Weekend with hiking, trail work, and sagebrush dye

This weekend we were off again on another hike.  I love the outdoors and nature but the real reason is that my French (French in a good way) wife Isabelle is making us go again.  So you have some context around this “making us go”,  I need to let you know that she is really cheap…  umm….ya… I mean it in a good way. (hope that keeps me out of trouble when she reads this).   In an earlier post I mentioned that Isabelle bought a “Utah State Parks Annual Pass”.  That pass cost a ‘whopping” $75 dollars and she is going to make sure we get our moneys worth.

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This week we are hiking the Dutch Hollow Trails.    I am very familiar with this area since when I was about 16 years old I had a “winter camp” here.  I hate winter camps more than I currently hate our “Utah State Parks Annual Pass”.  Way back then the goal for the winter camp was to learn “survival”.   With this in mind I was suppose to sleep in a “snow cave” I had built the week before.   Snow caves are suppose to help you survive but mine was more of a homemade deep freezer.  I remember retiring to the cave and noticing that my sleeping bag was frozen to the ground.   Being wise beyond my years, or  maybe just not stupid, I left the cave to place myself in front of a huge fire.   That night instead of sleeping I spent the entire night  feeding that fire wood and alternating my front side and then my backside to the fire’s heat.  I did learn the best way to survive the cold extremes of winter is to stay home.

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As you can see Dutch Hollows is primarily scrub oak and sagebrush.   The trails are awesome for mountain biking and well kind of crappy for hiking.    There is not much shade and well you are continually stepping off the trail to let bikers pass.  Of course all of this didn’t deter Isabelle from pushing us onwards.  (Got to have a positive return on that 75 dollar investment)

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Along the trail we came across a “station”.   This station had pruners and a shovel rake combination thingy… kind of like a huge spork.  The sign read “volunteers make trails better”.   We decided that we would volunteer to do our part.   The sign stated follow the direction of the red arrow and mark off 60 paces.   Isabelle started marking off the distance but I told her that it would be better if Ben did this.   Out loud I said it would be good for his counting.   In my head I knew that his short legs would walk off the smallest distance and to ensure this I whispered to him to take very small steps.

We then started cleaning the trail. (jesh…I thought our 75 dollars paid for this)

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Doesn’t this newly groomed section of this trail look awesome!

I have complained some about Isabelle and these hiking trips but they make me remember my grandfather.   He was not a church going kind of guy but he used to tell me that being in nature was his church.  He saw the hand of God in everything… and I do as well including in my wonderful family.  I again am proud of the boys and their mother for their hard work and their willingness to make things better for others.

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After all of this work (around 30 minutes) we decided it was time to hike home.   I noticed all of the sage brush and decided I wanted to see how well it dyed wool.   I think sagebrush blue/green is beautiful but I knew that would not be the color I would get.   All of us grabbed large handfuls of the sagebrush and carried it back to the car.   Ben said he loved the way it smelled… (that is before I started to boil it).

I will not go into much details since I followed the same steps as when I dyed with onions (previous post) minus the baking soda.. Readers of the last post ask me about the smell of the onions… let me just say… onions are nothing compared to the eye watering smell of the sage.

Here are pictures that show the steps and outcome… (minus lots of words… and the smell)

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You can see that the sagebrush dyed the wool a nice yellow.  I had expected yellow (googled it) but was worried when I first saw the brownish color of the water and then worried more when I saw the florescent yellow color of the wet wool.  Fortunately the color mellowed as it dried.

Thanks for taking time to read this… Now… get out and go for a hike (I mean that in a good way)

Weekend Dyeing with Red Onions

This weekend I decided to continue playing around with natural dyes.  This time I decided to give red onion skins a try.  I have to admit that I am fascinated by natural dyeing techniques.   I wonder about the person who thought of trying onion skins to dye stuff.    Was he/she weird? or brilliant?… was this an idea generated from careful thought and experimentation? or just a happy accident?   What did they dye?

