Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Roxanne - my little girl

I don't have much information about her yet, but she's a Jack Russell Terrier, female, soon to be spayed, a fun addition to our canine family.

A New Year

This time next week I'll be a mother-in-law.

This time next week I'll still be a mother of three, but my responsibility to one will vastly change.

This time next week I'll need to find something else to look forward to.

Well when a woman marries she leaves her home. She clings to her husband. My parenting becomes a mute point. Only when advice is sought will it be given. A listening ear will be the first response from my end.

Kalie is getting married. We are thrilled and can't be any more pleased with the whole process, the planning, the ideas and the implementation.

It's gona be a great party.

Since mid-August, when we were celebrating my brother's wedding to Sonsoles, our sights have had the future to contend with. With the mention of Paul and Sonsoles I am reminded that we do have the birth of little Pablo or Pablita to look forward to...but the birth will take place in the Canary Islands and thus we will enjoy the birth through pictures and stories on Facebook.

I know I am just being reflective or sentimental. But I think as the mother-of-the-bride I am allowed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The countdown.....

Time is passing and we leave for Seattle in less 48 hours.

Packing is done...but only in my head.

Work tasks have been completed. When I walked out of my office today I felt at peace.

We have faced a little glitch. Our hotel reservation in Tenerife has been incorrect since the wrong dates were Wade. Now, we have plenty of options with the best one being sharing a room with my mom. Hey, you do the crime, you gotta do the time! :) Right?

Nothing will matter except for the wedding and all the activities that go with it.

Today - the day before we drive to Seattle, is getting off to a slow start. Sleeping in, snuggling with the dogs. Then breakfast for Wade - he'll be busy wrapping up things at work. Me? Laundry, house work, a little grocery shopping for Jesse, and yard work.

To take my computer or use my brother, Mark's computer: That is the question. So many things to think about. So little time. Better get busy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gastronomy with a perpectual......

woody. That's what Anthony Bourdain said about the food in Spain.

So now, with time only for just 6 meals, where do we go? What do we choose? Thanks goodness my brother, Mark, has spent time in Madrid. At least he has an idea where to go.

So what makes Spain a unique culinary experience? History. You see geographically Spain has been seen as a gateway, settled nicely between Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the land was prime and many governments wanted to control it.

The Greeks, Romans and Moors all kept residence at one time or another leaving behind their culinary points of view that survive to this day.

Add then the richness of the soil and the arid climate the result is excellent growing conditions for not only grapes and olives but a plethora of other produce as well.

During my trip last December to Mauritania I learned that the country imports MOST of the food that is prepared in homes and restaurants. While the chefs do their best to create fresh dishes, the fact that the food is hauled in over land and sea diminishes it's quality. This in NOT going to be the case in Spain as the land itself produces a bountiful harvest.

While it is impossible for me to describe all the foods I will have a chance to explore, suffice it to say, my taste buds are anxious.



gazpacho soup

Fire Roasted Piquillo Peppers

And to drink:


Spanish Rioja



Helping with the wedding

This week Sonsoles made my day....week....year! With great enthusiasm I am helping her with the wedding favors. You know, gifts guests receive for coming to the wedding.

Her first e-mail was to inquire about the customs in the US in regards to these gifts as well as the custom of our family. As I took my mind back to the weddings I have attended in recent years I realized that it was not really a custom through out the land as much as it was a custom of the wedding adviser.

Let me make my point. The other day I was channel surfing in my bedroom and I came across the reality TV show with Denise Richards in it. I don't know the name of it but I briefly watched an interaction Denise had with a party planner she had hired to plan a party for a friend of hers. She was basically firing this planner because the planner had not planned what Denise wanted her to plan, instead she put together a party that was bigger and grander than Denise had wanted.

So now, as I reflect on what Sonsoles has asked about favors for guests, it really does depend on what the individual bride (the groom probably couldn't care less) wants for her wedding.

What is custom in Spain is that the father of the bride gives cigars to the male guests of the wedding. What? Just the men? Now this is a wedding tradition I intend to crash! :)

Apparently, according to postings on the internet, the Canary Islands have a long standing tradition of cigar making dating back to the 18th century.

