Friday, February 29, 2008

This Inspiration Board

From Meet Me at Mike's ( I wonder where Mike's is.... hmmmm) The weekly This is...

Well. This is certainly a wake up call to get my act together and finish the wall for this...ok really start the wall for this concept, not for this Sunday tho. I've thought about it for a while.

Right now I have several collages that are my inspiration/reminder that I can make things ...just for the fun of it. After a lifetime being the child of a govt employee, being married to a govt employee, and then BEING a govt employee myself for 20 yrs, I'm ready to do thing

Just Because They're Fun.

The blank wall is going to be a painted with magnetic paint and then perhaps I'll put a big frame up so it looks like a board or maybe I won't. The plaster isn't too forgiving and I do like to change things about.

These three boards were a good idea, until I realized I couldn't easily get them changed because of the depth of the desk table. So most of the stuff is old...and I really don't quite see it anymore. I'm going to move the tables ...soon. ;-)

Right now the myriad blogs one can find are my biggest source of inspiration

On my desk...Feb 29

I love playing these games I find online. But now I'm wondering if this is a phenomenon of life 'down under'???'s fun. It was Kristy who suggested this one. Boy oh boy, desks have lots of interesting stuff.

So on my desk, there are many things but as it is pm, the light isn't that good with just the camera flash gripe gripe gripe and I have hair to color (mine!), this is quick and dirty.

You will see the corner of my Imac, the corner of the keyboard, the Who cd that will not record on Itunes (what is it with some old cds?), a drained mug of Russian Caravan, and the new thingamajig I had to buy to upload pics from my camera. It was dirt cheap but I can't believe I wore out the old one. Dh says yes I did...

Gotta put a note on the cal to check next Weds...Thanks Kristy

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Home again, home again

Home means
Post vacation
  1. My own bed
  2. A real cup of tea in one of my favorite mugs
  3. Sebastian both greeting me and ignoring me
  4. My MAC with its great great big screen
  5. A whole house to wander in, sit in, be alone in
  6. More than 4 outfits to wear
  7. Laundry
  8. Meals to plan and cook
  9. A litterbox to clean
  10. But really little to complain about

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Accepting Friendship

I was going to title this...offering friendship...but I realized that on this occasion, I had been the one accepting, not offering, tho it usually is a total two way street.

Being the extrovert that I am, I often miss the verbal exchange that I crave when I am on vacation with ISTJ dh. He processes a lot. A lot. I can, and will, talk to most anyone anytime, but my language skills on this trip are a bit below minimal. I didn't make the effort I could have and so I was hungry for conversation...just the small talk of life. My ds has often said I'll talk to a lampost, and wonders why I approach strangers and offer directions.

We have had the experience on this trip, of people coming up to us and offering to help, usually with English that makes me wonder if we Americans will ever be a nation of linguists. My French is mostly forgotten, I haven't spoken Thai in years, and the Farsi only hangs on in some of my screen names. Spanish I keep swearing I will study, and finally have the Mac with a microphone to hear myself but I haven't started studying - yet. Portuguese? Well my only taste of Portuguese has been a few cassettes of Portuguese music and the memory of music picked up from Mozambique while in east Africa. Once I say Obrigado, I'm just about through. The shame of it all. :-P

We finally took ourself up to the Castelo Sao Jorge on this trip to Lisbon, and after seeing the views from a couple of directions, dh decided to continue around to the north side. I said I would wait and when he came back, I would get up on my feet again. But I can sit on stone for a good while, and so I waited...and waited...and waited. Where was he?? How long would I have to wait? Hmmmm....

When we entered the Castelo, we were following a large group of students...13? give or take a year or two? Many of our daily excursions coincided with school trips and it was always fun to see students being students the world over. Dh was gone, and I was waiting..waiting..amidst a group of those students. Suddenly one dashed over and said English? Yes, I said, tho then wondering if he meant language or nationality. No matter, I thought. He dashed back to his friends and they chattered and another came back with - English? no, I said American - United States. Back they huddled and then came over with the mix of shyness and exhuberance that an adolescent has. They had found an English speaker to test out their skills. I had seen the same in other countries, but this was the first time on this trip that someone other than an adult had approached us. My friends always say I have a neon light on my forehead that lights up and says TALK TO ME. I guess it went on when dh walked off. ;-)

One by one, in bits and pieces they each told me their name, I pronounced it back, was corrected if necessary, and tried my 3 or 4 words of Portuguese out. Lots of laughing and they seemed to think I did ok. I only know they are from a school north of Lisbon, and were on a school trip. I have sent Jessica an email with their photo, but should anyone who knows them see this, I would love to share it with them. They were truly one of the best gifts of this trip. I loved meeting them and talking with them, and thank them so so much for approaching me.

Your language skills are excellent, and keep being such good ambassadors for your country. I will remember you as Portugal. Espero que nos reunimos novamente.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stilll on vacation, life is still cooking

Vacations are great - if your own life is in need of one, I feel. One of the many things I've noticed since I retired is that I'm very happy in my own home, especially in the day time. I hadn't had that luxury since the end of my first marriage in 1986. To be in a home you love, a home you've created, and a home you share with someone you love...well , I hope you have some of that in your own life. I do, and I'm increasingly less interested in leaving it...for...a vacation?

