A Picturesque Camping Trip

Once again we tripped off to Vancouver, B.C. with a group of students from UW’s Friday Harbor Labs.  This time it was the ZooBot class (a Zoological and Botanical survey of coastal sea life).

This is Megan.
Megan
Megan teaches the Zoo part of ZooBots.  I took this shot right after the class returned from the beach and caught Megan in the act of exchanging boots for shoes. Megan is just as fun and energetic as this photo implies.

This is the classroom.
Waves

This is the class.
class

Somethings to study.
sealife 2

Some more things to study.
sea life

Of course it wasn’t all work.
Kamp Kool Kids

When in camp we roasted hats.
roasted hats

Roasted socks.
roasted socks
Played games.
cards

Celebrated a birthday …
party
… with cake …
cupcakes

… and music …
music

… and dancing.
dancing

We also ate.
ate
Megan’s friend brought us a bucket full of fresh crab.  I am sure that somewhere in all the crunching and slurping we remembered to say thank you.

And of course I found time to take a few pics:

wildflower

Wildflower

dancing grass

Dancing Grass (growing from a rock)

more scenery

River Tree

seedy

Seed Head

fiddle fern

Fiddlehead Ferns

crab

crab

anemone

Sea Anemone

gull

Gull

berry soon

Berry Soon

grass

Grass

Botany Bay path

Botany Bay Path

Botany Bay steps

Botany Bay Steps

Botany Bay lower trail

Botany Bay Boardwalk

furry trees

Furry Trees

greens

New Growth

stellar jay

Stellar Jay

The Christian Community Women’s Luncheon

Was a success! Everything went without a hitch and the ladies say they had a great time.

Around 55 people attended this year’s CCWL. I was the kitchen facilitator, so all things food fell to my leadership. I am not a micro-manager, as their usual leader is. Many of the women liked having more freedom, but a few of them didn’t. Even so, we all worked together well.

I let the table crew, Gloria, Mary and April, set up and decorate tables. They picked the color-scheme and decorations and had a blast. They also did a lovely job using live tulips and pansies and bright spring colored table clothes.

For lunch we served various salads and asked the women of our church to drop off assorted nice serving bowls (we had 7 tables and served lunch family style at each one). I appointed the table committee to sort the bowls and decide which ones went together for each table. My job was to make the salads and fill the bowls. I had a couple of kitchen helpers. April and Mary also did dishes and kept the coffee and tea pots filled. Peter — the only man in attendance — was my assistant cook and he made the most incredibly gorgeous fruit trays. Pam was in charge of baking the dinner rolls and Kathy put the dessert buffet together. Irene and Candy helped where needed with set up and clean up. All of us did some of the cooking at home and brought things in for salad assembly Tuesday afternoon.

The main meal consisted of Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad (my recipe), Parmesan Pea Salad (Candy’s recipe), and Molded Cranberry Salad (Irene’s recipe). All were great hits. Pastor slipped in the back door and made himself a plate. He had no wish to make an appearance at the lady’s luncheon, but he’d heard there was chicken salad in the kitchen and wanted “a taste”. He took a tiny bit and went to his office — then came back and filled his plate. He now has a standing order for chicken salad whenever I make it.

After the luncheon was over half the women at the banquet flooded into the kitchen to help. That’s how church women are. At one point I said, “Excuse me” to Irene and there was no where for her to move. She said, “What do you want?” And I said, “Since you asked, I think about three more women in the kitchen would be nice.” Irene looked quite startled. Across the room April said, “You know, I think you are right. There are still a few women in the Fellowship Hall. Why don’t we call them in here?” Then Irene said, “Well, if you think the kitchen is too crowded, you could go home and get out of the way of the clean up crew. Your job is over.” I finished packing the fruit to freeze and did just that.

I was in the kitchen from 9:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. My feet aren’t used to that any more and they wanted me to sit down! Instead I came home, grabbed some orders and delivered Avon.

~*~

Quilly’s Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad

  • 10 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 5 celery ribs, diced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard

Stir together chopped cooked chicken; celery ribs, diced; green onions, thinly sliced; toasted pecans; sweetened dried cranberries; mayonnaise; and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

~*~

Candy’s Parmesan Pea Salad

  • 2 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen petite peas
  • ½ C celery, chopped
  • 2 T green onions, sliced
  • ½ C sunflower seeds
  • ½ C grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream

Mix all ingredients. The frozen peas will cool the other ingredients, but it will need a bit of time for them to defrost before it can be served.

~*~

Irene’s Molded Cranberry Salad

  • 6 oz. pkg raspberry Jello
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 16 oz can cranberry sauce (whole or jellied, but whole adds texture)
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • ½ C grape juice (or red wine)
  • ¼ C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple & grape juice. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into mold or 9×13″ dish until set.

Whale of a Good Time

Because Sunday was Easter, they celebrated her birthday Saturday afternoon.  He took She out for a drive.  They visited several of the most beautiful spots on the island. At one point they were on the north side above Lime Kiln Park. He took She there to look for whales (even though it is a bit early in the season).

