24 August 2008

On using insufficient equipment

Yesterday was our department's annual picnic. Nobody likes to go to these things, but we do it because it's a "team-building" event, and if you don't go at least every other year, you're not a "team player". Whatever. I do actually enjoy hanging out with the co-workers with whom I work on a daily basis, and we have been known to stage margarita nights, which are inherently fun. Anyway.
My co-worker Shannon is a biker (that's "biker" as in bicycle rider, not motorcycle rider. Any biker of either kind worth their salt will be quick to make the distinction). She thinks nothing of accompanying her husband on 50-mile rides throughout the Treasure Valley countryside. I can only hope to get that far some day.
During a group pow-wow around our boss' M'n'M jar last Wednesday, we were discussing the upcoming picnic at Lucky Peak, and Shannon mentioned that she and Jerry were going to ride out. Our supervisor Heather and I looked at each other and said "That sounds fun!" Pretty soon we were making plans to meet up on the Greenbelt and ride to Lucky Peak together.
On Saturday, I left my house 10 minutes late because I couldn't bag up hot chocolate chip cookies unless I wanted to end up with a chocolate chip cookie dough block. As enticing as that sounds, it might not go over so well for a group of people expecting dessert in the form of cookies.
[quick side note: I just got some granola out of the oven and thought it might make a good snack over yogurt. I put some yogurt in a cup and then spooned the granola over. It literally *sizzled*... woah...]
When I got to the Nat (our meeting spot) I texted Heather and Shannon. Heather was running late after unexpectedly staying up really late the night before, (she later admitted she was still eating breakfast when I texted her) and Shannon's car was taking longer than expected to get the oil changed (over 2 hours!). So I pedaled on ahead.
And boy was I glad I did. All of that huffing and puffing I did on the way over would have been really embarassing! It ended up taking me almost an hour and a half to bike 13 miles. I was disappointed to take so long and struggle so hard up the hills, but it was worth it because I am now determined to buy a better bike. One with gears. I should probably tell you at this point in the story that Heather arrived 10 minutes after me (on her mountain bike) and Shannon came soon after (on her road bike). It took Shannon about 45 minutes, and she had more miles to go.
The way back was a little better, probably in large part due to the refreshment stop at the golf course, but the section from where we parted to my house was extra, extra hard. I realized when I rolled into my yard that my front tire was losing air and only about half as full as it should be. Good thing I made it home.

I finally understand the look bikers give me when I tell them what I ride. "Cruisers are not real bikes."

23 August 2008

Northwest Tour, Part 3: Lake Roosevelt

I couldn't show this picture until after Brad & Charlene's wedding, for fear of my life. Brad was not going to see The Dress, no matter how hard he tried to devise ways to get around the rule. :-)

From Vancouver Island, I ferried back over to Anacortes, where my cousin Henry picked me up. We headed out to Lake Roosevelt for some fun and sun with his parents and about 5 other families who go to the lake annually. Uncle Dennis and Aunt Jennie have been coming to Lake Roosevelt for 16 years! It certainly is a great place to vacation and spend time on the boat.
Every morning I would crawl out of my tent, head down to the full bathrooms (showers!!) and return to a breakfast of yogurt and fresh blueberries, compliments of Aunt Jennie. When everyone had finished breakfast and had their stuff together for the day, we would all pile into the pickup and drive the short mile down to the lake. All we had to do was unload the chairs, the ladder golf set, and our selves, and we were ready to go for the day! I would usually spend a half hour or so each morning laying out on the beach reading... it was so relaxing. Pretty soon it would get hot and we would start up the boats to go skiing, wakeboarding, "air-chair"ing, and tubing. One afternoon a group of us decided to go cliff-jumping. We drove to the little ferry dock (yes there is a small ferry that goes back and forth across the lake!), hopped on and 5 minutes later we were on the other side. I brought my camera and decided to stay down on the shore with Jocelyn, mainly as a cover for my cowardice--I wasn't really enthused about jumping from that height (bad childhood diving experience ha ha :-), but I was happy to take pictures of others doing it.
Philip followed the ferry over and let me cruise around on the jet ski for while
The Jumpers
Henry doing the helicopter
We got to see amazing sunsets almost every night

