Sunday, October 30, 2011

My quiet weekend

I love that things are settling down and returning to a new normal around here. This weekend was a quiet one, and very nice.


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The driveway, as I was leaving for work on Friday morning, taken with the camera phone. I wave to my husband as I’m driving away, and then I get to this point on the road where he can’t see the car anymore. I’m not back to work full-time yet, but plan on doing so some time this week, as my husband continues to improve.

On Saturday, I was up and out the door by 9:30, headed to the mall with a 50% off coupon for Talbots. I found some great deals, then did some window shopping before coming home in the now-pouring rain.


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It was raining sideways . . .

And then . . .


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. . . it turned to snow.

But it didn’t last. However, it’s not too often that we see snow in Maryland during the month of October, so this was something different.

On Sunday, my goal was to finish bringing in the rest of the plants. These were outside in a protected area, and weren’t damaged by the freak snow. It’s a lot of work repotting plants. The asparagus fern had become pot-bound, so I transplanted it to three smaller pots.

Luckily, planter pots were on sale for half price at the local garden shop up the road.


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I brought all the geraniums inside, planting them in smaller pots, to winter over.


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I used to be able to go like there was no tomorrow, lifting heavy things, moving things around . . . but not any more.

I take more breaks now.


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I love this little bloom, and this color.


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I made Lemon/Rosemary-stuffed Chicken for dinner Sunday. The house smelled divine while it cooked, and my husband finds it interesting that I’m enjoying being in the kitchen. I find it interesting, too. Don’t know what’s up with that.

This is super easy to make.

You need a roaster chicken. Wash & pat dry, then salt & pepper inside. Stuff with a lemon (cut in half), and several sprigs of fresh rosemary. Rub chicken with olive oil and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half, or until you can easily turn the drumsticks (that’s how I tell it’s done).

You can also cut up some root vegetables, sprinkle with olive oil, and some seasonings, and stir from time to time to keep the vegetables from drying out.


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While surfing Pinterest, I learned a new way to tie a scarf, although this photo doesn’t really do it justice.

Fold scarf in half. Loop around neck. Pull only one strand of the scarf through the loop. Twist loop, then pull other strand through.

See what you learn coming here? It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

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I’m hoping to have a good week, and I’m hoping you do, as well. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Macro shots from my kitchen counter

I took these shots last week and fooled around with them in Photoshop, and then completely forgot about them until just now.

I was trying not to dwell on the negative about everything that had been going on in my life, and the tiny little Queen Anne’s Lace in the little vase looked cheerful enough. It made me feel like things were in the pink again, when, in reality, I’m getting used to a new kind of normal.

One of the best investments I ever made was this macro lens. It has brought me nothing but happiness. Well, except for that one time I tripped on the driveway and smashed it, but that wasn’t the lens’ fault now, was it?


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The vase I’m using for this is a diffuser from Agraria that I washed thoroughly and keep in my vase cabinet for tiny arrangements such as this.

The texture is ‘Platinum’ from set 1 of the Florabella collection.


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I bought a new perfume and I like it just fine.

Plus, it’s photogenic.


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I moved the flowers to the cutting board for a different background. This is pretty, too.

As I write this, I have the cat at my side, who is watching the dog make a fool of himself. He’s not really. He’s playing. But I’m sure Miss Blackie thinks the dog is a complete fool. He’s in play mode right now and is bringing me every toy in his box so I will throw it for him.

My sister, Char, knows how long a game of fetch can run.


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I bought some mums after bringing my husband home from the hospital and planted them outside in planters. The ones in this little vase broke off and are still decorating my countertop. I love the pretty orange color against the pale wood of the cutting board.

Tonight for dinner, we had something that my sister left in the freezer for us – you know, for those times you just don’t feel like cooking? When she stayed here with George, she spent an entire afternoon preparing different meals and freezing them. I was completely touched by this gesture.

