Tuesday, March 19, 2013

iPhoto Clean-up, or 'Why'd I take this photo?'

Like I need a reminder that I am never going 
to have legs like this again.

OK, I never had legs like this.
What I can't figure out, while sorting through 3400+ photos in iPhoto, at 10:45 PM is why I took this photo.

We were on Catalina Island for the day and had just come out of the Ice Cream shop.
This young woman walked in to buy ice cream and had to get on her tip-toes to see all the selections.

Getting on her tip toes made her legs look even better.
But I still can't figure out why I took this.
I'm hoping my daughter, who still has a shot at legs like this, took the photo.
I think I'll email it to her for motivation.

Here are a few more brilliant examples.

Random New Yorkers

The City that never sleeps, and apparently doesn't even slow down.

Smoking Lounge Chairs

Pink Clouds and Green Spot

Awesome City shot, but of where?

So that's a peek at my iPhoto albums.

Just curious how often you look at your digital stuff?

At least I don't have to dig out a box from the Hall Closet full of crumpled & yellowed photos.
Now if I want to see bad shots I can sit on the sofa and flick the screen on my iPad:)

I'm headed off for two months to Africa and Italy to take thousands of photos in an attempt to fill up iCloud.

Say Cheese!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zero Calorie Foods


From a crazy funny Texas girl on tumblr.

This is the stuff you can eat at 10PM without any bad consequences.

Unfortunately none of these foods sound as good as ice cream at 10PM.

dandelion, radish, and turnips.  Yum.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Green Acres is the place to be!

Green Acres Nursery

It was 73 degrees on Saturday.  Needless to say I surrendered my bathrobe and headed to the Nursery. 
Tables of sun loving annuals
Years ago I cleaned house for a couple in Corvallis Oregon.  He happened to be the Department Head of Ornamental Horticulture at Oregon State University.  Between Al Roberts and my two grandmothers I have been thoroughly tutored in all things garden related.

I know what likes the sun, and what prefers shade.  I'm on my fourth copy of The Sunset Western Garden Book.  Everywhere I've lived I learn about what thrives in that locale and what's gonna be just too much trouble.

Speaking of where I live, I hate my soil.  It's heavy clay in winter and spring which turns to concrete in summer and fall.  I've lived where some obliging river has deposited silt and made the soil a nice loamy consistency.  No such luck at my current address.  I'm always dragging home 2cf bags of stuff that seems to disappear into my dirt without leaving a trace of evidence that it was ever there.

It's Flora Fashion Week 2012 

Pink is big this spring.

English Daisy
If you don't have English Daisy (Bellis perennis) in your garden or on the patio you're missing out on a great plant.  The flowers are on 3-6 inch stems and look like little bouquets edging a walk or lawn.  It's superb in pots on the patio.  I often buy them and use them as centerpieces on the Dining table before planting them outside.  Wrap the 4" pot with plastic wrap then arrange in a low ceramic bowl and fill with Spanish Moss.

Coral Geranium

Geraniums are the strong silent types of the floral world.
They can take the heat without wilting and aside from the demon caterpillars they seem pretty immune to pests.  To be environmentally correct I tried soap suds, but ended up buying and using 'Caterpillar Killer' to get rid of a Biblical scale invasion.

More about these darlings under Red, White, & Blue.

 My grandmother had blue hydrangeas all along the back of her house.  She had great soil and added coffee grounds to keep them blue.  My Danube blue hydrangeas bloomed as pink as the ones in this photo the second year they were in the ground.  It takes about 4 applications per year to get them to stay blue.  Cut them back about 1/3 in the early fall.  Needless to say they require adequate water.

Armeria 'Armada Rose'
Armeria is a tidy plant but it requires good drainage.
It forms little clumps and is happy in containers where you can easily give it perfect conditions for growth.

Mix it with purples and blues or yellow and white.

 Columbine (Aquilegia Hybrids) can grow 1-3 ft. high and about 1-2 ft. wide.  It's a perennial so it returns each spring to give you another chance to enjoy the fruits of your cash & labor.


Licorice Plant

Lamium and Licorice plant both provide texture and grey green relief.  They look terrific in containers, but their real strength is the white & green variegated leaf they add to all the other deep greens found in the garden.  My Lamium cascaded down the sides of my big terra-cotta planters.  It has lived through two winters and I just cut it back fertilize and it starts up again.

