Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Booo Hooo

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A landmark day at Sweeti's...

As you all know probably very well by now, I have this little Yorkie affectionately named Emmy Lou or Em or Em's or Emmer and of course just Emmy too. My daughter nick named her Emmerita, see she has this fascination with Spanish names when she has an affection for someone.

I got her back in the end of July and all this time which seemed forever but truly it's only been about 2.5 months that I've been potty training my little Emmy. Well, let it be known the day has finally arrived that I'm secure in saying she is without a doubt Potty trained! Ta-daaa! (((Me taking a bow)))

I have been testing her with more and more freedom and not spending as much time in her metal pen and she is going to the pad and hitting her mark every time YaY! Now my plan is to get her completely used to it and start moving the pad to the front porch and then the lawn. Then she will be cross trained for both the pad when needed and outside when it's available too.

Now anyone thinking of doing this should consult this tidbit of info. 1st always train on a water proof surface like linoleum, 2nd Not all potty pads are equal. Some are wimpy and thin and claim to be waterproof, Not true...In fact I've used 4-5 top brands and this is the one I'd promote infatically. Its thicker and waterproof. She has chewed one up and ate the contents and lived to tell about it even thru all my worrying that she would surely die from it. I buy them at Wilco Farm supply but you can find them at a store near you by going to www.precisionpet.com and looking for little stinker house breaking pads.

Now we can travel and Emmy can go too, Motels not a problem, have pad will travel.

Her she is my little potty trained Emmy. Today she is surely "STAR" of the house just as her name implies and her trophy and extra hug, a "good girl" and an "extra treat".

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Emmy with her wings for Halloween

It's been 4 days and a good many hours that the Mr.s been gone bird hunting for Pheasant, The Raleigh dog too. Emmy and I have been crawling the walls to figure out things to do.
I have had lots of time to think and I realized my back doesn't hurt as badly as it was before, I think the traction once a week is helping tremendously. Yeah, less pills to take. I only have to take them now when I over do it to much. :)

I've realized that I need more friends in my area to go do things with, I'll work on this.
I've realized I need to attend some Al-anon meetings so I can get over the guilt that I'm just sitting on my hands and watching some family members destroy themselves and face it head on.
I never want to lose another family member to drug or alcohol abuse again.

I need to keep working on going to the gym if only just for me, I feel better when I'm going and life seems a lot more positive. Do you know how hard it is to convince someone to go and workout with you as a workout buddy? Even if you offer to pay their way they make excuses. Why do I need someone to do this with anyway?

For now I'm happy, The Mr. is on the way home soon, Emmy is cuddled up on my lap and content and snoozing we got each other today. Now if the sun would peek out it would make my day. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Old stomping grounds, The Chez Moustache Restaurant

Chez Moustache Restaurant, An eclectic little European dining experience in a historic little town south of Portland, Oregon.

This was My favorite job of all times, I think, I met so many nice people and had such rich experiences working there,and learned to cook many foods that I enjoy cooking today. This is how small this world really is, there are people from that era that I still know today and we hug and reminise about the Gene era like it was yesterday.
It was hectic most of the time, but time flew and rarely did I leave work with a bad attitude. Usually I left with something to share about my lunch and Dinner shift that was funny or entertaining. I wish that I had a blog back then.

This is an entry in memory and in honor of my past employer and the way things are today, sort of a past and present.

The day before yesterday I drove into this small Antique town of Aurora, Oregon and decided to visit my place of former employment just for old time sake. It was an old quaint house with a barn peaked roof and a sun porch facing the road and a big sign on the roof saying Chez Moustache plenty of character, 3 main dining rooms, a bar for reservations and the occasional visit with the Chef, slightly crooked floors from age and The most delicious smells imaginable coming from the kitchen which you looked into upon walking in the door. Along with our smiling faces waiting to serve you lunch or dinner.

First, I parked across the street to snap a few photos, Then I thought of so many days of pulling up and frantically trying to be early enough to get all my work done before people started arriving. For me that was positioning tables for parties and making sure all the side work was done, turning on the music if it was not already on, to make it a smooth sailing afternoon and Evening. The more I got done then the less we all had to do when we were packed with people. The idea was to appear less frantic and well prepared.

