Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Week Filled with Grands...and Nicole's Birthday

                                                    Mom and Aiden

                                                       Dad and Emma

This week has been filled with my Grands and my incredible DIL who turns 30 on the 6th!

She and I spent midweek playing in the plants together.

                                             The Kitchen Herb Basket 

And Emma spent the day Friday working on a Birthday Surprise for her Mom!

Emma and Mom

And, an early birthday gift of Third Eye Blind tickets.

Which Nicki proclaimed "Best Concert Ever"  and when it was briefly disrupted from the rain...well...the guys just broke out guitars, and with a small crowd of other concert-goers seeking shelter from the storm, they managed to pull together their own mini-concert until it passed and the band resumed! 

Guess which one they will remember fondly in 30 years? Because my money is on the huddled rain-soaked friends and strangers together beneath the concrete parking garage playing music and singing together until the deluge was over.  

Their own Woodstock Moment! 

 You can't plan times like these in life. They just happen! 

Happy 30th Birthday, Hon!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Continuation of Virtual France: Limousin...Planks and Fondant Roses

                                                       Limousin Bull

And I continue the Virtual France Adventure heading from Limoges further into Limousin (pronounced Leh-moo-zuh)

Limousin is to France as Central Indiana is to the United States. The Heartland.

It is filled with rolling hills, lakes and rivers...surround by two vast mountain ranges. Its grasslands are perfect grazing areas for Limousine cattle. These stocky cattle were originally bred/developed in Britian. They are raised for their leaner meat . 95% fat free. They are also used to breed with Angus and Herefords to produce a well marbled meat and a sturdier animal.

The Rocking R Ranch located in Missouri in The States raises and sells meat from Limousin steers for anyone interested.

The architecture here is a hodge podge of everything, from sleek modern to castles and rough gray stone structures with mossy slate topped roofing.First occupied by the Romans...and a major battlefield during France's 100 Year Wars.

The entire area is a bit more than 6,500 square miles and sparsely populated;  only about 42 people per square mile. Many excellent "tours" of both the city areas and the countryside available on Youtube.

A day spent in the countryside...and I think before long I will be trying the beef.

Received my tiny bit of Arles in the post this week in the form of

a (circulated) 1888 Silver Franc.
(above image is only a representation...not the actual franc)

It is, for me, perfect souvenir of the area. I like to imagine Toulouse Lautrec pressing it into the hand of his favorite as he purchased either flesh or Absinthe with it. Perhaps it changed hands during the sale of a Renoir masterpiece (although he wouldn't know then that his work would be viewed this way) or helped paid Van Gogh's rent for another month; contributed by his brother Theo.
Maybe, at one point, it jingled in the pocket of my favorite Impressionist: Monet.

Given its circulation date all these are are genuinely possible.


I have started adding PLANKS to my morning work-out reps this week...and what German Sadist came up with this anyway???? 
Seriously. is like this, afterwards.
Every morning.

I'm not sure it is going to work out for me at all, actually.
I am more like:

  "Yeah... just held that one for 30 seconds...I'm I need a jelly doughnut."


Oh well...

I did stumble onto something exciting to try soon, though!

Yeah yeah...I know...  "Squirrel"

I even found a recipe for making sugar dewdrops to place on them!

As I said earlier this year, I have always wanted to try my hand at the elegant decoration of cupcakes and petit fours. I found pre-tinted pastel fondant (multiple colours in one package) recently and when Idgy arrives we are going to attempt these beautiful fondant roses to top white cupcakes with a bit of raspberry jam in the center and buttercream icing...later to have the most lovely afternoon tea with them.

We may have to invite Nicole and Emma (and Rebecca her doll) to join us!

Have a Wonderful and Safe Holiday Weekend!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Life is too short

I lost my Mom yesterday...

Actually, that isn't technically correct. I lost her 53 years ago. For the first 14 years of my life...I didn't even know/remember she existed. A fact that was more carefully concealed in my family than any Classifed Document ever hoped to be. Adopted by my paternal grandparents at 2...and never told I was adopted.  I would meet her for the very first time ever at my High School Graduation at 18. I would meet my two sisters and three brothers (her other children) that very same day.

