Islands, Adventures, and Other Perfections

I feel kind of silly that after all my talk of finally going on a solo backpacking trip, I never even went camping. Partly, it was too cold and damp for my desert-acclimated bones, but mostly, the whole time I was on my trip, I was fighting chest congestion, and I didn’t want to take a chance on getting pneumonia. It worked out well, though, because I was able to spend that extra time with my middle sister in Port Townsend, visiting her favorite spots. When I returned to Seattle, my brother-in-law took me and my little sister (yep, the “little” sister who towers over me)

to dinner at a fabulous salmon-themed restaurant

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where we had Copper River salmon, truly the most luscious salmon in the world. (And the most expensive!) On Sunday, our last day together, the three of us sisters explored Whidbey Island, a delightful gem of a place in the Puget Sound. (And another ferry ride!) There was much to see, including a lighthouse,

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black-tailed deer,

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small boats

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and big ones (unfortunately, I didn’t actually sail — I just toured the boat),

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sculptures,

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trees (and me!),

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water (of course),

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flowers everywhere,

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and something we called a cheese puff bush, (because if you don’t know the name of this horticultural, what else would you call it?).

Normally I don’t post so many photos, especially not photos that include me, but be grateful I chose only the best. It was one of those perfect days where everything, including the photos, turned out to be absolutely . . . well, absolutely perfect.

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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Ferry Magic

I used to think that if one took a cruise, one could stand at the prow and feel the water a few feet below and the wind in your face, and I was so disappointed to discover that is not the truth of it. I have, however, found the desired sensation standing at the end of a pier or on the deck of a ferry.

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The first time I was on a ferry — the Outer Banks of North Carolina — Pamlico Sound was so big, I felt as if I were in the ocean, traveling to some exotic place. Which I was, of course, because anywhere you have never been has an exoticness all its own. Still, although the ferry trip was much shorter, I still had the feel of a fabled ocean voyage because of the nearness of the water and the wind in my face. The reality, of course, is that the ferry itself is a cross between a floating garage

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and an airport waiting room, but fun all the same.

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The Olympic mountains in the distance welcomed me to Kingsport and expressed sadness that I had to cancel my camping trip to the national park.

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My middle sister and I spent a lovely couple of days wandering around Port Townsend, visiting the little libraries,

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and picnicking on the port.  Looking back, on the ride home, I could see the boat’s wake. Looking forward, I could see Seattle (barely visible in the center of this photo.

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The next day, we three sisters got together for lunch in Edmonds.

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We strolled through downtown admiring the gorgeous blooms

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and stopping to smell the roses.

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At the end of the day, I waved to middle sister on the ferry.

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Ah. Ferry magic.

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***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

 

 

Honoring Mother With Turtles

The impetus for this Pacific Northwest adventure was an invitation from one of my sisters to make turtles on Mother’s Day weekend in honor of our mother.

Apparently, although the turtles were something I made as a teenager, when I went on to something else, my mother took over the hobby. (I don’t think it will come as any surprise to anyone that I was always looking for a new challenge.) Since my youngest sister often made the candy with my mother, she came to associate the turtles with Mother. Hence this venture (since there were no adverse moments, the day wasn’t much of an adventure but simply a wonderful venture) with my two sisters.

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I canot remember ever spending any time alone with my two sisters. I was too much older than the other two (they are shown above stirring the caramel and melting the chocolate) to be friends when we were young, and our lives always took separate paths. We were all a bit uneasy about the day, but came with the great attitude that no past differences would interfere with the pleasure of each others’ company, and so it was. A totally stress-free day. Well, except for the huge amount of supplies our hostess sister had purchased, so we ended up still working long after we were tired. After we packaged up turtles for our brothers and a few friends, we did have a bit of a disagreement. Since none of us are big candy eaters, none of us wanted the copious leftovers. But I ended up with them. Not a great problem if I can parcel them out and keep from indulging myself, which will be hard. They are really, really good.

One sister made the caramel.

One broke the pecans

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and melted the chocolate.

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I grated the chocolate to temper the melted chocolate and make it the right consistency for coating the candy. We all collaborated on making the naked turtles,

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and coating them with chocolate.

Oddly, none of us sampled a single finished turtle, though a couple of us scraped the caramel bowls and ate that.

This experiment was such a success, that we are now talking about doing a camping trip to The Three Sisters Wilderness Area in Oregon. Maybe next year.

Our mother would be so delighted!

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)