musings of a malcontent

seattle native, teacher w/out a classroom, bookkeeper, drinker of coffee and red wine, a constant work in progress

Archive for the category “out and about”

a culinary epiphany

it was one of those moments where all noise and sights and smells ceased to exist momentarily. the only thing i was aware of was the taste explosion happening in my mouth and the delicious fragrance wafting up to fill my nose with pure delight.

bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese.

i had my malbec, she her merlot…  it was a post-work dinner and drink girl’s night. we sipped our wines, and savored the small plates of food. marinated olives, pear and goat cheese bruschetta with balsamic reduction sauce, warm caprese over crusty bread, and the plate the stole the night, the glorious bacon wrapped dates with goat cheese. never have i had dates, outside of an unfortunate tryst with a fruitcake maybe, and my skepticism was put to rest. she suggested them, i trusted her, and i’m all the better for it.

the aroma of the bacon, the crunch followed by salty baconny goodness that only bacon can have, followed by the soft sweet date that melted together with the cheese… it’s been many many hours since i enjoyed them and i’m still revelling in their goodness.


Seattle’s Fisherman’s Wharf

old and dilapidated boats living in harmony with the new and improved, the lapping of the water on the side of the pier, the smell of the sea air as the wind gently sweeps the marina, the colorful reflections on the water, the net piles from fishermen’s boats, the laborers toiling over their boats, the people strolling up and down the docks… it’s truly relaxing and beautiful.

something so small

i saw it laying there on the ground.  it was still smoking, this cigarette butt that had been tossed carelessly out the window of a passing car, or dropped by a pedestrian.  so recent was it that the small swirls of smoke still swirled about at the whim of the breezes created by the street, so recent was it that you could still see small twinkles of red ember at the very tip.  i looked around.  there was a smattering of people, some up at the cross walk, some with windows rolled down on this unseasonably warm winter day, and some marching on in the opposite direction.  behind this discarded cigarette was a person.  a person with a story.  where were they going? where had they just come from? what led them to smoke? were they stressed? were they celebrating? were they having one hell of a day and coffee just wouldn’t cut it? were they mad and needed to get out and walk around a bit? were they addicted and needed a fix? were they cutting school? were they using any excuse available to get out into the beautiful weather? were they running errands? there are people everywhere all co-mingling in this petri dish town.  from all walks of life and going to who knows where.  the idea of littering, initially a turn off, makes me stop to ponder that something as small as this smoldering butt on the ground could make me take notice of what usually is a blur or movement out of my periphery and i see people.  live actual people with whom i coexist.


she was early for her appointment so she decided to find some coffee. she drove around the block and pulled into a nearby lot. she found the nearest of the 3 Starbucks’ in the complex and pulled into a parking space. she checked her sweater to make sure it was adjusted right, checked to make sure her hair didn’t look as tragic as she thought it might, and stepped out of her car. upon opening the door, she was greeted with the most delicious sourdough bread smell. it was like one of those movie moments where there was an angelic choir singing and the sky opened to the heavens. except, it was overcast with very ominous looking clouds and there was no music. but there were a few cloud breaks where sun was trying to come down, and the Escalade parked a few spaces down did have some pretty angelic music coming from it, for rap anyhow. she hadn’t had bread in over a month and the smell of that warm sourdough was almost enough for her to forget the positive results she was seeing from her diet. she took deep sniffs as she walked across the parking lot to the Starbucks. she took one more whiff and entered the coffee cave full of screaming children, coffee grinders, and small groups of men chuckling to themselves and women discussing the terrible thing that is congress. she ordered her grande drip coffee, poured a little cream in it and quickly made her way back out to the world of sourdough. but the smell was gone.

street musician

he sat on a busy downtown corner doing what he loved, playing music for whomever cared to listen.  and for that matter, those who didn’t.  his spot all laid out, he jammed and grooved to the rhythm of his drum beats.  the music oozed out of him and flowed as naturally as wine from a bottle.  it was a chilly night  but the atmosphere was festive for the upcoming holidays.  people of all kinds walked past him.  most ignored him but some listened as they quickly made their way through the cool night air on their way to their final destination.  he sat cross-legged on a blanket, his drum in his lap.  his floppy corduroy hat sat just slightly askew on his head, with strands of  hair sticking out in every direction from underneath.  he was in a musical zone, glancing up every now and then.  and then he saw her.  she was walking with a group of her girlfriends on their way to somewhere, he didn’t know.  she was laughing, smiling and dancing to the beat of his music thoroughly enjoying herself.  he smiled and quickly looked down.  she didn’t notice but her friend quietly whispered to her that he had smiled at her.  she looked at him and smiled too.  as she rounded the corner, she couldn’t help herself but to again move to the music that flitted through the air after them.  it was almost uncontrollable, as if natural instinct.  she’d never see this street musician again but through his music and energy and smile, she found him likable and a sort of kindred spirit.  he watched the trio of girls turn the corner.  he’d brought joy to someone and although they hadn’t spoken a word, and although she gave him no money for his music, and although they hadn’t said a word to one another, he liked her he knew.  never to meet again, connected through music, the two strangers went about their evenings, ever so slightly more filled with happiness and hope that joy is still attainable.


