Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Food Time Machine – One Bite Whisked Me Back to a Favorite Place & Time

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Do you ever taste something and it takes you right back to a specific time and place?

That just happened to me. Tummy rumblings broke my concentration from a writing task, so I grabbed a slice of Swiss cheese from the fridge. At the first bite, I was instantly transported to France. Such delicious memories!

My husband and I were on a short-term missions trip in Paris. Near our motel was a wonderfully fascinating store, Auchan. Auchan had pretty much anything one could want or need at reasonable prices. The chocolate aisle and cheese cases kept us returning nearly every day for meal items. Yes. Chocolate and cheese do make a meal.

Today’s bite of Swiss cheese took me right to the cheese counter. The gentleman who worked the cheese aisle was so very kind and cut us off a chunk of Swiss from the large wheel. With our garbled French and hand gestures, he whacked off the hard rind and sliced the rest for us – perfect. He even gave us a bit to taste, just to make sure it was what we wanted. We wanted.

Fresh baguette, sliced Swiss, some fruit and veg, all the makings of a perfect meal. Thank you, Mr. Auchan cheese guy. You made our day.

How about you? What have you eaten that transported you back to particular event or location? I’d love to hear about it. Just so I know I’m not the only one who is consumed with love for food.

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Let’s not forget the crepes! Be still my hungry mouth…

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Sea to Ski: Anniversary Travel & Fun

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Pre-hike view of Mt. Rainier

While celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary last week, we experienced what I have tagged a Sea to Ski holiday. In our area, there is a Ski to Sea athletic event, and we certainly engaged in exercise during portions of our explorations, but nothing up to iron man/woman or triathlon levels. Not even close.

Fun, fast, feast, foray. That’s was our goal.

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Seattle from Alki (West Seattle)

Sea = Day 1 Trip to Seattle

We dined on extremely tasty blackened cod tacos and salad at Salty’s on Alki. We walked along the beach, rode the water taxi across the bay to the Seattle waterfront, hiked the Pike Street Hill Climb, enjoyed clam chowder at Ivar’s, and scoured an antique store for a tiny glass bottle. Parking was just fine at Salty’s and the water taxi was a treat.

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The Seattle skyline from the water taxi

Ski = Day 2 Trip to Mt. Rainier

Technically, we did not ski. But we hiked in the mountains. And saw plenty of snow. We parked at Ohanapecosh Campground and hit the trail leading through the hot springs, past Silver Falls, discovered a new trail (for us) to the Grove of the Patriarchs, and totalled over 6 up and down miles. About 60 floors in elevation gains, according to my Iphone. For hot days, this was perfect, as most of the trail was shade covered, gorgeous, and green.

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The hiking look

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See? A nice and shady path

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Waterfall and creek at Ohanapecosh 

Ride = Day 3 Motorcycle Loop

To make up for the hiking, we sat on the bike to see the sights. We traveled up Highway 410, gazed at the packed snow and ice gracing the top of Chinook Pass, followed Highway 123 to Highway 12, and returned through Naches to make a loop ride. We took the back road around Clear and Rimrock Lake. There was no lack for beauty, but it was getting pretty hot by the time we completed the ride.

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Mt. Rainier from Chinook Pass

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We left early to avoid the heat, so the morning hours required layers and layers! Which slowly came off as the mercury rose.

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Our shadows and us admiring the snow and Mt. Rainier

Watch = Day 4 Movie to Beat the Heat

As per suggested temps of 100, we hit the theater to take in the new Pirates movie. We both loved this episode as it tied in to the original three. AND we avoided the gagging heat.

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Ferns at Ohanapecosh 

All in all, we had a fantastic anniversary holiday, me and my honey. The northwest is full of gems, just ready for exploring.

Where do you love to go? All ideas are welcome…next trip is just around the corner.

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 Fish tacos at Salty’s


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Daddy and Me: Throwback Thursday

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1970 – and I was stylin’! Most weekends, the Hill family, a complete set of 6 by that year, hit the road touring the historic, interesting, or just plain hot sites and locations of Arizona.

Station wagon, two parents, dog, 4 kids, full gas tank, and off we would go. Funny, I don’t remember seeing any maps. We just seemed to find these fun places. In 1970 I was about 8 and in second grade, so perhaps maps didn’t hit my radar. As long as we made the mandatory stops for pop, chips, a loaf of white bread, and a package of hot dogs, we were happy campers.

I remember Colossal Cave. Not so much the interior, which I am sure was cool and interesting and quite a break from the heat. But the name is clearly imprinted in my memories.

It didn’t matter what we did as a family. The important thing was spending time together, whether we were chasing horned toads (they squirt blood you know!), scaring off rattlesnacks, stopping to pick tortoises off the road (good old Humperdink), or camping at Turkey Creek, we loved hitting the road as much as our parents did.

