Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Balm in Gilead

“Is there no balm in Gilead?” So cries
dour Jeremiah in granite tones.
“There is a balm in Gilead,” replies
a Negro Spiritual.  The baritone

who chants it, leaning forward on the platform,
looks up, not knowing his voice is a rainstorm
that rinses air to reveal earth's surprises.
Today, the summer gone, four monarch butterflies,

their breed's survivor's, sucked a flower's last blooms,
opened their wings, orange-and-black stained glass,
and printed on the sky in zigzag lines,
watch bright things rise:  winter moons, the white undersides
of a California condor, once thought doomed,
now flapping wide like the first bird from ashes.
—Grace Schulman
from The Paintings of Our Lives:  Poems by Grace Schulman

Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper

Seasonal Sunday Teapot copy

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My favorite scissors

“If I stitch fast enough, does it count as aerobic exercise?” —Anonymous

Monday, September 5, 2011


The first time I made ratatouille, the kitchen caught on fire.  Really.  The oil from the pot boiled over and before I knew it, grease was spitting and hissing and flames were shooting up to the ceiling.  I grabbed my 3-month old baby, wrapped him in a towel - I had started to give him a bath - and ran out of the house while shouting to my neighbor to call 911.

I greeted some very hunky firemen with my hair sticking up and my clothes plastered to me from a very wet baby.  I was quite a sight.  But the fire was actually put out by another neighbor, even before the fire trucks arrived.  Still, the firemen insisted on checking out the house completely, and I just couldn't get rid of them fast enough so I could change my clothes . . . and put a diaper on the baby.

Miraculously, the ratatouille was not ruined.  In fact, it was amazing.  Here's a dish that embodies all the glory of the Mediterranean:  Tomatoes, olive oil, eggplant, basil, peppers . . .  Serve it with lamb, roast pork, or even just parsleyed rice . . . It's so delicious!

Here's the recipe:

1½-2 cups extra virgin olive oil
4 small eggplants, roughly 4 lbs., cut into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons of salt
2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 zucchini, washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thirds
2 red peppers, cut into ½-inch strips
2 green peppers, cut into ½-inch strips
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 14.5-oz. Italian Plum tomatoes
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
a pinch of red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Pour one cup of olive oil into an aluminum roasting pan (easier clean up), add the eggplants with the salt.  Stir.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for about a half hour until the eggplant is cooked but not too soft.  Stir a couple of times during baking to coat the eggplant with the oil.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat remaining cup of oil and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook on low heat for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the eggplant mixture and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, especially the salt.
If you serve it as a side dish, it should yield at least 12 portions.

And here's a picture of John plastered to me, right after his bath (but on a different day).  I've posted this photo before, but it always makes me smile and brings back such happy memories.  I thought this was the perfect excuse to show it one more time . . .

And, be still my beating heart, somehow I've managed to be on theme for the Photo of the Day Weekly Challenge - Been There, Done That!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Afghan Project Update . . . and Photoshopping for a change of pace . . .

Yep.  Still at it.  The afghan is currently close to reaching my ankles.  I'd say I'm about 40% of the way done.  I still find myself unraveling some of the work now and then, and I've come to the conclusion that this stitch is just a pain in the neck. 

Pretty . . . but a pain in the neck . . .

This project has brought a lot of memories of my godmother, Mama Lala, knitting late into the night.  She's the one who taught me how to knit and crochet.  The sweater below was one of the last things she made for me, while I was still in Cuba . . .

I didn't realize when I started to look for this photo, how badly damaged it was, so I spent some time restoring it with Photoshop . . .  Here's the original . . .

I'm so happy to have discovered Photoshop!!!  So, now, what should I do?  . . . Do I crochet . . . do I Photoshop . . . ?  Do I catch up with my fellow bloggers . . . ?  Too many hobbies . . .

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. Please stop by and check out some fabulous transformations.