Monday, February 25, 2013

An Afternoon Cup (after the Oscars)

And a happy night for most on The Red Carpet, last night...

Kudos for Ben Affleck's: Argo...nice to see Ang Lee get his Oscar for Directing Life of Pi...Adele was incredible belting out "Skyfall"...and with the possible exception of Anne Hathaway (...who always looks a bit thin...but toned...) most of the crowd had "human" proportions this year. Maybe anorexia is going out of vogue. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Charlize Theron both appeared looking marvelously toned and healthy. Beards seem to be in style this year...and George Clooney just gets better and better, doesn't he? Aging in that salt and pepper Sean Connery (dead sexy) style.And seriously...Jane Fonda (in Canary Yellow) seemed ageless. She is 72 and looks like she is 50!  Possibly making Blackwell's Worst Dressed list this year...Tim Burton and (wife) Helena Bonham Carter who both arrived looking more than a bit rumpled...and apparently they couldn't find a comb between them. Seriously...her hair could have held several families of baby mice, and possibly a spider or two...and his had that Mad Scientist thing happening...because, of course, he is Tim Burton.

Amazing Gowns of the night: Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Anniston and Charlize Theron.

Crown Jewels: Definitely Anne Hathaway. Did anyone see the diamonds on that girl!

So, up way-past-the-we-bitching hour for me...and this morning was a four cups of strong coffee and still somewhat slow event for me...

Well worth it...

Friday, February 22, 2013

An End of the Week Cup

     The Winter Storm hit last snow for us...just a zillion little ice pellets slightly reminiscent of the silicone micro-beads you find in stuffed animals and pillows- everywhere.

Not terribly slippery, though. More of a beach sand consistency that grinds underfoot.

Ahhhhh....beach sand. It is calling me.
Perhaps soon.

Opened a small box and a larger mailer from Gail and Shirley recently who both sent a small bit of Hawaii back from their latest Adventure. Helping with my "collecting the World one rock at a time".
Thanks, guys!

Slipped back into winter-mode since the cold returned. Crock Pots and Chili and 'neath the quilts with the cat and a book.  This week's read: Freedom in Exile: Autobiography of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. A wonderfully "human" look at the life of one of the most influential and centered individuals on the planet. Highly reccomended.

Also a recipe to share. (photo above)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1/2 c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c  sour cream 

For topping 
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 c finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 Tbsp butter

Cream butter and sugar together...add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.
Add sour cream.
Mix again.
Sift together all dry ingredients and add to creamed mix. If necessary add 1/4 cup milk. Batter should be somewhat thick.

In small bowl combine topping ingredients and cut together until crumbly.

I use a large iron skillet...but any large 2 inch deep pan or baking dish will do.
Pour coffeecake mixture in greasing necessary. Top with nut crumble mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees until center is done and top is nicely browned. Will smell amazing while baking.
Best Served Hot
with coffee or milk.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A "Where Did Spring Go" Cup

Two days ago I was out "playing in the dirt". Tending the flowerbeds. Pruning the roses. Marveling at the sempervivums who...doing what they do best...surviving another cold and snowy winter. The trees budded. The willow a misty green veil. Irises and tulips and daffodils tipping...promises of Spring and Summer color.

Then WINTER re-appeared. 

Nine degrees and snow flurries. 

Even the "snow-peas" are muttering
                   "Don't even think about putting me in the ground, Missy..." 

So finishing the Spring Cleaning and making a huge pot of chili and a crusty loaf of bread...C'est la Vie.

The anticipation is almost as good as the gardening!

And what is winter good for if not relaxing inside warm...baking and reading and creating...plotting and planning over hearty soups and stews and kneading dough for baguettes and brochette...dipping herbed bread smothered with mozzarella in warmed marinara or drizzling it with good olive oil.    Hot cocoa and tea and toddy...yes...Spring can wait.  Snuggle under the warmed quilts for a bit more. There are books yet to be read. 

And written, as the case may be.

Working on The Ashes (novel) and also a short book based on my Zen Cafe blog-

The Mindful Life: Zen Living.

