Friday, December 5, 2014

339 :: When Life Gives You Lemons, Pull Out the Cookbook

A funny thing happened last week. I made Edith's Lemon Love Notes for Shabbat dessert... in which our guests called in sick, and just as well, since I burned the lemon bars whilst leaning up against the stove as I pulled lamb off the bone for the soup... but that is another tale.

Not to be deprived of his mom's famous lemon bars, DH ate them anyway. "A little charcoal is good for what ails you", I suppose.

So, to redeem myself, I decided to make an un-burned batch. And who better to help me than Anthony Bourdain?
Alas, he couldn't make it. Nevermind. I have the next best thing (if not better!)

Our Own Miss Rose was not only happy to pick the lemons herself from Grandma's tree, she virtually made the lemon bars herself (with a little help from Nana - reading GiGi's writing.)
I think GiGi would have been very proud.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

278 :: A Walk in the Park - Redux

A little time with the Little.
A few lessons in rock-skipping. Bread for the ducks.

And much time spent remarking (read: lamenting) about Our Drought, and the sad state of Horseshoe "Puddle". 

It's a sorry state of affairs if we don't get some rain soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

274 :: And, for this year's birthday bash...

I was left in the dust, all for the sake of an antelope hunt.

Never mind... I look at it this way: all winter long, every time I pull antelope out of the freezer for dinner, it's Happy Birthday to Me, all over again!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

271 :: Chico's Own Con

Maybe I am a closet nerd? Or maybe I just have nerdy grands... I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that I think it rocks that we finally had our own homegrown version of Comic-Con hit town today.

Local talent - and I DO mean "TALENT" - a packed out Vet's Center (seriously? you did not think thousands of people were going to show up?) - Chico's own Tedra as Wonder Woman - Jedi - Hobbits - various and sundry super villians and heros galore.

Well, honestly - who could ask for a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
And to put icing on the cake, this Little Miss was turned into a veritable flower garden for the paltry sum of $5. (And standing in line for 45 minutes... but, whatever.)

Good times! (I'm pooped!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

244 :: Cadillac Coop - Finale

The tenants have not quite moved in... 

but it's plain to see that there will be far less worry of raccoons, hawks and their ilk to disturb the flock.

A door, some roosting poles, and a few more courses of wire, and we shall be ready to sign the lease and turn over the keys!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

228 :: Cadillac Coop - Pt. 3

 Things are finally shaping up! The "kids" have been busy framing up the chicken house and run in the past two weeks..
I think those birds are going to have plenty of room to roam! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

214 :: Cadillac Coop - Pt. 2

Another day down on the farm, this time they got the concrete poured for the chicken house.

Not to mention, I got to spend some one-on-one time with The Girl as we returned the u-haul cart... good times!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

208 :: Cadillac Coop - Pt. 1

Today we trekked down to the farm to lay the bases for the Cadillac of all chicken coops.

The forms were laid for the slab for the house. 

Taking great care to have everything plumb!

Railroad ties will do for the foundations of the walls of the run...

Friday, July 18, 2014

199 :: Life is Good

Grandchildren for the weekend = Way Fun!

Grandchildren who entertain themselves = Priceless!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

137 :: Ballet Rose

Sometimes I get the grandgirlies for the weekend. Normally we do random things like bake, play games, go to the library. You know, all the grandparenty things.

But not always. Sometimes I get to put on the Mom hat and run around like a crazy person taking kids to all their various lessons and sports. Or, in the case of today, ballet photos.

Oh. My. Goodness.

So, apparently, I don't have what it takes to make a proper pony tail. Or bun. Obviously there is a logical reason why my girls never went past Go in ballet lessons. Like, I have zero patience for ballet moms.

You've heard of soccer moms? Little League moms? Amateurs. My eyes were opened today to a whole new world. Scary.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

131 :: Mother's Day - without Mom

I've said it many times, and I really can't say enough what a great family we have. On both sides.
This year, however, it just seemed off to have Mother's Day without Mom in tow. 

Sure, there were plenty of Moms on hand. 
I, for one. 
And as much as we laughed (and ate... and talked... and laughed and ate some more - the usual routine,) I couldn't help feeling that Mom would have been having such fun if she had been there.

She was always about the family gatherings. Maybe because her own first family was always so far away. She was like the mama hen trying to make sure her chicks were always sticking together.

I know what it is. It feels like we've lost our glue.

 Miss you, Edith Mae.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

116 :: Highland Games

One of the highlights of my year - every year - is our annual trek to Woodland for the Highland Games and Gatherings. I think we have only missed one in the last 13 years.

