Archive for June, 2007

Psst, Buddy, wanna see some cheesecake?

Posted by julie on Thursday, 28 June 2007, 14:39

Cherry cheesecakeUncle Eddie would be so proud. This cheesecake is super, but the cherry sauce is too sour, although I’m sure we won’t have any difficulty polishing it off. Note to self: sour cherries need LOTS of added sugar. When the peaches come in, I’ll attempt Uncle Eddie’s peach-blueberry pie. Now if only I could make chruschiki.

Diaper Dash!

Posted by julie on Thursday, 28 June 2007, 12:11

Sylvan’s first 60m raceThe Oregon Track Club hosted the first All-Comers’ Meet of the summer season last night, and Sylvan ran his first 60 meter race, affectionately known as the “Diaper Dash” in the one-year-old category. He received a pretty purple participant ribbon, and, except for the one moment of “Hey, where’s Mommy?” panic (which just preceded this photo, with its jubilant “There she is!” smile), he ran like he always does – a lot.

You’re so dapper I can’t even look

Posted by jonesey on Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 14:39

Sylvan and Daddy at Andrew and Diana’s wedding.

dapper boys

Gateau Surprise Chocolat Pistache avec Ganache

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 22:09

Gateau Surprise Chocolat PistacheDoesn’t this just make a tasty picture? It tasted pretty darn great, too. Courtney said, “You MADE that? I thought you bought it.” The recipe came from 101 Cookbooks, a website to which Diana pointed me. Some of the site’s recipes involve too many items I’d never find in my kitchen, but some of them are quite simple and delicious.


Posted by julie on Saturday, 23 June 2007, 21:10

Sylvan, observing squirrels in the park: “Scould’l runnin’. Scould’l peein’. Scould’l walkin’.”

Man (German? Italian? Swiss?) descending Half Dome, when asked about the climb to the top: “It’s great, but the squeals are chewing through packs to eat peanuts.”

Happy Birthday: 21 Months

Posted by julie on Thursday, 21 June 2007, 13:31

Dear Sylvan-

To celebrate your 638 days on Earth, your Dad and I left you for an overnight with Gramma Diana (and cousin Hanna, Aunt Stephanie, Uncle Chris, and Grampa Tom) in Mammoth Lakes, California. We don’t remember if we’ve both left you for an overnight before, but we had a fantastic opportunity: a grandmother who is HONORED to be left alone with a stubborn toddler. Of course, you weren’t stubborn with her; you were charming and witty. And, after spending 24 hours with her, you’re also smarter.

Chris and Julie stand atop Half DomeAnyway, we left you because we wanted to walk up Half Dome, that much- photographed hunk of granite at the east end of Yosemite Valley. A 17-mile round-trip hike with 4500 feet of elevation gain, we thought it would be a massive undertaking. But, perhaps because we were so exhilarated to be free from chasing after you, it was a piece of cake — well, a hot, dusty piece of cake.

After driving three hours from Mammoth, we pulled into the trailhead parking lot at 6:30 p.m. After changing into hiking clothes and packing up, entirely ignoring our surroundings, Chris noticed a ranger slowly wandering through the woods, and he thought she was looking for stealth campers. But no, she was keeping an eye on two bear cubs who were circling around their mama, who’d been darted to sleep before her transport out of the Valley to another part of the park. The rangers were trying to round up the cubs so all three could be tagged and moved together. We didn’t stick around to see what would happen next, since it was already 7 p.m. and we had 4.5 miles and 2000 feet of vertical elevation gain to go.

Chris on steps in front of Vernal Falls7 p.m. is the right time to head east on the well-traveled Mist Trail, we found out. We passed a few dozen people heading down, all of whom looked completely exhausted. But no one else was going up, and it was nice and cool and gorgeous as the sun set. We passed Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, and the Mist Trail has a rather unbelievable number of well-engineered granite steps that make climbing 2000 feet pretty bearable; my Achilles tendons appreciated it. We made it into our campsite at Little Yosemite Valley at 9:15, set up our tarp, put all our food in the bear box, and fell into bed, setting our alarms for 5 a.m.

I awoke at 12:20 a.m. to rumbling and ground-shaking; I though, sleepily, “Thunder? Tractor? Rangers scaring bears?” I fell back to sleep. It was an earthquake, I found out the following day, with its epicenter just nine miles southeast of Mammoth Lakes. Then I awoke at 2 a.m. to people walking past the tent, talking. Then that happened again at 3:20, and I helped those lost ladies find their way to the composting toilet, where they spent the rest of the night, since they’d misplaced their tent in the dark. I couldn’t get back to sleep until 4, so I ended up with fewer hours of sleep that night than when we’re with a screaming toddler. The irony of being woken up by helpless humans in the middle of the night, even when we’re three hours from our son, was not lost on Chris.

Chris and I woke at 5:15 to pack up camp and head up the trail. Two men in jeans and sweatshirts, Nalgene bottles and a plastic grocery bag of food swinging from their hands, kept a steady pace ahead of us, and they pulled away from us when we stopped to eat breakfast. Never underestimate hikers in jeans. They are tougher than you in all your polypropylene.

The last 800 feet of elevation gained on the hike is on granite — first on perfectly-placed steps switchbacking across the slope, then straight up the steepest section, assisted by cables. When we reached the base of the last slope, we looked at the lightning warning, at the pile of work gloves that folks have left to share with those who don’t bring their own, and straight up the fifty-degree slope of granite smoothed by many feet. I sat for a moment, collecting myself, feeling lightheaded, probably from Plavix and the fear gathering in my clenched jaw. This past Saturday, four days after our climb, a man fell off this last pitch and died.

Julie holding Half DomeWith some triceps exertion, we made it up the cables without a hitch, ate our Snickers bars, took some photos, and headed down into the shade. Although it was only a bit after 10 a.m., the temperature climbed rapidly, confirming the wisdom of a 6 a.m. camp departure. Most of the hikers who were on their way up looked and acted exhausted, probably because of the dusty 85-degree heat.

You were amazing this month, Sylvan, and we won’t forget to document your feats. But your Dad and I really enjoyed backpacking together again, talking and walking without having to chase after you or ply you with raisins. Thank you for having a ball with Gramma Diana and her assistants.


A late father’s day tribute

Posted by jonesey on Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 15:24

And by “tribute” I mean “Hey, Dad, thanks for teaching me stuff!”, not “My dad was a great guy, we’ll all miss him.” Not the morbid kind of tribute.

This is from Ian Frazier, in next month’s (July 2007) Outside magazine, in a feature called “How To Do Everything,” thirty-six short pieces that pretty much cover the title subject. Frazier’s piece is called “Leave a Motel Room.” It’s about how to pack up your stuff while minimizing forgotten items and door-slamming that wakes up your sleeping neighbors. Here’s the last bit:

For the very last, I always get down and look under the bed. I have never once found any forgotten object there, but I always check just the same. On family trips when I was little, my father always used to do that last of all. He has been dead now for 20 years; I like to imprint on my mind the same under-motel-room-bed vista that he saw. At this moment of transience, it gives me a reassuring sense of eternity.

I couldn’t have said it better. I do the same thing and think of my dad every time. One of these days I’ll call him to let him know I didn’t find anything under the bed this time either, but thanks for teaching me to look.

dads and sons xmas 2006


Posted by julie on Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 11:53

And we have a perfect porch for enjoying it.