Friday, September 28, 2012

Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday to my dear husband!  We celebrated all day yesterday.  I had the BEST present for him, and I managed to keep it a secret for two weeks.  Can you believe it?  I was so darn excited to give it to him.

I bought him an x-rated card!
Rearrange the clues to make a sentence.

OMG!!  A tour at his favorite luthier....mya-moe.
Many thanks to Char and Gordon at mya-moe for setting up a time for us to come visit their shop.  Emil will have many questions for them.

Emil did a bike ride while I made chocolate pudding for him and prepped for several upcoming visitors....lots of baked goods are now in the freezer.

Then, off to dinner at Jackalope Grill.

Grilled shrimp, chickpea fries, romesco sauce.

Sirloin steak, gorgonzola butter, fries.

Chocolate pots de creme.  It rivals the one at Haute Quarter Grill.

Schnitzel with cabbage, green beans, and a potato pancake with applesauce.

We actually made a real dinner reservation...the first one in many years.

Dining al fresco
October is going to be super busy month filled with out of town visitors, catering gigs, uke jams, and taking advantage of the beautiful weather before fall arrives.  Save sleep for when the snow flies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Fun

Yesterday, we volunteered at the Leadman Tri, held right here in Bend.  After a somewhat disorganized beginning, we arrived at our assigned bike aid station at 2 p.m. up near Crane Prairie Reservoir.  What fun!  The bikers rode down a hill to us, ready for water, Heed, oranges, bananas, Snicker bars, electrolyte tablets, and their personal bags.  They would call out their number to us, we would find their bag, hold their bike, and give them anything they needed.

Most often, they would ask for sunscreen, lip balm, something salty, or dig into their bags.  This was the most interesting part...seeing their loot.  McDonald's cheeseburgers, flat sodas, tupperware full of mashed potatoes, and more.

All of the bikers were so mellow and pleasant, considering they'd just biked 80+ miles.  We chatted about where they live, etc.  After a break, they rode off saying thanks for volunteering and donating our weekend time.  So nice!

What number are you? 

Can I hold your $5,000 bike?  I promise not to drop it.

Lots of bags lined up!
 It was one of the most fun volunteer experiences I've had.  Wish we had done the early shift to see some of the pros come through.  We received a super nice t-shirt and lunch for volunteering.

Today, there was parade downtown honoring Decathlon Olympian, Ashton Eaton.  He won the gold medal!  And, he's from Bend/La Pine.  I walked downtown to watch the parade and was amazed at the turnout.  Hundreds of folks cheering him and other Olympians. 

Ashton's grandparents

His other set of grandparents

Nancy is in our uke group!  An Olympian!

Cheerleaders from the high school Ashton attended.

Band from the high school Ashton attended.

Ashton and his Mother
Gearing up for a busy week!  Squeezing in some football today, although I'm still getting over last night's Clemson/FSU game.  Just plain painful.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sisters Folk Festival

Last weekend, we attended the Sisters Folk Festival and saw lots of people from Song Camp milling about and performing.  I don't think they recognized us without a green apron on, hands full of good food.

We planned ahead, looked at the schedule, packed snacks/dinner, and spent all day there on Saturday.  What a fantastic day!  The park was filled with food vendors, music vendors, a merch tent, and more.  Music highlights of the day were the following:

Moe Dixon
mya-moe ukuleles

Gwyneth and Monko

Mary Gauthier

Keith Greeninger

Here's a few pics:

Moe Dixon.  I think he's going to play at Uke U next year!

Avery Hill from Portland

Keith Greeninger and friend

Monko and Gwyneth

So talented!
Deep fried desserts...tempting!

Took this pic for my brother, Ted, and my friend, Josh.  Lovers of hot sauce.
Gosh, how do we come down from such an amazing week?  Lots of music!  We hosted a Uke Newbies jam at our place on Monday.  Nine brave souls showed up, uke in hand with lots of questions.  Emil created a wonderful outline, and he taught the session while I snacked on food in the kitchen.

I splurged and bought a new soprano ukulele.  So, I'm excited to try out a smaller instrument and hope it will inspire me to practice, practice, practice.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Americana Song Academy aka Song Camp

Well, I hope someone asks me to make cornbread for 131 people because I learned the right way to do it.  What am I talking about?  Why am I so excited?  Read on, my friends.

