Of the many things one can learn from our furry, four-legged family members, one lesson is certainly that greatness is achieved through doing what you love. Honey (our friend Smarty’s dog) and Halo (ours) are cousins–they share the same grandmother–and they love hanging out and playing together. But they are two very different dogs. That’s Honey, above, doing what she does best. Halo, on the other hand, seems to have missed the retrieving gene. She’ll chase a toy a time or two, bring it back, then stand by the door to go inside. Her special talents lie in kicking back, snuggling, and making sure her fur is on everything. That’s her below, in our bin of winter clothes, doing all three at once. See? Do what you love and greatness follows.
A warm weekend (At last!), chores done, homework finished…and just enough time left to hit the dock at Smarty’s. Weston was after the elusive, rare, trophy shiner perch under the watchful eye of his trusty assistant.
But the water called, and soon Skyla, her friend Ava, and Weston all took the plunge. Brrrr…Puget Sound in May! This old man stayed warm and dry on the dock.
Then it was time to dry off, warm up and dive into the snack bag. There’s nothing quite like a warm towel wrap and hot concrete after chilly water.
As the tide started running out, the shiner bite came on and Weston started putting trophies like this one in the bucket, which became a temporary aquarium.
Halo, who doesn’t believe in catch-and-release fishing, wanted at least a little taste before the shiners swam back to freedom. And anyway, by then, Smarty’s famous beef ribs were finishing up in the smoker, and it was time to head up for dinner. Beautiful day.
We’ve been so busy with shrimp and razor clams I almost forgot to post these pictures from last month. We went to California to visit the grandparents, and had a fantastic time being tourists. I’m usually not much for zoo-type settings, but we loved the Steinhart Aquarium. Strangely, it made the kids and me want to go fishing!
Another highlight was the Exploratorium, with more hands-on science exhibits than anyone could do in a month. We did our best in one very full day of zooming from exhibit to exhibit, and still managed to squeeze in a great eating experience at the San Francisco Ferry Building, which is basically the Exploratorium of food. That’s Skyla and Weston below, trading places.
One more thing, even though I’ve posted about it before: Iyasare! One of my favorite lunch spots in the world, on 4th in Berkeley. If you are ever even close to the East Bay, go there. Enjoy the sumptuous braised-pork-belly ramen noodles with miso broth, but most of all, be sure to order the shredded-burdock-root-and-prawn “kaki-age tempura” pictured below. Crispy, savory, succulent…one of my Top 10 favorite things to eat. Ever.
At long last. After what’s felt like the wettest, coldest, longest winter in memory, it appears that spring has finally sprung. Halo takes off her winter coat and leaves it lying around the house–and woods…
Salmon berries pop…
And a generous buddy’s lone Columbia River springer feeds 11 people if we make sure not to waste a morsel. Spring is late, but it’s here. Not a moment too soon.
Hard to believe, but Saturday was the last evening razor-clam opener of the season, and we didn’t want to miss it. Skyla was literally bouncing off the walls, stoked to dig, and then realized she had already committed to a dinner with friends that night. I was bummed she couldn’t go with us, but was also proud that she stuck to her word. Then Weston woke up not feeling well. And I was left to go it alone, perhaps an early preview of kids growing up and having lives of their own? With a twinge of sadness, I decided to roll anyway, and lucky for me, had plenty of friends to join the fun. That’s Honey, David and Sam Smart, and Doc hitting the beach early.
The dig started off slow, with a big swell pushing the wash up the beach and making it tough. We scratched out a few nice ones ahead of the tide, then, as it the water receded, it was on.
Nothing like good friends on a day at the beach. That’s Dan and Mia Sweeney and me for a quick, sandy-handed selfie. Dry weather, full daylight, no lanterns…what’s not to like?
Once the razors started to show, we filled our limits with big, fat, tasty clams in minutes. That’s Sweeney double checking the Smart boys’ count.
Finished the night at the Sweeneys for a team clam-cleaning session and more good times hanging out with friends. That’s Sweeney and Smarty (with Hefty-sack wrapped wrist he broke to avoid having to clean clams) waiting for the watched pot to boil. I missed the kids, but ended up having a fantastic time anyway. Love this crew.