Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice

You'd never know it's the first day of summer as I sit here in jeans, long sleeved shirt and fleece vest. I think the Big Chill my body is suffering began last night, at Stonehenge. Not THE Stonehenge (though I did see it once), but the Stonehenge Memorial built as the country's first WWI memorial on the site of the original town of Maryhill.

The planets were in alignment, so to speak, for the summer solstice presentation of King Lear by the Portland Actors Ensemble who brought their traveling Shakespeare Show from the Big City to Klickitat County. It's a bit of a drive from our little burg (almost 50 miles and still in the same county), so we left about 5:15 for the 7:30 show. We picked up Randy and Lisa on the way, and met up with Skip and Jan for our picnic on the grounds before the show. Good thing we got there early, and spread blankets and sleeping bags on some chairs near the front. It wasn't even 6:30 and we were about 5 rows back. Good sign for the actors, looked like it would be a full house.

We enjoyed fine dining and wining overlooking the Columbia River from our perch high on the bluff. We found a spot with a wind break, which was helpful. I'd roasted Peruvian Chicken on our BBQ rotisserie, and whipped up a quinoa salad with mango, black beans, peppers, green onions and a lime cilantro dressing. Jan had deviled eggs, baked beans and coleslaw, and Lisa made a fantastic bean dip (lots of avocado) with chips. Everyone brought wine. We were stoked and ready by 'curtain time'.

The place was packed. At intermission we found out that attendance was 380 people! I don't think they expected that. The acting was superb, as was the setting of course. The sun was down by intermission, so we returned for Act 2 to find coleman lanterns glowing atop three or four of the stone pillars. We'd refueled during the break with Lisa's fabulous chocolate pudding dessert (I was tempted to start doing Bill Cosby impersonations). We needed the extra calories, because it was COLD and WINDY. We also grabbed an extra blanket from the car to put over the fleece one I already had. I was concerned for the young woman who played Regan...she had on a beautiful green gown with lots of back and shoulder exposed. Thank goodness she had a few scenes where she wore a cloak.

It was a happy carfull that joined the parade west on winding HWY 14 after the show. For my Portland area readers, try to catch the show under the St. John's Bridge (Willamette Valley's only suspension bridge, a little bit of trivia) at Cathedral Park June 25-26, July 2, 3, and 9-11. Or in Beaverton at Autumn Ridge Park on June 27th. It's a real treat. And it's FREE. But I guarantee you'll want to drop a little something in the donation box by the end of the show.

Happy Father's Day

It's all my fault. I was the reason for your first Father's Day (of 57 so far). It must have been good, because I have six fantastic siblings. This was obviously taken well after Father's Day, because I was only a week or so old on Father's Day in 1952. We made a fine couple, if I must say so myself. Photo credit goes to my mom.

Have a great day, Dad, and enjoy having my girls there in my stead. How great is that!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Of Tall Ships, Sushi, Cake and Yankee Slayers

It's been a dandy birthday week. We kicked it off on Sunday. After a lovely drive into Portland, we strolled around the Saturday Market and their new digs under the covered pavilion, then moseyed over to Chinatown, where we caught a dragon dance for the moon festival.

The smells of the food vendors at the Market and in Chinatown drove us to Stumptown Coffee so we could distract ourselves from the growling in our stomachs. We were saving ourselves for dinner at Red Hills Provincial Dining in Dundee. We drove out to Mac and saw Mary and Matt's remodel project, then we all headed to Red Hills for a feast.

Nancy and Richard outdid themselves, and started us off with a bottle of Argyle Brut and crabcakes. Mom had called in an order for a bottle of Richard's Pinot Noir as a surprise. We drank lots of coffee with our homemade ice cream dessert so we could make it back to the Gorge in one piece.

Tuesday, Alina and I got our hair done, and had a lovely dinner of swordfish and salad (with some Wind River Cellars Pinot Gris, the official wine of my birthday 2009) out on the deck. Keara sent a big bunch of sunflowers, AND a packet of seeds so I could grow my own.

Wednesday we returned to Today's Chalet for pedicures. Such a guilty pleasure. Lloyd joined us in an expedition across the bridge to tour the Hawaiian Chieftain and The Lady Washington, two tall ships docked in Hood River for the night.

You might recognize The Lady Washington as the HMS Interceptor from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, or as the brig Enterprise in Star Trek Generations.

