Well hello: happy Wednesday! I’m nearly recovered from our trip to Jackson, Wyoming, and happy to get back to my blog. Got lots of travel-related links and some nice nerdy news as well.
Our trip was quite an adventure–me, Scott, Sid, and Sarah were joined by Sid’s mom Myndi (my husband’s first wife), her partner, and his two sons on a 10-day trek from Oregon to Wyoming! We caravanned in a car and van, taking two days to reach Wilson, Wyoming (right near gorgeous Jackson), where we had a free week at a comfy condo, thanks to Myndi’s uncle, who owns a timeshare.
Did I mention that the condo had one bedroom? And that there were eight of us, including a 21-month old, two tweens, and a 16-year-old boy? Thanks to bunk beds and a pull-out couch, we were snug as bugs in a rug–plus, we had extra incentive to get out and explore the pool, nearby Jackson, and Yellowstone National Park (which I’d never been to before).
We took two days back as well, staying the night in historic Wallace, Idaho–a tiny, charming, former silver boom town–in the Stardust Motel. Most of the town is for sale at very reasonable prices, so we all dreamed of selling our homes in Portland and moving east (seriously, you can buy two hotels and a cafe for less than $500,000). Plus there was an excellent restaurant, the Blackboard Cafe, which served us delicious Italian food! But we ultimately decided that most of the town being for sale was probably a bad sign, and headed home.
But Elisabeth, you’re probably wondering. What the heck? What was it like traveling and living with your husband’s ex-wife for more than a week? I guess I haven’t written much on this subject, but while I am lucky in my choice of husbands, I’m even luckier when it comes to ex-wives. All of Sid’s parents have always been close–we live within blocks of each other and do Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays together. On the trip, Myndi and I alternated planning meals and buying groceries. When one cooked, the other cleaned. Plus, each branch spent some time doing their own thing, which gave us a sense of independence and freedom. All in all, it was a great trip, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
Yellowstone was quite the drive. And smelly (we visited Old Faithful and trekked around checking out countless sulfuric geysers). I admit, the thing that caught my eye was a beautiful hand-embroidered Yellowstone Park pillow by Catstudio in one of the general stores. Unfortunately, the price tag precluded my purchasing it, but you should definitely check them out. They’ve got tons of gorgeous National Park-themed pillows and more.
As you could probably guess, my interests while on vacation (and everywhere else) largely revolve around food. If you happen to find yourself in Jackson, Wyoming (a fantastic, albeit expensive, resort town), the Lotus Cafe is delicious and inventive. Their organic menu includes everything from raw and vegan dishes to elk and bison. I had their Lotus Pad Thai, which was remarkably delicious, even though it was vegan and gluten free (except I added chicken). They are a peanut-free restaurant, so the sauce was made with almonds. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, so I may try to replicate it!
After my experience with GeekCraft Expo PDX, I had to stop by MADE, a shop in Jackson that is dedicated to unique handmade goods from more than 250 local artisans. This shop was amazing. If I had been interested in buying souvenirs, I would have blown my budget there! As it was, I was conscious of the fact that we could barely fit all the luggage we had in the car. Next year we hopefully won’t be lugging a Pack N’ Play with us!
Besides eating, my other favorite vacation pastime in reading–and boy, did I pick a doozy! All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister inflamed, enraged, and inspired me. Tracing the results of first and second wave feminism, the advantages they’ve given us, the backlash they’ve inspired, and glimpses into our possible future, this book is a must-read by every literate woman, whether you identify as a feminist or not. As a women who married (for keeps) at 37 (much older than the 1950s median marriage age of 20) and who gave birth for the first time at 39, Traister was telling my story–with a richness of context that made my head spin. Read this book.
Announced today: the next Iron Man is Riri Williams, a 15-year-old black female science genius. Created by Brian Michael Bendis (creator of Miles Morales, the half-black, half-hispanic, all-awesome Spider-Man) and drawn by Stefano Caselli, Riri debuts in the role at the close of Civil War II.
The Doubleclicks are returning from their 30-city nationwide tour and playing in Portland this July! Catch them at the Doug Fir July 19 with Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Lucia Fasano, and Barbara Holm. This is a 21+ show, but families can also catch them at the Tualatin Public Library (aka my childhood hangout) July 24. There’s also a live podcast recording July 25 at Kickstand Comedy Club!
Want a taste of seeing them live? Here’s a video of one of my favorite songs, “The Guy Who Yelled Freebird”:
So that’s what I’ve got! How are your summers going? Any vacation plans or dreams to share? Post them below!