We return later today from a glorious long weekend, spent with Marissa and her boyfriend, Jeff, in San Francisco and Napa.
Marissa had a very busy and stressful work week, so I made dinner on Friday night in her very small kitchen. When I say small, I mean really small!
In May, Marissa moved from the Outer Sunset neighborhood to Pacific Heights. Part of the tradeoff to live closer to the center of the city was less space.
The closet-sized kitchen is only 7 feet wide by 10 feet long, with less than 25 square feet of walkable floor space and only 3 linear feet of counter space. No dishwasher, no garbage disposal, and a smaller than average sized refrigerator.
Speaking of the refrigerator… remember this Friday Funny I posted last week?
It is Marissa’s reality! Here is her refrigerator…
… and here is how mine typically looks. Just a bit of a contrast!
So, what did I make for dinner in the tiny kitchen, you ask?
After a quick trip to Trader Joe’s, I unpacked it all, which took up every inch of counter space, then I proceeded to make a one pot (no drain) pasta dinner, rounded out with salad and garlic bread. The salad recipe will be posted tomorrow.
The one pot Marissa owned, that was big enough, had a lid with holes, for draining pasta. I needed a solid lid so I covered the pot with foil, then added the lid, for a tight seal.
October 7, 2013 6 Comments
The moment this posts … at 7:27 on Wednesday morning … Connor and I should be arriving at Sky Harbor International Airport, getting ready to board a plane to LAX. [Read more →]
September 4, 2013 4 Comments
… from Illinois and Wisconsin.
July 19, 2013 2 Comments
We are currently enjoying the good life the Log Mansion in Wisconsin with Jeff, Jen, and their boys. Prior to arriving here, we went from Toronto, Canada to Niagara Falls, New York to Rockton, Illinois.
Neither Dave or I had been to the Falls before. We were blown away by their power and beauty!
This is a recipe my mother-in-law and I made while we were visiting her in Illinois. She’d found it in Ladies Home Journal. I’ve made a couple changes to the original by using both green and yellow summer squash instead of just zucchini and by adding tomatoes, otherwise it is pretty much as written.
July 17, 2013 4 Comments
I am feeling a wee bit melancholy, for today shall be my final post about Deer Lake. Even though we drove away from Deer Lake six days ago, I’ve enjoyed reliving it through these posts and photos.
Once again, I will leave it up to Kim and Paul to correct or embellish upon any of the details I share about the shrine atop the mountain on their property in Canada.
As I understand it, the shrine was erected early in the twentieth century. It was placed atop the mountain after a father and son were lost there one freezing winter night. They survived the night and were rescued the next day. Soon after, the shine was built and a large crossed was raised next to it.
The Howard family first noticed it decades ago, from the road far below as they were driving to the lake, when someone looked up at the mountain and spotted a cross on top. It was then that they learned the story of the father and son.
When they hike up to the shrine, they like to take a little offering to place at the feet of the Madonna. This time we brought a candle and some playing cards… including the queen of hearts. I noticed that others have left rosaries, religious medals, pine cones, a heart shaped rock, a hairpin, and a little wooden angel.
The view from the top is outstanding! The trees have grown and filled in, so the cross is no longer visible from the road far below.
There was an order of priests known as Pères Blancs (White Fathers) who would hike up the mountain every year on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption, and say Mass. The order is no longer in the area, but the Howard family likes to make the hike up each time they visit. The ashes of Paul’s parents are scattered there now, so this is hallowed ground.
July 15, 2013 1 Comment
Have I ever told you just how much I hate camping?
I guess the word is out – I hate camping – for a myriad of reasons … one of them has to do with fishing.
When I was a kid, our summer vacation was camping. First in tents, years later in a trailer.
All six of us packed into a station-wagon or a truck, on the road, fighting like cats and dogs in the backseat which would prompt my mom would reach back, without warning and without even looking, and slap at us with a fly swatter. Have you ever been hit with a fly swatter? It hurts and leaves a mark!
Then we’d set up camp and settle into a campground in Northern Arizona or in Colorado for at least one week, two or three times each and every summer.
Good Times… for some, but not for all!
When we camped, we also fished.
Well, they all fished – I just floundered.
My mom (the fly swatter wielding mad-woman) was a great fisherman, she caught fish left and right. That might be attributed to the fact the she’d go downstream, away from the rest of us to fish. When she caught one, she’d walk up to Dad and he’d take off the fish and re-bait her hook and away she’d go again.
My dad would have also been a great fisherman if he wasn’t always busy bating everyone’s hooks, taking the fish off said hooks, cleaning and gutting said fish. He was constantly untangling all our tangled lines, unhooking the hooks we snagged in trees, on rocks, and in each other… as we were casting… all at the same time.
Poor guy, he never had a chance to actually fish for himself… but he never complained. Never!
My three siblings all caught fish at one time or another… but alas, I NEVER caught a fish in my life! All those years of camping and fishing and not a single fish for me.