Geek fact…. evidence of textile dyeing has been found all the way back to the Neolithic period (stone age)

I am a red onion dyeing virgin.  (That is quite the confession).   I have read up on this and have seen pictures.   All of which has created this urgent need and excitement.  Red onions are magic… and can produce a very surprising color.   I was anxious to see if I could get that color (you will have to read or scroll down to see what I was chasing after.)

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I bought 5 very large red onions.  I only need their skins and you can see that I put the skins in a gallon of water.   I have a “non-reactive” pot (at least I think it is) and I threw all caution to the wind (danger is my middle name) and used tap water this time.   (Every other time I have bought distilled water to know exactly what I was starting with… no minerals or other stuff that may change the outcome)

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I put on the heat and simmered these skins for about and hour.   You can see the color is a red brown.

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I soaked both single ply wool and regular washed wool in an alum mordant.

Mordant Recipe and Instruction:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 6 grams of alum
  • 6 grams of  tartaric acid
  1. Bring mixture up to a simmer then add wool.   (DON’T stir the wool unless you want felt.)  
  2. Let this soak for at least one hour.
  3. Rinse wool… again being careful not to turn it into felt.   (always add the wool to the water never poor water onto it and keep extreme temperature changes to a minimum)

This mordant process is suppose to help with both the intensity of the color as well as helping to set the color.

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I added just the yarn (wet) to the dye and being lazy didn’t remove the onion skins.   Ben came by and asked what I was cooking.  I had him convinced that I was making cow brains for dinner.   (Ben was disgusted and said that he was probably allergic to brains)  Doesn’t this look like brains?

I could see it turning a beautiful rosy brown…  but that is not the color I wanted.   (Rosy brown would be too obvious.)

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I decided to play with the pH and see if I could get the color I wanted.   I tried baking soda first.   Water has a pH of about 7 and baking soda moved it up to around 9.   (I have litmus paper).   This did the TRICK!!!   I don’t have a picture of the solution since I was too excited to remember I was documenting this.  (Remember this is my first time)  I let the wool simmer for about 40 minutes in the dye bath until I got the intensity I wanted.  I then hung the yarn to dry.

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Green color from red onion skins

HERE IS THE COLOR…

My kids say this color is “diarrhea green” but I think it is more of an avocado green.   There is a bit of irony to this..  using red onion skins to get avocado green and in a past experiment I used avocado pits to get a pink (See photo below)

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Pink color from avocado pits

I plied the yarn and then decided to add it to a scarf I am knitting.   Actually a scarf is the only thing I know how to knit… and well my knitting needs practice before I try something new.    Here are some pictures and you will note that the “avocado” green goes very well with brown…. (No diarrhea scarf for me)

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I love this green color and will probably be doing this again.  I am lucky that Isabelle is very patient…. that is as long as I figure out something to do with all of the “skinless” onions.  (had the same problem with the avocados)

hmmm… maybe a tarte aux oignons?

Do you have an idea for these onions?…

Weekend with Waterfalls

This weekend we decided to visit a nearby place called Sundance.  This is beautiful area on the slopes of Mt. Timpanogos.  You may have heard of this place… or maybe not.   It is the location of the Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Ski Resort and I think a lot of this area including the resort is owned by the actor Robert Redford.

We were going to drop by and say hi to Robert… but you know how actors can be… talk… talk… talk… and we had some serious hiking to do.  (I didn’t know this at the time. I was hoping for a lazy Saturday and thought we were just going to take the lift to the top of the mountain… oh the deception… Isabelle)

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My daughter Gwen was excited because she had been here with her friends and they hiked up to a waterfall… Stewart Falls.  Isabelle and the kids wanted to do the hike and I tried to convince them that we were already at the falls… (see the above picture…unfortunately none of them fell for it)

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We bought our  lift tickets and because we were more than 4 we got a family discount. (10%… how awesome…).   I hadn’t noticed that my camera lens had a smudge and almost all of my pictures on the ride up show this smudge on the bottom right side. (you can see the blurry spot on my son’s shirt in the picture above… Sam is my oldest son)   Luckily I saw this before we started hiking and cleaned it so only half the pictures suck. How annoying it would have been to have every picture blurry.