Looking thru time

Travel, however, gives me a chance to see how dh and I interact and how we don't do it as well as we could some times. Our different styles of communication can lead one of us to asking a question, the other answering it, and the original questioner wondering...Did s/he have a clue what I asked?!??!? We have even used the technique of repeating each other's words to be sure that the phrase was correctly heard. Oh no, that's not it, we found! We can agree on what the words are, but we don't always agree on what they mean! But on vacation, the importance of the precise meaning seems to melt somewhat...until we are driving and navigating. Since we decided that dh is the better driver, and that I am the better navigator (He says he usually takes my directions in the car because I speak with authority!) I usually like to have dh's input on my interpretation of the map vs the place I think we are headed towards.

This trip has had some memorable occasions...driving down from Madrid and entering Estepona late in the evening. Wondering where in the H*ll the Marriott actually was! Looking at our map, our concierge's instructions, and seeing little similarity with the actual road signs. And then that absolute blank we both drew as we approached a huge traffic congested bridge in Sevilla.

But as we agree, together we make up about 75% of a good brain. And once in a while, one of us contributes abot 60 % while the other goes into brain melt down. It balances, and the lessons such as those our foreign travels give us, remind us over and over that the Joy is in the Journey. It's there, it is. We can ignore it by focusing on the destination or we can find pleasure in the unreadable maps, the frantic turns, and the views along the way. I believe vacations are just another chapter in Life School lessons. We might think we're out of school, but that's just an illusion.

“This Is . . . Me Taking A Picture of Myself In the Mirror With My Favourite Accessory.”

Well, this will be a hard one for me since I'm not at home but I think I can manage something close.

And to all those who are also playing this weekly theme, I'm sorry I can't comment on your submissions. Sightseeing takes a LOT of time, and I'm coming back to the hotel pretty zonked.

Ok...I don't have a lot of accessories with me, nor are they a big part of my life. However, since I stopped wearing contact lenses, my favorite accessory could be a pair of glasses. Dull, huh??

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is…what makes me laugh.

This week’s Originateur (!) is Poppalina , and some fascinating items she makes if you take a look. But back to the theme she picked - well this is the first thing that came to mind, and 'they' always say the most honest is your first response.

It makes me laugh..and it makes dh laugh…and so we watch every Saturday night and laugh together. The British tv series...As Time Goes By

Thursday, February 7, 2008

He knows :-(

He always knows something is going on, and that he's not a part of it. Fortunately, we have loving sitters for him, and by the time we get back he doesn't even appear to remember us. That just may be punishment.

But for now, Cooking My Life is on vacation - mostly. ;-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

This is...Sunday Lunch.

Oh, this is a hard one for me. I'm thinking back to childhood when Sunday meant Mass at about 10 a.m. followed by a big breakfast closer to noon. My Nana lived with us, so she was the cook and breakfast usually meant bacon and eggs for me, Nana and Mommy. Daddy didn't like bacon so he often got (ugh!) hamburger broiled in the broiler pan at the base of the gas oven, pushed down until it was dry and gray looking to me. I tried to avoid eating at the same time.

The rest of the day was full of newspaper and then Sunday ended with a supper. This was a light meal with a soup or sometimes another breakfast or waffles with S.O.S. for Daddy and just syrup for me. For the most part, Sunday was the day Nana "had off" in the kitchen.

When I married, my then dh's family was big on a full Sunday lunch. We too got into that habit when we lived in England, and on Saturdays I used to go to the market for the joint, taters and whatever veggie we would have. Brown baps too. I don't have memories of making much in the way of dessert but if I had a bought cake, it would have custard sauce to be sure. This changed as we moved from country to country and climate to climate. When one of you is working rotating shift work, one day is very much like the other.

These days, I have to laugh since I too take Sunday "off." (Well, I am a Nana too!) Sunday is the one day that we are likely to go out for lunch and make that our primary meal of the day. One of our favorites is southern Indian vegetarian buffets. We have a couple not too far away, and the lunch is often preceded by a visit to a bookstore. We come home full and happy with new books to peruse. I'll try and see what THIS Sunday brings!! (Look for me at Maureen-Get In the Car to see this Sunday's lunch along the Mediterranean.)

1 day and counting

No, it's not California Dreaming but Estepona dreaming. So despite the fact that today is Ash Wednesday, we are in a upbeat mood. Most of my check off list is done, tho it keeps getting bits added to it. Distractions abound as in an email from King Arthur inviting me to get started on Easter goodies! And the Washington Post tempts me with recipes for nougatine hearts. Sigh.

But I forge on, and the clothes get laid out, thought thru ONE more time, and the passports are checked, the books get selected, and the clock ticks on.

