Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Fall!

I went to the Burien Farmers' Market one last time on Thursday. The handsome young man with the red baseball cap was not there with the box of pears as he had promised. Instead, a polite, older, and not nearly as handsome Latino man explained, "That boy, he go to college, he name Brian, he the bosses' son." And being that the polite Latino man was not of the farm family, he could not sell me a box of pears although there were pears sitting right in full sight, only the farmer's son could give me a deal on a full box. Ah well, my weekend is busy enough without pears to dehydrate. But, while I was there I bought various vegetables and took these lovely photos of a Hmong woman's flower stall. Truly she is the artist, all I had to do was point and shoot with my little Canon.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Zero and then One

Here is J at the easel writing numbers in Vietnamese or possibly Chinese. I do know how to write numbers to 10 in Chinese although I know J goes to Vietnamese school on weekends. The characters look so similar to me. Today in Everyday Math we made a poster for one and then each child made a page for number one, tracing one and then making sets of one.
Activity Centers follows math so I guess you could say J had numbers on her mind, which makes me very happy.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

School Daze

Ok, this is my last post today. I have a zillion things to do both in my yard and in my book bag. But at least now I am almost caught up on my blog. For those of you who read this who are teachers you know how this first month of school is; chaotic, demanding, busy, busy, busy! Well, add to that a teacher with a cyst on a vocal cord (that's me) and you have one 'wiped out' woman by 4:00 everyday. Yes, I am seeing an otolarongologyst (Throat Dr.) and a voice therapist but nothing is really working yet although I did feel less tired on Thurs. and Friday when the principal brought in a 'karaoke' style system to amplify my voice. I have a 504 plan written to get me a wireless system to amplify my voice but the district never moves very fast so who knows when that will arrive. Till then I am making do. I have 27 fabulous kindergarteners, full of energy and enthusiasm. Only one little boy cried and that was only briefly. I saw 2 teary eyed moms the first day too. But everyone is falling into the groove and a couple kids are even testing me. Woe is me! Some of you who look for pictures of my students may be disappointed but I have not asked parental permission to have children's pictures on my blog and I want to respect their privacy. I know there are professional, legal ways to have a classroom blog and I am investigating those possibilities. Before I head off to my household chores I have one first week classroom story to share:
Porter comes up to me saying, "Mrs. Goethe, Mrs. Goethe, Sabrina said the F word!"
I call Sabrina over to me. "Sabrina did you say a 'not very polite' word to Porter?"
She nods her head solomnly. I am still a bit doubtful; this just doesn't sound like her.
"Sabrina, whisper the word in my ear," I say. "Bottom," she replies.
After an inside chuckle, a sigh of relief , and a few words of caution about the various meanings of 'bottom' and what is acceptable and what is not, I send her back to her table.
So there is a quick insight of who needs to work on letters and letter sounds!

Exotic Lily

I had this lilybulb in a pot for the longest time and thought it would come to nothing because it was VERY slow to even come up. But I am so happy I waited. If I recall correctly, it is not winter hardy here so I will have to bring it into the garage if I want to see a spectacular bloom again next year. (Don't ask me why everything is underlined! It is frustrating me too.)

Silver Anniversary

If you were was our 25th Anniversary. We are not the type that give or expect cards, flowers, or gifts but we always do something to celebrate: a fancy dinner out or a weekend away like this year's Walla Walla weekend. So you can imagine my surprise when Chris hands me this box before we go out to eat at the Creek Town Cafe. But the best part is... he designed it himself and had it made for me! Isn't it lovely?

Spot of Tea?

This is Teapot Dome Gas Station in Zillah, WA. It is no longer in operation, but what a fun photo opportunity!

Tommy's Dutch Diner

Word has it that Walla Walla is becoming a mecca for 'foodies'. I guess even Rachel Ray has been seen in town. Well, I hope that doesn't mean the demise of Tommy's Dutch Diner on Pine St. We stayed at the Holiday Inn next door and after the first morning when I ran past on my morning jog I saw Tommy's parking lot filled with 4x4s and men in flannel shirts and cowboy hats at the counter. That's where we must have breakfast before we go I told my husband and that is exactly what we did on our last morning in wine country. We were not disappointed. One pancake, an egg, hash browns and 4 slices of the best darned bacon I've had all year stuck to my ribs ALL DAY LONG! The ambiance is very out west, farmer hang out, the waitress knows almost everyone's order before they sit down; you get the picture.

August Walla Walla Sunset/Moon Rising

The Purchases

Isenhower was our favorite winery tour. The wine maker was jovial and very patient with all of our questions which were very elementary. He took us outside and showed us the crates in which the wine was pressed and had us lift the heavy plunger (I am certain it has another name) that is used in the pressing. Then he took us into the cellar and oh my, what a delightfully scented, dark, cool, barrel filled room that was! He explained that we were smelling the 'angel's share' which is the portion that evaporates from the oak barrels. For a brief moment he had Chris convinced that they topped off the barrels with beer! Here we bought our only white wine: 2006 Roussanne Red Mountain. And no, you don't get any!