Or maybe they didn’t enjoy it. With 4 kids and a revolving zoo of pets in a single wide trailer, I bet they HAD to get out of the house on the weekends, for sanity purposes.

Just kidding. We loved exploring. I got that from my dad and my mom.

Excuse me while I grab a loaf of white bread and some hot dogs. Feeling a road trip coming on…


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Motorcycle Monday – 3 Washington Rides

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Glowing trees north of Roslyn

I am out of motorcycle shape! In spite of late afternoon heat and tired backsides, we managed to enjoy 3 different motorcycle rides over the long weekend.

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Heading south on the Yakama Indian Reservation

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Mt. Adams

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Wild horses

1. Friday night, we helmeted up and rode south on Highway 97, turned right on Lateral A, and continued out to White Swan. I’ve always love this ride, having spent nearly 30 years living in the lower valley. At White Swan, we followed Signal Peak Road up to the end of the public road. The round trip was nearly 100 miles and gorgeous. We saw wild horses, but only 10 or so, less than normal; plus wild horse rib cages and assorted bits. A bald eagle perched on a bluff (we suspect dead bodies for tasty snacks were somewhere close, per the nose turning odors), and when we stopped to stretch, we were nearly swarmed by huge black bees. They seemed hungry and ready for fresh meat. Maybe they were a type of wasp instead. Mt. Adams beamed white amidst blue skies and fluffy clouds and the entire valley was in full production – orchards, vineyards, planted fields, cattle, and much more.

2. Saturday we took a longer ride, almost 200 miles, spanning most of the day. We drove north through the Yakima River Canyon, one of our favorite drives. Bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, and hordes of those two-legged campers, fishers, and recreating humans gave us company for the ride. In Ellensburg, we stopped for coffee. Then we followed Highway 10 to Cle Elum, barely hanging on when we encountered bridge repairs! The first one had us riding air, but after that we were prepared. We continued through Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald, until we reached the end of the road and Salmon la Sac. The Cle Elum River was noisy and rolling due to snow melt. That did not deter campers from wading! Brr. On our return home, we stopped for lunch at The Brick (Roslyn) and searched out a rose-flavored dark chocolate treat at the Roslyn Candy Company. We backtracked a bit, looped along the Thorp Highway, and returned to the Yakima Valley returned through the canyon.

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Highway 241

3. Monday we were up and out early, due to expected high temps later in the day. We took the slow road – Yakima Valley Highway – towards the lower valley. This is such a pretty drive through orchards, farms, and small communities. We went as far south as Sunnyside, then took Highway 241 over the top of the hills to Highway 24, which led us back to Yakima. Along the Yakima River, I saw several cranes and a block of whirling pelicans. A stalking coyote was circling a herd of black cows who were grazing way out in the middle of nowhere. Yikes! I shook my finger at him, but I don’t think it helped. Babies were everywhere – foals, calves, lambs, kids. This ride was shorter than the other days, but a great outing.

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Heading into the Yakima River Canyon

Let’s talk about smell-o-vision. This is a real thing on motorcycles. What you see, or don’t see, you will smell. The good, the bad, the ugly. Mint, flowers, freshly cut hay, hops, dust, horses, fast food restaurants. The list of good-to-smell is unending. The bad? Think cow poop, skunks, diesel exhaust, asphalt, smoke, garbage. The ugly? Dead stuff. I know they are ugly because I can smell them and it is not pretty! While some road kill is evident alongside the road, others lurk mysteriously out of sight. But not out of nose.

What’s the trade-off for the icky smells? Wonderful fresh air, the joy of wind blowing along your body, and rolling scenery. It’s worth every smell and bug splatter.

Where did your journeys take you this weekend?

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Just us, goofing around 


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Welcome Spring!

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Spring Wildflower

S – shows of life, green carpeted paths

P – peek at bursts of color, winters’ grays fade away

R – renewed vigor, earth joyfully bursts forth

I – invitation to celebrate, cold passes as warmth returns

N – nature dons her new attire, fresh and vibrant

G – growing time arrives, rest is over for bounty begins

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Columbia River Gorge


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A Photo Becomes A Painting

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A photo tells a story.

At the end of a recent vacation, I shot a selfie of the two of us, relaxed and replete after several days of downtime and fun. This picture is one of my favorites.

Factor in one of Kevin’s co-workers, Kathy Bensch. She wanted to do a painting of us for Kevin’s office. Just because. We gave her a copy of our favorite photo.

Et voila! There we are, in living water color. Thank you, Kathy! Perfect!

Not that the painting will ever make it to Kevin’s office…I do have some ideas on how to share.

But I think this painting looks great in the RV.

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Throwback Thursday: Parking in Paris

I so love Paris! I thought it would be fun to read (and see) about our stay in the City of Light back in 2009. Bienvenue!

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Bumper to bumper cars

That’s it. As far as the eye can see, cars sticking bumper to bumper. I am SO happy to not have a car while living in Paris. The Metro is just perfect, thank you. Or my own 2 feet.