I would arrive and Chef Gene Kretz my employer and friend would be standing in his white shirt and white half apron and dark pants at the kitchen door and he'd usually have his arms crossed or be toweling his hands and say something like "What took you so long to get here?" (Even though I was early} Or he'd try to shake me with you'd better hurry up and get ready you got a party of 35 when the door opens, Of course I'd run to my reservations book and look and breath a sigh of relief that it wasn't true (but you really never knew what he'd scheduled while you were not there)and he'd just get a little laugh out of it and some satisfaction of getting you and turn around and go back to work. That's the way he was. We knew and loved him for it though.

I knew he was fond of me and it was going to be a good night by the way it started each day. We got along well, Me being Norwegian and him being Swiss, he loved to tease and joke and I was a good sport but he never knew if I'd get even and I always made him question that.

He was known for having a few nips and sometimes over scheduling us, BUT he knew what we were capable of and sometimes pushed us all a little but it always worked out somehow and people went away never knowing any different. The quality of the food was always superior and the service was always our first priority. We worked as a team, and yes, tips mattered but the customers needs mattered more always.

See, Gene was a Swiss Chef like no other in my book and his restaurant was like no other either. He had such dedication to his craft and his business and people from miles around and even many from other continents that loved his cooking. We sometimes would serve up to 130-140 people on a dinner shift, but most nights it was around 90-120. At lunches sometimes we'd pack in even more. Business lunches and call in orders were common.

I juggled the reservations Therefore I knew many people by name and recognized many people by voice which a few called me on it from time to time saying over the phone you know who this is right? Most of the time I did but, sometimes I'd have to say give me a hint or listen to then talk a little longer and then I'd recall their name I even sometimes recalled their phone number before they could tell me it and I Impressed them totally. People liked to be remembered like this and my reward was we had customers who would bring roses or candy or just a big smile or hug almost everytime they came in.
Goodtimes...We never forget people who treat us good, do we?

We used to entertain other Chefs like Horst Mager owner of Gustov's and The Rheinlander and many special friends from all walks of life and their families and friends too, in a closed door dinner, He provided for place for them to have a day off and have good food too and for them to enjoy and not have to cook it.

These parties sometimes were got wild and really fun, dinners usually but, not always served in a family style but with soup, salad and maybe two different entrees and one or two fabulous desserts.

Gene also made homemade Ice cream from fresh strawberries or fresh peach Ice cream and a special drizzled sauce or grand mariner liquor over the top. Yummmm.

So I go inside, after many years of my absence and I see the same old bar that greeted everyone upon entering I see antique clutter and barely a space for the new owner to peek thru, It was surreal like walking back into a past Cheers episode but different, the same stools but much more cluttered than I ever remember it. Just lots of stuff but still room for my memories.

See after Gene and his wife Barbara's Divorce it was ran for a while by Barbara and her new husband also a Chef and then after a period of time, sold. It was never the same.

Mean while Gene re-grouped and had a business in Donald, Oregon for a while before eventually passing away far too soon sadly. His Birthday was August 16th and it still never passes without a wonderful memory of him and his parties.

It had been awhile since I'd been by the place and the Chez Moustache sign from the roof was gone and along with it probably many peoples recollections of the place. That's so sad.

Now all that remains of this special place is one booth and the house itself and the bar. New owners of 6 years I guess now have an Antique shop and little restaurant with breakfast and lunch items on the menu and it's positioned on the sun porch as we used to call it.

They have all booths and no quaint little tables with red Pleather table cloths and fan folded napkins and nice wine glasses on the tables, No candles for atmosphere and No special booth known as the Chefs table in the main dining area for customers to reserve as a special place for a special day or night.

I found myself feeling like it was sweet sorrow and yet realizing that time stands still for nobody. I kept thinking as walked through this establishment that Gene was finally getting a rest and felt him walking with me remembering too, I almost could hear the Swiss polka music and smell the wonderful aromas making their ways into the dining rooms.

I know this was not what he would have envisioned for this place. It was so different and yet I can see how it was working for the new proprietor. Those walls have so many stories to tell.

The owner of the place knew of Gene and his fine restaurant but I could tell was very busy trying to be different and run a very different ship.