I was raised to believe my "Dad" was my Big Brother...who was by then grown and re-married with a son. 

It was hard to drop back into a life with a family you never knew and a Grandmother who had lived her entire life acting as though none of these people ever existed...and the absolute HELL that was raised and the horrible things I was told...How she "never loved you". "Didn't want you". "Threw you away like trash. " after I did find out and manage to locate her- doesn't even bear telling.  The grilling when she knew I saw any of them...even into adulthood was horrible.

These were my biological parents...

Married at 16 and, already on the way.

They were just children. 

The whole thing was just a lot overwhelming at the time. Trying to balance the idea of being lied to all my life...and two Grandparents...A Mom...and Five Siblings I did not know...the fact that my Brother was really my Dad...the therapy through my late 20's to unravel the whole mess...yeah,  I know I  probably put somebody's kid through College.

We got back together a handful of times through the years but never really stayed together. Correction. I guess, I never really stayed in touch. Life...marriage...divorce...the teenagers...taking care of my brain husband's leukemia and his all just seemed to be all encompassing. Overwhelming. There is that word again.

Yesterday, through the amazing network which is Social Media, I received a note from both a brother and a sister. In less than an hour my sister and I were talking on the phone. About everything. Both she and one of my brothers would send me photographs of my mom and I together when I was very young. Photos I had never seen in my life.Photos that showed that what I was told about not being wanted or loved was just another lie.

My biological Mom had died peacefully in her sleep at 72.

All of "The Grandparents" who raised most of us are dead.  

Some of us, including myself, are grandparents ourselves now.

I hope with all my heart that we can go on...from this very moment and remain in one another's lives for what remainds of them. 

Life is so very very short.
Life is too short.


All of Us!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Morels...Gardening....Muscle Cars

Settling into to a tiny Morel Coma...the previous week filled with morels in EVERYTHING!  From a creamy soup...sautéed...deep fried...and even as pizza topping.

Spring has officially sprung!

Punctuated by the rumbling of engines (both Harley and Hemi) and warm sudden rainshowers and blooms.

                          My Old Fashion Purple Flag Irises in full bloom.

Baskets and pots either planted, or ready to be planted. Borders mulched and Boxwoods trimmed. Just relaxing on the patio with Tucker-Cat and a coffee mug watching the sunrise again is a treat!

And only

More days until our Spring Adventure, Idgy!

Can't wait! 
( where did I put that flame-thrower for the candles...)


A moment of silence for another huge loss to the musical world last week with the death of BB King.

Bill and I were so fortunate to catch his last show in Indy with Eric Clapton together.  

It was outstanding!

Tackling the last week of Spring Cleaning, here. Just one more sweep through each room to see what (if anything else) needs to be repaired, replaced, or just plain tossed.  

These days it is all about de-cluttering and simplifying.

And along those 2016 we need to do some serious de-cluttering. Not only in our Indiana Governor's Office  (...wave goodbye, Mr. Pence...) but also the House and Senate. If you aren't outraged by haven't been paying attention. Unbelievable. Seriously.
Harlan Ellison termed it best:

Arrogant Stupidity.

And guess what people?  They depend on you to be uninformed. They thrive on stupidity and apathy. They depend on those who are low information voters. They depend on those who don't bother to show up to the polls. They depend on you to vote against your own best interests.  Take the time to know where your candidates stand. Don't just go on brand recognition or pulling an all encompassing lever.

The primaries are going to be interesting...already they are tumbling out of both parties like a Ringling Brother's Clown Car.

Pay Attention. 
That is all I'm asking. 

Oh....and VOTE. book-club buddy Ryan enlightened me to something maybe I would rather not have obviously I felt compelled to share it with all of you.

We were discussing Ziti...which is made with Penne Pasta.

Penne...Ryan helpfully pointed out is Italian polite company "the male member"'s a dick, is Italian for Penis.

Who knew? 
I mean except for Italian Guys, of course.

So now...when I make my Ziti...well it has gotten a little weird.
And for God's Sake...if ZITI means something horribly disgusting...please feel free NOT to share..okay???

And yes...they also do also make anatomically correct pasta...and no, I won't be using it in my casseroles...probably ever...thanks for the tip anyway, Barb.
 But assuming you can get past the pasta is my go-to recipe for baked Ziti.

