Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten-word Tuesday

Irrational fish fears while snorkeling, why? Therapy needed, obviously. Breathe.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

This is a special week in so many ways. It seems like a very long time ago that we were surrounded by snow and ice, and yet we've only been in paradise a few short days... I've been looking around for my "pause time" button, but so far, no luck. Happily, time does seem to pass in a leisurely way...

I'm grateful for the sunshine, and for this amazing setting where the waves crash all the time.

I'm grateful for this occasion to celebrate (five years of marriage!) and this wonderful man to celebrate with.

I'm grateful to still be connected to Seth via his highly entertaining texts and IMs. I swear, if I hadn't known better, I would have thought I was texting with Scooby Doo today... Ha!

I'm grateful for house-sitters and dog-watchers and all those making sure our place is a-ok while we're away.

I'm grateful that someone else cooked Thanksgiving dinner and all I had to do was show up hungry. That picture is only a part of the dessert buffet, which was beautiful and bountiful and of course I was too full to really tear into it by the time I got around to it... next time I'm starting with dessert!

I'm grateful for sunrises that aren't too early so I can sleep in a little and still see them, and for some lovely sunsets too.

I'm grateful for tree-ripened papaya and fresh pineapple spears, and passion-orange and guava juice that come in really big containers.

I'm grateful for catching up on sleep. And for guilt-free naps.

I'm grateful for friends and family and knowing folks are safe in their holiday travels. I'm especially grateful that the power's back on for family on Bainbridge Island.

I'm grateful that we have more days of this ahead! There are still botanical gardens to walk and waves to snorkel and tropical gelato to eat...

I'm grateful we got here in the first place. It was quite a wild ride through snow and ice to the airport (angels on our bumpers, truly) and then the delays and postponements... and, I'm also extremely grateful to have slid right through the TSA web of groping and pat-downs! No big deal getting through security on the way here, hoping for the same on the way back.

I'm grateful that as we go home, even though I'm sure it will be snowy and icy and feel freakishly cold, we'll also be going into that magical holiday season that I love so well... and as much as I heart the tropics, I just can't really think Christmas while looking out across the beach... must be that Canadian upbringing...

Wherever you are tonight, I hope there's a little piece of paradise there for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Five years, and it feels so good (sing with me, people!)

It's our 5th anniversary today and we are going to spend it together, enjoying some sunshine, good food, conversation and remembering what we were doing five years ago today.

I like this quote even though it's not all lovey-dovey and LOVE IS GRAND. To me, it speaks to one of the most fulfilling aspects of marriage, that of individual growth within the constraints (I couldn't think of a better word, but I fear *some* might read that as a negative connotation. It's not.) of a committed relationship.

Thank you for these five wonderful years, husband! Looking forward to the next 50, for sure!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Here's an alphabet meme that's been rambling around the interwebnets; I think I initially saw it on Sunshine's blog... I thought I'd use it as a while-we're-on-the-road filler. How kind of me, no?

A – Age: 42
B – Bed size: King, beautiful King
C – Chore you hate: There really isn't any chore I HATE as long as I have my yellow rubber gloves. I can do almost anything with those puppies on!
D – Dog’s name: Jack, Darby, Chief and Ruby; yes, we are card-carrying members of the too-many-dogs club.
E – Essential start your day item: Coffee and pills (seriously)
F – Favorite color: Green, almost every shade, but you already knew that, didn't you?
G – Gold or Silver: Silver, usually, but I've been much more kind to the gold lately
H – Height: 5' 8.5"
I – Instruments you play: A pathetically small amount of piano, even less of flute; every once in awhile I think I want to take them both up again, but then I think, When exactly would I do that?
J – Job title: A little of this, a little of that; Jack of all trades, master of none...
K – Kid(s): Seth, 14. I shake my head every day at how blessed I am in the kid department.
L – Living arrangements: Beautiful home currently in transition due to a smallish leak in a pipe under the kitchen sink. Countdown to normal commences in 10, 9, 8, 7...
M – Mom’s name: Shirley Ann
N – Nicknames: Sher (Shelby can comment on any other names, I've blocked tham out.)
O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: One, a total thyroidectomy about seven years ago
P – Pet peeve(s): Negativity and complaining, whining's pretty high up on the peeve list too...
Q – Quote from a movie: "You have bewitched me, body and soul." -Mr. Darcy. Swoon. Yes, I'm a Jane Austen freak.
R – Right or left handed: Right
S – Siblings: One brother, 18 months older
T – Time you wake up: My alarm is set for 5:40 (basketball mornings) or 6 a.m. (all other mornings)
U – Underwear? Yes, please. I'm a little too old for any other answer, really.
V – Vegetable you dislike: Beets. I have tried, I really have.
W – Ways you run late: I can spend a bit of time looking for keys. It's another pet peeve of mine, not being able to find keys or cell phones, etc.
X – X-rays you’ve had: Teeth
Y – Yummy food you make: I love food. I love yummy food. See recipe list.
Z – Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

Please play along, in the comments or on your own blog. Thanks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peaceful, quiet and cozy. I do so love an early Friday evening...

