Wonderful Wanderings...

Back into the steady steady.
Let's see what happens in 2010.

20 June 2010

Country Mouse, goes to the Big City

... The City of Angels!

Last weekend I found myself hopping a plane bound for LA. That would be final destination: LA. Who would have thought?

My dear farm friend Sandy, married Dararith (her sweetheart of 19 years) in one of the most beautiful, unique and inspiring wedding celebrations I've been blessed to be a part of.

Fellow farmie, Jonathan, joined me on muscle beach and we had a great wkend!

D (dararith) is originally from Cambodia. His family went through one of the most horrific experiences I can even begin to imagine. During the Khmer Rouge rule and the mass genocide, most of his family was killed and he came to the US as a young kid. Through true courage, resilience and compassion, D is truly one of the most caring and kind souls I know.
In traditional Cambodian wedding celebrations (lasting 3 days) there are 7 ceremonies. Sandy and D chose to have 2 traditional Cambodian wedding ceremonies with the final ceremony being of the western (and hip and modern) tradition.
So unique, so fun, and so chill.
I do have to mention that the locale of the wedding 'The Smog Shoppe' is one of the greenest venues in North America and host to the creation of Wooly Pockets. Felted containers and pockets made from 99% recycled plastic bottles (whoohoo!!) and my latest obsession in urban gardening.
All things considered (mostly the fact that I was in LA) I had an amazing time in LA. Farm boy Jonathan on muscle beach, a hotel room with a tv (ie- world cup soccer viewing) and such an amazing wedding. It was weekend worthwhile!
And guess what?!* Upon my return there has been (mostly) SUNSHINE!! in the rainy NW town I live in.
Lovely, lovely garden daze to all.
Happy Solstice and Happy Summer!

17 June 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

Rain, Rain, Rain.

It's been raining here since, well, probably the last time I blogged. But don't let a little water get you down. It's nature's way of saying... go ahead, go on vacation- don't bother asking anyone to water your garden.. I've got it!

So- that's what I did. Took 2 weeks off, packed the silverado and headed out on a road trip with myself. And let me say this- No Regrets!

I headed west to Hailey, ID the first night to visit Cortney's lovely family- woke up the next morning, headed out in the snow and continued the drive west. Through a mix of rain, snow and sunshine I found myself in west-central Oregon and my little brother for a night of camping... mostly in the rain. Back to back, two subaru hatchbacks do pretty well with a tarp draped between! In the morning I took some time to visit Fraga Goat Farm and see and sample what kind of cheese they have going on there. YUM! Onward north to Portland.

I stayed with Nate and Carm in the city of rain, eating good food and sampling good microbrews. The next morning Nate toured me through Nike: World Headquarters and I got a taste of what his daily life is like: community garden, test lab and all. Pretty great place they have going on there- but I couldn't be detained... northward I continued.

That evening I found myself in Port Townsend, WA- on the NE corner of the Olympic Peninsula. I stayed with my friend Livi and her 2 cutest ever kids- Ethan and Estelle. The rain didn't stop us from enjoying some parks, beach time, trail hiking and toddler aerobics. Ok, but it did allow us some nice chill tea time to be sure.

From there I was ferry bound across the waters to the shores of Seattle. What happy feelings swell inside of me making my way through the NW. I might have been the only one on the outside deck of the ferry on that rainy day, but I was all smiles- riding with a happy heart. I met my friends Carrie, Keller and Premo for some nights of debauchery, wine tasting, old estates and good eats. Nothing like a visit with good friends.

After a few days and through rapidly swishing windshields I, yes again, continued the journey north. This time with my sights on a border crossing. With the words of a friend "Why don't you just head south to the desert?" echoing in my head I was wondering if I was headed into a rainy, cold, week with my only comfort being a soggy, wet tent. Those thoughts quickly disappeared after crossing the border. Within 15 minutes a black bear ran across the highway, shortly thereafter a bald eagle came swooping above my car. Later I saw a moose happily munching the roadside shrubbery, and further along 2 beautiful rainbows welcomed me farther north. From then on the theme of the my trip became.. no regrets! From here on out- no matter what becomes... NO REGRETS!

