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October, 2004 | Scuff Productions

Surgery, Resurgery and angst too?

Bloged in Political by mark Wednesday October 27, 2004

Dear Diary,

We begin this morning in a fogged cool breezy hilltop scene not altogether unbecoming:

That taken from the window in the computer room looking at the Catalpa Tree with those huge leaves. In ANOTHER state of the union, I grabbed this photo of fall taken in Cache Valley, Utah looking at the beautiful Uintah Mountains in the background and one of the earliest Mormon temples built in Utah, the Logan Temple (taken from the SL Tribune today):

Gorgeous, eh? Interesting that this is one of the only Church Controlled states (so far) in this country……………………and sometimes it ain’t pretty in politics there (yep, most of the arguing is covered or un-reported by the media).

So why am I a little blue? It’s the sad state of politics in this nation as we approach the most bitterly divisive election in my life memory bringing on a bit of blue. I too am on one side of this divide (I believe the correct side obviously) after studying and reading many books, getting a very clear knowledge of the facts behind the last four years history, and very clearly knowing why I’m voting against the current administration. If I am clear, why am I still a little blue? I know, not believe, the current administration is pandering to the extreme conservative Religious right simply for the votes, they’re lying over and over and over and over about the same things until their constituency believes them. They bait many followers with promises they have no intention of even remembering after November 3. Polling companies are shading and coloring their own systems to promote an appearance that the conservatives are winning even though they know that they are NOT reporting truth (Gallup CEO, the son of the founder, is an evangelical Christian for example). I have received not just a few e-mails from conservative friends and/or Mormon family who simply “forward” the party lies or bigoted attempts at humor that typically paint liberals ALL to appear ignorant, destitute, stupid, lower class and only alive because of Government handouts. They say they’ll “forgive me”. I have found the TRUTH is proving to be that many conservatives of this new world we are moving toward appear to more unwilling to read objective hard truths about what the end result will be if the current Republican Party Platform is followed to its end. I find truth in the saying, “You have to think to be a Democrat.” I find truth in the list of freedoms conservatives prattle about that were one by Liberals fighting hard-won causes to win said freedoms. Liberals tend to be accepting, loving, fighters for truth. The religious Conservatives tend to be judgemental and arrogant but “OK” as long as you agree with them. If you don’t suspicion, paranoia, negative actions follow. The REAL REASON FOR MY ANGST is HERE: Lots of these folk are as American as Apple Pie and allow their religious beliefs to control what they think and do. They “believe” these leaders mean well for them and are unaware the REAL things they believe in are being hijacked right through the transperancy of the $$$$$$ ads being run. Democrats in power are not without complicity in this.

I see very clearly that it will take years and years to try to return Democracy to power in this country with equal rights for all let ALONE try to PAY for the Empire the current rulers, Corporate Giants are building overseas. I see this administration has just newly fostered generations of hatred toward westerners from any and ALL Arab Nations.

It is with great joy I report that for ME: My leaving the religious world behind is exactly what began a journey toward light and spiritual awareness and thus allowed a rich inflow of honesty, of learning, of a blooming understanding of great truths from every source.

OK. Now I feel better. Why am I rattling and sitting still when there’s “stuff” to do?

Fall’s now seriously here and a beautiful season it is even though it’s mired in death and struggles for survival. Amidst the dying, Nature has grand beauty going on all around if you just look. The deer begin their rut in a next couple weeks so new life will be born around the middle of spring as new plants provide food for Mom. The Great Horned Owls are beginning to look around this forest for nesting places and males will begin territorial calls by the end of the year so baby owls will be born and fledged by the time baby mice and birdlets are ready to eat. We now have the daily visits next door and at Paul & Kristin’s across the street by deer of all sizes that simply canvas the ground under their apple trees for the fallen available fruit. The mice and rats are looking for warmer climes (garages?) to make nests and warm up. Squirrels and Jays are grabbing almost all available seeds and running to deposit stations for storage in case we have winter on the way. As I write, I’m watching a little Douglas squirrel dig a storage spot under the fir outside the window, only pausing to roll around in it to mark the scent of the spot for future reference. Inside the house, furnaces are running daily, wood piles are being moved as needed inside the garage. As with all year’s ends, some odd things appear. Neighbors are reporting some Azaleas are blooming, Karen has some spring flowers blooming (0nly slightly of course), and even I have seem some straggling blackberries still trying to ripen for seed. What does that mean? Global warming? Just a fluke? The very very last of the garden has been taken in. All the hot peppers are now harvested and were shared with our friends here doing science research at OHSU, Desire’ & Maguy Tschala and Valerie Palmer. These folks are from Africa and are just beginning to teach us what HOT food means (more below on the Chili Paste). The huge French Fennel has been trimmed, seeds harvested, dried, and now in jars. The deer fence around the garden space is now down and stored behind the woodshed. Small stringing branches coming out from the Filberts and Maples have been mostly cut back so spring pruning will be a little easier. The lawn continues to get mowed more for for leaf pickup than cutting grass. We’re finally going to take about a dozen shrubs/plants we bought in the spring for the berm and just plant them out there anywhere to allow them to root….and decide in the spring about permanent landscaping. The beautiful calls of Canadian Geese are again being heard over the house at night as they begin that winter trip to warmer climes (I just LOVE living directly above the bird refuge called Sauvie Island…..we get a direct benefit living under this flight path in fall and spring). We heard the probably victorious coyote pack yelping early the other night after they probably captured something to enjoy a pack meal with as temperatures were lowering to 40 or below. By the way, this fall has come on so slowly but early that none of this has required a big burst of huge work.

