Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stacey, Kellen & Odin

Running into old friends

At Joann's Fabrics I ran into Linda Griffith.  Linda and I worked together at Rio Linda Elementary and I had her son Ed in 4th grade. Ed is now in his 40s and has 4 children. We also know Linda and husband Ed from Calvary Lutheran Church.

Later, Dick spotted Mark Enos in the Costco parking lot.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Natomas Road, near Pacific Ave and the railroad tracks, Trowbridge:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lefse 101

Here in downtown Rio Linda lives the best lefse maker in the world as far as many of the Skaugs think, Merrilyn's house.

A few of us gathered for a lesson in how to make lefse.
L-R: Christy and mother Lynn (Dick's cousin), Carolyn (Dick's sister)

Merrilyn had cooked the potatoes and left them to sit uncovered all night.
After the bowl of flour was mixed in, it was time to roll balls about the size of a golf ball.
L-R: Lynn, Christy, Phyllis (my cousin), Carolyn

43 by the end.

Lots of flour. Note the lefse cast iron skillet heating up on the stovetop and the red-handled authentic lefse turner.  Merrilyn gave each of us a lefse turner with the recipe attached.

Very hot skillet for cooking
This is the same 43 balls of dough staying warm in a towel

I managed to get flour all over myself from my forehead down to my shoes.

With the lefse all cooked it was time for lunch.  Merrilyn is such a GOOD cook.

Lefse with butter and three kinds of homemade jam (apricot, strawberry, and pomegranate), pasta salad and asparagus with lemon.  Christy lobbied for more 101's from Merrilyn, all the jams and dill pickles. 

Cheesecake with fresh berries.

Merrilyn, I know all of us had a great time.  A couple of Norwegian husbands are so happy their wives have learned this new skill (Dick and Phyl's husband, Dave).  The food was incredible and the company delightful.

Thank you.  You really are the best lefse maker.
Merrilyn not only sent us out the door with the lefse turner and recipe, she also sent home leftovers!  Dick received clear instructions.  That pasta salad was all mine!   
This post was so long already, I didn't include any of the recipes.  If you want them, let me know.

Progress on Justin's gate

Thursday 21 February
Saturday 23 February
On the way home.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


While Thais worked from home, I went over to help out with Avery who wasn’t feeling well.
After a good nap, and a stroller walk in the neighborhood, he felt better. Here he contemplates whether to try a piece of Carter’s dog food or not.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

G St upgrades

Old: donated by Justin. He didn’t want it back. Go figure.

New: on loan from Phyl & Dave. Woohoo! Thanks!

And then, a queen-size inflatable mattress with flannel sheets from Merrilyn & Bob! Woohoo #2!

But cutting out a sewing pattern is still done on the floor. I’m on the search for a table. My back will be so happy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Darn, darn, and smoke

The first week in the house started with me getting a mild cold. Darn. Nevertheless I finished the Baby Skaug quilt last night.

The last thing I want is to make Nicole sick during her final month of pregnancy I will stay home, Dick will deliver the gift and stand in for me at the baby shower.

The second “darn” of this post: I really wanted to go. (The dotted fabric was the reverse side of the quilt picked out by Grandpa Dick.  When he went a second time to Joann's Fabrics to buy more embroidery floss, the clerks remembered him and asked if his grandchild had been born yet.  A man shopping for matching fabric and embroidery floss and asking for help and advice many times gets to be popular quickly.)

While Dick was gone I went for a bike ride to North Natomas along the car-free levee road for lunch and to get online. On my way home, I stopped at Phyl and Dave’s. Jerry and Carol from Bakersfield were visiting for the weekend. The guys love smoking their cigars.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

From my cozy nest to yours, I hope your day was filled with love.
Discovery: champagne from a plastic glass tastes just as good as from a crystal flute.

Simple living household tip: a small ironing board makes a good night stand when your bed is on the floor.

Still smiling!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back home in Rio Linda

Last Sunday, in addition to me finishing the LCI Seminar, Dick also went to the Kings game with Greg, and we moved back into the G St house in Rio Linda. It didn’t take very long, we don’t really have anything to move in. Here is our furnished bedroom:
  • batting covered foam pad and red wool blanket (borrowed from Carolyn and Mark)
  • two 1-inch-thick Thermarests (from our bicycle touring days),
  • sheets (borrowed from Tom and Julie)
  • and five fluffy pillows (from my bed at Justin’s house).
That’s it.

