Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sweet and Spicy

"What if in your dream you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you woke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah! What then?"
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Picture this, please. Go ahead, close your eyes...

There I was, dripping wet hair and all, jumping, twirling and cheering like a five year-old. Yes, I was doing the happy dance, and a very happy little number I did perform.

I've always been a person of contradiction, and my garden's current bounty could not provide a more perfect example.

Today, dear friends, when I went to check on my tiny garden babies, my eyes were treated to a magnificent sight.

Strawberries and peppers..hee hee, haa haa.

Sweet and Spicy, ooh me, ooh my! (*grin)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Looking Inwardly

"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."
~Lorraine Hansburry, A Raisin in the Sun

Did you ever watch a movie that left a lasting impression? One that really and honestly made you think?

Maybe you weren't that into the actual film and characters, but perhaps it made you reflect upon and contemplate your own life.

Last night I made a pot of ginger peach tea and settled in with the the pupparoo, hubband, my favorite blankie and watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

At the end, I cried (sniffle).

Why? It got my wheels turning.

Here are some quotes from the movie that are still wondering around in my mind.

"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

"Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss."

Puppy Nap

"For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog."
~Roger Caras

Once upon a time, there was a pretty ball of vanilla yarn and a little furry puppy.

You see, this little puppy was the greatest, and like her mama, she adored snugly, cuddly thingies.

And, just like her mama, anything that appeared snugly and cuddly had an intoxicating effect on her. Her cuddle instinct would kick in and she would get very, very sleepy.

"Is this ever soft," she thought to herself, as she gently stroked the yarn with her paw.

"Humm...yes...I'll curl up here. I'll nap on this ultra-soft scarf my mama is making. I'll be careful. She won't mind."

And with that, the little puppy closed her tired brown eyes and drifted off to dreamland.

Note: She was right. Her mama didn't mind one bit. In fact, she actually thought it was pretty darn cute. Golly-gee, her mama sure does love her.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flowers for Friday

"Flowers are happy things."
~P.G. Wodehouse

I've been working away on my office. So, far I've let you see bits and pieces of my little haven, and I decided that today I'd bring some flowers indoors, providing you with a tad more food for thought.

I came across this little vase last week. I so enjoy finds like this; unique, simple, a tad eclectic. Not to mention, I'm a bit hooked on poppy orange. It completely clashes with my scheme, but I like that. When things are too coordinated, I jet jittery.

Oh yea, if you remember the day I repainted that old oak jewelry armoire, you'll notice the vase now sits upon it.

So, get yourself some flowers, give some to the one you love, or just go walk through a garden. We all deserve flowers. We made it to Friday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Art of Conversation- Meet Miss Ringy

If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me.
~Song title by Jimmy Buffet

Did you ever stop and ponder the art of a good conversation?

In thinking about the term conversation, I began to realize how modern technology has changed the definition of what it means to communicate. I'm saddened by the people who are slaves to their cell phones, or who have gone as far as to attach a mobile telephone to their belt. I won't even begin my rant on Bluetooth headsets, but honestly--Does anyone really think it's a good idea to have a signal constantly beamed into the side of one's brain?

Personally, I find cell phones an annoyance that I could do without. I know, I know, cell-phones are great for emergencies (roll eyes here). Yet, I can't think of too many individuals I know of who don't have the top-notch plan, complete with unlimited texting, Internet capabilities, and gasp--a camera! According to my sketchy calculations, the average person must have well over 400 minutes of emergencies a month. May I suggest a class in crisis management?

Ahh, but the telephone, the plain, stationary telephone, complete with a curly cord. Remember those days? They were something, weren't they?

Do you remember how people would put aside their dish washing, lay down their irons, and step away from their cooking when a call came in? Telephone conversation was purposeful then. One may even go as far as to say it was meaningful.

The other day, while rummaging through a nifty little antique store, I stumbled across this rickety old treasure. Isn't she sweet? I can almost see her, perched atop a handcrafted telephone stand, aside a notepad and address book. I wonder about the conversations she transmitted and the people she dialed. I very much hope her stories are happy and full of love.

I feel compelled to report that Miss Ringy has made a wonderful transition to her new home. After an hour or so of gentle bathing, and the removal of a few inches of dust, dirt, grime and goop, she looks marvelous, and rumor has it, she's been calling everyone to tell them she's back in business. (*wink)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hello Little Darling, It's Nice to Meet You

"There is a very fine line between a hobby and a mental illness."
~Dave Berry

Finally, after gallons of water, mucho love and affection, and warm, sunny skies, my little clematis bloomed. I know, it's not really anything major, but it truly excites me. I enjoy the little things.

Plus, since this year is my first attempt at anything of significance in the gardening realm, I'm trying to record all events. ....so, pardon me for being abnormally obsessed.... (sigh)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Peonies and Sun Tea

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

I've been stalking my neighbor's garden. For days I've been eyeing up these pretty peonies and today I decided they must be photographed. The color of magenta really dazzles in the morning summer sun.

Also, I jetted home from church, noting the sun was already out and that they temperature was climbing. "Perfect," I thought. "I'll have to make some sun tea!"

