it’s definitely that time of year. the stockings are hung, the California mornings are foggy, and the school related things, as of yesterday, are all finished! So. Last Friday Morgan and I left right after school and drove to Fresno airport. We grabbed a bite and then at 7 flew to Seattle! We drove out to Olympia and stayed night there Friday night.

Saturday morning we drove to meet a customer and followed him on a half hour drive into the country to do some surveying for him. He is a wealthy Turkish man who owns a Turkish restaurant in Olympia and needed surveying done for possible irrigation of a beechnut orchard and kiwi vines. Morgan and I spent the day out in the Washington countryside driving around and surveying. The land was so so pretty with small rolling hills, lots of trees, and old stone houses with little lanes running to them. It reminded me of when we took the train through France. We finished up there and Mahmet had told us to come to his restaurant for “real” Turkish food so we drove back to Olympia. His restaurant’s name is Mediterrannean Breeze so we told the hostess a table for two but Mahmet waved us back and took us to a special table right by the grill where we could see what was going on. It was a very classy, upscale place with the traditional low Turkish style tables and chairs and just an overall classy romantic place. We weren’t sure what to order since we haven’t tried Turkish food before necessarily so we told Mahmet to surprise us with what he wanted us to try because he was super excited we were there. He told us he’d start us off by bringing cold appetizers, so shortly, a plate came out with six different styles of dips; bruschetta, artichoke dip, and rice mixture wrapped in grape leaves were some of them. Wed barely finished some of that plate when he brought a hot appetizer plate which had lamb wrapped in grape leaves, feta stuffed spring rolls, and a bulgar roll stuffed with lamb. Everything is top quality at this place and they have their own lamb butcher and also import everything straight from Turkey. Then he started with the main course with several plates coming out containing lamb sausage wrapped in pita covered with a tomato sauce, chicken shish, lamb patties, and beef steaks that absolutely melted in your mouth. Then mahmet insisted we try the rice pudding, Turkish coffee which was thick and sweet, and the pistachio baklava. When it came time to pay he told us it was on the house!! It was absolutely amazing. We left there so full and drove back to seattle for night.

Sunday morning tony,tara,Ethan, and Olivia met us at Pike Place Market and we spent awhile wandering through there while it rained incessantly and the water puddled on the cobblestones and you couldn’t tell where the sky met the sea. I’d been to seattle once but Morgan hadn’t been so it was cool to see what he thought of it. We bought ourselves some brown pottery shallow soup/coffee cups at the market and watched the men throw fish and ate hot samosas. Of course we had to hit my favorite French bakery and get apricot filled croissants and macarons and hot chocolate. It’s called Le Panier if you want to visit Seattle😁 We walked down by the water and had lunch and then went to Evo to look for ski stuff. Tony’s had the idea to go to the Panama Hotel for tea so we met there next. I dont know if any of you have read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but it’s a story about the Japanese being taken to internment camps and this Panama Hotel was where many of them left their belongings and their belongings are still in the basement of this hotel. Your view into the basement shows suitcases and shoes and different items that are from someone’s life in a different era. It’s very sad, really. Here is the link if you want a good read! So we had tea there which was very neat in this old rickety hotel with cozy chairs and lots of different kinds of tea. Then we said goodbye to Tony’s and headed for my favorite place ever which was a little holiday market in the loft of a building and it was all handmade, homemade amazing stuff. We follow a couple online called Drifters Fish who are from alaska and catch and smoke and sell all their own salmon and they just happened to be in seattle at this market so we got to meet them! They also drive a dark red vw bus with a beautiful wreath on the front. So we walked around and met the 12 or so vendors and ate goat cheese and wild salmon and herbs on toast and it was delightful. Then away we went back to the airport and got home around 1130. Such a fun weekend! It’s so much fun travelling at Christmas when the airports are decorated with lights and trees an all things pretty.

Tuesday night was school faculty supper at Steve and Diane’s where they served us ribs and other amazing things. Thursday evening was the school Christmas program in Atwater at the civic center. All went well, my students did awesome obviously, only one child got sick, and some of us went to Applebees afterwards since they dont do anything after the program, which I think is a shame. I have good memories of getting popcorn balls and candy bags at least! Friday morning we played games and opened presents. I got Starbucks gift cards, a basil plant, some money, and various other gifts. From my students I got the coolest thing ever! They gave me a Rosetta Stone subscription to learn another language and I’ve always wanted to do that so I’m so excited! Friday evening was Santa night at the fire station so Morgan was there all evening and I stopped in for abit to eat candy canes and have cocoa and talk to Santa who was a bilingual Mexican this year due to us living in Little Mexico.

This morning we packed like crazy and I hate leaving my house a mess so i did some minor cleaning. Joe’s picked us up at noon and we are now on our way to Manitoba with a couple stops on the way. I’m going to spend my time going across the barren plains of the western USA watching cooking videos, eating puppy chow, and discussing our italy trip and summer plans with Morgan. Sounds fun right? Last time we went through Wyoming we saw A. a bewildered moose. B. that was literally it. So I wish each of you a happy safe Christmas. If anyone’s going to be around Rosewood, Greenland, Whitemouth, or Center, Colorado, in the next two weeks, let me know cuz I’d like to see some pals! Merry Christmas!


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