This week my heart is full of thankfulness...

For my husband, who puts up with my accident-prone ways and loves me still. He even smiles when I tell him my latest tale of woe. And it's not a snarky smile, it's an "I'm glad you're alright" smile. Maybe a little bit of "Really, again? How is this possible?" Ha. He's a good, good man.

For my son, who is truly the best son a mother could ask for. (I'm not biased or anything!)

For a wonderful dad on his special day. Happy Birthday, Pa! Enjoy that yummy cake! (That's my dad and Seth in the picture above. Grandpa diggin' some first grandchild time about 13.5 years ago...)

For the snow as it sneaks down the mountains toward us... I am ready! Boots are out, scarves and mittens too.

For friends. For birthdays to celebrate, for new friends and old friends and friends in need and friends with love to spare. I have the spectrum and it's beautiful; I'm more blessed than I deserve, that's for sure.

For the strength of the human spirit, which I see exemplified in so many beautiful ways, every day. For my friends who are fighting illness, working hard to save a marriage (or picking up the pieces from an unfixable mess of a marriage) or supporting a parent who has a grave diagnosis, I know the burdens are many. But spirit remains, and even when that flags, friends and loved ones help build it back up. Never hesitate to ask for help from those nearby; loved ones are just waiting to be of help. Truly. I know this. I've been on both sides of this equation, and all you need to do is ask, hard as that may seem.

For laughter and humor. Reading Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk right now--a timely gift from a dear friend for my birthday--and it's laugh-out-loud funny. True David Sedaris in voice, but with a completely new and fresh angle. Two thumbs up from me.

For AAA. Needed them just this afternoon and they came through. Love it.

For work people who clean up after themselves. This is not to be underestimated in an already topsy-turvey house.

For black grapes. Now that the figs are gone, I've moved on... I think between Seth and I we've eaten about 10 pounds of grapes this week. They have been heavenly!

For better sleep. Again, not to be underestimated.

For Christmas music. The holiday music bug hit me this week, hard. It was helped along by a gift of Pink Martini from sweet C in Cali, and some digging around iTunes for a few other treasures... my Christmas mix is well on it's way... I'm doing my best not to get fully immersed until after Thanksgiving, but...

In my quote wanderings this week I found something that resonated:

My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life,
if we are right with those we love and behave
in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed
with the aching throb of unfulfilled business.
Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight.
We will never wallow in the agony of "I could have, I should have."
We can sleep in a storm.
 Have A Little Faith, Mitch Albom

May your weekend be beautiful and filled with all the things you need it to be filled with and none of the things that you don't!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday 13: 13 photos of color in the autumn

There was some beautiful light this weekend (outdoors). As we approached dusk, you could see those long shadows headed across the valley and I couldn't help but grab my camera and head out, leaving much more pressing things behind in the house.

But the waning patches of color called out to me, and I wasn't disappointed by the still-blooming areas around the yard.

Hope there's still some color where you are!

For more Thursday 13s, go here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Midweek inspiration: Mashups

O ne aspect to the current music "scene" that I have really come to enjoy are mashups. As made oh-so-popular by Glee, they've actually been around much longer, and there are various levels of sophistication to the combinations. Some of my favorites are done by DJ Earworm (his top 25 songs of the year are always entertaining), and recently I saw two previously unviewed (by me) mash-ups from him.

This first one is an amazing blend of Annie Lennox songs (see the list below). The striking aspect of single artist mashups is the potential for seamless transitions between songs, creating a completely new song. I know, I know, that's the essence of *any* mashup, but it's a special animal when featuring one artist. And then, to make it work not just from a music angle, but also the video, well, that's pretty cool.

* Why
* Walking on Broken Glass
* Little Bird
* No More I Love You’s
* Waiting in Vain
* Something So Right
* Dark Road
* Sing
* Shining Light

This second mashup features a mix of new and old; I really enjoy The Police and Kanye/The Fray... when would that ever happen? Probably not any time soon... Mix in a little Black Eyed Peas, even a bit of Alan Parsons Project... Actually, I really didn't get any Ammonia Avenue, at all. If you hear it and can tell me where it is in the video, that would be swell. Overall, though, enjoyable.