 The latter hopefully published before the end of the year. The former...looking at a 2014-2015 release. Ask anyone. I suck at deadlines. It will be done when it is done...and the process slows down tremendously from April-  An editor's nightmare. 

Like Smoke Through a Keyhole...a "sortabiography/memoir" completed in April 2012 (...7 years in the making...)

And my first ever children's book Sam Meets A Dinosaur published in May 2012 far as my manuscripts are concerned it could stay winter...forever.

 Well, coffee is over...and it is back to the keyboard!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Sunday Cup

Sleepy Sunday Morning Tea...

Enjoyed "Grandparent's Day" Friday with my Granddaughters at their school...crafts and games and milk and cookies...a pleasant way to spend a Friday! Was really pleased at the turnout as grandparent's trickled in to completely fill the elementary school cafeteria and Hannah's crooked grin as she introduced both her "Nana" and I, to her little friends.

                              (...kinda like...Old Folks Show and Tell...)

In the middle of my not-quite-Spring cleaning...because...face it...who wants to spend the first warm Spring Days cleaning the house? Cue the : 

                                    I'd Rather Be Gardening

 tee shirt.  Not long now, though!  Hoping that Monday is as warm as they say and planning to clear the winter clutter from the garden beds and prune my roses.

Already seeing the tiny tips of bulbs emerging with the promise of Spring color...and the flat thin blades of my irises...the resurrection after their winter nap. Planning additional roses from David Austin's this year...and an arbor of Concords for jelly!  Have a firmer grasp on vertical gardening and container gardening this year with a season under my belt, too.  

Embarked on a new twist on soap-making Saturday trying a goat's-milk base for the first time. Those who remember my lye soap-making nearly 30 years ago (also in an apartment...I should probably STILL be apologizing to the neighbors for the smell...)  will appreciate this.  Working with chocolate oil, vanilla, and rum...poured my first batch yesterday of Goat's Milk Soap. Easy to use. Takes color streaking. No additional smell to it...even the French- Milled I created a few seasons ago was distinctly "soapy".

Not these.

 The chocolate mixed with a bit of rum extract gave a "rum-ball" scent that smelled exactly like...well rum-balls. The chocolate oil made a very nice Chocolate Milk smelling bar when powdered milk was added to the base...and the vanilla is heavenly. Going to scrape vanilla beans in the next batch for the flecked look and natural vanilla scent.Accepts add-ins without clumping or settling. They lather well and are good for your skin.

                                  Poured in re-purposed Greek yogurt cups.


And working on various scent combinations:

I haven't tried the glycerin yet. Maybe next. Saw a cute idea using cold process glycerin base...a sandwich tint...and a few artificial (plastic) goldfish and a twist tie. A soap-gift for the "Grands" for the bath. Looked like it was fresh from the County Fair!

This week's book a new release from Simon and Schuster...Pamela Ribon's:
You Take It From Here.  A long look at Forever Friendships...and the sacrifices we are willing (and sometimes unwilling) to make for them.
Excellent read.
Great summer book!

Enjoy the long weekend...and remember...Do Everything!

                                   (...note to self...apparently citric acid 
                                     affects the setting grape-
                                     fruit pink after all...)

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Teddy Bear Tea (cup)

Enjoyed the first (of many to come) Teddy Bear Tea's...with the "Grands", and realizing post-Valentine's Day- that there very could possibly be a thing as

                                          "Too Much CHOCOLATE"!

Celebrating Valentine's Day with both Moms and 5 kids :)

and Skype-ing James in and making him a GINORMOUS card to share!

                                      Brenden Talking To Dad Via SKYPE


And Teddy Bear Books...Personal Heart Pizza Making...Crafts and Nail Painting (for the girls) and surprising both Moms with Teddy Bear Valentines and Candy at the end of the night :)

Brenden and Preston Making Pizza!

