Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Beginning of a Lifetime Together

This was a lovely country wedding. It was perhaps reminiscent of the kind of wedding that might have happened a hundred or so years ago.

We seated ourselves and then in no time at all the groom and the preacher were standing up front and just as quickly the bridesmaids and groomsmen were arriving to stand with them. I don't recall if there was a traditional wedding march because I was somewhat surprised when we all stood up and there was the bride being escorted down the aisle.

There was then a short welcome from the parson, a passionate exchange of vows, and then we were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Pratt.

The dinner was immediately ready and we got in line for what turned out to be a great meal.

Congratulations Tyler and Julie! It was a wonderful ceremony and party. I am glad we were a part of it. I don't want this to be the end of it, however. Let us continue to be a part of your lives. You are welcome to come by any time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Tastebuds Were Singing Like Angels!

Jonathan has gone to visit with his friend Taylor this evening through Tuesday so that is our signal to go ahead and open the valves and allow the freeflow of cullinary possibilities to pass through our imaginations, past our lips, over our taste buds, and settle in our stomachs for a satisfying series of sensatational snacks.

Oh my goodness! Tonight was almost beyond belief. Even before the meal was cooked I was wondering if I was going to make it. Out of all of the ethnic possibilities, Italy has easily maintained the prominant positition in my list of favorites. Tonight I was working from a book titled "Italian Favorites" The Best of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library. I chose three recipes. The first was: RED BELL PEPPERS WITH POLENTA.

My second choice was: ASPARAGUS WITH PROSCIUTTO.

My third and final choice for this evening was: SAUTE'ED FISH WITH GARLIC, ROSEMARY, AND RED PEPPER FLAKES.

Now to be perfectly candid, and especially because this particular dish didn't turn out exactly as I might have hoped, I had to use flounder instead of the monk fish that was suggested in the recipe. I also would have had to make a run to the store for fresh rosemary instead of the dried herb which I had on hand. The selection of fish needs to be one which will stay together during the cooking process. The flavor of the fish was consistant with what one might expect, however, the fish didn't maintain its original form as well as I might have hoped.

The other two recipes pleasantly met or exceeded expectations.

Over all, this evenings epicurean encounter was a delight and there will be another attempt in the near future to meet or beat tonights experience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The PDGA? What?

We took a quick trip to Eugene on Sunday afternoon to visit with my sister, her family, my dad, and his wife. We enjoyed a grand time together including a barbequed meal featuring Chef Marv, stimulating conversation, and a sneak preview of what will soon be the newest antique/High Tea establisment in Eugene, Colby Cottage. Check it out, please!

We were so into the whole event that when I finally checked my watch and discovered it was already 9:00pm and we still had at least a two hour drive to Portland, I shouted marching orders and everybody jumped in the car (after the obligatory hugs and all) and we were off towards home.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that we had picked up an additonal passenger. (Just kidding!) Aaron, my nephew, is only slightly older than Jonathan and is always good company and we were pleased to have him along. During the following day while I was at work, they enjoyed sleeping in, video games, and a few hours swimming at the SE Portland Community Center.

When I got off work I got a call from the "woman of the house" asking if I would pick them up at the mall as she was out with a friend browsing the local thrift store circuit.

After dinner we discussed what to do with the next few hours. Knowing that Aaron is a disc golf enthusiast and knowing that there is a course close by, we decided to purchase a few discs and try our hands at the game. Jonathan and I have only limited experience with the sport. However, we found it to be a pleasant expenditure of a few hours of time which came with a gentle bit of exercise as a side benefit. Debbie refused to participate but contributed to the event as the resident photographer. I hope you can enjoy our time together vicariously.

By the way, the PDGA is the Professional Disc Golf Association. Did you know there even was such a thing? Who would have thought?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I don't know if we felt like we'd been working too much lately but on Thursday we took the opportunity to explore another of the McMenamins locations. Have you heard of McMenamins before?

Their business is comprised of taking old and interesting establishments which are in danger of condemnation and or destruction and restoring them into fun and interesting eating and sleeping establishments. Our favorite thus far is the Kennedy School located in northeast Portland. We have enjoyed a number of evenings in their theater watching a three dollar movie and eating pizza. We've also been to the Edgefield in Troutdale and wandered in their gardens, listened to concerts in the yard, and watched a three dollar movie.

