31 May 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Today we thank all veterans who have fought in all the wars of our country. Men in my family fought in the American Revolution, The War of 1812, both sides of the War Between the States, WWI, WWII, Korea, and now the War in Iraq. To each of them and the thousands of their brethern, I give them thanks for protecting Freedom.

Most military pictures you see are of the men in uniform, all proper and at attention. That is certainly awe-inspiring. I have photos like that of my family members. But here's a more light-hearted moment amongst some off-duty MPs in El Paso, Texas, 16 November 1949. That's my Papa in the front.

On the back he wrote: Nov.-16-49, Schable, Myself, "The New Look". Now I don't know exactly what he was referring to with "The New Look" (except that it was the way women's fashion was described by Christian Dior after WWII), but they look like they were having fun. Men form bonds of brotherhood in the military than can last a lifetime.

Currently my cousin, Raymond, is serving in Iraq. He's funny, handsome, intelligent, a good friend and has more courage than I can imagine. He's very special with a lovely wife, two small sons, a Mom, a Dad and a host of other relatives who love him dearly. I ask for your thoughts and prayers for him that he will return home to us safely.

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30 May 2010

Blue Monday ~ Blue Sky and Mellow Yellow Monday #71

For the very first time I am using the same photo for two parties. Not sure I like this idea, but I will see how it goes.

Back in March, the Guy and I went to a retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was beautiful spring weather. The sky was that gorgeous azure blue that is heralding spring and the forsythias were in full bloom. This was along a little gravel road we travelled every day, back and forth from our lodging to the retreat. When the sun was fully shining on the forsythias, they were brilliant gold and made the blue sky even bluer.

Mellow Yellow Monday was started by Drowsey Monkey and is always causing me to stretch. Blue Monday is hosted by Smiling Sally and I enjoy looking for different blues in my photos. Click on either of these badges to check out the parties.

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29 May 2010

Pink Saturday ~ Brush Vase with Roses

This is my second time to participate Pink Saturday and I so enjoy being part of it. For many years my friends always said that pink was my signature colour. And they meant that literally. I alway wrote with a pink pen. Pink Saturday is hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. By interesting coincidence, this is also the second birthday of Pink Saturday. Check out the wonderful party going on around the web.

This is a photo of sweetheart roses in a pink art deco vase made by Brush Pottery. Brush later joined with McCoy and the company became Brush-McCoy. The vase was probably produced in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

The handles on this vase are identical to the handles on many of the pieces in the Harlequin line of dinnerware that was designed by Homer Laughlin China beginning in 1936. It was quite common at that time for potteries to flagrantly copy one another. Sometimes they made exact copies and at other times changes would be made. Here I think that the handles were "borrowed" from Brush because they went so well with the angular lines of Harlequin.

There were never any vases made by HLC to go with Harlequin, so many Harlequin collectors look for these Brush vases. The vases come in several different styles and colours. In this photo I love the effect of the backlighting and the rain on the window screen behind the arrangement.

Happy Pink Saturday!

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27 May 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Grilled Herb Shrimp

May's second Barefoot Blogger recipe is Grilled Herb Shrimp, from Barefoot Contessa Parties!. It was chosen by Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen.

We absolutely LOVE this recipe. Penny, thank you for choosing it! Ina suggests leaving the tails on the shrimp and skewering them. I normally remove the tails and grill them in my fish grilling baskets. Spray the baskets with PAM before adding shrimp to keep them from sticking. This method works wonderfully! Also, I like to cook these on my indoor grill.

Shrimp in baskets on grill:

Turned to grill the other side:

Plated on a Harlequin yellow chop plate:

Dinner is served with p-86 Fiesta and one of my favourite summer tablecloths:

Grilled Herb Shrimp
Barefoot Contessa Parties!
6 servings

* 2 lbs large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined, leaving on the tails
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
* 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
* 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
* 1 tsp dry mustard
* 2 tsp Dijon mustard
* 2 tsp kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup good olive oil
* 1 lemon, juiced

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Skewer the shrimp - 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

1. For the marinade I put all the ingredients in the food processor and blended. The marinade was kind of pesto-like in consistency, so after removing the shrimp I cooked it a few minutes in the microwave and served it on the side in case anyone wanted more herb flavour.
2. There were 25 of the very large shrimp and when I peeled them, I removed the tails, too. Instead of grilling on skewers, I decided to use my fish grill baskets.

