Monday, August 31, 2015

"A Failure of Imagination"

This is an incredible essay on the sanctity of life, and our responsibility to teach future generations that children are not intrusions or something to be fit into a well-planned life, but precious gifts from God.  Sarah Clarkson speaks the Truth so eloquently.

 It is the best response that I have read, by far, to the Planned Parenthood debacle.

"I am convicted, as I encounter the Planned Parenthood debacle, that one of the best ways I can affirm and defend the value of the unborn child is to create a narrative in my action and words that affirms my belief that children are a gift from God. I hope that these undercover videos will provoke, not just outrage and anger, but a renewed commitment to lives, homes, and creative works that celebrate children, make room for them, affirm their value not just as infants but at every stage of growth. I hope that we embrace anew the hard and beautiful work of raising, training, educating, watching, and caring for the children in our lives with love, grace, and verve. And I hope that we learn to invite those who have never tasted the beauty of childhood into the stories we create." Sarah Clarkson

Friday, August 28, 2015

My Friday Favorites

The month of August is quickly coming to a close.  Even all the more reason to slow down and take a look at the last week of summertime.

1.  My MOST favorite thing this week:  My granddaughter Siefer said, "Grandma," for the first time! Ah, my heart!  I still get tears just thinking about it.  Silly, I know, but so precious! Now, I feel that I am 'officially' a Grandma.

2.  Earlier in the week, I met a good friend for coffee.  She is someone I worked for years ago, and we became friends.  Though we are not that far apart in age, she's someone I always looked to for advice in being a mother. She is a bit further along on this motherhood journey than I, since her kids are a few years older.  I'm so thankful for long-lasting friendships, especially those where you might not see one another often, but can just pick up where you left off.

3.  I have been working on a writing project and I finished my first draft. (Insert trumpets here). The real blessing here is my writing coach. I appreciate her so much.

4.  Black-eyed Susans.  This has been an incredible year for them, and they're blooming like crazy all over town.  Big, huge, bunches of them.

5.  Celebrating the life of someone who passed away this week. She was a young woman with special needs, and the love and devotion shown by her parents during her life was a testament to how we should care for and love one another.

Any blessings you would like to share from the week?  Link up with Susanne, or share in the comments section below.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Costa Rica

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. ~~ Anias Nin
I added this quote to my blog header, because it expresses, so well, why I like to write. It also could be said that it's why I like photography. The peril in both is that it's easy to get caught up in watching life through the eye of the lens or with a pen in hand, and miss being in the moment.
Over the weekend, we got together with our friends Pam and Rick, to share pictures of the trip we all took to Costa Rica last May. I told Dan afterward, I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. It's like that with good friends, the smallest things can set you off! We had dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, then went to our house for Pam's peach crisp and vanilla ice cream and to look at pictures.  Dan set it up so that we could view the pictures on the t.v. screen.  It reminded me of watching slides when I was growing up.
View from our balcony.
The gardens at our hotel.

 Arenal Volcano -- this is an active volcano that blows smoke pretty much all the time!

 *photo credit, Rick, w/o his permission ;)

The adventurous ones.

Exploring the countryside with ATVs.

We visited a monkey sanctuary and got to hold a monkey with a baby. So cute!

Capuchin monkey

Rick, asking directions from the locals.  Donde esta . . . ??? (One of the pictures that sent us into gales of laughter, remembering that day, driving through the countryside).

The flowers were beautiful and unusual.
A local hangout.

This church was so simple architecturally, but the hand carved altar and fresh flower arrangement made it beautiful.

Beautiful beaches.


Sunset on the beach.
It was such a fun evening, sharing memories of a great trip!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Favorites

Is it Friday already?  It's been a good week!  I'm looking through my calendar, amazed that I accomplished lots of things that have been on my list for quite a while.  It's such a good feeling.  A look at the week. . .
1.  I took Lilly to a new vet.  He's a very kind, gentle man, and very understanding of Lilly's 'quirks' (aka, she can be a real headcase when she's nervous).  The vet's son works there, too.  They have a nice practice and I feel that we are in good hands.
2.  I had an appointment with a new dentist, another big change.  I'm still seeing the same hygienist, however, which is even more important for me than the dentist. . . I spend more time with her, whereas I see him for a two-minute cursory exam.  The hygienist is great. 
3.  I discovered senior discount day at ARC.  Woohoo!  Found this little table for just a few dollars.  It fits perfectly in our entryway.

