Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

made for each other.

...I'm pretty sure I completely made the fed ex delivery guy's day when I opened the garage and raced down the driveway to meet him. I was standing there with a huge smile on my face before he even had my package out if the truck. [a huge thank you to sara for placing the order, etc. and putting up with my "where's the package?" questions all weekend]

and after just a few hours, I'm feeling secure enough to have shut down the old pc and plugged this one into its place. three big to-do's remain: posting on my blog, synching my iphone and downloading photoshop elements (that's huge, because the version I had is four years old, so I'll have a mac and a photoshop learning curve :-). of course, assuming we're reading this on my blog, that list is now down to just two! (but I've added a new #3 - learning iphoto - yikes!)

needless to say, I have not finished knitting the last inch of ribbing my sweater. but I figured out how to check the weather and it looks like we have a few more sweater days in our forecast for this week (sorry everyone!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

focus. continued.

...maybe telling for how my last few days have gone - I was intending to start a weekly "friday focus" update, but instead it's saturday. at least it's early. and I'm all about focus today. it helps that this is my view as I sit at my desk.
photos of the people and places I love. things that inspire me. and my one little word (a gift from my friend honore, who also gave me "mere" last year - love and thank you!). constant reminders of where my focus should be.

in early 2007, I made a very liberating list of things I wasn't going to worry about (things like learning to play golf, or reading non-fiction books) and things I would. of course that second list was long. and once I retired and had more time, I stopped being so careful about where I spent it. or so diligent about holding myself accountable for what I did with it. so my renewed focus is not just about discipline to make and complete to-do lists. it's really about aligning my time and energy and effort with the people and things that are most important to me.

of course the "me" that created that list four years ago is different now. not only am I four years older (and yikes, I'll be fifty next year!), but my family and friends are too. marc's job takes him away from home a lot and now we're empty nesters. I've found a new passion for knitting. and teaching knitting. and growing my faith. I've made many new friends, including a four-legged one who follows me everywhere :-)

so I started thinking about a new list this week - I'm calling it the Big Picture. it has two sides - side one is the things that are part of my Big Picture (things like marc, katie & sara, and my family, knitting, being passionate about coffee and wine and pizza. photography.) and side two is things that aren't (gardening, shopping, travel).  I'm not sure where some things go. like scrapbooking. and lately, even this blog. but I'm working on it. more to come...

in closing - I also want to share the february prompt from ali's class. it was about capturing your word in photos. literal and figurative interpretations. and even though my Big Picture exercise didn't start til just a few days ago, and I compiled these photos at the beginning of march, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the things I've captured here are (still!?!) part of my Big Picture:


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

pink and green.

...carole's prompt for today was things I love about spring. I pretty much did that list for the 10 things I love about march (yay for living someplace where spring and march are practically synonymous!) so today I bring you photos. from my yard. a study in pink and green. enjoy! ...I definitely am!! (you can click the images to see more information in flickr).






Friday, March 18, 2011

finding my focus.

...two and a half months into the year and I'm starting to feel it again. a sense of focus. of knowing what I need to accomplish and holding myself accountable. I am now three weeks into a new monday morning routine of planning out my week, figuring out what needs to happen day by day and then following through. it feels so good!

I'm using the russell+hazel to do lists. they're sticky like post-it notes and I keep the week's list on my calendar. things get added as they come up...and putting those little check marks next to things that get done makes me happy.

the march prompt for ali's class is about doing one thing to move forward with your word. this to-do list thing is mine. and I have to admit that something as basic as a to-do list looks impressive in her pretty template, doesn't it?!

there is also a journaling card to write about our experience with the one thing. I'm saving that til the end of the month, but so far, this routine is working well to keep me focused on executing day to day...the doing. and I'm starting to feel ready to tackle the bigger picture - the what. because focus isn't just about doing stuff. it's about doing the right stuff.
there's also room for a few bits of patterned paper.
and an embellishment to remind me. one thing.
p.s. I know I haven't posted about the february prompt. it's done. I'll share next week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

10 favorite kinds of pie.

the bounty of sara's thanksgiving desserts from 2008 - my favorite pecan pie is featured in the green pieplate
ah, pie. I'm wondering if carole selected this topic because yesterday was pi day? I was feeling like a big math geek that I knew about pi day until the pioneer woman posted about it. I think that means it's gone mainstream now.

1. my mom's pecan pie - it's the one featured in the photo above and it's special because it doesn't have any corn syrup in it. I love that sara makes it now and she wrote about the recipe here.

2, 3, 4. apple pie - love it with the apples piled really high. and added nuts are a bonus. in a double crust like in this one, or in sour cream, or with a crumble topping. (and if anyone knows another way to make apple pie, I'd happily add it to my list!)

5. key lime pie - the "traditional" kind like the pioneer woman posted about yesterday is delicious, but the barefoot contessa has a frozen one that's even better.

6. ice cream pie - sadly I've lost the recipe, but we made it with an oreo crust, filled with softened ice cream and topped with a frosting made from melted marshmallows and chocolate chips.