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When Ben got on the lift and we started the ascent I could sense his excitement mixed with fear. (youngest son… love the missing teeth… note that darn smudge)  He kept telling me that we could probably survive if the cable broke… we just needed to land on our feet.  He also said that dying would be much better than being killed.  I am still trying to figure that one out.    (Every good adventure must have a little bit of life threatening fear moments)

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Isabelle and Sam road in the chair in front of Gwen, Ben, and I.   Sam was laughing at his mother because she kept saying that it was much scarier than in France.   She told him in France there was a bar that came down and without the bar it didn’t feel as safe.   Well…  They have the same bars on these chairs but she didn’t see it nor pull it down.   All the while Sam knew about the bar was not going to tell her.  You can see the bar above their heads.

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You can put your mountain bike on the side of the chair and ride with it up to the top and then have an incredible descent on that bike to the bottom.   Ben noticed all of the many bikers and he continually yelled “Hello… Bikers!”.

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There were several places mid ride where you could get off and bike or hike around.   I don’t know if you have noticed the signs… but I wonder who this “Ray” is.

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With my penchant for “weird pictures” my kids are always on the look out.  They noticed this sign and Gwen said, “Dad here is one of your pictures”. So I took it.  I am not sure what is happening to that poor guy but I feel really bad for him.

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The lift didn’t just go up but it went up and over then down the other side.  Once at the bottom we caught a second lift to the top of the mountain you see in front of us.

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Here is a view from the chair almost at the top.   This is looking back at midway where our “bunker” is.   (Actually I call it our “bunker”… If you ask Isabelle it is our “Country Home”).   On our way up I kept hearing a high pitched buzz… like grinding metal and I puzzled about it’s origin.

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At the top I realized what I was hearing.   If you look in the picture above you will see two cables on the right (above that dang smudge).   These cables are zip lines… crazy ones.. in fact there is four zip lines in all.

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Doesn’t this look amazing… and I am sure they will survive the cable breaking if they manage to land on their feet.   I really wanted to do this but Ben was too young and well even he wasn’t I don’t think I could have convinced him or his mother into going.

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The view from the top from both directions is awe inspiring.   This is looking down the opposite way of the zip line… breathtaking isn’t it… even with the smudge.

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There are buildings on the top and one of the lift operators mentioned that we should try the nachos.   Ben is allergic to milk so nachos are out of the question… lucky for him Isabelle packed celery.   (I laughed feeling sorry for him but he said he loves it)  Isabelle wanted to hike down from there and we started whining.   In fact we whined so much that one of the workers at the top said if you want a great hike take the lift mid way down and from that point take the Stewart’s Fall trail.

SO…. THAT IS WHAT WE DID… what a fantastic and kind of dangerous hike!

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I say dangerous… and we were warned.   If you read the top sign above you will see that the trail is going to be a “real hike”.   The second sign below it states that the trail was “more difficult than normal” with water to cross, snow, fast moving runoff, and other obstacles.   (I was excited to see what other obstacles would be there)

I had to warn the kids that this is a hike they could not “play around” on.   I warned them that it was going to be very dangerous.   Ben responded with “don’t worry dad… danger is not my middle name”.

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This trail had its “hard” moments but it was often shaded, mostly down hill since we were starting from the top and it offered amazing views.   I was a tiny bit worried because I had no idea how far the trail was and wondered when Ben or the other kids would start to complain.

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The closer we got to the falls the more dense the plants became.   The kids pointed out the plant in the picture above stating that they think Dr. Seuss got his ideas for his trees from it.

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One section we had to cross a small water fall and the rocks were very slippery and the “down” side of the trail was very steep.  I didn’t take a picture of that and you unfortunately can’t tell from the pictures below… but it made me rethink our hike for a small moment.

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As I carried Ben across he looked less afraid than on the lift.  It warms my heart that he trusts me so much… but I wonder if I should teach him to be a bit more skeptical of my capabilities.