Another sister sent me a book to read that she thinks I’ll enjoy. It’s an historical novel set in Nazi Germany and she told me I may not be able to put it down once I begin reading it. The book is “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum. So if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days, you’ll know what I’m up to.

Ah, finally ~ George sleeps. And the kitty does, as well. I can hear her purring . . .

Until later, my friends . . .

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Photography I love, from Pinterest

Sometimes I like to visit a little place called Pinterest, although to tell you the truth, I haven't been there for months. Pinterest is a place to share interesting things, and you can save your favorites to 'boards'. This evening, wanting a little eye candy, I went to a photography board I had pinned awhile ago.

Here are a few of favorites, but please note: When I chose the embedding option for my blog, no credit is being attached to the owner of the image. I don't know what's up with that, but in each case here, I went back to find a credit line. In most cases, I was successful. I'm kind of a stickler for this because credit always needs to be given and an apologizing, in advance, for re-posting what has no credit attached.

By Katsumi Oyamada on

This is just so ethereal, and I love the colors. I want this on a big canvas.

No credit to be found for this photo.

What a wonderful perspective for this wedding portrait. Gorgeous and unique.

From No credit to be found.

I love the moment captured here, although it seems a little staged to me. The umbrella adds a nice touch.

Doesn't this look like 'Starry Night'? It's magnificent and I wish I could see it some day in real life, don't you?!

This macro close-up of the edge of a wave on the sand left me wondering how the photographer did that.

I'm a total fan of Xaomena on Flickr. Her still life photography is so inspired. Love the soft colors in this one, and the handle on the knife gives a nice finishing touch. So unusual.

By Kirsten Mckee on Flickr

One of my favorite perspectives is a fence line. Love the depth of field in this, the old-time ornate tips on the wrought iron, and of course, one of my favorites - the fact that the snow has just begun to fall.

Hope you enjoyed ~
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Monday, October 24, 2011

I love swirls

We had a lovely visit with old friends this weekend, and my downstairs got a good cleaning, to boot. Cleaning is hard work, man. And some day, I swear, I am going to hire a cleaning person to do all this grunt work. But I digress.

Because this post is about swirls.

One particular swirl, at that.


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After working on the house all day Saturday, followed by grocery shopping, I had a nice relaxing cup of tea in the late afternoon out by the garden. I looked to my left and immediately saw this beautiful morning glory swirl.

I had to capture it. And while doing so, I decided to capture it using different angles and backgrounds because when I turned in different ways, the colors would change. In the photo above, for example, the red tint comes from the leaves on the dogwood tree at the edge of the woods.


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Tonight, while I waited for the dinner to cook, I played with my pictures in Photoshop, using actions from Red Leaf Studios and textures from Shadowhouse Creations and Les Brumes.

For the two photos above, I used the Velvet Sage action from the soft vintage collection at Red Leaf along with a texture from Shadowhouse Creations called Raised Effect. You can find them here:

Red Leaf Studios

Raised Effect Textures {free}


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I like this perspective. I’m also fooling around with another watermark – something I do all the time. Not sure about this one, however.

I used the Cocoa Mais action from the vintage collection at Red Leaf for the photo above and a texture from Les Brumes that I found on Flickr.

Les Brumes texture/005 {free}


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I started back to work today, part-time in the afternoons. I’m not sure how it’s going to work out for my husband. It’s only for a few hours a day, though. So we’ll see.

Some of the teachers came down to the office after they heard me make an announcement over the loud speaker. And some called me on the intercom. And guess what?

No tears.

Only smiles.


Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekly Dose of George

Continuing with my series on the weekly look at everyone’s favorite border collie. Ok, well maybe he’s not YOUR favorite, but I promise you, he’d like to be.

After accomplishing many housekeeping chores today, going food shopping, and putting everything away, I made a cup of tea and took it outside to enjoy.

