Friday, March 27, 2015

Emoji Updates

Viola with her Red Lipstick
I loved my step-mom's red lipstick.  She'd wear it with one of her red knit dresses, she'd wear it teaching third graders and she'd wear it out to Sunday dinner at the clubs in Reno.  The bright red contrasted so beautifully with her dark black hair.  I envied her for I had dishwater blonde hair and thin, thin lips.  Red never suited me.

But when that red-lipped emoji showed up on my phone, I was on it.  I sent it's shapely red smile off to the universe, pretending it was me.  I got responses immediately.  Cool emoji!  Love it!

Imagine my disappointment, when in the next round of phone updates, my red-lipped emoji disappeared.  Did someone know that I was masquerading in an emoji image, trying to fool you into thinking I could leave a smear of big red lipstick on your cheek?   I was miffed.  Since then, I have had to resort to an emoji of a smiling frog with a cute, but tight-lipped little mouth.

Emoji's make me kind of sad anyway, because they remind me of those artistically inferior bulletin board images that are fostered on elementary school children.  Over the years at my former school, we let children design the artwork to accompany their song charts, calendars and alphabet cards.  Their versions were so much more interesting than the commercial variety.  So, here is my suggestion.  Someone needs to make an app with which each of us could design our own emojis.  I so want this on my phone.
My Emoji
 You are not artistic?  So how about borrowing an artist's image for your emoji.   A famous piece like "Desperate Man" by Gustave Corbet for those harried days.

 Or "Green Stripe" by Henri Matisse when the day isn't going quite like you wanted.

You get it.  Surely soon emojis will become more interesting than the stock ones that are currently available.  Or at least that red-lipped one will become available again.  I'm hoping.    

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Black and White Vacation Album

My childhood travels were documented in black and white film.  The compact Brownie cameras were so very simple back then, that even as children we were capable of taking quite a number of stunning photos.  Returning home our parents would have the photos developed and we would relive the trip.  The little white-framed photos evoked memories of the glorious moments experienced during the vacation like when the sun beamed through the trees and we felt so small or when we climbed onto a huge trunk and pretended like we were conquerors.  Animal photos like of a slippery pile of seals with the light on their rumps would capture the scent of the sea and the raucous barking (as if the film was capable of recording sound).  I still love black and white photos.  I can't explain why I have such a visceral reaction to the lack of color, except as a fond memory of Brownie photos and their association with vacations.        

Photos:  Red wood forest, skunk cabbage, closed campsite for the winter, Coltrane on a stump, spiderweb spotted by Coltrane as he guided us through the woods, stonewall in Jebediah Smith Campground (photo by Carol), teardrop trailer, harbor seals in Crescent City, driftwood, Garibaldi Coast, Umpqua lighthouse, driftwood windbreak, and abandoned Garibaldi viewing structure.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Flat Out Dog Time on the Oregon Beach

     Lizzie will not go out the back door on a rainy day, but sprints off into the wet spray of the salty ocean waves, soaking her legs and belly.  I think that this is about flat out time. 

   Pup caroused with Lucky, both dogs pausing momentarily to adjust the lead dog position in the game, and then raced off kicking up sand. 

     Oregon beaches are the most photographed of the United States.  Had I been a professional photographer, I would be flat out pleased.  Even on a lightly foggy day the beach views were enticing.

     As the dogs ran loops, Carol and I gathered stones and explored driftwood architecture. 

    We all have visions of I could live here, right here on the beach.  I thought about a nice wrapping of canvas on this tent structure avoiding that odd shade of turquoise that is so common with plastic tarps.  I miss canvas. 

          As the dogs continued to whirl around us, Carol built rock structures. 

    She is learning photography skills, so I got to have a beach picture of pup and I.  Nice job, Carol!

     We wandered until it was obvious our camp arrival would have to be in the dark; so instead of cooking by headlamp, we looked for a seafood restaurant for dinner.  Coos Bay on a Sunday only had one place open that was easy to spot, The Blue Heron.  The warm wood-lined dining room advertised seafood, but its specialty was German food.  The young owner recommended that we split a meal and to be honest, it was hard to choose which one.  We ordered saurerbraten with red cabbage, root vegetables and herbed mashed potatoes.  All of the food was made in house.  If I lived in this town, I would eat here often.  Before leaving the owner suggested dessert and we bought three of them!  The carrot cake was the best that I have ever had (one bite told us this), so we ordered two pieces and one slice of chocolate walnut torte to go.   

