Category Archives: Food

Vacation; or, We Attack the Pacific Northwest

N.B.: I’m stealing the format of this post from Tammy, because it’s a great way to do this quickly given that we took about 4,000 pictures.

We drove from Pocatello to Port Townsend, WA (1,700 miles) to visit Grammy and Grandpa for 2 weeks (the kids staying an extra third week). We hadn’t been to Washington before so this was a great treat. Turns out, Anthropapa and I discovered it was ideal there, and we now have a 5 year plan to relocate to the Seattle area! Must get master’s degrees first, though.

A is for public Art. This was at the Seattle Center, and even had one tube the kids could climb inside:

B is for Beach. Grammy and Grandpa live above a private beach, complete with a sand dollar colony and 40 bazillion shells. This picture is from a day trip to Dungeness Spit:

C is for Clouds. We had beautiful weather except for one cloudy day, but the sunsets were gorgeous. This is the view from the back deck:

D is for Doughnut machine. SillyBilly has been reading Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, which features a doughnut machine run amok. We were thrilled to see this one in the Public Market on the waterfront in Seattle:

E is for bald Eagle. Grampa says there are one or two bald eagles flying by quite often, perching over the sound watching for fish. They are awe-inspiring. Sorry, I have a very lame camera. Squint a little:

F is for Fourth of July. We went up to Port Townsend to sit on the beach and watch the fireworks at Fort Worden. We could see fireworks from at least three other spots around the sound. The Fort Worden show was simple, but lasted much longer than any show we’d seen before:

G is for Columbia Gorge. We drove up the gorge on both ends of the trip. Coming west we kept seeing Mt. Hood peeking out at us. Going east we had a slightly less fun time (went the wrong way on the highway, before we could get off we saw a tanker truck on its side blocking the entire westbound side, had to backtrack all the way to Portland, two-hour delay leading to being on the road 12 hours). But we won’t blame it on the beautiful gorge. This is the view from the Washington side, westbound:

H is for Hat. Though the temps were cool, the sun was very strong and I needed my hat! I almost forgot it in the ferry terminal leaving Seattle that day. I remembered at the last minute, and when we went to get the hat from the bench where I’d left it, we found a young man trying it on! I waited to see if he really wanted it (I would have gladly left it behind, even though I like it) but Anthropapa ended up asking for it and the man gave it back a bit sheepishly. Now my little blue hat has a story:

I is for Interesting. Anthropapa and I snuck away one day to Seattle while the kids stayed with their grandparents. We had lunch with old friends (Hi Erin and Kensuke!), found some treasures at a Tibetan store (certainly none of that in Pocatello), parked ourselves for a few hours at the awesome Elliott Bay Book Company, and saw some amazing installations and exhibits at the Seattle Art Museum, including some Helga paintings by Andrew Wyeth, beautiful Northwest native weavings, and this installation in the lobby, which inspired some interesting conversations about meaning in modern art:

J is for Joy. So many things to be happy about on this trip! Being with Grammy and Grandpa, discovering things large (the Seattle Aquarium) and small (the Port Townsend Marine Science Center), seeing wildlife (seals, eagles, deer, elk, sand sharks, sculpin, crabs, sand dollars, goldfinches, gulls, jellyfish) and many wildflowers. This is a tiger lily among lupines up on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park:

K is for Kids playing. Lots and lots of that. This was at the Seattle Center:

L is for LEGO Liberty, also at the Seattle Center:

M is for Multnomah Falls, which Anthropapa and I stopped by to see on our way home. So beautiful!:

N is for Nibblers. We saw deer in the backyard, deer in open fields, and a few rather saucy deer who were clearly looking for handouts at the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge:

O is for Olympics. Truly awe-inspiring. Next time I hope we have time to explore more. We just had time to go on a quick hike,  a little taste of the beauty of these high mountain peaks:

P is for Playground. Even on vacation, sometimes it’s nice just to take a little swing:

Q is for Quiet. So often we had the beach to ourselves, or sat on the back deck watching for sailboats with just the birds to accompany us. Even on our hike on Hurricane Ridge, with lots of other people there enjoying the sunny day, it seemed quiet. Maybe it was the beauty all around us, like this avalanche lily:

