Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Professor's wife

I'm pleased to introduce to you.....The Professor's Wife! 

This is my friend Kim. We go way back, as far back as playing Strawberry Shortcake and wearing jelly shoes together. And then our mothers, well they go even farther back, but I won't divulge any details that would give away their ages. 

Kim and I have lots in common, both grew up in Calgary, both have an older sister, both have two children of the approximate same ages, both love our husbands enough to follow them to the ends of the earth in pursuit of their passions. Coincidently, both Robin and Greg found reason to move their families from Canada to the United States this previous summer in pursuit of these passions, pottery and theology respectively. 

While we were packing up and heading south to Utah, Kim
 and Greg were also on the move south from Ontario to Louisville, Kentucky. After many years studying and
teaching at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, Greg accepted a position as Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University. And yesterday the whole family became permanent residents of the USA! Congrats on a smooth immigration process.  

Something that I have realized is that it's comforting to know that someone you know, knows what you know.....if that makes any sense? And although I wouldn't say this transition has been a walk in the park, and that I openly admit to giving myself the occasional back pat for playing the supportive role in all of this, I can honestly say that Kim should get the gold medal for what she has endured the last six months. 

First Hurricane Ike, and now an Ice storm!  And I was complaining about a puny inversion. 

Thankfully they are one of the lucky homes in Louisville to still have power. I suppose the weather is one of the quirky things you grow accustomed to living in the south, while Utah of course has it's own quirkiness. 

P.S. The other thing we share in common is our ability to make incredibly cute children of course. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rx for Moodiness

The crummy weather was really starting to get to me last weekend. I attempted another trip up to the ski hill on Sunday, hoping that we'd find a little sun above the clouds at the higher elevation. Both Isla and Roscoe took it upon themselves to be miserable the whole drive out, and if I hadn't offered to drive a friend to the hill, I certainly would have turned back and put my kids right to bed. We didn't find any sun but ended up having an alright time. Isla tolerated a few sled rides around the base of the lodge before I called it a day and packed them up to head home again.  

Monday it rained and we spent the day waiting for the milkman, which only further furrowed my brow. 

Tuesday we woke up to frigid temperatures but blue skies and a blanket of new white snow. By the afternoon it had warmed enough that I ambitiously packed the kids up and headed out to Green Canyon for a second attempt to X-country ski. A friend here in Logan has lent me the ski attachment for my double stroller, which enables me to turn the stroller into a sled which I then harness to my body and can pull it behind me, in theory anyways. My first attempt was over a week ago, I took the kids, stroller, attachment and ski gear out to the trail and spent 20 minutes assembling the rig in the parking lot while my kids grew more and more impatient, only to find that I was missing a part. 

This second attempt turned out to be far more successful after a quick stop at the hardware store for a couple of bolts to secure the harness. I hit the trail at around 1:30 p.m., questioning how far I'd really get pulling two tired and irritable children in brisk weather conditions. I made sure they were both well bundled, had ample snack supplies and was determined to not let this second attempt be a failure. To my utter amazement, within 10 minutes of readjusting straps and getting used to pulling their weight, I hit a stride and looked back to find them both asleep! I skied for nearly an hour in blissful sunny conditions before Roscoe woke up. I was practically euphoric by the time I got back to the car and kissed their sweet foreheads thanking them for being such wonderful kids. It was all I needed to get me out of my funk. 



Monday, January 26, 2009

Waiting for the Milkman

Don't get the wrong idea. I really did wait around all day today for a legitimate milkman to bring us 2 gallons of farm fresh dairy goodness and nothing more. Honestly! 

A friend had tuned me into a local dairy that also provides a delivery service for their products. After doing the research and talking to them, I realized it was a fantastic deal. Affordable, hormone-free milk from a local source for the whopping delivery charge of three dollars a MONTH! 

Our first delivery was to arrive today. We had timed our milk supply appropriately with Roscoe finishing up the last of the carton last night. So when his nap time came about this afternoon with no sign of the milkman, I started to get a little anxious. Roscoe went down surprisingly well without a bottle, but by 5 p.m. we were still without milk and there was no way he would have tolerated going without, a second time. 

After leaving an obviously perturbed-mother-without-milk message on the Dairy's machine, I packed up the kids and ventured out to get milk from the store. (See carton on the left). 

At 7:30 p.m. a very apologetic sounding fellow called muttering something about not being able to find the house and that he'd be right over with our milk. 

And at 9:30 p.m. this evening, he finally arrived. (See bottles on the right) I never did catch his name. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

A spicy delivery

Last week a package arrived on our doorstep with some delectable surprises inside. 