By the end of this trip, I had completely forgotten about my job and everything else back in Boise. That's a great kind of vacation--a real one! :-) It was a very relaxing, encouraging, and fun time. I loved seeing so many friends and family members I had missed for years. I wasn't ready to come home at the end, but it's still good to be here. I can't wait for next year. :-)

17 August 2008

Memorable Quote

"On the act of cooking: I despise recipes that promise results without work, or success without technique. I have eaten too many short-cut piecrusts to trust anyone who tells women that pastry made with oil is just as good as the 'hard' kind. Mere facility, of course, is no more a guarantee of good taste in cooking than it is in music; but without it, nothing good is possible at all. Technique must be acquired, and, with technique, a love of the very processes of cooking. No artist can work simply for results; he must also like the work of getting them. Not that there isn't a lot of drudgery in any art - and more in cooking than in most - but that if a man has never been pleasantly surprised at the way custard sets or flour thickens, there is not much hope of making a cook of him. Pastry and confectionery will remain forever beyond him, and he will probably never even be able to get gravy to come out the same twice. Interest in results never conquers boredom with process."

~Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

Memorable Quote

"...(P)eel an orange. Do it lovingly - in perfect quarters like little boats, or in staggered exfoliations like a flat map of the round world, or in one long spiral, as my grandfather used to do. Nothing is more likely to become garbage than orange rind; but for as long as anyone looks at it in delight, it stands a million triumphant miles from the trash heap.
"That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God's chandelier, the wishbone in His kitchen closet. He likes it; therefore, it stays. The whole marvelous collection of stones, skins, feathers, and string exists because at least one lover has never quite taken His eye off it, because the Dominus vivificans has his delight with the sons of men."

~Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection.

12 August 2008

I Love My Dentist

Today's appointment proved me cavity-free for a whole year. I couldn't believe it. This achievement is Olympic-gold worthy, my friends, to a girl who has had at least one cavity at every single dentist visit ever. One memorable visit in my early teens (?) uncovered 5 cavities. In one sitting! Oy. So today I'm celebrating. Because I love my dentist.

10 August 2008

Northwest Tour, Part 2: Duncan, B.C.

The view from the back of the ferry to Sidney, B.C.
Another ferry just like the one I was on.
See the kayakers in the background? My next day job.
My other day job.
Ay, matey!
Whatever floats your boat!
And... my third day job. They are all part time, see?
The Chapel at Shawnigan Lake boarding school. Charlene teaches flute here,
and this will be the site of Brad and Charlene's wedding ceremony.
Brad's (Charlene's!) SmartCar. Surprising amount of leg room!
Shawnigan Lake School grounds
The Happy Couple :-)
The old trestle bridge we explored
Back to front: Charlene's brother Steve, Charlene's friend Colin,
Charlene's fiance Brad, Charlene, me
Between the...ah...trestles? of the trestle bridge
Steve and Charlene down by the river under the bridge
Charlene contemplating whether she should move
before the dog shakes water on her again.
Charlene & Brad

We made 6 pans of boeterkoek for the wedding reception.

Charlene with curly hair and me with straight hair!

Thanks for a fun weekend Charlene!! The $115 was *so* worth it. :-)

Northwest Tour, Part 1: Seattle/Lynden

Back from vacation! It's good to be home, but I also had a lot of fun and I don't want to forget it. For your entertainment, and for my memory, here goes. :-)

The last 10 days I've been in the northwest-most corner of our country, not counting Alaska of course. Well, and I guess I was also in the southwest-most corner of Canada. I visited my grandparents (on my dad's side) in Lynden, ferried across to Sidney (Vancouver Island) to see friends I've known since childhood, and then hopped a ride out of Anacortes with a cousin to spend a few days camping and skiing with my aunt and uncle in eastern Washington.

