Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Food

Last Friday, Lois burst in carrying bags of food--shrimp, clams, veggies, and an enormous amount of spirits--and announced we were having a feast. No special reason, just it was the weekend, ergo time for a party. She exploded into activity preparing a shrimp cocktail, cooking pasta, and steaming clams in wine, and mixing several different drinks while we waited for the food to cook. Of course, the wait was worth the time.
The shrimp was tasty, with delightful flavors playing around on my tongue. The clams on pasta was okay; I found the wine sauce too tart for my taste, but the clams were excellent. This was the first time either of us had cooked fresh clams; it turned out easier than it looks; and they were excellent.
I had no problem with any of the food, but by Monday Lois was experiencing stomach cramps, which she thought came from having too much seafood at one time. She took a couple days getting over the Friday night party. Next time maybe we should have only one new dish, and several new drinks for a party.
Still I think it was great time. We need to look for more reasons to celebrate and find the joy in life.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Most trips we undertake are planned, at least to some degree, but ocassionally we are taken by someone on an excursion without knowing what to expect. On a recent trip to Germany Dawn, my daughter, and her husband Pat took me and a few of their friends to a Christmas market at a castle near Regensberg. I expected to just see the traditional tables laden with merchandise, food, and drinks. She did not tell me much more than it was really nice, so I was not expecting a great deal, other than a different setting for the Christmas market. By time we arrived late in the afternoon, and we walked about a quarter mile to the castle, which stood on top of a sheer faced hill about five hundred feet above the valley. Night was settling on the land.
By time we arrived at the top of the hill string lights strung in the trees and along the little shacks for merchants provided a dreamy and festive atmosphere. Crowds of visitors strolled along cheerfully talking, sipping mulled wine, snacking on pastries, and exmaining the displayed wares. Slowly I was caught up by the sense of wonder settling over the little village on top of the hill.
Later I learned the castle's history dated back to the Medival Days, when Christianity and paganism struggled against each other. When myth and magic still gripped the minds of the people. Slowly I felt as if I were walking in a magical world. Two knights in chain-link armor, wearing dark blue woolen cloaks, were strolling among the crowds of modern visitors. Then under a tree four people raised the long Swiss Alp horns to their lips and began playing beautful mealodies; a little further and a man was instructing youngsters in archery, as if preparing them to defend the castle against attack; a blacksmith was instructing a youngster to shape orange glowing metal on an anvil. Then a traditional German Santa Claus, dressed in a red robe with white trimming, moved among the crowds giving candy to the children.
As we strolled along with milling mass of people, we came to a group of people being handed torches, and suddenly Dawn and I were each given one. We became part of a torchlight parade wandering through the castle courtyard, our torches casting dancing light as we snaked through the night. Eventually the parade formed a large oblong circle outlined with little containers of flame on the ground. We laid our torches on the ground at out feet, and on the far end of the circle were a couple with the appearance of a pagan priest and priestess. Shortly the priest strutted aroud the circle with a little stick of flame and began blowing fire into the night air. Then the priestess stepped forward and began dancing around with circles of flames spinning around her body and over her head. Music blared through the night air as the two danced and lit the dark with the fire they controlled. The mass of people surrounding the two fire dancers soon were captivated by the dancing couple, and then suddenly the music and fire died out; leaving the watching crowd to slowly return to the reality of the night, and the present.
As we left the castle I began wondering if we had really been captured by a magic moment, or was it just an appearance of magic. Was the fire priest and priestess real or just some performers putting on a show; does magic still appear, and take us captive for a while? I wonder.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

wine and chocolate

Yesterday Lois and I drove over to Port Townsend, WA just to get out to enjoy the sunshine, and stumbled onto the Wine and Chocolate tasting event. A group of six wineries joined together to feature their wine and pair it with chocolate. At the first winery you can buy a card listing all six wineries and get a free wine glass. The glass and ticket are good at each site, which allows you to taste their wines, one of which is especially featured to go with chocolate. We found two of the wineries. One winery had good wine, but none of the wines had any real character. It was smooth tasting, and would be good with a meal, but none of their wines were outstanding. The second had plenty of character--in their wine, and in the people working there. The wine was flavorful and caught your attention with each sip, either tickling your tongue with tartness, or subtly playing with your taste buds. Lois and I both enjoyed their Meade. The honey brew was every mellow and enticing--have to be careful not to too much, too fast; it was that good.
We plan to head back that way next week to discover the other four.
In our travels we stumbled on to a cheese store. I can not resist a good cheese shop, and this was a little hole in the wall, with some exciting cheeses. I'll get more into cheeses in the coming weeks. Also we got to explore an underwater war museum operated by the Navy. There were submarines, divers, and some interesting technical stuff, but more about this later this week.
The fun thing about making little pilgrimages is the unusual things and people you get to see, and you don't have to go that far. Well have a good day

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A new adventure

So a new journey begins, new experiences lie ahead, and the excitement of a new pilgrimage with all of its fears, excitement, and wonder lie before me. Yes, this blog is just another journey I am undertaking, and it is just as much a journey of discovery as if I were boarding an airplane for a foreign destination. It will be a fun time--rather I should say an interesting time.
Like many of my journeys I have begun this on with uncertainity and a degree of dread, wondering what will happen ahead. My uncertainity lies in whether people will be interested in the things I will be telling about, but then I realized it is not about what people think, instead about what I have seen and experienced that I want to describe. So like it or not I invite you to join me on this little excursion.