We had put in a request of some friends to send us some saffron from a local corner store that we used to frequent while we were living in Calgary some years ago. Since our move west, and then south, we've had to remember to stock up on our saffron stash each time we make it back to cowtown, but since those visits are becoming further spaced apart, our stash was getting dangerously low.  

They generously added a few more treats to accompany the saffron down across the border, some sweetly pungent Hungarian paprika and a bag of yummy chocolates.

So this week while we've been stuck indoors, we've at least had the pleasure of cooking and eating the Basque Skillet Beans recipe (with saffron) and an all time favorite Cabbage and noodles with oodles of paprika dish.  I realize that a Cabbage and Noodle recipe sounds suspicious, but it is a perfect meal for an overcast, dreary, winter day. 

Here is the recipe, if you are so inclined:

Cabbage and Noodles (Moosewood New Classics)
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp Paprika
8 cups finely shredded red cabbage
2 tsp salt
12 ounces of medium egg noodles
black pepper
sour cream 

Cook onions in butter until golden. Add paprika and saute for a few seconds more. Stir in cabbage and salt. Mix well. Cover tightly and cook on very low heat for an hour, stirring occasionally.  

Cook noodles separately, drain and toss with cabbage mixture. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and top with a dollop of sour cream. 

Many thanks to Christine and Rob!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cough, cough, choke!

Did I mention the poor air quality in Utah????

This was something we found out after we moved to Logan, that the air quality in northern Utah is considered near the worst in the whole nation!! Not that it is always poor, in fact it only gets bad when a high pressure system settles over this part of the state, trapping soot and pollutants close to the ground in the mountain basins. The Cache Valley (which includes Logan) is apparently particularly susceptible. 

We've been experiencing one of these inversions for several days now. I first noticed the smog earlier in the week when I drove into town, descending into a thick layer of yuck as I left the perch of Hillcrest (the community where we live). Today it seemed considerably worse, even the higher communities becoming enveloped in the smog. 

There is even a website that does forecasts and posts warnings. air quality reports. When it the air quality exceeds a certain standard, the local Health Department issues a red air alert, encouraging people to limit exertion while outdoors, bans all wood smoke (including kilns) and suggests limiting vehicular use if possible as to not contribute further air pollutants to the problem. 

What we need is a big storm system to roll in and move the clouds upwards and onwards. And until then, there won't be any pots getting fired in the USU kiln compound. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Retirement George W!

Yesterday was a monumental day in this country's relatively short history. Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States in front of 2 million spectators that converged upon Washington's Lincoln Memorial to witness history in the making. 

Besides the hordes of people that travelled from around the globe to stand in security lineups for hours in order to be present for the actual event, there were likely many more millions that sat by television sets and radios to hear what the new President had to say. 

I heard through various people throughout the day, how accommodations had been made in the schools here and at the University in order for students and staff to be able to watch the event happen live on television. It has been amazing to hear from and see directly how many people are deeply affected by this change in power. 

I was able to listen to the speech live on the National Public Radio station, purposefully packing the kids up in the car for a drive at that time so that I could listen to the full 20 minute speech without being pulled away by little people's demands. 

I found Obama's message sobering, yet hopeful. I too was moved by the relevance of the occasion and importance of his words. It is indeed an incredibly interesting time to be living in this country. I am hopeful that he will indeed deliver the change he has promised. In many ways he already has. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This is Beaver Mountain, our local ski resort, aka the BEAV! 

Today I packed up the kids and made the 30 minute commute through the canyon to the ski hill and joined some other families for an afternoon of spring-like conditions. 

We didn't even make it to the rope tow, instead Isla happily toured around the lodge and base managing ski boots for the first time, (takes a little getting used to.) 

It was a gloriously beautiful day, with above freezing temperatures. My expectations of actually hitting the slopes were set low and therefore I wasn't disappointed, in fact I didn't even bring my gear along. 

It just felt great to be hanging out at a hill again, amongst lots of little ones sporting oversized helmets, running around the lodge with wet socks and begging for cafeteria fries. Isla will fit right in.    

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Baker's Delight

Check 'em out! You can imagine how excited I was this morning to have pulled these sweet loaves out of the oven after a morning of kneading and waiting. 

My friend Sue had inspired me to bake bread when she sent me her prized oatmeal bread recipe after hearing my intention to try new things in the kitchen. I have baked bread before on three separate occasions, and hands down none were as successful as today's attempt. 

