Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spring Preview

Thought you might be in need of a little "Spring Preview". Tired of Winter, snow and ice? These ARE grocery store bulbs, but who cares? Sometimes we need a little indulgence and pick-me-up. Flowers are always a great photo op and this way we can all enjoy the visual blessing. Notice that there is snow beneath some of them. But take heart, Spring is just around the corner. (I think, I hope... always :) Don't you just love Parrot Tulips? I think they are extraordinary!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

De Kat- The Cat , Mama and Alzheimer's Disease

My Mama has the dreaded disease called Alzheimer's. Everyone that loves someone with Alzheimer's has the dreaded disease called Alzheimer's. What I mean by that, is you can not help but be profoundly effected if your loved one has this disease. That is true of any disease, you might argue. Its not that you are not effected if your loved one has cancer or any other disease, fatal or otherwise. So true, and I'm not here to argue about what is the worst, because there is so much out there. So much sickness and sadness and hurt and loss. We are a dying planet after all and we start to age and die, I've heard people say, from the day we are born. But what is so terrible about this Alzheimer's, is that the person dies, that person you knew and loved and had a relationship with, before their body does, and all they were is gone, except for their body. Its a very strange and sad thing to watch the person you knew your whole life, say and do things totally uncharacteristic of their personality. Little by little, its gets worse and worse, until say, this person you always knew and loved , is angry all the time or sad or weepy or steals things or even possibly curses. ( Mom never did the later). Until, one day, there is nothing left that even resembles your former loved one, and then the body starts to wither away also. OK, I'm sure I'm depressing you by now and you are wondering about the title of this post. This is the good part. Once in a while, a window of that former person opens just a crack, and it is like the sun streaming through. What joy it brings me when this happens! Its not like "The Notebook", where someone could read to you and this would happen on a daily basis. In fact, this has only happened twice to me in about a years time , and today was one of those days. One of those days when you get a tiny peek and know that deep down inside, somewhere, your loved one is still in there! I will tell you about last Summer another time. Today, I want to tell you about , De Kat. We have a little teacup Maltipoo named Lexi. My Mom lived with us for a short time a couple of years ago when Lexi was just a puppy. She naughtily feed Lexi under the table and because Lexi is only about 5 pounds, my Mom did not seem to get that she was a dog, but called her, The Cat. It did not matter how many times I reminded her that, she was indeed ,a dog, she didn't get it. Mom was still speaking then, a little, and she had reverted back back to her native language, Dutch. Anyway, Mom and De Kat were mutually crazy about each other. I have brought Lexi to visit mom before, but there seemed to be no rememberance , so she had not been in a long time. Now realize that my Mom has not spoken more than a handful of words in a year. She jabbers, but nothing usually comes out. Today, when I brought Lexi, they wheeled Mom away from the table and she seemed very agitated that she was not going to get to eat. She fussed and fussed in her gibberish as I placed Lexi on her lap and she did not even seem to notice for a few minutes. Then, her face lit up and she said, she SAID- De Kat. The cat. Her face continued to beam and she looked up at the nurse like she was trying to explain. And for that moment, the window opened and her light shone through again and I can not tell you what joy those two little words brought me! My Mama is still there, somewhere deep inside... I love you Mama and you made me so happy today. Now, I'm crying, but I can't wait so see you again, tomorrow. And mostly, I can't wait to see you up in heaven, where you will be whole and happy again and healed, forever!

My Mama is the little black haired beauty at about 2 years of age

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiting Room

Waiting Room

Waiting Room...

The waiting room. The hospital, Dr's office, maternity ward, car repair shop, the line at the grocery store, business appointment...Life!
Waiting , waiting , waiting! Don't we all just hate it? Yet, how often it is necessary in this life! I'm waiting right now in a very nice surgical waiting "lobby". My Hubby is having shoulder surgery and it got me thinking about all the times in my life that I've waited in a situation like this. Twenty-three times, I've counted, just off the top of my head. And that's just immediate family members and my Mom. That covers everything from tongue clipping( I know it's gross, two of our kids were tongue tied, and they are making up for it now in their talking!), to broken bones, pins, major knee graft surgery, to heart surgery. This doesn't even count the times we've waited or visited extended family and friends. But I'm getting better at this waiting thing, less anxiety, more patience, more trust. Many years ago my hubby fell and had a very serious head injury. I remember being so very tired and wondering if we would ever be ok again. How do I get through this Lord? I need your strength. And immediately He put this verse in my head... Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:30-31
 The word "wait" is also translated "hope" in the Greek- To hope in; to hope for, wait for, look for. How appropriate. Waiting and hoping. Hoping and waiting...inevitable in this waiting room of life...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tomato Tribute