I sat beside the garden and after just a few sips of my Earl Grey from the new Keurig machine in my favorite Fishs Eddy mug, went back into the house for the camera and macro lens. I had spied a very photogenic morning glory bloom, and after taking many photos of it, I turned the camera on my little friend.


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Hello, my friend.


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He is so shy.


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With pretty eyes.

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Today, while food shopping, I ran into one of my sweet co-workers. I haven’t been to work since Oct. 6, and she stopped me and asked how my husband was doing, and to my surprise, I nearly began crying.

It pisses me off when I get teary. I consider it a sign of weakness. Plus, it makes people feel uncomfortable.

I was shopping because tomorrow we are having company. Not sure my husband is ready for all this, but it was actually his idea. We’re having friends over who we’ve known since high school – they’re in town for a family wedding and we’re both really looking forward to seeing them.

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And I’m sure George is really looking forward to an early morning bath. Ha!

Enjoy your Sunday, all ~

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Comfort food

In my continuing efforts to fatten up my husband, I decided to bake some bread yesterday using the recipe my sister, Judy, brought with her when she came to help us last week.

I was intrigued because cooking and baking are not exactly my sister’s forte. But she insisted that this recipe, and all the recipes from a cookbook she purchased, was simple and that anyone could do it, as long as they followed the instructions.

After making the simple buttermilk bread recipe yesterday and using it as the base for cinnamon raisin bread, the book is now in my cart awaiting purchase at Amazon.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

My only concern is that my husband isn’t the only one around here who will be fattened up.


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The recipe is easy to make. Yeast, sugar, salt, warm water, and then unbleached flour are all added to a big bowl and stirred until the dough forms. You then cover loosely, and in two hours the bread dough will have doubled and you can refrigerate until later. No punching down, proofing of the yeast, kneading . . .

I decided to make cinnamon raisin bread (sans the raisins). I rolled out a rectangle of dough, then brushed on an egg wash and sprinkled liberally with a sugar and cinnamon mixture. It was easy to roll up the dough, jelly-pan style, and place in a buttered bread pan to rest for 40 minutes.


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Right before I put it in the oven to bake, I added the extra egg wash to the top of the loaf and sprinkled a small amount of sugar. This lent it a beautiful golden crust.

I made this in the early afternoon, so by tea time it was done.

We don’t really have tea time here. I’m just messin’ with ya.


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But we did enjoy a wonderful slice of freshly baked bread with a cup of tea at approximately four in the afternoon.


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I slathered it with a little butter and served it on my favorite new plate – one I bought on sale at Anthropologie this week.

And biting into this heavenly concoction, I believe I heard the angels sing.

And I saw my husband smile.

Damn, this bread is good.


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I bought a new pair of slippers, too.

My favorite sheep slippers, ones I purchased years ago through the Garnet Hill website, had seen better days. I looked on the website, but this particular style from Haflinger was no longer available through Garnet Hill. I posted a photo of them here on this blog, back in early 2009:

Sheep slippers

Luckily, I found them available at Zappos. And even better, I had a store credit I hadn’t used yet. I love these slippers, so I took a photo of them for you. Please don’t mind my pajama pants and my dirty kitchen floor. Thank you.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Delicious October

My sisters left yesterday. Char had been here since Oct. 7 and was originally planning on just staying for about 4 days to care for George while we were away at the hospital in Baltimore. George loves Charlotte. Judy came up from Florida last Friday, after things got bad. But hey, things are so much better now.

One thing’s for sure: I could not have gotten through these past weeks without my family.

It’s raining and chilly this morning as I write this. I love October.

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I found this sunflower growing in one of the geranium planters and used a couple of textures from Shadowhouse Creations on it. They’re both very subtle, and one is a raised texture that lends the look of an oil painting.

Bokeh texture

Raised effect texture

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Pumpkins on the front porch looking cheerful in yesterday’s sunshine.

