February 27, 2015

New Boots

The old ones were perfect, perfect, perfect.  Like old friends. But a decade of love couldn't save the disintegrating soles - even the cobbler wouldn't touch them.

And so with a growing level of trepidation, mixed with a weird sense of hope that I'd find something that fit, I walked into REI with my gift certificates in hand.  I apologized ahead of time that I was a hard fit, and still they smiled. Yes sir, I tried on almost every pair in their inventory, in a variety of sizes and widths, with multiple socks of different thicknesses, and there I was sitting amongst a mountain of boxes demonstrating to the entire world that I had officially become a Princess. (WHERE ARE THE SHOES THAT FEEL GOOD??! For that matter, where are the clothes that make me look good? It seems to be a common theme these days, and I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with my age...)

No comfort.  No boots.  It was a sad moment.

And then the third staffer showed up.  She had just the ticket.

I am now the proud owner of a new pair of Salomons. They are wonderful and comfortable and breaking in nicely and stable as all get-out.  AND they are hot pink.

February 26, 2015

Blue Lupine

Spring has definitely arrived early here, and the lupine has popped out!

It was a lovely gift last summer...and now it brings another smile as it comes alive again. This year we will transplant it in the woods, under the cool shade of the alder trees.  And the little bird?  It will stay put and enjoy some new petunias!

February 17, 2015

Refugee Resettlement, Part II: Bringing Food

We, being good Americans, arrived at their apartment bearing food.  Not only food, but hot, delicious food...macaroni and cheese, Waldorf salad, and fresh oranges.

They, being good Middle Easterners, greeted us at the door working under an entirely different set of customs, where guests never insult their hosts by bringing any part of the main meal.  This would insinuate they are unable to provide for their guests.

So there on the counter was the dinner they prepared...stuffed onions and cabbage, "salads," and a pudding dessert.

Yup, it was awkward.

Fortunately, we talked.  Then we laughed a little. Then we talked some more. Then we finally shared a good laugh!

We will be going to their place again. But he gave the invitation and she quietly smiled and said, "We'll cook the food."

February 16, 2015

Better Than Chocolate Diamonds

You know he's a keeper when...

...he goes with you downtown while you get your hair cut.
...he waits until you're done.
...he opens your car door.
...he surprises you with a red rose.
...he shares a good laugh with you.
...he holds your hand.
...he takes you to a French bakery for dinner and dessert.
...he enjoys a 7-mile hike together the next day.
...he walks your pace so you aren't always behind.
...he drives so you can sleep on the way home.
...he lets you take the first shower.
...he's happy to be home again.  With you.

February 13, 2015

Almost Valentine's


Did you remember it's almost Valentine's Day?  
Have you turned our eggs into any tasty treats?
Do you have any leftovers for us? 

Baaaaaaauck! Baaaaaaauck!

February 12, 2015

Birthday Cuties

It's not every day a coworker turns 50.

(And may I just interject that it's hard to really feel how many 50 is until you've bought, wrapped, tied, and hung that many of anything.)

Let the celebration begin!

February 11, 2015


I honestly have no memory of where these came from several months ago, but I sure enjoyed seeing them in my photo file!  Nothing like a bit of cheer in the window.  =)

February 9, 2015

Paris Tea

Ahhhh... Tea and Paris.

Life is good.

February 4, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese

Tell me this isn't the ultimate comfort food! OK, brownies are right up there, too, but in terms of food, it has to be at the top of the list! And this mac 'n cheese dish will make you close your eyes in joy, especially after a bite of the crispy edge part.

We packed up this dish to share together with friends, and the delay allowed me a rare moment to grab the camera.  Are you so impressed that I actually have something to show you, and not just another empty dish of remnants??!  Honestly, stuff around here is gone in a second.  I've learned to take that as a compliment.  =)

Macaroni and Cheese
1 c. cottage cheese
2 c. milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
A large pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb sharp Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 lb uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
dried tomatoes

Place cottage cheese and milk in food processor and pulse until smooth.  Pour mixture into large bowl and add mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper, cheese, and pasta.  For an flavor punch (and nutritional boost), add in a handful or two of mushrooms, onions, and dried tomatoes sautéed and nicely browned in olive oil.

Pour mixture into 9x13" glass dish.  Bake @ 375°, 30 minutes covered, then 30 minutes uncovered.

*Consider mixing in a small handful of another white cheese, such as Jarlsberg.  Just make sure the total amount of cheese is 1 pound.
*Use a food scale!  It makes a difference and is worth the effort.  Don't guess.
*Don't be tempted to add more noodles.  This recipe starts out pretty soupy.
*Use white noodles.  It's a rare treat, so get over the guilt of not using whole wheat or quinoa.  Enjoy!
*If you're lucky enough to have leftovers, this is as good the 2nd day.

February 3, 2015


See that trail of dirt from the tub right to her feet?  Miss Henrietta was caught in the act, messing with my pot of strawberry plants.

I reminded her it's a good thing she lays eggs.  =)

February 2, 2015

Butternut Squash

Always extra work to cut.  And always worth the effort.

And look at that moisture beading up!  If only I had time to make some squash bread...some soft goodness...the kind that leaves you with a few sweet, sticky crumbs on your fingers...

For tonight, this squash gets turned into a wonderful pan of crisp, roasted vegetables.