Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adventuring to Idaho

Siennalee isn’t quite sure what to make of it all

"Are we goin' to Klamath Falls?"  She asks, watching me scurry around the house with armfuls of clothes, blankets, and those miscellaneous better-not-forget-me things which threaten to take your luggage over the magical airline-imposed 50-pound-limit golden rule.

"Nope, we're going to Idaho.  We're going to leave tonight and then get up real early and get on an airplane" here I say the word airplane with the same hallowed, breathy voice I save for princesses and Santa Claus "and we're going to fly over to Idaho to see family."

Being 3, she accepts this and goes on with her day, until the next odd thing I do that she just can't quite figure out.

“Why you putting all those vitamins in there?” she asks, quirking her daddy’s eyebrows at me, “Are we goin’ eat them all now?”

“They are for this weekend – for the trip we’re taking.”  I answer, putting the baggy resolutely out of her reach.

She accepts this and goes back to her shopping cart over by the dining room table.  She’s got her own errands, after all.

Jason and I have spent the past few days explaining to Siennalee about the first part of the trip we’re leaving for today and, most imminent-importantly, about tomorrow – when the airplane will come into play. 

It’s going to be big,” I tell her, “like a bus."

"Where is it now?"  she asks.

"I'm not sure," I shrug, truthfully, "but it will be ready for us when it's time for our trip."

She spends a few minutes theorizing about where she's pretty sure it is right now.

"It will probably be very loud.”  I casually remark to her after she's settled on where the plane most likely is at this very moment.

She gives me the eyebrow again, “I don’t like loud noises,” she reminds me.

“I know,” I assure her, “but the plane has to make noise just like our car has to make noise.  It’s going to take us waaay up in the air, through the clouds, and maybe we’ll be able to see mountains waaay below us.”

She considers this, and I can see her weighing the plane’s transgression of being loud with its ability to fly us waaay up in the air.  “Okay,” she agrees, with a look that tells me for now.”

Look out, Alaska Airlines.  We’re headed your way.

Households and the Mother of Invention, Part 4: Going Dark

Jason and I are big fans of the show 24.  We DVR it and watch it together on the weekends when he’s home.  One of the past shows had Renee Walker (woohoo!) under deep cover in a Russian Mob Syndicate (no worries – no real spoilers coming if you’re behind on your episodes - make that waaay behind, which coincidentally, we are) and communicating with Jack Bauer using an ear com.  One dramatic moment had Renee suddenly advise Jack Bauer she was “going dark” just before she took out her ear piece and dropped it down a sink drain.  She was no longer “plugged in.”  She could neither hear nor talk to Jack.

Aside from the whole Russian Mob thing, and the perilously fragile thread of life-and-death communication with Jack Bauer, the “going dark” feat felt strangely familiar to me.

Life in Klamath Falls - or I should say our week of life in Klamath Falls - is very simple.  And I like that.  Most of the time.  The apartment is quite Spartan (um, have I mentioned this?); toys are only the favorites brought down by the Great Week in Klamath Falls Migration, meals are all planned and ready to go, no laundry to be done except the absolutely necessary.
We also have no television or internet.  Our Week of Life in Klamath Falls can feel very much like we’ve just Gone Dark.

There are definite pros and cons to Going Dark (i.e., having no television or internet).  The biggest pro is a lovely peace from information over-stimulation.  I love my shows and my sites and online friends, but there’s something to be said for quiet days listening to my daughter play and reading books with her, making simple meals, and reading or writing.  It’s sort of like a spa visit for the soul.  Sometimes I can let myself get so frenzied with checking email, sending email, checking blogs, writing blogs, checking Facebook – it’s nice to have time where I just can’t.  Can’t do any of it.  Now don’t get me wrong – email, blogs, Facebook, it’s all my choice and I very much enjoy being part of it.  I CAN always say no.  But there is a certain freedom in having the choice made for me: no logging on, no tuning in.

The biggest con to Going Dark is pretty much just that; having no tv or internet.  Now, we do have a DVR at home in Albany (allow me to say: a DVR is SUCH a must, especially for a family – but that’s another blog for another time) so we don’t miss our important shows; we just watch them later.  But Siennalee does miss being able to watch her regular programs during her daily routine.  Little Bear.  Little Einsteins.  Those are the two big ones.  We get around this by bringing DVDs (we do have a tv and DVD player – we’re not totally in the Stone Age, okay?) and having some “tv” time during the day.  Siennalee’s a great independent player, but sometimes it’s nice to veg a little.  We all need that occasionally.  I try to get new DVDs at the library, but this last time I ended up buying a couple: The Muppets Take Manhattan and Little Bear’s Movie.  They have both turned out to be excellent choices.

