Saturday, January 31, 2009

Souper Saturday

This was actually a dinner made on Thursday but as I will be at The Symphony this evening, I wrote this one ahead for you. You may consider having it for your dinner tonight if you get that crockpot or oven going early on. This recipe for Portugese Soupas was adapted from Rick Rodgers Ready and Waiting cookbook.

Cube all your beef and get that onion and garlic prepped.

I used a good hunk of frozen pork fat instead of oil. Hey, it's winter, cold and I like that rich flavor. (the brown little nugget is a piece of beef fat which was then discarded)

As you get closer to dinner, you may want to ask The Staff to make tea for you.

Lookin' good here as it's ready to serve.

Then we have the sides of green beans in brown butter and a mushroom bread pudding.

Plated and ready for eating. It went fast, and himself went back for seconds. Well, I did too but just not as much. heheh

My recipe is here and I think this one is mild enough for a dinner that included picky eaters (you know if you have them). The recipe also discusses how else this could be served if you really want to make this a one bowl meal.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Creative Space

Creative Spaces can be found over at Kirsty's so jump on in if you like on Thursdays! Memes are so much fun.

Most of my creating today was done in the kitchen but you'll have to come back on Saturday to see that one. Do come, because it's a good recipe if the cook says so herself. I finally finished the Christmas album from Ali Edwards' December Daily project with the December 31 page. Lots of fun, and I learned a lot from the process, but I'm glad it's done for this year. Ok for that year!!

So what does it look like now that there's not a lot Being Worked On. Well...

I finally organized my printouts of a great many of my digital elements in that black tabbed notebook. I do wish more of them were obvious by the file name, but I am also sorting them on the computer bit by bit and of course as I use them, I get to know my 'little children' or so it seems.

The computer desk has free space now too as I'm putting more bits away or in the trash. btw, that silver phone 'wants' to have the its #2 transferred to the Iphone so it can go to a battered women's shelter. It's another project To Do.

The crafty table has space to organize all my swapped ATCs into THEIR album tomorrow. If this sounds familiar, it is! That's because there's a trip in the days ahead. I'm getting the routine down I think!I hope.

Short Inspiration

Brought tears to my eyes this am ... I do want our country to seek the higher ground again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Name of the Game

The other night I woke up at 3am thinking of something my dh had discussed with me. I guess the thought was just taking its time percolating in my mind because I sure I don't like waking up at 3am...

Earlier in the evening, we had discussed, yet again, his ongoing frustration with our (his) inability to combine our timeshare and credit card 'points' into one account. The greatest # are in my name and so those are used when we make hotel reservations hither and yon. What's the big deal?? I asked, seriously not seeing any issue. Well, they're in your name! he said. BFD!! So what?? I replied. He continued to mumble and finally said, Well I have to use your name!! and I don't like it!! I just shook my head and said So get over it... and went back to reading my book, thinking no more about what seemed to be a very much of a non sequitor to me. Fast forward to 3am.

I got it! He was having to do what women have taken for granted for so so many years. Ah, my dear, you can only be a person and conduct commerce if you use your spouse's name. Oh don't have a spouse? Well, you do have your Daddy's name don't you? I got it, I got it! He was so unfamiliar with this loss of name it shocked him and rightly so. He didn't like it! By the time this concept was starting to bother me as a women, I had already had two men's names. Even worse was carrying a passport that proclaimed me "a dependent of a person (abroad on..)" while his passport proclaimed he was "a person (abroad on...)". This now xh used to taunt me with that, reminding me that he was a person while I was merely a dependent of a person. "Can this marriage be saved?" I think not, and it wasn't.