When a picture is NOT worth a thousand words...
Sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words, contrary to the popular saying. Not because of its quality, or color or or the feeling it gives you, but because for you, there is so much more behind that picture than a thousand words or more could represent. Because , that one picture expresses so much feeling to you, holds memories or represents a much larger story, than what someone else would feel or get from it who didn't know what it was about... I love photography, adore it even, probably drive my family crazy with it, I always have my camera, am always taking pictures of things they just don't get...not again Mom! What is she taking pictures of now?! And the feeling one gets when they look at my pictures is very important to me. Because, a photograph CAN express great feeling...but, when you look at this picture, you probably just see a tomato. Pretty, colorful, even delicious looking . Maybe you like the composition, or think about all the great dishes you could make with tomatoes as lucious as these.
But when I see this picture, it makes me think of my Brother-in-law. He passed away right before Christmas in a accident. A seemingly tiny, impossible little accident. This adventurous man who flew airplanes, raced cars, went to Haiti every month for a week, passed away on his own driveway. He was the most generous man that I knew, funny, brillant, owner of an enormous business, an inventor, a family man...In addition to all things , he loved to grow tomatoes. I think because he loved to GIVE away tomatoes. They were the best, the biggest, the most beautiful, because that is how he did things. Bigger, better, more extravagent: Tom. His children and wife have decided to send each family ( and we are huge, believe me), a box of his beautiful tomatoes each month until the last of the crop he planted stops producing. So thoughtful, classy and generous . So, for a little while we will keep enjoying his gifts, and forever we will remember who he was, thankful that we knew him. And with these few words, I have tried to give you a very small picture of him, but then sometimes too, as with a photograph, words are inadequate to describe...
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hey! Sending you a virtual Valentine's Day message! Hope you day was healthy, happy and filled with chocolate!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Afternoon snack-Another tease-Come back tomorrow for info...

Ok, the butter is an over kill, I agree. But it was my afternoon snack, and I had a mug of milk with it and cheese, for protein. That cancels out the butter, right?
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Love

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Food Memories, Part Two-Going Bananas!

...The only fruit I can ever remember eating as a child was bananas! OK, once I had an orange straight off the tree in a California orchard and I thought it was incredable. But other than that, it was, you guessed it, bananas, bananas, and more bannanas! It sounds like that old and very much used knock-knock joke. Aren't you glad I didn't say...Ba. No! I'm not going to say it! There seemed to be only two fruit choices in our home (that I remember anyway), yellow apples and b... For some reason I hated the color and texture of those apples. Now does that make ANY sense to you , seeing as they are the same color as b... It wasn't till I was married and buying my own apples-big red ones, that I even started to like them. Back to the choices...Did I mention that I have ADD? Tends to make me veer off the subject...I had wonderful parents, very hard working Dutch immigrants who came here in the sixties, but my Mom was not much of a cook. Sorry Mom, she had many, many other fine qualities, but cooking was not one of them. Anyway I guess variety of fruits and nutrition was not a big concern. Another time I will tell you about the chocolate or jelly sandwiches I almost always found in my lunch box. Yes, chocolate sandwiches! You are beginning to understand me a little now I think. :)

Biltmore House

This is one of my favorite places. Beautiful, majestic, incredible Biltmore House. This is true of the entire property. The whole place is magical to me. Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of photographing a wedding on this property. This was a Photography dream come true for me! I am posting this picture in honor of finishing that job. ( Just have to burn CD's yet) Yeah!!! May I sing the Hallelujah chorus?? I will post on Biltmore House again and show you some of my favorite pics , places and tell you why I love it so much. For now though, I have some singing to do...
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Follow Your Dreams...Dreams Will Follow...

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Follow Your Dreams, Dreams Will Follow...

Follow Your Dreams
Dreams will Follow

The more you Dream
The more they'll explode

So follow your Dreams
Down the road

Around the corner
Another turn

Before you know it
See what you've learned

Let your heart keep hoping
Your mind keep yearning

The ideas keep coming
With an artistic churning

Before you know it
What will be, will be

And your Dreams aren't just
Dreams, anymore


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gerber Favorite Flower pic, because I don't have a picture of Nasi Goreng for you :)

Food Memories

Date: Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:13 PM
Subject: Food Memories

Isn't it interesting how a certain food , probably something you've had many times before, is able to trigger a memory , or an entire string of food memories? I had such an experience today. I was eating a banana , just a regular old banana... Ok, it was on top of Nasi Goreng. Nasi what? Nasi Goreng, a spicy, delicious Indonesian fried rice dish. My parents were Dutch, the Dutch occupied the Indonesian islands for a time ( I am NOT going to give a history lesson, I'm supposed to be talking about bananas! ) , anyway, this wonderful dish is something the Dutch brought home with them and is very well loved in The Netherlands. So, today for lunch I was enjoying this extraordinary dish. We top ours with peanut sauce and bananas. I love toasted coconut on top too, but was out of that. In Holland , you can experience what they call- Rijs Taffel. There are about 20 plus dishes included with Nasi Goreng, among them my very favorite, krupuk, ( I have found 5 spellings for this, no kidding) fried shrimp chips. Now I'm really confusing you, I'm sure. Let me get this straight, you're thinking, spicy fried rice, bananas, coconut, peanut sauce AND shrimp chips? Yes, and that's just the beginning! Anyway, trust me, it's fabulous! So, it wasn't any of this that triggered the memory, but the bananas. I think I've mentioned that fruit about five times already and this post is getting too long. Maybe I'll just leave you with your mouth watering and finish the memory later...