4.  In the past few weeks, I've met some new bloggers. One of the best things about blogging is getting to know so many nice people.  Sometimes I think blogging is like having lots of pen pals.  (Did anyone else have a pen pal growing up?  I had two, both in Japan.) 

5.  We've had the loveliest weather this week with one day that barely climbed out of the 70s.  Our street is busy in the mornings with kids walking to school (I still wish it didn't start so early; there's plenty of summer left).  It's been so nice and cool.  Great sleeping weather.  We turned off the AC and opened all the windows at night.

How was your week?  Share a favorite thing in the comments below, or link up at Susanne's place, here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the kitchen

I'm always on the lookout for recipes with fish that are easy to make and successful.  Dan and I both love all kinds of fish, but I'm just not used to cooking it, so we never know what we're going to get!

This one is so simple and delicious. I found it in the September 2015 issue of Rachel Ray Magazine.

Butter-Basted Cod with Tarragon Corn

2 cod fillets (5 oz. each)
3 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups (or two ears) of fresh corn kernels
3 Tbs. chopped shallot
2 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves
2 lemon wedges
In a large skillet, cook cod in butter over medium-high, basting, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Season with salt & pepper; transfer to plates. In same skillet, cook corn, shallot and tarragon over medium-high, 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
Serve with cod and lemon wedges.  Be sure to give it a nice spritzing of the fresh lemon juice!
Serves  2.
Yes, I used more butter.  I just can't help myself! And I didn't get a picture of it all cooked, but let me tell you, it's a pretty dish with the fish browned slightly and speckled with pepper, golden corn and deep green tarragon leaves.  Yum.  You can use frozen corn, but in the summer, I like to figure out any way I can to use fresh sweet corn, because it's available for such a short time.
Bon appetite!


Monday, August 17, 2015

A Daybook

 "Every day is a blank page."

FOR TODAY, Monday, August 17, 2015

Outside my window . . .It's a much cooler day than yesterday, with temps in the low 80s.  Our across-the-street neighbor is having a new sewer line installed, so there are two big trucks, some smaller trucks, a backhoe and a crew of half a dozen men filling up the street.

I am listening to . . .the din of trucks and men shouting above the engines.

I am thinking . . .that I'm glad it's not us having a new sewer line installed (knock on wood).

I am thankful . . .for a quiet day and much accomplished.

In the kitchen . . .Butter Basted Cod with Tarragon Corn and raspberry crisp for dessert.

I am creating . . .a travel plan for later in September.

I am reading . . .O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

A favorite quote for today . . .

Some of my favorite things . . . reading a good book first thing in the morning, mocha frappacino-no-frap-roast-two-shots-espresso, post-it notes.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .take Lilly to the vet, dentist appointment for me, dinner with friends, water aerobics, book club, take sewing machine in for cleaning.

A peek into my day . . .I was writing at the dining room table this morning, and felt 'eyes' on me from just outside the door . . .
I think she was wondering when we would go for a walk!

The Simple Woman's Daybook is hosted by Peggy.  Click here for the link to join in!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Favorites

This week went by so fast.  Happy to slow down and join in with Susanne and the crew for Friday's Fave Five.  Here's a look at the good stuff that happened this week.

1.  I read a really good book.  Joy to the World; How Christ's Coming Changed Everything (And Still Does), by Scott Hahn. I'm a little out of season, yes. But so often, despite my best intentions, I just can't seem to slow down enough to read this stuff during the holidays.  I love Scott Hahn's books, and this one was no exception. I'll have to do a more thorough post about it at some point.

