Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Good People of Vancouver

Courtesy of Pirate Girl's Triathlon Adventures on Blogger
The day I left for Washington state, for a wee childhood trip home before my new perma freelance job begins, we went mountain biking. More like trail biking. Well, anything with holes and roots and bugs the size of my sneaker--and more holes and roots that make me wanna throw up several times mid-trek--should be considered something akin to biking a mountain.

And as usual (and by usual, I mean all of the five times I've gone mountain biking--besides the little roller coaster of a course at summer camp when I was nine and fearless), I lose my grip many a time, many a bump, and my shins meet the spiky pedals--cousins of my nemesis road bike clip-in pedals, or cleats. But it's like running in the rain or hitting the gym at 4:45 in the morning. Hard core. And if you can bring your mind to rest on the Eclipse soundtrack funneling through your ear pods, and the beauty of the summery tunnel of a trail you are actually traversing, you feel that blessed reward.
And then I'm easily lapped by Cary and fellow Naval officer. Awww fuck.

Ahh, but a bestie and I do go for run in the rain around Vancouver Lake once in Washington, and my faith in being hard core is once again restored. And then I wanna throw up. A few times. But we trot along to the tune of mileage we're proud to say we did, blocking out the damp air and mosquitos for the sake of heart health. My friend and I watch her rock star baby mama and bum knee coworkers fade into the distance a bit. Sigh. Awwwmazing.

Courtesy of SodaHead; read the article.
We consider 'plus size model' as a very desirable job. We agree coconut M&Ms are delicious. We realize if you eat a few coconut M&Ms, you are in the running to be a plus size model; they look completely normal and healthy (both the models and the M&Ms) and therefore the category is not at all aptly named. However, there is something to be said for a six-foot tall weeping giant sequoia stomping the runway at fashion week. We stop running, and there's that blessed reward again. And dry heaves.

Blizzard, any one?

The sun visits every now and then in Washington, and when it does, it's glorious. My mom and I walk along the waterfront after lunch at McMenamins, the Columbia sparkling and shuttling sailboats along. The windows of the lucky condos big and clean. We stroll malls bigger than Cordova in Pensacola.

My dad and I laugh at "hot tubbing by the hour" offered in downtown Portland before wolfing down grape leaves and chicken dipped in baba ghannouj at our beloved Lebanese restaurant, Ya Hala. The three of us then head to a full scale model of the tabernacle that held the ark of the covenant if you believe in the Bible's Old Testament exodus.

There's no rain. We tour the tabernacle, following a soft old man who speaks well and into a microphone connected to an amp at each location. The tour guide requests a volunteer who then proceeds, a bit sadly, to use a very real looking sword to cut the throat of an innocent stuffed lamb, whose cotton neck really does look like it's lacking some stuffing. This is what the Israelites (consisting of 12 tribes) escaping that evil Pharaoh did out in the wilderness outside Egypt, with Moses and Aaron and the whole motley crew, to remember that sin costs life. Especially Jesus' life. The man sitting next to me looks like Larry the Cucumber from VeggieTales.

We move on from the altar areas to the next stage, the more exclusive outer room (it might as well have been marked PRIESTS ONLY), and even though I just ate lunch, I wonder what the showbread would taste like if it wasn't plastic. The third stage is where the ark of the covenant has been recreated. I learn the Ten Commandments were probably made of sapphire stone and therefore blue. This is cool news.

* * *

A friend made dinner for me last night. Again. It's fast becoming that every holiday or visit, she cooks for us, even if it's just me now. And it's always perfectly, absolutely fun and satisfying to the brink of a calorie coma. But then she explains a bit of the healthiness, and I remember her true culinary talent lies with making hedonism part of a healthy diet.

Besides great conversation, some laughs, some opening night football, and learning how to make garlic cloves spreadable on crustina-like bread (wrap all the cloves up in foil for an hour in a 400-degree oven; that's easy, so no qualms)--the cherry tomatoes from their garden (the sweetest I've ever had!), Tillamook's Grandma's Cake Batter ice cream (it actually does taste like cake batter, and has chunks of frosting, unlike those frozen yogurt attempts!), as well as wonder dog and the cuddliest cat ever!--were all the cherries on top. I would send her some bright, fresh dahlias if they weren't already growing swimmingly in their garden.

Needless to say, the good people of Vancouver are showing me a good time. On the docket are some vampire show finales and premieres so I can't complain even about the time running out since the days need to pass. I'm making a mental note to try and visit the vegan grocery store I can never remember the name of and catch a weird movie at Fox Tower 10. Then it's back to Florida where Cary is hitting the books, running out of casseroles, and the seven and a half legs are climbing all over him.

But I'm so enjoying being this full.

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