The most frequent con to Going Dark appears when I’ve finished whatever book I’m reading or I’ve hit a stall in my writing.  Sometimes I just want to log on and see what everybody’s doing.  Sometimes I’d like to know if there’s snow or ice in the forecast.  The worst con to no internet is when my sis-in-law Anne needs me to design and send something ASAP for her photography business.  We can *get to* internet, but it’s sticky.  McDonald’s is one of the smart-and-super-cool businesses which paired up with our internet service and offers wireless internet access away from home at no extra charge (yay Mickey D’s!).  We’re pretty lucky to have a McDonald’s about a quarter mile from us, up the sloping hill upon which sits Oregon Institute of Technology, one of K Fall’s claims to fame.  Load up the computer (hopefully with full battery), get in the car, drive up the hill, park in the McD’s parking lot, log on… wait… still logging on… wait a little more… check the local radio stations… still logging on… consider calling your mom or sis-in-law… still logging on… pick up the phone to dial your mom or sis-in-law – and you’re online.  Just like that.  I tell you, I am pretty darn grateful these days to be able to just sit at my kitchen table in my Albany home, open the laptop, and TAH-DAH!  Internet!  Just like that.  Wow.  No driving to McDonald’s, no logging on… just internet.  Amazing.

When we get back home to Albany, it sure is nice to be able to switch to a different program, maybe switch back again, run through my DVR’d show list, or get online without visiting the golden arches.  But overall, the week of life in Klamath Falls mostly finds me reveling in the peace and simpler pastimes.  There’s definitely an upside to Going Dark.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Attention to those with Wedding Plans in 2010!

Attention anyone with wedding plans in 2010!  My awesome sister-in-law and photographer Anne (of Anne Nunn Photographers) has joined with Blush Bridal Events to offer an amazing contest featuring YOUR love story!  Check it out!

Monday, February 22, 2010

February: Sunrise, Sunset

 Monday, February 1 - Jason wakes before the sun and drives back to Klamath Falls for the work week. Start the week, marvel that February is here already.

Tuesday, February 2 (Groundhog Day - did he see his shadow?) - Prepare for the busy week and weekend ahead.

Wednesday, February 3 - Take Siennalee to dance.  Leave around 2 to drive into Eugene and shoot an evening wedding with Anne.

Thursday, February 4 - Anne and girls drive out to Albany and we all head over to a local high school for the second part of our H1N1 vaccinations.

Friday, February 5 - Begin to pack and put meals together for the following week in Klamath Falls along with usual cleaning and laundry and playing with Siennalee.

Saturday, February 6 - Engagement shoot with Anne.

Sunday, February 7 - Superbowl!  Make food.  Enjoy friends.  Pack up for the coming week in Klamath Falls.

Monday, February 8 - Get up before the sun, wake and pack up the sleepy, grumpy toddler and drive almost 4 hours to Klamath Falls.  Drop Jason off at work, drive to apartment, unpack and begin to settle in.

Tuesday, February 9 - 4:55 am, get the call that Gary, Jason's father, has passed away.

Wednesday, February 10 - Pack up, drive back home to Albany.  Pack for Jason & Jessica trip to PA.  Bed at midnight.

Thursday, February 11 - Wake around 3 am.  Drive to Portland for early flight.  Have airline advise us that all flights - up to ours - into Philadelphia have been canceled.  Do we still want to check in?  Yes, we do.  Fly to Las Vegas.  Anticipate being stuck there until weather clears in Philly.  Miraculously fly out and are the first flight to land in the only cleared landing strip in Snow-mageddon'd Philadelphia airport.  Pick up luggage, rental car, and drive to hotel in amazingly good time.  Once in hotel, discover large luggage has popped large hole sometime during flight.  Thank God that most of my unmentionables are still there, although there is a suspicious lack of undies.  Bed around 11 pm EST.

Friday, February 12 - Wake up around 6 am EST.  Drive to Jason's parents' house to make breakfast and be with family.  Smell like bacon for the rest of the day.  Help out with setting up for memory service that evening.  Attend memory service and take pictures of event.  Return to family home for more time with family.  Bed around midnight EST.