Carefully, I trimmed the newest growth on my mint plants and stuffed them into this nifty jar. Now, it really doesn't get much easier than this.

How's this for an easy summertime recipe? Trim mint, stuff in jar, sit in sun. I'm likin' it!
Enjoy the sunshine....cheers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Are Books Your Cup of Tea?

"There are a few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
~Henry James

Confession: Take a perfectly good afternoon (evening, morning, or combine them all), mix in a great mystery, stir in some Darjeeling leaves, and waa-laa it's a recipe for pure bliss.

Lately, I've found myself totally engrossed in books on the topic of tea. I wonder why? Could it be my ridiculous obsession with Teavana? Or, is it my ongoing love affair with literature? Perhaps a combination? humm...I'll ponder that...

If, as a child, you adored Miss Nancy Drew and her sidekick, Bess, half as much as I did, than I'm quite certain you'll find sincere enjoyment in The Tea Shop Mysteries, a series of books by Laura Childs.

So far, I've been unable to stop myself. I imagine my new infatuation is akin to the 'high' drug addicts experience after taking that first hit of a potent substance.

I've already made best friends with the characters and secretly want to be Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina. Her southern hospitality and graceful charm combined with intelligence and self-confidence fuse together to place her high on my list of people to be reincarnated as.

Although the books are easy to read and offer no significant insight into character analysis or theme, they are indeed entertaining.

On the other hand, as much as I enjoy an easy beach-chair read, I also believe it's important to read pieces that will help me learn and grow as a person. Have you read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson? Please do. It will change your life.

Of course, it's no big secret that I'm extremely passionate about the topic of education. I believe all children can learn and ....ok... this is not going to turn into my plan to fix our crumbling educational system here in America.

As I was reading the book I was speechless... I'll leave you with some passages that truly touched my heart.

"After their familiar breakfast of chapattis and cha, Haji Ali led Mortenson up a steep path to a vast open ledge eight hundred feet above the Braldu. The view was exquisite, with the ice giants of the upper Baltoro razored into the blue far above Korphe's gray rock walls. But Mortenson wasn't admiring the scenery. He was appalled to see eighty-two children, seventy-eight boys, and the four girls who had the pluck to join them, kneeling on the frosty ground, in the open. Haji Ali, avoiding Mortenson's eyes, said the village had no school, and the Pakistani government didn't provide a teacher. A teacher cost the equivalent of one dollar a day, he explained, which was more than the village could afford. So they shared a teacher with the neighboring village of Munjung, and he taught in Korphe three days a week. The rest of the time, the children were left alone to practice the lessons he left behind."

"And it was obvious that most of the money that reached this altitude was earmarked for the army, to finance its costly standoff with Indian forces along the Siachen Glacier. But a dollar a day for a teacher, Mortenson fumed, how could a government, even one as impoverished as Pakistan's, not provide that?"

"After the last note of the anthem had faded, the children sat in a neat circle and began copying their multiplication tables. Most scratched in the dirt with sticks they'd brought along for that purpose."

"Can you imagine a fourth-grade class in America, alone, without a teacher, sitting there quietly and working on their lessons? I felt like my heart was being torn out. There was a fierceness in their desire to learn, despite how mightily everything was stacked against them, that reminded me of Christa. I knew I had to do something."

May I suggest you make yourself a little cup of tea and visit this place. I promise it will get your gears turning.

Before I go, take a peek at this conversation between Sir Edmund Hillary and Urkien Sherpa.

"Tell us, if there were one thing we could do for your village, what would it be?"

"With all respect, Sahib, you have little to teach us in strength and toughness. And we don't envy your restless spirits. Perhaps we are happier than you? But we would like our children to go to school. Of all the things you have, learning is the one we desire most for our children."


"Climb then, into this paradise...this pretty world of peace."
~Rose Macaulay

Off in the distance the sound of rumbling thunder rolls through the sky. Here, a scaredy puppy hides under a bed. But, we are peaceful, enjoying our own little paradise, even if our paradise consists of an herb garden, some new plants and a yummo-licious little snack.

Moments ago, the first droplets appeared, jumping and hopping like little grasshoppers upon the parched, dusty ground. Ahh yes, a summer storm. The timing is perfect, as yesterday these little lettuce babies received their new home.

Lately, the yard around 403 has been buzzing with activity. Yes, the bees (who were swarming our home by the thousands) are gone, but have swiftly been replaced by summer chores, cleaning, planting and harvesting.

I'm delighted that flip-flop wearing finally commenced and the the pressures of lesson planning and grading have gently subsided. The sweet, long days of summer have finally graced me with their presence, and I'm responding by taking full advantage of time to create, read, garden and learn.

If you've been following my story, you are aware that I'm growing quite fond of my herbs. Actually, I'm rather infatuated. And, it appears as though the dear little things love me back. The basil has been so kind as to provide me with the necessary ingredient for my new favorite summer snack. You've really got to try these.

Simply cut a fresh tomato into slices and drizzle with a bit of light balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Then, top with a sprinkle of mozzarella and romano cheese.

Finish by adding some fresh basil and a sprig of parsley.

So good. So, so, so good. So healthy. So wonderfully summer.
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