Baked 4 Cheese Ziti with Italian Sausage, Portabellas and Zucchini Strips

This is a quick throw together and the results look and taste like you have been slaving away for hours.

2 cups cooked Penne Pasta.  ( you're doing it too...)

2 links cooked Italian Sausage sliced 1/4 inch pieces or chunked into bit sized pieces.

! small zucchini sliced lengthwise

1/2 chopped green pepper

1 1/2 cups red sauce

2 caps Portabella Mushroom sliced bite sized.

Equal amounts Shredded Mozzarella, Shredded Fresh Parm,  Shredded Fresh Romano, and Shredded Provolone Cheese. To equal 1 1/2 cup cheese.

Spices Chopped Dried Onion
Mix pasta, red sauce, peppers, sausages, zucchini, mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the cheese blend together.  Pour in baking dish.  Top with leftover cup of cheese blend and sprinkle liberally with spices.

Bake together on 350 degrees until cheese is melted and barely starting to brown. Around 15 minutes.

Serve with good wine and bread...a salad and maybe fresh fruit for dessert.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Politics...Mother's Day...Gardening and a lot more stuff...

And the reality finally reached the proportions of the initial sketch of what our community Movers and Shakers dreamed.

Spent early last week at a street-side table at Starbucks on our Square enjoying Chai, chat and politics with Barb and Kara...two "politically aligned" good friends...which is always nice.

Opening our "meeting" with "The Tiny Committe to Dispense with Pence, will Now come to Order". 

Sadly, we are only half joking. And yes...duct tape may well be the answer.

 After lamenting that our amazing town mayor will not be seeking re-election (...with a moment of sad silence...) we discussed the candidate that may end up taking her place on the ballot and deemed him generally worthy.  

And generally tackling some of the world problems...for about 4 hours...we parted to re-convene again soon. Even though we all have coffee and chat on Facebook together nearly every day!

Barbara introducing us to a new sub-group of like minded political and religious individuals (on Facebook as well) and adding us the very next day. Sort of a Middle Way of politics and religious discussion. So far it has been quite interesting. Fanatics and Extremists need not apply. We have both Republicans and Democrats and a lot of Independents...and both the religious and non-religious there...all of us politely exchanging viewpoints and actually having a dialogue.
It is outstanding!

                                               "Mother's Day 2015"

Started on Friday...with a card, and a box filled with Mom Items!  Sea Salt Caramels from Figis and A Matching Mom Coffee Mug, Tea Towel and Hydrangea Apron. APRON. I heard that snigger and maybe even a snort from here. Actually it is quite quaint... and reminds me of my Aunt Vernie, who I don't think I ever saw without one on. When I don it I get this overwhelming urge to BAKE something and when there is a random knock at my door I intentially smudge a bit of flour on my the impression I have been whipping up tasty treats all!

Saturday, Chris and Tina came bearing a ginormous rose gardening mulch and off we went to Metropolis for the day. A Mother's Day Applebee's Brunch featuring one of these

Their Signature Sirloin with Parm and Shrimp.

And exploring

With Candy and Sodas from all over the World. Of course we sampled their wares...and plan a return trip.

And ended the day perusing Barnes and Nobles Book-store.

Then, Mother's Day Proper at James and Nicole's.

And Aiden's 1st Birthday Party...which had morphed into a Rock Star Party instead of Minions.

And looked a lot like THIS!

                                           "Aiden: One Year Old"
                                           My Youngest Grandson
                                            "And NOW for a Drum Solo"

                                                "Nicole's Guitar Cake"

And Katie who was on the Crumb Clean up Committee!

 And a fun Birthday Puppet Production by Miss Emma...assisted by her brother Brenden.

Which was going along swimmingly until that pesky dragon showed up in the second act...

Devouring most of the cast...a horse...and (offstage noises) the crew...and ending the "not quite ready" for Broadway Production with a resounding belch and a balloon "fart".

I think what impressed me the most about the Puppet Theater is that you seldom see children play like this any more. It seems with the arrival of the  technological age children spend all their time with their X-Boxes and hand held devices and so much less time using their imagination and being creative kids. Not these kids...who spent the day splashing away in tadpoles...playing on the slip and side or showing me the three turtles they've managed to "catch".

