Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pumpkins.... and Paris

This beautiful, colorful month of November is indeed filled with pumpkins. They decorate our doorsteps,  play the leading roll in our food, filling  our tummies in the form of puree' and in pie.  Served steamed or oven roasted

 and  few things  are as comforting as a bowl of hot pumpkin soup on a cold night!  Right?  Or perhaps a creamy, cheesy butternut squash lasagna?

Paris has been on our minds too.  It started with the December issue of Cooking Light featuring a recipe for French Onion Soup.  A MUST have, I decided!  I started cooking  and planning to serve it for lunch.  Ha.... it was such a labor intense job that it ended up ready to serve at dinner!  It was worth the wait!

Prompted by a  reader comment in David Lebovitz last blog  featuring "Cranberry Shrub" we , the photographer and I,  tuned in to the Paris chapter of the PBS TV series: "I'll Have What Phil Is Having" enjoying a great  hour of Parisian food in pictures and words.  Parts of it, the pastry portion presented by David Lebovitz,  who else? David  is one of my favorite food bloggers. Sheer pleasure!

Then came the Paris attack!  How have we come to this?

Even as the event is unfolding there are those hurling awful xenophobia.  Those who hatefully exploit a tragedy.  To what end?
"Nous sommes tous Parisiens" after all, are we not ALL in this together?  Why so much hate?  On this tiny little Mother Earth.  I can not wrap my head around it!
We mourn with those who lost family members.  We suffer with the homeless.  Those who live in constant fear.  Be it in Lebanon, Beirut  or in Syria or here in the United States for that matter.

We want Love to WIN!  Goodness to prevail!  Love to conquer ALL!  It MUST!  The opposite can't be tolerated.

As November slips by, we now focus on Thanksgiving!  There will be a BIG gathering at our house this year.  Food to cook, family members to embrace, beds to make and dogs to walk.  So on with the Pumpkin Pie, the Pumpkin Bread Pudding and the roasted sweet potatoes.

after all we have Pumpkins...

and then,  there is THIS PUMPKIN!

Oh yes, let's not forget the Cranberries!:-)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

One More October

" After a good dinner one can forgive anybody. even one's own relations. "  quote by Oscar Wilde in A Woman Of No Importance.

If things were only  that simple!

In this beautiful month of October, a month filled with birthdays celebrated by some of my dearest friends and family  members alike, fellow October Babies all. An autumn month with cooler mornings, leaves shifting color and even some blessed RAIN. A month where I have finally given myself a kick in the bum and am back in exercise class at long last. Yes long overdue! As the years added to my age are making me stiff and "heavy" limbering up, making myself more flexible is a must.

On the subject of flexible I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about INFLEXIBILITY!
Why we as people have such a hard time being more flexible, more forgiving and kinder towards each other? Why do old wounds have to go unhealed? Or new ones for that matter? Why, if you know someone is in emotional pain, due to something that was said or something that happened in the past, why not try to repair it? Or how can you allow your BEST friend  to just "disappear" from your life, simply due to  what might simply have been a misunderstanding  or the lack of communication? Perhaps the relationship was one sided and not worth spending time on anyway? Odd to me, who strive to have everyone in my realm as happy as  humanly possible.  Forgiveness my friends! Forgiveness! Obviously not all share that desire and so be it!

At this stage of life where I suddenly realize that there might not bee too many more Octobers for me it is increasingly important for me to have things be RIGHT! Life is indeed short and one wonders why it takes some people so long to figure this out? I am grateful for each day.  Looking forward to many more yet knowing that the days  and years behind me far outweighs those ahead! Glad to have lived a long very varied and adventurous life with some new chapters ahead.Each day a gift. Each day treasured.

All right... enough philosophizing already!

As the days are getting shorter with the Weather God's  hopefully bestowing us with  a LOT cooler temps,  it is time at our house  to snuggle in, along with cozy dinners consisting of soups, stews and heartier fare. With a pile of  just picked red and green peppers straight from the field, waiting in a big pile on the prep table, to be stuffed, sauced and baked along with an abundance of apples to bake, stew and make into pie, this cook is happy!