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Used a Kim Klassen texture on the photo above, although I can’t remember which specific one. Sign up for Kim’s Texture Lovin’ List, and she’ll send you a free one each week ~ she is such a generous soul.

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We found these little gourds growing around the house. I believe they came from the seeds of the decorative ones I bought last year.

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I’m actually enjoying planning and making our dinners, and my husband (and until yesterday, my sisters) is enjoying my cooking prowess. As most of you know, I rarely venture into the kitchen and it’s not because I’m unable – it’s just one of my husband’s domains. But until he can get back into the swing of things as far as meals go, we’re enjoying some of my favorite recipes.

This week, I’ve made

Roast chicken stuffed with lemon & rosemary, accompanied by roasted root vegetables and apple pie for dessert

Bangers & mash, shepherd’s pie style

Chicken & leek pot pie

Bangers & mash is an English treat, and a favorite comfort food at our house. Bangers are sausages, and the mash is mashed potatoes. Tonight I’m making Sauteed Tomato Pasta, an old favorite of my son’s that incorporates whipping cream and prosciutto into the recipe. My husband loves pasta and I’m trying to get some weight back on him. Unfortunately, I don’t need any extra poundage . . . but am loving the comfort, not only from the taste of the food but from the aroma that wafts from the kitchen to the rest of the house.

Here’s the recipe for the Chicken & leek pot pie from Tea & Sympathy, an English teashop in NYC. Found it in the pages of this week’s People Magazine, something I never buy, but Steve Jobs was on the cover.

Chicken & leek pot pie

If all continues to go well, I start back to work part-time on Monday! I am happy, so no worries there. And my husband is on the mend. Thanks for your caring words, all.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A whopper junior with cheese

I am overwhelmed at the moment . . . but it’s not because of what is happening in my life right now. It’s because my inbox is full of support, well wishes for my family, and love. And I’m finding it difficult to process all of your wonderful comments.

My husband is getting better. And this morning, we actually had a conversation and only had to resort to using sign-language once. The brain is a remarkable thing, my friends. And so is my husband.

A few scenes from last week, taken with my camera phone . . .


A section of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore where my sister, Char, and I went after visiting my husband last Friday. She forced me to have dinner and to walk around a little bit.

It did a world of good.


Although it tasted just a little bit of guilt.

We ate at Joe Squared 2 at Power Plant Live, whatever that is. I had read a review of this restaurant while at the hospital, and couldn’t get this clam & bacon pizza out of mind.

Yes, clam & bacon. And it was yummy.

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Photos of Johns Hopkins Hospital, taken from various vantage points.

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I got in trouble for taking the photo above from the Wolfe Street entrance. Don’t know why. The over-zealous security guard said that I should know why.


Taken from one of my husband’s rooms.


Taken from another room, with a view of the Wolfe Street entrance.


Taken from his final room, which is my favorite not only because you can see the water in the background, but because this view made it finally dawn on him that he was in Baltimore, at the good hospital.


Taken from my driveway, heading up the lane to bring my husband a lunch I had just bought for him.
For the past several days, he had been trying to communicate the fact that he needed to gain back some weight. He lost 12 pounds while in the hospital, and was suffering from aphasia (the inability to understand both the spoken and written word). He drew a picture and wrote 700 under it. We knew that this thing he was talking about was round and full of food and it cost either $700 or $7, and for a couple of days, it remained a mystery.

And then yesterday, we realized that he thought he should eat a whopper with cheese because they were about 700 calories. We were elated that we finally understood (and so was he, I’m sure). So I went out to the local Burger Kill (that’s what he’s always called it), bought the sandwich, a large fries, and a vanilla milkshake for his lunch.

And he gained 2 pounds.

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Please don’t think it’s sad here at my house. I am happy. My husband is doing well. The only thing that makes me sad is that my sisters are leaving today. But the sun is shining, my husband is smiling (and busy), and life goes on.

Now, this post was a mouthful, wasn’t it?!!

Much love,
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