It might have had something to do with my natural-born impatience. I’d cast my line out, expect to immediately get a nibble… when I did not, I’d reel it in and just cast out again and again. With all that casting and reeling, I’d inevitably get my hook caught in a tree or bush, on a sibling, or even in my own mop of hair. Then, I’d say, “I hate fishing” and stomp off in a huff! Yes, I was the complainer!
So when I was at Deer Lake and Paul asked if I’d like to go fishing with him, I said that yes I would like to go fishing with him. The I confessed that I’d never caught a fish before! Well, he was happy to take on the challenge and get me out on the lake with a pole in hand. He never had an ounce of doubt that I’d catch a fish on Deer Lake!
I’d only fished in a stream or standing on the shore of a lake, ever in a boat. Here, we were in a motor boat and trolling… “Trolling means slowly dragging a line through deep water. Most trolling is motorized — from a boat.” What a difference and how much less stressful and more fun!!!
So. Much. Better!
July 12, 2013 5 Comments
I am returning to posting about our magical trip to Paul and Kim Howard’s vacation home in Canada’s province of Quebec. The couple of days between posts were needed to format and compile all the photos required for the telling of this wonderful history…
In the mid-50’s Paul’s paternal grandfather either won the Deer Lake property in a card game or purchased it… or maybe a little of both… I was never quite clear on that matter.
Deer Lake includes about 600 acres, the crystal clear large Deer Lake, cottages, bunkhouses, sheds, garages, a mountain with a shrine on top (a future post will be dedicated to that), and so much more.
When we arrived, we were welcomed with a full rainbow…
… and later in the week – by a baby snapping turtle!
Paul’s father was an only child, so the property was passed down to him. Paul is the third of five children – so now the property belongs to him and his siblings.
Deer Lake was won/purchased from a Mr. Coon. When Paul and his family first started coming to Deer Lake, the Coon Cottage was the only residence. That cottage is now gone, all that remains from the structure is a stone fireplace. They call the area where the cottage once sat, The Grove. There is a lovely little creek that runs through it. Under the dock that still juts out into the lake, lives an otter. One day, while Dave and I were exploring the area, Dave saw the otter! Sadly, I did not.
In the first couple years, 1956-57, Paul’s family would stay at The Seigniory Club of La Petite-Nation; now know as Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. The Chateau sits on a vast property spanning an area of 65,000 acres, including 70 lakes. We visited the Chateau, which is also called the “Log Castle”. Makes sense, when it was built in 1930, it was the largest log structure in the world. The original three buildings are constructed of more than 10,000 red cedar logs from British Columbia, and 500,000 hand-split cedar shakes for the roof.
I read that The Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is now the largest log structure in the world. After checking out photos of the Inn, I have to say they are both places I’d love to stay someday.
Beginning in about 1958, Paul’s family would stay at Coon Cottage, that is until 1962, when Paul’s grandparents built The Lake House …
and the Boy’s Bunk House.
The Lake House has a large living room, several bedrooms, each with its own bath, a galley kitchen plus a butler’s pantry.
Plus a large basement/garage and a few secret places that look dark and musty.
The dock and hammocks are two of the best features of The Lake House. It’s where we spent most of our afternoons. Below, Terry is in the hammock, while Barb, Kim, and Dave are coming up the hill from the dock.
July 11, 2013 3 Comments
The big news, where I am today, is that an enormous storm hit Toronto at 4:30 PM yesterday.
As you can see, up here on the 8th floor of our hotel, it just looked like an approaching typical thunderstorm to us.
We went down at 6:30 to catch a cab and we were surprised to not find one. There were two other groups ahead of us. We waited about 10 to 15 minutes until the 3rd taxi pulled up and then we headed off to dinner.
Only then did we begin hearing that it was a not an average storm in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). But rather a massive storm, the sort of summer storm they haven’t seen here for decades.
Power is out to more than 83% of the area.
Subways and the GO trains aren’t running because they are respectively flooded or floating.
July 9, 2013 3 Comments
July 8, 2013 1 Comment
On Friday, we ventured into Ottawa to shop at the open-air farmers’ market, watch the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill, and try some traditional Canadian food.
Poutine is a common Canadian snack dish (originally from Quebec), made with French fries, topped with brown gravy, and cheese curds.
The group wanted to know if I was going to post a recipe for it. I suppose that if I loved the stuff I would do so, but frankly, I found it rather disgusting.
For that reason, here is the best I can give you as far as a recipe goes; Purchase a bag of frozen fries, a can of brown beef gravy, and a bag of cheese curds, which can be found at Whole Foods. Bake or deep-fry the French fries and heat the gravy, place fries on a serving dish, sprinkle with curds, then pour the heated gravy over the top. There you have it, Poutine, the favorite snack food of Canada. Enjoy!
I had expected the Changing of the Guard in Canada to be similar to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in London. Again, not quite so. There was still plenty of pomp and circumstance, maybe even more, but don’t expect the same sort of stoic affair.
These guards not only smile and speak, they will pose for pictures with you as well. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that they aren’t actually “guarding” anything. The photo above shows the Canadian Guard, while the photo below shows the British Guard at Buckingham Palace.
July 7, 2013 2 Comments