Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Visit With Mom and Dad

My parents drove into town Wednesday, July 10 and stayed until Monday, July 15. I was able to take half of Thursday and all of Friday off work, which was great! This is my first summer working full time, and I'm telling you, it can be rough at times. :) Whitworth's Annual Institute of Ministry was also happening the Wednesday and Thursday my parents were in town. The evening worship services are free and open to the public, so my parents and I enjoyed two wonderful worship services. The preacher, Carolyn Gordon, was fantastic! I can't wait until the podcasts are up on the Whitworth website, so I can listen to her sermons from Monday and Tuesday evenings, too. If you get a chance, listen to them. You'll be challenged, encouraged, and amused.

Wednesday and Thursday, my parents and I did some fun things, like hosted an ice cream social with some of my parents' friends from college, enjoyed ice cream at Doyle's Ice Cream Parlor where my mom and her friend used to take boys in college and make them drink a monster shake (which they still have!), and enjoyed an enchilada dinner with three of my housemates. My mom calls this the ice cream vacation because we had ice cream every day. Part of this is because I'm making good use of my new ice cream maker. The other part is that all three of us just really, really love ice cream!

On Friday, we embarked on our big day trip to Canada. We've all been to Canada a number of times, but not since I've been in Spokane. The drive up there is a mere three hours through some gorgeous countryside. We left at 7:30 AM on Friday morning, and our first stop was to eat muffins and look at the Pend Orielle river at an overlook. Our second stop was at Sweet Creek Falls, which turned out to be this beautiful, Columbia-River-Gorge-like waterfall:

Our crossing into Canada was easy and quick. About 10 minutes into Canada, I burst into laughter. Like tears-rolling-down-my-face laughter. It was all because of my dad's behavior with the Canadian border guard. He made us look so suspicious! My dad took my laughter graciously. Here's the grand Canadian flag:

Our end destination was the city of Nelson, British Columbia. The picture below is just a tiny view of the mountains and beauty surrounding Nelson. We started off at the Visitor Center where we had the pleasure of talking with a delightful young woman who's a student in Geography at "U Vic" (University of Victoria). She gave us some great advice. With her help, we had lunch at a beautiful little park, walked along the waterfront, got milkshakes, and visited an eclectic coffeeshop. My dad decided to hike to Pulpit Rock across the bridge you see in the background in the photo. While he hiked, my mom and I sat in the park at the waterfront. She read, I wrote in my journal, and we both people watched. It was a great spot to observe families. The main center of town has some major hippie influence, so it was nice to see a different side of the city. Being in a different country made me think about nationality. There didn't seem to be any difference between the people we were observing and us except that they say "Eh" and prounouce "ou" differently. Does nationality even matter? I didn't come to any conclusions, but it's interesting to think about.

We left Nelson around 4:30 or 5 and decided to take a little detour to Crawford State Park back in Washington. We drove 12 miles to get there only to find that the park was closed. Fortunately, we serendipitously turned off onto a side road and found a lovely campground by a river that had big picnic tables. We had great food (old favorites like chicken salad and pasta salad) and enjoyed sitting in the peaceful campground. Here's the pasta salad:

They might hate this picture, but I think it's hilarious. :) We were feeling pretty tired on the road back and went to sleep practically right after getting home around 9 PM.

On the road out to Crawford State Park, we saw three beaver dams in the water. It was awesome! We didn't see any beavers, but I guessed it was because they were inside their dams eating toast and kippers (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe anyone?).

On Saturday, we met my friend Margy at Petit Chat bakery. It was delightful to talk with Margy and enjoy pastries together. After that, we drove up to Green Bluff to (as you can see) pick cherries! We picked exactly enough pie cherries for a batch of sour cherry jam. The picture below is my mom showing my housemate Pam and me how to pit cherries with a paper clip. So easy! We also picked Rainier and Bing cherries, all from Cherry Hill Orchard, whose owners go to my church. After Cherry Hill, we walked around Eleven Acres Farm and chatted with the farmer and enjoyed the new microbrewery at another farm. It was lovely to be relaxed at Green Bluff. I'm usually on a mission and fail to enjoy the process of picking food that farmers have so carefully cultivated.

On Saturday afternoon, we had some down time and then enjoyed raspberry lemonade with Dottie, my college mentor and friend. Saturday evening we enjoyed a steak dinner with broccoli, watermelon, and this delicious orzo "risotto" from one of Mark Bittman's cookbooks. My coworker mentioned a couple weeks ago that she broiled steak and loved how it turned out. My dad loves steak, so I used the last $20 of my June grocery budget to buy two quality New York strip steaks from Egger's. We were not disappointed. The broiling method worked wonderfully and the meal was delicious. 

On Sunday, we had a big waffle breakfast with cherry compote, went to church, hung out in the afternoon, and went up to church again for a concert and hot dog dinner. Oh yeah, and we also cleaned the ice that had been building up in my chest freezer. That was quite the process! In the end, it was pretty easy, but I was so glad my mom and dad helped me out. I would never have had the gumption to clean it on my own. Everything's all neat and tidy in the freezer now and is being filled as we speak with fresh raspberries. 

On Sunday night, I brought out all the leftovers from all our meals and found that we each had enough left for meals for another week. It was such a pleasure to make meals for my parents. Foolishly, every meal I made for them except two were new recipes. It could be unfortunate that every new recipe I tried worked out splendidly. :) I discovered soba noodles and liked them so much, I'm going to make another soda noodle dish tonight with zucchini, cabbage, and green onions (from my garden!).
After breakfast together on Monday morning, my parents drove back to Portland, and I drove to work. It was a lovely weekend together. I'm so grateful for my parents' companionship. 

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