Click here to see what other Barefoot Bloggers think of this recipe.

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24 May 2010

Ruby Tuesday 5-25-10

MaryT/TheTeach over at Work of the Poet started a photo meme for people who have photographed something red. I love red. Red just jumps out at me. I have lots of photos with red.

This week's photo was made by DD#2 at Radio City Music Hall in March of 2009. It was during her Interim Drama Trip to NYC. For those of you who did not see last week's Ruby Tuesday, Interim is always the week before Spring Break and all students from 7th grade up participate. Interim is a learning experience outside the classroom and there are many different opportunities from which to choose.

The youngest group goes to school and takes life skill classes, such as sewing, cooking, basic automobile knowledge (how to change a tire, etc.), ballroom dancing, how to balance a chequebook, etc. As the children get older they can mentor younger children, shadow professionals for a career in which they are interested, work for Habitat for Humanity, take a special studies workshop, or go on various trips geared toward particular disciplines.

My daughters take after their mother and tend to want to travel. (Hey, there was a reason I worked at a travel agency!) The New York Drama Trip was mostly theatre things. Many shows were seen and the kids got to go backstage and meet actors, directors, stage managers and learn about the tech for the shows. They also took in some of the tourist sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, Times Square and others I don't recall at the moment.

These are some of the costumes worn by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. I first saw the Rockettes on a Fashion Merchandising college trip back in 1975, so I was happy DD#2 got to see them on this trip. They are amazing.

Happy Ruby Tuesday!
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Photoshop CS5 Master Collection and Eye Surgery

Lookie, lookie, lookie what arrived on my front doorstep!

I Photoshop. I have been using Photoshop for years. Photoshop was originally for Macs, and version 1.0 was released in 1990. It was intended to be a tool for manipulating images that were digitized by a scanner (a rare and expensive device in those days). If you'd like to see what a version 1 looked like, Click Here. I jumped on the Photoshop bandwagon with version 3.0 for Windows back in 1994 and have never gotten off. Adobe kept the numerical numbering system up through version 7.0 which was the last version to run on the WIN98 platform. In 2003 they released Creative Suite. What would have been Photoshop 8.0 became Photoshop CS.

Creative Suite programs include Photoshop, but numerous other Adobe products are also sold under that name. I'd already been getting Illustrator and Acrobat as separate programs, so with the release of CS2 in 2005, I switched to the whole Creative Suite. CS5 is the 12th major release of Photoshop. WOW! And along the way the world has been blessed with many wonderful digital cameras. Between Adobe and Nikon, I have a lot of fun. We've come a long way, baby!

Thus far I have been to over 130 hours of Photoshop classes. I've learned a lot. And I know enough to have been able to teach it, along with Photography, to Abbey when we were homeschooling her during her junior and senior years in High School. But I barely scratch the surface of what can be done with this program. Now that there's a new release, I see more classes in my future. (And btw, I do this for FUN. There is nothing career-ish associated with my working with Photoshop.)

Now I have a dilemma. Many of you know that my eyes were damaged in the treatment of the MDS. I developed cataracts. Because of this I feel the colours and brightness have been off in many of the photos I've played with the last year or so. Tomorrow I have the first surgery scheduled - for my left eye. If everything goes well, the second surgery (for the right eye) will happen next Tuesday, 1 June. I have to leave this afternoon for Nashville and have a ton of stuff to do. The decision: Do I go ahead and load CS5 on my desktop computer (the one with all the bells and whistles: spiffy monitor, graphics pad, etc.) or do I wait until after the surgeries when I will be able to see again? I am getting the kind of lenses that will make it where I never (fingers crossed) need to wear glasses or contacts again. They will allow me to focus up close with both eyes so that I can once again see to thread a needle. They will also allow me to focus at a distance and everything in between - with both eyes. I'm thinking I will wait until after I have the second surgery done, so I can open my first photo in the new program and see it properly.

Happy digital image editing!

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Monday Meme

Found this over on Connie's blog, Living Beautifully. Feel free to copy and use.

1. The most expensive thing hanging in my closet is.....?
Hmmm. Never thought about that before. Maybe my black leather jacket.