One slice split later.  
     Once set-up in camp we walked to the Umpqua Lighthouse with its jewel like red and white beacon lights.  I have seen it in the daytime last spring, but never at night.  The darkness masked the steep hills to the lighthouse, or Carol might not have agreed to the hike.  I returned to the camp to get my camera, happy to walk off calories over a couple of miles on two round trips.  The light was worth it. 

     Of all of the memories on this trip, this might be the one that lingers, a gem among the sailor's sky of stars.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Camping Gourmet Style

     I am off to the land of dairy, big trees and seafood along the coast of California and Oregon.  Carol is pulling her little teardrop for her “tent” and I get to sleep in the Element.  It's fun to pull up by the big trucks and motor homes at rest stops.  We always get attention.  Twice the motor home owners have offered to trade straight across.  All parties laugh contemplating the possibilities.

     The first night we camped in the woods at Silver Falls State Park outside of Salem.  Carol, mind you, has been trained as a cook.  Camping with her is like finding a gourmet restaurant in the woods. She had prepared a dinner ahead of time- a delicious homemade beef curry with potatoes.  Carol has come up with an ingenious way of keeping food cold for a long time.  She freezes a case of water bottles and any food for the meals ahead all stored in a cooler.  We defrost a couple of bottles a day for drinking, while the remaining keep everything cold. The food warmed us up enough to complete our camp preparation by the light of a full moon.  The temperature began heading into the teens.

    In the photo below, I appeared to be going to the mines instead of the sleeping bag to read the book, "Rats".  The author of the book spent a year observing rats in alleyways in New York city.  A chilling read for a chilly read.           

     By morning there was thick frost everywhere including on the cutting board, which we had left outside inadvertently.  Even Carol agreed to have some of my favorite hot cocoa with cayenne pepper to quick start the day. 

     This is a blog really about food. Knowing that I was traveling with a cook, I tried to contribute something worthy of her standards.  I had fixed Hills ham on sourdough with tomatoes and lettuce for lunch the day before, but Carol always topped me.  For her next dinner we had hot homemade squash soup and then we had yogurt, crumbled blackberry scone and blueberries for breakfast.  We realized early on in the trip that we only had one fork, one knife and one spoon between us.  We had lost the spoon by the second breakfast, so here is the yogurt that Carol ate with a knife.  It's possible!

      Neither of us had made extensive plans for where we were going to camp.  We had started out late in the morning on Wednesday waiting for the frost to lift with the temperature in the teens.   Thinking that we might make Crescent City and a national campground by nightfall, we didn't look further.  We made one stop to buy seeds from Territorial Seed Company in the charming city of Cottage Grove and to have sandwiches of avocados, sliced eggs and tomatoes alongside a little river. 
Nightfall approaching we decided to try the next closest state campground, that proved to be closed for the winter.  Fortunately we had passed a little private camp with cottages.  They were "closed", but willing to let us use a site for $5... no water, no facilities.  We chose the most beautiful site alongside of a river and had the grounds to ourselves.  In the morning the upturned fire pits provided photo frames for the dogs, Lucky and Lizzie.

    When we pulled up at the beach in Crescent City there were whales blowing and seals snorting.  Carol and I roamed with the dogs and then had just an appetizer of prawns at the Chart Room.  Are you planning your trip to the seaside yet?

    We continued eating.  The next two dinners that we had brought with us were ham, roasted Brussels sprouts and steamed potatoes with herbs prepared by myself and then fabulous chili made by Carol.  We ate these two meals with our good friends in Crescent City.

    Our camp was on another river with a little meadow in front of us.

    We napped by the river and took some photos of the big trees.  Hikes in the woods are planned.
Here is Carol by the biggest tree in our camping area.

     Another day we took a foray up the Smith River and spotted mergansers in the turquoise water.

More seafood was on the menu, so before heading to the beach to search for agates and take a nap in the sun, we got crab sandwiches and coleslaw.  The sea lions at the end of the dock barked at us as though to say, "We agree seafood is the best!"  For those landlubbers the sign below alerted us to the fact that we needed to be careful.  Water nearby!

Today off for more adventures.  And good food!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Vote. Choose One.

What if you could only have one of these photos on your wall?  What would you choose?  Why?  I'm curious.  I take so many photos, but I  can never decide which one I like best.  The most recent photo of this dozen was taken this week and the oldest one just over two years ago.  Choose.