 It  is hard to not laugh at myself when I become enamored such things  as by a new website called Rancho Gordo Beans!  A page where  you can find heirloom dry beans to  purchase by mail order. Rancho Gordo also have two brick and mortar stores one in SanFrancisco and one in Napa California, where  one can get such varietis as Alubia Blanca, Cranberry Beans , Rio Zape or Rebosero Beans... among others! Described in a manner that makes your mouth water as  to the beans  not to be   imagined unique flavors. I can hardly wait to lay my hands on a few of these varieties and start creating  some great stuff.

Enjoy October my friends! It only comes once a year!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Among those who DARED!

The "DARE" title has been hanging out there for some time now.  Inspired by something I no longer remember.

It's been very busy here of late, it has been too warm the last few days to even think and inspiration to write has been lacking to say the least.

Today was a really wonderful day.  A bit overcast, cool, and for our evening walk with Garbo it rained!

Autumn is upon us.  The mulberry leaves announcing the arrival of fall with its fallen dry cup like leaves rolling down the lane with its specific crinkled paper sound.  Fall tickles our noses with its peculiar fragrances.

We have gone from temperatures in the high 90's (thank goodness there are few of those) to temps in the 50's in a flash!

The Photographer who is forever exploring alternate this and alternate that has lately been stuck on SMALLER and LESS, making me who came from apartment living in the Stockholm region realise I have been a fan of SMALLER all along.

When I first arrived in America the cars here were flashy and HUGE!  I was used to Saabs, Volvos and yes, busses and cable cars.

My very first home was a mobil home (a small Airstream) permanently placed in a trailer park.  After that a much larger and very elegant "mobil home" hardwood floors, fabulous kitchen and all.  Coming up in the world home number three was a Town House.  No one in the part of the world where I then lived had heard of such a thing!  A Town WHAT?  We are after many various houses,  cottages and yes even a windmill back in one of those.  A Town House that is.

It has been good to choose "different."  A Volkswagen before any one else had one.  A BMW when no one knew what those were.  Leaving everything behind and going to Europe for close to a year like the Photographer did.  Changing jobs or quitting our "secure jobs" and starting something new.

Moving to a different country and then back again.  The changes have all been exhilarating and sometimes frightening, yet endlessly rewarding!

Giving away, selling, dumping and downsizing makes the load lighter, the burden less heavy and it frees you from worry!  Less IS more!

We have a distant family member by the name of Mari who right now is walking The Camino or  The Compostela de Santiago. Spending weeks on end living out of a back pack, walking! One foot in front of the other. One step at the time.  Mile after mile!  Proving what you can do and that you CAN do,  with very little.  Forever enriching her life.  She is a total inspiration!  Now THAT  is daring!

Being different.  Doing something different.  Changing ones life.  Ones occupation.  Ones life style. That too is daring!

Hurrah for change we say as we are heading into a new season!

Talking about those who dare.... As I sit here, safe and secure, people from the war torn countries Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, keep pouring into Europe.  Listening to "Rapport" the news on SVT,  Swedish Television tonight.  5,200 persons arrived in Sweden in the last TWO days, looking for a new start, a new life with new possibilities and opportunities!

Thomson Reuters

The American government announced yesterday they would welcome 10,000 persons from Syria in the coming year.  It seems to me a pitifully small number considering the wealth and the size of this country.  Enough said!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Silas the Scottish Deerhound Remembered

The Photographer and I attended an Agility Trial in Morgan Hill last weekend.  Maria was competing with Buddie and Gemma.

As Garbo had Rally class in the morning with Tiffanie Moyano of Dog Logic U, we missed the morning trials when Maria was running  with Buddie.  We were on hand for the afternoon sessions however and enjoyed seeing these amazing athletes in action.

The competitors range from Doxies to Great Danes and every kind and size of dog in between. Fabulous to watch!  We delightedly watched the afternoon trials start off with a Doxie, followed by  a small Havanese.  They had to jump over hinders 8 inches tall.  Hard to do when your legs are about 3 inches long :-)

We watched happy dogs, some who qualified for the next level of competition, some who just had a lot of fun practicing and some who knocked down a bar or took a wrong turn or skipped an obstacle or two.... going on to try again another day.

