Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Days Twenty-one and Twenty-two

Sunday was Dan's birthday. In the afternoon we had a game of dominoes, which has become a family tradition. I think it's the first time we played the entire set from 12s down to blanks in one sitting. In the evening Dirk & Tracy, Dan & I went out for dinner to Waddell's, which had been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," one of Dan's favorite TV shows. We ate way too much, but it was all delicious. When we got back the kids had a party for him with gifts, brownies and ice cream, and an incredible tiara!

Dominoes game

Rube Waddell burger -- basically a Reuben on a burger patty
Lamb-strosity - Guiness-braised lamb shredded and topped with cheese, served au jus
Jasmine sewed the balloons onto a headband!
After we had gone to bed there was a lot of commotion in the neighborhood, including fire engines. A car in the alley behind the house had caught fire and burned part of the garage. The fire fighters kept it from spreading to the garage where Dirk has all his recording equipment.

Morning fire wreckage from our back yard

Monday morning we hit the road about 7:15. We enjoyed the scenery, passing the Coeur d'Alene lake again, mountains opening to wide Montana valleys, crossing the Continental Divide. We made it to Billings, MT, where we are spending the night.

Heading east out of Spokane

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Days Nineteen and Twenty

Friday evening after supper I went with Tracy and Maya and the dogs to the bluff on the south side of town. There are wonderful paths, although when we arrived it looked to me like a cliff. Ever since I did a series of photos on trees in India a year or two ago, I have noticed unusually-shaped trees. We saw one that was amazing, with a completely twisted trunk.

The sunset was beautiful.

On Saturday we went to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, about 35 miles to the east. It is a favorite spot for swimming and picnicking. We had 9 people, three dogs, two cars and two bicycles. Dan and Tracy set out first on bikes to ride on the nice trail between Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. We managed to meet up in the central part of town near the beach area. We climbed up onto a bluff above the lake. Dirk and Tracy went off to get subs, chips and drinks for lunch. The kids were eager to get into the water, as were two of the dogs (Maggie is pretty old now and only went to the water's edge). We were near to a marina and enjoyed watching the various boats coming and going. Dan rode back and the rest of us returned by car. A lovely day by the water!

In the evening we met their realtor on South Hill and had a tour of the inside of the house they are in the process of buying. It is a wonderful house and they are really excited about moving next week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Days Seventeen and Eighteen

Happy and relaxed; that describes the flow of days in the Spokane family. Tracy goes off to work in the morning (we are looking forward to her being off on the weekend); Dan and I arise quite early to chai and checking out the world on our computers. The others in the house get up whenever they get around to it. On Wednesday Dirk was up very early as he had a morning performance. He played for three hours at the Spokane Farmers' Market. It was a fairly small market (we hear it's larger on the weekends) but lots of people came by. The children especially enjoyed his singing, leaning out of their strollers to see what was going on. The social services people had a tent for picking up WIC coupons; what a great idea, encouraging the purchase and consumption of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dirk again had a gig on Thursday evening. He plays weekly at a downtown coffee shop. Dan and I went. While we were there four other customers came and went. It is a tiny place, but very nice. It was like having our own private concert! The tip jar didn't have much in it...

The Trivial Pursuit tournament continues, with Jasmine joining Dirk and me. I am up 2-0, but I'm sure it's not over yet. We nostalgically remember the time at a Lehman family gathering when my dad and I partnered and won the entire game in one round. Obviously, our knowledge base was complementary!

Last night Jasmine made dinner. It was her boyfriend Mike's birthday. She made meatloaf and mashed potatoes (both the first time ever, surprising for someone who loves to cook so much) and a gorgeous chocolate cake.

Seth arrived from Seattle on Wednesday afternoon and Maya comes home from Neah Bay today. It will be great to have all the family here together.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Days Eleven to Sixteen

How can I encapsulate the experience of a Woodstock gathering in a few words? Well, I can't, but I'm going to try. Last Thursday we left Vancouver and drove to Seattle. The wait at the border crossing was just over half an hour; I've heard it can be much longer. We settled into our dorm room at Seattle Pacific University and walked to a nearby hamburger joint for a quick supper. On Friday I was in FWS/WOSA-NA Board and Alumni Council meetings all day.

Friday evening the main event got going with a delicious salmon dinner and introductory session, followed by a film about Dan Terry. Jonathan Larson, Dan's good friend and classmate at Woodstock, presented the film and answered questions afterward.