On to the Blues & Purples.

Lithodora 'Grace Ward'
Low growing/ground cover

 Nemesia likes it below 100 degrees, but some types will handle a little more intense summer heat.  Blue is a great color for cooling off the garden in hot summer locations.  Plant this on the north or east side in warmer locales.

Think now about a Red, White, & Blue display for July 4th celebrations.  I use a red geranium, Nemesia, and alyssum.  You can also use white geraniums, red-hot poker plant and Nemesia.

A massed planting of Nemesia adds a soft blue carpet that makes a nice transition from hardscape to flowerbed.
Spanish Lavender 'Anouk'

I use Lavender in every flowerbed that has any sun exposure.  Just remember to cut back immediately after bloom to keep your plants from getting leggy or woody.  The blooms make wonderful sachets for Linen Closets and lingerie drawers.


Bacopa and Wallflower complete the Blue & Purple selections.
Bacopa is good in containers because it drapes over the sides.

Wallflower (Erysimum Hybrid 'Bowes Mauve') grows 3' tall and can be 6'wide. 

It can bloom almost continually in mild winter/cool summer climates.

Good garden whites are found in geraniums for sunny exposures and Impatiens for shady ones.  I especially like these double blossom impatiens.

White Impatiens Double 

Red geranium
Sweet Broom Patio Tree
Genista racemosa

What's your garden style?  
Do you like a riot of color?
I like the chance every Spring to make changes.
And I'm thankful to my Grandmothers and to Al Roberts for sharing their passion and knowledge with me.

Yellow Gerber Daisy

Put on your sunscreen and get your hands dirty.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscar Night

Bacall & Bogey
It's Oscar Night.  They're all glammed up and I'm in sweats and my fluffy slippers.  I just read about a couple of actresses who said they almost fainted at the Golden Globes because their Spanx were so tight they couldn't breathe.  Better them than me.  Do you find yourself sucking in your tummy when you see Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez?  I noticed that I sit up taller when they come strolling out.  If I ever get to go I already have the perfect dress.

My Oscar Night Dress

Great huh?  Black isn't my best color, but they say it takes off 5lbs.  I'm subtracting another  2lbs. because of the floor length and long sleeves.

What you can't tell from the photo is that when you wear this dress you forget you're in a dressy dress and feel like you're in your old softest pj's.  It's fitted, but not so tight it cuts off your blood or air supply.

Also, it sparkles and shimmers when you walk.

I feel elegant, sexy, and taller in it. Plus at least 7lbs. lighter.

I wear it with some strappy heels that kill my feet.  I don't think I could walk two blocks in them without the risk of foot surgery becoming a real possibility.

Next year I'm going to invite my girlfriends for an Oscar Night Party.  We'll dress up in our Red Carpet best and be interviewed while standing in completely unnatural poses and speaking without breathing so our tummies don't pooch out.

Did you see all the nominated movies?  I never seem to see all of them.  This year I've seen 6 of the 9.
Here are my top 3:  The Help, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball.

I wrote this while I watched the show and about choked when my hubby told me he'd been invited to the Oscars once (he's an LA homeboy) and he didn't go.  I asked if he got a raincheck.  No such luck.
At least now he knows that we can rent diamonds from Harry Winston.  I was a Girl Scout and we're required by motto to always be prepared.

So by now you know that the French carried the day and Meryl still reigns supreme and obviously has a good marriage.  Like there wasn't already enough to envy.  And if you've never seen Cirque du Soleil you better get that on your Bucket List.

I like my dress better than Meryl's.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Soup

Blue Soup
Script Excerpt from Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget:  How's it look?
Mark:  Great.  It's, um. . .blue
Bridget:  Blue?
Mark:  No, but blue is good.  If you ask me there isn't enough blue food.

This is a story with a happy, even delicious, ending.
It began as part of yesterday's post:  A Robe By Any Other Name.

I told you that I spent all morning yesterday, OK, not exactly morning, but more precisely until just after lunch, in my bathrobe.  I've already chronicled my movements and just before going upstairs to "get ready for the day. . .OK, what was left of the day" I wanted to rinse the beans and start the 3.5 hrs. of simmering called for on the soup package.  The Soup Saga began Tuesday evening with the prerequisite overnight soaking of the bean mixture.  This soup recipe is a little like the shampoo instructions:  rinse and repeat.  I rinsed the beans, added fresh water and turned up the heat.  Within 3 hours the aroma of soup and ham shank infused the whole house.  I went to the stove to remove the lid and gaze at the fruit of my labors only to find the wonderful mouth watering fragrance emanating from a blue concoction filling my soup pot.  The last time I saw something that color it was the water draining out of my washing machine when I had accidentally washed a brand new pair of dark denim jeans in hot water.

