Sunday, December 28, 2008

Letting go . . .

We're in the final throes of packing, that stage when I throw everything that hasn't been packed yet into the remaining boxes, seal them shut, and hope for the best. We pick up our rental car tomorrow and will drive to Sea-Tac, leaving Vancouver family and friends behind. Early on the morning of December 31st, we'll be standing in line to go through security checks for international travel. And then, laptop, baggage and travel Scrabble in hand, we will begin the flight to Brazil for six months of travel through South America.

Several people have told me they'll follow our travels via this blog, so I'll be updating various adventures (as internet access becomes available). If you'd like to see an overview of the trip, go to our South American homepages at

For now, let's hear a grand hurrah for the Philadelphia Eagles as they advance to the finals. And let's hear another grand hurrah for 2008, another year ending and a new one beginning. May you have the very best of New Year's. Beth

Friday, December 26, 2008

And from North India . . .

We're packing intensely now, and I'm trying to finish up on those projects that pile up next to the printer. I tasted this wonderful desert at an Indian restaurant in Corvallis several months ago and begged the name of the dish from the owner. The Internet never fails! Here is Gajar Ka Halwa, a northern Indian sweet made of carrots and garnished with roasted cashew nuts. Manjula charmingly teaches us how to make this dish, starting with Namaste! Her recipe:


1.5 pounds of shredded carrots (about 2 cups)
2 cups of hot milk
3 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup sugar
pnch cardamon
10 cashew nuts (split in half for garnish)
Ok to add a handful of raisins

Melt butter in large fry pan. Add carrots, cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Roast cashews in small separate frypan. Add milk to carrots, cook until the milk is fully absorbed (about 7-8 minutes). Again, stir frequently. Add sugar and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add cardamon. Serve and garnish with roasted cashews. Note: This is often served with Diwali.

If you make this, let me know the results! I really liked Manjula's welcoming style, just as if I were in her kitchen. And, yes, it finally stopped snowing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Farewell to the Gorge . . .

Yesterday we drove out along the Columbia Gorge for our last visit to the Multnomah Falls, taking along three-year-old JoePa (and his father). It was JoePa's first visit to the falls. "Oh, wow," he said. Oh, wow, I thought. These falls thrill me every time. And I'd like to think I see these falls with the eyes of a child.

You can hear Allen and JoePa talking over the roar of the falls. He was simply delighted by the falls, easy to hug, quick to laugh. We ate corndogs and drove back to Portland in the dark. Then after a family dinner and stories of how we met so long ago, we drove home to Vancouver, over the bridge, ready for the next journey south.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sunday Musings . . . and an update

We have just three weeks now before leaving Vancouver, Washington. We'll be truly on the road, flying from Seattle south to Brazil for a meandering trip through South America, not returning until June 1. Yes, I'm taking my writing with me (laptop and backup), and I'll hope to keep two blogs up and running, this one for trip notes, and Beth and Writing for poetry and occasional thoughts about writing. My website at Google has travel plans if you want to look.

I have loved living near the Columbia River. As we cross the bridge into Portland, Mt. Hood seems to float in varied splendor, sometimes with clouds obscuring her face, sometimes fully revealed with snow covered heights. We've tried to walk daily, and in this warren of modern apartments, we see so many true evergreens, firs and cedars abound. And we've been closer to friends.

So many people ask when we're going to settle down, perhaps like "normal" people. I'm not sure. When Allen and I were first together, some 30 years ago, we learned to be careful about who said "Let's go." Teaching allowed us to visit Canada, Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador in the summers. And sometimes our friends have joined us, enriching our adventures.

Now, we already have the next two years blocked out, 6 months in South America (Jan 2009), a resting stop of perhaps a month in Spokane (June 2009), then a drive across the US or Canada to Philadelphia. A six-week trip to Scotland (Edinburgh, Inverness and the Orkneys, Sept-Oct 2009), and then, because we're there, a meandering trip down to Spain, to a town I promised myself I'd return one day -- Granada (Nov 2009-Mar 2010). We'll stay in one spot perhaps four to six months, and then return to Philadelphia for the start of Allen's four-month cross-country bicycle trip (April 2010). I'll be driving the sag wagon, once again with laptop, arranging camping sites and motels along the way -- and writing.

So these next few weeks, I'll pack down the house (kitchen and books, primarily). Yes, it is possible to sleep comfortably on cots. Saturday was my birthday. Pam and Kayla took me ice skating; I must have fallen 6 times. Allen charged my Starbucks card (how could I not like Starbucks; their logo has a mermaid?). The writing goes well; revision is rather like peeling an onion, layers and layers. And life is good.

P.S. The quilt is finished. You can click on the image to see details.