The two ships have been on a tour of the Columbia River for the last month, doing dockside tours, evening sails and battle cruises to raise funds and awareness for the foundation.

Lloyd had to get back to White Salmon for an arts council meeting, so we skipped the battle sail. Alina and I got sushi to go from Sushi Okalani instead. Lloyd's not a big sushi fan, so he bolted for the taco stand and got a big carne asada burrito, which he devoured while we waited for our sushi to be constructed. It was beautiful. And delicious. And it went great with the official wine of my birthday 2009.

After his meeting, we all had dessert, courtesy of chef Alina. She's been a cooking junkie since she got here. Here she is with her Chocolate Genoise Cake with Raspberry Filling and Chocolate Ganache, from Emeril and the Food Network website. It tasted as good as it looks, especially with a scoop of Tillamook Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Then it was early to bed, because we had to get Alina to PDX by 6 am for her 7:20 flight back to Boston. She texted that she'd boarded when we got to Hood River, and we were home by the time the flight took off. We were moving rather slowly yesterday, and it took me three tries to get the Sudoku puzzle, my brain was so fuzzy. Another helping of that cake did the trick and we're back to normal today. As normal as we can be, that is.

Now, I'm not one to gloat, but I just can't help myself...the Sox swept the Yankees (again) just for me. I was hoping for a win for my birthday, and I knew Tim Wakefield would be up to the task, but to have all three games this week was almost too much. Almost.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A New Extreme

I like the fringes. I've been to the far northeast (W. Quoddy Pt. Maine). I've been to the far south points of the US (Key West FL, and Ka Lae HI. I've been to the Cape of Good Hope (Africa). Now I can add the most northwestern point of the contiguous US, Point Flattery, WA.

Last week we took a couple days off of chores around the homestead. With a clear forecast for the WA coast, we headed to the Olympic Peninsula, and stopped for the night at South Beach, an Olympic National Park campground about 35 miles south of Forks. Flush toilets but no potable water. Hand sanitizer dispenser conveniently mounted on the bathroom door. No showers. Alina was NOT happy about that. By the second night, neither was I. Note to self, no more than two nights at campgrounds with no showers. We ladies like showers. And even more importantly, we like our menfolk to have them. And I won't mention salty dogs.

But, it was a peaceful, beautiful, clear day at the coast. No wind. This was the view from our site.

We had a big picnic table, and a fire ring.

Cooked us up some New Braunfels smoked sausages for dinner, with a big salad and a bottle of wine. And contemplated the meaning of life.

The short trail to the water was right next to our site. You had to climb over some big wood to get to the beach. That is not a rock to the left, it's a LOG!

Remember, Beach Logs Kill.

As the sun went down, the moon came up.

The sunset was spectacular.

Pictures don't come close to how beautiful it was.

Thursday morning, after the sun opened all the buttercups in front of the tent, we set out for Forks, where we picked up info on how to get to our desination. The Chamber of Commerce info place was full of tween Twilight fans and their parents, looking for maps to sites described in the books. I've never read them. No one was going where we were going. Whew.

We passed through Neah Bay and picked up our pass to use the Makah tribe roads and land. The parking lot at the trailhead was pretty empty. We headed out through the thick woods, and the path turned to boardwalk.

At the end of the trail there were several observation decks to fully appreciate the view.

As we stood on the point, a bald eagle flew by us. That's Victoria Island, Canada in the background. You can't see Russia from here.

As we turned to head back, a mob of 200 eighth graders and their teachers on an end of year field trip from Port Angeles descended on the decks. Five busloads. We high tailed it back up to the car to get out ahead of the bus parade. I made Lloyd stop in Sekiu so I could get a picture of Rosie. I had to. She reminded me of the giant shrimp just across the Brazos River in Richmond. I thought Susan would get a kick out of Rosie.

Rosie's got a great view.

So then it was back to the campground for dinner (chicken with Trader Joe's Green Thai Chili sauce, jasmine rice, and salad, oh, and another bottle of wine). A mighty wind came up and I thought we were in for a rough night, but it stopped after an hour or so. We were on the edge of a front that blasted through Portland and the Gorge all night. I'm not sure the camper would have held up, so it was good that we were spared.

Four hours home on Friday to the shower. Alina beat everyone to it. And loved every second.