Monday, June 29, 2009

My Design Wall

It's a small quilt: 24-1/2 inches square for my stash busters class. I wasn't able to make it to class when we got this pattern so I'm not sure I did it right. I am not good at reading and understanding directions. Much better when I can see a finished product. The embroidery is called redwork. It's supposed to be done with several strands of red floss. I couldn't find any of my embroidery thread but I did find some other thread that was multi-colored. I like the affect. Class is on Wednesday afternoon so will have a chance to see where I went wrong.

Tomorrow I'll add the batting and backing and then quilt it.

It's going to be 106 today so I'm miserable with the heat. I just don't do well. July is usually the worst month; that doesn't start until Wednesday. Oh well, one day at a time and pretty soon it will be October.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

One Local Summer: Week 4

Well we didn't do much dining al fresco this week. It's been in the low 100s so we eat indoors near an air conditioning vent.

Last night's menu:

+pork chops brined for about an hour
+butter lettuce with Greek kalamata olives; dressing oil and vinegar with sun dried tomatoes from last summer
+yellow chard cooked in olive oil, red pepper flakes, green garlic, onion, and kohlrabi.

Everything but the olives and vinegar is locally grown. While the heat sometimes reduces our appetites, we didn't leave anything on our plates last night.

Eat Well!
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Our CSA Box

Just picked it up; full of all kinds of wonderful things. Lettuce, basil, red potatoes, carrots, summer squash, onions (both red and white) and green beans. Also found out that my CSA farm is now raising chickens and turkeys. They are housed in small buildings that can be moved around so they eat bugs and other things the farmer doesn't want. They will be for sale in a few weeks. Think I'm going to order a turkey. We've talked about getting a Weber BBQ so we can do things like turkeys and get the real BBQ flavor. Our gas grill is great for things but nothing beats real briquettes for flavor. I want to brine the turkey too.

We are going to be eating lots of vegetables this week. I went to the farmer's market on Tuesday and couldn't resist yellow chard and red butter lettuce.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mark's Grandpa Died Last Night

I love this photo of the two of them at the Grand Canyon. Jack was 90 last November. Mark's grandma died 15 years ago.

His death was one I would wish for all of us. He stood up, fell over and was dead. My marriage to his son was rocky. Jack and I didn't get along very well either. Surprisingly at the wedding he was very friendly to me. Mark's father couldn't account for the change.

He lived with a wonderful woman named Betty, who is 95. Jack called it "shacking up."

Mark is very sad; he cried on the phone with me this morning. Julia is on her way back from St. Louis so he was alone when his dad called. That's always hard.

The good news is that his grandpa knew that Julia had won the audition and that they would be moving to St. Louis in the fall. At first they were going to wait until today to call grandpa but then decided to do a three-way call. He got to hear the good news from Mark and Julia.

His body will be cremated and his ashes interred in the National Cemetery in the Bay Area; he was a veteran of World War II.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Newlywed Update

I love the photo of Julia holding the heart shaped rock in the Grand Canyon. I also love the other picture because it shows how much my son loves her. That's at the Grand Canyon too.

The big news is that they are moving to St. Louis, MO from Albuquerque. This morning Julia won the audition with the St. Louis Symphony for a one year position as "utility" French horn player.

Mark has subbed with them several times including when they played at Carnegie Hall. He will probably get a lot more sub work because he will be local. I am so happy for them. He will take a leave from New Mexico.

It's a fairy tale story. She won the audition with the New Mexico Symphony where Mark played trumpet, Mark fell in love with her, she fell in love with Mark, they got engaged, she went to play with the Malaysia Symphony Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur right before the wedding (gutsy bride), they got married at the Grand Canyon and then both went to Kuala Lumpur to play for three months. They came back to Albuquerque, unpacked and prepared for the rest of their very exciting lives.

Who knows what's next. I do know that I am awfully proud of both of them. Their marriage is off to a good start.
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

We Never Made It to Colorado

Harleen was an extremely well-behaved puppy. Here she is sleeping on the floor in the boarding area. We got as far as lining up with the pre-boards when we were told the plane had mechanical difficulties: a fuel leak. Everyone sat down again. About an hour later we learned they couldn't fix it; the earliest we might be able to get out would be 7 p.m. It was now noon. The thought of spending seven hours in the airport with a dog was not appealing. We would get to Denver late and to my brother's house in the mountains even later. Monday we would have to fly home.