After flying into Seattle last Thursday at 7:30am, I was planning on getting a coffee while I waited for the shuttle to Bellingham to leave at 10am. I even held off having my usual morning coffee before I left home. I was really looking forward to famous Seattle coffee! I got off the plane, picked up my baggage, and started looking around for a good spot to sit. But first, I figured I should check out the shuttle area and stick close to that end of the airport. I walked outside, a uniformed guy asked me if I was headed for Bellingham, I said yes, and before I knew it I was on board! So much for coffee...
The Space Needle, Seattle

The sun tried to peek through the clouds, between raindrops.

This guy had a license plate that read "MAGNETS". The little white specks?
Hundreds of those conversational fridge magnets!

After a couple hours of riding and picture-taking, the shuttle brought me to the Bellingham airport, where Grandpa and Grandma were waiting for me. We all got in the car, and the first thing on our agenda was coffee. :-) Grandpa started to head for a gas station, but Grandma (thankfully!) said, "I don't think that's quite what she had in mind." We found a little coffee shack that referenced moose droppings in its name and after a few sips I decided the description was quite accurate. Should have gone to the gas station.
Next we stopped at a giant hardware store, appropriately called "Hardware Sales", so Grandpa could get a few supplies for his projects at their new house in Lynden. Apparently the business spans several buildings across the street from the one we were in, but each looked different. Inside the hardware store, we went up and down tiny little aisles just big enough for one person to walk down, stuffed floor to ceiling with parts. Grandpa was in heaven. He told me it was one of his favorite stores. Just when I thought we were finished and heading for the register, suddenly a staircase appeared on our left and up we went. There's a whole other level up there! I had never seen so many parts. Home Depot, good riddance. Later Grandpa explained the employees' "high tech" system for getting things from the upstairs office to the cashiers, who stand directly below the second-floor office, at the registers on the first floor. They drop them. Yes, the drop items down to the cashiers, or use a little rope with clips attached. No worries about workers' comp there. On to Grandpa and Grandma's house...
Grandpa hard at work replacing the In-Sink-Erator. Yes, that's really what it's called.

Grandpa and Grandma on the front deck of their new house.

Friday morning we were sitting at breakfast and I started asking Grandpa questions about Lynden. "How many people live here?" "I don't know," he said. "Look in the phone book." We figured there would be some sort of demographic information in the front. So I started flipping through the pages, one by one. I came to a page that gave information about crossing the border. Nope, not what I'm looking for, next page. Wait. There's something about that page... (brain cells started waking up at this point--no coffee at G&G's house) Oh no. Ohhh... NOOooo.... I suddenly remembered that in order to get across the Canadian border to spend the next 3 days with my friend Charlene, I would need a little itty bitty piece of paper known as a passport. I have a passport. It is a very nice one. It even has my name and picture inside so they know it's really me. There's only one problem with my passport--it doesn't pack itself. With technology these days, can't they fix that? Multiple phone calls later (maybe 15 total?), after all the panic and drama had subsided, my passport had been put in the mail, compliments of my dear friends Monica and Susan. Dear, dear friends. Hey guys, have I told you how dear you are to me? They were sweet enough to break into my house, find the closest mail place, and spot me the one hundred fifteen dollars it cost to get the passport to Lynden by 11am the next morning. Like Grandpa said, for $115, I might as well have chartered a plane and gone down to Boise to get it myself. Criminy.
Later that day I was in dire need of sugar and good company, so when my cousin Philip invited me to hang out with him, his girlfriend Andrea, and her two roommates over at her place, I jumped on it. We got to catch up while Grandpa and Grandma were at a friend's wedding on Friday night.

On Saturday morning, we picked up Aunt Marian and headed for the ferry at Anacortes.

Beautiful countryside just outside of Lynden. I think those are blueberry bushes on the left?

More beautiful views. I just couldn't get enough of the blue and green.

Aunt Marian along for the ride.

Grandpa looking cool in his aviators.

Aunt Marian, Grandma, and Grandpa, seeing me off at the ferry.