Etcetera - 03/01/11

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It's back to freezing Shanghai for Sarah Yuan after her successful climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. The Walla Walla woman raised $2,200 for Walla Walla Community Hospice. She and fellow friends/climbers Katie and Gigi Campo also raised $4,000-plus for Alzheimer's research and prevention, Sarah said via e-mail.

"It was an incredible experience and I could not have done it without your support and well-wishes. Thank you," Sarah said in the note to friends and family.

"It took seven days to climb the mountain, but we summited at midnight on the sixth day. The vertical distance from base camp to summit is only 1,400 meters (4,620 feet), so just short of a mile, but since it's pitch black dark, freezing (literally) and you're at an altitude of over 5,000 meters (18,000 feet) for most of the climb and battling extremely ferocious winds, it took us nearly seven hours to finally arrive at Uhuru Peak where the photo was taken.

"By the time we got there we were very exhausted and extremely confused, but we managed a photo or two," she said.

She plans to continue teaching in Shanghai for another year. And this summer she expects to ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Beijing to Moscow. "Should be fun," she said.

Combining two of her favorite things -- pasta and Mexican food -- Walla Wallan Krystal Jordan is sharing her Mexicali Bolognese recipe and other family recipes with other hometown cooks at Just A Pinch Recipe Club, a new online community created for and by cooks in hometown America at www.justapinch.com.

Krystal is one of several area residents participating in the club, billed as "America's Greatest Recipe Swap," according to a release from Emily Acker with the club based in Franklin Tenn.

Members can post family recipes and search, print, chat about and try recipes submitted by other members at www.justapinch.com. Recipes can also be saved to a personal online recipe box. Other features include creating grocery lists, planning meals and printing hundreds of grocery coupons. Members can also create or join groups based on existing relationships (families, church and civic groups, etc.), or affinities such as diabetic meals, crock pot cooking, budget meals, etc, and share recipes between members of the group.

"We continually add new features to the club based on the feedback of our members," says Janet Tharpe, host of the club. "It's because of people like Krystal Jordan, who is proud to share her family's favorite recipes with other hometown cooks, that the club has become so popular and is growing so fast."

The club was founded in 2010 and offers free memberships and other perks. For more information, visit www.justapinch.com or www.facebook.com/justapinch.

How blue will Walla Walla be? Bluer when about 50 Blue family relatives attend the sixth Biennial Western Blue Genes Reunion June 24-25 in Walla Walla, said Blue family descendant Jim Irwin of Walla Walla.

The clan will gather at The Center at the Park, 207 Sprague Ave.

Blue Family reunions tend to happen every odd year on the west side of the United States since 2001, Jim said. On the even years The National Blue Family Association has held reunions in Romney, W. Va., since 1984. The western Blue reunions in the past have been in Walla Walla, Medford and Coeur d'Alene.

The 2011 gathering will begin with activities on June 24 for local attendees and early arrivals from out of town at the Irwin home and on Saturday morning the reunion will begin at the senior center on Sprague Avenue with a continental breakfast, and last all day with a catered lunch and dinner. Sunday morning will be a no-host breakfast or brunch at a Walla Walla Restaurant and possibly a trip to Whitman County for a visit to Lone Pine Cemetery.

Jim started the Western Blue Genes reunion. His mother is descended from Amos Blue, who at age 21 came west from Illinois with a wagon train on the Oregon Trail in 1851.

He homesteaded in the Medford area and married Sarah Bowen. Sarah brought three children from a previous marriage into their union and the couple had five more before moving north to Linn County, Wash., where their sixth child was born, Jim said.

The family migrated to Whitman County, Wash., near Oaksdale and Tekoa. Sarah died in 1888 and is buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, which is between the two towns.

Amos and part of his family then moved to Nez Perce County, Idaho, before 1900 and to Walla Walla in 1910. Amos died in 1912 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Many descendants of Amos and Sarah still live in these areas, Jim said.

Most of the Blue families in North America belong to either the Dutch Blue family or the Scottish Blue family. Amos Blue is from the Dutch family that came to New Amsterdam in 1651 and received a land grant on Manhattan Island.

All Blue family descendants are encouraged to attend these reunions. For additional information, contact Jim at 509-529-2411.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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