R is for Rivulets on the sand. We went out on the private beach during low tide to explore the sand dollar colony and go beachcombing. I was entrance by the shapes the retreating water had made in the sand, and realized later that I saw very similar shapes in eroded mudflows by Mount St. Helens:

S is for Seattle Skyline. We went over twice on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. What a fun city, not too big or small, quite clean, and with friendly people. Lots of culture as well as amazing outdoor opportunities. We’ll be back, for sure:

T is for Transportation. We took several ferries, and rode the bus, a monorail, and a trolley. It was great fun to take the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry, seeing lots of sailboats, container ships, and even some jellyfish!:

U is for Unusual. We did many unusual things (for us), including staying up late, eating fried clams, watching movies, and playing with light-up light sabers on the Fourth of July:

V is for Volcano. Anthropapa and I scouted out Mount St. Helens National Monument on our way home. Yet another awe-inspiring mountain! I’ve always been interested in geology, and we both clearly remember the 1980 eruption (Anthropapa even remembers the ash fall in Montana). The visitor center has some great displays, and a rather frenetic film, but the star of the show is the mountain herself. Pictures really do no justice in this case:

W is for whirlpool. One day we noticed these beautiful water forms as the ferry left the terminal:

X is for eXciting! For the kids, even simple things were so very thrilling. Grammy took them fishing off the nearby dock several times. The first time, Napoleona almost immediately caught a sand shark! She couldn’t keep it (all six-gilled creatures must be released back) but was so amazed at herself. She and SillyBilly went on to catch several sculpin. Unfortunately, though they are edible, they are almost all head. Nobody wanted togut and clean them! They might look calm and cool, but really they were quite thrilled:

Y is for Yikes! As Anthropapa and I left Seattle on the ferry, we noticed this boat following us, resplendent in jaunty red and accented by a machine gun! The public address system notified us a few minutes later that this was a routine Coast Guard escort. Hmmm. Funny that we hadn’t seen one before! One time we watched the boat almost stop to intercept a sailboat that was unwisely heading toward the ferry. They wisely turned away, as I’m sure they noticed the nice man with the big gun out front:

Z is for blast Zone. The ridge where the Johnston Ridge Observatory now sits across from Mount St Helens was directly in the path of the pyroclastic flow in the 1980 eruption. It’s hard to conceive of that much earth moving so fast and so far. These trees, several feet in diameter, were simply snapped off at the base by the force of the blast:

And if you’ve read through all this, you deserve an award 🙂

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Filed under art, Books, Family, Food, friends, Napoleona, Nature, papa, play, Science, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel

Happenings

Life seems very busy right now. I feel like I have no time or energy to blog much. But I do want to….

To perhaps get myself back into the swing (though we are about to go on another vacation, so we’ll see if I get to blog anything for the next week or so), I will just do a little dump of random happenings here.

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A few weeks ago, Anthropapa and SillyBilly went to an air show at Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City. They had some nice “boy” time together.

A lot was going on up in the sky

And they went into the belly of a whale big plane

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SillyBilly is going to a “Summer Adventure” program four days a week. They do little things like ride the city bus to the library, eat lunch at the park, and have swimming lessons at the gym at ISU. But then they do bigger things, like go cave exploring at Craters of the Moon, and last week, fishing at Lava Hot Springs. SillyBilly caught this rainbow trout, big enough for an entire meal for four, with his very own fishing pole. We fried it up for dinner and it was scrumptious. Wild food!

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On Father’s Day we took a walk through the Edson Fichter Nature Area in South Pocatello. It was sunny but cool, and we saw and heard lots of  birds. The Portneuf River was quite full after all the rains of the last month.

Napoleona loved that she could run really far on the trails.

SillyBilly took a quiet moment by the river, perhaps hoping to see some fish like the one he caught out of this same river many miles away.

I was happy to see some beautiful wildflowers, including (for the first time) this lovely but poisonous black henbane.

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While we were in California a few weeks ago, SillyBilly had a very, very loose tooth. He didn’t lose it until we returned home, so per Nana’s request, here is a picture of the craziness of an almost seven-year-old’s mouth.

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Southern California, May 2009

The kids and I took our annual pilgrimage to see grandparents at the end of May. Then this year the trip came hard on the heels of SillyBilly’s kindergarten graduation, and Anthropapa did not come with us (saving his vacation time for an even bigger trip we’re taking in a few weeks, out to Seattle to see other grandparents).