7. pumpkin pie - I'm the only one in my family who likes this, so I usually get my pumpkin dessert fix some other way, like a bread pudding or a cheesecake (and that is by no means a complaint!). my mom also makes a wonderful frozen pumpkin pie that has pumpkin folded in with vanilla ice cream and the wonderful pie spices in a graham cracker crust.

8. peach pie - only in the summer with fresh peaches. best with vanilla ice cream.

...and closing out the list, two savory ones:

9. pot pie - chicken is delicious, and the barefoot contessa has a recipe for one that uses lobster that I've always wanted to try.

10. crab quiche - I haven't made this in many years, and I wonder if I'd still think it was so good? I remember it used a can of crab, swiss cheese, onions and not too many eggs. I may just let my memory stand for #10!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

venn diagram cooking.

...I spent a few minutes in photoshop trying to draw a venn diagram (obviously unsuccessful because you're clicking the link to see one!). but I still think that's the best way to show the current challenge of cooking dinner (or any meal) in my house. because marc is back on atkins. and I am pretty much dedicated to a low fat, calorie counting lifestyle. the cool thing about the venn is that it shows what those two, seemingly quite different, eating styles could have in common. ...and that is low fat protein and vegetables (with low net carbs). salads, a bit of cheese, a bit of pork, chicken or fish... more salad...and vegetables. that's how I like to eat. and now marc is eating that way too (when I cook for him :-)

tonight's dinner was a great example. roasted pork tenderloin and a salad with hot mushrooms and melted cheese.
my plate. imagine marc's with twice as much pork and half as much salad
for the pork, I used rachael ray's recipe, adjusted for just one tenderloin instead of 4 (and btw, that one tenderloin made plenty for two - and marc has lefttovers for tomorrow's lunch)...and dried thyme instead of fresh. it worked perfectly!

but the star of the meal for me was the salad.  a riff off the hot mushroom salad recipe my mom shared with me years ago. this version is a lot easier. and healthier. and I'd like to think that makes it taste better (or at least just as good!) too!!

Hot Mushroom Salad
2-3 servings (or more if you're serving "non-salad" people)

8 oz mixed greens
2 oz jack cheese, grated fine
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
dressing:
3 T olive oil
2 T white wine tarragon vinegar (sorry, I think the tarragon is important!)
1 T water
1 T dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced (yes, it's garlicky...but for two servings, who cares?!)
salt & pepper

saute the mushrooms until they release a lot (most of?) their liquid

this is what the mushrooms look like at the beginning.

...and when I'd be happy to put them on top of the salad (about six minutes later...with just a bit of stirring...)

toss lettuce and cheese in a salad bowl; add dressing and toss to coat. to serve, spoon lettuce mixture onto plate and then add hot mushrooms on top. the heat from the mushrooms will melt the cheese. it's gooey good!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

10 of my favorite smells.



1. a freshly brewed cup of coffee. of course this list starts with my favorite drink. (one I wouldn't want to live without!)

2. the holidays. especially thanksgiving cooking and the christmas tree.

3. mrs. meyer's clean day dish soap. lavender scent. I love washing dishes when I use this soap.

4. clean laundry, just out of the dryer.

5. freshly ironed pillowcases.

6. balenciaga.

7. fresh flowers, especially roses and lilacs.

8. just-mowed grass.

9. the ocean.

10. rain hitting hot pavement. but not in a busy city. this smell is only good if there aren't many cars around.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

I loved today.

even though I
...cleaned for three hours.
...missed a meeting with our wachovia financial team.
...ate dinner by myself.

because I
...woke up at 4:40 am without an alarm (welcome back ME from the pacific time zone!!)
...walked dark early with vanessa and talked about books and bible study and play dates and who knows what else. it was dark. and early :-)
...walked another mile in the park with holly.
...have clean sheets and a clean bathroom.
...wrote three postcards.
...babysat the at&t repairmen and hopefully got our uverse installation fixed for good.
...crossed off a few more items on my weekly to-do list.
...finished a wonderful book.
...took photos to share with katie.
...sat in on a bit of knit night - caught up with old and new friends, bought yarn for a lovely wrap, and knitted :-)
...read blogs.
...have a shadow.

...but maybe, mostly, because I'm starting to feel a bit more like my former focused self. gearing up to finish february's prompt and tackle march. on saturday. when it's raining. loving that I'll have a shadow, even if there's no sunshine.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

10 things I love about march.

I took this photo about 5pm this afternoon... see numbers 1 and 2 below!
carole says she doesn't really like march and she posted this prompt hoping for reasons to change her mind. I have a feeling much of why I love march has to do with where I live - so she won't find much help here (sorry, carole!)

1. longer days.

2. spring sunshine, bringing warmer days. and brighter days.

3. swapping out winter for spring in my home. and in my closet.

4. cotton t-shirts with capris and a cardigan (what I wore today :-)

5. forsythia. tulips. daffodils. cherry blossoms. red buds. azaleas. (especially all at the same time)

6. strawberries and asparagus. in season.

7. march madness. my favorite part is filling out my bracket and then "keeping score". but I also love the excitement around college basketball. and all the knitting time!

8. turning off the heat without having to turn on the air conditioner.

9. taking the down comforter off our bed - unless we need it to sleep with the windows open.

10. white wine. and if we're really lucky, an afternoon that's warm enough to enjoy it outside.


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