July 23, 2007

Two Deaths

Yesterday I learned that my dear young friend E died last Sunday July 15. Her funeral was yesterday. Of course, since we were at the beach with no cell or internet access, I didn't know about any of this until we had returned home.

I am so sad that I missed the chance for one more visit with E, that we weren't able to mourn with her family and friends. E. had just turned 30, she was married with two small children.

Tonight I learned that another young friend, K., passed away last Tuesday July 17. Her funeral was today. Again, I didn't learn this until it had already happened. K. was 35, married with three young children.

A little cancer humor from another list: "for all those, who lost the skirmish , lost the war, but went to the better place. Must be a great place , nobody's has come back and complained about it."

Saving the dog

Walking on a windy Washington beach is fun but can be challenging. The sand blows in the dog’s face, you wear a hat or hood, and hope to stay on your feet.

The mighty Moclips River flows into the Pacific Ocean just north of where we stayed. Trying to cross it (it was about knee-deep), Pumpkin got caught in the current and began to be swept away. I grabbed his leash, waded back to where he was struggling, and by holding onto the leash, was able to keep him on track while he paddled across with me. It was a bit scary, but he made it!

What to eat at the beach

Moclips is so tiny that we have to bring in everything. There’s no cell phone service, no gas station, no grocery store, no espresso stand. So I plan our meals carefully, creating a big spread sheet of what to bring from home and what to buy fresh. The house we rent has a grill and fully equipped kitchens. We grilled fish, chicken and lamb; baked challah from scratch; enjoyed home-made chicken soup.

We splurge for one dinner and go to the Ocean Crest Resort. Since there were six of us this time, we basically ate our way through about half the menu:

Alaskan King Crab legs, split lengthways and served with melted butter and sprinkled with thyme
Green salad with chevre cheese
Baked brie en croute served with candied nuts and fruit confit
Duck with maple sauce
Rack of lamb
Prime rib
Filet mignon
Black cod with duxelles
Chocolate silk cake
Cherry pie

And since we were celebrating a birthday, our waiter took a photo of all of us and printed it on a card. What a great souvenir of a terrific vacation!

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day

It rained for four of the seven days we were at the beach. We walked on the beach anyway and then sat in the hot tub.

We played Cranium for the first time. We played a 7-hour round of Monopoly, with breaks for baseball, beach walks and dinner when the rain let up.

We played Scrabble. (Rik earned 91 points by putting down SQUIRT – the S made a plural of another word, the Q landed on a double letter score and the whole word earned a triple word score.)

We played endless rounds of gin rummy and 8-5-3, Rik’s favorite three-handed card game. We watched a couple of movies, including John Wayne’s “McQ”. The closing scene was filmed at the beach north of Moclips and in front of the The Beach House where we stayed. I can hardly recommend it, but it does have some great footage of Seattle in the 1970's, enough to keep us entertained by guessing where each shot takes place.

A week at the beach

After our whirlwind trips early in July, Rik and I spent a week at the beach in Moclips, a tiny town on the Olympic peninsula of the Washington coast. This was our fourth summer at Moclips, although the first time we stayed for an entire week.

Here’s what we do at Moclips:

Walk on the beach
Take a nap
Walk on the beach
Read a book
Eat some more
Walk on the beach
Eat again
Gaze at stars

We spent a couple of days alone. Then friends joined us for one afternoon (they were already in Ocean Shores). And other friends came up for a long weekend.

It’s really very relaxing…the dog particularly loves running off-leash on the beach.

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town!

While back east, I visited New York City. It was hot and humid, the streets steamed, and the odor of garbage rose from the bags strewn along the sidewalks. Ah, New York in the summer!

I enjoyed a childhood favorite, a chocolate egg cream, served with the bit of seltzer remaining in the bottle. Met some friends and spent the afternoon talking, then saw “Avenue Q” at the Golden Theatre, one of the dumpy old Broadway theatres that have not yet been renovated. "Avenue Q" is the Tony Award-winning show with puppets. It was funny, off-beat and very New York.

Rode the subway, took a cab, walked all over – the usual NY stuff!

Oh, I ♥ New York!

The perfect 80th birthday gift

If 80 = four score, then the perfect 80th birthday would be four scores:

1. Baseball cards of top-scoring Yankees (Dad’s favorite team);

2. Deck of playing cards for a high score;

3. Puzzle (scored pieces); and

4. Photo of my parents taken at their engagement – the best score of all!

A visit with the folks

The real reason for the big trip east was to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. Rik was a delegate at the National Education Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. I joined him after the conference ended for a family visit.

Well, my flight in to Philadelphia was delayed by bad weather. We didn’t have enough fuel to continue circling. We were redirected to Pittsburgh, where we refueled and landed about 3 hours late – just in time for Rik and my folks to drive to the airport and pick me up. (US Airways has a terrible on-time flight record.)

We spent a lovely weekend with my folks. I pampered my mom as much as she would let me by cooking dinner a couple of times. We took my folks out to an Italian restaurant for Dad’s birthday dinner.

In New Jersey, at least where my family lives, it’s evidently very expensive for restaurants to get a liquor license, so most places allow people to bring their own bottle of wine and the restaurant pops the cork for you without charging a fee. We brought a nice prosecco. I think sparkling wine makes every occasion more festive!

July 09, 2007

Summer Poem

Summer is here
It's hot and it's sunny
I have no energy to write
Let's have iced tea with honey