Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Haunting Love Story

Francisco Goldman tells us at the very beginning of Say Her Name his wife has died, following a swimming accident on a Mexican beach.  It is not until after we travel with him through memories of their meeting, courtship and wedding do we read the heart wrenching details of the accident.  Trying to find meaning in every detail of his time with Aura, Francisco takes us along with him on his journey through raw and bleeding grief as he weaves us through a love story overflowing with pain, self incrimination and moments of ultimate healing, alternating the past with the present. It is not a book that would have jumped out at me, but it is one I am glad I did not miss.

Say Her Name is being marketed as fiction yet reads as a memoir.   The names are real and events happened.  It makes me question, if memories are ours, and ours alone to hold,  who is to determine what is fact or fiction, if it is truly something we hold as a memory?

Thanks Heather!  I loved it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. 
Let the rain sing you a lullaby." 
-- Langston Hughes

Much needed rain arrived this morning.
I had errands to run;
I didn't hesitate to set my plans aside
and settle in by my window
to the sounds of rain against the window panes.

Thinking it would last only a short while
I thought I could spend a little guilt free time with my book.

Much to my surprise the rain continued to fall
throughout most of the day.
The new dry creek bed flowed with rain water.

I think I needed the rain as much as the plants.
As I looked out my kitchen window
it seemed as if every plant was celebrating
and my spirit was lifted.

We were all weary and in need of recharging.
The sun reappeared around 5:30
casting shadows inside

and out.

Willie and I ventured outside to do our little walkabout.

I found all well and looking refreshed
 with rain drops still clinging
to leaves and petals.

Willie found his newest buddy (yet to be named),
not seeming to be shy.

In fact, I think he is smiling for the camera.

The creek bed is once again dry.

The Weatherman promises high temperatures
with humidity the rest of the week.
 Tomorrow there will be little if any sign of the rain that
washed away the dust and cobwebs today.

We will accept what tomorrow brings
because we were blessed with the gift of today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just Another Story


Sunday I wrote about my trip to the local Farmer's Market.   I think I have mentioned before I am very picky when it comes to choosing vendors.  I want to know where my food comes from and who grows it, otherwise, I might as well just stop in at the local grocery store.

One of my favorite vendors is "the peach lady".   She has a name and her stall is not named "the peach lady", but honestly, I don't know either.  Shame on me!  I met her last year and spent several minutes chatting with her about her peaches.   She is passionate about what she brings to market; and, she is willing to share her passion with anyone who will listen. Her enthusiasm and her smile is contagious.

She does not have peach orchards, but gets her fruit from a local peach grower she refers to as "my peach man" (hum....maybe this is why I call her "the peach lady").  The variety of peach changes as the summer progresses.  Each Saturday morning I look forward to stopping and chatting about the peach of the day.  

While we talk, I am touching and smelling, trying to find the bowl of fruit I want to take home, all the while she is filling a bowl choosing one or two from various containers sitting around on the table.  Once I've made what I think to be the perfect selection and hand it to her, she takes out several of mine and replaces them with the peaches she has been collecting during our conversation.  After she has placed each one in a bag, she turns her back to me, bends down and takes out one peach from a box sitting on the ground. She brings it up, holding it ever so gently between her thumb and middle finger.  Showing me this treasure she says, "I'm going to put this one in your bag.  Make sure it is the last one you eat, now, you hear me?  It's not ready yet", shaking her head from one side to the other always smiling, " but it will be when the others are gone.  Oh,h,h it will be so,o,o good ."

Okay, I know once peaches are picked they do not get sweeter as they ripen, but that last peach does always seem to taste the sweetest.

Well, now you know.   I not only bring home food to feed the body, but sustenance for the soul as well.  One will be consumed and gone by the end of the week, the other will leave its mark for a lifetime. 

 Thanks for sitting with me and allowing me to tell
yet another story of an extraordinary someone
found in a most ordinary someplace. 
They are all around us. 

(Iced mint green tea and a peach scone)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Farmer's Market Supper

"Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion,
 and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved
 by multiples of those with whom it is shared." --Jesse Browner

Roger and I were up and out of the house by 7:00 a.m. headed downtown to The Farmer's Market to shop for supper.  Saturday night meals during the summer consist of whatever the farmers have to offer.

What was for supper last night?
Oh, I was hoping you would ask.