Plus this was a working vacation for me, since I had one deadline to meet right in the middle of the trip, and another one right on its heels. And SillyBilly had major allergies and asthma from Nana’s dog and so required lots of medication the whole time, even after we decamped to Grandpa’s house for the last few days. And I kept forgetting my camera.

So, I’m kinda beat. I’ll make this short.

We spent lots of time just relaxing at Nanas. Note the groovy shirt custom made by Grammy!

We spent lots of time just relaxing at Nana's.

The kids, along with Nana and a neighbor, made $15 on one pitcher of lemonade (the other pitcher got kicked over by mistake) and the lemons came free from a neighbors tree.

The kids, along with Nana and a neighbor, made $15 on one pitcher of lemonade (the other pitcher got kicked over by mistake) and the lemons came free from a neighbor's tree.

We went to the Getty Center with Grandpa Walt. We didnt see a lot of art, because the kids wanted to make their own. Here, SillyBilly explores the possibilites of tube sculptures.

We went to the Getty Center with Grandpa Walt. We didn't see much art because the kids just wanted to make their own. Here SillyBilly explores an interactive tube sculpture in the Family Room.

Napoleona in the Getty Center Sketching Room, copying a French bust.

Napoleona in the Getty Center Sketching Room, copying a French bust.

We also saw an amazing exhibit on a 1600s polychrome wood sculpture, made by a Spanish sculptress. Watch amazing video about the techniques used to make it, including the natural paints shown here, at http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/roldana/.

We also saw an amazing exhibit on a 1600's polychromed wood sculpture, made by the female Spanish court sculptor La Roldana. Lots of info including on these natural paint sources, at http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/roldana/.

We had a great day at the awesome tide pools of Leo Carillo State Beach. (Photo by KnaPix.) Unfortunately along with (legally harvested) shells and stones, we also inadvertently brought home...

We had a great day at the awesome tide pools of Leo Carrillo State Beach. (Photo by KnaPix.) Unfortunately along with (legally harvested) shells and stones, we also inadvertently brought home...

Crabby! Specifically a Blue Banded Hermit Crab. We thought we had picked up only empty shells, but as we rinsed things out back at Nanas, this particular black turban shell started walking. Unfortunately there was no way for him to survive away from the ocean. RIP, crabby.

Crabby! Specifically a Blue Banded Hermit Crab. We thought we had picked up only empty shells, but as we rinsed things out back at Nana's, this black turban shell started walking! Unfortunately there was no way for him to live away from the ocean. RIP, Crabby.

We also went to the park and the bookstore, ate lots of good food (sushi! Mexican! blintzes for Shavuot! frozen yogurt!), picked blueberries in Somis, picked strawberries and roses in Grandpa’s backyard, did some woodworking (SillyBilly and Grandpa made a box — pictures to come once it’s shipped here and painted) and probably lots more that I’m not remembering.

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Portneuf Valley Brewing

Ah, the manifold fruits of spontaneous dining!

After picking up various kids and spouses (OK, just the one spouse) tonight, some sort of springlike, rising-sap-like feeling came over us, and we decided to go out to dinner in the middle of the week. (See how I make it sound like we don’t do that all the time? Sneaky me.)

Papa said, “Want to go on an adventure?” To which I of course responded, “Indeed!” The kids said, “Yeah!”

The adventure simply was that he remembered “the brewery” being mentioned by work colleagues as a good place to eat downtown, and that he didn’t know exactly where it is. Recall that we live in Pocatello: everything is within 10 minutes of everything else. This gives you a sense of our normal level of adventure.

In any case, we found Portneuf Valley Brewing on First Avenue quite handily. A rather unassuming facade led into a sweet little space with plenty of customers for a rainy Thursday night. I wasn’t sure how things would go considering it is a brewpub, but it was quite welcoming for a family and even offers a kids’ menu.