The first night I made it to Clearwater Park- close to Wells Gray Provincial Park- found myself campsite #37 and settled in to set up camp and make some dinner. Though there were few people along the way, and most were curious as to what I was doing so far from home by myself I didn't feel the least bit out of place or ill at ease.
The journey continued northward to Jasper Park. I did a small hike through the rain to some amazing falls carving out a deep ravine and on my way back was met with blue skies and sunshine. What amazing views to behold once the sky clears, the white peaked mountains show through and against the blue of the sky and the green of the land... really no words can describe.
I camped outside of Jasper at Pocahontas camp ground which is only a short (and amazingly beautiful) drive to some hot springs. I soaked until I couldn't soak any more and made my way back to my nearly vacant campsite and let my body dissolve into my sleeping bag and pad. It didn't matter that there was still daylight to be had.
Sunshine the next morning, but quickly turning into rain as I drove south toward Banff. I saw velvety elk, another black bear, huge glaciers, AMAZING mountains, blue lakes and lots of rain. Due to the rain, I found myself that night in at hostel at Lake Louise. Though there were truly no regrets staying at the hostel, that is one place that can make a person feel old. After my dinner and sauna I turned in early with a book- and my young Swiss roommates didn't know what to do with such a roommate. :)
I was up early and decided to see what all the hype and fuss was about Lake Louise. Beautiful Lake Louise. Surely didn't disappoint. Though the weather didn't allow for a hike to the tea house, I hiked up a steep trail to not only see the most beautifully blue lake, but to also be greeted by a snowshoe hair (in the midst of changing colors) hop right up to me, only to be surprised that I was there (as not many people had yet been up that snowy trail).
I decided to nip into Banff Town to catch a glimpse, but mostly for gas, coffee and GF treats. I ended up following the road through Kootenay Park instead of east to Calgary. Again, no regrets. Some of the most amazing scenery yet. Through Fernie, through Waterton Park and south to the border and Glacier. I was so jazzed and in awe of the scenery it's amazing the little car stayed on the road. Probably the most beautiful border crossing I've experience.
Admittedly, my experience, though still grand, did head a bit "south" as I reentered the US. We just don't do it as well as the Canadians do. Regrettably (for Glacier's sake) I saw the Canadian Rockies, before hitting this majestic park. The roads, the pit stops, the trash bins (note: no recycle bins) just weren't quite up to par. Sorry homeland: maybe we can spend a few "war" pennies on preserving what we have... just a thought.
That be said, it was still pure beauty as I drove along the south border of the park the following day toward Missoula.
YEA! Cashman time in MT. I met up with my friend Aaron, his brother and dad. Happy times there. And as I left later than scheduled the next day trying to squeeze in everything (sleeping in, farmer's market, breakfast, hikes, acupuncture treatments) I was reminded as I drove south to Livingston, how beautiful even THOSE mountains are. I kept getting my mind blown each and every day. I squeaked into one of my favorite campsites near Chico and awoke the next day to quite the rain. No worries about soggy tent now- I was home bound! But not before a quick soak in Chico Hot Springs and a visit with some great family friends, the Andersons. Driving through Yellowstone was familiar yet beautiful. No matter that the rain kept coming, it was a grand finale to the Tour du Parc. I drove into Jackson and had about an hour to unpack the car and deal with myself before heading to my friend Emily's house for dinner with her parents who were in town. What a perfect ending to a perfect trip.
True rest and relaxation- and for that, truly amazing.
I will forever recommend such a local, chill and lengthy excursion to anyone who has the luxury to partake.

24 April 2010

To Mother Earth

Renew. Refresh. Growth and Rebirth.
Lovely words, lovely thoughts.
It is nice to come full circle through the year and to the time of year I love thinking of as the real New Year.

The last week or so has pushed many thoughts and feelings through my head.
Earth week is a lovely thought, until you start to realize the condition she is currently in. Last Sunday I was one of a handful of people who chose to sit in a dark auditorium in the middle of a weekend day full of sunshine and blue skies. I watched the movie (semi) debut of a film called "Bag it". This is a documentary a few people from some local ski towns put together about PLASTIC. It is very well done, entertaining and informative. When searching online I found a short clip of the whole video. So far, it's not very out there as far as availability, but if that day comes I would highly recommend you and yours spend the time to sit and have a watch. In the mean time, check this out: http://vimeo.com/5645718

I consider myself pretty well informed and a bit geeked out on environmental issues, but seeing this film nonetheless left my head spinning and my heart reeling in the amount of devastation we are doing to our planet.
The "gyres" of plastic we've all heard of out in the oceans (5 of them now) are not merely conglomerations of accumulated, floating plastic, but rather huge amounts of garbage (plastic) that are being degraded and broken down by the sun into smaller and smaller bits.. until they resemble plankton (ie fish food) and larger fish are EATING this and we are eating the larger fish. We are eating plastic! The ratio of plastic to plankton currently in our ocean is at 40:1- which means that there is now more plastic in our oceans than there is food.

Plastic is convenient, but we have become lazy about that convenience. Plastic is in personal care products that we use, slather and consume. It is currently in our bodies.. to be passed onto our children- in a physical and cumulative way. The amount of plastic in our bodies is beginning to show its effects as various birth defects and behavior problems in children. .. and I could go on.

But I won't end this on such a grim, gloom and doom note. No I won't.

Because- I spent the whole day working, volunteering and being utterly REFRESHED with our world. I helped out at and attended our town's Eco-Fair today. The amount of people that truly do care and are motivated to change things- that want to learn to shop and cook locally- to learn what is in their personally care products- to learn how the hell they are going to grow food in a 6300 ft mountain town- and to even those that are willing to get their hands dirty and start composting with worms at home.. Then I begin to feel the sprig of hope blooming this spring.. and I think maybe.. maybe it can all begin with small forces. Neighbors talking to neighbors. Hope. And a little action.

So- enjoy the springtime, let it renew your hearts, minds and souls. And then let summer sweep you away with happiness and health for you, and for your pachamama- she's the only one we get.