2.  The tomatoes are ripening. And edible. This is huge for me. I've never had luck with growing my own tomatoes.  Ever.

3. This egg cooker.  They sell them at Kohl's, but mine was a QVC find by my aunt, who is super duper at finding good stuff on QVC. And sharing it with me! (xoxo, Auntie Ann).  I love this thing.  On Mondays, I cook six hard boiled eggs, and they are in the fridge at the ready for the rest of the week.  When I want to make deviled eggs, the eggs are ready in minutes. And they are perfect hardboiled eggs. You can also make scrambled eggs and soft boiled eggs.
4.  Supper on the porch Monday night.  It was nice and cool, we cooked burgers on the grill and I made a tomato pie with some deli potato salad.  Ice cream for dessert.  So simple, but it was a feast when shared with our kids and grandkids.
5. In anticipation, my next fave is lunch today with Auntie Ann and my dear friend, Renee.  We are going to the Boulder Pearl Street mall and shopping is sure to be on the agenda for the afternoon.
What are your faves from the week?  Do share!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pattypan Squash Recipe

I've made this recipe several times already this summer, using yellow squash and/or paddy pan squash.  Truthfully, I didn't even know what paddy pan squash was until my neighbor gave me a plant and I stuck it in the garden with all the rest of my squash.

It's so cute and little (if you keep on top of it) and very tender and tasty.  Here's the oh-so-simple recipe:

Slice yellow squash or cut paddy pan squash into wedges.

Saute in olive oil with a little salt and pepper and some minced garlic.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil and feta cheese.

That's it!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday musings

I was surprised to wake up to cloudy skies this morning. It's been a weird summer that way. It seems like summer just can't get off and running this year. I hear the same thing from friends all over the country, that it's been especially wet and rainy. We haven't had as much time on the back porch this year, mostly because we haven't had the motivation or the foresight to put the chair cushions away when rain is expected, so when the rain does stop and it's nice and cool, we don't have dry places to sit. As my son likes to say, "First world problem, Mom." I know, it's not a big deal, but a wet butt is annoying just the same.
Yesterday, I stalked the garden center at Walmart and picked up some bedraggled black-eyed Susan's to fill in a few empty spots in the garden. If my garden next year takes off the way I see it in my mind's eye, it's going to be gorgeous!
Happy Monday, to one and all.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend road trip

 Dan and I took a little road trip last weekend through the southern part of the Colorado rockies.  We took our time and meandered through little towns that we used to go to in the early years of our marriage, back when we did a lot of camping with our friends and jeeping with his family. 

This is Ouray, a little mining town that was the starting point for many of our adventures.

We mostly spent our time exploring the towns and taking in the architecture of the old buildings.

This is the Beaumont Hotel, built at the height of the gold boom in the late 1800s.  It is absolutely gorgeous inside.  It has hosted U.S. presidents, European royalty and modern day celebrities. 

The architecture in these mountain towns features everything from the grand . . .

. . . to the most simplistic.  It's all beautiful to see, especially with the beautiful mountain backdrop.  This little abandoned school building is set at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks, one of our favorite camping areas.

There are so many deer in the area, and Dan laughs when I insist on taking pictures.  We saw a doe with twin fawns, that just sent me into spasms of oohs and aahs. 

The day was a bit overcast, so my photos aren't all that great, but this was taken on Red Mountain Pass.  The mountains are laden with minerals, and remnants from old mining operations are still visible.

For John Wayne fans, Ridgway, Colorado, is the sight for scenes from True Grit.  There's a cafĂ© with memorabilia from the movie, and this paddy wagon was used in the movie.

This is an old photo of the Palace Hotel in Salida, where we stayed our last night.  It has been restored and is just beautiful inside.  The large windows in our room overlooked the park and the Arkansas River.

The best part was the continental breakfast brought to our room.  How charming is this?  A china plate, wrapped up in a tea towel, opened to reveal fruit and yogurt parfaits, muffins, orange juice and cream for the coffee that we made in our room.

Our trip was complete with a stop at a this winery, just outside of Paonia . . .

. . . and the discovery of a neat little book store!  The Next Page is in Frisco.  Wine and books for souvenirs. It doesn't get any better than that.

We feel so fortunate to have all this beauty right in our own back yard!