30 June 2009


I'm running out of reading material and will have to head to the local library and probably the one in the next town, also, tomorrow. My friend loaned me books for this week and I have read a light-weight romance, The Mascot by Mark Kurzem, The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore (Don't you love her name!), and have just begun Sea of Lost Love also by her.

29 June 2009


I was too busy to take pictures. For just a brief moment before serving dessert I remembered my plan, but there was no time for staging and lighting.

Nice party with great people. Everything turned out well, very well. The watermelon/feta salad is best with fresh mint, but the basil we've used in the past is not too shabby. The fritattas were lovely, and the combination of salads with the fritattas perfect.

Just as our first guests arrived the smoke alarm started. For at least 20 crazy minutes, probably longer, we were jarred by the multiple alarms. Seems that the chocolate cheesecake leaked some butter from it's crust onto the oven floor last night--something I didn't notice until I pre-heated the oven to finish off the fritattas.

It was a beautiful evening--almost cool on the screened porch--and we spent close to three hours eating and talking and laughing.

28 June 2009


It's still very hot and miserable, and probably will be for most of the summer. CA and I waited (procrastinated) all day, deciding to do our grocery shopping and errands late afternoon. Worked very well as we were able to fit in a Chipotle meal three grocery stores, the post office, and one gas station later.

So... It's beginning to look like a party here.

26 June 2009


Buttercups in Maria Alm, Austria
When we were in the Austrian Alps last month there were fields and fields of wildflowers--some of which were dandelions. And then, I was reading a novel about English and French gardens and dandelions were mentioned favorably. I guess not everyone considers dandelions a blight and a nuisance in need of eradication. Still, their roots go deep and they MULTIPLY.

In these fields of yellow wildflowers, an even more predominant plant had a tiny yellow blossom, and although I was curious about what it was I hadn't followed through in identifying it until today. In the same novel, Buttercups were mentioned. Ah-ha! Yep! These sweet little flowers are Buttercups. LG and I picked a few bunches and found small glasses to hold the lovely bouquets.

24 June 2009


Hot-hot-hot. Summer is officially here and it feels like it! Including the annoying, buzzing mosquito that found its way into our bedroom last night. His/her life was short!

Thunder storms later today may cool it down a bit. Until then, I am hibernating to a great degree (no pun intended). Plans later today for a pedicure and hair cut will probably lift my spirits some as taking steps toward good grooming always helps.

23 June 2009


Just read a funny line in a not-so-great novel where the main character says that she stopped journaling about her real life and began writing fiction when she figured out there were fewer slow and boring spots in fiction.

Same is true for blogging. Some days/weeks are just too slow and boring to chronicle. Today I baked cookies and did laundry...

Some of the ordinariness of the past couple of days is due to the fact that it's hot here, and humid. I don't do well in hot and humid. Managed a bike ride last evening and a bit of time reading on the porch, but today's temps probably rule out both activities.

I hugging my a/c and beginning to think it's time to tackle a few of those less-than-thrilling activities and chores that I have on my procrastination list. All in-door activities to be sure.

21 June 2009


c.June 1981

Yep, CA! He's the guy with whom I've shared almost 40 years of married life. He's been a dad for 37 years--e-eek! Are we that old? And, he's been a grandpa for just over 4 years--four times, with #5 due in January 2010.

Without reservation I can say that CA is a remarkable dad.

19 June 2009


The agency defaulted again, and no job to start on Monday. Bummer. But, I have had my reservations about working with this different agency--there have been inconsistencies in the manager's conversations. Don't want to say that she lies, but at least twice she has given me conflicting stories.

The storm woke me up about 2:30am and then I was wide awake.

18 June 2009


from whitepaintedwoman.wordpress.com

So, I bought an eggplant, zucchini, yellow and green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and Vidalia onions. Can you guess what I'm making? Ratatouille! And, to make it nutritionally complete and satisfying I will crack a couple of eggs on top and finish it off in the oven. Yep! Fried eggs. That's how they served it in Puerto Banus, Spain at La Taberna Del Pinxto.

Trying this recipe out as a prelude to my menu plans for our dinner party on the 28th. We are celebrating our Mediterranean winter experience by serving tapas to our friends and using the lovely tablecloth made in Avingnon.

[UPDATE: This ratatouille will not make it onto my dinner party menu. In the context of a hip tapas restaurant on the coast of Spain it was a great idea, but in my kitchen and for dinner tonight it wasn't even so-so. Ratatouille gets demoted to a once a summer side-dish status, and skip the egg. I'm thinking we will substitute an antipasta salad...]

So far I am thinking about bruschetta-type toasts--1) fig jam/goat cheese/bacon, and
2) guacamole with fresh shrimp. Also, small new potatoes roasted, slightly smashed, and then deep fried and served with a garlic aioli.

I need one or two more tapas, and will also serve the yummy watermelon salad and the aforementioned ratatouille. There will also be olives and roasted nuts, sangria and limoncella.

17 June 2009


The Peonies bloomed today! I am so excited. I was afraid they'd bloom while we were in Omaha last weekend. I think they are my favorite flower--although I am partial to Lily of the Valley and Violets. Oh, and I love Lobelia.

Things are going well.