Attempting to stave off the ravenous kids–downward spiraling behavior cycle, we ordered the Macho Nachos. Good lord — it was a ginormous plate of nachos complete with excellent salsa. Papa and the boy ordered the hand-crafted sarsparilla root beers, which had a lovely tang — unlike commercial root beer, which is all added carbonation and overwhelming corn syrup sweetness. The girl ordered a raspberry lemonade, a sweet, pink delight for a four-year-old. I was bold and ordered a pint of Midnight Satin, described as having an “assertive malt sweetness with little to no hop bitterness, mild roasted coffeelike flavor and a full body.” To me it tasted like a yummy but thinner version of Guinness (I’m not an aficionado, not having drunk much alcohol at all these last 10 years or so). I’m looking forward to trying more of their varieties.

We ordered just one kids’ mini cheese pizza, given the size of the nachos we were all devouring. At first I thought it was rather misshapen; then I realized it was Mickey Mouse-shaped. Extra points for being cool for the kids! I ordered a Bavarian Bun, which included cabbage and ground pork inside a pretzel-like exterior, complete with a sprinkling of salt and caraway seeds. Papa ordered a full order of chicken fajitas, which at first seemed a tactical error of colossal proportions, until I pointed out what a fine lunch it would make for him tomorrow. In fact, we’ll all be eating our leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

I liked the atmosphere in the brewpub — it seems like a place that welcomes a variety of customers (unlike a bar, which pretty much just welcomes drinkers). In fact, while we were there, one of Papa’s co-workers walked in, on the way to a large group sitting nearby that she revealed was the local board of the Audubon Society. Any and all relatives and friends visiting us should be prepared to try some local brew and good food with us at the brewpub!

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Snippets of Life

Can you tell I finally charged the camera batteries?

A few weeks ago we went over to ISU for some fresh air and exercise in the quad. It was one of those bright blue winter days.

The castle Administration building

The "castle" Administration building

The Fine Arts building, with the Portneuf Range behind it

The Fine Arts building, with the Portneuf Range behind it

These trees are perfect for little kids to climb. They’d been off-limits for a few months while a new patio area was being built next to the student union. We were excited to see that the fences were finally down.

Napoleona as a rosy-cheeked tree elf

Napoleona as a rosy-cheeked tree elf

SillyBilly demonstrating that there are no straight lines in nature

SillyBilly demonstrating that there are no straight lines in nature

I realized that I never posted the follow-up to the volcano project. SillyBilly painted his clay version brown and green, but we didn’t get around to adding any gravel and all our dinosaurs were too big! But it did look pretty splendid anyway.

Still couldnt find the red food coloring for the lava

Still couldn't find the red food coloring for the lava

Then one day we did some paintings with acrylics on dry paper. (I know, should be wet-on-wet. Here come the Waldorf police.) We investigated what we could do given only blue, red, and yellow.

SillyBilly

SillyBilly

Napoleona

Napoleona

Mama

Mama

The last two days, SillyBilly has been home sick. Another virus, another asthma attack. This time we even had to get out the evil prednisone. Which makes him hyper (along with the nebulized albuterol, boing boing boing) but I can’t let him play outside with his cough. Sigh. So we’ve done lots of stuff to keep him busy.

We talked about how you might say “the sky is blue” or “leaves are green” — but you’d be wrong! They can be many different colors, depending on the light, time of day, season, and so on. So SillyBilly experimented with his pencils to see how leaves might look:

New coloring book joy!

New coloring book joy!

Then he decided to something completely different with his pencils.

Spontaneous alphabetization

Spontaneous alphabetization

We made very sinful sugar cookies, with pink sprinkles for extra panache. SillyBilly chose acorn cutters, while I went with hearts.

Butter and coconut oil and sugar and almond extract...mmmmmm

Butter and coconut oil and sugar and almond extract...mmmmmm

With the oven still hot from the cookies, I roasted an eggplant and made my first ever batch of baba ghanoush, as we for one had tahini on hand. Napoleona declared she loved it so much that she was going to cook it every single day for her own kids some day. Then we realized she was talking about the store-bought hummus. Oh well.

I’m hoping SillyBilly is better by tomorrow afternoon, because there’s a Pi Day/Einstein’s birthday event at the local mall, complete with liquid nitrogen and a Van de Graaf generator. He’s not going to want to miss that.

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7 Things

Even though I just did this on Facebook, lovely Lisa of The Zahn Zone retaliated on her blog, and re-tagged me for this.