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We finally arrived at the waterfall and it was spectacular and also crowded.   Most people hiked up to the falls on another trail and we had no idea that there would be this many people.  Gwen and Ben decided that they “had” to walk under it.   I said go ahead and was going to just watch.  I then became weary and decided I had best go with them.  I don’t know what I was thinking… while it was very warm outside this water was ice cold.  After seeing me do this, Isabelle and Sam decided to avoid the “fun”.

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You can’t see me but I am holding Ben’s hand under the water while Gwen is watching us come out.   (She was suppose to go through with us but when she felt the icy water she immediately abandoned us and ran through to the other side)

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Here we are out of the falls soaking wet and freezing.   I didn’t think this through very well… especially when it came to the wet chaffing clothes that made the rest of the hike miserable.  It was already getting kind of late so we decided that it was time to get home.  I still didn’t know how long this would be and it turns out we had two miles to hike before we would arrive back at the resort.

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After arriving back at our starting point I was ready to get home and believe it or not still wet.   I am very proud of the children and how well they did on this hike.  Not once did I hear a complaint nor any fighting.   In fact they helped one another through the “hard” parts and were quick to offer each other encouragement.  (sometimes families rock)   Definitely a fantastic weekend!… and we didn’t have to worry about dying or being killed.

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Weekend with Yogurt Cakes

This weekend I wanted to share a recipe… to be more precise a lemon yogurt cake recipe.  This is a simple recipe and is often a “Side Effect” of making raclette cheese (raclette recipe). A very good side effect not like the ones you often have from medicine.

hmm… writing that makes we want to search for “weird side effects”.

Being a person prone to impulses.  Here is a small list of weird side effects found while searching for “weird side effects”:

  1. Blue Urine – antidepressant Elavil (amitriptyline) or the common pain reliever Indocin (indomethacin)
  2. Black Urine (how awesome) – antibiotic Flagyl (metronidazole)
  3. Purple Urine – phenolphthalein (laxative…)
  4. Tinting your vision blue or green – Viagra
  5. Priapism (I am not going to explain this one look it up) – antidepressant Desyrel (trazodone). 
  6. AmnesiaMirapax (for restless leg syndrome… which is weird) and Lipitor
  7. Anosmia (loosing sense of smell) – Vasotec (blood pressure medicine)\

That is probably enough… very interesting stuff but nothing to do with my lemon yogurt cake recipe.  (I have not had any of these side effects… but I don’t think I would mind the different urine color side effects.)

 

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milk for the raclette and my yogurt maker

 

Again… (I need to repeat myself because I went so far off topic)  when I make raclette I have to make yogurt and I often (almost always) make yogurt cake from the left over yogurt.

 

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Here is the raclette cheese just out of the press… 

You don’t need to make the yogurt or the cheese to enjoy this recipe and I promise while the recipe is very simple… you will end up with a very delicious cake.

 

Ingredients:

 

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Steps:

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Step 1:  Mix together the eggs, yogurt (plain), and butter.  My butter was cold… so it was lumpy in the batter (which means lots of stirring)

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Step 2: Grate the lemon zest and then add the freshly squeezed lemon juice.   If you are like me you will probably end up putting lemon seeds in by accident.  This should probably be avoided.

Step 3: Mix in the rest of the ingredients (sugar, flour, and baking soda).   If you have kids let them measure with the yogurt pot.. it is kind of fun… and messy

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Step 4:   Put batter in a greased pan, mold… or maybe even cup cakes.  This cake doesn’t take to “fancy” molds very well… seems to crumb a little… Or I just don’t know what I am doing.  I would also recommend small molds the batter seems to cook better.

Step 5:   Bake at 350º f for at least 30 minutes.   (Until it is baked all the way… poke it with a tooth pick and it should come up dry.   The time really depends on the size of the pan it is cooked in).

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VOILA… the delicious end result.(trust me)  You can also see ones I made in a smaller mold below…  (I posted this picture over a year ago in my raclette making post… back then I thought I should share this recipe and it has only taken me a year to do that!)

