Daily Cleansing Meditations: Bed and Breakfast Volume I

We will give daily thanks for our mothers who taught us basic housecleaning skills. And also, thanks for hotel workers who clean an entire room in 15 minutes. You are our heroes.

We will crack the breakfast eggs with caution so there are no crunchy shells.

We will try not to eat all of the coffee cake batter before it’s baked.

We will not let spiders control us, even if they jump out of duvets or shower drains.  Using the Force has failed to kill them thus far, so we will continue to search for more creative ways of destruction. 

We are strong women, we build fire. And not just because our hot showers depend on it.

We will give daily thanks that we are not in the the heat and humidity of the lower 48; we will enjoy the seeming perfection of a high of 77, light breezes, and mid-afternoon mini-thunderstorms.

We will provide the property fox with yummy food scraps via the compost pile, and for the neighborly ravens, there will always be egg shells to play with.

We will never again complain about doing laundry, and copiously give thanks that we don’t wear fitted sheets everyday.

We will try not to kill all of the plants, despite our unfortunate track records. Although it might take more than two non-green-thumbed girls to bring down this rhubarb:

And to the local moose: no, this is not a challenge. Scram.

We will strive to take breaks from a sea of pancake batter, scrambled eggs, and coffee in the morning to appreciate our company. When else could we possibly have an American, a German, Dutch, Brit, Swiss, Hungarian, Canadian, and a former NFL linebacker at the breakfast table?

 

 

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Since forever ago

I know, I know. It’s been a long time. But since summer has started and there’s more to do, I promise there will be more posts. We’ve just done a whole lot of working and not much else.

Emily’s other job has become “Cat Whisperer.”

Our apartment building is full of cats, ( a surprising fact since our apartment charges $50 per month for a cat…yikes) and I guess the owners just kind of let them wander around. The landscaping around the apartment is well on its way to being a jungle:

so suddenly we’ll see the grass tremble and shake, and then BAM- cat face in our window. It’s really cute. So is Emily playing with aforementioned cute cat. So much cuteness.

Emily crocheted me a chicken. So much cuteness.

This past weekend we climbed a mountain. It kicked my sad little non-Jillian-Michaels butt. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, but the views along the way were well worth the pain, groaning, stopping every 5 minutes (for my sake…I was the weakest link.)

But when I went to work and told all my uber-Alaska-lifestyle, let’s-go-scale-that-peak-and-then-snowboard-back-down-on-that-glacier coworkers that I climbed Bird Ridge, they looked at me in amazement and told me that’s one of the hardest hikes in the area. Boo-yah.

So here’s what’s coming up next: in just a few short weeks, Emily and I will head off to Tok, Alaska to run a bed & breakfast for 2 weeks. We stayed there on our trip up, and the owners took us up on our offer to run the place while they go on vacation! We are greatly excited for it, and I’m sure we’ll have lots of stories/time to blog more frequently.

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When you have trouble saying no to cookbooks

I have a thing for cookbooks. Behold, my latest purchase.

A few months ago, I checked the store for this cookbook. We had never had it, probably because it was too new. So I forgot about it. Then last Saturday, within 1 minute of clocking in, my boss Angela presented me with this book and said, “Didn’t you want this book?”

I have such wonderful, thoughtful coworkers.

“Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” is mostly a cookbook, but with many funny and endearing stories to go along with each recipe. She grappled with the idea that “homemade” is ALWAYS better, and set out to make lots of things we are used to just going out to the grocery store and getting, like hot dog buns, mayonnaise, and prosciutto. Then, based on the cost and hassle of making those items, she gives her opinion on if you should make it or buy it.

Some of it I will definitely take to heart- she sort of stomped on my romanticized idea of having backyard chickens. It’s actually quite expensive. But other things I disagreed with, such as her rant about homemade rice pudding. I’ve never purchased rice pudding from a store. Ever. Come on. It’s so easy. Try this delicious recipe that is made with coconut milk and honey.

BUT. The author and I have something very much in common. I think our fascination with food stemmed from the same place: Laura Ingalls Wilder. Here was someone who FINALLY understood the intrigue of salt pork! It had to be just like thick-cut bacon. My 7-year-old self salivated at the thought, until Mom told me it was actually just a big hunk of fat. Jennifer Reese actually tried it, and was disappointed. Thanks for saving me, Jen. But if you would go into my closet and open up each book of the Little House on the Prairie series, the binding would be broken right at the pages that talk about an elaborate feast. The dance at Grandpa’s in “Little House in the Big Woods.” Every chapter in “Farmer Boy.” The meager yet elegant meal they scraped together for New Years in “By the Shores of Silver Lake.” There was a time in my life when I would ONLY have salt on my baked potato (no butter) since that’s what Laura had to do during “The Long Winter” in De Smet.

Solidarity. I’ll suffer with you, Laura.

I’ve really been into these homemade/home-grown/local-ish food writing books lately, like “A Dirty Life” by Kristin Kimball, and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, both of which were amazing books. But I don’t have the sanity to do what they did. What I liked about “Make the Bread” is that she is more than willing to say, “Screw it, I’m buying boxed mac and cheese because it’s convenient.” She tried making these things out of curiosity, not because she wanted to be preachy about the benefits of making things from scratch. And she was very honest about the level of hassle. In her recipe for homemade Danishes, she describes the difficulty: “You will want to bludgeon yourself with your rolling pin about halfway through this project.” So…maybe no Danishes.

