Banh Mi

Divine Banh Mi from Neighborhood Noodle


Chasing the moon.


Neighbor's dryer vent stalagmite.


It is about a foot tall.


The Brandywine Inn in Grand Rapids


Waiting for Jim in the lobby of Calvin College.


I like blue.

Our weeklong vacation to Oregon featured cherished time with dear friends, running at altitude, theatre, dining, drinking, wildlife, beauty, way too much time in the car, yoga, more drinking, meteor showers, giant trees, a lake in a volcano, mosquito bites, untold numbers of deer, the threat of injury and death, winding roads, the Pacific ocean, salted caramels, family, cooking, the Prince of Denmark and more. Did I photograph all of these things? No. I was having too much fun. But here are a few. Click any photo to enlarge.

crater lake

Crater Lake has a little bit of everything. Alpine forest, pumice desert, and the deepest (bluest) lake in North America nestled a thousand feet below the (newish) rim of a volcano that exploded 7,000 years ago.

crater lake

crater lake

crater lake

Stephen, Michael, John and I ran the 6.7-mile Crater Lake Rim Run (there are also 13.1 and 26.2 races in the series). It was, mercifully, mostly downhill and breathtakingly beautiful (or that may have been the altitude of 7,000 feet). It's on a Saturday in August and they close the rim road for the race for the 550 runners who participate. Rather special.

crater lake

After Crater Lake we migrated to Ashland to see shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. On the dark Monday, Jim and I took a trip to the coast to visit my aunts and stopped at the redwood forest on the way back. Mind-boggling in scope, and these aren't even the so-called giant sequoias (merely the coastal redwoods). (Ignore the terrible photo.)


We were fortunate enough to see all kinds of animals on our trip: numerous deer, a pine marten, lizards, a marmot, a fleeting glimpse of a bear, foxes, and this wild turkey who came for breakfast at our rental in Talent and stayed to lunch. We spotted him later in the apple orchard chowing down alongside a doe, a buck, and two fawns.



roses of Sharon

A tiny fraction of the roses of Sharon along the driveway.

hosta flower

Hostas in bloom.


Wee dahlias and false indigo.


Pink roses.

The garden is finally filling in, now that it’s July. (In the back anyway. We won’t talk about the front yard, where I killed my accent plants through negligence in a heat wave.) Mostly this has nothing to do with me. The driveway is filled with blossoms from the neighbor’s roses of Sharon, which form a huge hedge of pink extravagance. Hostas will be hostas, and grow to inordinate size with no help at all from me. I did plant the dahlias, which are annuals I got at Flower Day in May. I also have raspberries (thank you, freecycle, last autumn) and tomatoes (thank you, Maple Creek Farm) coming, too. Come join me for a drink on my patio and listen to the cicadas!
roses of Sharon

Fishflies adorn the house

A new decorating scheme? Only an ephemeral one.

Oh, Stacey, you’ve redecorated! What is that fancy paint finish called…oh…wait…is it…moving? Yes, the fishflies are here, my friends. Forming very large arrays. Hitching rides on hapless runners. Flocking to streetlamps in the night and dying in big smelly heaps. Crunching under your car tires as you drive over their piled up corpses. As bugs go, they’re really rather benign. They don’t bite. They don’t even fly all that much. And they don’t come in the house much – at least not without being noticed. ‘Cause they’re large, you see. The easiest way to remove one is to pick it up by its wings, which are about the size of the pads of your thumb and forefinger, and find it a new location. The only thing really creepy about them, besides their numbers, is they way they all face the same direction on any given surface. Like they’re praying. Or in contact with a great leader. Best not to think about it.

fish flies on the house

While they often cluster on white or light-colored things, they seem to like the blue house just fine.


A sunlit fishflie on the siding. They come in dark brown, ivory or even green.

array of fishflies

They tend to form very large arrays.

fishfly and sock

This photographer was arrayed in fishflies herself while taking these pictures.


They have lovely long tails.