There is something for everyone, and trust me - you do not have to be Scottish to have a good time.

Music? They've got it...
Dancing? Everywhere you turn...
Athletic competition? Where do I start?

Then there's the food. The meat pies, the "haggis" (Ok, well really it's fudge)... OK, well really it's Fair Food with a little fish and chips thrown in for flavor!

We've pretty much got it down to a science by now; the ice chest, the folding chairs, the shade umbrellas. We can even make it from the car in one trip!
Parked between the athletic field and the historical reenactor's village...
...and just a stone's throw from the pipes...

The young-uns have been coming since the oldest was 3. It just gets cooler every year.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

109 :: Still Life with Friends

Last night, we experienced the most beautiful evening with friends who are dear to us. We shared a very special dinner.
Am I tired? You betcha. (Will I do it again? Ask me next year!)

BUT... What a blessing to have such sweet friends to do life with. It really was a joy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

108 :: Stop and Smell the flowers.

Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the flowers. Or, if they don't smell, take a picture.
In this case, an enormous oriental poppy. The petals are as thin as tissue paper, and I think the photo does a good job of capturing the apricot color. It is huge!

Monday, February 17, 2014

048 :: White Gold.

Today was some kind of holiday. Who cares? It was a day off work.
(Well, sort of.)

You see, the cows still have to be milked, regardless of which ever famous president is having a birthday today. Regardless of whether the stock market is closed, the livestock still need tending.

And so I took pleasure in accompanying the milk man on his run to the dairy to visit my 20th part share of Cow #212, and be of some (dubious) assistance in bringing home the goods to a list of customers, eagerly awaiting delivery of this week's nectar of the gods.

Yes, we are peddlers of raw milk. Real. And. Wholesome.

Monday, February 10, 2014

041 :: Monday, can't trust that day

One would think that at my age I might be a little wiser. One would think...

Alas, I am still stuck in the mindset that ignores the fact that what I put into my mouth has an effect on the rest of my well being.

Case in point: lovely dinner last night with the dearest of friends. Hours spent around the table laughing and crying and make plans for future lovely dinners. The food was great, the company the best. But once again, my judgement was sorely lacking. And really, it wasn't that any one thing was the culprit. Seriously, I just can't eat that much food any more. Steak... roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus and peppers, mixed green salad with more vegetables than I can even name, red wine... followed by a homemade-from-scratch New York cheesecake (gluten free, of course!)

Of course, I won't mention the caprese skewer appetizers, rice crackers, Chinese roasted walnuts... I probably should have stopped right there! But I am not exactly known for leaving well enough alone.

So, between the hot flashes all night long, general lethargy has succeeded in making this a Monday that I would just rather not repeat.

Thank goodness for bone broth in the fridge and detox tea. Lots and lots of detox tea...

Sheesh... will I never learn?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

037 :: Moving right along

I have to admit, I am trying really hard to think of something positive to say. I said when we moved in here 9 years ago that my next move would be in a pine box.

Eating my words.

So, even though we have no place to go, I am packing. Because I am done here. And, not being one to wait until the last minute to get ready, I am packing. If it is not essential to life, it is going in a box. Three boxes of books this morning, and now I am dusting annoying knick-knacks and wrapping them in batting. And trying to remember why on earth anyone needs knick-knacks in the first place. Good golly. The first time we moved 41 years ago, we moved in one day. Now... I am happy if I can move in one month.

White coral from the beach of Panga. Just in case I can't remember which vase to put it back in when I eventually unpack.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

036 :: Oasis

Morning is the oasis of my day.

Just 15 minutes sharing a cup of coffee and a chat with the DH. OK, mine is more cocoa than coffee, but what the heck. It's not the drink, it's the company. And I'm not really a morning person.

Seriously, why can't the rest of the day be so great?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

035:: Ready, Steady, Go

I thought it would be fun to plug "60's Oldies" into Pandora today at the office. We basically rocked out all morning. It also provoked some pretty amusing stories and reminiscences. Isn't it amazing how certain songs can evoke vivid memories even 50 years later?

Sadly, even though my mind was singing along, the reality is that if I sing, I would hear my grandmother. Wow, when did that happen? I think that is a case of "use it or lose it" in real life.

On another note, 33 years ago is also vivid in my mind as I think back on a cold night in February - waking up the DH at 2 a.m. to ask if there was gas in the truck. 

After DD1 was born, I never could understand why people felt compelled to ask if we were going to "try for a boy"... like we got it wrong the first time? So I was pretty pleased that morning to welcome DD2 into our little fam. Not so pleased with the 7 hours of back labor, but I guess that is the price you pay.

