Friday, April 25, 2014

Magic Moment–#11 Foraging

HuckleberryOkay, by now, I am quite certain everyone understands I am not normal thinker.  If you enjoy reading these blog posts I am guessing you are off kilter just a bit, too.  So here I go….this next subject is something I think is fun and cool, but a few of you might be taken aback.  Something done in the past and I continue today that really is a kick (for me, at least).  Finding food in the wild.  Not hunting, but foraging.

It started when my Dad took us out to former farm lands that grew asparagus.  The stuff would continue to grow wild near the river and small creeks.  In the spring, around this time of year, the asparagus would be a stalk three-four inches tall—perfect for eating.  You had to really look hard for them because they were no longer in neat rows and were often hidden between the cheat grass and sagebrush.  It was like a treasure hunt!  Magically appearing!  And free!

A few years later we were introduced to Morel mushroom hunting in the Blue Mountains in the southeastern part of Washington State.  Easy to spot and delicious!  They look like little brown brains; so no mistaking for the poisonous variety.

Combine a fun camping trip in the Cascade Mountains in September and a hunt for huckleberries.  Now we’re talking!  We would wear big cow bells tied to our belts to scare off the bears.  Buckets and buckets of berries for freezing, making jam or cobblers.

Every October-November I would hunt upland game birds in eastern Washington with Dad (future post) and a few of his friends and their sons.  I remember one of the young sons pointing out to me wild rose hips and describing how they could be steeped into tea.  Never tried it, but one of these days…

Lately, I have been reading about all the wild “food” available in the forests around the Olympic Peninsula near our home.  I think it is time to get those foraging skills honed again!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Magic Moment–#10 Parfum, Oui!

What happened to Faberge colognes?   The Woodhue fragrance was my perfume of choice during the dating years of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  I loved the musky cedar smell.  Like a walk in the woods.  Hated the flowery lavender scents—give me an earthy tone any day.  It became my signature scent and I would get lucky to receive as a gift from the family or a “friend”.

That scent can conjure up so many memories.  A whole lotta’ hormones, excitement and magic during those years. 

The cologne splash bottles had wooden tops which I thought were SO classy.  Did you know the men's Woodhue cologne was worn by Dean Martin and demanded a premium price?  I always liked Dean.  Good taste.

Happy Anniversary to 40

SCAN2590 (2)Forty.  Really?  We have been married for 40 years today.  This life is spinning away, way too fast.

That is us in the photo, but not our wedding picture.  Seems that long ago.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Magic Moment–#9 Dare to Explore

About 20 years ago, I was sent on a long-term work assignment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (mostly in Monroeville, the Westinghouse Corporation Headquarters).  Up until then I would occasionally go on business trips to various locations in the US, but never anything more than a week.  The Pittsburgh assignment went off and on for 6 months often away from home (Washington State) for two-three weeks at a time.  There was never a reason on the previous business trips to explore—really did not have the time.  The days were filled with meetings and work until late at night.  It was also a convenient excuse to avoid venturing out on my own.

pittsburgh#1The assignment in Pittsburgh was different.  My weekends and most evenings were open.  I was not familiar exploring on my own; and honestly, I was a little apprehensive in a big city.  That is until my friend, Jan Hawkins, working on the same job confronted me one day about spending too much time reading in my hotel room.  Jan is the ultimate adventurer and always open to new experiences.  She has traveled the world, much of it solo. 

“Come on, Terry, we are headed to Shadyside this Saturday.  And next week you are going downtown to experience a potato pizza and visit the fish market.”  Jan drove me around Pittsburgh explaining how she explores a new place and how she learns about the locations you want to experience and those you need to avoid.  Somehow a light bulb went on as I was enjoying the “culture” of Pittsburgh and listening to Jan describe all the places she has visited.  By staying in my comfort zone, I was missing out.  Missing a lot. 

Since that time, I have been exploring—domestically and internationally.  Some times on my own, most often with my husband or a friend.  You grow tremendously as person by traveling.  You become more tolerant of different customs, you begin to understand that ‘YOUR’ way is not always the best or only way to live. 

Thanks, Jan.  I think you are a pretty special person.  You brought a little magic and knowledge to my life through traveling and walking in someone else’s shoes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Travel Plans

mostar_bosniaTravel plans for 2014 are shaping up and they are a “departure” from our normal destinations.  In September, I am heading for a part of eastern Europe that is relatively less traveled—Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia (the Adriatic Tour).  Three of seven countries that were previously part of communist Yugoslavia.  My friend, Wanda, and I paid a visit to a consultant with the Rick Steves’ travel headquarters last summer; fully intending to walk away with a tour booked to Ireland.  Once we discovered the less touristy and beautiful Adriatic tour, we were sold and never looked back.  [Photo of Mostar, Bosnia – photographer unknown]

Thinking a European trip was not his cup of tea, the hubby decided to remain at home with our new puppy.  He is still staying, but as we are learning about the locations and sights, the next trip overseas I know he will be coming along.  In fact, we plan to book a Rick Steves’ tour through Italy someday.

Half the fun of the trip is traveling with a Rick Steves’ group which focuses on an energetic pace, staying at family-run boutique hotels (one night we stay at a castle in Motovun), and eating with local families or family restaurants.  It is all about experiences rather than just visiting touristy sights.  [The itinerary is listed below on the left side of the blog.]

My travel partner, Wanda, is a very talented artist and we both plan to sketch and paint the scenery as we travel.  A whole new color palette from the one we normally use in the Pacific Northwest.  And she is such fun to be around.  Really looking forward to our adventure together.

Three weeks away from home—I hope the husband and dog remember me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Magic Moment–#8 Living Underwater

great_barrier_reefEver have a dream you are flying?  Soaring over the land and up over the mountains and down canyon walls?  The air is warm and soft.  In your sleep it is quiet; maybe the only sound you hear is your breathing.

Scuba diving in warm tropical waters is like that.  Almost mystical—a fantasy land with a colorful population big and small with a brilliant Oz landscape. 

The best dive was experienced on the Great Barrier Reef.  Popeye-sized clams, schools of neon-colored mini fish, and giant ones that shimmy up expecting you to stroke their smooth sides. 

With easy fin kicks, you glide through the turquoise blue water and around pink coral.  Sliding delicately out and beyond the edge of a 100-foot cliff, suspended in space, looking down in the darker and darker deep blue.

Sensual.  Not a dream.  Magic.

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