On Thursday, we drove to Forest Grove to experience the Grand Lodge. It once was a masonic retirement home and orphanage. They have a beautiful garden with a frisbee golf course.

We didn't try the course. We were waiting to see Night at the Museum:Battle of the Smithsonian.

You know something? That must have got us in the mood because you'll never guess what we did the next night.

I have been suggesting that I'd like to see the new movie called Julie and Julia. Well, I came home from work yesterday and Debbie is on the net watching the trailer. We had some free tickets that I got from work two or three months ago (that's how often we go see first run movies). I suppose it could be categorized as a romantic comedy. It is based on the life of Julia Childs played by Meryl Streep and Julie Powell played by Amy Adams. Apparently, Julie Powell was kind of a Julia Childs groupie and started a blog relating her attempts to cook through Julia's cookbook titled "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Both Streep and Adams played their parts marvelously. It was particularly enjoyable due to the fact that I had something in common with each of the characters. It was fun watching Julia Childs learn to cook and it was fun watching Julie Powell's frustrations and excitement around the blog.

The movie was rated PG-13. If you could bleep all of the foul language you'd only have missed about 2.5 seconds of the whole movie. In other words it was mostly free of objectionable material. The directors didn't put us through any intimate sexuality or nudity.

I was interested to note that the other people in the theater were nearly all female and at least my age or older. I suppose it might be considered a "chick flick" but again, I truly enjoyed the show as did both Debbie and Jonathan.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rhymes That Make Me Smile

I probably have indicated in past posts that I enjoy old poetry. I am not refering to Beowolf or even the Psalms. Don't get me wrong, I dearly appreciate the writings of David, but for this post, I am referring to poems from American poets written at least a hundred or so years ago. One of the treasured items that I have that was given to me by my mother is a book called "Poems Teachers Ask For--Book I". It has been in the family for as long as I can remember and probably belonged to my grandmother. She was a school teacher in a one room school house somewhere in Minnesota.

As you can see the condition of my copy of this book is poor to say the least. But guess what? Last week while I was toiling away at my day job schlepping oxygen tanks, my dear wife Debbie was out perusing estate sales for hidden treasure and came across volumes I and II of "Poems Teachers Ask For". Both editions are in significantly better condition than my volume I.

Let me share a couple of my favorites from these volumes.

The title of this first one sounds a bit morbid but I like it because in it I can see the tender feelings of a child towards an abused animal. By the way, it is also written in a kind of dialect so please don't hesitate to read it just because it isn't in a form that you're used to.

The Dead Pussy Cat

You's as stiff an' as cold as a stone,
Little cat!
Dey's done frowed you out an' left you
Little cat!
I's a-strokin' you's fur,
But you don't never purr
Nor hump up anywhere,
Little cat.
W'y is dat?
Is you's purrin' an' humpin'-up done?

An' w'y fer is you's little foot tied,
Little cat?
Did dey pisen you's tummick inside,
Little cat?
Did dey pound you wif bricks,
Or wif big nasty sticks,
Or abuse you wif kicks,
Little cat?
Tell me dat,
Did dey holler at all when you cwied?

Did it hurt werry bad w'en you died,
Little cat?
I is wet in my eyes,
'Cause I most always cwies
W'en a pussy cat dies,
Little cat,
Tink of dat,
An' I's awfully solly besides!

Dest lay still dere in de sof' gwown',
Little cat,
W'ile I tucks de gween gwass all
Little cat.
Dey can't hurt you no more
W'en you's tired an' so sore,
Dest sleep twiet, you pore
Little cat,
Wif a pat,
An' fordet all de kicks of de town.

Marion Short

Ok, this one is a lot lighter. I hope you enjoy it as much at I have over the years.

Seein' Things

I ain't afeard uv snakes, or toads, or
bugs, or worms, or mice,
An' things 'at girls are skeered uv I
think are awful nice!
I'm pretty brave, I guess; an' yet I
hate to go to bed.
For, when I'm tucked up warm an'
snug an' when my prayers are said,
Mother tells me "Happy Dreams!" and
takes away the light,
An' leaves me lying all alone an' seein'
things at night!