Saturday, February 13 - Sleep in til 7 am EST.  Get up, finish last minute projects, get ready for Gary's Celebration of Life Service.  Attend service.  Immerse myself again in camera, hoping pictures turn out clearer than present vision blurred with tears and mascara.  Spend precious time with family.  Bed around midnight EST.

Sunday, February 14 (Valentine's Day) - Wake around 3:45 am EST and drive to airport, drop off rental car, and check in.  Get informed that luggage (borrowed from mother-in-law since original luggage popped a hole) is 2 pounds over weight.  Jason offers to pay with credit card.  Airline employee doesn't want to bother with running a card payment and allows it through for free.  Make it to Vegas and have a "Meet the Parents" airline experience with an airline employee who believes we are sneaking ahead in line (Southwest cattle lines - moo), makes us stand aside out of line and gives the entire boarding crowd a lecture via intercom on the importance of numbering.  Endure smug passengers behind us commenting loudly on basic counting skills.  Board the plane and miraculously have seats together!  Give Jason the movie I'd gotten him for Valentine's Day and watch it together on our portable DVD player.  Get home to Albany around 6:30 pm PST.  Snuggle Siennalee, put her in bed, pack up for Klamath Falls again.  Hit the hay around 11 pm PST.

Monday, February 15 - Wake around 6 am PST.  Pack up sleepy, grumpy toddler and begin the 3 hr, 40 min drive back to Klamath Falls.  Spend the week catching up on sleep and decompressing, playing with Siennalee, reading and writing, and trying my best to care for Jason as he works all week.

Friday, February 19 - Pack up and drive home.  Unpack and get Jason ready for a drill weekend.  Hit the hay around 9 pm.

Saturday, February 20 - Jason wakes up before 6 am and heads to drill.  Spend the day doing laundry, unpacking and enjoying Siennalee resettling into her home and her toys.  Jason gets home around 6 pm and we get in another early bedtime.

Sunday, February 21 - Jason wakes around 6 am and heads to drill.  Siennalee and I head to church.  Head home and continue with laundry and cleaning - make a run to Costco.  Have Jason's sister Cheri and Auntie Donna over for dinner.  Jason gets home around 6 pm.  Pack him up for a week in Klamath Falls.  Another early bedtime.

Monday, February 22 - Jason wakes up around 5 am and drives back to Klamath Falls.  Siennalee wakes up right after he leaves - a full hour early - and we start our day.  I make lists for the day and for the week.  MOPS tomorrow, dance on Wednesday.  Jason will drive home on Thursday and we'll all pack up and head to Portland to spend the night for a 7 am Friday flight to Idaho.  Gary's burial service will be this weekend.  One last goodbye.  Looking forward to seeing family again and also traveling with Siennalee and Jason - all of us together.  Home on Sunday.

And thus passes February 2010.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Goodbye Gary: Beloved Father, Father-in-law and Papa

My father-in-law Gary passed away early yesterday morning.  He was an excellent, marvelous man.  My best memories of the seven-plus years I’ve known him have been passing through my mind like close friends:

Camping up at Box Lake, Idaho, when Jason took me to meet his parents for the first time.  I didn’t know then all the many wonderful backpacking and camping trips that would follow that one.

Trying to focus on his words as he officiated the ceremony that married me to his son.

Being reassured by his strength and resolve as my husband Jason, his only son, was activated and mobilized to Kuwait.

Walking with him down to My Father’s Place, a local grill joint in McCall, Idaho, and ordering burgers and shakes.

Watching him fly fish at countless lakes in Idaho and Oregon.

Enjoying his handiwork around my house; he’d always have to have a project when he and my mother-in-law Tricia came out for a visit.  Once he bought and installed a spice rack Tricia had described to me and I’d wished for.  Once he painstakingly hung a piece of art which they’d carefully hand-carried on the plane from Pennsylvania to Oregon – it still hangs in my living room and is one of my very favorite things.  Once he was out behind our back fence, valiantly fighting the wild blackberry bushes threatening to overtake our backyard when along the train tracks behind our house came a huge piece of tractor equipment the rail line had been using to groom the sides of the track.  The man driving the enormous machine stopped, asked Gary if he’d like any help, and then proceeded to dig out the bushes in about 5 minutes, saving Gary at least two days of work.

Watching my husband and Gary ski together.  Jason would snowboard and Gary would ski.  They so enjoyed these times together.

