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) 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 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.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

These are actual print ads from previous decades. I wonder how much we will look back on what is commonplace to us now and smack our heads in  shock.

I highlight a few with some mild gender stereotypes. Snort.

Oh, my. I learned to drive on my mom's Subaru. I'm glad I had not seen this ad. Of course, I wouldn't have understood all the innuendo at 15.
That $%*# won't make that mistake twice, apparently.
Not sure if the implication is that the catsup lid is easy to open or easy to figure out which direction to unscrew the lid. Either way....
I want to order that book. It sounds entertaining. Of course, "Do you still beat your wife?" is one of those question either a simple "yes" or a simple "no" will get you into trouble.
Appliances always make every woman happy.  Actually...that looks pretty spiffy...but I don't think I have EVER clasped my hands with glee.
Well. This add just sounds like a collection of bad pick-up lines. I quote: "Have you a perceptive eye, a mind like a calculator, a bend for men who did bikini panties, a passion for Fibber McGee, a cool head for business and an obsession for snakeskin backgammon boards?" did they KNOW about my secret passion for dead snake game boards and jersey nylon dresses!?
No comment needed.
I have NEVER EVER "thrived" on cooking, cleaning and dusting.
Just sayin'.
He will, if you are soft and smell good.
This last one is my favorite. I'm pretty sure she also tasted his food and will need permission to rise.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some Thoughts on Exes


It's hard to make it to your 40s, or even 30s, without having some sort of an ex. Whether an ex-spouse or an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, those feelings we have when the relationship ends are often painful and all-too-long-lasting.

Here's what I want to say to you, my friends.

Get Over It.


I'm not talking about the fresh break-up. It takes time to heal. I'm talking about the years-later-you-are-still-trash-talking-your-ex-and-thinking-of-ways-to-hurt-him kind of Get Over It.

I am talking to some of my friends, who are carrying around pain and anger, sometimes rightfully so, but who are allowing that hatred to infiltrate their lives. 

It will kill your soul.

I'm not foolish enough to think that everyone will be able to truly forgive their former love for perceived and actual wrongs. What I am saying is that you thinking about Him and how He did you wrong, how He spent all your money, how He treated you badly, how He moved on, and how you still want to run Him over with your car if you see Him, is doing no one any good. He doesn't care that you are ticked off. It isn't ruining His life. It's ruining yours.

I've been there. If I wanted to I could give a list of things my ex did that would curl your hair. But it's not worth my energy.  This weekend I am spending time with a whole bunch of people who last saw me when I was married. They knew my ex. There will be questions. That's fine. I will give them the truth, but abbreviated. Because I have moved on. I have Gotten Over It. And God has healed that pain.

Did it change me and leave scars? Of course. Did your break-up create long-term havoc and distress in your life? Of course it did. I'm not unsympathetic. You may not have wanted the divorce or you may have been the instigator.  Either way, it happened. You aren't responsible for punishing Him. Now is the time to move onward and upward.
Isaiah 43:18-19
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.” (NIV)

I wish I could guarantee that the people who need to read this would see it. There are many in my life who are so busy hanging on to their ex that their present and future is being wasted. Some are my friends, some are not.

Trust me when I say, your hatred does not hurt your former spouse, but it will kill you inside.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

More Salmon

I am so glad that Joe gets to clean all the fish.  I did offer to learn, but we have come up with a good processing system that involves him fileting and me vacuum sealing and cleaning up. So I have dodged that bullet.
 Here he is just starting on my bigger coho (silver) from today. It was the largest one of the four in the boat (as I have mentioned to Joe about 642 times) and had over 4.5 pounds just in filets.
  I have become totally addicted to salmon fishing. Just the process of casting, reeling in, and being out on the river is so wonderful. When I am out there, I always think that I would be satisfied to just be sitting there...even if we aren't catching anything.
But then the fish hits the hook. And my heart races. And as Joe told me today...I get a crazy grin that doesn't go away until the fish is in the boat and unhooked. Then I can relax a little again. Until the next "fish on".
Isn't it a good sign when the filets hang over the side of my largest ironstone platter?  And this isn't even a huge fish. We weighed the meat we harvested today and we put more than 14 pounds in the freezer.
We also put up 2.5 pounds of eggs. We have a lot to do with them so we can use them for bait. Apparently there is a whole process that we need to put them through before we use it. I guess I will learn about that later.  I think the eggs are actually quite pretty just as they are.
Also this week I started some sauerkraut. It's sitting in a crock on the counter fermenting. We shall see how it comes out. I'm pretty excited about it, having never made it before.  More on that later.  But only if it turns out!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

An Art Mystery

...mostly solved. At least to my satisfaction.

Our family has owned a lovely watercolor painting since the 1950s. It has been hanging somewhere in my home since adulthood and I have always loved it.

Here is the mystery. We have always referred to it as a Nome (Alaska) street scene, but have had only vague memories and recollections for verifications, as everyone from the generation that purchased it has passed away.

Multiple internet searches and even a call to the Nome Chamber of Commerce a couple of years ago yielded no information on the artist, clearly signed "Z Green".

It was a dead end, until yesterday.

One more random internet wander...and I found this postcard.

Now it may be a coincidence that the two little ones are wearing the same color jackets, but there is no denying the placement of the boardwalk and the telephone poles.
I suppose my next adventure will be to attempt to locate an actual copy of this postcard to attach to the back of the painting.