2. Have you ever played a team sport?
Not in this lifetime! And I had no desire to do so. I was one of those who played in the marching band to support the football team.

3. If you were a bug, what kind would you be?
Either a lightning bug or a brilliant blue dragonfly.

4. Where on your body is the worst place to get sunburned?
Shoulders. It really hurts to have clothes (particularly a bra strap) rubbing on sunburned shoulders.

5. Are you happy?
Absolutely. Life is wonderful. I have a wonderful husband, two fabulous daughters and my good health is coming back. What's not to be happy???

6. People are always abbreviating..are there any abbreviations that make your skin crawl when people use them?
Not that I can think of at the moment. I'm more opposed to the co-opting of words to make them mean something else slangy - such as the sexual connotation now given to teabagger.

7. Do you love where you live..or could you live anywhere?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our farm. Can't really say we live there yet, but we visit a lot and plan to build a new house there in the next year or two.

8. What, if any, extreme measures do you go to to keep yourself from overeating when you're full?
I don't do anything special. I just stop when I am full.

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Mellow Yellow Monday #70

I take part in MYM because it is a challenge for me. My very first Mellow Yellow Monday post was a photo of some of Dale Chihuly's glass. Saturday night I was lucky enough to see and hear the Nashville Symphony perform Bluebeard's Castle. Chihuly designed glass installations were six of the seven doors that were opened during the course of the story and they were fabulous!

The weekend's symphony performances are all part of the Chihuly in Nashville extravaganza. The venue had to be changed from the Symphony Hall to the Tennessee Performing Arts Centre because of flood damage, but it was still wonderful! We were not allowed to make photos in the theatre, so the shot I am using this week is of a palm tree during Chihuly's Grant Park garden exhibit in Chicago during 2002.

We'll be going back to Nashville next weekend to see the garden exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and at the Frist Center for the Arts. Look for more colourful Chihuly photos in the weeks to come. In the meanwhile, check out who else is joining Drowsey Monkey at this week's Mellow Yellow Monday party.

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23 May 2010

Blue Monday ~ Eastern Bluebird

I love Eastern Bluebirds and we have put up a number of bluebird nest boxes around the farm. This one is on a pole at the entrance to the dock. It's a popular box that is used every year. I enjoy sitting at the pavillion and watching the activity each spring.

Blue Monday is hosted by Smiling Sally. Check it out and see who else is playing along this week.

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22 May 2010

Pink Saturday ~ Zéphirine Drouhin Rose

I've been reading about Pink Saturday for a while now, and this is my first time to participate. Pink Saturday is hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound. And inspired by my friends Candy at The Little Round Table (who grows some of the most beautiful roses I have ever seen) and Martha at Lines from Linderhof (who grows mostly pink roses at her home) I am going to feature a rose - Zéphirine Drouhin.

Zéphirine Drouhin is a Bourbon (Old Garden) rose. It is a completely thornless climber, a prolific bloomer and very fragrant.

Bourbon Roses are named for Île Bourbon, now called Réunion Island, in the Indian Ocean. Tradition has it that they originated from a natural cross between the China 'Parsons Pink' and the red Damask Perpetual 'Tous-les-Mois', two roses which were grown as hedges on the island. Bourbons began to be intentionally bred in the 1830s. In the best of them, vigour was combined with floriferousness, and beauty with fragrance. Zéphirine Drouhin embodies all of those.

A typical Bourbon will have the arching growth, lush flowers and intoxicating fragrance from its Damask ancestors; but it will also have a strong tendency to rebloom from the China ancestor, as well as a certain often subtle influence of the China flower form. Bourbons range in colour from deep reds through pinks to blush and white. The actual glory days of the Bourbon roses were 1830 to 1850. Currently they have regained popularity with antique rose growers due to their easygoing charms.

Around 1800 the French became interested in roses, inspired by the Empress Josephine, who was very interested in botany. After her divorce from Napoleon she lived at the palace of Malmaison. At this palace she collected all the available sorts of roses, and encouraged the breeding and hybridizing of new ones. Spurred by imperial patronage, French breeders went to work, developing several hundred new cultivars. Zéphirine Drouhin was bred by Bizot in France in 1868. Although it is a later Bourbon, it is still considered an antique rose.