She stood at the retaining wall taking in the vast expanse of blue water and blue sky before her. Even the Cascade Mountains were blue.

Blue. Blue. Blue. Blue. Blue.

She said, “I don’t see any whales — so you’re about to hear one!”

He said, “Don’t be silly. Of course you can’t see Wales. This isn’t even the right ocean!”

~*~

She had a very happy birthday, even if she did spend it with a smart-alec.

Service Beyond the Ordinary

Amoeba declared that if he ate one more piece of fish he was going to die. Then he said we were going to Red Robin for lunch and he was ordering meat. I wasn’t as down on fish as Amoeba, but I had certainly had my fill of drawn butter and cream sauces, so I agreed — but I was craving salad.

We went to the Red Robin at Wareham Crossing Mall in Wareham, MA. Amoeba ordered Nachoes. I had a Chinese Chicken Salad. And then I asked the waiter:

“Where is your carousel horse? I have been eating in Red Robin restaurants since the early 80s, and have visited RR restaurants in half a dozen states. Every one of those restaurants has has at least one carousel horse. Where is yours?”

Maleek, our server extraordinaire, said that the Plymouth RR has a carousel horse, but — alas — their store did not. I said, “But a Red Robin just isn’t a Red Robin without a carousel horse!” Maleek apologized and went away. I dug into my salad and it was so good I promptly forgot about carousel horses or anything that didn’t involve mandarin oranges, tangy Asian salad dressing and fresh veggies.

Maleek returned to the table. He said, “I didn’t want you to be disappointed, so I got you a carousel horse.”

I was amazed and charmed. How incredibly sweet. Maleek mentioned my comment to the manager, who went back, found me a clip art horse, printed him out and pasted him on a carousel stick just for me. If you are ever in Wareham, Massachusetts, be sure to visit Wareham Crossing and eat at the Red Robin — and make sure you ask for Maleek. He goes above and beyond the expected customer service.

Thanks Maleek. Lunch was delicious and Amoeba and I had a great time!

Amoeba’s Day

As you know, yesterday was Amoeba’s birthday.  As was his wish, we spent the morning in his lab cleaning and rearranging.  He’s had a couple pieces of equipment in there he doesn’t need for his research that could be better put to use by someone else, so we facilitated their removal.  We also broke down a bunch of boxes he’d been storing and I washed some glassware.

Then we went to the Hungry Clam for lunch.  Amoeba ordered the scallop basket with fries and I had a fish sandwich with clam chowder.  The scallop basket is Amoeba’s favorite  item on the lunch menu.  (For breakfast we both always order Eggs Benedict.  The Hungry Clam makes the best Eggs Benedict I have ever eaten!)  I had never before ordered the fish sandwich.  I usually get the fish basket.  I just wasn’t up for a gigantic mound of fries.   The fish sandwich was excellent.

After lunch Amoeba went back to his lab and I came home and tidied up the Avon half of my office.  I purchased booth space in a flea market this April 23rd, and I needed to audit my inventory.  I also took a shower and got ready to go out.  Amoeba came home, mowed the lawn, then got cleaned up as well.  We went to the Rumor Mill.

I haven’t quite decided if the Rumor Mill is a restaurant with a lively bar, or a lively bar with really great food.  Either way, I always enjoy good food and good music whenever we go there.  Of course Charley wasn’t playing.  I asked him how it felt to sit in the audience and listen to the music for a change.  He said it seemed weird, but that didn’t’ stop him from enjoying his dinner!

Amoeba ordered Pasta Puttanesca with Mussels.  I ordered Mushroom Gorgonzola Flat Iron steak.  We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. We also had dessert.  When we arrived at the Rumor Mill, Amoeba let me out at the door, and then drove around the block to park.  I went in and got a table, and asked one of the waiters if I could order dessert now, but have it served after the meal.  I told him it was Amoeba’s birthday and I wanted the dessert to be a surprise.  He assured me he would let our waitress know.

Amoeba and I ordered our meal and ate it leisurely while listening to Kate Schuman & Friends.   Kate is a local singer/song writer and she and her band (group of friends) are quite enjoyable.  Kate’s music presentation was a “show” this time, but we also enjoy her when she leads sing-a-longs, which she has also done at the Rumor Mill.

ANYWAY, when it was time to pick up our plates the waitress confirmed that she’d put in my dessert order.  There was no cake on the menu.  My initial reaction was to order the yummy, gooey sounding brownie, but it is made with Kona coffee, which I would love but Amoeba not so much, and it was his birthday.  Another dessert featured coconut, also not one of Amoeba’s favorite things, but the third dessert was apple crisp and apple pie is one of Amoeba’s favorite things so  I ordered that.

This was no ordinary apple crisp.  It was made with perfectly spiced apples and walnuts, but it had a Phyllo pastry crust.  Light, flaky and yummy!  It was served with ice cream and whipped cream.  I ordered one dessert with two spoons and we shared it.  I didn’t want to share, but as I said, it was Amoeba’s birthday!