Listening to Gary talk about the many passions of his heart and the latest topics he had been reading.

Talking with him about countless different ideas, issues, and thoughts.

Being encouraged by him to continue my writing.

Having him drive us through New York City, expertly navigating the extreme streets, and then him getting a ticket for talking on his cell phone.  That was funny.

Enjoying the banter between him and my mother-in-law.   Watching them hold hands.  Seeing him come home with Hallmark cards for his beloved wife, for no real reason other than she was so special to him.

Watching him enjoy his first grandchild.

Listening to him talk about his dad Alvin, who passed away when Gary was 14 years old.

Visualizing my husband’s first baby steps as Gary re-lived the memory; we all sat parked in front of a little house with a little yard in Idaho; Gary and Tricia debating the details of the yard and the overalls baby Jason wore; me holding the hand of Jason’s first baby as Jason himself was half a world away from us in Kuwait.

Hearing Gary bless God for no particular reason other than he was thankful for life.

Trying my hardest to find peppermint ice cream to have on hand before Gary’s visits because he loved it so much.

Listening to him talk with his relatives, two of my very favorites gone on before him: Uncle Johnny, Uncle Mel.

Giggling with Jason as Gary and my mother-in-law Tricia would bicker; then quietly make up (as always) and go on as if nothing had ever happened.

Feeling so safe in his company, whether it was in the deep woods or navigating the crazy streets of New York.

Being so thrilled and thankful that I was marrying his son, the heir to such a beautiful line of strong and God-loving people.

You will be very much missed, Gary.  So missed, I can hardly say.  I wish we’d had years more together.  I wish you would be here for the grandchildren yet to come.  I know it wasn’t always easy having a headstrong daughter-in-law, but I hope you enjoyed that quality in me, as you yourself were always surrounded with strong women in your own family.  The good memories are always more resilient than the tough ones, and I choose to hold onto those when I think of you.  Thank you for raising up a son who is such a fine husband to me and an excellent father to his children.  You were a good, strong man of God and I pray that your legacy will inspire even more of those men to come.  Be blessed now in your peace and seeing the face of our wonderful God.  Enjoy seeing your mother again and your father, from whom your time away was much too long.  Have nice long discussions with Uncle Mel and tell him I miss our talks together.  Enjoy Uncle Johnny and his banter.  Please give my own two babies lots of hugs and love; you’ll be seeing their faces before I.  Tell all your stories to my twin nephews and enjoy them.  You are certainly one of the best of our treasures in heaven.  We loved you when you were on this earth, and we’ll love you til we see you again.

So come everyone let’s gather together 
and sing the Song of the Lamb
Come every angel from the highest of heaven
Sing to the great I Am
So come every nation
Come every tongue
Lift up your voices in praise
So come all creation
All in one voice
Sing out your praises to Him

For He is a good God
He is a Great God
His love will endure throughout every generation

We will be planted by the River
All of the days of our lives
And it will be well with our souls
And it will be well with our souls

                                        Come, Everyone
                                 Brian and Jen Johnson

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Valentine Confession

Confession:  I like Valentine’s Day,
I really like it.

Now, I realize this confession may really irritate those of my friends who are a little more hardcore than I, and I also realize this opens me up for some pretty antagonistic humor.  But I, being a lover of holidays, do embrace Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certain elements of the Happy Hearts Day which are, for lack of a better term, grating. 

A particular commercial comes to mind which (in all fairness, I should point out has been running since Christmas, but still) epitomizes the sappiness which the holiday hounds (card companies, jewelry hawkers, and yes, chocolatiers) force feed us every year:

Uncomfortably Sappy Jewelry Commercial

Seriously folks, it’s only natural to revolt against such drivel.  I mean, I get where Kay’s was heading, but sadly somehow they overshot romantic and landed solidly on creepy.  Honestly, when the lightning strikes and girl gives the expected female response – leaping into the nearest man-arms (c’mon girls, we’ve all been there; up in the caaabin, stormy niiight, potential aaaxe murderer outside with niiight vision goggles) – guy tells girl not to worry, reassures girl that he’s right there, then pulls back, smile fading, fixes girls with this stalker-sultry gaze and says, almost under his breath and to no one in particular, “And I always will be.”  Never mind that he’s pulling some kind of velvety box out of his sweater vest – any sane woman would be running, shrieking and arms flailing, down Restraining Order Road, axe murderer lurking outside in storm or no axe murderer lurking outside in storm.