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Week in Westminster

This week I find myself in Westminster Colorado.   I am attending ÜberConf… and no this is not a conference for uber drivers.  (although an uber drivers  conference would have the most diverse and interesting attendees… just not sure what they would talk about}  When I started this blog I stated that I would not talk about work… (Oh the duplicity…).   I still will try to omit work details and just show some interestingly weird things from Westminster.

There is going to be a little bit of story telling as well… (sorry)

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My family and I are a bit sad that I am gone again.  I was sitting at the airport a little down and on a very “tense” conference call when I noticed that the coke I had purchased had my name on the bottle.    This made me smile… I took this picture… and then everything seemed much better.   Isn’t it strange how little things can make such a difference.  (Wonder if it is because I am an incredibly simple guy… or maybe I am just narcissistic)… oh ya… don’t tell my family that I stopped missing them after I saw that my coke had my name.

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I arrived early in Westminster and my co-worker suggested that we visit the “Butterfly Pavilion” near the conference hotel.   I thought this sounded like an interesting name for a lounge or bar and said sure.    It was neither bar, lounge, nor restaurant.   It is exactly what it sounds like… a bug place.

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One of the first things I saw were domino cockroaches.   Probably the only cockroach you could consider cute.  (Cute relative to other bugs… not “cuter” than my daughters Gwen and Hanna)

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OK… hmm (not sure that I should I write this).   In the museum they had a display that allowed you to smell…  well… smells.   They had tall smell holes and short smell holes connected for some odd reason.   When I saw someone use this smelling contraption for the first time I noticed that as they put their nose to the top smell hole… the bottom hole was positioned… well exactly at their… hmm crotch.   I initially thought this was some weird thing to allow weirdoos to smell themselves or a way to help you understand dog greetings without offending another person…. but nope…

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And they had bees… along with a bee counter. (not to be confused with a bean counter).   Most importantly… they had a large butterfly section.   It was in a very large net enclosed area with beautiful plants an of course a scary amount of butterflies.  There is something incredibly calming when you watch butterflies flittering around… well that is until you step on one.   You are not suppose to do that… but it requires much more attention than I initially thought.   (It was an accident… promise)  I thought I would have awesome butterfly pictures but after taking three or four pictures my phone died… (I immediately  regretted wasting batteries on the cockroach, smelling thingy, and bee pictures…)  Here are the butterfly pictures  I took.  (I didn’t take one of the dead butterfly on the walk way… you know… could be used as evidence)

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Our mission is to foster and appreciation of invertebrates while educating the public about the importance of conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world

Butterfly Pavilion Mission:

After this visit I definitely gained a appreciation for invertebrates… even the detritivores… Big word that I learned and I am going to just throw it out here like I know what I am saying.   The Butterfly Pavilion was earnestly committed to their mission statement insomuch that if just visiting didn’t foster appreciation…. they offered the chance to eat invertebrates with beer.

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I guess you will need several beers before you will be willing to eat some of their “unique, delectable dishes”.   (I wonder if they server butterflies…  I actually think I could eat one)… They also have an alternative for those who don’t drink alcohol…

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“INSECTIVAL”… kind of reminds me of “Festivus”…

OK… enough bug stuff… and a little bit about the conference venue… By the way this conference has a tag line of “no fluff, just stuff”.   I am not going to focus on the stuff… I will just share some of the fluff…. I found while being out and around.

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The hotel where the conference is being held is fantastic and has some amazing grounds. I have really enjoyed walking around during the breaks… (my fluff time).   While walking around I noticed that there are wild rabbits everywhere.   I think they should advertise this hotel as a “Rabbit Pavilion”.  The pictures below are just a small sample of the rabbits I saw… and no… they are not the same rabbit.  (Different sizes, colors and locations)

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LOTS of rabbits… I have a great idea I am going to go “sell” to this hotel

“BUNNIES and BEER”….

