Category Archives: friends

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

Double Date

Just got home from a double date night at Lava Hot Springs.

Photo by M.V. Jantzen

Photo by M.V. Jantzen

Yummy Thai food, a soak in a hot spring-fed pool in the chilly night air and moonlight, and good conversation with friends. The kids got to hang out with our friends’ kids and play while we parents got away for a few hours and relaxed.

Life is good.

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There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

-From “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” T. S. Eliot, 1917

I’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted anything much here lately. Remember NaBloPoMo? A post EVERY DAY, for heaven’s sake.

There have been eminently practical, homely reasons: illness, work, lack of sleep. But I think the main reasons relate to blogging itself.

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Filed under Blogging, Deep Thoughts, friends, life, Poetry

Yes, We are Hobbits

We ended up having two, count ’em, two Thanksgiving dinners this weekend.

Turkey #1 was had at Anthropapa’s boss’s house on Thursday. We brought homemade rolls and brussels sprouts, she made everything else. Which was great, as we didn’t have a kitchen full of dirty dishes, and we had a wonderful, convivial meal. Our kids ran around with their kids, we marveled at the wonders of secret gigantic food storage closets* (the house was originally built for a Mormon family), and we had two kinds of pie with ice cream for dessert. Abundance and gratitude, all around.

But, no leftovers. No turkey sandwiches, no turkey curry, nada.

The boss was at Costco today and saw that they had indeed overstocked on turkeys as she thought they had, and were selling them for 49 cents a pound, which was about 1/3 what she paid for her turkey. So, she bought us one and dropped it off for us! And refused to take any money for it.

We love Anthropapa’s boss.

Now, it was a fresh turkey, so I felt compelled to cook it today. Mostly because there was no way at nineteen-pound turkey would fit in our fridge under current conditions. It barely fit into our apartment-sized oven in any case.

Typically, Anthropapa is in charge of the turkey, but he was in Salt Lake City trying to rescue his broken MacBook at the Apple store. So I made turkey #2, all by myself. And made mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables (OK, frozen, but still, it was another pot of food on the range), cranberry sauce, and gravy.**

So we had Second Thanksgiving. And we were very thankful.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

After we ate, we decorated our Gratitude Turkey. I neglected to charge the camera batteries, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations until I decide to post a photo. I made the bird out of construction paper, and made separate tail feathers. As everyone told me something they were thankful for, I wrote each thing on a feather, and taped them on the bird. We’re a little behind on hanging it up since tomorrow is the first Sunday in Advent, but I think we will anyway.

❖❖❖❖❖❖

* That is, gigantic closets for food storage, not closets for storing gigantic food.

** No stuffing. Nana’s is the best, and I only have so many pots/hands/stovetop space.

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Filed under Crafting, Family, Food, friends, holidays, papa

Abundance

We had a good day. We shared a wonderful meal with friends and family. We have a safe, warm home, and we are all healthy. Much to be thankful for.

In our family, we always hold hands and say or sing grace before meals. The graces are very simple, and the kids always participate. These say it all:

For health and strength
And daily bread
We give our thanks, O Lord.

For flowers and bunnies
And birds that sing,
We thank you, God, for everything!
Amen.

The sun, the moon, the earth, the rain,
And the work of many hands
Have brought us this food,
And we say, Thank you!

Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the apple tree,
The Lord is good to me,
Alleluia!

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Filed under Family, Food, friends, holidays

Recent Feed Reader Items of Note

A meteorite fell to earth in western Canada, and miraculously was caught on video. Great ball of fire!

Ever wonder what all those odd names on the world map mean in their original languages? Turns out it’s harder to figure out than you might think.

Come on, a cute kitten photo won’t kill you. It might even cheer you up.

Evidently, no Dorito is safe….

Google: You can find old friends, learn a thing or two, or figure out where the flu is breaking out today.

And for a complete change of pace: learn to make lard and make a dog very, very happy.

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Filed under Blogging, friends, Silliness and Mayhem

Saturday Steiner

So, I spent the morning doing wet-on-wet painting with a roomful of other Waldorf mamas at Melisa‘s house. It was so great to meet people on this path, learning as we go. We nibbled yummy snacks, did some beautiful paintings (Sorry, I left my camera at home and left the wet paintings there! Photos next time, or check the link above.), and talked about Waldorfy stuff.

This inspired me to make good on my idea to post about one or another of the Steiner books I recently unpacked. I couldn’t find the one I really wanted, but I did find Study of Man, a series of lectures also known as the “General Education Course” that is a fundamental book for Waldorf teacher trainees.

Oh man — how can I do this? In the first five pages of the first lecture, Steiner mentions the epochs of human development, reincarnation, egoism in modern religion, and the various bodies of the human being in the transition from the spiritual world to incarnation!

Uh, yeah, let me just summarize that for ya.

Nope . . . can’t. So I’ll just revert to something we used to do during Foundation Year: find the gems. The sentences or paragraphs that just speak loud and clear, that take you by the scruff, that glimmer and sparkle with new meaning.

[A]lthough from his birth onwards we may only look upon the child with physical eyes, we will all the time be conscious of the fact–“this too is a continuation.” And we will not only look to what human existence experiences after death, i.e., to the spiritual continuation of the physical; but we will be conscious that physical existence here is a continuation of the spiritual, and that we, through education, have to carry on what has hitherto been done by higher beings without our participation.

[In reference to “pre-natal education”] If until birth the mother behaves in such a way that she brings to expression in herself what is morally and intellectually right, in the true sense of the word, then of its own accord what the mother achieves in this continuous self-education will pass over to the child. The less we think of beginning to educate the child before it sees the light of the world and the more we think of leading a right and proper life ourselves, the better will it be for the child.

So: Steiner taught that we reincarnate. We live multiple lives on earth, with (typically) long periods of time in the spiritual world in between. During the time before birth, we are in the company of higher spiritual beings (angels, archangels, etc.) as well as other human spirits, and there we learn and grow and plan for the next life.

He talked in this beginning to Study of Man about how materialism and the egoism that goes along with it have even penetrated religion in modern life. This egoism causes us to focus our attention regarding immortality only on life after death, but the life before birth deserves just as much of our attention. And if we combat this materialism and egoism, we cannot help but relate to and teach children in a new way.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, art, Books, Deep Thoughts, friends, Religion, waldorf education