Our living room is more furnished than this. We have one folding chair (borrowed from Justin), two small tables (C&M). We’re reluctant to turn on the heating system for the whole downstairs so reading in the morning is best done like this:

And in the back yard, a surprise gift left by the tenant: four lovely chickens. I thought I’d give them to cousin Phyllis, but it only took a day or so for Dick to fall in love with them. He now calls them “my babies.” Sure, sweetie, just keep the driveway hosed off.
After 5 years, we now have a permanent place to live. This will be different. Gypsies no more?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pacific Flyway

Between Rio Linda and E Nicolaus are many rice fields now between growing seasons. Some are partially filled with water to provide an attractive habitat for migratory waterfowl. The geese and ducks can sometimes be an amazing spectacle. Thousands flying in circles looking like they’re deciding exactly where to land.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Becoming an LCI

LCI = League Cycling Intructor.  My friend, Adrienne, sent me a flyer advertising for someone who is passionate about bicycling to teach bicycling skills to 5th graders.  This sounded like the perfect part-time job for me.  I have a lot of bicycling experience, I know how to teach 5th graders ... this will be a snap.  Ha!  I would soon realize there was much more to learn and I wasn't all that good on a bicycle.

Step 1: join the League of American Bicyclists.  Organized in 1880 as the American League of Wheelmen, the original purpose was to encourage the paving of roads in the USA and led to our national highway system.

Step 2: take Traffic Skills 101 which I did in mid-January.  I only passed this class after practicing the instant right turn, rock dodge, and quick stop until I could be retested at the end of January.

Step 3:  study a binderful of materials to get ready to take a pre-test which consisted of 50 multiple choice, 25 true/false, and 10 short answer.  For some reason I didn't get the email which said where to send the completed test.  On Saturday 2 Feb, I was sent into a panic when I got an email which said turn in the test by Sunday night or forget about it.  Thank goodness I could send my answers by email (to South Carolina no less).  By the next morning, I received word that I didn't get 85% or better and didn't pass but could resubmit.  The test corrector gave excellent feedback as to where I went wrong.  Although the directions said the short answers should be 2-3 sentences, what was actually wanted was 2-3 short paragraphs.  I spent the first 3 quarters of the Super Bowl redoing and resubmitting the pre-test and raised my score to 90%, but I was not a very nice guest at the party.

Step 4: On Wednesday 6 February - just two days before the Seminar began - the group of 16 participants received an email assigning us to groups of 3 or 4 and a topic for a presentation and an individual topic for another presentation.  Uh-oh.  Time to panic again.  I imagined myself competing to become the Next Food Network Star.  "You will be working with 2 people you will only meet on the day of the presentation. You have 48 hours to perfect an 8-minute commercial on the Principles of Traffic Law.  You may communicate by email if you wish, or not."

In my wackier moments I thought about The League and how it reminded me of the (DC Comics) League of Justice. If I become an LCI, I'll have reached senior-citizen superhero status. Ooh, I need a costume not just the stance and the arched eyebrow.

I continued to practice the instant right turn,

learned how to adjust the rim brakes,

and collected materials for my individual presentation on Sharing Paths/Trails and Group Riding.

February 8-10, UC Davis, the Transportation and Parking Services building was the location of the Seminar.  

20 hours of teaching, learning, discussing;

setting up, teaching, and performing the handling drills in a parking lot;

presentations (everyone was nervous) and critiques by everyone in the room; road testing and teaching on the streets of Davis; and a night ride.

In the end, I passed!  No one failed, but about half must do some remediation and be retested by an LCI trainer before moving on to the next step.

I sent out an email asking permission to post this picture to the blog and received this response from Scarlet:  "I want full credit with huge arrows pointing at me and a caption saying something about me being the best student in the class. And by 'best', I mean the one who liked to participate in every frickin' thing and was probably really annoying!!!  You have my permission to use my likeness on your personal blog and might I suggest just putting a big fuzzy blotch over whomever declines your request?! That was a great weekend and I feel very blessed to have met you and (almost) all the other participants!!"

Whew! I'm so glad it's over.  This was the most challenging thing I've done in a long time.  I know so much more than I did when I started and realize I will never stop learning how to be a better bicyclist.
I also need to thank Dick for his help and patience over the past few weeks.  Never once did he complain even when I wasn't the easiest person to live with at times.