We made the very sad decision to cancel our trip; got our money back.

So we all went home and took a nap. Chinese food for dinner last night and then another good sleep.

We had the bulkhead seat on the airplane, which was Frontier. All the airlines have to give that seat to a service dog. Not all the airlines will do that for service dogs in training. Frontier and Alaska are known for being friendly to service dogs in training. And they were. We can vouch for that.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One Local Summer: Week Three

Early Friday we fly to Evergreen, CO to visit my brother and his wife so I needed to complete my OLS meals earlier in the week.

Monday night: BBQ hamburger, salad greens with cherry tomatoes, and turnip mashed potatoes. Everything was local except the rice wine vinegar in the salad dressing. Also had sun dried tomatoes in the dressing from last year's crop.

Tuesday night: Chard cooked with green garlic, onions, herbs (thyme, golden oregano and sage) from my garden and local olive oil. The chicken is from Chaffin farms. It looks burned because we marinated it in local honey and soy sauce (not local). The skin is delicious that way.

So that's it for the week. See you next Tuesday.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Medical Records

Got this from my healthcare provider the other day. Cost me $5. It hangs on my key ring with my libary card.

When you open it, it's a thumb drive with my medical records on it. Great for traveling. I can take it in and have it updated if my health changes. I just thought it was the coolest thing.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Dog And Cat At Play

Well, sort of. Nora who weighs maybe 10 pounds likes to come into Harleen's room for a romp. Harleen weighs 62 pounds. If you click on the photo you will see that Nora has her claws out and means business. Not long after this photo was taken Harleen pushed just a little too hard and Nora left the room by leaping over the dog gate. So much for play time.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

One Local Summer: Week Two

Tonight's dinner is your generic hamburger casserole that can contain just about anything. This one has quinoa elbow macaroni (the only non-local ingredient), olive oil, ground beef, kohlrabi (diced), green garlic, summer squash, onion, and marinara sauce made from last summer's tomatoes. Those bright yellow egg yolk looking things are actually cherry tomatoes from our CSA box. I baked the whole thing for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Kerry has choir practice tonight so I had to have it ready early so he can eat before he leaves.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Tale From My Past

This one involves Ernest Hemingway, Spain, bullfights and a wonderful man named Albert. We met through his sister who was living in Europe at the time. He gave me that come hither look and I nodded and went hither.

We both loved Hemingway and were reading "Death in the Afternoon," which was written in 1932 about bullfighting in Spain. I cringe when I think about what we witnessed, but at the time my PETA consciousness was not very high.

With little money, we decided to take the train to Barcelona. This involved getting off the train at the French/Spanish border because in 1969 most of the trains in Spain ran on a gauge that was incompatible with the rest of Europe. So we got off, walk a short distance and got on a Spanish train. Barcelona was my introduction to cheap red wine, cheap hotels, cheap food, and lots of fun wandering Las Ramblas at night. Albert always attracted a party.

From there we mapped out lots of little towns that had bullrings. Most of the time we hitchhiked but occasionally we rode a local train. Nearly every afternoon was spent in the bleachers at a bullring. As I look back now I realize how brutal and macho a sport this is, which is probably why it appealed to Hemingway.

We had finally had enough of bullfights and decided to head down the coast to Alicante where a friend's retired parents lived. We hitchhiked for a while and slept on the beach. Finally we opted an open air train that stopped everywhere and was filled with locals and occasional poor tourists like us. Albert brought along a lot of beer. At this point I can't remember how much but it made him very popular with the passengers with whom he shared the local cerveza. He even bought more at one stop.

As you can imagine he was getting very drunk. The train went very slowly around a curve and he fell off the train. Everyone yelled to the engineer to stop the train because Sr. Alberto and his cervezas had fallen off the train. The engineer stopped; Alberto and his cerveza were rescued by his adoring fans. We finally made it to Alicante where we stayed with my friend's parents.

We looked pretty bedraggled when we arrived on their doorstep so they suggested a bit of a clean up. I told Albert, who again had been drinking for most of the day, to go first. We heard the water running in the shower and then this horrible crash. I raced for the bathroom to find him lying on the floor grinning from ear to ear. He looked at me and said, "I thought was leaning on the wall." Wrong. So I got him and the bathroom cleaned up.