 

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Just Got HOME! (Last Pictures from Israel)

I just arrived home after a long flight.   I was fortunate (read that with sarcasm) to sit in the same row as two very large men.   I was by the window and every time someone would walk down the aisle, or bring the cart down the aisle, the two gentleman would have to squish into the row which crushed me into the side of the airplane.   This happened the entire flight…  twice while I was asleep… knocking the wind out of me.  Luckily the flight was only 11 hours (read that again with sarcasm).   I didn’t think that things could get worse but the very large man in the middle seat fell asleep on me.   When he finally woke up the left side of me was soaking wet with his sweat.  (wow I probably shouldn’t complain…   I am sure it could have been a little bit worse… you know like the plane going down and killing us all)

I want to share my last day with all of you.   I had hoped to have at least half of a day open to go visit somewhere cool… or even just somewhere other than work and the hotel.  Unfortunately I had too much work… or maybe it was not enough time… either way I was not able to go site seeing.   (I am going to just share my last day… next time I will make sure I have enough time… maybe even visit Petra)

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Here was my last breakfast…   yep… desert for breakfast.   I am going to have to go on a serious diet to make up for all of the eating I have done this past week.  I tried supplementing my meals with a little bit of healthy options.  (Enough to take away the guilt… )   I fell in love with the pears in the picture below.  I have no idea what kind of pear they are but they are “mini” sized.   I was able to eat one of these and not ruin my appetite for the real food… you know cheese cakes, fruit tartes, Belgium waffles and of course halva.

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After my breakfast feast I went on my last morning walk.   Here are some picture from that walk.

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This fish was on the walk way… being guarded by a cat.   I pulled out my camera and the cat ran off and hid.  I have never seen a camera shy cat before… imagine… scared enough to leave behind this prize (still got his picture of it… see below)

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I didn’t have much time for this walk otherwise I would have sat on this toilet… pretending to go…you know… just to watch other people’s reactions.   (Next time I really need to plan to have more time for the important things like toilet pranks)

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In Israel Sunday is the beginning day for work and Thursday is Israel’s “Friday”.  In our office Thursday you can count on two large challah loafs on every floor.   I am going to have to find a recipe for this brioche like bread… (am still working on my halva recipe… looking for help if you know how to make halva… please leave a comment)

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When I visit other countries I love visiting the grocery stores.  It is always fun to see what is the same and what is different.  Plus it is free to visit unlike  a lot of monuments and museums… you just have to put yourself in a “zoo visiting” state of mind.    Especially when looking at the people.  People watching is fantastic at the store since people are most like themselves while shopping. (you know… seeing them in their natural habitat… just don’t try to feed them… ).  I love seeing everything written in Hebrew…   I am still struggling to learn Hebrew and my mind keeps changing the Hebrew characters into English ones.  I didn’t realize that the store’s logo was English and Hebrew.   I thought it read “stop!  Open”.   I noticed that the second word was not English on the last day.

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Speaking of Hebrew… “Shin” is the first letter I learned… and it’s sound is “sh”.  (This was also the first letter in a word I learned during a meeting שתוק“shutup”) I remember this letter because you see it alone everywhere.  Many of you know what you are looking at… but I had no clue until I asked.   This was on my hotel door and you will find these little tubes with this letter on many doors.  (Every door at my office has one).  I learned that these are called mezuzah and have a small prayer written inside.

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Not all of the stores have Hebrew words… like this store…   “Gentleman It’s a Man’s World”…. what a long name for a store.  When I entered I was glad I had a beard… you know proving my manliness.  I wonder if they let women shop there?

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And then there are places with no English… (other than a coke advertisement).   This is where I had lunch on my last day.   I went with co-workers and they wanted to eat hummus.   I thought I didn’t like hummus, since I had only eaten the hummus you buy in the store… plus in my ignorance I thought hummus was just a chip dip.   They offered to go somewhere else but I wanted to see how you could make a meal out of this adult baby food.

