Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Friday

one from the archives



Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Blooms

A friend gave me this hydrangea plant as a housewarming gift ten years ago. The nursery tag attached read, "will never turn blue." I read it as a warning, like, "don't worry, this won't turn blue." I thought that was odd, because in my limited gardening experience at the time, I thought everyone wanted blue hydrangeas, so turning blue would be a good thing. After thinking for a minute, I realized it meant, "don't try everything you've ever heard of to turn this hydrangea blue, 'cause it ain't gonna happen."

I planted it in the front of the house, in a protected spot (which the tag said it needed), but it didn't bloom at all the first couple years. I decided it wasn't a sunny enough spot, so I transplanted it. That first year after moving it, I got one very pale pinkish white blossom, and congratulated myself on doing the right thing. The next year: no blooms. The year after that, one. So I decided to give this plant some space (ie, I kinda ignored it). With one exception: I had read that plants like coffee, so I started dumping my coffee grounds in the garden, alternating between the rose bush and the hydrangea. Year after year, no blooms, and the plant only grew a little (caffeine stunting it's growth?!?). Then, with help, I pruned the forsythia and lilac nearby to give the hydrangea more room. The plant seemed happy. Finally, this year, three flowers. I guess you'd call them purple, but they're almost blue.

Somehow, this is a parable for my life right now.
Still not quite sure what it means...

And even though this song doesn't have much to do with it, I'm very susceptible to earworms, and have given myself one (I share).


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lavender Shortbread with Lemon Glaze and Sea Salt

(scroll down for recipe)

Lavender Shortbread with Lemon Glaze and Sea Salt
California Style

One of the big successes this summer in California was an idea Grandma suggested. A tea party (no relation to the political fiasco of the same name). Grandma's idea was that we would each make some kind of sandwich and dessert for a party. We would dress up like fancy ladies. The girls would make place cards. She would make tea. Party!

Part of what made it a success was that it was in Grandma's kitchen. I confess that I have a tough time being loose in the kitchen at home with the girls. Always in the back of my mind is the clean up that follows any messes. With two adults versus two kids this time, I felt like we had a chance.

So bring on the watermelon-marshmallow sandwiches, blueberry-onion-sour-cream sandwiches, egg salad on toast points, and brie on crackers with horseradish-cranberry relish. For dessert, lemon tartlettes with caramel sauce, chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream and raspberries, rice krispie treats, brownies, and lavender shortbread with lemon glaze and sea salt.

My original dessert idea was rosemary shortbread, but when I went out in the yard to cut some rosemary from my mom's plant that is so huge it's really a bush, I saw she also had a lot of lavender, so I chose that instead. Her lavender had very lovely flowers, so I topped the shortbread with the little petals. The glaze I made then was only semi-successful--I tried heating sugar and lemon juice in the microwave (Hey, what can I say? It was a last-minute inspiration). Since then, I have used powdered sugar for the glaze.

Lavender Shortbread

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TBL chopped lavender (I used 2 TBLs in Cali--it was a little much, but 1 TBL isn't enough.)
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 TBL honey
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350°

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender. In a separate bowl, cream butter, honey, and powdered sugar. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, a little at a time. Gather up dough onto floured board. Roll. Cut. I've used a butter knife to cut rectangles and I've also used a small glass to cut circles. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake. For baking at home, I actually baked them on 350° for 5 minutes. Then turned the oven down to 300° and used the convection fan for another 5+ minutes, until lightly brown. Cool. Glaze. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Lemon Glaze

(+/-) 2/3 cup powdered sugar
(+/-) 2 TBL lemon juice
(+/-) 1 tsp lemon zest (I used the zest from one whole lemon)

Mix. Try not to eat all of it while waiting for the shortbread to cool.

I made a batch yesterday and there was a little dough leftover, so I rolled it in wax paper and stuck it in the fridge. This morning I just sliced it and baked it. Not very pretty, but oh-so-delicious!

Lavender Shortbread for Breakfast


Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Yufi in Our Town

We spent most of this past summer driving across country, hanging out with my folks in California, and driving home. We were lucky enough to be able to rent a minivan (Thanks, Grandpa!), so we could camp most of the nights across.

The minivan's license plate had the letters YUF, so we called it "Yufi." We became quite attached to our temporary second home, and were sad to say goodbye and give it back.

Yesterday, walking to school, the 8yo and I saw Yufi parked in town. We were unreasonably thrilled. I snapped a few pics to show the 11yo, who missed it because she was already at middle school.

Below are some Yufi pics from our trip.

Yufi in Empire, Colorado

Yufi camping in Yosemite (with cool lace curtains for bug netting that Grandma made)

Yufi camping in one of my favorite places on the trip, the Grand Tetons
(no need for curtains that night -- the temps dropped into the 30s, so we kept the windows closed!)

Oh, the spirit of adventure!

I hope whoever was driving Yufi yesterday had a good trip.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Musical Interlude

My beautiful friends have made a charming video of their wonderful song.



Monday, September 12, 2011


Even though September has been challenging (so far)

Not actually drinking the stuff

Just think this is a pretty picture.


original photograph found here (altered by yours truly)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Man on Wire

I can't imagine plotting for months, years, to string a wire between two towers, planning to cross the wire more than thirteen hundred feet above the ground. I can't imagine the feeling of taking that first step off the building and onto the wire (let alone what it must have been like to lay down on the wire way up there as the wind blew it around, and birds flew above and below).

When I look at pictures of Philippe Petit up on that wire, my shins ache.

I wonder if his legs still have the sense memory of being up there.

Update: Watch this! (h/t marian)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Snark Fail

This reminds me of a few people I know.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

From my friend, Gummo:

Anti-union people who take weekends off are pure hypocrites.

Anti-union people who work less than 12-14 hours a day are pure hypocrites.

Anti-union people who don't send their prepubescent children out to work for 12-14 hours a day are pure hypocrites.

Anti-union people who work in safe environments, with access to fire doors, with decent ventilation, with grievance procedures and any shred of job security are pure hypocrites.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Friday

Even though summer is officially over since the girls started back to school yesterday, it was quite a doozy of a week getting them ready. So still light posting from me here. Hopefully I'll get back to blogging regularly (whatever that means) next week.

Have a lovely, hopefully long, weekend.