Part of my Mother's Day was a couple bags of frozen freshly caught Walleye from James previous fishing trip, a day filled with Grandchildren, Love, Laughter and CAKE...and a special gift from Emma of THIS (see below)

A new (huge) creek rock!
She knows how I love stones.

(...a rock...I got a rock...) 


By the time I got home I was absolutely worn out! But so worth it!

So the mulch is waiting until the lawn around the garden beds is less "squidgy" and I finish picking up the herbs and sets I need this week. The nearby Maple has excitedly exploded over the patio pansies and Johnnie Jump-Up's have been moved into smaller clay pots still loving the cool wet weather, but freeing up my herb basket.

The Morning Glory seeds have shot up after the numerous rains...and so have the Poppy Seeds sent by my friend Gail

Ditto the Day Lilies and Hostas...and the Purple Flag Irises now have buds.
I have to re-plant one of the roses that didn't winter well...but the second is leafed out and looks healthy. The Boxwoods will be trimmed when I mulch...and the trimmings put in water to root. My friend Ola recently gave me a handful of Spider (plant) babies to root in water and transplant, too.

Garden Season has officially arrived!

"Idgy" and I excitedly discussing each morning over Coffee and Chat our Spring Adventure...

Not long now!
Only a few hundred gazing balls apart.

Busy Times!

Life is Good :)


 "Nicole and The Birthday Boy"


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco De Mayo...Gone Fishin'...Morel Trivia and Other Discoveries...

Or as we like to call it:

Aiden's First Birthday!
( pass the tacos...)

You've come a long way little Fraggle-Child!  Although nowdays his nickname is  

                                        The MINION

From this:

to this:

Seemingly overnight! And, with the addition of a small drum set from his Grandpa Holden it bodes to be a loud musical birthday as well :)

James...back Sunday from probably the BEST team-building idea I have ever witnessed. You know how some employers have the get-togethers where you do the stupid human tricks...or fall back into the waiting (or maybe not waiting) arms of a co-worker under the guise of a trust-building exercise.

 Not THIS boss.

 No...this guy takes his entire team to the Great Lakes (complete with lodging and Charter Boats) for a "Guys Only" Three Day Weekend of Fishing..Relaxing...and Beer. 

 James arrived back on Sunday with these

Just pounds of filleted Walleye to smoke, fry or freeze.
Loving wife and children to greet him.
Sun-kissed, relaxed and happy.  


Speaking of sun-kissed, North Patio Beach is now OPEN!  (...conveniently located out back...the North side of my Patio...) and I was able to have the first BASK of the 2015 Season on Saturday, after returning from the Farmer's Market. 

      A picture perfect day and the view up through the trees from my quilt.

Getting nicely sun-kissed on the front side...then turning over to read and enjoy some iced tea. For a while. Quite a while. Maybe too long.

Yeah...the front may be sun-kissed but the back is now definitely medium-rare...and a long warm soak in the bath is completely out of the question for a few days! But the sunshine felt amazing...and I've topped off my Vitamin D needs for a while.

The Morels are popping up everywhere with the sunshine, warmth and rain. And you might file THIS bit of trivia under "Shit They NEVER told us for 50 years" Did you know that if you hunt morels at night with a hand-held black light they GLOW in the dark???


That might have been a handy bit of information to have back in the day.

Looking forward to trying some Smoked Walleye and Fried Morels for Mother's Day!
Busy week, this. Chris and the grand-puppies (Bennie and Neville) popping by for a visit yesterday and an invite to Appebee's Saturday for an early Mother's Day with he and Tina (and some garden supplies I have been needing/wanting).

Friday, Barbara and Kara and I  (...not only old friends but political allies/activists such as myself...) converging for coffee and chat and how to overthrow the Governor in 2016.


This week's book:  Street Craft by Thames & Hudson. A delightful Non-Fiction look at Guerrilla Gardening, Yarnbombing, Light Graffiti, Street Sculpture and More!  Street Art from around The Globe.
Definitely worth a look!

And a few scenes from our Farmer's Market

 More anon...