Saturday, March 21, 2015

quote of the day

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do however virtuous can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, March 20, 2015

13.1

My fitness goal for Summer 2015 is to run a half marathon in September. Specifically, the Skagit Flats half marathon. Notice the word "Flats". And it's just like it sounds....all flat. Flat is good.

Also, to clarify, when I use the word "run", what I really mean is "finish". I know that I will be jogging part and walking part...and I'm ok with that. The important thing is that I get myself into good enough shape to not embarrass myself, have an asthma attack, or cry. Especially no crying.

I took a gander at the stats from last year, and check out these times from the over 70 women's group.

Age 77: 2:40:19.2
Age 80: 2:44:27.8

Wait, what? The "slow" one in that age bracket was 79 years young and ran it in 3:27:05.9.  That's just under a 16 minute mile. I'm impressed.

Oh, it's on, 80-year-old....I am taking you down...

No.

That's bad.

Do NOT take out any octogenarians during the race, Karen. Sheesh.

Sometimes I cannot take myself out in public.

Happy Spring

Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.
~Ellis Peters

When a new season rolls around, it instantly becomes my favorite. In the Pacific Northwest, even though the calendar officially announces the arrival of spring today, we have been in it's grasp for weeks already.  It's been a very mild winter, with not a single snowfall of any measurable accumulation. Rather disappointing, as I love the crispness and cold of the snow. The mountains, as well, are low on their usual reserve, which will make for good early summer hiking, but poor water supply.


Since this is my first spring in the new rental, it is such a joy to see what plants and flowers are coming up in the beds. I have a little hydrangea bush, peonies, a whole boatload of lilies which will need to be culled this fall, and an assortment of other small plants for which I need to find names and care instructions.

This weekend my goal is to pull together some sort of springy/summery d├ęcor. Pictures to follow. There, that obligates me.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Had a Dream

Last night I had a dream with one scene so vivid that I took the time to write it down today. It would make a great jumping off point for a novel.

I have friends that are published authors and for years have thought that I would love to write a book. This prologue that I wrote this morning might just be my kick in the hiney.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Valentines 2015

 
Joe was so proud of himself that he picked out the roses and the baby's breath (and vase!) and arranged them on his own. They really are beautiful. I had a few of these sparkly hearts hanging randomly around the house and the little paper hearts tucked into unexpected places.  


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Collecting...and an Acquisition

One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris: 
 
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

I think for the most part I try to live by that. As I was eating lunch and thinking about what I was going to write, my first thought was to start with the caveat that I am not a collector.

But then I thought about the things that I like:
  • vintage Pyrex, especially bowls
  • ironstone platters and pitchers, etc
  • creamers
  • vintage linens
  • Universal pottery Laurella dishes
  • mid-century teak furniture
  • interesting crockery
and I discovered that I am, indeed, a collector.

My hesitancy in labeling myself as such is that I really desire to be less bound up by possessions and things and to truly only have useful items in my home; and I like to delude myself into thinking that I am not a hoarder.

Also, the minute you start collecting something, invariably one of your friends will see that rooster you have on your kitchen counter, finds rooster salt and pepper shakers at a store, and buy it for you because they love you and they just know that you love roosters. Then another friend sees a rooster metal sign and gives it to you for your birthday.  Now, instead of just having that one awesome rooster that you found at the thrift store for $2 and thought was adorable (and you could easily dispose of when you tired of it)....you have the beginnings of a whole tacky collection.

Anyway, the point of this is....well, there is no point, just some thinking aloud. On to the acquisition.

When my mom was visiting at Christmas, we headed to the town of Snohomish and spent a very nice hour in an antique mall while my wonderful stepdad napped patiently in the car. As we were shopping, we were talking about the amount of Franciscan dishes that we see in the area, usually in the same few patterns (a lot of Desert Rose and Apple Blossom), but that I never see the pattern that I grew up with, Bird 'N Hand. I think my parents may have received this as a wedding gift, as it was only made from 1968-72. Perhaps it wasn't terribly popular, I don't know and that's why we don't see it. I do like it's simplicity, white with a black line drawn trim.


I mentioned to Mom that I would like to find a usable piece to have. She has a platter, but it is white with black trim and no design. I have kept my eyes open for years for a useful bowl or something.

Not more than 10 minutes later, a beam of heavenly light shone from above and brought my eye to the last remaining Franciscan Bird 'N Hand pitcher in existence. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I doubt you can prove otherwise.

And so I now have a piece of my childhood dishes. But I will not be collecting them. Never mind that I immediately went home that same evening and found a creamer on Etsy. And then ran into another creamer (for $3!) at the Goodwill last week. But I am not collecting them.

I think I shall consider myself a conservator. Doesn't that sound better?





Too Unfocused to Write

In my mind, my thoughts flow through my fingers to the screen like water down a hillside.  My ideas, plots, and opinions are clear and focused, and oh, so articulate.

In my reality, something always distracts me. Logging on to the computer to post, or to compose my thoughts, I find....new Facebook posts, Pinterest, emails, my favorite blogs.

My reading has suffered as well, with the distractions of electronics. I listen to books during my half-hour commute each way, but find that is not the same as delving through the pages on my own. And yes, I like the pages. Reading on the tablet doesn't have the same satisfaction for me, for whatever reason.

My new plan is to devote Thursday mornings (as I am off) to at least one blog post, on whatever subject happens to be on my mind, and to reading. Reading first. This morning I began the Edward Rutherfurd book, Russka. I loved his Princes of Ireland and this is another historical saga.

Discipline. Care. Time.

Or should I say, caring enough to discipline myself to take time.

I'm off to dig in to another chapter. No more computer until this evening.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

I love following little rabbit trails of information. I find such interesting little tidbits about history that way. One such trail led me to this quote today:
 
I want everyone to be smart. As smart as they can be. A world of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in.
  ~Screenwriter Garson Kanin, from Born Yesterday, 1950

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Seafood Potato Chowder

And now in the not-on-my-diet-and-I-don't-like-clams-anyway menu, I made chowder for Joe's dinner tonight. We also have enough to stick a few jars in the freezer for cool fall evenings. Here's the general instructions for the chowder. I measured nothing, so these are my best guesses.

Saute one chopped onion and a couple of stalks of celery in a little butter until softened.
Add about 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
Add chopped clams. I used about 8 oz we had frozen this summer, but a can or two would work.
Add shredded crab. I had about 6 oz.
Add about 1 cup of canned smoked salmon.


Smoked salmon can be salty, so I added no salt to the pot at this time. I used about a tablespoon of basil, a tablespoon of thyme, and about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

Add a couple of large potatoes, cut into chunks. Continue simmering.

Create a roux with 1/4 cup of flour and butter. When the roux is ready, add some of the liquid from the soup and stir it in (so that when you add it to the soup, it doesn't get lumpy). Mix it in to the soup.

Add 1 1/2 cups of warmed whole milk or cream.

When the potatoes are ready, season to taste and enjoy.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

True Heroism

This man is an ordinary person, who in his 20s, used his two week vacation to do something extraordinary. Not to relax, not to recharge, not to serve himself, but to serve others. It's worth the 15 minutes to watch his tale.