she sat there reclined, her feet up on the dash watching the picturesque scenery zoom past them as they drove back down the winding and mostly deserted road.  he took another causual puff of his cigarette and blew smoke out towards the cracked window.  they drove in silence for a good chunk of time, listening to music and enjoying the afternoon.  the sky in front of them was a beautiful mix of the last of the day’s sunshine and dark menacing clouds moving in to push the sun into final surrender.  the silence was nice.  it was the type of silence that comes from the comfort of quiet happiness, contentment and being truly at ease with the other person, which is rare to find.  the music that swirled about their heads was like their personal soundtrack, giving a mellow and c’est la vie vibe to the end of a perfect day.



just before this picture was taken, we were “playing” in some old military bunkers (the camp we stayed @ was Fort Flagler) and i was running in the pitch dark and tripped and totally fell and twisted my bad knee.  i was and still am walking all wonky, hence the huge walking stick and my strange posture!  we blamed the ghosts of soldiers past for tripping me… makes me feel less dumb!


this is Michelle being all super sassy and stuff.  she is modeling her new (used) camping flannel in which she purchased especially for this trip.  the previous owner (bill) wrote his name with marker on the inside collar.  her camp name was from then on… Bill!






here Jen demonstrates the proper way to eat red vines whilst camping:  3 at a time from a 4lb. tub!! we have decided that red vines are the crack of candy… they’re so frickin addicting!! we took solace in the fact that they are fat free.  it made us feel less guilty for engorging ourselves on them.





while coffee was a staple for us on our camping trip, i’ll be honest… this particular picture, i am drinking whiskey.  it was just after we got back to the campsite and my knee was pretty tender.  Jen says whiskey makes everything better!  while that may not be exactly true… it was mighty tasty and i felt all sneaky and stuff drinking it from my mug!














it was pretty cloudy the day we ventured down to the beach but it was still pretty warm.  you can either camp in the upper loop where we were which is in the woods, or down in the lower loop which is by the beach.  mostly campers and RVs camp down there.  it was a great beach!  nice and sandy, lots of sealife, and great open views. 




we roasted our potatoes in the fire coals.  it would have worked out really well had we monitored them a little closer and not charred them.  it was all good though, we scooped out the insides and it was still good.  it’s a good way to do rustic potatoes!  this method also works for a great banana dessert.  you take a banana, peal back a strip of peel, put peanut butter and chocolate and if you want, marshmallow in the slit of the banana, fold the peel flap back over and tightly wrap the whole thing with foil.  then you set it in the coals and let it get all melty and stuff.  SO GOOD!!!

6373_1179398757975_1018328069_555223_5856938_non the ferry on our way over to Fort Flagler!  so much fun.  3 days in the woods is all you need to feel like a get away. 

random musings and reflections from camping:

*as much as it pains me to say this, i feel i might be too old (or wimpy!) to sleep on the ground with no air mattress anymore.  we were all so sore in the morning!

*apparently it is a federal offense to mis-use your bug spray.  oops!  it was so fun to spray it over the fire (not directly into it… we at least were safe in that regard!) and watch it sparkle and fizz.  🙂

*vegetarian chili (Nalleys) is actually pretty good!  it satisfies the vegetarians and non red-meat eaters (Michelle!!!) among you but is also delicious over a hot dog.  yum!

*camping at old military forts is awesome!  everyone loves playing in and on and around all the old bunkers, armouries, barracks, and gun magazines! 

*we got to go to a cheesery (probably called a creamery) and watch them make cheese.  it was really interesting!  and delish.  if you’re on the peninsula, i’d recommend going to Mt. Townsend Creamery.  they make good stuff!

all in all it was a great time.  i haven’t been actual camping since i was in high school.  none of us had!  we all came back sore, dirty, tired and slightly hung over from too much sugar but it was so worth it!

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