Friday, February 28, 2014

Dressed up

 I love to dress up rice especially for a company meal. It's great to serve with
chicken or seafood. I saute finely chopped red peppers and onion in olive oil.
 Meanwhile cook tiny pasta and brown rice 
with some chicken seasoning.
 Add sliced/chopped fresh mushrooms to the onion
mix, with some salt, pepper, and garlic. A nice
addition (not shone) is chopped fresh spinach.
 Add sliced black olives and set aside.
 Mix drained rice and pasta in a large bowl, add feta cheese.
Add the vegetable mix with some more olive oil and seasonings if needed. 
I also like to include halved grape tomatoes. 
Serve lukewarm as a side dish.
Joining with Foodie Friday today.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

quick water color notes

 I was so pleased with how the water color effect to my kitchen 
photo turned out, I decided to make some quick notecards.
And quick they were: I just put the images in a word document so I could size 
them to just under 4 x 6, and printed them on white card stock.
It only took a few minutes; writing the notes took longer.
Bonus: babysitting last week I needed to use "the facilities."
Many of you can identify with this: in no time a party had joined me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

the reader

I missed the Book Thief when it was here in the theaters and have not read the book
yet but want to. Meanwhile here is "my" little book girl. I love when I visit her town. 
She's always there, sitting outside the town's library nestled
on a ridge over looking her little mountain village. 
I think if she was a thief, she would have been caught by now. 
She's always reading the same book each time I visit.
Fancy that!
Joining with Little Red House's  Monday Mosaics.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Intimate Strangers

These are the people who complete me and explain me in many ways. 
They are intimate strangers . . . I know them by the whispers of 
heredity . . . quirks of instinct, rumors of shared wounds. There is, 
at the roots, a deep-down entanglement. There is a shared  cache of 
private folklore that shapes us.  -- Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God

I thought about this quote last weekend as I sat in the midst of intimate strangers. 
Second cousins that I faintly knew existed but had never met. We come from a
 large family: our grandparents were six brothers and two sisters. Our parents, first cousins, 
were all close growing up. But then they scattered to all parts of the world. 
We gathered to celebrate the life of an aunt, and for me a first-cousin-in-law-once-removed 
who was like an aunt to me.  It was fascinating seeing family resemblances,
 and those little "quirks of instinct." What felt even stranger was their sharing 
in the same old stories that I love. 
Our parents well instilled in us a deep love for our heritage. 
Ours is a strong story that has impacted our lives.  
Will it be the same for our children, is a question.
 At the service we sang the Hallelujah Chorus. 
Anyone who had ever sung it in the past came up to be the choir. 
It was a joyous moment in time I won't forget.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

pink notes

I started thinking valentine cards for notecards this month,
but this is where I ended up.
I am enjoying a new app called waterlogue
It actually fools me into thinking I'm an artist.
Because these are "water color" notecards,
I'm also linking up to Rhondi's Rose Colored Glasses
Why not visit and see what she's up to!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

white holidays

Only someone who lives in the south can really understand how a little snow can become a holiday. 
In this case it was the storm of the decade, and we had a bundle of it. As I look outside, our yard is still covered with snow--that's 6 days of seeing white out our windows. I can only remember that being the case one other time in the many years we have lived here. Because our area doesn't invest in the proper snow removal equipment (since it is rarely used and the snow usually melts in a day), we are
forced to stay in when it snows. The main roads may be plowed, but getting out of the
neighborhoods is the problem. There are many "northern transplants" here and for us,
snow is very nostalgic. We become creative: plastic bags tied over shoes for boots and
 cardboard or trays or garbage can lids for sleds. The best part is the total halt to activity.
 Everything is canceled. And I think everyone loves having to stay home.
We take a collective breath and slow down,build a fires, drink hot chocolate,
watch the snow fall,concoct creative soups, watch movies, play games . . .
So it was for the 3 1/2 days that school was canceled this week. We watched in marvel as
it snowed for three days, interrupted by ice and sleet. It's one for the books.
We'll remember it. And then came a nearby earthquake,
and a beautiful full moon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

snow day(s)

" . . .  And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake." 
R. L. Stevenson
Usually here in the south we have a "snow day" once or twice a year.
This week we have had "snow days" and it's not over yet.
It's been a heavy, wet snow and has stuck beautifully to the foliage.
I find it hard to concentrate on other things because there
is so much beauty to behold outside. Each window is like
a framed landscape painting. I had to dig out my vintage boots and go
out to walk around and shovel a bit. Just to be out. We usually don't
shovel much down here in the south. We just wait for it to melt.
 I miss having my little kids here to play with in the snow and the snow
brings memories of those days. They both live in town
 but driving is hazardous, so we stay put. 
But we had some fun group texting our storm updates, 
sending pictures of rulers in snow banks, etc.
All the while, safe and warm at home.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

phoney tales

Story # 1: Here is my phone's little stereo system. 
While the sound coming out of this little device is
very good, the tube enables it to be more in a stereo effect. I enjoyed making it
after seeing it somewhere on the 'net. But to be honest, the best sound
comes when you put the phone in a small bowl or just lay it on some granite.
Story # 2: We have the custom of saying grace before our meals.
On more than one occasion I have finished cooking the meal and getting
it on the table while talking to (usually) my sister. We sit down to eat
and since we still seem to have more to say, we ask if the person
 at the other end would like to say the blessing for us. 
Here I am holding the phone while my sister prays on speaker. 
Then we start eating while continuing the conversation, begging her 
forgiveness for eating "in front of her."
I will admit there are usually a few smiles.
And yes, our big snow storm has arrived!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

hearts strung

I thought I'd string buttons on some cute yarn; harder than I thought 
(but aren't most things that way?)  Then I lost my mini clothespins. 
They are soooo cute and would do such a perfect job of hanging these 
hand made valentines sent to me over recent years. Where could they be.
And oh yes, that little snow flake snuck in. 
There is another prediction of those coming our way this week.
Just when we assume it will be nothing, a big one surprises us. 
Probably not, but stay tuned …

Friday, February 07, 2014

city streets

I love the reflections on glass-walled buildings in our own city.
A view from the back seat of a taxi in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Freiburg in southeast Germany is a happy city, known for having more sunny days than 
anywhere else in Germany, and maybe most known for its little waterways that 
line the cobblestone streets of the old part of the city. It's charming to 
watch the children play with boats, or to watch workers on their lunch hours
 cool their feet in the little channels.
All my photos, sadly, were taken with a little point and shoot, most likely on automatic.
I do some editing on these, primarily with iPhoto. With some of the black and white
I give more depth to the photo by using "definition" and "contrast" and
 in some cases, more "warmth," as in the photo above. You can
see the difference in the two black and white photos here.

Linking to Donna's Photo Challenge for February.
Also linking up to Katie's Little Corner of the World  for her "Photo Friday."

Monday, February 03, 2014

a deep breath

Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare;
Eyes glazing over a landscape bare …
 from Michael Barron's
A Winter’s Epiphany

A few days away from suburbia.
Quiet expanses to gaze upon.
Take a deep breath.
Sometimes I forget to take a deep breath.
Do you?

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