Zéphirine Drouhin features profuse, sweetly scented, semi-double, cerise pink flowers that range 3.5"-4" in diameter. It blooms from May to frost giving beauty and fragrance all summer. Then the purple tinted canes make it attractive in winter after the foliage drops. It will take Zéphirine Drouhin a few years to reach peak blooming, but the wait is well worth it. Regular deadheading during the growing season will encourage re-blooming.

This rose is especially wonderful for arches, porch columns and fences as the canes can grow to 15' long. I learned about Zéphirine Drouhin from my Mom. She had read about it and ordered one to plant on her fence. Of course after I smelled and saw hers, I had to get one, too! I planted my Zéphirine Drouhin on a wrought iron column at the corner of the smokehouse at the farm. This is its first year to really start blooming and I am enchanted. The fragrance permeates the air all around. I have cut some of the flowers for bouquets inside and have found them to last about a week or so. And the house smells wonderful! The pink blooms and the purplish canes really stand out against the greyed wood of the weathered logs of the smokehouse. I can see it out the kitchen windows, and when I open the windows, the fragrance comes right in the house.

Here is a free-form bouquet of Zéphirine Drouhin with some other roses that were blooming at the farm. I've got them in a chartruese Fiesta bud vase on the mantle in our bedroom.

Happy Pink Saturday!

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21 May 2010

PacMan turns 30!

PacMan fans unite! Today is the 30th anniversary of the introduction of PacMan. Google's home page has a mini working PacMan game. Check it out by clicking here. While I played PacMan back in the day, I was more of a Ms. Pac afficiando. When I had knee surgery in 1982 and had to stay laid up in bed for weeks, I spent many hours with the Atari playing Ms. Pac, Frogger and Space Invaders.

So I just found out about Google's home page from DD#2. She came in so excited to tell me about it. Then she watched me play a game and said, "You play PacMan better than me." First time I've ever done better at a video game than my children! I guess it's like falling off a bike. Once you know how, you never forget. The old reflexes are still there.

Happy Birthday PacMan! Thanks for all the fun times and the memories.


P.S. I think the Atari is downstairs in the big TV cabinet in the rec room. Hmmm. Might have to check that out tomorrow. I'm sure I haven't played any of those games in at least 20 years!
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Strawberry Pecan Tea Bread

Strawberries ~ We are still getting lovely strawberries in the CSA box, so I am looking into different things to do with them. A person can only eat so much jam or preserves, you know.

Yesterday I was reading on my friend Mary's blog, One Perfect Bite, and she posted this lovely recipe for Sweet Cheeks Strawberry Tea Bread. Mary always has great stories to go along with her recipes, so check out the reasons for the Sweet Cheeks name over there, if you get a chance. This bread looked like it would be a good thing to use up some of our strawberries.

Mary originally got the recipe from A Taste of Home Magazine, and I have changed it up yet some more. Mainly I increased the amounts of nuts and strawberries. Plus I changed the walnuts to pecans. I also doubled the recipe, so that I could have some to share. The recipe as I've posted it here makes two 8"×4" loaves, or several smaller ones. I used an assortment of small pans and baked them for about 45-50 minutes.

Mike got home right after I had taken the first loaf out of the pan and we just cut slices hot to taste them. Oh my goodness. What a wonderful tea bread! I really liked that it is not too sweet and the strawberry flavour really shines through. That is typical of more European style tea breads and what I grew up eating as a child. What a delightful addition to my recipe repertoire! Mary, thanks for bringing this great recipe to our attention. My MIL gives me a subscription to A Taste of Home every year, but somehow I missed this recipe.

We have cut the hexagon shaped loaf. That one was baked in a vintage Swan's Down advertising pan. I wrapped the other three in foil and put in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Next week one will go to my Mom and one to my sister.


Here are my four pans ready to go in the oven:

Baked tea bread cooling in the pan:

Sliced and served on a square ivory Fiesta plate:

Strawberry Pecan Tea Bread
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour (I used 2 1/2 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8"×4" loaf pans or equivalent smaller pans and set aside.

With a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream and vanilla; mixing well.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture just until moistened. Batter will be thick. Mix in pecans. By hand, fold in the strawberries.

Place batter into prepared pans. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes for the 8"×4" loaves, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Adjust baking time for smaller pans. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: If you, as I do, use low-fat sour cream at your house, add a couple of Tbsp of oil to the cake batter.

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