Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Monday, October 17, 2016

Almost last flowers of summer

A bouquet I made from berries I picked in the mountains plus the last tough flowers in my garden. Embrace the season and the quiet time to come.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday October 16

After some very windy and rainy days, I drove the Mountain Loop Highway for the first time in perhaps 4 years. Big Four Mountain has snow, but there's still plenty of autumn color. It felt good to have the road, potholes and all, to myself, and most of my memories are sweet not only full of sadness. The river is in flood, and many waterfalls are visible. I'm working on looking forward to happy times, and not look backwards to precious things that are gone. Fingers crossed, next weekend is dry and sunny so that hiking and even camping will be pleasant.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NYT books

Pay kettle Jiles News of the World and Enemy Women

Cathy Donaldson

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What the rain promises...

Took a lot of finding. But this is the part of fall I so enjoy. A pound of chanterelles for dinner tonight!

Friday, September 30, 2016

First week of conscious vegetarian meals done and dusted!

I made it through my first 4 days of mindful late lunch/early supper meals at work. Lentil soup, marinaded goat cheese, white bean dip and tabbouleh, along with fruit, both fresh and cooked, crackers and ginger cookies. I'm proud of myself. Only 1 coffee bought at work and 1 candy bar. Seems it's possible to break the bad eating/spending habits with ample preparation. OK, here's part of $44 worth of mainly organic groceries from PCC. Decided it's still cheaper and healthier than eating out. I will select some more recipes from the Cafe Flora book for Week 2. I'm really proud of myself. Week 1 of Fall quarter is stressful because my class enrollment is in flux. I had 3 new faces in my 4th day class, and next week I expect more. Many students don't have the textbook, don't want to buy it, or insist on buying online, despite my advice. So, several won't have the book next week either. Oh well. This is a lesson I let the students learn on their own. Delivering a good lesson that's both interesting and fun under such circumstances is the sign of a very skilled teacher. I know I'm getting better at it, but it's still stressful all the same. I'm teaching another new class at a different level as well, so stress x2. That's the way it is for a contract college teacher. Today I also did the first of what I hope will be 11 Friday morning bike rides around Magnolia. I call them my "training for India" rides. I'll be starting the planning for my next short trip abroad, in December, when classes are done. I like warm weather and going against the crowds at Christmas, and I'm not going to Australia, because I went this past August. Going in late winter was absolutely the right time to go. I made the time to visit Sydney instead of rushing immediately north. More relaxed, more of a vacation than simply a trip to visit relatives. I hope to do it again next year, and will choose another part of the country to tour.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You've got that right!

From today's newspaper. I'm back in the classroom for Fall Quarter. Because I'm an evening teacher on a campus with limited services after 6pm, I've found it lonely and a big challenge to bother to cook for myself. Unsurprisingly, this loss of discipline has hurt my stamina on the bike, and excess weight is threatening once more. So, this fall, I'm doing my own version of "Julie/Julia," deliberately cooking for myself using the Cafe Flora cookbook. I've owned this inspirational vegetarian/vegan book for years, but always thought was "too much work." Well, not anymore. I'm figuring if I can keep up the planning and preparation, revise the recipes to serve only one person, and stockpile dishes, flatware and nice napkins in my desk, I will be able to teach myself how to eat well, keep the weight off, and save money. I announced my plan to one of my four teacher office mates last night. She commented: "you need to be a good cook to do vegetarian." Yes, this is true. In my past life I had been a good cook. I have an added gift of having done some professional culinary training. I've let it slide because I needed to endure many unwanted life changes in the past 2 years. Well, that pain is in the rear view mirror, and gradually receding. I'm not happy, nor am I unhappy. It's a strange place to occupy. Last night I made marinaded goat cheese, white bean dip, and garlic mustard lentil soup. Today I plan to grill an eggplant for another meal later this week. I teach 4 nights, so I am preparing the individual dishes to cater 4 meals. I have access to a microwave but I have to go to another building to find a sink. The last thing I need, though, is a wet and dirty dish rolling around in my panniers when I bike home at 9:30pm. As fall turns to winter, only a hardcore group of people will ride to and from work in the dark and the rain. Yup. It's time to get serious.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wrapping up the road trip

I'll be in Seattle in a couple of hours. Ahead is the big clean out of the van, and washing the sand off and lubing my bike. I've not driven so long a trip, solo, before. My trip odometer has clicked twice to 0 already. So, I'll have driven easily 2,500 miles. The van started to buck a bit near Denio, NV, so I think it'll need an oil change and a service. All those 7,000 foot mountain passes and sage brush and sandy desert basins. Nevada was a new state for me and doing it by myself was valuable. I read somewhere: "the cure for loneliness is solitude." Perhaps this will be true for me. Won't be long before these peaks are blanketed with snow, and many roads impassable until May or June. These golden aspens growing sat 10,000 feet in the Great Basin National Park shout "winter's coming!"
What a blessing to be able to visit these sorts of unexpected places.
It's been a summer full of new experiences and chances to review my past life for the things I still want to hold close. Now it's back to the classroom for a few months after this long "beauty fix."