But I digress - after forwarding some links with wedding favors to Sonsoles, she found some really great ones and so I ordered them. Delivery will be made by me, and I'll put them together as well. makes me happy to help in some small way.

In order to preserve the anticipation for the guests, I won't post a picture of them here. You'll just have to attend the wedding to find out what these gifts are.

Or, you can wait till I post some pictures of the event. You'll find me sitting among the guests smoking a cigar.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lest I Forget - It's all about a wedding

Wedding plans are really on the forefront of my mind. Especially this last week as my siblings and I began to plan some pre-wedding fun and photo montage. You know...a trip down memory lane. Baby photos. Oh my, we have some great ones.

We can say what we want about our parents but they created some really cute kids!

And we have some pretty great photos to prove it. You'll see. Someday.

Don't want to spoil any surprises right now.

Wade and I have been doing some research about the Canary Islands. Time will be the enemy. Too many things to see, places to go, people to meet. We will sleep when we get back home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hotel Las Águilas en Puerto de la Cruz

Hotel Las Águilas en Puerto de la Cruz
will be our destination in Tenerife.

Pretty nice, eh?

Besides the wedding, there are a lot of fun things to do in Tenerife: a big water park (Siam Park), Loro Parque just next to our hotel (like Sea World), botanical gardens, a big mtn to climb, monkey zoo, beaches, sports and games at the hotel. In one of the pictures I even saw a pool table (as in billiards) by the pool (as in swimming).

Sonsoles' father also trains jumpers, as in horses. I've already been promised a tour of the stable.

Did I mention the monkey zoo?

And then, there is the wedding. Ah, it's hard to have to wait till August!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jamón ibérico, Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain

Also known as Pata Negra, is a type of ham produced only in Spain. What makes the meat of these pigs so special is what happens to them after their are weaned from their mothers plethora of breasts.

First they are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. From sows milk to barley and maize (corn) before being allowed to roam the Spanish countryside feasting on what they find in the oak groves: acorns, truffles, herbs, roots and grass until the grim reaper appears.

The hams from the slaughtered pigs are salted and left to begin drying for two weeks, after which they are rinsed and left to dry for another four to six weeks. The curing process then takes at least twelve months, although some producers cure their jamones ibéricos for up to 36 months. Along the way, during the drying process they experience the natural breezes of the Spanish countryside in the same way when the meat was on the hoof in the oak groves. Imagine the fastidious care that goes into this production!

The final product is sliced very thinly and from what I have witnessed from watching Tony and Andy, it is like butter in your mouth.

In any meat it is the fat that holds the flavor. Pata Negra's unique characteristic comes from the hint of nuts in the fat that is exquisitely positioned throughout the ham. The result is a silky, smoothness in your mouth that is unforgettable.

I can't wait to experience this for myself. Thanks to Paul and Sonsoles falling in love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And the next trip.....Madrid and Tenerife!

As I started out to write about my next trip I contemplated starting a brand new blog. I already have I really need one more?

I started this one, "Laugh Along the Way" as a tribute to my coming of age. 50 years old. But then I started traveling.

First I went to Mauritania to visit my brother. Ruth Garvin headed back to the desert with me to see how things were coming along at the coffee shop, now transformed into a restaurant/quest house/oasis.

For two weeks Ruth and I walked alongside Paul, met his friends, met Sonsoles.

You can read all about it in the blog that I have linked above: Discovering Mauritania.

Then, in a turn of events that still has my head spinning, I spent three weeks in Papua New Guinea with a group of students and a faculty member, Rhett Luedtke from GFU.

After three amazing weeks in PNG, birthplace of my son, home of my family for two years, I visited Luke and Esther Davidson in Australia for a week. Truth be told, it's been a bit tough coming home.
The closeness that we all felt on our journey to the other side of the world is something that one never forgets and hopes to recreate for a lifetime.

Thanks to the arrows of cupid and a miraculous, providential intervention, my brother, my brother is getting married. To a lovely lady from Spain. She's from Tenerife in the Canary Islands. August 14th. We are all so excited to welcome this wonderful lady, Sonsoles, into our family. Two families from across the sea becoming one. It's a wonderful gift that we can hardly comprehend.

So that's the reason for the journey to Spain and the Canary Islands. My taste buds can hardly stand the anticipation.