Isla and I measured out the oats and flour, watched the yeast plume grow and kneaded to our heart's content while Roscoe slept on and the daddy dutifully studied for his art history graduate seminar. It seemed like the perfect morning to take on a project such as bread making. I thoroughly enjoyed the ritual and have decided that I need to include it as a regular one in our weekly pursuits. 

Baking our own bread fits nicely into my resolution to eating and purchasing our food with a greater consciousness of where it is coming from and at what expense. I took an early vow when we first moved to Logan that I wouldn't buy sliced bread from the grocery store and instead opted to support our local bakery Crumb Brothers. I don't intend to abandon CB all together (not sure if I could ever replicate their scrumptious Sunflower Honeynut Loaf) , instead just plan to supplement our family's bread consumption with a few of these delightful looking loaves. (see above). 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Creating connoisseurs of craft

The graduate students in the clay department here at USU are awarded assistantships that pay them a nominal stipend that helps cover some of the costs of getting their MFA degree, in return they are expected to teach undergraduate clay courses.

This semester Robin is teaching an introduction to clay class. He is one of four other grad students teaching this class. In total there are about 80 undergraduates taking this course. It offers basic wheel throwing and hand building skills. But more importantly these graduates are instilling in their students an appreciation for fine craft. 

Last weekend at the potluck party a few of us were discussing this important task. There will be a very small percentage of these students that go on to choose art as their major discipline. In fact only 2-4 of them will take an undergraduate degree specializing in clay. But all 80 of them will at least come out of this one class with a greater understanding of the field of ceramics, it's depth and breadth of influence, and exactly how much work it really takes! This is no basket weaving.

When faced with trying to make a living from your work, a great deal of the battle is educating the public. What better way to do this than teaching the joy of working with the medium to others.  


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Not so New Year's Resolutions

Now that we are nearing two weeks into 2009, I feel I can confidently start talking about resolutions for the year. January 1st is just such a ridiculous deadline, and resolutions set for this start date never amount to much, at least in my life they haven't. Too much pressure. 

So instead I pick the 13th this year to start writing more, to discover new recipes, to make some ethical changes to my food purchasing habits and to find a babysitter so that I can go out more.  

Writing more....more in the sense that I'd like to write more seriously, consider submitting something to a magazine possibly, throw around the idea of freelancing. We'll see. 

New recipes...I've already got a jumpstart on this one. So far since we've been back in Logan, Robin has had the pleasure of satisfying his palette with Mushroom and Cheese Phyllo Pie, Hungarian Chicken Paprikash (an old family favourite), Asparagus and Leek Strudel and Mushroom and Pecan burgers. I had some time to pour over my cookbooks last week while the kids were sick and sleeping longer during the day and was inspired to try some new recipes out. Tonight we are having Fennel quiche. 

Food purchasing changes....this one is a little more complicated to explain. I'll save it for it's own blog entry sometime soon. 

Babysitter...I thanked Joe again for helping us out this weekend when I saw him yesterday at the school. And I left another message for a girl down the street that was recommended. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tickle me pink sock

The kids are feeling way better. Isla is halfway done her course of antibiotics and Roscoe still has a lingering cough but is back to his smiley self. Whew! 

I knew they had to be feeling better when I found them rolling around the front room in fits of hysterical giggles amongst a pile of 'previously folded laundry'. They had invented a new tickling game that involved one of Isla's pink socks. Too funny. 

With better health and a boost in energy we've been out and about more the last couple of days, reconnecting with some friends in the neighborhood. 

On the weekend we checked out a new sledding spot with our French Canadian neighbors, Caroline and her daughter Arianne. And today we had a great afternoon over at Isla's buddy Jackson's house. Roscoe was even good enough to go down for a nap in their pack and play, which meant I could enjoy another cup of coffee with Wyatt while Isla and Jackson made lego-mobiles. 


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Full Moon Party

Last night, by the light of the full moon, Robin and I rode off down the street on our bicycles wearing all our winter accessories (minus the ski goggles) to a party a few blocks away. I was giddy at the notion of going out to a party while our children slumbered unknowingly in their beds and had to be careful not to upset the bike on the patches of black ice along the way.  

It was a potluck party for the ceramics department at Dan and Maria's place that had been planned for the semester start. I'd wrestled all week with the idea of going and taking the kids, then decided for their sake that their sickness took priority over my socializing and they were better off going to bed at the regular time. So instead I set out to find a babysitter, but really had no luck. By Friday, I was resolved to miss the party and send Robin without me. 

Enter stage left: Uncle Joe

Joe had been over for supper on Friday and took it upon himself to insist that we go to the party and he would be more than happy to hang out at the house with the kids. What a saint! Although I really had a great time being out with Robin for a whole night of adult conversation, I left the party now all the more determined to find a babysitter that is not associated with the clay dept. because really Joe should have been there with us, however generous the offer was. 