When I finally woke up later in the morning, tho I was tempted to spring out of bed and dash to the computer, I had my tea and told my dh I got what was bothering him about the points. I reminded him that I had, once again, changed my name to please him when we got married even tho I had not originally planned to. I knew it meant more to him than it did to me. (aside..I only regret this when I remember I have moved down the alphabet in lines.) I said - Suppose you were named John Smith and you married Jane Doe, and henceforth you would be called Mr. Jane Smith. Get it??? He got it, and I know he does, but then he said...But sometimes they CALL me Maureen! Well unless the call center is in Mumbai I don't have a clue about that one! But I don't think we will have the points discussion again. Knowing the man, I suspect he will be processing this for some time to come.

Both legally and familiarly, as well as in my books,
I now have only one name, which is my own.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Souper Saturday

When I have the house to myself, I tend to get on a roll with projects that are better not stopped for a lot of cooking. Like working in the attic.

%#$@ vent

This happened this weekend and I found a soup that was just perfect for a quick and good meal.

I had some chicken bits in the freezer, leftover from Greek Grilled Chicken. (Yes, it was bitter cold Inauguration day but I wanted to grill!) I had found one of those treasures that you can find in your pantry if your pantry is like mine - full of those goodies you are saving for a rainy day. Some might call it hoarding, but who am I to judge. Ok, bring out the shoe, because it does fit, so I'll wear it.

tom ka kai

The jar was one I couldn't even recall buying much less seeing but no matter. When the directions said, Add one spoonful to 1 cup water, I was sold. I used a heaping tablespoon. The chicken thawed on my soapstone counter top in no time, and I had some sliced mushrooms AND cilantro that amazingly was as fresh as when bought. I boiled up the flavored h2o, then added the chicken, and then the mushrooms. Almost instantly it was done, so I turned the gas off, added a handful of grape tomatoes and a good batch of minced cilantro. Soup!

Could have used more oomph (red pepper/finely sliced Thai chile etc) to make it taste more Thai but hey... it was done in no time, and hit the spot. I'd love this with shrimp, but then I love shrimp most any darn way. I suspect dh would also eat it with fish if he were around. I had enough chicken thawed for a 2nd batch the next day, and made it the same way. Obviously you could add any # of finely chopped/sliced raw vegetables or even some precooked veggies (aka leftovers) if you get them to room temp first and just cook them enuf at the end to get hot. If they were already limp I'd pass on cooking them more.

I do recall having soups like this at room temperature in Thailand but then room temperature was usually pretty darn hot.

Oh, and you just read the recipe.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Lovers World

I have The City of Dreaming Books from the library. I'd seen it on vacation but when I opened it I had my doubts. DH confiscated it and is enjoying it thoroughly and it will def be a book we buy for the middle school boys. This video made seemed to tie fit with the book.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!!!

Back at the beginning of December I received this award from my dear sugarpiehoney friend Marysol, the marvel of confections over at Memories in the Baking. She is Temptation Incarnate but don't we all love temptation! I so want to watch her in action one day because we have never met despite my occasional jaunt to the wilds of Michigan. That's a darn big state folks!

I strongly suspect that this award should be updated to read 2009, but at the moment I am not up to Photshopping it. I am up to making the awards though and I'm sticking to a trio. So drumroll please!

First is a blog that I found last fall I think, and in the manner of blogging, feel that Ginny is someone I'd love to live closer to and know on a f2f basis. I hope this happens someday. She makes lovely art and shares her life at Ginny's Small Studio. She's warm, kind and cooks lasagna for the holidays. Could one ask for more?

Second is another art blog that I've fallen for recently - Dispatch From LA, artsyfartsy fun with cats and children aka the young punks in the classroom. You'll wish you were in her class! Mary Ann, you are my kinda woman. Look at all her cool links too plus a changing playlist.

Third is Benita, the Mistress of Sweden's Chez Larsson. If you ever long for clean and minimal, you will love looking at Benita's home as she makes it all possible and explains how. Two adults, one teenage boy, and two cats and an immaculate white home, a simple homey home. You'll feel serene and zenlike just looking.

Now, here are the rules for the recipients:

1. The award may be displayed on a winner’s blog.
2. Add a link to the person you received the award from.
3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.
4. Add their links to your blog.
5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on in the comments section of their blog.