"If I were Queen it would all be different."
Although nobody could fill the shoes of the famed Swiss Chef and nobody could make his prized salad dressing with it's secret ingredients or his many great dishes, It still could be a quaint little restaurant with good service that the town once knew and I'm sure misses so much and me too!

But for now, its an Antique shop called ironically enough "Remember when Antiques" with Breakfast and Lunch, Expresso Coffee, and Ice Cream.

...and with that I salute my past employer and friend Gene Kretz. Thanks for the life lessons and the memories.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Wall flower

Picture snapped by the teacher, I love email!

The Grandson says to me "Hey Gramma tonight's my first dance ever", I say, oh? Then he said "I'm just gonna be a wallflower", I said nothing, (but inside I'm snickering big time to myself). Hmmmm,a Wallflower? I wonder where he got that term, That's as old as dirt itself.
Oh, and he says I'm not dressing up for the dance either. I said, Are you sure? He say oh yeah, kids don't dress up for dances anymore Gramma. (He thinks he's so cool.)
I still remind him frequently that he's only 11 and still wet behind the ears, He shows signs of disapproval every time and then grins, He knows I think he's to big for his britches and rightly so.

Hmmmm, how could he possibly know this with it being his first dance and probably everyone else's in his school also. I bet the girls didn't think this way and if they did I bet it was still a new shirt and jeans.

Now for someone that was just going to be a wallflower he sure looks to be dancing to me, Oh, but he's at the ripe ol' age of 11 and would probably dispute that I was just seeing things and that's not really dancing. I really don't care for the argumentative cycle that 11 brings it wastes too much of my energy, I want my sweet good natured boy back.

It brings to mind a plaque I seen hanging in Libby's Restaurant in Milwaukee, Or. I read "Quick, hurry, Hire a teenager while they still know everything." Now I know he's not a teenager yet but I get the distinct feeling coming on that he's well on his way. ***Sigh***
I'm glad I'm the Gramma now.

I think jobs are good for these kids, If only for the fact they bring about a little Humble pie with the exhaustion that good ol' fashioned work affords them. I look at it as an equalizer, They don't have the energy to argue as much either. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

My Baby Sis' Birthday and the Beach house

We arrived late Friday night and Baby Sis was thinking we'd never show up I'm sure...However we did make before her Birthday was over. We had homemade Cherry Cheese cake with a 38 candle salute, That glow was a little warm. ::Me, Snickering in silence:: Another case of misery loves company. We had homemade Pumpkin pie which I know the Grand boys loved they are pumpkin pie connoisseurs from birth I think. The nice thing, they think mine is the best.

This was the morning breaking on Manzanita Beach, for some reason the Raleigh dog remembered where he was and like a kid at Christmas woke us up at the evidence of first light. I think he and little Emmy Lou had a chat on the way there and had plans all set for morning after arrival. We make our way to the beach and at first Emmy wasn't to sure of the sand and wanted up. Then she seen the Mr. cut the Raleigh dog loose and watched him run like a mad man.
Raleigh ran up and down and all around for probably a half hour straight, running thru water pockets and sinking neck high from time to time. ...And then he ran more. The bird dog was feeling really birdy, Hmmmm, you think he knows it's bird season?

Emmy then was put down on the firm sand and she sniffed and explored, found a jelly fish that had washed up and quickly backed away from that. Then she got a case of friskiness wanting to run and play. She'd stop and dig and then pounce the sand and watch it fly. I think she had a blast for her first trip to the Oregon Coast.

This is the beach house we stayed at again (.: The Family Weekend Retreat) Thank you again to Al and Ester, It was fun and appreciated as usual and accommodatingly home like. I was able to make a roast beef dinner with carrots and potatoes and all the trimming and didn't want for any kitchen utensil. That's unusual in itself for a rental.

I found the first light coming thru the trees and my first focus was on the beauty of sunlight and shadows among the trees, Then my eyes were in for a treat first a reminder it was fall with a spiders web with dew on it in the sunlight.
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Then, I focus on the Stellar Jay, (((Hello)))...that is waiting patiently for his peanut breakfast. He posed for me as if he was used to working for his food and knew it would follow the photo shoot.