To recap:

*This is a good cookbook.

*You should buy this cookbook.

*I idolized Laura Ingalls Wilder.

*I’ll probably never make Danishes. Unless I’m feeling brave. Or am dared to.

And this is completely unrelated, but Emily and I shared a good laugh over this.

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Grüne Schauble Suppe, Käse mit Knöpfle, Etc.

Growing up in a teensy town like Freeman has its pros and cons, and it seems the longer I’m away from it, the more pros it has. Or maybe it’s because I’m getting older and more sentimental. (Who am I kidding, I’ve always been overly sentimental). Last week I spent some time at home and was able to take in Schmeckfest, an event I hadn’t been able to attend in 5 years. More on that later. But I noticed a few things (all driving related, apparently) that I feel are unique to a small town.

  • When I’m driving to and from town and I meet a car on our little county road, there’s about a 91% chance I know who it is.
  • And most of the time I know who it is just by their car.
  • I love that little one-finger lift people do when they drive by. No, not that one finger. It’s a barely perceptible pointer-finger lift. ‘Sup, it says. Sometimes if people get really excited, they’ll lift all their fingers, but never take their palm off the steering wheel. Holler back if you know what I’m talking about.

I left Freeman with a massive appreciation for a community that can put on a fiesta like Schmeckfest every year and make it look effortless.

Here’s a quick Schmeckfest history lesson for those who don’t know. Schmeckfest is a German word that means “festival of tasting.” And every year since 1959, thousands come to our little town and taste. Oh the tastes to taste. There are food demonstrations, history lectures, and a music concert during the afternoon, and then a huge family-style meal in the evening followed by a musical put on by community members. Sounds fairly straightforward, but this 2 weekend affair takes hundreds of volunteers to make it run smoothly. Thank you to all, you know who you are.

I stayed at the Miller Bed & Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner during the week- it was a full house. My grandparents and aunt from Pennsylvania were visiting and my brother brought a friend from college. There were enough mattresses for everyone, luckily. I got to spend precious time with some of my favorite people in the world- shout out to Alyssa, Lindsey, Natalie, and Jessica (we missed you Susan!).

(Look at those shameless photo-bombers!)

The timing was perfect and I got to meet Jessica and Derrick’s baby Jackson on the day he was born.

And of course, family time was much too short, since it seems family time only happens a few times a year.

It was a schmecken good time. Until next year…???

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Busy Busy

The past few weeks have been pretty full of Alaskan winter activities: Fur Rondy, the Iditarod, and a weekend trip to Fairbanks to take in the Ice Festival and the Chena Hot Springs. In lieu of a well-thought out, articulated, and witty-enough-to-keep-you-entertained commentary (some things you can’t force), I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Moose don’t mess around

Encountering a moose when you’re not in a car or bus, or when you’re standing in the doorway of your apartment is very, VERY different from coming across one when you’re walking home from work.

Yes, I discovered this tonight. Good guess!

I got off the bus and started walking, a lightness to my step because Emily was finally home. About 10 steps in, I just happened to look across the street and there was a MASSIVE moose, just chomping away on a tree.  I froze. Here is my thought process immediately after, in chronological order.

1. Oh my Lord.

2. Maybe he didn’t see me.

3. He saw me. Oh my Lord.

4. Don’t move.

5. Am I close enough to take a picture? (Seriously, I thought this)

6. He doesn’t look angry or agitated…that’s good I guess.

7. Well Bethany, what are you going to do if he charges?

8. Well Self, I could run to that house over there and bang on the door.

9. You were told to climb a tree to get away from a moose…where’s the nearest climbable tree?

10. I NEED TO CALL EMILY.

11.  DO NOT call Emily! Your voice will probably anger it!

12. Back away slowly.

13. Don’t trip and fall. He can trample you better if you’re already on the ground.

14. You’re wearing your snow cleats today, just kick him with the bottoms of your boots!

15. I wonder if anyone is watching this out their window.

By this time, I was far enough away that I felt like I could turn my back and start walking the way humans are supposed to. Still, I looked behind me every minute or so, just to make sure he wasn’t chasing me.

Tomorrow at work, I’m going to find a book that tells me exactly what to do in a moose situation. A moosuation, if you will. Never mind. Apparently the adrenaline went to my head. I’m going to bed.

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Haiku for my roomie

Last week, Emily hopped on a jet plane and took off to go surprise her parents (and a surprise it was, from what I hear. Poor Reba.)

So things have been a bit lonely over the past week. But she gets home on Wednesday, so we’re entering the home stretch! Still, she’s going to miss Valentines Day with me. So in lieu of a card or candy or a pretentious stuffed animal, here is a Valentines Haiku for Emily.

Snow falling in chunks.

Sheldon and I miss you much.

You “moose” come home soon.

I think I need to work on my impromptu haiku skills.

Love,

Roomie

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