As all that’s happening, puppy Mac has achieved the milestone of being about 55 pounds and by no means looking grown.. He now simply looks like a gangly teenage with big feet, long legs, skinny frame, huge ears, but still small head.

Just this morning I have picked up a baby tooth of his from the floor. He passed his four month mark so was taken in to have his hernia repaired. After first finding that our own local vet has such high overhead that the cost would pass $400., we scouted around to luckily find that friends Mike and Janice Stewart (Rodger works with Janice and Dr. Mike has his own Veterinary Practice in Silverton, OR about 90 minutes from Portland) could do this repair for $175. Mac was taken unaware of the coming procedure along a beautiful fall drive through Oregon Farmland, through the German community of Mt. Angel (with a beautiful old Catholic Seminary and Cathedral on a gorgeous forested hill) and on to Silverton (near the beautiful Silver falls State Park).

We arrived at Silver Creek Animal Clinic at 0800 Friday, October 22 and greeted by a warm friendly staff. We met the Dr. Jason Kimball who Mike had told us would do a great job and were impressed with his demeanor and outlook. Mac was left not to be picked up until afternoon after coming out of the Anasthesia. So. We saw all of Silverton.

We peeked at the huge Oregon Garden just of town but didn’t pay to go in considering how little was available to be seen. The Oregon Garden is another big idea from some rich Oregon Few deciding they could make money by building an extravagant complex garden on some 90 (not sure of size) acres and believed “If you build it, they will come.” Well they haven’t. The Oregon Garden is now heavily in debt but still “believing” that as it gets more development millions from the planet will make this 90 minutes drive to Silverton to see it. I don’t want to downplay it’s beauty. There are probably thousands of plants now growing here in beautiful display gardens that match the possibilities of gardening in all of the Northwest. But I think the size of the market planned ain’t there. We’ll see, and once again, I digress…………..back to Mac.

We called in around 2:00 pm after running out of things to ever do and ended up reading in the library. MAC was waking up and we could pick him up. We did and departed after being told to keep Mac “down” or calm for 14 days. “With What?,” We said. Mac is four months old and just reaching new levels of energy. The vet said to try Benadryl ……… We got him home and he was tired for about a day before energy returned. But by the third day, a hole in the stitches appeared as he’d gotten away with some jumps and runs that were over the edge. He did have a few moments we couldn’t stay serious with though………..we’d gotten a “cone” for him to wear if he began chewing the surgery area and a couple times he had to wear it. He looked sad at times, like a Nun at times, and otherwise just funny:

In the garage he walked into the side of the pickup and would not move until we coaxed him out by hand:

BUT with the bound up energy he had and the damage to his stitches threatening recovery, we called Monday and returned Tuesday morning to surgery repair. This time, Dr. Kimball replaced all of the stitches with stronger material and gave us tranquilizers for at least 3-4 days so the repair could heal.

We DID have time for lunch and were sent to what must be the best restaurant in Silverton, The “Rose of Sharon” . IF you ever go to this town, be sure you have lunch or dinner there. In a beautiful old house, this chef prepares absolutely everything on his own including sauces and dressings. And for our Veggie friends, several choices are Vegetarian……….

We got back home and popped a quarter pill (beginning dose) in the pup ……….by World Series Inning 4, we began to relax. So now you know the REAL story behind this long scribbled entry: I’m staying near the pup because NOTHING’s going to knock him out, but if I stay quiet and close, he’ll lay there and hopefully, “heal”. GREAT Animal Clinic, GREAT people and attitude, and if I may say, a money saver compared to Portland area Clinics.