04 April 2010

Return of Winter

On my last post was I boasting of Spring being in the air? Well, it is now officially Spring, and it's reported to be the best skiing the valley has seen all year. Boo to that... Just in time for the resorts to close their doors and people to start greasing their bike chains.
I also recall reporting on that end of season sickness that latched it's mucky paws into me. Well, that stuck around long enough and between that and a vaca to the Florida corner of the world.. I haven't been around much to report on much of anything.
It was nice to get out of town for a bit. I spent the first few days of my vacation in SLC at my brother's house- running around after their crazy life. 3 1/2 kids will let that happen. Yes- there is another one in the oven! I was the lucky aunt who got to catch a glimpse of the 4" munchkin on the ultrasound monitor. shHe's a mover and a groover.
I then flew to the (mostly) sunny side. I was able to spend around 6 days in FL. Visiting my 94 yo grandma, my parents, little bro and even a few uncles, cousins and farm friends.
My friend Kevin, from the farm, is working on a farm in the same town my grandma lives in. He showed me the sights and sounds of places I've never made it to in the last 20+ years of visiting my grandmas and Sarasota. Fun times.
Now it's back to the puffy coats and the work grind.
Though I did get to celebrate with friends at an Easter Brunch today.
Onward and upward... the days will turn warm again soon enough (right!?*).

13 March 2010

Coming out of the Cave

Spring is definitely in the air.
In most places this might be an obvious; in Jackson.. we're a month or so early. Though I fear the dry and burning summer we are most likely in for, one can't control the weather and thus.. I won't even try to hide my delight!

Last weekend a couple friends and I skied into Brook's Lake Lodge- a past winter standard for me, and we caught it on the last week of the year! Check that off the list.

This weekend I'm enjoying the last ski weekend for yours truly- with mellow park skis and a few last runs on the King. Florida y la familia are just around the corner. My body can't wait to show itself to the SUN and fill itself with a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Mientras, this week I did it. I finally got sick after holding strong all winter (in those germy filled schools). Even though it's never really fun being sick- I almost relished my permission to relax and enjoyed holing up in my cave, reading, watching movies and just letting it kick my ass. Why not? I deserve it after pushing through all winter long.

With that being said... Spring! Yes Spring! Tomorrow we "Spring Forward" and the daylight hours start readjusting our clocks and before you know it seedlings will start sprouting their heads through richly delicious soil and my favorite sunny side of the year will be upon us!
For this I rejoice. I won't hide it.

28 February 2010

On the Sunny Side...

Days are good (in general) and sunny (for the most part). I'm focusing my energy on the good, the sunny and the positive. People and situations with negative energy.. be cast aside.

Even though it's still February, the sun has been shining and the snow has been warming up enough for one to think spring is truly around the corner. Though this is unheard of in Jackson- I'm going with it. And I'm happy about it.

Motivated by his nearing departure from the valley, my friend Davey motivated a few of us to plan an epic nordic adventure yesterday. This included a 10 mile ski into granite hotsprings (south of town). The brilliance of the plan is that it is in a beautiful location, with an amazing pool filled with natural mountain spring water waiting after a long ski in. The flip side... you have to ski 10 miles back out with wibbly wobbly hot springs soaked muscles to fuel you. We went for it! Five friends and I headed out early yesterday am to beat the dogs sleds and snow mobile tours. We made great time and had a lovely day of it. We even lucked out with an afternoon of sunshine to give our noses and cheeks the sunglow only a day of skiing can provide.

Then to top off my already epic day, I had tickets to see one of my all time favs.. Jalan Crossland http://www.jalancrossland.com/ at Dornan's in Moose, WY. He's a WY boy that was a constant in my life a few years ago, but hasn't been to Jackson in a while. Master banjo picker with some rough and funny lyrics- and though our sun soaked faces were exhausted, it rounded out a perfectly shaped and epic day- fo'sho!

Today the mellow Sunday consisted of a lazy breakfast and few runs on the King. Keep the sunshine coming!!

Happy Full Snow Moon to all-
until next time... keep on the sunny side of your life! :)

21 February 2010

February Continues...

The sun is shining.

I'm wrapping up a weekend with the rents. Over to Jackson to visit and earn medical credits. It's been a good weekend. Mostly relaxing, eating good meals and a bit of skiing. We'll be off to Planet Lotus in a bit and that makes me happy.

Last weekend I flew to the windy city to hang out with college girlfriends (GW2010). Fun was had. I will admit that I wasn't super psyched to head out to blustery Chicago in the middle of February and continue the trend of needing to catch up on sleep... but it was worth it. The weekend basically consisted of eating, drinking, watching olympics, going out... (hit repeat). Oh and laughing. Lots of laughing, and a little bit of darts thrown in. We did hit the Art Institute and even saw some sunshine. Mostly it was just fun to hang out with good friends that I see far too little of. Thanks friends.

Maybe my hightlight was Sunday Brunch (vday indeed) at ZED [http://www.zed451.com/]. An amazing buffet brunch, complete with roaming meat skewers and maple cajun bacon. Really enough said...