* The Fray, Heartless (Kanye West cover)
* Black Eyed Peas, Boom Boom Pow
* The Police, Message in a Bottle
* 2Pac, Dear Mama
* Alan Parsons Project, Ammonia Avenue

Sometimes inspiration comes via different venues... for me, seeing the creativity that goes into these productions, I get inspired.

Hope you enjoyed a little mixin' it up here on a fall Wednesday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend info-gathering roundup #3

I'm late with my round up, but didn't want to let all my fun reading go "to waste." Here's some of what I ran across in my spare time this weekend--and there wasn't too much of that! (I'm efficient, what can I say? Twitter, newsfeeds and RSS... all the best friends of the busy gal.)

Here are a couple of funny videos, completely related to all things interwebnets:

A couple of great infographics matching states with their respective appropriate media (TV or movie). I thought most of them to be pretty spot on.

 Map of states: movies

Map of states: TV

Dining in a house made of gingerbread? Yum, but I think the scent would be rather overwhelming...

Wouldn't mind finding a vase in the basement with this as the outcome. Holy cow, $85 million! Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Eight amazing, but impractical (to me) uses for an iPad. I think I'll still take my little leather stand/case...

Narcissism good for business? This article generated a lot of discussion in our house, to say the least. And led to the taking of the narcissistic personality inventory... interesting stuff. And then we all took a general personality test too. And then I took another one. Those tests are always so interesting to me...

What the food magazines are recommending for Thanksgiving menus this year. A really great roundup!

Fitness magazine published a list of 20 vegetable side dishes... quite a few of them looked quite yummy, but I was most drawn to the brussels sprouts with sherry-asiago cream sauce and the cauliflower with gruyere sauce (can we say fondue?). Might have to give those a whirl, soon.

And in all my ramblings around, I saw a quote I hadn't read in a bit, but one that I always enjoy:
In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. -Albert Camus

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin muffins

Woke up with a persistent craving for something freshly baked for breakfast and knew that I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge... naturally, I reached for my handy epicurious app on the iPad and pretty much picked the first one that popped up. Luckily, it was a yummy option--but I find that it's hard to go wrong with the epicurious folks...

Pumpkin muffins
Makes 12

1/3 cup golden raisins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoon raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), divided

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter muffin pan if not nonstick.

Soak raisins in hot water 5 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined, then stir in raisins and 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds.

Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining seeds. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack.

I made some adjustments: no raisins for me, no thanks. And I also omitted the pumpkin seeds and substituted whole wheat flour for the all-purpose. While I enjoyed my muffin (with coffee, of course) quite a bit, they lacked a little bit of a pumpkin "punch"--a little milder in flavor than I was hoping for. Some fiddling around with the amount of pumpkin in the future may possibly help... I'll keep you posted.

Warm from the oven, these made a delicious addition to our omelette and potatoes breakfast! And undoubtedly contributed to the must-nap-after-breakfast feeling I had to fight... well, maybe fight is too strong of a word. The nap and I chatted for a bit and I gave in pretty quickly...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dragging my tired body around tonight... what a week. Without getting too melodramatic, let's just say it was a stressful week, in many ways.

But... always...  ever... grateful.

We're all together, we three, healthy and happy and peaceful. I value that, so much.

While it's fall and that means shorter days and cooler nights, we have still managed to eke out some beautiful autumn sunrises and sunsets.

I'm so grateful for my crockpot. Looking forward to putting on some stews and soups in the coming weeks, and enjoying their warmth. And grateful too for my cool new T-fal actifry healthy fryer that husband got me for my birthday... it's way cool. We have made regular fries and sweet potato fries and I even did a stirfry this week. Next up, risotto.

Ditto for the hot tub. Love that warmth.

Oh, and hot chocolate too. Can you sense the trend?

I'm grateful for insurance. When things go awry and need repair, it's so nice to have your nut covered.

I'm grateful, as always, for my friends. For lunch catch-ups and morning coffees (those are rare these days!) and emails and phone calls. I woke up on Thursday morning and this was one of the first thoughts I had: "I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new." -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Just because.

I am grateful to see examples of lives well-lived and packed full of experiences. My former father-in-law passed away this week unexpectedly and it brought back a rush of memories of him, and the time I knew him. A quiet man with a wry sense of humor, he loved his family and his God very much. He was a world traveler who passed on that love of adventure to his kids--they have all traveled extensively too. I feel honored to have known him, and while I didn't have much contact the past few years, I am grateful for the time I did have, and am deeply saddened for his family, especially his wife, Shirley.