Lady Peas.

I cook them in chicken broth,  throw in a cut up sweet onion, a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a little chopped jalapeno.  Add a few sprigs of thyme, from the herb garden, salt and pepper.   Bring them to a boil, turn down and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.  I finish with just a little bit of butter for creaminess.

To be honest... add a slice of cornbread and this could be my meal!

Roasted Baby Squash

I simply cut the squash into chucks.  Toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread them out on a lined cookie sheet and roast at 375 (F) for about 20 minutes.  Perfect!

 Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

Toss in some basil from the garden, a few kalamata olives and some fresh feta; salt and pepper.  Perfect summer salad!

Seriously, with lovely ingredients like this you can't mess it up.

Fresh Peaches
mixed with a few blueberries and blackberries for the perfect dessert.

  Arrange  my "farmer's market" flowers with a few things from the garden in my favorite pitcher.

Pour everyone a glass of  Sauvignon Blanc, chilled to a perfect 45 degrees and...

Bon Appetit!

The welcome mat is out.  Just call and let me know you are coming (I'll powder my nose).   You never know what we will be cooking up for supper.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spicy Success

I always promise updates; I'm not very good at actually following through, am I?
I become sidetracked easily.
The finished product never seems as interesting as the project in progress.
Basically all you can say is here it is.

So, as promised...Here it is!

A glimpse of what I set out to do last weekend.
It took me approximately 48 hours and a tumble off a step ladder (actually two, but no one was around so it is our little secret.  I was a little stiff, but I don't think anyone noticed.  sh,h,h!)  to get to where I am now. 

It looks a little different, huh?   I threw away, combined and reassigned.

It became a puzzle, but I finally put it all back together (well almost).  

Everything is back in alphabetical order and by type of item.
I may not be an organizer, but I do love organization.

This was actually the second spice cabinet.
Now it houses platters and bowls from a different cabinet.  So much easier to get to when you are trying to plate a meal.  I still think there is a lot of wasted space.  I can take care of that problem with one more trip to The Container Store.  It became quite the puzzle.

Just a little tweaking and I'll be ready to tackle the next project.

Do I dare enter the bathroom cabinets and closet?
I may need a vacation first!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Domino Effect

You know how much I love quotes.   I had a fabulous quote for yesterday, Father's Day.  I was going to post it along with a picture of the sweet card my daughter sent her Daddy.

"I believe that what we become depends on what our father's teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us.  We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.  -- Umberto Eco.

While I was collecting my thoughts,  and thinking about how I would work it all into my Sunday post, my husband opened his perfectly wrapped Father's Day present, while talking with our daughter on skype.

Roger is a gourmet cook, so she gave him the absolute perfect gift.


Five wonderful spice combinations from his favorite spice shop, Penzey's Spices.  

These five little bottles disrupted my complete train of thought and totally set my day in a complete different direction than planned.  You see, we have two cabinets filled with spices and spice combinations, and they have become a little, well... a little untidy.   Rearranging and reorganizing these shelves has been on my todo list for awhile.  These five little bottles pushed me over the edge.

Within minutes my kitchen counter looked a little like this, only worse.

Yes, I opened another can of worms. (I've become so good at this.)

 To reorganize the spices....and oils.....and vinegars, I also needed to include the larger pantry to the list, as well as a couple of other cabinets.  (I would show the picture, but it is really unsettling).
Yes, we had a full blown case of "the domino effect" on our hands.
Once everything was cleared out and "stuff" was spilling out into the den and the laundry room,  we discussed how best to tackle my mess.  This job definitely called for a trip to 
Home Depot (1 bag and a shelf to add to the pantry) and 

(three very full bags).

I am not put back together yet.  
I'll post pictures when I am finished.  

Have a terrific Monday.
You know where to find me. 

How many bottles of apple cider vinegar do we really need?  I seems three!
I've really got to start making a grocery list.  
I'm sure there is an "app" for that!

Friday, June 17, 2011

National Flip Flop Day

image via pinterest

I had no idea there was such a day as "National Flip Flop Day" until yesterday when, walking out of Whole Foods, a fellow dressed like a banana (scary, I know) handed me  a coupon for a free smoothie on "National Flip Flop Day" (sorry to be redundant).   Nothing sounds more like summer to me than the sound of "flipping around on some flops".   Maybe with so many recent sad events we need to find something silly to celebrate.

