Friday, July 23, 2010

How My Choice of Unique Fashion Started at An Early Age

Even at a young age I liked to make a statement.  It started with the Dorothy Hamill bowl cut.  I begged my mom for weeks to cut off my hair, which was naturally curly and went all down my back.  Looking back not a good choice, but given I was 5, well I obviously got my way and off came by hair.  This must have cause great dismay to my mother, as I came across a bag of hair (long, dark brown and wavy) while going through the storage box.  Suggestions for the hair include sending it to the Gulf for the oil clean up.  I think perhaps, it will soon be on it's way to the local landfill.  I think a lock of hair is a precious memory, but a sack may be just a wee bit much for me.

The real renegadism is in the shoes.  I don't think I took those slippers off.  Snow, rain, etc they stayed on.  I think I must have just been a real pill at that age.  Between pestering my mom to cut my hair like my favorite skater, I didn't want to take off my dog slippers.  If memory serves (mostly from my mom's stories), they rather just feel off in the natural progression of time.

Holding my hand (well me really more holding his than anything...) is SKJ (my first "boyfriend") and my big brother SB. Yes, SKJ went by three names even as kindergarteners.  Last I heard from his mom he graduated from Duke Law, but to me he'll always be the kid who stuck everything (yes, everything) up his nose - from micro toy cars to raisons and Cherrios.

I recall this was a "storm of the century" when I was a kid.  We were off for a whole week after multiple feet of snow.  And even in the face of this, I steadfastly hold to my dog slippers.  Kind of like my Keenes now.  Although I draw the line at wearing socks with them....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Fine Art of Letter Writing

Rather ironic I'm "writing" about letter writing on my blog, but I recently came across some old letters while cleaning out a storage bin in my garage.  I stumbled across letters I'd written to friends as a child.

My first move occurred when I was 3.  We moved from Olympia, WA to Springfield, VA.  We stayed there until I was 8.  I had friends - those on my soccer team, school, and brownies.  When I was 8, we moved to Casper, Wyoming - the polar opposite of VA.  After leaving, I stayed in touch with one friend, writing letters well into high school.  It probably helped that our families were good friends and we took vacations together long after we moved apart.  KA and I adopted personas.  She was "Queen K the 1st" and I was "Duchess R."  We even went as far as signing our letters with terrible flourishing signatures and talked of silly girly things like how awful our school pictures were.

I stayed in Casper until I was in high school, leaving behind another group of friends I was sorry to see go as my family moved to Ohio. I made a homemade address book complete with multiple pages held together with butterfly grommets.  I remember collecting people's addresses before I left so that we could stay in touch.  I have stacks of letters from those first couple of years I was gone.  Lots of puffy glitter pen writing on the envelopes.  Letters now more reflected boys and who was now going out with whom, who was flunking out, and who was taking whom to winter formal.

By the time I left Ohio after college, email was just in its infancy and it was so exciting to use this new medium that the letter got fewer and fewer.  I did, however, found a couple of "1st" letters (likely the only ones we exchanged with the exception of a couple of people).   Until recently.  My pal Scout (who is a writer) will write me letters on this great old Remington type writer. Very cool and nostalgic.

I think this is why I get my Christmas cards done early.  I love to send and receive cards/letters, even if it's just a few words.  I think it's because it reminds me of all the wonderful letter memories I have.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Walla Walla Sweet

ES and I headed to Walla Walla this weekend with friends to see the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival. We stopped along the way to Geochache at a location along the road to Walla Walla.  For those of you who don't know what Geochaching is, check out:

J&C geocaching near Walla Walla. They left a travel bug behind.

The festival included lots of Walla Walla Sweets in a variety of forms - rings, blooming onion, and on various grilled meats.  We didn't see any onion ice cream, thankfully.

Notice the sign - "Hot Pop" (name of local record shop) and the Hair Hut. This is the stage that later featured the man trying to get the Guinness book of World Records for peeling and eating an onion in under 1 min...It was being filmed by the Food Network Canada.

We took the Historic Homes of Walla Walla walking tour and saw some amazing houses.  We also found some sprinklers, and found that running through them helped keep us cool on our walk.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Little Island Time

ES and I recently headed up to British Columbia, namely the Gulf Islands for some much needed R&R.

