Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Traditions

Holidays have their ups and downs and this year was no exception, but the long weekend with cold rainy weather kept us inside, well fed and comfortably cozy.

Over the years we have lost many of our holiday decorations and to make holiday decorating easy we simply put out more candlelight, but next year we'll invest in some evergreens (missed the smell) and maybe a wreath.

We don't have any holidays traditions we do each year other than eating. You could say our holiday tradition is to eat whatever we've been craving with wild abandon.

Although recently there has been one event that has repeated itself the last few years...possibly the beginning of a holiday tradition? Eggs Goldenrod for breakfast on Christmas morning.

This egg-based-gravy over toasted English muffins tradition has us thinking maybe there's something to this whole holiday tradition thing. We could easily imagine having chicken mole for Christmas Day Dinner every year like we did this year.

And end the holiday with an epic game of dominoes and beeritas.

We are much more into what we will be eating during the holidays over what gifts we may receive. Enjoying an overindulgent meal with loved ones, all the while knowing we don't have anywhere else to go for a while is what the holidays are to us. But we did get some cool stuff too. Like this cute little birdy bottle opener. It will make a great addition to our newly set up bar.

And this bad boy 10 inch copper tamagoyaki pan from Japan.

Maybe homemade tamagoyaki could be our next holiday tradition!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Since we're buddhist we don't celebrate much on Christmas Day, everything happens for us on Christmas Eve. And since we're somewhat Heathens we'll take any reason to celebrate! Hope everyone has a great Christmas Weekend!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fall Rewind

Whoa! What happened to the last 6 weeks? Life happens like that for us, we look down and blur, blur, blur. Like most Pacific Northwesterners our moods go downhill after daylight savings happens, which occurred while we were trying to catch some sleep in the Atlanta airport. Something about getting to work when its dark and leaving when its dark that makes people go crazy here.

That didn't seem to happen to us this year. We're really enjoying the dark cold winter weather, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we finally figured out how our radiant heated floors work making our house a balmy tropical oasis where you'll find us lounging around in t-shirts! Unheard of previous years!

We started the fall with a bang! Temperatures dropped slowly and gradually letting us wind down with the weather, taking in beautiful autumn walks through the park. Seriously we enjoyed this everyday for weeks!

Then the heavy rains came and all the leaves were gone, turning our neighborhood into large flood zones. Not due to the large amounts of rain, which we guess made national news, but due to the large amounts of leaves clogging up the gutters. It seemed like any typical late fall to us.

A way-over-hyped-mini-snow-storm, some more rain, more cold temperatures gave way to a few days of cold, but crisp, clean and gorgeous sunny days.

Just enough time to assess the garden, yard, and weather proofing. There's always something to do around here to "prepare" for the weather. But mostly our preparation this year has consisted of trying as many bowls of Japanese pork raman we can get our hands on!

That's our early fall in a nutshell. There was also much wedding planning, a smoked turkey, car bombs (the drink) and wet dark bike rides with the sounds of windchimes guiding us home.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic fall! Here's to winter! Winter Solstice was pretty fantastic too with the eclipse, which was clouded out here, but we could feel the gravitational pull! Yes, pulling us indoors to enjoy some couch time, wool socks, library movie marathons, wassail cocktails, and candle lit relaxing!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to Reality

We are officially back from our time in Costa Rica. Did it go by too fast? Of course it did. We arrived home with a renewed sense of the world. How do you ask? Well, we realized there is a much better place to vacation than Mexico or Hawaii and that we really need to start exploring places south of the US border.

Yes, there will always be a dreaded layover, but if you have family to visit in any of the southern states it makes killing time in large international airports worth it. Plus we got the bonus of a mini-tour of Atlanta and a nice Thai food dinner.

Unfortunately the flights schedule was a bit off and we ended up overnighting it in the Atlanta airport for 9 hours. We tried to sleep away the time, which proved pretty difficult.

In the end it was totally worth it. We were able to see family and that's always a good excuse to fly indirectly home from a vacation.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Forest Patterns

Hiking in a rain forest isn't about the views, but the plant life.

Once we were able to take our eyes off the slippery hiking path and look up, we realized how beautiful the forest patterns were.

Nature can be so beautiful and inspiring.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

That's Why They Call It a Rain Forest

Have you ever been hiking in the Pacific Northwest of the United States? Well, it's a lush, wet, green canopy full of moss and undergrowth. In other words, its beautiful. It really is, so we weren't too distracted by the Cloud/Rain Forest of Monteverde at first, until we realize things don't grow like this back home!

There certainly aren't palm trees as big as our dining room growing in the old growth forest just 30 minutes away from our house.

For a measly $14 we were able to hike through this pristine ecosystem that we had to ourselves due to the heavy rains of the wet season that seem to keep everyone away. We didn't care, it's a rain forest, you've got to expect some rain! Although due to the thick canopy, the rain was hardly noticeable - at first.

We decide to hike over to the observation bridge and out to the observation deck overlooking the Cloud Forest. A nice 2-hour hike that would give our lungs a nice dose of oxygen!

You could say the plant life is the star of the Cloud Forest, but we would argue the path the local government cut through to make the Cloud Forest accessible to its visitors was pretty impressive as well.

Unfortunately the open tiled path was a bit slippery and uneven that we spent a lot of time looking down, which provided us the opportunity to enjoy the lesser known inhabitants of the rain forest. This guys was actually pretty huge. Just crossing the walkway.

We had read about Monteverde's suspended walkways all along the rain forest and immediately thought of Vancouver, Canada's top tourist attraction, and extremely scary Capilano Suspension Bridge. Fortunately Monteverde's observation bridge is nothing like the the heart-stopping-swaying suspension Capilano Bridge, but a solid steel bridge high above the rain forest canopy.

The view was absolutely amazing. It was very Jurassic Park, as if any minute a huge ancient bird was going to burst through the thick clouds.

We continued along the beautifully green and lush hiking path to the observation deck.

When we reached it there wasn't much of view, other than the inside of a cloud.

Sure, we've seen plenty of the inside of a cloud, but for some reason it was really mesmerizing.

Plus the forest plant life was colorful and interesting.

As we started to make our way back to the main entrance, it began to rain and we were looking forward to having dinner at an interesting restaurant back in Santa Elena.

The Tree House Restaurant is a well known restaurant in the Monteverde area. Situated literally in the middle of a massive tree, the restaurant is hard to miss, on the main drag in Santa Elena, a small town you must pass through on the way to the Monteverde Forest.

The food was good, but the coffee and friendly staff is why you should stop. After a wet and exhilarating hike it was exactly the pitstop we needed before heading back on the crazy road down the volcano.