We spent Saturday in Portland. It was a very busy day lead by our fearless guides Adam and Emily. It was actually an excellent day trip for Portland.

We visited:
  • The Saturday Market - Lots of neat artisans with goods for sale.
  • Cacao - A delectable little cafe where they have drinking chocolate constantly stirring. It's like hot chocolate, but better.
  • Powell's - a bookstore that takes up a full city block and to help you find your way each wing is color coded.
  • The Carts for Thai food - I don't know what their official name is but there are a bunch of carts not too far from the market. I'm sure they are meant for the business crowd to get their lunch. On Saturday they were half closed and not very busy, so we picked a likely cart and ate the best Thai food I've had for the price. A $6 serving of Pad Thai fed Jeff and me.
  • The Chinese Garden - Not far from the market is the Chinese Garden. It's one city block big and elegantly landscaped to feel bigger much bigger.
  • Hoda's - A Lebanese restaurant where I had a falafal sandwich. It is also the source of the secret recipe for making hummus - boil the beans with baking soda.
  • The Kennedy School Project - a former elementary school converted into a trendy bar/restaurant/event center/hotel. The picture below is the stair rail at the Boiler Room bar. It was an entertaining place just to walk around in.
  • Pix Pastisserie - the last stop was Pix for dessert. This place was over flowing with people, but we eventually got a table. Jeff and I split The Amelie and Potluck Pleaser. The Amelie was way better. It was a good way to end our night.


Lost and Found Bookmark

I found a bookmark in a Peace Corps Library book in Panama. I don't remember which book it was in. I meant to take it to the office and ask if anyone knew who Vane was. But I forgot and came across it in my backpack.
It reads: Lili and Vane - I know that you love to read, with this in your book you can remember me.
I would guess Lili is a Panamanian girl who dated the Peace Corps guy in her community. Does anyone know who Vane is? It could be a miss spelling of Bane, or Bain. I'd like to get it back to him or at least the image.


Blackberry Picking in Oregon

We headed out to Willamette Mission State Park near Salem, Oregon and picked blackberries until our hands were purple and our buckets were full.

What are we going to do with all these blackberries? So far Emily has made a blackberry pie and blackberry crumble. The rest of berries were blended into a puree and put in the fridge. The thought is to make black berry ice-cream, but even if we make a batch of that we'll only have used half the fruit. I'm searching for ideas and I found this: http://www.recipe.com/recipes/fruit/blackberries/popular/

But I want something more. Something that requires the pulped fruit. Any ideas?


Foy and Jeff Go West

We walked back into our old lives and took up our old seats at the table. Game night with friends, family dinners, beers on the porch and some how a month went by quickly.

Now we are off to our next adventure. We fly to Portland, Oregon where we will meet up with Adam, Jeff's twin brother, and his lovely wife in Salem. Then on to Steven's, Jeff's brother, and his girlfriend's place in Seattle. And I also get to see Sara (photo right)! I haven't seen her in more than two years, which is way too long.

I've never been to the west coast and I'm itching to see if it lives up to my preconceived notions: fruit basket of America, best climate, rainiest, rocky coast, big trees, big cities, urban sprawl, pine forests, vineyards, $$$, steep cliffs into the ocean, waterfalls, top restaurants and home of the slow food movement in the USA.

The excuse for this trip is to retrieve Jeff's car which is in Seattle. So we'll fly out and drive back. There is a definite starting date, but no definite end date. We will end our trip when we

a) Get a decent job offer
b) Have seen all there is to see
c) Become fishy guests
d) The end of September


Foy's accomplishents during her Peace Corps service in Panama

Jeff put up his description of his Peace Corps service. It looks pretty similar to mine since we did so much together.

During my two years in Peace Corps I served as a:
  • Coordinator for Global Brigades, a sustainable development organization
  • Instructor of Agriculture and Soil Conservation at the El Valle Primary School
  • English-Spanish translator for outreach medical and eye clinics
  • Writer of 25 articles on living in Panama for the Ames Tribune (Iowa)
  • Editor for the Peace Corps Panama Volunteer Cookbook a fund raiser for Gender and Development
  • Trainer for Peace Corps Panama Sustainable Agriculture Systems sector
  • Guest lecturer for Iowa State University's Sustainable Agriculture in Panama Study Abroad Class May 2008 and May 2009
  • National Director of Seeders Panama

Coordinator for Global Brigades
I identified seven women in the community who were both active gardeners and interested in earning additional income. These women formed a group to grow and sell ornamental plants. I worked with Global Business Brigades in January 2008 to facilitate teaching business skills and find a market for the plants. The ornamental plants project benefited from four implementation trips, totaling $6,300 in funding and hundreds of hours of student labor. More than 100 students from UT-Austin College of Business visited Panama and experienced sustainable development. In March 2009, the gallery Artes Natura in Panama City opened and began selling ornamental potted plants from El Valle.

Trainer for Peace Corps Panama
I helped with the training of new volunteers by :

  • Writing curriculum, teaching material and resource booklets for Peace Corps Panama on: School and Home Gardens, Seed Saving and Banking and Composting
  • Facilitating a round table discussion on Seed Saving at the Sustainable Agriculture Systems Sector Conference
  • Training the pre-service volunteers on composting, traditional agriculture in Panama, building plant nurseries, home and school gardens and seed banking
Co-coordinator of Seeders
Aimee, the Sustainable Agriculture Systems Program Director, asked me to lead the seed exchange program for Peace Corps Panama because of my horticulture background and work with gardens and ornamental plants in our community. As the director of Seeders, I worked as part of a team of four volunteers to collect, package and distribute garden, green manure and reforestation seeds to volunteers through out the country. I also helped start the regional seeders program, wrote for the quarterly Seeders newsletter, restructured the seed packaging and labeling process and wrote a booklet on how to collect and save seeds from 31 common edible plants grown in Panama.