Singing "Shadows" at opening session

Some of the attendees listening
Saturday morning began with the required business session followed by the Woodstock School presentation. This year Eleanor Nicholson, President of the Woodstock School Board and former Principal; Abhra Bhattacharjee, Director of Development; and Pete Wildman, Head of Communications were present. Marcus Shaw, Alumni Relations Coordinator, also attended from the school.

Answering questions from the audience
There were wonderful sessions on the theme of "Stewards of Our World" on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, due to other responsibilities, I didn't get to most of them. The silent auction and sales were held just outside the auditorium, so people could browse (and bid!) whenever they went by.

Saturday evening was the high point of the weekend for many people. We traditionally have an Indian dinner, with varying degrees of quality depending on the caterers available at the venue. This time a former student and friend, Darlene Seaman Silliman, worked closely with the SPU catering service to teach them how to do it. The results were excellent.

Buffet line

Six members of our family attended!

Glenn Conrad honored for his many years of service to Woodstock School and its North American organizations.
Class of 1973

Class of 1959 (always well represented)
Sunday morning brought an ecumenical spiritual service. Jackson Day led with an excellent message. Vance George again led the choir, arriving late Saturday night and leaving right after lunch Sunday afternoon. He is busier than ever in retirement, but makes it a point to come to this annual event. In his absence, Dan directed the choir in its Saturday rehearsal.

Sunday morning choir
Sunday evening the parting event was a cruise on Lake Washington. More than 80 participated, enjoying the views of Seattle, houseboats, and beautiful scenery.

Pete and Dot Wildman enjoying the cruise
It was windy outside!

Alumni Council huddling over 2013 plans

Admiring the view

Sunset over Seattle downtown
On Monday morning we packed up and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, where Dan's cousin Sally lives. We hadn't seen her for nearly three years and we had a good visit. While we were at her house, we watched multiple Indian canoes pass on their way to a Native American gathering near Olympia. What a treat to watch them pass, escorted by boats, occasionally being towed. We also saw a group swapping out the team of rowers. We heard that some had rowed from Alaska. After a lunch of fish and chips we headed for Spokane.

View from Sally's deck
Now (July 25) we are visiting Dirk and family in Spokane for nearly a week. The Trivial Pursuit tournament is under way, Dirk is performing today (Wednesday) at the local Farmers' Market, so we will go there, and there is talk of some bicycling to Coeur d'Alene on the weekend. Yesterday we drove over to see the house they are buying -- move-in will likely happen the week after we leave.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dinner at Vij's

The last time we visited our Vancouver friends we ate at Vij's restaurant, an incredible Indian restaurant. Vij is a very creative cook and puts together foods in unusual and delicious combinations. Read more here:  http://www.vijs.ca/

Last night we went, arriving about 4:15. The restaurant opens at 5:30 and there is always a line to get in (no reservations). We took turns going window shopping in the area, where there are plenty of interesting stores. By 5:30 there were nearly double the number that the restaurant can hold, but our group was second in line. Well worth it! 

Vij was all over the place, greeting the diners, making sure they were happy. When he stopped at our table, we spoke a bit in Hindi and of course he asked about us. We said we had lived in Mussoorie, and he said "Woodstock School?" We agreed and he said he thought we had had this same conversation last week. It turns out that a Woodstock alumna was there last week and he was impressed that she spoke Hindi. She also told him she was heading to Seattle for a school reunion, as are we. I assured him it wasn't us and yes, it was quite an amazing coincidence. I haven't figured out who the person was, but I hope to find out during the coming weekend.

Vij, who came from Amritsar

Waiters came around the tables offering small starters, first a namkeen-type of snack, then a veg pakora, and last, this piece of papri chat. (Sorry, I took a bite before remembered the camera!!) Absolutely delicious.

I wasn't interested in the wine the others had, so I had a ginger-lemon drink. A syrup of lime juice, fresh ginger, and sugar was in the blue carafe and sparkling water in the clear one. I mixed it myself. Very refreshing, a delicious twist on the standard fresh lime soda we drink a lot in India.

Appetizer of mango, spinach and dates. Amazing!

Evan had goat curry.

I had saag paneer and Punjabi daal with chapati, the most traditional thing available.

Dan had short ribs in a delicious sauce.

Janice had eggplant and chickpea curry with paratha.

Evan was the only one who braved dessert -- very nice gulab jamuns.

I own both of Vij's cookbooks, the original and one called Vij's At Home. They are culinary and visual delights. When I get home I will pull them out again and try some of his recipes.