Sometimes they're in the corner, some-
times they're by the door,
Sometimes they're all a-standing in the
middle uv the floor;
Sometimes they are sittin' down,
sometimes they're walkin' round
So softly and so creepy like they never
make a sound!
Sometimes they are black as ink an'
other they're white--
But the color ain't no difference when
you see things at night!

Once, when I licked a fellar 'at had just
moved on our street,
An' father sent me up to bed with out a
bite to eat,
I woke up in the dark an' saw things
standing in a row,
A-lookin' at me cross-eyed an' p'intin'
at me--so!
Oh, my! I was so skeered that time I
never slep' a mite--
It's almost alluz when I'm bad I see
things at night!

Lucky thing I ain't a girl, or I'd be
skeered to death!
Bein' I'm a boy, I duck my head an'
hold my breath;
An' I am, oh! so sorry I'm a naughty
boy, an' then
I promise to be better an' I say my
prayers again!
Gran'ma tells me that's the only way to
make it right
When a feller has been wicked an' sees
things at night!

An' so, when other naughty boys would
coax me into sin,
I try to skwush the Tempter's voice 'at
urges me within;
An' when they's pie for supper, or cakes
'at's big an' nice,
I want to--but I do not pass my plate
f'r them things twice!
No, ruther let Starvation wipe me slow-
ly out o' sight
Than I should keep a-livin' on an' seenin'
things at night!

Eugene Field

Thanks for bearing with me. I like this stuff and just wanted to share it with you. I'll catch you again later,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amen and Amen

Tonight was a rather unusual evening for me. Jonathan was invited out somewhere and Debbie had plans to eat with friends that she doesn't see all that often. That left me to figure out what does one eat when they are all alone. I thought to myself what do I like that no one else around here likes. It didn't come to me in a still small voice. It was like the heavens opened and there was a shout like thunder. BARBEQUE! Suddenly there was whooping and hollering, clapping and dancing. It was like an old time tent revival meeting. Suddenly, I remembered sheepishly that I was here all alone so I said to myself "Self" shut up, sit down and grab the phone and call Campbells for take out. So that is what I did. I ordered a jumbo order of beef ribs. I had to pick two sides so I got baked beans and a garden salad. I also had to choose between a dinner roll and cornbread and I chose the cornbread, of course. The last decision to make was which sauce to get and I chose the hot bbq sauce. They said it would be ready in seven minutes so I hustled down there and picked it up. Back at the house I sat down and started pounding down some of the best barbeque in Portland. It was great sauce too. I was sweating and both eyes were watering but I think I'll do it again next time!.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What An Awesome Week!

Is the word awesome a little over used? Sometimes I wonder if the word loses some of its meaning and power when it is used too flippantly. Who cares? We just completed an awesome week! The weather was beautiful and even though it was over 100 degrees, we had the lake and river to keep ourselves cool.

What more could you ask for? The kids were swimming, water skiing, and tubing and I was fishing. No stress, no worries, no problems. I could get used to all of that.

The fishing wasn't all that great but it was still better than working.

Most days the average size of the fish was 6-9 inches and the number I caught was between three and six. The fish were predominantly natives in that their dorsal fins and adipose fins were intact. Each displayed remarkable colors as you can imagine. I let them all go and am confident that none of the fish I handled this year we're injured in any way.

Even though fishing is high on my priority list each year, it is not always about fishing 100% of the time. There is always swimming, water skiing,tubing and all of the other water sports. I, however, find that those other sports are far less attractive. Maybe it really is all about fishing!I need to tell my wife so she's not always on my case about staying around and spending time with the family.

I just love the look and sounds of the deep, cascading pools of mountain streams.

I always prefer to slip away and envelope myself in the natural solitude that is constantly calling out to me. I know that my family can't hear the call and they think that I'm rejecting them each time I get out on my own but the intoxicating effects that I feel from the sensual bombardment via my ears with cascading streams,

wind in the trees, bugs, birds, and the visual stimulation of the colors of the water,

trees, flowers,

and fish is too great a burden to resist. They are fortunate that I'm ever able to find my way home at all.