And then go off and be happy and enjoy spreading smiles in blogland.

Monday, January 19, 2009

View From My Room & My Heart

I went on a 3 day women's spiritual retreat this past weekend and came home filled. Filled with gratitude for what is, filled with gratitude for what I had to go through to get to this place, and filled with gratitude that the women I met are seeing and believing that hope is real. Change is possible. The kind of change that is inevitable when we look at our past and shake our heads and say ...No, not any more! Our past does not have to be our future. I think our world is saying that now too, don't you?

This retreat is always held in the dark days of January when the frenzy of the December holidays is put to rest and when, at times, the cold dark seems to be endless. Each of us has her own limit of Enough of this! Let the light of spring start showing up! And then we notice.

No, the days are not as short as they were at the close of the year. We realize that the dawn has come earlier, and there is that little bit of extra sunlight as we make dinner or get ready to leave work. Almost imperceptibly the season is changing and we, like our formothers, know that the shift continues even as our own bodies shift monthly and remind us of the renewal of life.

At the end of our retreat, one of the women organizers had each of us look under our chair. Some who had tags received little surprise gifts and some had little stickers and others just had chairs! One of the women who was a bit disappointed to have 'just a sticker' said to me (who had a chair!) Well here - you can have it! She stuck it on the sleeve of my sweatshirt and I proudly wore the little lion. Other women who saw me said Do you know you have a sticker on your sleeve? Yes, I you want to hear me roar?!?!? I joked.

But on the way home, I thought of the words that came to me about that sticker as I drove through the beautiful farmland of Maryland. Lionhearted. Heart on my sleeve. Simba Jike - the name given to the heroine of a novel I'd just read. It was enough confirmation for me that I'm in the right place, I am who I am, a woman who is an open book, who wears her heart on her sleeve, and who wants to love fiercely but doesn't roar enough - yet.

I felt that this retreat was - as they always are - a time apart that fit so perfectly with our current world situation. When I listened to the other women, spoke with them, danced near them and with them, cried my own tears at their pain or their joy, I knew deep in my soul how truly We Are One. It's not just a political slogan for me who comes from so many years in politics. It's a core belief, a knowing. I write this today so that I can remember what I feel, that I can be reminded of what I truly believe when I get mired in the minutia of life, as I know I will, and as I know you will. I love knowing that there are others out in the blogosphere both near and far who 'get it'.

You are pieces of my life that I treasure and you are loved, even if I haven't 'met' you yet. So Thank you! for helping me to roar!


"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." --discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson

Friday, January 16, 2009

One Day I Shall

1929 Tamara de Lempicka 'St. Moritz' print from here but found here

Ok, make that a trip not the whole winter. I had my chance once and lost it and that's another long story. Let's just think a week or two in Berne or Zurich or Geneva. No skiing, just a Swiss city with snow. The kind of place where there's a lot of snow and they handle it well. Do they still have the long white lights on the buildings in Zurich at Christmas??? This might be the time to start my lobbying for 2009 or 2010

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Obamiconme Pretty slow site right now(uh, busy???) but a fun way to get ready for the Inauguration - Shepard Fairey style.

Think I'll try another in the a.m.

My Creative Space

Creative Spaces can be found over at Kirsty's so jump on in if you like on Thursdays! Memes are so much fun.

I have been working like mad on trying to get most of my December Daily pages done before this weekend's retreat and I've made good progress on that front. I'm up through Dec 28th! and will work through with Jan 1st and then the Christmas cleanup page. But that's for next week. Phew! Next year, I will have learned enough to make a start before the holidays. Well, I will have learned enough but doing it is always another thing as well I know.

Here you see the pages of the elements/templates/papers I plan to use for some of my pages. I don't have all my digital elements printed out (there would be another ink cartridge or so gone!) but it does help me if I do have them (in a binder) to see what I might like to use. The long list on the right is the list of items that must/could be used for the ATC I was doing. You had to use your partner's choice but then could use others. In the end I enjoyed this one but procrastinated a bit too long, making it harder in my mind than it actually was.

