Saturday, August 7, 2010

Things I'm loving lately

In recent past there have been several things I've been excited about. (I'm always excited about *something* but this is worth extra excitement.)

Excitement #1: Lavender lemonade

I had my first lavender lemonade at the Dog River Coffee Company in Hood River, OR, last Saturday. It was AMAZING! It was so good that I knew I had to make some for myself. It was the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day. I found this recipe and decided to try it out the other night. I had bought some dried lavender a few weeks ago to make some lavender ice cream, but that hadn't happened yet, so lemonade it was!

This is my awesomely crappy cellphone picture of the process. I have the lavender steeping, while the lemon juice is getting nice and cold in the ice.

I'm going to mention now that I don't measure things, although I did measure the sugar this time. (Well, I do when I'm baking, too, but I digress.) The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of lavender, but I think I may have used more like 1/2 cup. Also, I put about the correct amount of lemon juice in at first, but then ended up adding more because I LOVE lemon flavor! So it was pretty lemony. I highly recommend trying this recipe and then playing with the amounts yourself!

Excitement #2: My bike

This bike has been in the process of being made for well over a year and, as of last week, it is finally done!!

I moved to Portland in August, 2008, with my bike Matilda. She was beautiful in a way only a bike mother could love. She had been bought at a police auction by my friend Joey, then fixed up well enough to ride around Ketchikan. He then bestowed her upon me. I spray painted her gold. Like I said, she was beautiful. My friend Kate and I rode bikes almost every day when the weather was cooperating (basically, not raining sideways - it IS a temperate rainforest, after all). When I moved to Portland, I brought her with me.

Unfortunately, the problem with free bikes is that sometimes they're not completely worry-free. Jonathan (dear boyfriend and quite knowledgeable about bikes) took one look at her and proclaimed her a little unsafe. To be more precise, the fork was bent and she was so rusty that he was afraid she would fall apart under me while I was riding. So Matilda went to live in the spare bedroom and that was that.

Enter Jonathan building me a new bike. It took over a year and lots of saving money (we had a bike fund that direct deposited a set amount from my paycheck into it), but as of this month my bike was finally completed!

He knows more about the details than I, but, let me tell you, this is a *nice* bike. I love her frame (Soma's Buena Vista mixte that is the perfect size for my height), the color (the EXACT color I wanted), the Brooks saddle, and (possibly my favorite thing about her) the custom cherry wood fenders, handmade for me (made from recycled hardwoods!) by Woody's Fenders in Bend.

This bike is a dream to ride. I had never once thought I would have a bike made custom for me, but Jonathan did just that. He is amazingly talented!

My new bike's name is Eleanor. Why my bicycles have old lady names is beyond me, but I like them and they seem fitting somehow.

This is the only "good" picture of Matilda I could find. After Eleanor was finished we took Matilda to the Community Cycling Center to donate her. She was a great bike! I would say "while she lasted," but Jonathan would debate that statement. :o)

Excitement #3: Ethiopia Harrar Longberry

Right now I'm drinking a cup of one of my absolute favorite coffees, which is also the coffee of the month at my coffee shop. It's Ethiopia Harrar Longberry and it is DELICIOUS. I first had Harrar seven years ago this very day (not kidding). I was at the Blueberry Festival in Ketchikan and found a guy selling coffee and had samples of this coffee that had hints of blueberry in it, in honor of the Blueberry Festival. I tried some and was immediately hooked. I bought a couple bags and was so happy.

I was working at Tongass Business Center at the time. This man, whose name I found out was Steve, would come into the shop to buy office supplies. I constantly bugged him about coffee. It turns out he was going to have a little coffee stand at the college, which was perfect since I was starting school again later that month. I bought coffee from Steve all throughout fall and spring semesters and when it was getting to be toward the end of spring semester I told him if he ever needed help at his shop that I would love to help. Eventually he did and in April, 2004, I became a member of The Green Coffee Bean Company!

So that's how this very coffee got me to where I am today, still working for The Green Coffee Bean Company, although as the Field Agent, versus the other hats I have worn there (manager, barista, gopher, office person, etc.)

Excitement #4: Dog River Coffee Co. tiny coffee mug

I drove to Hood River last week for the main reason of picking up this coffee mug:
I first saw it three weeks ago when Jonathan and I were heading back from a camping trip in Washington. We needed more coffee than we had originally made at the campsite and I had remembered seeing the Dog River Coffee Co. sign in one of our previous trips to Hood River. When I saw this mug I immediately fell in love, but I didn't buy it right away. I don't really NEED any more thermal coffee mugs, but there were a few things about this mug that I really, really liked.
  • It is only 10oz. I liked the tiny size. Small things are cute, right?
  • They have Lewis & Clark on the label. One thing you will soon know about me is that I am a huge Lewis & Clark nerd. Total 100% nerd-dom. I read books, go on Lewis & Clark site adventures (road trips to sites where they stopped), research them, etc. If it has to do with my history homies, I am all for it.
  • I love Hood River because it reminds me SO much of Ketchikan in Oregon, so I like supporting it.
I was supposed to do a food foraging workshop on Sauvie Island last week, but the time changed and I didn't find out until it was too late, so I had a whole day ahead of me. I decided to go to Hood River and pick up this coffee mug! (I also went to the Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River to enjoy one of their crazy fabulous IRAs and fill our growler up with the stuff. Lemme tell you, that stuff is SO GOOD OMG. One of my all-time favorite beers, but you can only get it in Hood River. I dream about it.)

So that, my friends, are four (five if you count the IRA) of the things I have been super excited about lately.

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