Friday, February 22, 2013

Yes it is Too Soon to Sing

Kubota Gardens, Seattle. On a much sunnier and warmer day.

Spring most definitely is NOT in the air! You know what is in the air? Rain. Rain is in the cold, wind-gusted air. My hair is also out there in the air, blowing every which way. Next time I will know daydreams of Farmers Markets and greenhouses full of spring bulbs do not translate to dew-misted morning blades of green, green grass. They only serve to compound the cabin fever and squashed hopes that today the sun will shine. Fear not, my friends. We are on the cusp. Almost there! And if you are a lover of winter, congratulations. You get six more weeks.

Happy Friday, everyone. Regardless of the winter storms around us!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Fresh Start of a New Year

Greetings 2013! 
I am trying hard not to give into my superstition of the number 13 and what it will mean for the coming year. Let's also forget the fact that I did not neutralize said unluckiness by eating black-eyed peas on the 1st day of the year. Instead we welcomed it with a walk on the pier of Port Townsend, the unlucky town of Washington that did not live up to its hype in the 1890's of becoming the premier port of the West Coast. The population may not have ever shown up, but this little port town sure showed us a good time!

If you were to zoom in on the house on the left you might see Richard Gere riding on a motorcycle with a very young Debra Winger on the back. After spending some time in the town I found out this is where they filmed An Officer and a Gentleman. As I stood on this dock I pictured the different scenes in the movie and where they may have been shot. The bar they hung out at, their weekend motel, where in the water they filmed the friends in the boat, taunting Mayo for having to stay on base for the weekend... Then I promptly went home and added the movie to my Netflix queue. Thank you instant gratification!

One of the highlights of living in the Pac NW for me is the transportation options and endless road trip destinations available. We opted to take the ferry across the Sound on the way in. The ferry ride was about 30 minutes, which gave us time to get out of the car and walk around. And did I mention there is a cafeteria where they sell beer? Sold! We grabbed a pint and then took a walk outside to take in the views.

I am so glad we take trips like this. It is easy to forget the beauty out here when you commute through the rain day to day.

We got into town after dark, so most of the stores were closed for the day. We checked into our very Victorian Hotel and wandered the town looking for a place to welcome in the new year.

We had dinner at a local grill and wandered into a lounge in the second story of an old building that overlooks the water. The night started with a DJ playing all the great dance hits of the 90's, followed by a not-so-great band playing I can't even remember. We stayed until a little after midnight and made our way back to the hotel.

Here I am trying to be all artsy after we returned. Forman was too embarrassed for me to turn around. My "creative genius" soars after a few drinks, followed by the cynical critic who squashes it the next day!
So here we are in week two of the new year. With a rejuvenated resolve that this year will be the year we realize our goals. A new beginning to take a look at what you want to achieve in the coming year, and a time to reflect on all you accomplished in the last. May this new year bring you happiness and prosperity, fulfillment, and time to sit back and enjoy the day-to-day happenings in your life! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Confession...

I have been a bad blog mother lately. In fact, if this blog were actually my child I would be sent to the authorities for neglect. Not abandonment though. For I do visit here each day to look through old posts, see how many of my readers are still tuning in, and to find inspiration. Neglect, maybe; but not abandon. Nurturing is so not my bag.

Let's just be completely honest, I have been lazy. I show up, read what other bloggers are doing with their lives and then claim to be uninspired to write anything about my own. I use that as an excuse, a crutch. Being uninspired, having writer's block, these are not new notions. Nor do they only happen to a select few. They happen to everyone, and what makes writers become successful is their ability to push through it. I have that ability, I just haven't been using it. I know what I want to say but I just don't want to form thoughts into words. This is my problem, too, with conversation. My Type A personality doesn't want to say a lot of words, hear a lot of words, or speak in long conversations with people. Get in, say it, and be done. I'm likely not listening to you anyway. My attention span is elsewhere these days. I call it my 'internal phase'.

Wow - can someone get this girl a sun lamp?!

Despite how my tone might read, I am not under a bitter spell of depression. My nurture just got buried under the winter soil. I have found my shovel and plan to put it to use. Good things are coming this way:  Baking, gift wrapping, and decorating the most perfectly round ten foot Christmas tree in the history of all my Christmases. The nurture might take work, but my holiday spirit is running strong!

Thank you for sticking with me,
Yours ever-gratefully,

Monday, November 5, 2012

On a Sunnier Day Last Month...

As I sit here looking at day number 1,026 of rain showers, I can't help but remember with melancholy only a few short weeks ago.

I was sitting here, next to the Deschutes River just outside of Bend, OR. It was that very special time in a vacation - the morning after you have arrived. The time in a vacation where "real" life seems oh so far away and you have nothing but days and days ahead of you. You are calm, contented, and if you are camping, in clean clothes for the only day of your vacation.

This particular morning started out at 24 degrees, which we expected camping in October and all. Once the sun rose the temp dramatically changed and it stayed warm for the rest of the week...which we didn't expect - camping in October and all! More on that later.

Let's just gaze at the Deschutes River, shall we?

So incredibly clean and clear.

Oh my!

I would like to pull up a houseboat and call that my backyard!

Later that day we headed into town and found ourselves smack in the middle of the Fall Festival. There were bands, row upon row of vendor booths, and all the locally brewed beer you could imagine. I was enjoying myself so intently that I forgot to take pictures. Now that's some fun-having! We hung around the festival a few days over the weekend.

