Thursday, August 21, 2014

three days of love

The end point of our journey west was the beautiful wedding of my dear cousin, Jessica to her honey, Ben. Weddings do such a nice job of bringing people you love to one spot, and we spent every minute of this one enjoying the community they've made for themselves in the world.  

My uncle and my grandfather - can you see the resemblance?

Great Grampa, Grampa, and new grandson
(those are lovely pictures, but where's the bride?)
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

(really, where is the bride?)

(there she is!!)

(I feel that these last two photos might require some explanation...The groom's brother flew in early Friday morning from the UK and his gift was the installation of two gigantic beeswax candles which he spent all day Friday and part of Saturday constructing, much to our amusement.  It smelled so good...)

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

my cousin C with beauiful Ani
Eliza and Cousin Lucy

The groom's family, trading songs around the salmon
the beautiful couple enduring a hilarious brotherly toast

Sigh.  It was everything a wedding should be.  Joyful, sincere, silly, radiant, hopeful.  My 96-year-old grampa made the trip out with his 94-year-old sister, and they both danced to my uncle's swing band and the looks on their faces will thrill me for a long long time...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

right now

I know I haven't finished up with our trip pictures, and I know you know there is a load of wedding up next, but we are transitioning into the next thing already and I'm needing to pause in the chronicles just long enough to say...Hi.  We're home.

So, today my oldest child, my twelve year old stepped foot inside a public school classroom for the first time.  Gasp! And she lived to giggle about it.  And yes, she is still eclectically unhomefreerangeschooling, it's just that this episode includes lockers and class bells and a morning art class in the best room in the building (sky-lights and shelves full of art supplies!). In Ohio you can partially enroll and take up to two classes and still be considered a homeschooler, so after talking about it for a year and a half, here she is, walking up the hill to the middle school every morning this fall.  I'll let you know how it goes...

I'm suffering from a bit of anti-climax after our awesome trip.  Ohio in August is muggy and hot and our house is dirty and cluttered and all of the bills are due.  You know the feeling?  It helped that friends stopped by for big hugs yesterday.  It helps that summer nights in Ohio are gorgeously loud and alive with insect chatter; I never realized how quiet the west is without the cicadas and crickets. It helped that Jen left me a pile of eggs to come home to and brought me homemade butter today. Ah, and a new recipe has me humming...thanks to my sister-in-law, who dug it out of an issue of Mary Jane's Farm, here is what I get to eat when my family orders our favorite pizzas that I can no longer eat, and I'm happy to report that it is delicious.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (for one personal pizza)
1 head of cauliflower - wash, cut, and "rice" in the food processor
- roast on a pan at 425 for 10 minutes - cool - drain in a colander lined with a dish cloth and then squeeze out all of the liquid.
Mix with the following:
1/2 cup or so of grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 TBS seasoning - I used oregano and basil
salt & pepper
Smoosh it out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes (or until brown).  Carefully flip it over by lying another piece of parchment and another pan over the crust and turning the whole thing over.  Peel the old parchment off (is this obvious?) and put in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Pile with toppings - tonight was pesto, goat ricotta, carmelized onions and cherry tomatoes OH MY GOODNESS - and pop back in to melt the cheese.

Voila, so delicious.  I think it would also make good flat bread for dipping, or maybe breadstick-like-things.   

I promise to deliver on the rest of the trip report; I just needed to pause and check in on Today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

the dunes

If you could live by the ocean or the mountains, which would you choose? This is the dreaming game we played as we drove home through Wyoming, then South Dakota and further into the midwest, leaving both the mountains and the ocean farther and farther behind.  It isn't surprising that I couldn't choose, is it? 

We spent two nights between Seattle and the family wedding in Corvallis, Oregon, at Nehalem Bay State Park, which was full of sand dunes and miles of beach.

Ani couldn't remember the ocean, and Eliza ran straight for it.  I think she chose ocean - playful, insistent, mesmerizing ocean.

I love how the beach was totally different every time we crested the dunes to look down at the water. Rippled, smooth, lit by the setting sun or misty with evening fog, it was beautiful.

Reading Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men and drawing
The campground was packed - we got the last site the nights we were there - but our neighbors were friendly and Ani found a quiet spot to perch in for some down-time.

Do those look like discarded tissues or plastic bags in the photo above?  I think they are velella, a jellyfish that lives in the open ocean and sometimes washes ashore to decay, leaving behind these cellophane sails and not much body.  (Apparently while living they are a deep purple, but these looked as though they'd been in the process of decay for a long time and were more like bleached bones.)

Eliza gave me permission to share part of a poem she wrote on a solitary trip to the dunes.  Her inspiration came in an email from our friend and her writing teacher, Wendy, who suggested writing observations that played with the senses.

Fire smoke, the color of pine tree bark, blowing my direction.  
Unblemished sand, now and then scarred with footprints.  
The sound of wind through dune grass is salty.  
Flowers in the dunes are coins, peeking out of pockets that are the grass and sand.  
The flying kite, a cupcake in the sky.

Dan waffled a bit too before choosing mountains, and looking at these photos he is reassessing his choice.  Maybe that's why we lived for so long in Seattle, settling for the in-between, the view of mountains and the smell of the ocean.