Friday, March 30, 2012


We liked mashed cauliflower. I usually whip it together with my nearly antique electric beaters, but sometimes I just use a hand "masher." Last night I tweaked it a bit and it was soooo delicious. I used the hand masher so it was lumpier than usual.

I sometimes speak a recipe the way I do driving directions. Here we go with my tweaked mashed cauliflower:

Take a head of cauliflower, wash, break apart and boil til soft in slightly salted water. Meanwhile scrub a large sweet potato, and cook in microwave 3 minutes. Peel, chop to pieces and add to cauliflower for the last five minutes of cooking. Throw in some minced dried onion. Drain and mash with: garlic, a spoonful of butter. a tad of salt, onion powder, sour cream, a tad of milk and a handful of grated cheddar cheese.  It was so colorful ... and a (fairly) healthy substitute for a starch with our meal.

Joining with Foodie Friday today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


S. T. R. E. S. S.  Traffic.  Rush Hour.  Road Work.  Late.  Slightly Lost.  And it was all really my fault ... I chose a new back road route to a meeting and it turned out to be far worse traffic than the main highway we were avoiding.

I picked up my cell to call our son who we were to meet and at the same time the Gardener's phone rang. I assumed it was our son calling his dad with the "where are you?" question. So I canceled my phone call to answer the Gardener's since he was driving. Hmm, Eldest had given up calling his dad. So I tried to call him again, and again the Gardener's phone rang and he was calling his dad. Or so I thought. Again I answered the Gardener's phone in vain.

LOL at myself. It took several rounds of this to realize it was I who was calling my husband's phone. Technology at its finest. In my defense, there had been some switching on quick call numbers on my cell phone and I had not (obviously) gotten set in my head which number --#7 or #8--was for which guy. I'm sure the stress of being late and lost did not help. Yes I laughed and still laugh at myself. And it's no surprise I'm sometimes called "ditzi" rather than my usual knick name.

Photo of our new art district ... I think that larger than life piece of art could be me directing traffic. It's just what comes to mind!  :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

good day recipe

One beautiful spring day in the city ...
Add in time to wander and lunch with good friends ...
Top it off with a camera in hand ... Makes for a very good day!

Joining in with Mary's Little Red House for Monday's Mosaics.

Friday, March 23, 2012

storybook view

Since I have been having some "down time" while my thumb healed, I've enjoyed the rare treat of sitting in my sunny living room. I've leisurely read, sat, thought--what luxury of time! As I glanced at the table beside me I suddenly grasped that I had a view of snippets of my life right in front of me -- a storybook view, so to speak. What I saw:

The Gardener's mom and grandmother's formal portrait
My most favorite lamp shouting out, along with the plate, my love for blue and white
A letter opener from Africa
A mug reminding me of a favorite book club session and a special blog friend
Coasters from England
From my childhood home: tall lamp, piano, chair
One of the Gardener's first gifts to me--the oil lamp, and it was old then!
A picture of my mom and her sister, who I was named for
Papers to read for one of my jobs
Throw pillows recovered to spruce up the house before Youngest's wedding
The table built by my great-great-grandfather for my great-grandmother's wedding gift
Old books read by my beloved great-aunt and others ... All there so close to see.
I was blessed to have the time to look around that day.  And that's the way I love my house to be ... a storybook of our lives, in a way, anyway. In some measure it brings comfort. Does your house tell stories?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

card shopping

One of the things I love most about both having a blog and reading other blogs, is the photos. 
"A picture is worth a thousand words" ...  So when blogger buddy Vee
 had the idea to have bloggers share (on the first day of spring!!) four favorite photos 
used on their blogs--that might make  nice note cards, it was a pleasure to join in. 
Any of these would do for me; in fact I made note cards from the church door photo 
one time, and gifted them to a mother whose son, the 
groom, walked out of that door with his bride on his arm! 
And let's hear it for hand-written notes!

Please visit Vee's A Haven for Vee  to see more great card options!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Art Three-Squared

Snatches of the Ringling Brothers' Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL. 
Taken and mosaic beautifully created by my artistic sis Lulu.
Connecting to Mary's Little Red House for Monday Mosaics

Thursday, March 15, 2012

carry in

I'm learning to sit quietly this week and depend on others. That's not easy for me. I had minor surgery on my right thumb on Tuesday. With this time to slow down I'm thinking about all I did over the years to "wear my thumb out." I'm not one to sit still--even now I'm posting, but mainly with my left hand ...