What are your favorite sounds of summer?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I truly had my doubts!  Yes there were evenings I considered throwing up my hands and admitting it was all a mistake.  There were many nights I ask, "What were we thinking?" 

 When Roger returns home this evening he will find everything finished!

There is some tweaking to be done.   Several of the stones pop up when you walk on them; I've been assured with time this will correct itself .  Probably another layer of sand needs to be spread on the walkway.  I suspect Roger will choose to do this himself. 

The mulch was unloaded and spread in the backyard beds and paths yesterday as well.

Some plants were damaged.    Some I saved, brought inside and placed around the house.

I need to finish uncovering many of the ferns, huechera and the sweet woodruff; the wild violets were spared, amazing.   The beds look clean and finished.

Willie has spent the morning looking for his friends

(someone paint it's shell pink)

Old Man.
I always recognize him by the bite marks on the back of his shell.  He has been a resident of our backyard for as long as I can remember, fifteen years maybe.

We have a new fellow this year we named Junior.   I've only seen him once.
I hope they can move around in the mulch and/or dig themselves out  if they were buried.

Maybe the turtles will be easier to find than the mysteriously missing water valve.

Oh Happy Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Preparing for Summer

"Life does often get in the way of one's reading."  agreed the Major
 Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

My gardening frenzy is over.  I spent much of yesterday planting everything
I have been collecting the last few weeks.  The last planter is filled,

and the hanging baskets are...well...they are hanging.

Tomorrow I will head to the nursery for a few impatiens to add a little color in the baskets, and here and there.  I've ask the landscapers to add "putting down mulch in the back beds" to my bill.

The plants will grow.  The weeds will try to take over, with only a little resistance from me.  And, the water bill will rise.
It is time for me to turn my attention to other obsessions.

I really fell behind with my reading this spring.  Life just kept happening, not taking into consideration I might like to sit down and enjoy a few good reads.
  Here are the titles I carried out to the garden bench this past spring (along with a few comments from someone who does not know what she is talking about -- me.)

Isaac Newton, James Gleick
(interesting, but unless you are doing a study on Newton, you might want to read something else)
Stoner, John Williams 
(I  loved this book.  The writing is beautiful and characters are fully developed)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson
(an sweet read)
Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghes
(I could not wait to read this book.  I so wanted to love it.  I liked it.  The last 200 pages were well worth plowing through the first 400.)


I'm putting together my summer reading list.

"Books and summertime go together"
Find a spot to stay cool, and pick up a good book.  You know I'm dying  to know what you'll be reading.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hot Nights, Cold Suppers and a Little Heartache

Good Friday morning!  I just came in from taking Willie out and, oh my, it feels almost (dare I say) cool outside.  I think I might get a little planting done this morning.

The last few days have been quite warm with temperatures rising into the high nineties and threatening to hand us our first triple digits.  It is only June and it is feeling like late July and August.  These warm nights call for cold suppers, cool beverages and a good book.

 I will admit it.  When Roger is away I do not eat very well.  I am not one to prepare much for myself.   I'll cut up an avocado and a tomato, sprinkle a bit of salt, grind a little pepper, maybe add a glass of wine and I am set.

Roger is back from Boston and wants more than my usual fare.   I thought a salmon nicoise salad would be perfect for a warm night.  Everything was cooked early and refrigerated, waiting to be plated.   Pair it with a slightly chilled Pinot Noir and you have a delicious cold dinner for a hot summer night.  Bon Appetit!

Well, I've been a little sad the last day or two.  It seems my babies did not make it.  Wednesday afternoon as I turned into my driveway I saw a neighbor's cat walking along the brick  wall along the side of my house.  I immediately headed into the backyard hoping to find one of the sweet babies waiting for our usual afternoon game of hide and seek, but the yard was unusually quiet.  After searching in all the favorite hiding spots and not getting my  daily scolding from the mom I was pretty much convinced something had happened.  Later in the evening Roger and Willie found conclusive evidence.

In the past several years I have had several baby critters find their way into my yard, and I have rejoiced in watching them scurry, hop and fly away on their own.   I've always thought the  garden fairies led these creatures to my yard (babies seem to appear about the same time as the fairy flower ) knowing they would be safe.  While I know this is part of nature, I feel like I have let them down.

Willie has been released to freely roam his backyard once again.