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I practiced the name of what I wanted… which meant everything… and ordered it here.  (picture above and darn it… I have already forgotten how to say the name).   Watching this gentleman prepare my dish was like watching an artist.  He painted on tahini and hummus, plopped in onions, parsley, and courser ground chickpeas (not quit hummus), and swirled in sauces and oils.  I caught him before he plunged the egg… not sure I wanted hard boiled egg mixed with all of that stuff.  He signed the work of art with red spices… not sure what kind of spice but I imagine paprika.

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Here is my lunch and I was not sure how I was going to eat this…   But it was fantastic.  I was completely wrong about hummus and it is definitely “meal worthy”.   I think I only got about half of the bowl eaten.   I mentioned not being able to do any site seeing but this lunch on its own was an interesting view of this regions culture.   I think we often forget that a meal can be an exotic vacation alone in itself… plus the food doesn’t mind when you stare or take pictures.

The day quickly ended and I had a plane to catch… but had three hours to waste and I spent it on the beach.

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I got to spend the last night on the beach with a sunset… so romantic… made me really miss Isabelle.  (I am not sure I should say it was romantic without her… don’t want her to get any ideas.)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Working in Ra’anana

I am going to post some pictures  with possibly boring words talking about and showing where I work while in Israel.  This post is “self/life logging” at its worse…

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Don’t hate….this is acting as my personal journal and I wanted to “remember” where I spent the majority of my time while in Israel.  Above is my work’s office building located in the city of Ra’anana  (it has taken me three visits here before I learned how to say the city’s name)

This is going to make me sound dumb but the first thing I had to learn in this office, to fit in, was how to operate the elevator.    Yes… I know how to push buttons and the numbers are in English… but it is different.   The picture below is the outside of the elevator.   They are “too cool” to have just an up arrow and a down arrow… they have an LED screen and a key pad.

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In the elevator you have only five buttons… one to close the door, one to open the door, one to sound an alarm… and well two others that I have no clue what they do.  (see picture below)… Of course I had to push the other buttons several times and those two “dot” buttons did nothing.

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On the outside of the elevator on the keypad you punch in the floor.   That sounds simple… but here is the tricky part… there are 4 elevators marked A, B, C, and D.   You have to watch the screen after you type in the floor and it will tell you what elevator (one of the four letters) will be going to that floor.

You can’t just get in the first elevator that opens the door… ummm like I did.   It may not be going where you need to go and once you are in the elevator there is nothing you can do… you are at its mercy.  I have no idea how the seeing impaired use these elevators.   While the outside keypad has braille, the letter that shows up on the screen is not voiced… nor touchable… how would they know which elevator to go into?  (see I am sensitive and  think about accessibility… and yes… I am trying to make up for the previous blog’s “cripple beach” comment)Random Israel 26

The building has great flower beds, lily ponds, and even a roof top garden.   If it wasn’t so miserably hot and muggy I would have sat in the gardens during lunch.  I am not sure that I like the heat and humidity here… but the views are fantastic.  (Most of them I enjoyed from inside the air conditioned building.)

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Very beautiful work environment at least when I am not “working”.  When I am working I am often “parked” in a bomb shelter that moonlights as a conference room.   I have to admit it kind of makes me think about where I actually am and my safety.  I have never felt unsafe while in Israel but I have also not had to work in a bomb shelter.  I keep thinking that there must be a reason for these.   I am not sure I want to experience that reason…. hmmm if you think about it what a scary place… (with bad cell phone reception).   As a side note…  These bomb shelters are on each floor and they have hatches in the far corners that lead either up to the shelter above or down to the shelter below.

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My co-workers are fantastic… love to argue but brilliant.  The company is great and they are kind enough to give me a card that allows me to have “free lunch”… Everyone in the office enjoys complaining about the food but I found the cafeteria to be better than average(that is better than average for a cafeteria).  It is kind of fun not knowing exactly what you are eating half of the time.

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I hope you have enjoyed a small peak into my work day.   Again I really appreciate you taking the time to read my words.  As a reward I will leave you with this picture of a blue cow in front of the cafeteria.

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