And listen, I realize Valentine’s Days themselves can go awry; I’ve had my own share of bad ones.  The worst was when I spent the better part of a day carefully making homemade candy for a boyfriend (who really should have been let go months before) and he showed up with a lone red sucker in his pocket (in hindsight, it might have had some sort of Valentine’s Day emblem on it, so yeah, he should've gotten points for that) and shrugged that he hadn’t had time to shop.  (Ehh, I now chalk that experience up to learning; sometimes you have to know what stinks in order to not step in it again.)

But let’s bypass the unfortunate experiences of the past.  Let us ignore those vapid commercials for now.  And let’s do our best to block out the garish red and pink oozing from store aisles and looking like it just popped out of the belly of Christmas like the alien from Sigourney Weaver.

Let’s examine the fun parts of Valentine’s Day.  When I was single and in college, one of the best Valentine’s I had was spent with two friends at a local Shari’s (borderline decent Denny’s-like restaurant of the Pacific Northwest).  We talked, drank super cheap, barely drinkable coffee, made each other laugh til the coffee came out our noses and had a great time.  For Jason’s and my very first Valentine’s Day, he flew in from Stockton, CA (where he was living at the time) and I had dinner for him – I’d ordered a heart shaped pizza from Abby’s Pizza (great local pizzeria).  I found this terrifically funny, I mean, a heart-shaped pizza!  How corny can you get?  I could hardly stifle the giggles enough to place my order to the unimpressed Abby’s waitress.  (I guess when you spend an entire work day dealing with heart shaped pizzas, the novelty dies, right?)  Then for dessert I made him a homemade white chocolate banana cream pie.  Hey, I liked the guy, okay?  (By the way, he did manage to do better than a sucker; besides flying in to spend the holiday with me, he'd got me a whole mess of flowers and other fun surprises.)

Now that we’ve been married 6 years and change, my husband and I still enjoy Valentine’s Day.  We don’t really do much that would impress the Valentine's Day purists, although he will send me flowers (I confess, I do like that) and then we’ll try to go out to dinner and hit a movie (c’mon, like we aren’t going to use any and every excuse we can get to do dinner and a movie?).  Yesterday I got a new pink shirt at Costco (try to hold back the envy, ladies) and plan on wearing that out for the big Valentine’s Day date.  I may even wear those new brown pointy-toed shoes I scored from my sister-in-law Anne.  Since I’m writing so much about the Happy Hearts Day, I may even get a corny oooo-they’re-heading-out-on-a-date-gag-me-with-a-spoon Valentine’s Day picture of Jason and me to share with you (that way you can see my new pointy-toed brown shoes).

Bottom line: Valentine’s Day can be fun.  Whether you have somebody to smooch with or not, embrace the corny, get some friends together and indulge in too much coffee and laughter, buy a shirt at Costco, score some new shoes from your sis-in-law, indulge in some chocolate and avoid the overpriced roses - and be happy!  Life is good.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Households and the Mother of Invention: Part 3

Gaps in the Week-in-Klamath-Falls Migration Planning don't always mean Household splurges.  Sometimes it just means I have to get a little more clever in my inventive thinking.

For instance, rice is part of tonight's dinner, but I've overlooked packing a sauce pan and lid.  The only thing I have on hand which is along the lines of what I need is a cast iron skillet and foil (by the way, foil?  Excellent, excellent invention.  One of the best inventions ever.).  I'm not about to go out and waste a precious household splurge on a rice cooker, so here is the result - which by the way, worked very well:


Perfect rice.  Some of the best I've ever made.

Not quite a gap in the planning, but a hole, for sure, is laundry.

While we do have access to a coin operated washer and dryer, I rarely remember the quarters needed to run them.  I suppose I do  keep the apartment's laundry area in the back of my mind for catastrophes – which are not unlikely given we are still in the final throes of potty training – but for several little things dirtied, meet my K Falls no-coins-necessary clothes washer: 

The Listerine did manage to sneak in a cameo, but is not a part of the process.  ...Although things would smell mintily germ-free.

Hot, hot water and soap.  Swish swish swish.

More hot water.  Rinse rinse rinse.  No fabric softener though - haven't gotten that clever.

As for the dryer, I use an old technique my mother taught me for delicates that require air drying.  After rinsing the articles, I wring them, lay them flat on a towel, roll the towel up – sandwich wrap style – and then proceed to step on it.  Step, step, step, STOMP STOMP STOMP.