In closing, the Chili Paste in question? Taken from a Congo Recipe Site, here’s sorta what I made (I didn’t follow it exactly). It is a very hot chili paste that can be spooned on any greens you’re cooking, and/or put into any kind of beans you’re cooking, or……….use your imagination. Since there is a little vinegar (or some sources use Lemon Juice), it will keep for weeks and weeks in the fridge:

African Hot Sauce An all-purpose hot sauce.

What you need

one dozen chile peppers (i.e., hot red peppers – I used ALL Habaneros!)
three cloves garlic
one medium onion
two cans tomato paste ( I just used one —intentionally to make it concentrated)
four tablespoons vinegar
one teaspoon sugar
one teaspoon salt

What you do
Remove stems and seeds from peppers. — Careful! Wear kitchen gloves! Do NOT touch your eyes or face while handling hot peppers! Wash your hands with soap and water after you have handled hot peppers — Grind hot peppers, green pepper, garlic, and onion (or use food processor). Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Simmer for an hour or until the ingredients cook down and are a little darker in color. It should be quite thick. Add cayenne pepper if desired. Put in jars and refrigerate. Serve with everything.

Corbett Fish House – The Best.

Bloged in General Home Life,Portland by mark Monday October 18, 2004

Dining Fun at the Local Fish Diner…..a FUN diversion.

Mark has always been a fan of some seafood. He thinks it grew out of doing a lot of stream fishing in SE Oregon with his brothers, getting to eat that fresh native trout at day’s end, and learning years later that his Mom had known exactly how to cook fish. She knew how all the details from fish preparation, the importance of the cooking medium, to making sure the fish are not overcooked. She was a fabulous cook anyway, so I didn’t know at the time how delicate a task is that of preparing fish.

Many places even here in the Northwest where fish is a common menu item turn out dried, oily or badly over-breaded seafood, so it’s a BIG treat to find a little “joint” that turns out a great product in the most casual of little places and then has a charming café feel to boot.

Nancy and Carol joined us for lunch at the Corbett Fish House (on Corbett not far from where the new Tram will be built) Sunday at 12:00 PM. It is in the building where the big Healthy-Food Grocer Chain, “Natures” got its start and is now owned and run by a couple from the Mid-west. He grew up in Green Bay, she in Northern Minnesota where fish fries are a regular thing to do. So yes, most (not all) of the Fish is fried but in as light a manner as possible (read the “about us” on the link below). They ship some of the fish from the Great Lakes that we don’t see here: Walleye and Perch. Even the breading is made from a Rice Flour so is as light as breading can be. We tried appetizers, salads and main dishes and EVERYTHING was excellent……except the Wasabe Cole Slaw—skip that one.

The four of us sat down in one far corner to see lots of Green Bay Packer Fans get excited as their team proceeded to win their game big time. Every touchdown brought on the big cheers and Carol, not being the sports fan as a “few” Green Bay fans were, got a kick out of this. Midwesterners are customarily very friendly and that was the case here.

The funny thing was, amidst all the Football hoopla, the four of us were talking about art and Carol’s grandson, “Sam” (pictures too of course) so didn’t have any cheeseheads at our table. We saw Carol’s new raised Gold Lettering with art sketching (Mark’s BAD description) that is gorgeous plus Nancy’s new imaginative use of the Light-weight Concrete used to make Cement Leaves now cast from an old classic Theater mask complete with glow-in-the-dark paint on the eyes and mouth. Plus, she’s learned to take simple mod-podge from the Craft Store and paint some leaves with it that makes them beautiful. Mark’s going to try

So we had a GREAT time, and came home to watch BOSTON beat NEW YORK in the ALCS playoffs in that unbelievable 5 hour game. The LINK to the restaurant page is here, please have a look, and when you’re ready to go, please call us, we want to go again. (HEY – Jason and Malissa – – – take us there and show us how to become a cheesehead!!!!! Yea!)

Here’s the URL to the website, OR………..just clink on the LINK in the Left Column of the page and it will take you there to check the Menus, etc:

By the way. Our varied thrushes are just now returning from Alaska for their winter stayover here in their view of a winter paradise.

Mark & Rodger.

2004 fall is memorable

Bloged in garden,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday October 14, 2004

It was a great thing to be able to work in shorts and t-shirt today in temps near 80 degrees. I believe we just may break another heat record for October in Portland today. I got to put a lot of topsoil mulch around places in the yard and plant a couple of shrubs between us and the neighbors who have determined Mark’s a possible evil influence. So maybe in about three years, those shrubs will be a barrier.