Heading for Seattle later this morning.

Days Nine and Ten

We arrived at our friends' home in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon. We were very happy to have a day of rest on Wednesday. Dan took a bike ride; I walked to the grocery with Evan; and Janice rested up from a bad head cold. Today we headed out to the Punjabi Market to take a look at the shops and restaurants. We wanted to pick up a few Indian food items. We always enjoy Indian groceries whether in India or North America. I got a few things for snacks for the committee and board meetings I have on Friday -- and some to take to Dirk and Tracy's place in Spokane where we'll be from next Tuesday for several days.

Engraved in the sidewalk on the corner

Mangos in the store -- unfortunately, Alphonse season is over

We had snacks for lunch at the All India Sweet Shop and Restaurant. We had been there a few years ago with our son and his family.

Fresh jalebis -- with dahi (yogurt), the best combination!

Paneer pakoras and kachoris

Barfi -- we didn't have any of these, but we did have a few gulab jamuns

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day Eight -- Kamloops to Vancouver

After a nice breakfast in the restaurant at our Kamloops Motel, we headed off for Vancouver. Again, the scenery was beautiful all along the way. At one point we seemed to be at the same altitude as the snow that was still on the mountains.

We stopped for lunch in Abbotsford with Joan and Paul Pike, friends from Woodstock days. We had a good time visiting and catching up on the past several years. I managed to get this shot before they all posed.

One thing I haven't mentioned that helped the miles go by has been audiobooks. We've been using them for years when we drive, and this time we wanted to be sure we had plenty to get us to the west coast and back. So far we've finished Past Watch by Orson Scott Card, about future time travelers who go back to try to change the effects of Columbus' discovery of the New World, and Hard Truth, a Nevada Barr mystery that takes place in Rocky Mountain National Park. Now we are halfway through the very long Stephen King book 11/22/63, in which a man from 2011 goes back to try to prevent the John F. Kennedy assassination. (I'm not sure how time travel featured so strongly, but both books came highly recommended and are very different from each other.)

We are now spending several days with our friends the Kreiders in Vancouver. No more traveling until Thursday when we head for Seattle!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day Seven -- Canmore to Kamloops

The drive today was constantly unfolding one scenic view after another. It is so tempting to keep snapping photos, but once they are downloaded so many are similar. I did take a few.

Tunnels like we've never seen before

Wildlife crossings over TC1 in Banff National Park
Kamloops is a beautiful town that slopes down from the highway to the river. After we found a motel (run by a young Indian couple, no surprise) and had lunch, Dan took off on a bike ride and I walked down along the river for a while. Nice to move around after sitting. We have the rest of the afternoon to relax  before we begin the visiting portion of the trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Six -- Banff and Lake Louise

After Dan took his bike ride to Banff and back yesterday afternoon, we went into Canmore to have some ice cream and take a walk along the river. A lovely little town.

The Ice Cream Bus
While Dan was out riding, I walked over to a campground near us. There are lots of prairie dogs in the area; they often seem to stand at attention on their hind legs.

Saturday was not a travel day, but some time was spent in the car sight-seeing. After breakfast at a nearby restaurant (walkable), we headed west on the TC1 toward Banff. We went just beyond Banff and turned off onto 1A, the Bow Valley Parkway, which went from there to Lake Louise. It was incredibly scenic, and we had the good fortune to see two bears right beside the road. We stopped at Johnston Canyon to hike up to the lower falls (didn't want to take the time to go a further two miles to the upper falls).

Near Lake Louise we turned off to the ski area to ride the gondola up to the nature center and lookout point. We could see Lake Louise (and the famous Fairmont Chateau Hotel) and gorgeous mountain scenery.

We skipped the small resort town of Lake Louise and headed toward the actual lake. However, the traffic was jammed up badly and we turned around and went to Moraine Lake instead.

Pile of rocks at base of lake; climbers can be spotted at the top

A Mountie was talking with some of the other tourists -- a must-see for a Canada visitor!
After visiting Moraine Lake we headed to Banff. We strolled Banff Avenue along with throngs of tourists and had lunch at a brew pub. We got out of town quickly after we'd eaten -- we much prefer the natural sights to the expensive shops and elbowing tourists!

Meat loaf sandwich with side salad

Fish and chips with slaw
After we arrived back at our hotel, I was happy to find that the pool had been warmed back up to its normal 83° and I got a good swim in!