...and lacy wings (also used as handles).

garlic pulled and waiting to be loaded in the bin

garlic pulled and waiting to be loaded in the bin

Jim and I went to pick garlic at my farm today.  Came back with sunburn, gifts of zucchini and garlic, and bellies full of hamburgers (with roasted garlic).  Danny used the plastic lifter to uproot the rows of garlic, and we just had to pull them out and clean them up.  Lifter broke on the last row, though, so I attempted to wield the pitchfork.  Not my strong suit.  Still, with a dozen or more volunteers we managed to harvest 120 bushels!  The small bouquet in my kitchen smells divine.

(And no, the rip in my jeans was not because of mishandling the fork.  Instead I caught them on a wire on a greenhouse table, about thirty seconds after Michelle warned me about the wires on the greenhouse tables…)

See also: my previous trip to Maple Creek Farm and what I did with their strawberries.

staceys ventilated jeans and the pitchfork

stacey's ventilated jeans and the pitchfork

"farmer" jim

bouquet of garlic

stacey's bouquet

Halloween approaches and I am confronted with the prospect of Trick-or-Treaters!  I have candy.  I have a scarecrow (his name is Mr. Broomhead).  I have jack-o-lanterns.  Now we wait.

Oooh.  Scary.

Oooh. Scary.

Oh, to be unemployed in autumn with a bee in one’s bonnet!  I decided the spacious backyard of my rental house could use a bit of tidying and restructuring, so, with my landlord’s permission, and on a miniscule budget, I set out to give it a wee overhaul.

The original.  Pre-anything.

The original. Pre-anything.

I hacked away at ivy, I edged the lawn, I weeded, I planted perennials…but the major project was the new patio.

I found a boatload of bricks on Craigslist for $40.  Hauled them back to my house in my unhappy Ford Focus hatchback (in two trips – they would’ve all fit, but they were a bit heavy).  I had the smallest possible amount of paver base delivered from my local nursery (along with a loaner wheelbarrow) and, voila, the patio was born.

You can download an iPod/iTunes movie, replete with DVD-commentary-style voiceover, here.  (Please ignore the near complete lack of audio editing.  Clipping there is.  Just didn’t care to do it over…)

The patio in all its glory.

The patio in all its glory.

Mums the word.

Mum's the word.


After! Patio, perennials and all.

It is easy to look in the mirror and see only room for improvement, so it’s nice when even a gross driver’s license photo can remind me that I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress.

Before and after...

Before and after...

He’s huge.  (Click to enlarge!)  Look at how he dwarfs the lightpost.  And he seems an unlikely purveyor of guns.  Where is his?  In his cane?  But apparently he’s just a tradesman.  Wanna buy a gun, a knife, a computer, an antique, a sports card – visit this guy in Mt. Clemens, MI.  You…can’t…miss…him.

Alongside the 40th anniversay party were two events that are not likely to be repeated in the near future.

John, Melanie, Jim and Stacey in our BBFR tees.

The first was the Bare Buns Fun Run 5k.  “Be Brave, Be Tough, Beat the Mountain in the Buff!”  Yes, it was a clothing optional run at the Fraternity Snoqualmie nudist camp.  Yes, I can see the question forming in your mind.  I did not run naked (fear of pain) but in a bra and skirt (because I thought I would feel dumb in a bra and no bottoms).  Melanie and John also did not run naked.  We were conspicuously clothed.  Jim, however, did run naked.  As he put it, “I was going to be uncomfortable whether I had clothes on or not, so I took them off.”  No, alas, there are no photos, save this one, of us in our souvenir tees.

Honestly, for me, it wasn’t all the nudity that made the experience unusual, it was having to run straight up a mountain.  An impossible task for me, I might add, but DOWN was fantastic!  Who knew I could run so fast?

Bikini bottoms at the Flamingo poolside bar

Bikini bottoms at the Flamingo poolside bar

After that, there was a wee trip to Vegas.  I decided to be brave and wear a bikini.  My first.  It was a wrong-headed decision, and no, there are certainly no photos.

However, because I know y’all like a good bikini as much as the next person.  Here you go.

My favorite stop in Vegas?  The bar at

One (of three) vodka tasting flights at the bar at Red Square.

One (of three) vodka tasting flights at the bar at Red Square.

– a fabulously kitchy Soviet-era themed, very red establishment with a bar made of ice that specializes in imported vodkas.  Need I say more?  John, Michael and I were very, very happy with the twelve samples we consumed.