But I took a couple of pictures to show how big a change can be here in just 2 months. Two months ago, the garden was as thick as it could be with ripe or ripening vegetables. So thick I could barely get water between some of them. The garden was surrounded with a metal fence to protect the lush plants from deer raids. With this warm dry fall, we have the last of the tomatoes still on the kitchen counter, but the garden has been laid to rest for the winter and is now under layers of lawn clippings and leaves already:

With the fence down, deer have been all around us at night. I’ve seen plants munched on the driveway by the house, and here, the last Habanero Pepper in the Garden has been so full of ripe peppers, I can’t give them away, but deer are even munching these plants close enough to the peppers maybe to just sneeze a little:

there are dozens of ripe peppers below the viewing area of this picture.

Last week about 9:30 I watched a 4 point buck slowly leave our driveway crossing Skyline to Paul & Kristin’s apple tree. Gorgeous as he slowly walked in the light of the full moon and under a street light to boot.

MAC no longer looks like the innocent helpless puppy and more like the pre-pubescent stubborn Chessie he was born to be:

And though he’s very charming and beautifully docile much of the time (more than we could have expected), he has moments when the mind and nose, or some other instinct, tune us out and he’s off. He is just barely beginning to show signs of understanding instruction, so we’re hoping the rest of the training goes okay. He is housebroken completely and sleeps easily 7 hours or until one of us gets up first.

Mac and Tucker have been taken together to the river a few times and both are in some real state of ecstasy when they’re there. Tucker will retrieve and paddle, swim until he will fall and we’ll have to leave. Mac, on the other hand, can’t understand why we would leave this place, and has now finally learned to swim.

One of those little trips to the river, was actually the cause for the suspicion that Mark is an evil influence. While Krysta’s husband and son had flown home to North Dakota to hunt ducks with the family for a week, Krysta was free of child care for the first time in three years. One afternoon while Mark was getting ready to take the dogs to the Columbia River, Krysta was outside and not sure what to do with herself. Mark invited her to go along advising her that the “perfect” spot for dog swimming happened to be at a beach on the North end of Sauvie Island. The “perfect spot” lays between to ominous other spots: 1) on the south end is about a quarter mile long stretch just for fisherman, 2) On the North side of the dog spot is Portland’s Naturist Beach. The dog spot itself is clothing required and after ten years of going there, neither Rodger or Mark has ever been close enough to even be sure anyone actually WAS naked up at the north end let alone see any one person ever approach our part of the beach where clothes are required. SO. Krysta said, “Sure”…….she would go along to help run interference between Mac and Tucker. Well wouldn’t you know. For the first time in ten years while we’re throwing sticks innocently enough in our safe spot, here comes a big “naturist” walking from the fishing end of the beach right through us to the north end. But does he keep walking? NO. He stops and tries to engage us in conversation which we quietly do although the gentleman is reminded a couple of times he’s standing on a part of the beach where clothing’s required. Krysta was uncomfortable, Mark was uncomfortable but felt it wasn’t something to make an issue of since the man was black and bigger in every way than either of us. He finally moved on, and we could only look at each other speechless. The dogs were beautifully unaffected and unaware of anything unusual. By the time we got back home though, we were both laughing about this awkward moment. Today, however, it’s not so funny to Krysta’s husband who has ceased speaking to us and will probably view Mark with suspicion from now on. I’m not sure why………….it truly was a ridiculous moment. Maybe you had to be standing there to know how awkward it was…………

This has been the beginning of a memorable beautiful fall season and though the forecast for the weekend drops temps 15-20 degrees with some rain, we’re not surrendering yet. We see Christmas items already up at Costco (disgusting), Halloween in two weeks, Thanksgiving in a few more, an ominous election in three weeks, the World Series up in about a week. What more could be happening this fall than all of these prophetic signs that life’s moving on!

We have been crushed to learn that the Kurtzweill Digital Piano we traded our acoustic Grand Piano for has declined in value so severely it’s not worth trading off. After two years of never making the switch to this new canned sound, we decided we’d like the piano back. So, Mark made one BIG mistake there giving the piano away on that trade. The Piano we’ll have to buy to replace it will be nothing close to that one in quality………….because we’ll have to stretch our budget even to get a replacement. Hopefully, we can resolve this in the next few months. We miss the piano!

Happy trails, what an afternoon here.

I am now in control of this house.

Bloged in Family,Scuff Boys by mark Tuesday October 12, 2004

I, Mac, am now in control here as you can see:

My reign should last 12-15 years, no need to challenge me. I simply lick a face, and subjects swoon.
The humans have a major flaw I’ve discovered. For some reason they continue to throw sticks into water. Out of some kindness, I suppose, I have always retrieved them, but don’t understand this obsession with sticks and water they seem to have. Oh well. Yawn, /Mac

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