These are the two, the one on the left was done but then I moved the quote a bit under the crow, which moves. (Cool, huh?) Gotta love those glue dots when you change your mind. I still had the 2nd one to cut out etc. They will be up on Flickr later this week, should you care.

And then I have postcards to swap and also some to send to my grandchicks. I have a new glue spray and is it every sticky! I'm afraid it's getting everywhere. I stick the glued postcards under the mat rather than try to smooth them down with my sprayed fingers. I need help here!

And that's been my creative week, other than downloading a boatload of free digital items. Tomorrow I'm off to a spiritual retreat, but lord is it gonna be cold out! High 23F, and low 9F. Lots of fleece and socks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Presents from Australia

Back near Christmas I received another packet from Australia. I had totally forgotten about this gift which I won over at Juddie's blog, Flightless Boyds. She wrote and asked for my address and then I forgot all about it again. I mean is it worth wasting energy worrying about Free Gifts? Let the Universe do that, as it seems to be doing quite well imho.

Well this packet lands on our dining room table, the repository for mail after it comes thru the mail slot or is left in the pocket between the door and the storm door. I love leaving the packages on the table for a couple of hours, walking round them as I go in and out of the dining room all day...wondering, anticipating, enjoying.


Gifts from Juddie

We have going from top center (the green and red Thai cloth is mine)
  • a rose tea towel
  • fancy blue wrapping paper which I shall save for dd
  • 2 fab pieces of fabric which will be perfect for pillows (ahem. Is there a seamstress in Bayridge?)
  • a temple rubbing (being held down with glass candlesticks)which may or may not go to dd
  • 3 red hearts (Christmas 2009 ornaments!) and one button pin
  • bird gift tag
  • a palm grass container that held the temple rubbing
I didn't want to post about this in the midst of all the Christmas fol del rol and fa la la but at the same time I didn't want to forget it. DH has already spoken harshly (!!!) to me about forgetting an on line password this week. boo hiss phhhhhtttttt!!!

So go on now, check out Flightless Boyds, say hello to Juddie, and then have a peep at her Other Blog ...come on now, you have to go look! ...Gin Slings and Whimsy for a marvelous collection of vintage illustrations. One might be just the thing you've been looking for.

Thanks again Juddie!

Nancy Friedman Said It

Apparently there is an American Dialect Society and they make annual selections for Word of the Year, now to be known as WOTY. Well, it isn't too much of a surprise to find that the WOTY was bailout at the top of the chart or should that be at the bottom? I'm afraid we're still "...going down? Mr. Tyler?" Can we keep asking Dubya that question? Nancy says

My favorite this year was the winner in the Most Creative category: recombobulation area, the section of the Milwaukee airport where passengers who have survived the security screening can put themselves back together.

My mother used to talk of being discombobulated but I have never heard of anyone recombobulating or getting to the stasis state of combobulation. It appears I've lead a sheltered life. Maybe I need to hang out in Milwaukee more often to expand my vocabulary. Bet that sign maker had a question or two.

btw,if you like words, you'll like Fritinancy Have a word issue? check her on Twitter.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Still At It

I do hope to finish up the December Daily album by the end of this month, but it will take some dedication. I truly enjoyed the process and understand how to get myself ready next year In Advance. That still doesn't get a page designed, photos cropped and saved and saved and saved. Then uploaded, then printed. I am getting comfortable with the process and that was a lot of the point for me. I needed a project to work through to learn.

These pages are the start of the final bit...the trip to SC which you have seen in earlier posts, but here's what it looks like for the book. It's good posting them in Flickr because then I document what I do. Otherwise, I tend to wonder...what font WAS that. Tell me you are at least half as bad...please?

08Dec-26--TO Beach
The ride that went from a breeze to my thinking Why would we ever choose to take I-95?