But the point of the post is how blessed I have been by friends and family bringing us meals. It's been a long time since I've been on the receiving end. I realize again how special it makes a person feel to have someone cook a meal and bring it to the house steaming hot and ready to eat (and for some that meant driving through rush hour traffic.) I'm so grateful and the comfort it brings helps with healing, I believe. Realizing how much the meals have blessed me encourages me to do it more often for others.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

you never know

I've always been touched that a friend of my sister reads my blog.
 Over the years she has emailed me to comment or encourage me in my podso posts.
She recently sent me photos of a lunch she had. 
The soup looked familiar and I was thinking I would love to make it.
Turns out it was a soup recipe from my blog.  She wrote me:

I share this for you bloggie friends. Because you will never know the impact your
blog may be having. Whether it's a recipe, a decorating tip, a new way
to clean, a word of encouragement,
or just a pretty photo ... you are making a difference in someone's
life ... and probably more than one! 
I actually had forgotten the soup and had to ask my friend to send me the link to my post.
I'm thinking that maybe my soup was a sweet potato salmon soup with a "lacing"
of spinach, but chicken would go wonderfully with it as well:

4 cups of chicken stock
1/2 onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
pre-cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces
1/2 C smooth almond butter
spinach leaves (or coarsely chopped collard leaves)
2 Tb fresh ginger

After you cook the onion and sweet potato in the stock until tender, add
the pre cooked chicken (or include uncooked chicken and simmer for 20 minutes).

Combine 1/2 cup soup with 1/2 cup almond butter and combine until smooth
and stir into soup, add spinach and ginger and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Can serve with a slice of lime.

Photos from my friend's lunch ...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blue and White

Spring has arrived, ready or not! Actually pansies are our winter flowers, 
but they get their best just as spring arrives and starts to think about warmer weather.
See Mary's Little Red House for more mosaics!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

faded roses

We grew up seeing a colored version of this picture of our mother. It was on Dad's bureau and was taken while she was in college. Maybe it was an engagement photo ... don't we wish we had cared enough to ask questions like that when we could have heard the answers? She does remember it being taken, but isn't sure why.

I love the fading roses in her hands--so "current day." And check out the way her pearls are twisted into a sweet knot.  My mother always dressed so fashionably, unlike me, her middle daughter. My younger sister takes after her.

I now have my father's copy of this picture upstairs in our "blue room" and just found the original (above). I think I would have enjoyed the task of putting color on brown-toned photos. Like coloring.

Here is the same dress on me (on left) in a little dress-up game we sisters and cousins were playing. I guess we were having a wedding (that's Mom's wedding gown also). We did enjoy her gowns! I purposely did not crop out the '57 chevy in the driveway. Color it aqua and white!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

tears for pounds

Our youngest walked a week after we arrived in West Africa ... at 10 1/2 months. Some were horrified we would take a baby and a toddler to a country so far away from home. I hadn't thought a thing about it--hopping on the plane with no hesitation. But then I got there. And realized what we had done ... moving so far from family and friends and all the security of life in America.

It is a known fact that I don't do change well, and this move to West Africa was a prime example. I would have nightmares at night, I'd wake at three in the morning with a pang in my gut at what we had done. I could hardly face making porridge for breakfast (yup, I missed cheerios!) I knew we were in the right place, but it didn't seem like I could bear it. Tears came frequently and lasted long. I couldn't eat. The days passed and the pounds fell off. I soon was a skinny-minny. Colleagues became concerned and drew the Gardener aside to discuss what to do about me. My little boys would just hold their mama with great hugs as she cried.

Quite frankly I think the 10-inch lizards sunning on our baby's crib were part of the problem. The patient and understanding Gardener would chase after them, catch them, only to have the tail left in his hand while the little fellow dashed off to grow a new one.

After two months I adjusted. We moved to the upstairs flat where those big guys didn't bother us. I began to feel at home. I looked outside myself and made friends. I grew to   l.o.v.e  our life there.  I adjusted so, so well. I wanted our boys to grow up there.

I still don't do change well. You'd think by now I'd realize it's a constant in life and that I need to just roll with it.  If I look at history, I see that I get through a change just fine, and I see how the threads of life weave together so beautifully. If I could just learn that once and for all.

Photo: passport pics from the early days.
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