Trail of Crumbs

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I suppose I should have warned Rand.

Rand, sitting with my great-aunt. He had absolutely no idea what was in store for him


Honestly, though, I thought he knew. That is why I didn’t lean over and whisper, “Pace yourself. There are four more courses to go.”

I mean, why else are they called primi and secondi? They are referring to courses. What they don’t really mention in Italian restaurants is that those are just the beginning.

There are also antipasti and contorni and insalate and dolci. There is wave after wave of food, eaten by ridiculously skinny people (don’t ask me how this works, because I haven’t cracked that part of the code. I can only assume that incorporating vigorous hand gestures into conversation burns crazy amounts of calories. So if I look like I’m trying to direct a plane the next time I’m engrossed in a polite chat, that’s why.)

In Italy, the midday meal (pranzo) is a sort of sprawling feast, lasting hours. It is the reason many of the shops in Italy are closed between noon and 3 pm. Because food is more important than Capitalism.

Come to think of it, that might as well be my family’s mantra.


The first time I saw this thing outside my dad’s house, I sort of snickered.


I remember staring at it, thinking, “Good heavens, that’s just awful. Whatever it is.”

And then I pretty much ignored it, except to cast a sideways glance in its direction every time I passed. Now I realize, like nearly everything in my dad’s home, it has a purpose. A very important one.


Things never seem to turn out how I imagine they will.

I don’t know if it’s because my expectations are too lofty, or if they aren’t lofty enough. But on some trips, things don’t quite fall into place. Nothing is how I envisioned it to be.

Later, I scroll through my photos and find that several which I thought were crystal clear are blurry and out of focus. There is some weird poetry in that, isn’t there? That not even my pictures are how I pictured them?

The Friday before last in Portland was one of those days. Things were not as I had anticipated. And that turned out to be a wonderful thing. (more…)

My apologies for the quality of images in this post. Many of them were taken with my cell phone, because I was too busy eating to be bothered with my SLR. 


I have been told on more than one occasion that I am not unlike a hobbit. I’ve always figured this was less to do with the size and furriness of my feet (they are rather small, and for the most part hairless, save for something that is happening on each of my big toes. Let us not speak of that.), and more to do with my inclination to eat at least one breakfast, and often to have two, and then perhaps Elevensies, all of which really help to tide a gal over to lunch.


I have never believed in love at first sight, or the epicurial equivalent of it (love at first bite?) My brain just doesn’t work that way – it likes to take its sweet time in deciding how it feels about something. Rand and I dated for years before I realized exactly how much I liked him. I’ve been halfway through a dessert before I’ve even come to a decision about it.

And similarly, it took me a long time to realize something that thousands of other people had already agreed on: mainly, that Tasty & Alder in Portland serves a really excellent breakfast.


Fun fact: I tried killing it with fire, which just resulted in a lovely golden brown crust.


Someone recently told me that I need to start “lifestyle blogging” instead of just travel blogging, which sort of confused me, because my everyday life isn’t necessarily something you’d want to emulate. Most days, I’m locked in a battle with myself about whether several cookies and a glass of milk are as nutritionally viable as oatmeal.

That fight often turns ugly. The Pioneer Woman does not have such quarrels with herself, I’m sure. I bet she makes really healthy oatmeal that tastes like a cookie. I bet her children have zero cavities.

I bet she never sniffs a shirt to see if she can wear it again.



I am a sucker for good barbecue. There isn’t a lot of it in Washington, at least not in Seattle. I suppose it’s so cold and grey here that no one wants to stand outside next to a smoker for several hours.

Or maybe it’s because there are a lot of folks out there who are trying to bed one of those sexy Seattle vegetarians, and they figure smelling like meat won’t help them do that (OR WOULD IT?).

The point is: Seattle has very little barbecue.  So whenever we’re traveling, and find that there’s a good BBQ restaurant nearby, we go.


This is a cherimoya:


This is NOT how you eat a cherimoya:

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