08 DEC-26-Barbeque
The dinner that made it all worth while, plus there was a bed waiting for us in Wilson NC.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I just Joined

Kirsty over at kootoyoo has started the 2009 version of the popular On My Desk. We are now into My Creative Space since we all know that creation takes many forms and in many locations. (hmmm....that does have double meaning, doesn't it? I am reading The Red Tent now, so...)

I'm in for the meme. How 'bout you?? It's Blogging Without Obligation and it's fun.

Friday, January 9, 2009

what shall I do

What shall I do with the rest of my life, I mean.

No, I'm not planning on checking out any time soon, tho One Never Knows. That is one of those dubious awareness's (apostrophe? one more s? add es?) that comes to us the longer we live. You know how you hear strange stories and think what you never thought at 30 or 40....That could happen to ME. I could just up and die from (insert weird happening) Any Day. Pass me a piece of that fudge now, just in case.

I also have to apologize for possibly putting fear into two of my children. I realized this year that I am so over putting a tree up and taking it down etc etc especially when we both want to go Somewhere Else over the holidays. DH has been a bad influence on me here since he suffered from too many More, More, More Christmases in the past and tries to avoid those recollections. I don't want to be the one putting the brakes on his desire to travel but doing Christmas does conflict with a trip in November and December AND January.

So a mental decision was made last year to get a smaller tree, which I got on sale at Jo-Ann's for $29! This 'you get what you pay for tree' called for very few ornaments and so I have at least half a big plastic bin of ornaments that were not used this year, and I don't want to feel guilty about not using them in future years. Flylady says Give them AWAY. Hey, I made a lot of those so shouldn't the people whose names are on the ornaments get them??? Shouldn't they have trees of their own by now??

And so I went to Facebook and asked my chicks Do you want your Christmas ornaments now or when I'm dead? One told me to drink lots of water and take my vitamins. This apparently is the secret to mumsy's long and healthy life in the mind of a 30sumthin. No comment was made about the ornaments. The other chick, male, said Burn them. I suspect he has not looked at a Christmas decoration for a while if he thinks you can put them on the barbie and they will turn to ash. Or will they??

I have come to the conclusion that we rarely want any of our parents' things till we reach 50 and by then the parents are fed up and have trashed the lot and gone minimalist. And so I decided to let the issue rest for a week or so or 50, and color my hair. Not that my Artist Way peeps would care about my roots, but when it's time, it's time. DH walks in after I'm done and says

DH It's darker. I like it lighter.
moi Yes it's darker, but it was getting brassy looking.
DH Ohhhh. Obviously not knowing that brassy is not a look one aspires to unless..well, you know.

This is as far as I've gone in looking into my future. But I know 2009 will be good, because I am dealing with those Christmas decorations with non-brassy hair. Some days, for a Virgo, that's almost enough.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Well the bulk of the Christmas putaway is done. (Thank you Flylady for the inspiration.) The dishes had been out on the kitchen island since Christmas Day but since we left for SC on the 26th, it didn't happen! But now they are packed and just waiting for a couple of dishtowels to dry. I know I tend to find additional Christmas things lurking about.

Packed Christmas Dishes

Then Dick took the White House ornaments down as he is tall enough to reach them w/o a chair or ladder. He is very careful about how his boxes are stored! tho they are not in chronological order as he had previously. I'm just glad they get up AND down.

White House Ornaments

What I expected to take a Long Time only took 30 minutes, with no ornament broken. They are now on the dining room table waiting to go into ziplock bags that I started back in the 80s. This tree needed so much fewer decorations that I have a full storage box of ones that didn't make the cut this year.

Ornaments sorted, waiting to be wrapped

Then we have the Initials that a few family members forgot to take this year, and considering that one boyfriend is already history....these may become donations.

Who forgot his/her initial?

The donation pile is already started. (I loved that feather wreath the year I bought it, but now I wonder about my taste!)

Start of the giveaway

So adios Christmas, I'll see you in 11+months! My serenity is returning.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Playing with Iphoto

There are a lot of things I COULD have done today, including making more of an attempt to get the Christmas things down. day of fun at home, and I'll get to that tomorrow.