I am fascinated with drivers in Paris…it’s amazing how little damage actually occurs as people get from A to Z in as little time, distance, and space as possible.

Some observations about parking in Paris, just in case you want to drive and park while here:

no limit except vertical walls

No limit except vertical walls

Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles…pretty much can park anywhere. They are supposed to follow normal driving rules, but motorcycles have a secret lane between the outside 2 driving lanes, and both motorcycles and bicycles will pass stopped vehicles and get in front of them to get away first when the light turns green. Or if there are no pedestrians…

Optional parking on top of cones

Optional parking on top of cones

Your choice – between or on top of cones.

Space between vehicles is negligible

Space between vehicles is negligible

Bonus points are awarded for vehicles with minimal space between bumpers.

Accidents WILL happen.

Accidents WILL happen.

Expect some slight scratches or bruises

Expect some slight scratches or bruises

Clever drivers will gently ease into tiny parking spots, avoiding major warping and scrapes on bumpers and fenders.

And my personal favorite trick for in city driving ~

Always carry duct tape.

Always carry duct tape.

It’s true. Duct tape can fix anything.

Despite these captivating photos, drivers in Paris really are amazing. There are few accidents, pedestrians remain unharmed, vehicles stay on the road, and traffic flows in seemingly flawless pathways. Hats off to the competent drivers!

How about you? Where is your favorite destination? How are the drivers? We’d love to hear!


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Come, Have Tea with Me!

The inside of one of the barracks at Fort Simcoe

by Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Do weekends go faster and seem busier than the rest of the week, or is it just me?

Pull up a cup of your favorite tea and let’s chat. I am drinking PG Tips with a tiny swirl of honey in the bottom. If I really wanted to be reminded of my visits to England, I would add a dash of milk and use raw sugar instead. Delish!

Here’s what I’d share with you about my weekend:

On Friday, I went grocery shopping. This is only worth mentioning because of the crowds! It was insane. But I did have my pint-sized helper, Miss Khloe. She assisted me as we grazed our way through Costco.

Nana with her 5 grands, from 5 weeks to 7 years-old.

The Quantrells took Fort Simcoe by storm on Saturday for a birthday plus a birthday plus a graduation picnic day. It was very nice, but it turned into a HOT day as the temps kept rising. We were done by 1, back in the cars, and on the road seeking AC. We enjoyed hanging out together. Nana especially loved having the grands in one spot, though it only lasted for 5 minutes. And then they were off and running.

Saturday was a free National Park Day, so we wanted to take advantage of the special day by visiting Fort Simcoe. You can read more about Fort Simcoe here.

We saw:

– a passel of squirrels, rolling and tumbling all over each other

– no snakes (Amen)

– no bears (double-Amen)

– cows (yes, cows – and plenty of cow-pies, ick!)

– old buildings

– 2 springs

– canons

– a tiny museum

– a parade of Model T’s that also traveled out to Fort Simcoe for a picnic

– a park worker in a golf cart chasing away the poopy-cows who wanted to graze (and poop) on park grounds

– the location of my son and daugther-in-laws’ wedding

On Sunday, we continued our celebration of graduates at church with a relaxed gathering where we viewed photos, chatted, and shared cake.

Our beautiful graduates!

My honey and I went on a lunch date. This was followed by relaxing in a cool theater and watching a movie. We migrated home, dodging the heat, and stayed inside and under shade. Temps were in the triple digits, so there was no working outside or going for a walk. Nope.

Back-to-work Monday has arrived. Triple digit temps are in the works as I type. I think I hear the beach calling me, if only it weren’t 5 hours away.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ve so much enjoyed tea with you.

Lavender from my garden and a tea cup we received as a wedding gift (31 years ago)

What did you do during the weekend? I’ll make another cup and you can tell me about your weekend.


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Meeting in the Middle Really Works

meet in the middle

drive separate roads to where

catching up is fun

~ Haiku by Angie Quantrell

 

Meeting in the middle works.

Yes, the sort of meeting in the middle that signifies compromise and working together – that works.

But also the physical, drive and meet in the middle between two far flung locations – that works as well.

Making the most of a federal holiday, a friend and I recently met in the middle for a fun day of rubber stamping, visiting, and eating. We’ve been discussing the idea for quite a long time, but could never put wheels on our vision.

Until we stopped talking and started driving. She booked a hotel room for her daughter and a friend and herself. I met them. We took over the hotel’s business conference room table, where we were front and center for the excitement of the day.

It was great!

Due to the limited amount of time, we really focused. We only brought some of our mountains of supplies and ideas. We only shared one meal. We only began some projects, stacking them for completion later at home (one of the best unintended parts of the day). We only spent a short time visiting a local thrift shop.

Success.

Now we know where the middle is and plan to take advantage of this knowledge again.

You should try it. Who do you want to meet in the middle?