Since my ear feels much better (though my right cheek still feels like a railroad spike was jammed through it) and I feel just conscious enough to do a meme and not a more thoughtful post, here goes:

List seven random things about you. Tag the person who tagged you. Tag seven others. (I dislike tagging other people even though I’m game to be tagged. I break chain letters too.)

  1. I love bacon. I could eat it every day. Not veggie bacon, not turkey bacon. I’m talking about fried strips of smoked pork. I’m sure I’ve now offended at least 1/3 of my readers. Sorry. I love it.
  2. When I go to sleep I have to have whichever ear is facing up covered by my hair. Goes back to a childhood vampire paranoia (don’t you love the kid logic: if the vampire can’t see my neck, he won’t be tempted!). It was pretty dicey there when I had short hair after an ill-thought-out experiment three years ago.
  3. I have those weird earlobes that are connected instead of hanging down. And I have a big mole on the left half of my forehead, with a matching one underneath my right (attached!) earlobe. There. Now you can all identify me in a lineup.
  4. I have never seen the movie Titanic, and never plan to. At first it was out of a feeling of opposition to all the hype; now it’s just the momentum of the idea.
  5. I once needle felted a rather accurate “Venus of Woolendorf” out of golden wool. Sadly, I gave her away, and can’t show you any pictures. But  it’s OK, because I really don’t need a fertility goddess around mucking things up. Two offspring is plenty.
  6. I feel a rather strong sense of satisfaction and personal power every time I pull a newly baked loaf of bread from my oven. It’s like I can take a handful of simple ingredients, do some magic, and feed my family.
  7. I twice portrayed the angel Gabriel on stage. In costume, singing. No wings, though.
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Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker – Part 4

In Part 3 we learned that we can look at the home as an organic unity, and as such we can perceive the same four members of the human being in the household as well. Let’s begin to look at these members in greater depth, with the realm of the physical from page 18.*

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Matter

Three kinds of matter dominate in the household: food, textiles, and the solid materials such as wood, glass, and stone.

Food

The modern relationship to food has become overly materialistic: we concern ourselves solely with the nutritional content without paying much attention to the growth processes or the affect of our cooking methods. If we believe that there are aspects of reality that are not normally sense perceptible, then why do we focus so much on the supposed constituent parts (vitamins, minerals, etc.) of our food and not the organisms and processes as a whole? A microwave certainly heats up our food, but what else might it be doing that our senses cannot tell us? Similarly, food grown with chemical fertilizers might seem the same as organic or biodynamic food, but are its life forces really the same? Might we be missing the forest for the trees — the organic unity of the food for isolated nutritional measurements?

Cooking was once an art — a humanization of matter, and truly an etheric/alchemical process. Food preparation is one place where the homemaker can easily bring in an artistic feeling into the home, simply by the food and cooking choices made.

Textiles

Textiles have traditionally been formed from products of the plant and animal kingdoms, and can also be seen in relation to the four members. I will give you an imaginative picture of why each material is connected with its respective member:

cotton — physical (Cotton grows from a shrub, low to the ground, in hot, dry climates. It is close to the earth.)

linen — etheric (The flax plant must be retted, or soaked in water, before it can be spun into linen. Water is a symbol of the etheric realm.)

wool — astral (The animal kingdom symbolizes the astral or soul/consciousness realm.)

silk — ego (Perhaps we could connect the silkworm moth, whose sole food is the leaf of the tall mulberry tree, with the spirit flying high?)

Solid Materials

Though many anthroposophists eschew certain materials in their homes, there is no real right or wrong. Whether the homemaker chooses wood and stone or glass and chrome, the choice reflects the individual. The important thing is to pursue balance.

An important question to ask in the choice of materials is what happens when we surround ourselves with “false” materials. Is there a qualitative difference between a solid wood shelf and one made of particle board and veneer? Can we create a “humanized” home if we are surrounded by plastic — from polyethylene storage containers to polyester textiles made from petroleum? Perhaps other aspects of the home are more important in our efforts to enliven and support our families, but I think it’s still useful to consider even the materials in our surroundings.

Next time we’ll look at the etheric realm and how it manifests in the home.

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* The text puts the physical realm at the end of this section, so we will skip back to page 13 next time.

Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker, Temple Lodge, 1996.

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