Then as if it were staged something in the trees catches my eye and there she is...a momma, a Doe and her fawn, She watches me too, I talked to her and she moved closer. The fawn just laid down and took a nap. You can't get this type of opportunities in many places nowadays.

These cloud like skies broke early and Saturday was beautiful and I bet 72 degrees. October really is nice on the Oregon coast, We have not as much wind and we get these remarkably surprising nice weather days just out of the blue.

The sunset pictures.

Monday, October 02, 2006

NWSA Fall Classic Horse Show 2006 Web album, results and my take on the show.

These are the results from the classes

Now for the benefit of those of you that don't go to Horse shows let me make you wish you did.
The American Saddlebred horses, the Friesians, and the Hackney Ponies that compete in these shows are often fed and groomed better than their people that ride them. I'm just kidding about that part...But really these horses are cared for and fed some of the best nutritional foods and their health is constantly looked after and inoculations kept to date.
To own these show horses is a financial investment on the owners part and you'll find these horses are part of their family. Their life is in the barn and they just sleep in the house.
Going to these shows are expensive also mostly because of the transport costs some come clear from Alberta, Canada and from sunny southern California but also the motel, show fees and stall fees add up too, Then consider the stall decorations starting in the low thousand dollar range and depending on the barn going up considerably and then all the flowers. It's all about the big picture...The Show.

We here in Oregon cater to our people that show, as well as the horses. We throw parties and have luncheons and Bar-b-que, Pizza parties and yes, The Pie or Cobbler and Ice cream social, We serve Coffee and donuts every morning and have an Aisle Party not to be beat, that the Patrons contribute to with everything from Shrimp cocktails, Home smoked Salmon, specialty soups of various flavors.
Deserts to die for no kidding. Fresh made cream puffs with chocolate Ganache, Chocolate fountains with fresh Strawberries, Almost everyone contributes to this event. It's food galore.
Then usually every year we have a Show Horse Retirement party or some other type of big toodoo yet another excuse for good food and drink, This years party was hosted by Harry and Mollie Chapman for their horse Posse Man, did I mention the open bar during the evening performances?
And we even cater to all the dogs that come with their people to the show with a show of their own. Our Calling All Canine Dog show features crazy categories such as longest tail, oldest dog, Youngest dog and dogs that traveled the furthest. I didn't enter my Emmy Lou this year, But she would have won the best toe licker or longest tongue by a mile.

This year it was a special treat for me to have a woman that I've known for a many years come and join me in the serving of my cobblers, See some 5-6 years ago she came to me and asked if I'd mind bringing a few more cobblers and doing a pie social at first it started out that others would bring pies too but then that was not working so I stepped up and made it my own. Up to that point I would make some for my contribution to the Aisle party and they'd be gone in minutes no kidding!
Now this woman and her husband contributed above and beyond the call of duty to our NWSA Horse show for many years.
Her name is Toni VanWyck, Her husband Austin passed away last year just before our show and I swear his spirit was there with us again this year. He was the Horse show manager and she was his everything and ours too, When they did a show you knew it. She did her best every time even finishing the show like her husband would have wanted before falling apart. They over the years became good friends of ours and I looked forward to seeing them every year.
I loved being able to bring her back into service with the show even if it was just in my Pie and Ice Cream Social and she loved it too! What a great asset she is, She did us proud for many years and has so much to still offer. Thank's for coming and helping Toni.
We are losing our show Chairperson :( this year Karen Lachman, and gaining a new one Anne Byers. Karen I'll miss you and totally understand the need for sanity and a rest. Thank's for all you did! Anne welcome and I know you'll do great!

Oh, I almost forgot to write about this elderly gentleman and I do mean Gentleman and his elderly wife. See every year the Show Manager presents the Mr. and I with our Table as a thank you for the contributions of the pie social. This year I went to sit at our table and I had company already sitting there, I introduced myself and they seen my name on the table and offered to move but I insisted they stay.
As I talked to and watched this couple I admired the relationship they had. See the woman had had a stroke last year and he did everything in his power to make here feel as appreciated and dignified as he could. He would ask her if she'd like to go or if she was hungry or just what she thought of something and then wait patiently for her answer. He was about as sweet my Mr. He is her angel here on earth and she is his.

This was a fullfilling experience, and a wonderful show. Now don't you wish you were there too?