Everyday Buffy's mother would make us these wonderful thick sandwiches of fried green peppers and onions with lots of olive oil to take on our tour of the town. We always started our daily tour with Spanish donuts, then thick, black coffee, lottery tickets and finally the farmer's market.

It's either old age or how much I drank back then, but I don't remember how we got back to Frankfurt; I just know we did.

Kerry and I visited Hemingway's house in Key West, Florida several years ago. The photo of him was taken in the house. The cat on the table is probably one of his six-toed cats. When you visit the house you can still see many of them. They have finally spayed and neutered most of them but still allow some breeding to go on. He lived close to downtown so he could get drunk and still walk home. Quite the guy. And then he killed himself.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Yummy; Blueberries In My Neighborhood

I saw the sign a couple of weeks ago just down the road from my house. Today was their first day at the Farmers' Market in Auburn, CA. I had a quilt class so didn't get to market; they also sell from their home on weekends so I stopped by and met Althea (the farmer) and Merrill (an attorney). One of the boxes I bought was picked by Althea as I waited. They are certified organic.

Tonight's dinner, blueberry pancakes from Blue Acres, eggs from Chaffin Orchard Farm and bacon from Coffee Pot Ranch. I just hope there are enough blueberries left by dinner time. I keep eating them.

Welcome to the neighborhood Althea and Merrill. We are glad you are here.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

First Dinner: One Local Summer

Click on the top link in the left column of my blog if you want more information. Once a week (maybe more) I'll be posting a meal made primarily from local products. Never done this so I'm a bit nervous. Thursday night's dinner: barbecued pork spare ribs smothered in mandarin orange BBQ sauce and oven roasted potatoes with torpedo onions, fresh thyme, fresh golden oregano, salt, pepper and EVOO.

Everything is local, well, except the salt and pepper. The pork comes from Bob at in Sheridan, CA. The BBQ sauce comes from the Newcastle Mandarin Ranch (no web site). The thyme and golden oregano are from my garden. The torpedo onion and potatoes are from the farmer's market in Roseville, CA.

The EVOO is from They hosted the Slow Food USA dinner we attended a few weeks ago.

Our wine is a Raymond Hill chardonnay which isn't as local as I'd like: Napa, CA Trader Joe's sells it.

Once a week all of the One Local Summer meal bloggers from around the country will be posted on I hope you will check it out.

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We Are Home

And very happy to be here. Last night Mother Nature treated us to a phenomenal thunder and lightening storm that woke us up off and on during the night. Our cat Giorgio really didn't like the light and sound so kept pacing up and down our bed. Quite often his pacing took him over the two of us. We don't get this kind of weather very often. Giorgio is thankful for that.

One of our first adventures on the trip occurred when we realized we had left Harleen's service dog vest at home. That's how we came to meet one of her half sisters, Edyth, on Whidby Island. Kerry is holding them together in the top picture. I'm not sure which is Edyth and which is Harleen they looked so much alike. I put out an e-mail to puppy raisers when we realized what we had forgotten; Shannon was the first to respond. CCI is a great group of people.

Took the ferry from Mukilteo to South Whidby (a first for Harleen), got the vest, had a little playtime for Harleen and then headed to Kerry's family via a wonderful organic farm where we had lunch. So that turned out to not be so bad after all.

She met several dogs at the Memorial Service on Saturday; she wasn't too sure about any of them so spent most of the time sitting right next to me with her tail tucked in. Dinner there was salmon caught off the coast of Alaska by the barbecuers. Delicious.

She met two more dogs on Sunday when Kerry's sister Joanne brought her dog Wiley (floppy-eared dog) for a visit and his nephew David and his wife Summer brought Nellie for a visit. All three played well together.

Sunday was also the day we visited Laura and Mike at What a wonderful farm. We met the chickens that will be in the freezer by this weekend. They do their own slaughtering along with the help of friends who want birds.

Harleen chased a chicken; that's another first for her. I hope you will stop by Laura's blog for a visit. The one thing we didn't get to see was the bee hive, which they've recently established.

Gotta go run errands and get caught up. More tomorrow on our trip.
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