Thursday, September 27, 2012

muito bem

tonight we had dinner in Brazil. we shared our evening and conversation in English, Portuguese, and Spanish (spoken by a Polish girl and two Armenians) and somehow we all made it. My little brother is getting married on Saturday; my soon-to-be sister-in-law is the sweetest, most beautiful girl, and is from Santos, in São Paulo, Brazil. We arrived yesterday and have been amazed.

One thing that's been so terrific is that we are in a part of the country that the rest of the traveling world hasn't quite caught onto yet. There isn't loads to do and see in the tourist sense, and that's been the best part. it's been fun to see and do as the brazilians do, not as visitors do. It has always amazed me what tourists demand and "need" for their vacations to be just right. so much for VACATing your everyday... I like a neat, unique, and/or historical spot--don't get me wrong--but I also like to see a place as it is seen by the people who know real life there.

anyway, we went to the bar on the corner last night, about a hundred feet from our hotel, and had a caipirinha and chicken and watched the Santos Futbol Club defeat Chile on television with about seven other patrons. It was cool.

This morning we got up and, upon arriving in the lobby for a coffee, met my brother and two groomsmen--fresh from a week in Rio--and mom and stepdad on their way on from the airport. We dragged them to the beach for a look and then to a pizza place where we had pizza calabresa (sausage) and pizza quiejo (cheese). There were Brahma cervejas for the fellas and mom and I had Guarana, a soda from the famous Amazon berry. Then we had terrific doces (desserts) from the canfeteria joinville and left them to nap while rob and I walked along the beach and checked out the mall. Then we got ready and met everyone for dinner.

We had caipirinhas and amazing beef dinners, and the conversation was fantastic. It was so amazing to chat with people I'd never met, and most of whom didn't speak the same language. I mean, it's about a one to one ratio of English to Portuguese at this table. Somehow, though, it all works out. There is enough friendship and family to figure it all out, and at some point laughter and smiles bring it all together anyway. Rosetta Stone helps, but in the end if you just try what you know and learn from the people around you it works.

I am so excited to have a sister-in-law, and to see my brother so happy. This is going to be a beautiful week (and then some).

boa noite,


Friday, September 21, 2012

Wrapping up summer

On this last day of my favorite season I found myself with some extra time to hang out in the garden and enjoy what is probably one of only a handful of warm evenings left. This week has been unusually busy and I've been sending myself off to dreamland each night with the frantic thought that I have no idea how our veggies are doing. Ack!!! It has been quite chilly here overnight, and I've been afraid to see how they've fared... Turns out all is well, and I have healthy zucchini which makes me happy. There are two big ones, and THIRTEEN total! I saw the two last weekend, but suddenly eleven more have joined the crew. Okay, I'll take it! I find that being in the garden is such a relief. It is one of the only-THE only?-things I do that absolutely frees me from my own head. I love it.

Meanwhile, tonight I ended up prepping and freezing a bunch of stuff! Some of it was homegrown and some of it was grocery store fare that never made it into its intended recipes...

Pictures tomorrow, but I made pickles, cut up rhubarb for a future pie, and made dinner with some tiny tomatoes; there was also puréed watermelon for soon-to-be-sorbet and puréed kiwi that I saved from near rotting stage.

I feel accomplished, and have the Killers station on Pandora to thank. Also I'd like to thank my new iPad for making music and recipes a breeze. Now if I could just figure out how to write a blog post on it... We'll see how this one turns out.

Still a PC gal,


PS  i just broke down and turned on the real computer and want to add photos.  here you go!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dragging My Heels

hello, and happy sunday!  as i write, the sounds of a football game on television are filling the background, and the signs of an impending autumn are showing up one by one.  i love summer.  i want summer to last longer.  i will miss summer.  i am, indeed, digging in my heels and trying to prolong the arrival of the next season.  this is the shortest summer i have ever experienced--out here it's over before you know it.  Orion arrived in the morning sky about a month ago and i balked at the idea of my warm, long days coming to their inevitable end.  i want my garden and the summery flowers in their blue and yellow pots to keep on keeping on.  i want my trips to the mountains to be green hikes and magpies, full aspens, and dirt trails.  i am was not ready for the summer to end.