So, after a little fortification with tacos made from Sunday's left over brisket, we took a little trek down the road about 30 minutes to wish the birthday girl our best.

Here's to my girls!

Monday, February 3, 2014

034:: The End.

Not only was (is) today Monday, but it is what we like to call at work, "That time of the month." The first work day of every month is spent with our heads down, manually reconciling dozens of client accounts that are part of their portfolios, but not a part that we manage. So records must be downloaded from various and sundry websites, with a spreadsheet to keep track of logins and passwords and secret answers, etc. And it HAS to be done on the first day of the month, because sometimes the month end figures are only available this one day. Silly, I know. Nevertheless, it must be done so we can accurately report to our clients what state their portfolio is in.

Needless to say, by the time I get home, I am done. My eyeballs are done. My patience is done. Thankfully, I get a reprieve from cooking dinner because - have I mentioned before? - I have the Best. Husband. In. The. World.

So, my reward to myself tonight was this treat:
Yes, that is a chocolate truffle. And I will admit up front, I had more than one. Followed by a nap. 

And yes, I also did the FLY Lady thing and shined my sink, as well as hung out the laundry... but now, I'm done. 

Goodbye, Monday.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

033:: Super Bowl

What else?
Clearly, everyone had the Super Bowl on their brains today. I could not log on to Facebook without reading play-by-play, groan-by-groan. Finally, I had to log off and get cracking on my taxes. Not quite ready for the CPA, but almost there. And, it was a nice, quiet afternoon while DH was weeping with his friends in the Man Cave.

But the real point of my blog today is to highlight the Super Bowl that we have in our house and use every day. My friend Sherrie is an artist who happens to be blind. Recently, health issues have put a damper on her lifestyle and she has had to put her art on hold while she is in a rehab hospital. As sorry as I am for that, I am not sorry to be the happy recipient of one of her lovely pieces of art when she had to downsize. This bowl now resides on my entertainment center and keeps my keys in line.

I am one of those people who constantly mislays things. My glasses. My cell phone. My keys. I cannot even tell you how many key rings I have mislaid. But since watching The Big Bang Theory, I have learned a thing or two about being consistent with having a place to put "things"... and so, my Super Bowl has come to the rescue.

(Thank you, Sherrie. Thank you Sheldon.)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

032:: What was I thinking?

So, I started out, like I do every year, thinking I would photoblog my way through the year... yeah, right. I should know better by now, one would think.
In the job that I do, January is the month from hell. I am not kidding. But now that I have submitted all the W-2s, 1099s, sales tax reports, quarterly reports, yadayada to infinity and beyond, I can come up for air and (hopefully) get back on track.
In addition to that - dare I say it? I am also jumping back onto the F.L.Y.wagon, starting with shining my kitchen sink and believing for the best.

After returning from shul this morning, I blissfully joined my husband in the garden where some overgrown flower beds were just begging to be whipped back into shape. The corner had an overgrown clump of iris and sociable garlic vying for space (and water).

Our three year old tiny little sprout of lemon grass has multiplied into a monster big enough to fit into a huge container:

We are extending the iris corner outward and dividing the lemongrass monster to go here:

He did most of the digging, but I obliged some with my little hand spade and yanked out the beastly mums that were taking over one flower bed, and replanted a few orphaned daffodils that were displaced in the process.

There is more to be done, but at the point where it began to feel like work instead of joy, I decided to come in for a nap.

Friday, January 24, 2014

024:: Doing life together

If you are lucky (I use that term tongue-in-cheek as I do not believe in "luck"), you will have a handful of close friends over your lifetime. I am not talking acquaintances, I am talking "have-your-back" kind of friends.

I am blessed to have the privilege of more than just a handful of such friends in my life. I have a few more who have drifted in for a certain season, and with whom I still stay in touch though distance has made our relationships morph over the years.

Tonight I was able to experience a real treasure, and that was spending a time of re-connecting with some beautiful souls whose input into my life has enriched me over the past 20 years or so.
Feeling thankful for sister-friends!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

007:: Up for air

Normally, I am not an "I hate Mondays" type of person. I am more of an "I'm so thankful to have a job!" kind of person. It helps that I work with great people.
But yesterday was not one of those days. It only took an hour into my day to be in tears, with my boss asking if I needed to swear. When I shook my head, he asked if I wanted him to pray for me, which I did... and he did. That's just the kind of place I work. People there care about each other.