15 June 2009


Bought a big fat Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley mystery, Careless in Red, at Borders on Saturday--needed some reading material for the LONG drive home from Omaha. I enjoyed the book--predictable and very well-written. I always have to look up a word or two in the dictionary when I read Elizabeth George, and I love words and also very British phrases like "a fully-articulated lorry."

Anyway, this time I ran into a great phrase: "a two chuckle laugh." Doesn't that just perfectly describe the somewhat nervous or insincere/forced laugh? Love it!

14 June 2009


Great weekend in Omaha, but a long drive home. Longer because just at the Iowa/Illinois state line I-80 was closed, detouring us onto I-280 and bypassing our access to I-88. Probably only cost us 30 minutes, but I-80 is particularly boring. There is not much to see in rural Illinois this time of year (or any time for that matter).

We had a good time cooking together this weekend--fish tacos, pork tenderloin stir-fry, and hamburgers on the grill. CA and I baked an apple crumb pie--actually two pies. YUM! Gigi is the uncontested champion pie baker in this family, but this weekend she bowed to CA's for his pie crust--Martha's pâte brisée.

Back home now for a quiet evening and then CA has soccer camp all day/all week. That includes three camps per day. I will hold down the fort and do the household chores this week.

13 June 2009


Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, NE
Scene of the College Baseball World Series

Our weekend is almost over. LE's curtains are hemmed and 3 out of the 7 panels are hung. We'll attempt to hang the rest in the morning--I say attempt because tasks like this always seem to get over-complicated... CA and I are planning to start the drive home around 9:30am as he has soccer and I have commitments for Monday.

This evening CA, JE, and grandma (Gigi) have plans to attend the College Baseball World Series, Game 2, Virginia vs. LSU. CA goes out late morning to stand in line for general admission tickets--his line takes about an hour, but the reserved seats ticket pick-up line is hours and hours long.

11 June 2009


We drove to Omaha yesterday afternoon, arriving just after 9:00pm--kind of late to see the kiddos. We could have gotten here an hour earlier, but chose to take the Jordan Creek exit just west of Des Moines to have a nice dinner. We have traveled enough lately to have no taste for road/fast food. Jordan Creek mall offers P.F. Chang's, The Cheesecake Factory, and On the Border Mexican. We opted for P.F. Chang's and in less than an hour we were back on the road--happier than ever!

JA woke us up this a.m. and wee little LE was close behind.

08 June 2009


Yep! Finally ended my marathon procrastination and sewed the 7 panels for LE's bedroom windows. I will be able to hang them, re-measure, and then hem them later this week--we are headed to Omaha on Wednesday for a long weekend. Wee, small LE is just over 12 weeks now--it's been over 4 weeks since we have been with JA and her. CA and I can hardly wait.

07 June 2009


Our cravings for Mexican continue. Tonight we made some dynamite guacamole. Can't mess with those Two Hot Tamale/Border Grill girls. I follow their recipe completely. No tomatoes. No garlic. Just avocado, lime juice, red onions, jalapeño, and cilantro. Marvelous!

We also made some chicken quesadillas, garnished with red and green salsas, sour cream, and shredded Romaine lettuce. Yum.

05 June 2009


I have been reading constantly! This week's list, in no particular order, three novels and three memoirs...

Search in the Dark by Charles Todd
Mediterranean Summer by David Shalleck and Erol Munz
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Dead Souls by Ian Rankin
Testimony by Anita Shreve
My French Life by Vicki Archer

04 June 2009


Who would've thought! That's a balsamic reduction sauce on the plate.
Great idea--needs some red onion.
This is what mine looked like--needs a dash of color--basil or mint.

Healthy eating... There's no shortage of how-to's. We eat healthily sporadically, but overall I really believe it evens out. Today is a good day food-wise at our house. I make a watermelon salad for lunch and a broccoli slaw for dinner. O.K. I confess, we have burgers to go along with our dinner salad.

02 June 2009


I am a bit... One of my agencies called today about a very good job opportunity for the months of July-August-September--three months at a top dollar rate... I don't have a firm offer yet, so anything can happen as this particular agency hasn't ever produced a solid job offer for me in over a year.

The kicker is location--not great, not tragic. But, I will have to drive an hour each way every day throughout the summer. It is close to Woodfield Mall and there are many marvelous distractions in that area. CA is excited because summers it's my responsibility to work as his opportunities dry up until fall. And, I do not do well in the sun (hives, burns, and heat exhaustion), so working inside summers is best for me. I will miss the energy of the big city, if this pans out.

I have planned on getting Merci Beaucoup up and running this month, and not beginning an assignment until July would give me ample time. I could easily trust CA to bake cookies when necessary, I can complete the packaging in the evenings, and he can handle the shipping. I just have to get moving and complete the web-site, send out more samples, renew some client relationships, and commit to the kick-off...

01 June 2009


Such a great dinner! We have been hungry for Mexican food, and have lately concluded that our best Mexican comes from our own kitchen. I downloaded a rather complicated Baja Fish Taco recipe from an NPR segment, and then CA suggested we use the tortilla-encrusted tilapia filets already in our freezer. I had to think about it a bit, but then got real and figured how bad could they be? Obviously, my expectations were low, but it was a smashing meal!