Thursday, August 29, 2013


I saw an old friend the other day who had traveled alongside our young family to South America some 20 years ago. He and the Gardener had meetings to attend and I was going to take photos and write stories. Tears streamed down the cheeks of our getting-older friend as he spoke to me. "Every time I see you I am transported back to that moment in the orphanage when they placed that three day-old baby in your arms. I know you wanted to take her home with you."

Oh yes indeed. I've often thought of that morning that we spent at a Bolivian orphanage. When we were nearing the end of the visit, we sat in the office for a few minutes when there was a rustle at the door and in walked two women carrying a fairly newborn baby girl that had been found under a truck, tucked behind a wheel. I'm not sure how they knew she was three days old, but that's what they told me as they placed her in my arms. Of course I wanted to take her home with me. But could we?

We put forth questions and were told it would not be possible legally since we did not live there. But they did let me name her. Maria. And I have never forgotten Maria nor stopped wondering how her life turned out and how different our lives would be today if she had been our daughter. I also wonder if they really gave her that name.
Photos: Eldest son holding Maria; the ladies of mercy leaving after rescuing the baby and delivering her to the orphanage.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

book baby

The book baby safely arrived this weekend and we are rejoicing!
I finished her little blanket and cap just in time to 
take them to the hospital to welcome her.

I tend to just "go with it" when I crochet. This "pattern" starts with knitting 
a square (actually a dishrag pattern) and then I crochet around the square
 (sometimes turning it into a rectangle) until I get to the size I want.
The flower is another story and each one turns out a
little differently, but at least they do turn out.
I think it adds so much style to the cap.
But all knitting aside, this is a seriously beautiful little girl born to some very 
special new parents, young friends of ours. I'm looking forward to watching 
her grow up. And her mama was so sweet to text me pics as they went home
from the hospital. The hat matched the planned outfit.
I have no doubt that she'll teach her little one to also be a thoughtful young woman.

Friday, August 23, 2013

back to school

A friend of mine had a lovely idea. We celebrated back to school with a delicious brunch 
at her house. We didn't bring food, just school supplies. She will take what we brought 
to a warehouse for teachers in who work in underprivileged areas. She volunteers there.
Teachers can come every few months and choose 12 items off the shelves. 
She had such cute decorations (check out the paper table cloth!) I didn't take pictures of the 
food but it was scrumptious. We all had a good time together--some women I hadn't 
seen in years and it was great to catch up. A good time for a good cause. 
And yes, these are napkins!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

four view cards

I haven't used these images in an actual post, 
but they are from my header. I decided to take one photo and make
 four different views/cards of it. 
It was a fun project and didn't take long.

Friday, August 16, 2013

don't open the oven door

London Broil made so easy:

Marinate defrosted london broil beef for about 24 hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (yes, that's right, 450.)  When oven is fully heated, place london broil on a rack in a pan in the oven. Set the timer for exactly 5 minutes per pound of meat, --yes down to the decimal. In other words, for "1.9 pounds" set the timer for 9 minutes. Don't go far from the kitchen, you may not hear the timer. As soon as the timer rings, turn off the oven. Now here comes the important part: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.  (You may need to place a note by the oven so no one walks into the kitchen, smells the delicious scent, and goes to see "what's in the oven!") Between 1 3/4 -2 hours later, (better to be earlier than later) take meat out, slice and enjoy. Note: the minutes of oven "on" time is key for a perfect london broil.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


It's been such a busy summer for us that time flew by and it suddenly hit me that school is about to begin. This year Little One goes to kg, so before that happened we needed to have a "grandma day" totally to ourselves. We went to the library and got books and later that day read all ten of them. One of the books we read right in the car and it was about a little girl who was getting a coat made and visited her grandfather's tailor shop with shelves lined with bolts of fabric. That was a perfect intro to our next stop: a fabric shop. She may not have been in one before because her eyes opened wide with delight at all the beautiful colors and variety of fabric, the buttons, and everything else. We were going to make a wreath so her job was to choose three colors of cloth to use.

Since "Little One's" new favorite color is purple we learned how many shades of purple there are. She is quite assured in her decision making process and I thought she made very good choices in three complimentary pieces of fabric.

Turns out the wreath was a bit hard for her, so while I worked on it she happily sat by my side and played with little people and other imaginative things. The wreath reminds me so much of ones I made years ago. With those projects I pinked the fabric rather than tearing it, and I used a wire coat hanger shaped into a circle rather than a cardboard wreath (wrapped in duck tape). The new wreath looks nice on her bedroom door!

We were both tired by the time I drove her home that evening, but I'm guessing I was more tired than she was! But what a good, fun day we had. And I just can't believe she is starting Kg.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


 I helped to give a baby book shower last week. It was the most organized 
event I've ever been a part of, and that is no credit to me. Our recipes were
even emailed to us!  (And the hydrangeas were painted by the florist. Amazing!)
The food looked and tasted delicious. And the books ... sigh ... wishing we
 could have had all of them for our own children.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

washing up

Eating a meal with one's right hand is cultural in many countries. During our weeks in Ethiopia 
this summer we ate traditional Ethiopian food many times. When we lived in West Africa 
and ate with our hands (usually when eating a traditional meal with friends) 
a bowl of water was passed around before and after the meal to wash our hand.
 I was surprised in Ethiopia to find so many washing up sinks in restaurants, out in plain view, 
separate from the rest of a rest room. They were serious about eating with clean hands! 
We ate dinner out at several cultural places where the food was delicious, the women who served were dressed in traditional dress, and we were entertained with music and traditional dancing. The servers came to our tables graciously with this beautiful pitcher and bowl so we could wash after the meal. 
This has become one of my favorite photos of our trip!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

gazing upward

Windows, doors, arches, narrow winding roads, umbrellas ... these all caught my eye when 
we were in Germany for a few days (with quick hops into France and Switzerland.) 
It seems I was always gazing upward to see windows up high with cheery window boxes overflowing with vibrant flowers. I only once saw someone actually caring for the flowers, 
but they all obviously have tender attention.
The gray-shuttered window is where we slept and is in a flat over a butcher shop. The busy street sounds lulled me to sleep. I pretended it was a radio, which often puts me to sleep at home. 
The inside of our friend's black umbrella was such a surprise. 
Out came my camera!
Joining Mary's Little Red House for Monday Mosaics.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

"I can see clearly now ..."

My measuring spoons and cups didn't used to be so hard to see. And after so many years of cooking, shouldn't I have memorized which is what size? I guess I always need to be sure; it's a funny thing. Maybe its because they never were clearly marked, more like engraved the same color as the cup or spoon. So I published a birthday wish list this year, for my immediate family-lacking-one (yes I missed my mom on this my first birthday without her.) And I asked for clearly marked measuring spoons and measuring cups.

Well my wonderful daughter-in-law took care of that! And the gift came in two separate packages to my door, separated by a few days, which just added to the pleasure of anticipation. These are enamel and look retro and I love them. And I can clearly see them. Tomorrow I'm going to enjoy my first baking with them!
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