23 October 2011

Doughnuts with Sadie and other fun

Last weekend we had a wonderful visit from Jill, Mark, and Sadie.  It was Mark's first opportunity to meet Wyatt, and, of course, Wyatt liked him instantly.

As always, when we get together there is much eating, walking, and talking.  We ate pho and banh mi, Ethiopian, Snappy Dragon, and even made homemade doughnuts.  We walked a couple times around Green Lake, and we visited several playgrounds.  All of this was only made better by good conversations of the sort you can only have with those whom you have known for what seems like always.

Without doubt, one of the highlights for me was making Cinderella pumpkin doughnuts with Sadie.  She carefully measured, stirred, and mixed the entire recipe, including separating one of the eggs herself, while I read the recipe directions and made sure nobody turned the Kitchen Aid all the way up to 10.  I've always enjoyed cooking with kids and this was kid cooking at its best.  Once the dough was mixed we let it chill for only a fraction of the recommended time -- well, because we wanted to eat them of course -- and then patted out the sticky dough, cut it into doughnuts, and passed them on baking sheets to Byron at his outdoor frying station.  After they were fried, Sadie and Jill dipped them all in a cinnamon glaze (which sounds spicy but really was perfect).  And just about as fast as they were glazed, we ate them. Excellent fun!

The weekend went way too fast, but we did out best to eek all the fun and together-time we could from the three days we had with them.  My pictures from our time together are spotty as I was too busy having a good time. Jill also posted some pics and stories from our time together here.

One other highlight of the weekend was the whole suitcase of hand-me-down books and toys and puzzles that Sadie generously brought to give to Wyatt, including Dressy Bessy and Rody, which he is thoroughly enjoying.

We missed them the instant they got back on the plane, but we're looking forward to our next trip together in December -- to the sun!

Walking (or riding) around Green Lake
Story time with Jill and Sadie

The doughnut frying man

Doughnut cheerleaders

Chef Sadie measured all the ingredients for the doughnuts and made the magic glaze for our doughnuts

Turns out babies love doughnuts too

Rody -- one of the toys Sadie gave to Wyatt -- has delicious ears
At the playground at Green Lake

17 October 2011

October in The District of Columbia

The Washington Monument at night from a moving vehicle.
We had great fun on our recent trip to Washington, D.C.  Wyatt and I mostly just played, went sightseeing and to the museums while Byron spent his days at a scientific conference. We enjoyed the good company of Bonnie, Joe, and eight-week-old Oliver each day and their cats, Milo and Jax.  Thanks to their generous loan of a stroller, we walked everywhere we could, hopped the Metro a few times (oh, if only Seattle could get one of those . . . ) and almost took the Tourmobile.  We had dinner at Luigi's, enjoyed homemade portabello cheese steaks, and on our last day, ate a delicious lunch at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant near Logan's Circle.   Our week sped by too quickly, but we certainly enjoyed every minute.

Outside the north gate of The White House
Union Station architecture
Calder mobile in the East Wing of the National Gallery
From the permanent Calder exhibit
More Calder
Wyatt and I had a picnic on The Mall -- Fig Newmans, bananas, and yogurt for him, a pretzel with mustard for me.
Serious topaz at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum
Julia Child's kitchen
The Washington Monument on a sunny afternoon
At the National Zoo
Luckily, Wyatt liked the actual Giant Pandas
Oliver and his dad
Oliver (in a bit of a milk coma) and his mom, Bonnie
Wyatt and his adventurous new feline friend, Milo

10 October 2011

It was dusk for two and a half hours

Every now and then I have a moment where something ordinary strikes me as beautiful.  Our flight home from Washington D.C. was like that.  We lifted off from Reagan at about six in the evening and as the plane circled around to head northwest, the sun reflected in a thousand windows at once.  Washington D.C. and Virginia were made of gold!  I saw the Capitol and the Washington Monument, the Potomac (which, thankfully, isn't quite as brown as it used to be), a gorgeous golf course, and parks and playfields galore -- all rosy with the late day's light.

As our flight settled in at 35,000 feet, the sky was cloud free, which gave me a great view of the meandering Ohio River.  Beginning in the Ohio River valley, the patchwork patterns on the ground gave me pause to think about the rich, hardworking farmland in the "middle" of America.  I wondered how much of what I eat is really grown there.  From my vantage point, every few squares of the earth was a different color -- sometimes red brown, sometimes black, sometimes greenish.  Groups of squares bounded by narrow gray roads and the occasional ball field or river.

We flew over Lake Erie and then Detroit, a remarkably beautiful city from the air at twilight.  I have never visited that city and actually hadn't realized it was right on Lake St. Claire, a perfect little carved-out body of water with Lake Erie not far away. 

From there, we popped up above a layer of clouds.  It looked as though we were flying above a dessert of pink and gray sand dunes, miles and miles of dunes, all reflecting the brilliant-yet-fading western sunset.  The best part was that the sunset didn't fade -- at least not for a long while.  There we were, two hours into the flight and it was still dusk.

From there the clouds got lumpier, with mountains and valleys of clouds that we passed through on our journey.  Periodically, I'd see a cluster of twinkling lights break through the clouds, and I had a sense it was darker below us than above.  The last thing I saw below, before the last light faded from the sky, was lots of ribbon-like roads.

Not long after the sky went dark, the captain came over the speaker and told us that if we strained our eyes to the left of the plane, we could see the lights of Billings, Montana.  Hmm.  A bit of an odd landmark I thought (apologies, Darcy).

And then my baby woke up.  After three and a half hours of peaceful, damp, snoring-softly sleep, Wyatt was awake and wanted to look out the window with me.

As we neared home, we spied the Grand Coulee Dam, the Columbia River, and then after the darkness of the mountains, the glowing light of the Greater Seattle area.  On our descent, we saw downtown Seattle and the Space Needle. And then we landed at SeaTac, which for this nervous flyer, was also a beautiful thing.

05 October 2011

Seeing the sights in D.C.

Outside the North Lawn of The White House, October 2011
I haven't been here in a while, in part because we are spending the week in Washington D.C. while Byron attends a scientific conference.  Lucky for us, this town also contains some terrific friends -- Bonnie, Joe and their new baby boy, Oliver.  Wyatt and I are having a great time seeing the sights and hanging out with Oliver and his mom.  More stories and photos when we return!