Our landlord, Annie, is a traveling chef.  She asked if I wanted to help cook for a big group of songwriters for three days.  Heck yeah!  I love to cook and bake.  So, I asked her to consider Emil too if she needed additional help.  He could be a prep cook, dishwasher, loader/unloader/general hosser (shout out to Erica), and is super efficient.  You know...the kind of guy who will give you a heads up if eggs are needed on the buffet.  My exact words were, "You'll like him more than me after three days.  He's that good of a worker."

Here are the deets of the venue:

A beautiful lodge, Blue Lake (created by a caldera, super COLD), tee pees, plenty of room for camping, no bears or wildlife hanging out nearby, no cell reception (a break from technology), 131 songwriters loaded down with guitars, trumpets, banjos, ukuleles, and more, and the BEST food EVER.  Yes, I'm shouting with all caps emphasis.

Each day consisted of three delicious meals, workshops taught by accomplished musicians, song circles, mentoring, open mic, and plenty of free time to work on songwriting.  Attendees ranged in age from high school to 70+.  Jumping in the lake was optional, but many people took advantage of it, despite the "No Swimming in the Lake" sign. 

Our job?  Prep meals, clean up, eat well, cheerful chats with the songwriters, and clapping loudly and excitedly for their courage at open mic each evening.  Talk about inspirational.  Seriously.  Some songs brought you to tears with their powerful lyrics and incredible skill, while others had you dancing in the aisles.

The cooking was my favorite part of Song Camp.  I learned so much from Annie.  She was patient, kind, and calm while directing 6-8 of us (all different skill levels) as we worked our way through each meal.  My note-taking of breakfast set up and ratios amused her.  How many quarts in a gallon?  What's the ratio of water to rice?  How does she want the cucumbers sliced?  How many cups in a quart?  How do you work a Cuisinart?  How do I cook rice in the oven? 

Emil and I compared notes each evening...what did he get to make?  What did I learn?  What did I make?  It was so much fun....I was thinking all week about Lori, Ted, Uncle Ron, Karla, Chef Sara, and Tommy.  They would've loved this camp or the kitchen work or the music.

Here's a link about the Americana Song Academy:

Some pics from Extreme Open Mic.  I almost forgot to mention the amazing musicians we met and heard sing.  Mary Gauthier, Catie Curtis, LJ Booth, Beth Wood, Phoebe Hunt and more.

Monko, Gwyneth (both fellow kitchen folks), Gary Schrodt , Phoebe

Shireen Amini playing the happy ukulele!

Love the banjo.  This was a really cute song by first year camper, Amy Sue Berlin.

Benjy with Helen.

An accordion just makes the world a better place.

Big crush on all three musicians.  BIG.  I may or may not have gushed at Patrick (far left) on the last morning. 

Monko and Gwyneth.  Check out their website and buy a CD!
Katie (kitchen volunteer) and Chris Kokesh on fiddle.

Moe Dixon on ukulele,  Mary Gauthier on guitar, Rad on accordion.  'Nuff said.

Moe Dixon and fellow uker.

Brace yourself for the cold

Patrick - guitarist, uke player, ultimate rocker and nice guy. 

Monko cut perfect julienned carrots.

Working on my knife skills.

Gwyneth, almonds, brownies.  Mmmm....

The most colorful salad bar ever.  Hi Natasha...fellow type A girl! 

Yoga on the dock every day.

Curry Chicken Salad, Curry Tofu Salad, and more.

Katie crying from onions.  Stick a piece of bread in your mouth to help.

A serenade in the kitchen.  Patrick on the baritone uke.

A sparkling flattop was worth half a brick.  Thanks, Monko!
I could keep talking and talking about the ah-mazing week.  The funny stories, the friendly attendees, the pork verde, the organized kitchen, the singing, the music, the honey mustard dressing (which I could just was that good), and the really great kitchen volunteers, but I should close for now.  Time to return to reality...washing my own dishes, menu planning with Weight Watcher recipes, walking the Butte at 6:15 a.m., and becoming a better ukulele player.

P.S.  Next year, I'm bringing a big poster that says how many quarts in gallon, how many cups in a quart, etc.