But again, many thanks to Uncle Joe. 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Where's my refund?

A fond memory of my teenage years was to monitor the bottles and can stash piling up in the garage and try to maximize the wait time (to accumulate quantities) then wake up early on a Saturday before my brother beat me to it and gather them all up, make a break for the bottle depot and cash in for a few extra bucks in my pocket. 

Usually Chris beat me to it. If he didn't, usually the amount was a pittance. But whatever, money is money. 

Our bottles have been accumulating in our garage here in Logan for the last four months. Robin is a beer enthusiast and I've been known to drink a glass of wine now and then. So you can imagine that over a period of time the numbers would add up. We decided it was time to clear them out of the garage so that we could utilize the garage for it's intended use this winter. Imagine, a dry and warm vehicle to get into. 

So I packed up the bottles and kids and set out to find a bottle depot and was amazed to find out there is no such thing here in Utah! "Nope, just take them to a recycling center" they said. 
I pondered sadly as I drove to the recycling center that no bottle depot also meant no refund for  me. 

Instead of a friendly teenager handing over a few sticky coins, I found myself alone at the bins separating and sorting my bottles by colour into the appropriate slots. I was however relieved to notice that there are a fair few other folks in Logan that drink beverages that come in green and brown bottles. We are not alone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Battling the Bronchitisaurus

There is an ugly, unwelcome guest lurking in the depths of my children's lung cavities. He keeps them up at night with a menacing cough and haunts them during the day inflicting all kinds of miserable aches and pains. 

He is the BROCHITISAURUS! Parents be warned, this nasty creature may rear it's ugliness with the sudden onset of a fever and it is sure to include plenty of respiratory secretions. 

My poor children. Their poor mama. 

Not to fret. With lots of liquids, rest and a shining knight named Amoxicillin, we'll kick this Bronchitis in the butt. 
Let's hope he retreats sooner than later because I am getting tired of explaining to Isla why we are having yet another "pj" day at home. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snowstorms and sniffles

Apparently, the two days we chose to make the drive back down to Utah turned out to be our best shot. We narrowly escaped big snowstorms on either end, and despite some sketchy icy sections of the interstate in Montana, at least the skies were calm. 

That is not the case now. It has been snowing for the last two days here in Logan with no end in sight. When I spoke to my sister on the phone this afternoon she informed me that it is puking snow in the Kootenays. Hooray for faceshots! Too bad I won't be getting any powder days up at the hill anytime soon. 

Nope, it looks like the forecast for me is for wiping runny noses and spending lots of cuddle time on the couch with my two little sickies. Both Isla and Roscoe returned with miserable colds, and I fear that Isla's has evolved into an ear infection. We've been laying low, needless to say. Doing lots of laundry, rediscovering forgotten toys and watching videos on the couch. 
Meanwhile Robin is back in the fire. He started teaching again yesterday and is registered for (gulp) 12 credits this semester. Looks like we won't be seeing much of him. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

The DuPont 12 months of 2008

In the first month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... cuddled with new baby Roscoe, shovelled snow and sent off graduate school applications with their fingers crossed. 

In the second month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... one parent made a courageous trip up north to Prince George with both kids to visit close friends while the other stayed home to make pots, fire kilns and teach classes. 

In the third month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... went to Kindermusik and gymnastics, grew taller and cuter, and anxiously waited by the mailbox for official letters. 

In the fourth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... took a roadtrip to Alberta to visit family and friends, wore rubber boots, excitedly accepted a spot in the MFA program at Utah State University. 

In the fifth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... celebrated a 30-something birthday, Mother's Day and a successful studio spring sale all on the same weekend. 

In the sixth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... swam in the river, had playdates with playmates, enjoyed the front deck with neighbors and house guests. 

In the seventh month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... started organizing and packing, exhibited and sold pottery, started to get nervous. 

In the eighth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... celebrated another 30 something birthday, partied with friends and family, said our goodbyes,  packed up and moved to Utah!

In the ninth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... explored our new town of Logan, went garage sale hunting, met new friends, missed old ones and learned to crawl.  

In the tenth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... one parent made a trip to Alberta to visit family and friends while the other stayed in Logan and worked hard at school. 

In the eleventh month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... celebrated a third birthday, hosted good friends from home, fired kilns.

In the twelfth month of 2008, the DuPont family...
... celebrated a first birthday, spent Christmas with family in the Kootenays and congratulated ourselves for surviving the first semester of grad school. 

Happy New Year from our family to yours.