i have found myself easing up a bit in the last few days.  crispy blue skies and chilly mornings are helping me, as are productive school days and a few recent gatherings with friends.  i think a bag full of apples from Christina's tree and a dinner last tuesday have sparked the fall cravings.  a friend of ours had somehow acquired a huge turkey breast and wanted to cook for us, so he and his roommate made an amazing dinner of roasted turkey and garlic & cheese mashed skin-on potatoes (yay, Idaho!).  not to be too ahead of things, they were sure to include fresh corn on the cob to keep things a good mix of soon-to-be-gone summer and almost-here autumn.  it was quite a great preview of what's sitting on the horizon, but the kicker was an AMAZING wine our friend Becci brought over.  she's just returned from her annual vineyard visits in Oregon and arrived with two reds that just about have me sold on the next season.  some years there's a sip of red that just makes me sigh and want to sit outside and enjoy a cool evening by a fire with friends or with my Mister under a blanket and stars.  that sip of a big, nice red wine after months of white wine & summer ales alongside the bright, fresh farmer's market fare of summertime just changes things.  i had that sip last tuesday.  the vineyard was Palotai and it was called "Bull's Blood."  yeah, i know, but it was really, really nice.  it made me want fall.

and then there was apple pie.  i'm so annoyed with myself because i did not take any pictures of the process.  this is mostly because i was multitasking like crazy and was just that at the moment--crazy!  it's also partly because i realized the pictures of the peach pie from last fall are not entirely appetizing.  i'm still working on getting photos to do their subjects justice.  that's a whole other project!  anyway, i am very proud of this pie. i had my doubts, but went with it and was so happy with the outcome.  it got good reviews (and was brought up twice the next night when we were all out downtown) and have filed it away into the Make Again pile.  i had a bunch of apples from the same garden as last year's peaches and it was time to do something with them.  they were sour as could be, so i was unsure of how they'd work in a pie, but i looked into it anyway.  i googled about pie with sour apples and came up with an interesting one.  it had a super fun secret ingredient:  chili powder!  i did a recipe mash up with my old standby and her recipe and adored the result.  i will be making this pie again.  and again and again.  mostly i just followed her apple cutting steps and used her idea of adding heat by using the chili powder, but i will go back and do another with the citrus.    the whole thing just sounds bizarre, but i'm willing to give it a whirl.  i used my crust--just a bottom, no top--and the filling recipe from last fall's pie post.  i used vegetable oil this time instead of olive, and added a light dusting of chili powder before i stirred it all together.  meanwhile, did i just make a topless pie?  scandalous.

and finally, the week ended with a farewell dinner for a friend at Jaker's, a local steakhouse that is really good.  coffee rubbed tri tip?!  yes please!!!  another night with great company and wonderful food, and three bottles of red (there were eleven of us!).  i tried a glass of a great blend called Cashmere Cline that was really great, then had a glass of Idaho's own Pend d'Oreille, a fall-is-here-break-out-the-long-sleeves cabernet.  SO good.

wherever you are, and whatever the weather or season, i hope you're having a great time and enjoying your days.  hopefully i'll still be coat-free by next posting.

not missing air conditioning,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let's Roll

It's been a few weeks (as usual), but we've been busy!  I've started a new teaching job (JOY!) and we've been squeezing every last bit out of our summer as August & September fly by and October closes in more quickly than we'd like.  But more on that later...

This morning I wanted to remember for a moment the surreal, unbelievable, tragic, bright blue Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.  Has it been eleven years?  It is amazing to me that the babies of that year are in middle school.  The middle schoolers are in (or done with!) college.  The high school students of that year have now been on the battlefields for years.   I realized this morning that my 27 year old neighbor who is a US Marine was just driving when this attack occurred.  It feels, though, like it was the proverbial "yesterday."  I suspect it will always feel like such a short time ago.  

As I watch the events unfold again on television, I remember clearly and precisely what I was doing as every moment occurred.  I remember what I was hearing, where I was standing, who I was talking to, and the cup of coffee that went cold in my hand, unfinished--the cup of coffee I was purchasing at Winks Market in Kitty Hawk, NC, as the first plane struck.  I thank God I wasn't standing there, in the midst of it all.  I cannot imagine what those people remember and how it must have felt to watch that scene unfold AS IT HAPPENED.  Secretary Panetta just mentioned in his terrific and heartfelt speech in front of the Pentagon, "the smell of the rubble" and how those present would never forget it.  I cannot imagine.  

Say a prayer today for those lost and those who fought, saved, and cleaned up the mess.  Pray for those families who lost, who continue to grieve, and for the people who lead us then and who lead us today. Pray for those who hate us and want to destroy what we have; ask that they see the true God and the true meaning of faith and what it means to be human.  

Have a good day, and remember the good things!

God bless America!

from the land of the free & the brave,