Please ignore the unpainted toenails and the house pants.  Yoga pants and a pedicure - that's all I ask.

Then the little things are hung with care in the spots of the house most likely to assist with their drying.  

Yeah, I wonder about the neighbors.  But they wonder about me, too.

In this colder, wetter season, prime drying real estate is on the drapery rods, directly beneath the heating vents.  The example above is the living room picture window.  When not being used as a dryer, it gives us nice little views like this one:

  There are a family of pheasants that live in this little cove of trees.  We've been able to watch them quite a few times.  They don't say much to us; I secretly wonder if they frown on my clothes line in the front window.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Random Facebookness

And if you join Facebook, here is some of the stuff you'll have to put up with (especially if you become my friend):

Facebook Savvy

I must admit, I'm a Facebook fan.  I'm a fan without being an addict (yes, it's possible) and I wouldn't even call myself an avid Facebooker.  I can go several days without even logging in (urban legend has it that there are some poor souls incapable of  doing this).  I don't do most of the applications available on FB (Farmville) and I don't believe I'm a fan of anything not directly related to a friend (i.e., although I do enjoy hugging, I'm not a fan of it on FB.  This includes breathing and not-getting-murdered-with-an-axe).

Facebook is fun and I do owe it many thanks for making it easier for me to keep in touch with friends far away and in worlds very different from my own (no alien jokes here, please.  It'd be too on the nose).

During a random visit to today, I was amused to see that they included a definition for something I'd just recently been discussing with my sis-in-law Anne (See Anne?  It IS a real thing!)  And I felt I absolutely must share it with you, my fellow and future fellow Facebookers:
An intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what's going on, or is possibly a cry for help.
Mary is: "wondering if it is all worth it"
Mark is: "thinking that was a bad idea"

"Have you talked to Mark? He's vaguebooking again. I wonder if he's back with Mary..."

Tammy is: "in line at the grocery store"

If you're not already a Facebooker, I suggest you join.  Remember, you CAN always stop whenever you want.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Hearts Day: Our First Date

I realize Valentine's Day is often deservedly maligned and overrated.  A source of guilt and disappointment.  A reminder of things lost or things not yet arrived.  I well know all the reasons to avoid the day of red and pink.

But I, as I may blog on later, do like the day.  Lord knows I waited long enough for THE guy to come along before I gave my own heart away for keeps.  During the long wait, I did my share of solo Valentine's Days; hung out with girlfriends, bought my own chocolates, watched Meg Ryan movies.  Result: I'm pretty balanced when it comes to the big Puffy Hearts, Over Priced Roses, One-More-White-Teddy-Bear Day.

So that being said and my qualifications out there, I welcome the holiday.  And to celebrate its coming arrival, I post a picture of the very first date of Jason Kantola and Jessica Nunn.

Alas, my legs were so tan.  ...sniffle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Households and the Mother of Invention: Part 2

Every so often, I find that I've left something out of the Week-in-Klamath-Falls Migration Planning, not just oh say, a can opener, but something that simply cannot be solved with the business end of a hammer.

On these rare occasions, I am required to make a household splurge.  I do try to keep these splurges as infrequent as possible.  But sometimes, they have to happen. 

In this case, the something left behind was a knife.  This was what I had on hand:

There are teeth there, but when the chips are down, they're more like gums.

The cutlery we keep at the apartment is from one of the picnic backpack sets we got when we got married.  Good stuff, but really just made for infrequent and preferably romantic excursions, not for the serious housewife looking to make dinner for her family in her sparsely furnished second home.

I needed a knife that could slice and dice.  Mr. Butter-Knife-with-the-Gum-like-Teeth was not going to get the job done.  So, enter the splurge.  I packed up Siennalee and we headed down to Fred Meyer, which was the closest thing to a home store I could find in the town.

And for $5.99, we found this:

No cute little teeth, but he'll get the job done.  Dang it.

Now, let's be honest; my Henckels back home will not be shaking in their knife block at this purchase, but for the K Falls apartment, the Hampton Forge will be juuust right.

Let's be honest: who would you rather have on your side in a dark alley?
Especially a dark alley with an ill-tempered onion and a pepper with dark intentions.

The nice thing about the K Falls Household splurge?  One less thing to have to remember during the Great Migration Planning.  The downside?  Future garage sale fodder.