Today is better. For one thing, I was able to come up for air. For another thing, The Powers That Be gave me permission to stop stressing out, because everything is relative. And it really is.

I did not take a photo today, and that was one of my goals. But I do have a Flashback Tuesday instead, which is almost as good.

Because I'm missing my Auntie today. She left us five years ago, and I still think of the sweet welcome in her eyes, and can hear her saying "Hi hon!" What I wouldn't give for a peck on the check from this loved woman. It really is all relative.

Monday, January 6, 2014

006:: Focus

My talented and insightful cousin-sister challenged me with her blog to come up with one word for 2014. She chose the word "reconciliation", which is an important one for sure. It got me thinking about what word would I chose that would serve as a goal or resolution for this year.

The things that bother her about social media are the same things I take exception to as well. We have discussed it before, and she said it so much better than I ever could, so I won't bother going there when you could so easily read what she has to say and understand us both.

For me, though, I am thinking the word I will choose will be: FOCUS.

I am so prone to losing my focus in so many ways... finishing a craft project, cleaning my house... sure, it's funny to joke about Adult ADD, but it's not funny to live there. I think part of my problem is lack of focus.

When we had the seemingly unsurmountable project of finishing remodeling our house to sell and move to Africa in 2000, I needed a really short leash to keep me on task. I'm thinking if I took the rest of my life as seriously as I did that dagger hanging over my head, I would get so much more accomplished that is meaningful, and the unimportant things that seem to suck the life out of my life would just fall along the wayside.

And I'm not just talking about doing things, but the thought the FOCUS has a lot to do with finding a purpose. Taking aim. Having a goal worth working toward.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to get some perspective. That is what my family is handy for.

005:: Out of focus

Isn't it odd how we look at other people's lives and we see what we see... but we don't see it all.

It makes me wonder what people see when they look at me. I am not an extraordinary person, unless you ask my husband. Yes, maybe I'm a little weirder than some, but I'm sure there are others who look at me and see "conservative", "old", "boring", "judgmental" - yet I am none of those. Well, ok... maybe a little old.

Things aren't always what they seem. And neither are people.
I am struck by the thought that we often give a negative spin to the things in our own lives while painting a rosy, unrealistic picture of what we see in others. The thought occurs to me that I need to stop that.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

004:: Saturday Farmer's Market

Saturday is a day to spend some quality time together, yet get a few things accomplished that we simply do not have the time or energy for during the week. In the spirit of Shabbat, I do try to keep the "chores" to a minimum, but there is no way around Saturday morning Certified Farmer's Market.

(Yes, there is also a Wednesday morning market, but with only a quarter of the vendors, and only a very few of the ones we like to frequent.)

Deanna and Katie are two of the sweetest ladies who never fail to give us a smile (and a great deal on some really awesome produce!) And, since we only have a short season in which to dehydrate apple slices to last the year, I have to be sure to hit Deanna up every week! Katie is not in Chico every week, so it is always a special treat to be able to stop and chat, and catch up. .

You will never find crisper, sweeter carrots than Pyramid Farms. I'm sorry... I don't care how many times the auto-misters spray down the produce at the grocery store, you just have to wonder how many days/weeks ago those carrots were picked, and how far they were shipped to reach us. No, I prefer to buy local produce, from farmers that live in my community, that I can look in the eye every week and feel a sense of connection. Maybe I am not growing my own garden, but buying from our local Farmer's Market is definitely a better option for our environment than shipping melons from Mexico or Peru.
I also prefer their beets for making Beet Kvass, although the truth is, I am the only one in our house brave enough to drink it. "Some people" apparently have an aversion to beets, a concept I cannot quite wrap my brain around, to be honest! Beets are so yummy!
Of course, no trip to Farmer's Market would be complete without stopping to find out what is happening with Lance. He and his sons spend their summer in Alaska each year, just to be able to supply us with wild caught Alaska Salmon. I cannot thank him enough! I don't usually buy salmon from him on Saturdays, though... I order about $100-$150 worth from him and pick it up at his house. That usually lasts the two of us until they get back with their new catch in autumn. I can't even begin to compare it with (sorry Randy) even Costco. It's not always about the price.

We live in an amazing community. Is it perfect? No. But we have some wonderful people who live here, who make their livings here. So, in the spirit of supporting our community and interacting with the individuals who work so hard to bring us quality food, we look at the bigger picture. I love the warehouse stores as much as anyone, especially when it comes to paper towels and big bags of coffee (which, incidentally are not produced locally!) It just makes sense to shop locally and support our local farmers, which in turn supports our entire community. 
It's not rocket science.