Saturday, June 28, 2008

Life Through a New Lens

I love my new zoom lens. Click on each photo for an even more detailed close-up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Downward Puppy

The Wudgie just loves to mimic everything. This is what I found her doing the other day after I unrolled my yoga mat on the floor. All I have to say to her is "Let's do some yoga" and she goes right in to some basic poses. How wonderful it would be to have something like yoga engrained so that it becomes just a part of her and her daily routine.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cheaper by the Dozen

My mother and I went through old family photos today and we came across some history of my father's family. His paternal grandparents (Lewis and Teresa) were merchants that owned a store on the Esopus Creek in upstate New York. They had 12 (yes TWELVE) children--one of which was my grandfather, Parker. I love that name---it is my dad's name, also. If Wudgie's mother had been a boy, I would have named him Parker. I never knew my grandfather Parker as he passed away suddenly when my dad was a young boy.

Here's a photo of the old family homestead.
I would kill for a house like this now. It probably had beautiful hardwood floors, fireplaces and a grand old country kitchen. And a lot of bedrooms. 12 kids.

Here's the clan in 1906. The kids all had great names, too. There was Mamie (there's that name again- this time on my dad's side), Abel, Lewis, Jr., Peter, Walter, Lillie, Nellie, Tessie, Jennie, Ira, Odell and my grandfather, Parker. He's the young lad kneeling in the first row on the right.
Just think, back to school meant buying 24 shoes. No wonder my great-grandparents owned their own store.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Zone 7 Envy

I am visiting my parents in North Carolina and have severe garden envy. The area where I am in NC is within Zone 7 of the USDA plant hardiness map. The area where I live is Zone 10. What does this mean? It means I cannot grow beautiful hydrangeas. I love hydrangeas. Here are some photos taken over the past few days.

Dried hydrangeas on the table in the breakfast room. This photo is SOOC (straight out of camera) and not retouched or enhanced in Photoshop. We don't have soft golden morning light like this in Zone 10 either. Darn.

Blush colored hydrangeas are beautiful, too. Manipulating the pH in the soil can change or enhance the color of some hydrangeas.

Tommy the magnificent cat amongst the hydrangeas. More about him another day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On the Money

I am fascinated with bears. I sometimes dream about bears. In my dreams they are a menacing presence but I am mesmerized by them and not afraid. I am not sure what this means (I also frequently dream of seeing funnel clouds in the distance. Lots of turbulence in my night time adventures!).

I have taken a few trips to Alaska and other prime bear country places and have never seen one. Yet. I am hoping another trip to eastern Canada planned for this fall will produce at least one sighting. Maybe then I'll have some rest at night.

Here's a photo taken while rafting in Alaska. The dollar bill shows the scale of this huge bear paw in the wet sand. The claw marks were so deep in the sand and there were much smaller tracks along side. Momma and her baby.
We probably just missed seeing this giant on the shore. I did have the feeling though that this big bear was watching us from the forest just a few hundred yards away. I wonder if she's dreaming of me right now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Grand Mother Lode

The time has finally come when my name is being selected for me. By a 19 month old. I am no longer the Grammie. As in adults saying "give Grammie a hug" or "let's go to Grammie's house". Now it is the voice of a little tiny person screaming "MAMIE" as in "Mamie beans please" when someone wants jelly beans. "MAMIE UP" when someone no longer wishes their feet to touch the floor. For hours on end.

The sweetest part of this is that Mamie is actually a legacy name. And the Wudgie didn't even know it. Or did she? Mamie was my great-grandmother's name and we all called her that. Her sisters, my mother, me, everyone. Four generations later and here is Mamie again. I like it.

We have a history of twisting around grandmother names in my family. I called my maternal grandmother "Momup". We think the logic there was she was "sort of like my Mom and was always with Pop (my grandfather)" so: Momup. And Momup she was through the years and through 2 brothers after me and our children, too. Wudgie's mother calls her grandmother (my mother) "Ghee". Just like clarified butter. I think she started out as Gram but that morphed into Ghee with the help of a little tiny pink rosebud mouth.

Here's a list of cute grandmother nicknames. Have any in your family?

I took this photo just a few minutes ago in the morning light. I love the texture of the rose petals. It reminds me of soft and crepey grandmother skin. And yes, just like mine.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A General Accounting

I know little about the artist Tsilli Pines but I do know I love her work. I love these pieces from her collection called "the figures". The artist combines what she calls the feminine aspects of sewing, rubber stamping and crafting with the masculine features of accounting. I particularly like this piece called "Annual Report" as I am involved in an annual report project right now.

And this piece "Fruits of Our Labor" is one of my favorites.

How clever to use these materials to
produce something so visually appealing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flat Biscuit Society

I am a charter member of the Flat Biscuit Society. This evening I tried Martha's Buttermilk Biscuit recipe. Now, I am generally a good soldier in the kitchen (I follow recipe directions pretty precisely) and tonight was no exception. I sifted, cut in, chilled, rolled and parchment-papered. And this is what I got.

The Mr. called them "flat Stanleys" after the cartoon character. Very funny. They ended up to be very delicious and we spread them with a little soft butter and drizzled with wildflower honey. They tasted like crispy biscuit tops.

Anyone have any biscuit making secrets this kitchen soldier can try?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pantry Perfection At Last!

A big thank you to Lydia at The Perfect Pantry for featuring my pantry----its one of my most favorite areas of our home. If you are visiting my blog from Lydia's site, thank you for coming over and please take a look around...leave a comment or two---I love to read what you have to say.

Here's a photo I took the other day---as I was walking down the hallway into our living room, the sun was coming through the plantation shutters and left these sun streaks on the wall---I think they look like brush strokes of an abstract painting...Free art appearing on our walls every morning! What a deal!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Color Theory

All this right in my backyard. A few clicks in Photoshop and an aging concrete fountain looks like blue Delft pottery.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Shoes in a Little World

The Wudgie loves shoes. "Shewwwz" was one of her very first words. I am afraid she is destined for the size 10 rack if genetics come in to play for her feet. I remember when her mother fretted over having substantial feet as a young girl. I would tell her that it "takes strong and sizeable feet to hold up all of the wonderful woman that you will be" and I was right about that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

By Bread Alone

I recently went here and bought one of these and now I have a lot of this in the kitchen. Homemade bread is a wonderful thing. It is wonderful many times a day in many different ways. Toasted. Buttered with cinnamon sugar. Buttered with four fruits preserves. Dipped in homemade soup. And as a late night snack.

Its amazing how just a few ingredients and a bit of time can turn in to something so wonderful. Unbleached flour, active yeast, salt, a bit of butter and some cold water. A few pulses and a whirl with the dough blade, into a zip lock on top of the running dryer, shaped into a pan and slipped into the oven. I may never buy bread again.

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