that I had passed the stone (apparently when I gave the sample).
This was something I don't ever want to happen again! It was agony. We finally got home around 12:15 a.m. Fari & Arezou stayed with the kids. I was sick several times on the way home (thank God I took a bowl with me) and am still nauseous/sick this morning. I hope I make it through the day at work.
Moral of the story: Drink lots of water! In my case, I drink coffee, tea and wine and not enough water.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dog-gone cute!

The dog garden sculpture my mom & sister bought me arrived today. So cute! We had to bribe Remy to sit next to it with some treats. He was barking at it earlier. I have decided not to put it by my front door, as I am afraid it will get stolen. I think I will put it out in back instead. That way I can hope it stays safe. It's so cute. I can't wait to buy some Spring flowers to put inside.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fun Weekend

I woke up this morning, wishing for a two hour late start so I could sleep in. I made some coffee, fed Remy and started reading the news and was finally "awake" when I got the call. Now I can't go back to sleep, but I can have a leisurely morning. :)
Omid took Fari, Mansour, Arezou, N & I to the Woodburn Outlet Center yesterday. He and M went to Mitchell's and shot clay pigeons while we shopped. The WOC was not busy at all, as everyone else was home watching the Super Bowl. I wanted to buy some boots (for snow) and a nice wool pea coat, but couldn't find either one that suited my price range. Instead, I bought a fleece pullover from Eddie Bauer and a few things for N from Aeropostale. Yes - believe it or not, that is the first item of clothing (in about a year) not from Hollister. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and had dinner. We haven't been there in years, and it was delicious and we had a great time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Yesterday was a fun & busy day. We had snow. Good thing Omid was driving!
We went to breakfast at The Heathman Hotel. I wanted the Bread Pudding French Toast, but it was such a small amount & I was starving, I chose the California omelet instead. Good thing too...I didn't eat anything else all day until 9:00 p.m. when we finally ate dinner. :)
After breakfast, we headed to TJ MAXX (one of Fari's favorite stores). Omid decided it was time to get N a new comforter, blanket and several new sheet sets (the comforter is trashed from Remy sleeping with her every night). N was babysitting, but she she came home, she liked her new bedding set. Omid & I went grocery shopping and bought some things for a Persian bbq. We were busy preparing a big dinner, as Omid's sister, Arezou, was flying in from Chicago for a visit. Fari & I made a plan to leave 2 1/2 hours early to the airport so we could stop at Marshall's & DSW Shoes. That didn't happen. :( We had too much to do at home instead. While Fari was waiting for Omid & I to finish in the kitchen, she made a blog. This is the new hobby in the family. :) We watched the WSU-Stanford basketball game. It was so stressful! We were all yelling at the tv and then whooping it up the next minute. The game went into OT and WSU lost. We couldn't believe it! The third loss in a row. :( When we were finally finished, everyone piled into the car and went to the airport to meet Arezou's plane. She looked great and happy. We can't believe it's been 3 months since she moved to Chicago! We came back home and N showed Arezou a few Karate moves and did a 'take down' on her! Luckily, it was just a demonstration and N didn't use all her strength! We had dinner and Omid made joojeh kabob (bbq chicken kabobs) & kabob barg (bbq'd steak kabobs). I made the rice (it was good! yay!). This isn't Uncle Ben's, this is true Persian rice and it's not cooked like regular minute rice. It's quite a process. Omid & I have been married for almost 19 years and I have finally started getting the rice 'right' this year. That's how long it takes to make good Persian rice!!! No kidding! Omid also made mast-o-khiar (yogurt with cukes). It was a delicious dinner and so nice for us all to be together.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Original Fresh Scent...

What a day so far and I feel like I have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.
I left the house at 6:45 a.m. and took the kids to school by 7:10. I had to meet my supervisor at the school district office at 7:15 a.m. We inventoried WLPT tests (kind of like the WASL for ELL kids), placed labels, and sorted the schools. Got that done, went to my school for one class and had to leave to come home and clean again & go to the airport ( to pick up Omid's parents). There wasn't time for both, so I let Omid run to the airport and I decided to stay & clean the house. I had to call and nag my sister about her new blog. She didn't have time to set one up, so N and I set it up for her and even added the first post. She hadn't even looked at her new blog yet (Shame on you!) There also wasn't time to give Remy a bath (plus he just had one last week), so I grabbed the box of Gain 'original fresh' dryer sheets and rubbed him all over with the sheet. He smells fabulous. After the rubdown, he was rubbing himself all over the carpet trying to remove the scent from his fur. I am off again in 1/2 an hour to pick up the kids and then run home and visit with my inlaws. One good thing...since the house received a deep cleaning on's cleaning was just a 'surface' cleaning. I just checked with Brenda, and she finally checked out her new blog. Hopefully...she will add a post tonight so we can see what's new with her! No pressure! :) Update: Omid's parents arrived safely. Sad to say, they were detained in Customs & questioned for quite some time (arriving from the Axis of Evil - sheesh!). I could go on & on with INS stories...maybe I will write a book one day about our experiences. Stay tuned!