                   And Reading about "Bellefants...Gw'ama...see the bellefants!!!"
                                    (Brenden's new word for Elephants)

                                                     Nail Polish and Crafts

                                                                       Jasmine, Kaylee and Hannah

                                                          ~The Bears~


                                          ~Lots of Bears...Old and New~

                        Bears Everywhere!          

And when the Nails were polished and dry... and the crafts made... and the pizza was done...

Everyone snuggled in with their favorite BEAR for storytime!

                        And it was the Perfect Valentine's Teddy Bear Tea. 
                                        Can't wait until next month's...

                                   Tucker...who really didn't care about
                                   the Teddy Bears...but LOVED the
                                   whipped cream!

                                                        "Grandma Rose"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Afternoon Traveling Cup

Okay...crazy excited...spent a lot of yesterday going over the details but definitely attending the Pennsylvania Gathering!  Along with Diane & Sal, Carol, Janine, Donale, Lillian, Marti, Cathy, Kathy, Stephen, Lee, LuAnn, Ralph, Loran, Sallie, Deanna, Darleen, Betty, Betsy, Both Vicki's, Shirely, Rosylnn, Jill, Kay, Linda and Darlene (...and that is just the list of definitely coming...hoping to see many more by the time the Gathering rolls around...maybe even Dave from the UK...who has already taught us how to make "the perfect cup of tea"...) Hope the Amish are ready for us!
Perhaps the folks from Iowa phoned ahead and warned them...

Looking forward to seeing both Angie (for Spring) and Pam to celebrate her 54th birthday (and my 53rd..early), soon.

Also talked to the oldest and the middle and there is a Birthday "Beach-side" in my near future! Yay!!! Received a photo of a snowman James built on the beach out of sand.

An aside...did you know that you can fly from Ft. Lauderdale Florida to San Juan Puerto Rico for $77.00 ? 

Yeah, me neither...

And Chris waiting for his vacation time in July to join "April" (his girlfriend) for a week in Kentucky!

So getting ready for Valentine's Day...actually received the best box today with the traditional heart filled with (my favorite) dark AMAZING hand-made card...and best of all...a large wooden block photo-frame reading:

                      "I'm not Retired. I'm a Professional Grandma."

In which, I immediately placed my favorite photo of all the "Grands".

Halllmark Valentine's aside. Also finished and submitted an essay to CNN iReport...shared here:

Hoping it will be vetted! What LOVE really is...

Putting the last touches together for tomorrow's Teddy Bear Valentine's Tea! A pile of teddy bears...heart shaped (individual) pizzas to build and bake...chocolates...and "bear books" plus the requisite doilies, glitter, construction paper and scissors to make their Moms (and James) Valentine's Cards.

The idea for the heart-pizza's snagged there. Requiring tubes of the roll-out tube pizza dough and large heart shaped cutters...toppings and cheeses. A build your own approach the kids will love.

Hearts and (((HUGS))) &
 Love and Light to all!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Post-Game Cup


          What a game.

Well it was...after they turned the lights back on and San Francisco decided to ACTUALLY join the damn game.

Face it, the Ravens deserved the win.  The first half of the game went a lot like this...touchdown...field goal...interception...interception...fumble and turnover......even the Special Olympics were saying

" Niner' that is okay...really...we already have a team."

Beyonce showed up at Half-Time magnificent...wrapped in black leather the way the lawd always intended her to be...helping wipe away the lingering images of last year's Madonna prancing half dressed around a stage at "pushing 60".  

"Yeah're a virgin...and this is a very old tee-shirt.  G'away now."

Then Jacoby Jones (Ravens) ran practically the length of the field for a 108 yard touchdown immediately afterward...complete with the squirrel dance in the end zone...doubtless inspired by Ms. Beyonce's performance.

And then DARKNESS descended on the face of the...oh wait...wrong script...anyway...half of the stadium was plunged into darkness for more than a half hour. And the commentators did what they do best...they talked and analyzed and ruminated...and talked some more...until EVERYONE was ready to just hand them some tools and point them in the general direction of the fuse box...


And it was GOOD!