I hope your weekend brings you peace and rest and joy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday 13: New music makes me happy

Music makes me happy, that's a pretty well-documented thing on this here blog... I've been having some fun in iTunes lately, playing around and buying a song here, a song there. I have actually sprung for a full album (Neil Diamond's cover album, "Dreams," which I'm loving), but I often like to run around and graze on music, a nibble here, a nibble there...

1. Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are

2. Mindy Glenhill, Anchor

3. Sean Hayes, When We Fall In

4. Francesca Battistelli, Beautiful, Beautiful

5. Paul McCartney, I Want To Come Home

6. Ray LaMontagne, New York City's Killing Me

7. Hayley Sales, What You Want

8. Santana with India Arie, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

9. Shelby Lynne, Why Didn't You Call Me?

10. Eric Clapton, When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful

11. John Legend and The Roots, Wake Up Everybody

12. Brandon Flowers, Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts

13.  Katie Melua, Just Like Heaven

Yep, that's the stuff that makes me smile. And sing really loudly on my mower!

For more Thursday 13 participants, go here. Have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Midweek reminder: Give me your hand

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.
-Rilke's Book of Hours, I, 59

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ten Words Tuesday

Strangely invigorated by daunting challenges ahead, sipping coffee I smile.

Got the idea from Slow Panic. Thinking it's just about perfect for my life right now... 10 words is about what I can muster!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend info-gathering roundup #2

Pathetically fast weekend, wasn't it? I swear it was but a moment ago that I was looking forward to it, and now here we are (in the dark, no less, grrr on daylight savings time) on the other side. Sigh. There wasn't a great deal of time for reading this weekend, but when there were a few moments of quiet internet repose, here's what I found to be interesting:

A fun rundown of 10 "must have" cookbooks by the LATimes food critic Jonathan Gold.

An very interesting report about a recent example of publishing and copyright infringement... curious times we do live in. Interesting how crazy, seriously CRAZY, the interwebs get when the whole "up in arms" thing takes hold. One story turns into another story turns into 20 blog posts and 50 tweets and it just blossoms.

Speaking of "up in arms," our own local octopus controversy rages on, from Facebook to the local paper. There are the pro-octopus people. And the less so (scroll down until you feel condescended to. Then you'll know you're reading the right letter). Breathe people, breathe.

I did so want to see Due Date this weekend, but that was not to be... so I contented myself with reading about Zach Galifianakis' strange and curious humor, and we'll see the movie at some future time. I'm already looking forward to being simultaneously horrified and highly entertained.

Always find interesting stuff at Mashable... Here's an article on iPhone camera apps that could prove handy!

Socializing is possibly tied to insomnia? Hmmm.

I read a charming piece about a friendship that makes me want to write about one of my own dear friends, the kind of friend that sees you through the thick and thin, and you can write about the good and the bad you've been through together, 25 years later...

Thoroughly enjoyed an amazing photo essay called Ecolilia: A Father's Photographic Conversation with His Autistic Son. What a gift this father has given to his child--the gift of time and space to be himself. Beautiful.

A 14-year-old believes he has cracked the secret to the SAT essay. And it appears he's on to something... I'm sure we'll hear more about this story.

Hope you had a great weekend! Did you read anything interesting? Please share.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Really, was it just one short (well, it felt kind of long...) week ago that we were birthday celebrating around here? Wow. Yes, that's all I've got. Wow.

My gratitude is overflowing tonight, for many things, but especially for:

My sweet men, who never fail to let me know I'm loved. How I got so lucky, I'm not quite sure. But I'll take it.

Amazing friends. Friends I can laugh with and even cry with... though I'm less fond of being the crier. I'd rather be the one patting the shoulder, giving the hugs... just sayin'. Thankful for friends who trek across mountain passes even when they're not well. Grateful for skype and for texts and for those who have my back.

The hay is up! I know, what's that about? Well, the last cutting of alfalfa has taken about a month to get up and off the ground. Crazy how long it's taken. But I'm thankful it's happened before the snow flies! (And the snow can fly any time now, just so you know. I'm ready. Don't shoot me.)

Fall flavors. Pomegranate seeds. Butternut squash. Pumpkin lattes. Butter tarts. Pot pie and mashed potatoes. I have been looking for pumpkin ice cream in the stores and coming up empty so far... I keep being assured that it's there... I guess I need another trip to the grocery store...

Fall colors. From leaves to the beautiful sunsets and even sunrises, it's a beautiful time of year. There was a sliver of a moon one morning when Seth and I were headed in to his crack 'o dawn basketball practice, and it was just shimmering above the mountains. Gorgeous.

