Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Questions from the Peanut Gallery

This weekend I got a few questions from my cousin (second cousin? first cousin once removed? I don't know ... cousin is just easier) Rebecca in Brooklyn, newish mommy to gorgeous little Stoshua. I was writing a long-winded reply via email and decided instead of boring just her, I would turn it into a blog post, because I really don't have much else to write about these days. Plus, I've been told that some folks out there like to hear about our lives even when we aren't on some far-flung adventure.

Some questions I am more qualified to answer than others, so we may need some expert opinions/advice/lessons from other readers.
"Maple Bacon donut? Tell me more! Not a meat eater, but never heard of such a combo!"
[Disclaimer: This discussion may be a little too much for anyone who doesn't like/eat pork. Sorry! I just can't help myself, but I love bacon!]

Well, my quest for said donut started on a flight from Dallas to somewhere, traveling on an airline that actually shows movies and television shows free of charge (what a concept). Anthony Bourdain was doing a tour of the Pacific Northwest, and one of his stops was Portland's (what I now know is legendary) Voodoo Donuts. This place has every kind of donut never imagined. A browse through their menu is actually kind of hilarious. Anyway, Anthony finished up his trip with a taste of the maple bacon donut, which he admitted sounded kind of gross. But then his face lit up, and you could tell he was in love. And when you think about it, it makes sense. On the rare occasion that I eat pancakes, I always make sure to have leftover bacon to sop up the remaining maple syrup. That combination of sweet and savory is so tasty! And the cake texture of the donut, the sugary crusty texture of the maple glaze, and the crunch, crispy texture of the bacon is so much fun on the tongue. I know all this now, because on our last trip to Portland, we finally made it to the shop, and the maple bacon donut was all I had hoped for. But definitely not something I would want to eat everyday. (I don't have a death wish for diabetes!)

On a side note, if you ever end up in Portland and need to bring some kind of food for a group of people, you can go to Voodoo Donuts and buy a bucket of "day-old" donuts (which are actually from that day) for $5. And the bucket is really a bucket, like the kind found at Home Depot or something.
"Have you tried sweet potatoes/yams with a bit of rosemary salt & butter!?"

[Disclaimer #2: If you hate fried food, you might want to skip this discussion too. What can I say? I love food!]

Heck, yes! In fact, there is a place here called the Boise Fry Company that serves all different kinds of potatoes in all different (fried) forms. On a chalkboard they indicate the types of fries they have that day (russet, yukon gold, yam, sweet potato, purple, fingerling, etc., etc.) and how they have them prepared (shoestring, curly, home style, steak cut, etc., etc.). Then they offer a condiment bar not only with the usual ketchup, mustard, and Idaho's own weird fry sauce (essentially French dressing ... yuck), but also with all sorts of flavored salts and sauces. My favorite? Home style sweet potato fries with the rosemary salt and either the garlic aioli or the chipotle dipping sauce. Yum!my!
"And curious ...how is Ilan pronounced? Stosh was almost Elan...pronounced E-Lahn...but it didn't make the cut!" [p.s. I'm so glad I am not the only one with a love for ellipses.]
And now I must pass the answering baton to the experts. I pronounce it E-lahn with almost equal accents on both syllables. But I am most likely getting it wrong. When it comes to names and Mark's family, I realize that I won't ever get the accent quite right. Not only am I missing the ability to make the throaty "ch" sound in Hanukkah and hummus, I am pretty sure that I never quite pronounce Ariel or Ilan exactly right. But then again, Mark says "Mahk" (which, I guess, is technically correct, since that is they way it is pronounced in "Australian") and "Tah-ra," so I think we can call it even. :-)

Keep those questions coming. Otherwise it will be quiet around these parts until something else comes along.

Oh ... p.s. we had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend with friends old and new (including a surprise visit from a friend who Mark worked with on the Kern River 20 years ago). Here's a shot from the post-Thanksgiving dinner charades game (just about everyone is wiping tears of laughter from their eyes ... good times!).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's That Time of Year Again

Time for me to sit and reflect on all the good. To ignore the sad, bad news from around the world. To tune out the sensationalists and the rhetoric and the fanatics. (Though granted, it is getting harder and harder to do.) And instead to remember what I love about this crazy mixed-up world we live in.

So here goes, my list of what I am thankful for, in no particular order ...

a roof over my head, my green puffy (newly cleaned) jacket, fresh eggs from our neighbor's chickens, the fact that our neighbors have chickens in their backyard, my health, the YMCA, walks with the dog(s), the fact that the foothills are one block away, white-snow-blue-sky days like today, that fresh roasted coffee in that little market in San Jose, Costa Rica, our travels, our friends, our friends, our friends, Kai and all his many dogsitting buddies, even the naughty ones, our veggie garden all prepped and ready to go for next year, our beehive (I hope they survive this cold snap!), my new desk setup (thanks Mark and Sid!), the fact that we finally framed almost all of our pictures (now we just need to hang them), a good book, rainbows, double rainbows, Green Pond, airplanes that take us to see family and friends and on our farflung adventures (even with all the annoyances of present-day travel), Bloody Marys, filling the house with the smells of good food, the Capri's greasy spoon breakfast, mmm bacon, my memories, creating new memories, all the trees we have planted, our neighbors, Wordfirm for keeping me busy, changing seasons, Nana and Grandpa and Gram and Nana 2 for everything they have taught me about the importance of love and laughter, knitting (even if the current blanket project will NEVER flippin' end), the fact that I actually (eventually) finish certain craft projects now (I am sure Mom is happy about that!), laughing until my face hurts, all of our beautiful nieces and nephews--Ilan, Lara, Ariel, Megan, Lily, Sabrina, and Ella--we miss you all so much and are so proud of all of you!!, my cruiser bike and the fact that I rarely ever get in a car these days, did I mention coffee?? (I think maybe the fact that it keeps coming up is a sign that I should brew a cup), river trips, cell phones (texting and email and facebook)--all of which help keep me in touch with family and friends all over the world, sweet potatoes and yams (what is the difference, anyway?), music, music, music, the ocean, maple bacon donuts from VooDoo Donuts, the odd lady who feeds the birds in the vacant lot next door (I wonder if she knows that the hawks have learned this and now prey on the birds? Hmmm), the sounds of Kai's claws clickety-clacking across the hardwood floor, cuddling, walks to the post office with Mark, Cafe de Paris's cafe au lait (that's three!), camping, our house with its white picket fence, our family, our family, our family, our family! And, of course, Mark --- I don't always show it well, but I love you more now than ever and cannot imagine my life without you. You make all the crazy stuff more bearable!

There is more, I am sure, but for some reason I am suddenly very hungry and craving coffee!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Or, if you don't celebrate this particular U.S. holiday, enjoy a day of love, laughter, and thanks just because! It's certainly better than the alternative.