SOLD OUT!! 2006 Red Mountain Ciel du Cheval Roussanne
SOLD OUT!! 100% Roussanne. Our finest white wine ever! Aromas of mango, acacia and cardamom lead into a seemless, mineral mouthfeel and an endless finish.
Add To Cart

We drank our bottle at our last dinner as a family before Anna Rae left Seattle. It was SO delicious! Drool away, wine lovers!

The Right Price

I've got to admit, it is the word FREE that lured me in here and because the tasting was free I didn't flinch when I bought a bottle of their basket pressed, yummy, plummy 2004 syrah which boasts the following accolades:
2004 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Silver Medal, Northwest Wine Summit, 2007
  • Silver Medal, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Glen Fiona, check it out!

Tertulia Cellars

Behind Northstar is Tertulia Cellars. Tertulia means 'circle of friends' in Spanish. It is here that we bought our only wine that was made with grapes from the immediate Walla Walla area. It is a 2005 les collines syrah.

A Small Town

Northstar Winery does make a highly reputable Merlot with Columbia Valley grapes but we purchased their 2003 Stella Maris red table wine. What a surprise we had that evening when we we went to Creektown Cafe and our waitress was none other than cheerful and gracious Meridith, the same young woman who was the pourer in the tasting room at Northstar. What a small town coincidence! I do believe we picked the finest eating venues in Walla Walla. We ate on the patio at Creektown and the owner cruised the tables taking time to talk with everone.
The food was delicious and perfect for our anniversary celebration. Chris had their seafood caesar and I had the special which was seared swordfish in an incredible sauce. Be sure to make reservations well in advance, they fill up quickly!

Of the Vine

Of the Vine
Originally uploaded by mtnester
Oh yes, touring wineries and visiting tasting rooms; that was the original purpose of this late August 'get away'. We visited the tasting room on Main Street in Walla Walla as well as 4 of the 144+ wineries/tasting rooms in the surrounding area. Now 4 may not sound like many but I do know my limits; in terms of drinking and in terms of spending. Nearly every tasting room has a $5. tasting fee per person and you would be hard pressed to find any wine below $30. per bottle. Not that it isn't worth it ! I do believe we heard "It takes a lot of beer to make wine." in every tasting room. After talking with the wine makers and tasting room hosts we really began to see how labor intense it is to produce fine wine. It is quite the science; most specifically chemistry. The weather, the grape type, the sugar content, the barrel composition, the timing of the bottling and so much more go into making or breaking a bottle of good wine. While we did see some vineyards, we did not see as many as we expected. One of the vintners explained that they purchased grapes from other areas to use in their wine making along with some local grapes because it would be risky to count on the weather for just one area to produce the quality of grapes needed.

Fruity Place

Before wineries flourished here, fruit orchards were a mainstay of the economy in this corner of Washington. Even today you can get some of the most tasty apricots, peaches, nectarines, and apples in the Columbia Valley area. As for me, I bought a case of tomatoes which I sliced, spiced, and dehydrated for pastas, soups, and sauces. Actually I can munch on dehydrated tomatoes as easily as potato chips!

Walla Walla Sweet Onions

And long before the wine, there were onions, in fact there still are onions!

Make Hay

Ghost Signs

Of Birds and Berries

Great Blue Heron in Mill Creek at Rook Park.
Elderberry wine, anyone?

An Easy Skate

Yup, that is Chris skating the Mill Creek trail in Rooks Park, 5 miles east of Walla Walla.

'Whoa, what's that?" I asked. "Walla Walla Community College Stadium." my DH answered.

See the Heat?

This is the 'wrong side of the tracks' where the state pennitentiary is located. Pretty barren, dry, and hot looking, don't you think?

"Yup, it is pretty damned hot here, let's get back in the car."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Whitman College

No, there is no one I know who is going to Whitman, but it is a lovely and verdant piece of Walla Walla.

"Bottom's up!"

Click on this photo to get the 'big picture'. The light green that appears to be duck weed is really the reflection of a lovely Japanese maple; and don't you love the variegated dogwood that hangs over the water? It was such a hot day, probably close to 90 F.The ducks and I had the best place to be in Walla Walla.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our Anniversary 'Get away'

Southeastern Washington is a whole lot different than the Puget Sound; flat, dry, full of wheat fields, orchards and of course vineyards, which is why we made it our destination.
If you look carefully you can see the 'wind farm' in the photo above.

So we arrive in Walla Walla and is it a bottle of vino we uncork? No, it is incredibly delicious beer at The Depot. That is the raspberry wheat beer in the photo above. The hamburger I had was equally tasty and done to medium rare perfection!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We Give Thanks!

Waiting was hard and now it is over. Good news! My dad, aged 73 was diagnosed with bladder cancer in April then underwent intravesical therapy using the drug BCG in May and June which was NOT successful. Last week he had his bladder successfully removed (oh yes, you CAN do without!) and the report is that the cancer has NOT spread. We are thrilled, overjoyed and so very relieved! Thanks to all who have sent prayers and positive thoughts for healing. I talked to him today and he does sound tired but he is up and taking brief walks in the hospital halls and just maybe he will be going home this week. Being so far away is hard at times like these but it also makes me very thankful for the connectedness of my family. Everyday I have had someone to call, someone to fill me in. So in addition to being thankful for my dad's successful surgery I am thankful for the love and support of my family.