As I was uploading the Hilton Head trip photos onto my computer, I saw an article in MacWorld about slide shows, and off to the races I went. I had no idea there was the card/postcard feature that allows you to make title pages to insert in a slide show. I finally stopped short of burning a dvd - mostly because that involved going downstairs to GET a dvd. I usually find if I leave the computer, I get waylaid by something that needs doing downstairs. That something is usually a lot less interesting than what I'm doing on the computer - imho.

Here are some of the pics I used as the front of the postcard when making titles. Incidentally, all the pictures are from my Iphone as I was having battery issues with my camera, yet again.

btw, I will probably never try to lay the pictures out like this again!! Next time a template. Live and learn. DH wants me to do the DVD but the old girl only has so much energy and eyesight in a day!

1/6 Link to Macworld article above after I finally found it again.That link is also for MY reference as I tend to find Bookmarks become the Black Hole of Calcutta.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jig

Tis good to be inside one's own home even if the weather up here is a considerably brisker than down in Savannah and Hilton Head! I hope my dear friend Judy is making the transition from sunny LA. She got to go to the Rosebowl! I forgot to tell her about 'that' food store in Los Angeles but perhaps she remembered from reading the blog. Hey Judy! I have a gift certificate for "Sur La Table" that needs spending!! Sadly, I don't think anyone else is close enough to me to watch/help me make some serious decisions on what I need (Ha!), what I'd like, and what I have room to store from that emporium. I do believe my gift certificate will last me a loooong time especially as I also have a return to make.

If you are reading this, and want to give me some advice on what you would get if you had a big hunk of change for cooking stuff, I'd love to hear from you.

This is the item going back, because at 9qt I know I won't be able to lift it into the oven - full. It's darn heavey empty. My apologies, Mario. I know dh loves me if he got me this, because he is the one usually saying....Now where do you think you'll put THAT?? when I do buy a new pot or pan. I think, heheheh, he loves his food more than he enjoys complaining, and that is a Good Thing.

One last bit of catch up....if there's not a new post and you show up here thinking there should be or might be, it's quite likely that there is a new tweet over on the right. I had good success with tweeting on the phone over the vacation. Ok, I admit...I love social media. I do. Feel free to join me on Twitter. It's fun. I have to credit BlogHer for letting me see the network value in that application. I may not be living all over the world anymore, but I certainly do like meeting people in hither and yon places.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Vacation Draws Down

Ah some cold weather has crept south but despite that we have had a great time here in Hilton Head. We toured cemeteries yesterday in Savannah, as we knew almost everything else would be closed on the holiday. It was a gorgeous sunny day but pretty brisk. I'm glad I took a leather coat for such a day. That's one of the good things about driving - you can prepare for a variety of clothing needs or possibilities. DH sometimes calls me Omar (Bradley) and he's George (Patton) as we load the car for a trip. ( your WWII history if those names don't ring a bell!)

Church Bluffton
Church in Bluffton SC

This mild, and now cooler, weather, makes this part of the country so very tempting. BUT...I HAVE been down here in the spring when it is already well on its way to being oh so hot and sultry. Sultry to me is an upscale word that means sweaty-hot-humid. That's the kind of weather that brings Serious Crankiness out in me. So to all those people who can't wait to spend a summer down her on the can have my footprint! Gladly. But I'll take 'winter' in the south any day, well for part of the winter i.e.

\St John the Baptist Cathedral Savannah
St. John the Baptist RC Cathedral Savannah

Thursday, January 1, 2009

PSE vs 2

Word for 2009

I had been thinking of a word for this year, and I found a wooden sign in a craft store that seemed perfect for someone I know.

The longer I had it, the more I felt it really was for me. Funny how that is.... So my word for 2009 is


Many thanks to Ali Edwards for sharing this idea. It might not have been her original idea but as I found it on her blog, it's hers in my mind. Thanks Ali!

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