I'm not a great cook.

Bobby Flay in his Star Trek uniform
Ina Garten 'The Barefoot Contessa'
Martha Stewart Herself
The one, the only, Julia Child

It's never "how easy is that?".
It's not "a good thing".
I'd never even open the door to a 'Throwdown".

And "Bon Appetit" just isn't something I'm prone to say when serving family or guests.

My friend Patty and I describe ourselves as Utility Chefs.  We get the job done, but there's not much art in it.

Think Cafeteria Ladies minus the Fish Sticks and you're closer to an accurate description.

There is always a certain amount of performance anxiety when I step into the kitchen.  My Mom is a terrific cook. My daughter is a terrific cook.  Ditto for my daughter-in-laws and my granddaughter.

I'm a genetic anomaly.

Even with the Internet availability of millions of recipes I am not a natural in the kitchen unless you're talking about cleaning it up.  Then I rock.

                                                  I felt like I was in a bad I Love Lucy episode.
                                                                     Seriously, blue soup.

I have never seen Ina, or any famous chef make blue soup.

Yellow/Orange soup, yes
Bright Green Soup, yes

Even Hot Pink soup, but never blue.

To complicate matters my husband had pulled a Jeffrey and came strolling down the hall from his office aka:  the man cave, to ask what smelled so good.  I slammed the lid back on the pot and said, "It's a surprise".

Images of old war movies flashed across my synapses.

Airplanes about to crash on the deck of aircraft carriers and someone yelling pull up! pull up!

Memories of crumbling pie crust and cardboard pot roast flooded back and I could literally feel my cortisol levels rising.

Then I remembered the shampoo bottle directions:  rinse and repeat.

I dumped it all in the colander and rinsed until the water ran clear.  I added bottled water in case it had been some weird  Municipal Water District event.  I added sautéed onions, carrots, red pepper flakes, garlic and bay leaf.  For good measure I also added a can of stewed tomatoes.

And voila, no more blue soup.  I felt positively triumphant.

Oh yeah, the soup was excellent.  Turns out beans, and there are about 10 kinds in this mix, are high in fiber, iron, and flavor.

 PS  The Ham Shank was very meaty and may have contributed to the overall yumminess.

Still no clue as to the origin of the blue.


A Robe By Any Other Name

It's winter and my love affair with my bathrobe has reached its zenith.  It's a luxury to wear and I resent having to surrender it for more suitable public apparel in order to carry on my daily life.  Today I changed the sheets, did the laundry, answered email, worked on a book, made great soup for dinner, and ate lunch in my robe.

As an all purpose wardrobe piece it has limitations.  I can't exercise in it without risk of injury or heatstroke.  I can't grocery shop or buy a new printer ink cartridge or get my hair cut in my bathrobe, so I try to consolidate those errands and minimize their effect on my wardrobe selection.  I also refuse to answer the door.  I'm sure the Jehovah's Witnesses, Solar Panel Salesmen, and the FedEx guy all must think I've joined the ranks of working women.

Most of my life I've been an at home Mom, but I have never stayed in a bathrobe past breakfast until this winter.  I have a limited window of opportunity because as Spring approaches I can't resist the lure of sunshine and the urge to plant new flowers in the garden.  I know I'll have to bust out my old khaki's and t-shirts along with the garden gloves and shovel.

My Roses & Lavender 

Then the weather gets really good and my thoughts turn to golf which requires another wardrobe change.

I'm passing on my vast knowledge to another generation.  Those who can do, those who can't. . .

 Solomon, and later the Byrds said, 'to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven'.  I haven't actually calculated how many mornings I've stayed in my bathrobe past 10AM.  I don't know how it started except that I remember being a little more burned out than usual after the Holidays.  I don't see any divine significance to it, but in my bathrobe I feel divine.  I used to read a lot of English novels and the lady of the house was gently awakened by a maid with a tea tray.
Anna can come to me if Bates goes to prison.

So no, I don't feel guilty staying in my bathrobe.
I feel lucky.