Monday morning was that other very special time in one's vacation - the first day your coworkers are all headed back to work and you get to sleep in. And go golfing!

And stop by another local brewery afterwards. On a Monday afternoon...a sunny and warm Monday afternoon in October.

Tuesday morning I woke up thinking we had to go back home. Imagine my delight when I realized we still had four more days at the campground and an entire weekend after that!

We went to tour the Deschutes Brewery that day

If you are noticing a pattern you are quite right. Many of our days revolved around visiting the local breweries. Bend is known for its breweries and they have something called the Ale Trail. You take a brochure with you and get a stamp at each of the twelve breweries, for a prize at the end. Local folklore says many people attempt to do the passport all in one day. We are more seasoned and took the "let's enjoy it route" instead. Each day we visited two or three. Then we went back to camp,

Cook more food than two people (and a dog) can possibly eat,
( There were steaks on the charcoal grill)

And just plain sit back and relax!
 After all that relaxing we were energized for a good hike around Smith Rock State Park.
It is hard to see from this picture but there is a trail that winds up and around this cliff. This is also a popular destination for rock climbers. Rock climbers who have no fear of heights and steadfast trust in their ropes and gear!
Since we were camping in October and thought we were prepared by having the warmest clothes in our possession, we had to forgo the hike and stay on level ground. Forcasted overnight lows in the high 20's does not scream "shorts weather" to campers!
Therefore, hiking a ten mile steep and rugged trail in jeans was not on our to-do list. We did not want to be those people who had to be air lifted out of the park from heat exhaustion. Though it was still a spectacular view!

We packed up and left camp on Friday and headed for the coast. Right into the rain. And wind. Through the narrow mountain roads that wound up and down for hundreds of miles... It was a long day! A long day capped off with pouring rain at the state park where we were going to camp. We ended up sitting in the camper all night trying to entertain ourselves and remind ourselves we were still on vacation. Unfortunately when we woke up the next morning the camp was so flooded we decided to just head home. But first we walked across the street and were awarded with the most spectacular view of the ocean.
Wind whipped around like crazy that day. That bird was really struggling! It is hard to describe the feeling of walking over an embankment to see the vastness of the ocean surrounding you and the power of the waves as they crash.

It is hard to wrap this up without sounding depressed and ungrateful for having a job to go to, or a house to clean, or any of the other everyday-life chores that are so easy to forget while on vacation. On this rainy Monday morning I will say I am grateful for being at work - and for having had such a great vacation to wistfully look back upon.
Here's to looking forward to the next one!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is it just me...

Or does the Starbucks logo resemble Lindsay Lohan?

A little closer... do you see it?

Yeah, maybe it's just me. Or too much of the stuff inside that cup!

Happy Tuesday,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Farmstead Report: Summer/Fall Roundup

After our weekend abroad it was back to the farmstead and work, work, work for this farm girl. Forman left for his own month of 12 hour workdays in Kansas, which left me running the farmstead solo. We were smack in the middle of harvest season and I wasn't going to let any of our produce go unused. I spent a month of weekends canning, freezing, dehydrating, and pureeing anything I could get my hands on. In addition to keeping the crops in line I had the everyday chores to handle: feed and water the chickens; entertain the dog; clean house; and, since it was a record breaking dry summer here, I spent the rest of my "free time" watering.

But really, who has free time when their counters are an assembly line of constantly changing produce like this?

I was hoping to give you a better look at our stocked pantry through images but we'll have to settle for a rundown instead:
  • 12 half pints Pizza Sauce
  • 5 pints Fire Roasted Salsa
  • 6 pints Spicy Tomatillo Salsa
  • 2 pints Garlic & Basil Marinara Sauce
  • 6 half pints Spiced Plum Jam
  • 4 batches Cherry Tomato Pesto
  • More bags than I can count of dehydrated tomatoes and peppers sitting in the freezer ready for a good winter soup
Once Forman returned we took a well-earned, much-needed and any other hyphen-descriptor saying you can think of, trip to Bend, OR. This was the camping trip we were planning to take in August. It got pushed back twice, landing us in prime rainy season. Luckily for us we timed it perfectly and were able to enjoy the last week of truly beautiful weather. And enjoy that sunshine we did! We golfed, hiked, wandered around the Fall Festival, and most impressively - completed the Bend Ale Trail (Extra credit included). Tune in next time for more details on our fun-filled journey to the high desert.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Days and Summer Afternoons

I am still working on my next Breakfast Series recipe, which I hope to put up later today, but I thought I would share this photo with you again. I took it last year around this time, but it perfectly represents the weather in the Pacific Northwest this week. Crisp fall mornings paired with late summery afternoons:

I also used it in a lunch announcement for work. This is what I wrote:

We have reached that inevitable time of year again when the days are conflicted with winter-like morning chills and shimmering warm and sunny afternoons. The vibrant hues of summer flowers glisten with fall’s raindrops. We love autumn for its changing leaves and crisp air but hate it for what we know will soon follow. Come to lunch this Friday to help ease the turmoil of the changing seasons. Pizzas warm and steaming with melted cheese are topped with the freshest of summer’s vegetables, embracing the juxtaposition between summer and fall. It may be raining, there might be sunshine, but what we know for sure -there will be food!

I hope you are all enjoying the changing of the seasons!