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The Colors of January

8 Jan

Spring has tulips and cherry blossoms, Summer has sunflowers and petunias, Fall has goldenredburgundy leaves.  And winter?  Christmasy reds and greens, crystalline white snow and crisp blue skies.

Every January, I clear my house of the cozy green and red of Christmas and replace it with crisp and clean blue and white.  Always displayed on my hutch, is the bridal “china” my Mom insisted I have.  I had my choice of patterns (within monetary reason) and selected one that sang to my Scandinavian side.  One that my Danish Great-Aunt would have loved.  It’s a stoneware rather than china; far more practical and definitely used more often because of it.  Made by Franciscan, the pattern is called Denmark.  I’m so grateful for this reminder of Mom and my heritage.

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The fresh colors of January.

 

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What is it About January?

6 Jan

It started snowing in December, and the snow is still on the ground.  Crunchy, glittery, fresh-looking.  Perfect for the holidays.  Foggy mornings leaving hoar-frosted boughs when the sun peeks out.

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But brrrrrrr!  It’s January and I’m over it.  I’m tired of being cold and  ready for a whole round of new.  What is it about January that creates the mind-set for newness?  Is it as simple as a pristine calendar, eagerly awaiting appointments and travel plans?  Is it how bare my house looks when Christmas decorations are finally stored in their boxes? (Hasn’t happened yet….maybe next weekend after Mr18 heads back to college.)  Is it ingrained in our society, the talk of New Year’s resolutions?  I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, because I’m so there.  Ready to open the door to new.  Ready to try on who I will be as a result of the new.  Committed to a new life-style change.

Michael and I have decided to go vegan.  And fat-free.  This is huge for people who love food as much as we do.  We’re not obese, but could stand to lose a pound or two or ten.  We’re not out of shape.  Not completely.  Well, we’re not marathon-ready anymore.  We eat reasonably healthy, but our cholesterol could be a lot lower.

Our neighbors have been on a diet based on Dr. Caldwell Esselsyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, for a year.  They have lost weight, they feel great and have more energy.  Michael has a history of heart disease in his family and wants to do anything he can to not be a heart attack waiting to happen.

I must confess to a fair amount of reluctance.  When I’ve gone for days cooking nothing but vegetables for dinner, Michael hasn’t been happy about it.  He’s not a big-time carnivore, but he loves chicken.  I was dreading cooking that way all the time AND not being able to add in cheese or dairy of any sort besides.  I was raised to make people happy with food.  I was also reluctant because I love eggs and dairy.  Waaaaaah.  I want an egg over-easy.  An omelette.  A baked brie.  Sour cream on my baked potato.

After my initial reluctance, and reading a kinder, gentler, less gloom-and-doom version of the diet (The Engine 2 Diet by Dr. Esselsyn’s son, Rip), I’m coming along for the ride.  My new challenge is to get the flavors and textures I love without some of my favorite ingredients.  How I love ham hocks in potato soup, sigh.  After just a few days, I’m liking it.  I get to have most of my carb-y friends, like potatoes, rice and bread.  Dinner isn’t dependent on what meat is thawed.  My fat-free version of potato soup is in the crock pot and smells promising, thanks to a new secret weapon–Hickory Grill Shaker.

Our new treadmill is assembled and waiting for me to go for a walk that will eventually be a run as I try on the new and improved me.  I’ll let you know how it goes; you can follow the vegan recipes on my food blog, Somethin’ Yummy.  Might be treating ourselves to a binge now and then as goals are met.  Not giving up coffee, though.

 

A fresh cuppa

30 Jul

So.  Just when I thought I was retired…..well, technically, I am still….I find myself starting a new job.  Really, the perfect new job–barista!  AND, even more perfect–barista at my favorite coffee shop–The Coffee Studio

So, all the times I’ve been in the shop and ordered whatever my little heart desired and had it served up in a super speedy way, I never knew ALL the steps to creating that perfect cuppa.  Yup, I’m learning A. LOT. 

Like what makes a perfectly pulled shot of espresso.  The subtle nuances of a single origin coffee as opposed to the balance of a blend.  The differences between such (exotic to me) things as Americano, depth charge, steamer.  The real difference between a latte and a cappucino.  Lots and lots to remember, but great people to work for and a fun place to be….even at 6:45 (!) in the morning…….yeah, even then.  Hoping this old dog can learn the new tricks fast enough to not piss off any customers.  I’ve added the Desert Sun Roasters (one of the roasters that supplies the Studio) coffee talk blog, slurp, to my blog roll.  Lots of great coffee factoids for the curious and those who take their cuppa seriously!  Check it out!

I’m a bit apprehensive about mastering this barista thing quickly enough, but keeping my mind this busy (and caffeinated!) has to be a good thing.  No sitting around on the couch while my coffee gets cold for me!  I’m off to get a fresh cuppa!

Immersion

7 Jun

Right now I’m sitting on my front porch with my laptop…and Mr. 15–who chose to be out here with me–I’m a lucky mom!  It’s a lovely evening.  The triple-digit heat of today has been swallowed by the evening.  A thunderstorm and its lightning lurks just north of here.  Mr. 15 is flicking bugs attracted to the light of my screen so I can see what I’m doing.  Crickets and night birds are singing in one ear, and Pendulum’s new album: Immersion is playing in my other ear.  Mr. 15 and I are sharing his iPod.  He has immersed me in a fabulous variety of music I would never think to listen to, and has a great feel for what I’ll like.  I love this connection with him.  His iPod holds thrash metal, ska, pop, concert and marching band selections, and more–some of which he doesn’t share because he knows I won’t like it.  We have an entire summer stretching out in front of us for more evenings on the porch and ice cream on hot afternoons, and granola for breakfast.  Ahhhhh…immersed in summer!