We boarded the ferry at Tswwassan, BC on a warm sunny afternoon.  The 2+ hr ferry ride was quite scenic, going across the Georgia and up through the Haro Straights to Salt Spring Island.

Once we got to the island, we headed for Ganges (main town) and their weekly Farmer's Market.  Many vendors.  Mostly crafts, but some actual farmers.  ES and I found a painter that we really liked and bought a few of her prints.

The Ganges, Salt Spring Island Farmers Market

We toured the rest of the island, going to the highest peak (Mount Maxwell) and walked about Ganges Harbor.

Ganges Harbor

Mount Maxwell

The next day we found a local farm was having a Lavender Festival, complete with demos, foods, and tarot card readings.  The day started out a little gray and never really did improve, making it the only day on our trip where the weather was rather blah.  We spent several hours wandering among the flowers, learning how to propogate our lavender (we're going to try and make cuttings from ours in the garden) and about the 3 basic varieties in the states - English, French, and Spanish.  French is my favorite, but I like the "butterfly" like flowers on the Spanish variety.

Lavender Festival on Salt Spring Island

One our final night on Salt Spring, we decided to try a local favorite (and written up in Fodors, Wine Spectator, ect to name a few).  It was called House Piccolo.  It was amazing.   The first course (salad) had an amazing vinagrette (house speciality) that I'd love the recipe for, but they declined to share.  We next had crab cakes...amazing.  If I could have picked up the plate and licked the sauce (and wouldn't think ES would die from shame), I would have.  So good.  I had a seafood risotto and ES had salmon.  Both were amazing.  Dessert was a chocolate terrine for ES and a crepe with lingonberry sauce.   One of the best meals I've had for a really long time.  Made up for the crummy food (withholding names to protect the guilty....) we'd had to date on the island.  We were bemused by the $590 bottle of wine on the menu.  Our waiter called it "the lottery winner bottle."  We agreed.  

Dinner at House Piccolo

The next day we hopped about the ferry again and headed to Pender Island.  We took what we called a "peanut ferry."  It was very, very small.

Ferry to Pender Island

Pender Island was actually 2 islands, cut back in the 1920's by a barge to make a canal down the narrowest portion of the island.  The two smaller are joined by a 1 lane bridge.  South Pender was much more uninhabited.  We visited the farthest point south of the island (Gowlland Point) and headed to a local park to hike through the woods (Enchanted Forest Park).  We also visited the Mortimer Spit, close to the 1 lane bridge separating the islands before we headed back across the bridge and explored North Pender.

Gowlland Point

Enchanted Forest Park

Mortimer Spit and the 1-Lane Bridge

The sun came out after lunch and we took the opportunity to head to the 1 National Park on the island - at Roe Inlet and Roe Lake.

Roe Inlet

Roe Lake

We headed to our B&B for the night.  We found one online that purported amazing views and we weren't disappoint.  The views were amazing and 180 degrees of the Haro Straight.  

We decided on spur of the moment to head over to Vancouver Island the next day.  We'd been there before, but it was during the early months of spring when it wasn't quite time for flowers.  Therefore we'd missed Buchart Gardens last time.  We decided to head over for the day to see the blooms.  We weren't disappointed.  The flowers, smell, and overall gardens were amazing. We hopped on yet another ferry and headed over to Swartz Bay.

We headed back to Pender Island and had dinner at the Hope Bay Cafe (ended up eating there both nights).  Had some really yummy Fruit de Mer (night one) and Fish and Chips (night two).  ES had chicken and salmon, respectively.  Finished off with homemade mocha cake with chocolate ganache.  Yum. The view at the restaurant (literally hanging over the bay) was amazing.  

Hope Bay Cafe

We watched the sunset from our room and enjoyed the colors of the sky as they turned from blue to yellow to pink to black.  The stars came out in full force later in the evening.  Haven't seen such a view in a very long time. 

We headed home the day, and between getting to the ferry 1 hour early, a 2.5 hour ride, a 1+ hour wait at the border, it took a little over 11 hours to come 350 miles.  But worth every minute of it.  What a great trip.