Because, it not only re-lit the stadium (...that had taken on that eerie twilight sunlight filtering through a hole in the roof post-Katrina look and was a bit unsettling actually...hey- everyone was thinking it...I'm just saying it, okay...) 
it also WOKE UP my team.

Stunned...looking around themselves...OMG...we're AT the is just like a dream. So sparkley. Look Crabtree, it's your momma...

With Jim Harbaugh responding:

"Yeah..well you're all going to be dreaming that my shoe is up your a$$ if you don't start playing...and you know how long a walk it is back to San Francisco from New Orleans...don't answer that, was a rhetorical question." 

"2,272 miles, sir."

Harbaugh: (facepalm)

But from the Third Quarter it was definitely GAME ON...with a couple touch downs and a field goal...two minutes on the clock... and the game was down to one play.  It could have been anybody's game.

Last night at 34-31 it was The Ravens...and they certainly earned it!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


The "Niners" face down the Ravens in, perhaps, my favorite (host) city ever...NOLA...what's not to love!!!

Garnering a "meh...I have to study." from our middle son...a "...enjoying a party and pass the chips" from our youngest...and for possibly the first time in history "Hey...we are rooting for the same team!" from my oldest.
The latter conjuring up the spectre of the 2010 Colts ~vs~ Saints (HIM:Indianapolis Colts/ Me: New Orleans Saints) when seconds after the Saints WON...the phone rang...


Okay, he did call back..but, by then...I was laughing too hard to talk!

The fourth Sunday in our Month of Sunday's (Day of Rest) project...and to be honest...padding around in Victoria Secret Leopard Pajamas inside...for the day.
Comparing notes and experiences tomorrow...but as for me...I could comfortably continue the "One Day Completely Off" a week-

Plotting and planning a Teddy Bears Tea with my younger "Grands" soon.
Found the most amazing plush Teddy Bears for them for Valentine's Day!

 So here's to a SF 49'ers win...and a leopard print...stay in your jammies...buttered toast and honeyed tea...finger foods...and chocolate... a good novel and the cat...scented candles and deep strawberry scented bubble bath kind of day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Pre-Game Cup



         Just in case there was any confusion! Gearing up for Sunday's Game! and my beloved "City by the Bay" ( Oakland...) is looking pretty beastly right now!

The oldest now settled and with guitar in the Sunshine State...along with our daily updates...we NOW compare

Me:  Raining and Gray.

Him: Sunny and 84 degrees.

Me: Windy and 13 degrees.

Him: Still Sunny...but I think it will be 85 by this afternoon.

Me: Six degrees and it is SNOWING again...

Him: Damn it was cold this morning...67 degrees...but they are saying 85 by noon.


Great news as he has finally discovered SKYPE. The adult equivalent of discovering your feet when you are an infant. He and Brenden already goofing and giggling their way through an evening. Hoping the girls will get theirs set up soon!

Looking forward to Valentine's Day (and soon Grandparent's Day) with my Grands!

Great interview with Stephen King re: Dr. Sleep this week!

Can't wait for it to be released.

So here it is...almost Groundhog's Day...Superbowl Sunday right around the corner...and Mardi Gras quickly approaching...and more importantly 46 DAYS till SPRING!

Already getting the seed starters prepped for later in the month...a game plan mapped in the Gardening Journal...several seed/plant catalogs strewn about...and discussing Raised Beds and Container Gardens with Gail and "Idgy".
Doing the herb basket/some veggies/flowers and my roses this year. Expanding the Frog Spa as well as a Container Barrel Pond with Water Lilies! Tucking the Sunflower Seeds and Morning Glories in amidst the chocolate in Angie's Valentine's Box.
The FTD "grow-it-your-damn-self" bouquet!

This week's book: My Berlin Kitchen: A love story (with recipes) by Luisa Weiss.

A memoir written around the Art of German Cooking. A German-Julia Childs-Meets Nicholas Sparks- kind of read. Highly entertaining. Many Great German Recipes. If you love romance and cooking...this book is for you!

                             Settling in for a quiet winter evening of writing.