A bit of food has been made chez nous, and while dh had a salmon curry which was done with a bit of clean out the fridge work, it did have his salmon, caught with his big ol' hands in Alaska. Since it went from sea to flashfreeze the same day, I am willing to have mine this way...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Good Habits...where do they go

There it sits, the lonely journal. So neglected, so ignored, trying not to judge me. How many years have I been writing my 3 pages each a.m.? Since 1997, and yet...and yet there are times when the rebellious child still inside the crone says No! I don't want to! It doesn't happen often but when it does, I am always surprised to find that a week, a month, whatever time has passed and it was not a conscious thought to stop. I look back and think... How long has it been since I ???

Today I looked at that lovely red and black journal, given to me at JSJ class last year by a fellow student, and thought Ok, you've had your time out. Get going. And so I took a photo of the book with only a few pages left, checked the prior date, and sat with pen in hand to write. Clear the mind, sweep out the remnants of last night's mental and emotional dinner. Nothing brilliant gets in there but less lingers in the crevices of the brain to come popping up at various times in the day - that flotsam and jetsam that hinders a day's passage.

I also thought I'd add the little Buddha that I call Sky Buddha. He sits on my window frame and the light shines thru him. I believe that what shines in to us changes us and then it is our responsibility to reflect it back to the world. Light in, light out. May your days be light.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

This is...My Collection!

This week's meme comes from Hyena In Petticoats . This collection.

I used to have so many. Is that an attribute of youth or just personality? I wonder since downsizing, and having less interest in accumulations does seem to come with age. When I was a fairly young wife and mother, living in England when the US dollar was strong, I started collecting teapots. Good teapots. Bone china teapots. I was up to about 30+ and had them arranged on one kitchen wall, on shelves rawplugged into the rock hard plaster walls by my then dh. One day I came home to my lovely Nanny-ish babysitter who was all atwitter at my front door. My elder son was in nursery school so I immediately assumed something had happend to #2 son. (Do you remember the days before cell phones???) No, he was all right but...he had climbed on to the kitchen table, reached for something on one of the shelves and down the teapots tumbled.

All of them.

He was unhurt, and it was one of my first lessons in letting go of stuff. I also learned that second children are not exactly like first children. Let this be a caveat to parents contemplating child #2...

So now what do I collect? Well, I still have this collection. Cookbooks. Nearly every book on these shelves is a cookbook.

And there is the odd annex or two about the house. Well, really I don't know how many annexes there are as I just came across a hidden one this a.m.!

And then there are the cooking magazines that seem to be breeding since I no longer have any subscriptions, and then there are the folders on the 'puter. 1350 items in the folder. Do you think I can live long enough to even make a dent????

And what do YOU collect?

Tea makes it alright

With massive intakes of fruit and doses of JinShinJytsu (hold the ring finger for lung issues), I have my appetite back and am feeling as if I am on the road to recovery. I've always found that JSJ can short circuit something that may be developing in me. Some may say it is mind over matter, and if so, then I have quite a powerful mind. Beware!

Since my dh is not feeling anywhere as well as I am, I decided he might need another dose of scones. Sometimes as J says you just need sugar in your life. I also thought that for a man who can't seem to get warm today, the influx of oven heat in the house would give that special warmth. I like the recipe that I think is going to be my standard since the ingredients are few and relatively healthy with both oatmeal and whole wheat flour in addition to the regular ap flour. Today I added a good 2T of ground ginger as it is a warming spice and also because I had about 2T left when I 'decanted' some into a small jar. ;-) In addition to about 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips, I also added about 2T of very small bits of sugared ginger. Yes, I am trying to sneak the ginger in.

While these baked, and I cleaned up the counter I decided to make tea a bit early this afternoon. I have a couple of bags that are unidentified - label less or otherwise unnamed- so I thought...Go with the flow and trust that this little bag is what you both need and want. Often in the afternoon, if the tea is just for me, or if it is closer to dinner and one cup each is enough, I will use the pot that dear friend A gave me. I always think of her when I use it and remember both how it broke my heart when she moved across the country and also how my dd said Mama, you'll always be friends; you love each other! Sometimes a teenage girl is profoundly perceptive. So A, thank you for your love, thank you for the teapot, and thank you for knowing that the empty space I felt in my heart could someday be filled by the man who became my dh. Isn't the pot lovely?

Oh yes, you wanted to see the scones?? And the recipe is here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rainy and sickly

When I journal in the early a.m., I start out with a technique given to me by a friend. I answer the question Weather outside? and then Weather inside? . Outside today, it's pouring down rain, a real wintry rain. Inside? well I feel really down with this chest congestion and sore throat. No energy even tho I have a few important things to do before vacation, including visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles. The latter isn't so bad since it mostly involves sitting and waiting to get the little sticker for the tag. I am also going to get myself personalized tags again, something I had for years but gave up in 2001. I'll take a magazine and enjoy the process. Isn't that the point of life? Be in the moment, experience it all (cough cough) and stay present.

DH has taken himself to the doctor so he should be coming home with medicine and even better - a bag of navel oranges. I need that sunny energy so I'll look at this picture of clementines until he gets home. Maybe sunny Spain is what we really do long for. I'll try to keep that in mind, because this malaise isn't fun...

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