As Maria was leaving the facility a man approached her asking if she had not some time ago had a Scottish Deerhound named Silas?  Indeed she did!  About 30 or 35 years ago!  Talk about a far reach  way back in history.

Silas was the sweetest most gentle boy in his very Deerhound feline kind of way.  Growing up and living his life with Chico the Photographers 135 pound Rottweiler.  We always joked about our  living with Bambi and Godzilla.

Running, Silas would  fly!  As  his feet never seemed to touch the ground!

Silas' Grandmother was a movie star!  She had a lead role in "Out Of Africa" a movie ALSO featuring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

Amazing to find that our Silas is still remembered all these years later.  Silas the love of our  life!

Silas with his Doctor Seuss appearance!  Beautiful Silas!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Coming Home To Smell The Coffee

How we love these early morning walks, Garbo and I!  The Photographer and I have been taking turns going on that first morning expedition, it was my turn today.  The mornings have been shrouded in ocean fog lately.  Perfectly cool and a bit misty.  The absolutely right weather for Garbo!  The neighborhood is pretty quiet as we often leave around 6 in the morning, sometimes even earlier.  The three days a week when the Photographer goes to work, we take our walk later, after sending him on his way.  Those mornings are delightful in a very different way, since we then run into all sorts of neighbors, dogs, people out on they're morning constitutionals, many of whom we know by name.  Dog friends Garbo just adores meeting!  Well, I can safely say that Garbo has not  met many dogs nor persons that she does NOT like. Back home, opening the door inhaling the fragrance of fresh coffee brewing. Bliss!

As it was with her predecessor Vi'Skaly's Ralph Lauren, Ralle or Ralph,"a dear child has many names."  She like he is a magnet!  We have met so many people, enjoyed dinners, lunches and interesting conversations due to our dogs, who literally create these relationships.  If it was not for Garbo we would not know several of the persons we now consider dear friends.

I had the pleasure of being invited to a fabulous lunch in the "hood".  We were eight ladies all together being treated to great food and bubbles along with laughs and friendly chatter.  The women who attended, with the exception of one, were persons I have met many times on our walks with Garbo.  She, the "door opener!"

The days of the last couple of weeks have been filled with the normal mundane every day activities and some disappointing revelations, even some tragedies along with some delights! And dog classes in San Martin with our fabulous instructor Tiffanie Moyano.

The Photographer struck by the news of a favorite actor, rich and famous, who was stealing truckloads of water from a water main to use to irrigate  his avocado grove!  It is not fun to have those we admire turn out to be "bad guys".

Our Daughters in law both lost people very close to them recently.  Tragedy striking close to home! One a dear friend, the other a close family member!  Both rushing to their respective "home countries" for funerals.  Making us all think of the fragility of life.  Here today, gone tomorrow!

I created a computer mess by clicking on a site called "Famous Film Food Flops" and picked up some dreaded computer virus!  Thankfully the Photographer with his magic  managed to fixed it!  What on earth would I do without him?

My Best Friend who is home visiting in Sweden for the summer reports that she had her purse stolen while at breakfast at a Scandic Hotel in Stockholm stuffed with credit cards, cash, passport and all.  Reported the loss to the credit card companies, banks,  and the police. A couple of days later the police called. The purse was discovered at a nearby grocery store. The only things missing was the cash and a pair of sunglasses! An ANGEL on her shoulder,  I say!

As always there has been a fair amount of celebrations, much cooking and baking my favorite activity,  along with dog park visits and walks at Brigantino Park. Delightful time spent on each!

Lastly, while at the post office sending a baby gift to Sweden the clerk typing in our last name commented on the meaning of the name.  The clerk, also of Hispanic origin, jokingly asked if we were considering voting for "The Donald?"  Or if we thought we like he would be working on the WALL separating the USA from Mexico?  Such is life these days!  It is good to have a sense of humor!  It is good to be able to laugh at the follies....

Now I need another cup of that coffee!  It comes from Maryland.  A gift from the "future Chef."  The roasting company name is RISE UP, we need to DO some of that..., not just have it in our cup!