Our community. Some weeks it can be a bit small-feeling, this town of ours. Other weeks it feels good, people looking out for each other. This was one of those weeks, the latter... thankfully.

That the election is over. Mostly so that our elected officials can go about the other, more important business of doing, not just campaigning. Ugh for campaigning.

It's been the kind of week, too, where the sweet animals among us need extra hugs. Dear friends said goodbye to their sweet family dog. Sleep well, dear Hannah. Makes me grateful for my frolicking and wild bunch...

Here are a couple of videos to add to your weekend peacefulness... in the pet category. This is the pet I think my Mom always wishes she could have had:

And this one just makes me laugh. Yeah for kitties everywhere, even the ones who seem to be too lazy to actually get down and dirty with their fights.

So thankful for a day of rest coming my way...

Hope your weekend brings you exactly what you need!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thursday 13: 13 must-haves in a newlywed kitchen

C ha Cha, a fellow blogger over at noodleroux, is getting married! This is exciting stuff. She's a fabulous, entertaining writer and it's been fun to follow along in her courtship with My Guy and their multiple dogs (makes me feel like I'm not alone in the nutty pet department!).

Cha Cha just posted this week about registering for her wedding and is looking for ideas on what to register for. She has gotten quite a few useful comments, but it got me to thinking... if I were starting out, what would I want to start with? My kitchen truly overfloweth (just tonight I got caught moving husband's breadmaker out to make room for additional appliances that found their way in over the birthday weekend. I got some splainin' to do...), and I love so many of my little tools and such... but if I had to pick 13? Ponder.

1. Pots. Gotta have pots. And by far, gotta get All-Clad. If at all possible. Beautiful and heavy, wash up fabulously too.

2. Le Creuset. This is WHY you register. So someone else can buy the astronomically expensive pieces FOR you. You know Uncle Mo and Aunt Gertrude are just dying to spend a couple hundred dollars. You know it. So go ahead and register for at least one medium dutch oven. And maybe a small nonstick fry pan too. In fun colors too, naturally.

3. Food processor. Go big or go home. 14 cups. Cuisinart. Vroom vroom.

4. Kitchen Aid mixer. This was the one item noodleroux knew she wanted, and I have to second that. Absolutely. A stand mixer will save the day when you're in a cake or cookie or bread mood.

5. Knives. I'm a big Global fan. Got turned on to them by Anthony Bourdain in his first book, Kitchen Confidential, and have stayed with them ever since. Easy to use, easy to sharpen, not cheap. So register!

6. Good nonstick bakeware: cake pans, cookie sheets, muffin tins. Not very sexy but so essential. And you need to give Cousin Lou something to be able to afford off the list too, right? Feel free to include all kinds of odds and ends like measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoons and the nice Pyrex pourable measuring cups too.

7. Toaster. You might already have one, but splurge (well, get someone else to) on a really nice one. That's something I'd never really make the move for on my own... but so essential to almost every kitchen, don't you think?

8. Mixing bowls, serving bowls, all bowls. Who doesn't need nice, serviceable bowls for all occasions? Big for mixing, small and medium for serving and entertaining. I like a little color on my table, but then I also like the all-white serving options too... so go for both if you have room to store them! (P.S. Those bowls above just went on my Christmas list. Oh boy they are SO me.)

9. China/nice dishes. In noodleroux's comments there was a bit of a split as to whether to get china or not. I say go for it. It's a hard lump to swallow years later when you DO decide you're the entertaining types and you have to splurge for it. Do it now. But (and this is a big but spoken by someone who knows...) pick wisely. Don't date yourself immediately with a very "au courant" pattern. Be neutral. Classic.

 10. Containers for food storage. A must in every kitchen, especially if you cook as I do, like the army of a small country is stopping by for dinner. Leftovers abound, so take good care of them.
 11. Apparatus for coffee making. I've had a good variety of coffeemakers over the years, but right now my love is for the Starbucks stainless steel French press coffee maker. I use mine every single morning, and am not even tempted to stop at a coffee place on the way to work. And, after breaking more than one glass French press... I am quite pleased with how this one is holding up, and keeping my coffee warm. Nice.

12. An indoor grill of some sort. Call it a panini maker, call it a George Foreman, but you need something that will apply heat to both sides of your food at once and cook it. Yum. Hungry for a steak now...

13. Ice cream maker. This one makes great frozen treats and is really economical too. We use ours SO often in the summer. Yum.

So what would your top must-have kitchen item be? Let me know in the comments!

For more Thursday 13s, go here. And have a great Thursday.
Blogger Template By Designer Blogs