Friday, February 5, 2010

French Toast photos and "how tos" :)

Start with your "Farm fresh" eggs, if you have any. I use one egg per serving and use a one to one ratio of milk to eggs. I had a pinch of salt, splash of vanilla, lots of cinnamon, about 2 tsp, and about a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. Add 1 T. sugar or honey and beat with a fork. dip the bread lightly but throughly. You want it well soaked, but not so much that it falls apart when you pull it out. Melt butter in the pan and brown the bread on one side, it only takes a couple of minutes. Flip and pop into the oven ( I use the 450) for a few minutes and let it puff up. Pull it out and generously butter and cover with syrup. For the photo, I added banana and mini chocolate chips which I usually reserve only for waffles, but it was delicious!

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French Toast Crazy!

I have this thing about French toast lately! That gooey, crunchy,warm, sweet goodness melting in your mouth. Do you ever crave a certain food over and over for no apparent reason? I mean, other than its delicious and readily available. Well, of late, for me its French Toast. Everything is ok in moderation, I believe.  I always and only use whole wheat bread, try to use my "farm fresh" eggs and anything organic I can get, such as vanilla and cinnamon. So, I'm not the kind of follow- a- recipe -to -the -letter type of cook. In fact, I don't really use recipes at all, just methods. (Except when baking, and even then I fiddle with things :0) So why, are you asking, am I sharing something that there is not an exact science to? Just to inspire you to greater and more delicious levels of French Toast! Hope you try it and enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

French Toast Tease

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Another Macro Tease

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Snow Lining

Even though Hubby stopped TWICE for me to snap pictures yesterday,(which is truly a miracle), my favorite of the day happened when I glanced over my shoulder and saw these frozen mountain tops. I frantically turned on my camera, opened the window and snapped this puppy at 65 miles per hour.I know it was 65 miles per hour, because that is the speed limit and he does NOT speed. Anyway, its funny how we can have things all figured out, all planned, staged even, and then the spontaneous is what turns out to be our best. That real smile, the joy or love shining through, the weed on the side of the road, the rainstorm...the favorite photo with the snow lining...

"Over the Mountain" view

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oh,I can't leave you without a photo. I feel cruel . So heres a little sneak peek

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Over the Mountain and through the woods...

So I have to make a quick trip to Tennessee today and was just dreading the drive, when I remembered that we have to go over the mountains, and we had just had snow and, and ... you see where I'm going... Photo OP! I hope . Now I just need to convince Hubby to stop for , say just , 5 minutes and I can take 100 pics!! See everything has a silver lining, or at least bronze, or snow covered! I was also testing my mobile uploading capabilities, for emergencies such as this, being away from the computer for so long and all. :) So if there is a really bad quality uploaded pic, you will know why...Or I'll erase it before you ever see it. Maybe I'll have a photo or two to share with you tonight... Otherwise, tomorrow, it will be French Toast and Fun with Macros...Have a blessed day...

Monday, February 1, 2010

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Isn't Life Like That?

Isn't Life Like That?
You plan. You write lists. You INTEND on getting 1,2,3 and 4 accomplished, but then, LIFE, real life, folds out in your day and you just have to go along with it. I don't mean this in a negative sense. Sometimes it IS negative, but I mean it more in the sense that what needs to come first will, and you can't stop it. If you are anything like me, I always have much more on those lists than I can realistically accomplish in a day. But I write them anyway, and strive to cross off as many as I can. ( By the way, today I had 8 items ). I'm not a perfectionist or anything ,(except where it comes to something artistic!..which is another post, entirely ). It just helps me have goals, keep on task and mostly, remember what I need to do! But today a friend needed me, a dear friend and that was much more important than any list! Then, and this is so ironic ( because life is like that too!), my Hubby had to have an unexpected MRI. The irony is, he was talking to his brother just last night about how much they both hated MRIs and never wanted to have one again. He actually said, I would rather die than have another one. But this morning his Dr said he needed one because his shoulder was not healing and low and behold they called hours later and said- You have an MRI in 45 minutes. No way. Have you ever heard of anyone getting into an MRI so quickly? Soooo, that was my day, and it was ok... I was chomping at the bit to take just a few pics and at the very last few minutes of light,( my son needed me to take him to the gym), I grabbed my camera, of course, and was able to take a few fun shots of some horses on the way home...Which I will post...By the way, I was able to cross off 2 of my items and made 1 of my 3 phone calls and as soon I I upload this , I can cross off one-more-thing... :) Because, isn't LIFE like that?

Shadow "Portraits"...I promise I was NOT wearing MC Hammer pants! :)

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Promised Snow Pics...Night Snow Glow

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