Sunday, August 29, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I slogged though the book, loving the Italian eating (who wouldn't?), finding the praying part "meh" and the loving section in Bali just seemed too weird to be believed and the whole book was overshadowed by Liz's incredible self absorbed whininess.

But I found the movie very good, the 2 plus hours flew by.  Julia Roberts was good as usual, though I'm beginning to assign many of her expressions to other movies, as in "Oh look, she's playing the Runaway Bride," and in the scene where's she's having it out with Philippe she reminded me too much of the berserk Jean in the X-Men movie, right before she dissolved Xavier.

Again, I loved the Italian section, loved the people and the food but this time I like the praying section as they shortened up quite a bit of useless "I can't" wailing and made the Texan even better than he was in the book.  I was leaking tears all over when he told her his story and loved the part about forgiving yourself.  Then they automatically made the third part best by having Javier Bardem as the sexy Brazilian, holy s**t!

Interestingly, both Julia and Javier are fascinating to watch.  Neither have great features but they both swing from amazingly ugly to astonishingly beautiful in a second, making it hard to take your eyes off them.

Other than that it was a general clean-up day, the kitchen had a hangover from yesterday's wretched excess.  I did find these pics of Kirsten and me in San Francisco in March.

Love SF, loved living there and love to visit again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hanging out in the kitchen

Yesterday I stopped at a farm stand outside of Marysville and picked up corn, peaches (3 different kinds), nectarines a couple of tomatoes and a melon.

This morning I hit the growers market in Grass Valley and bought some basil, small pear tomatoes, red bell peppers, a sour dough baguette and some pomegranite syrup.

Then I cruised by the supermarket for some coconut milk.  You gotta love this place, they had a huge shipment of New Mexican Green Chiles and they were roasting them outside, the aroma was amazing.  Of course I bought a big plastic zip lock bag filled with warm, black, roasted chiles.  I figure that if I can't find anything to put them in I'll just dump them on the floor and roll in them, they smell that good.

Back at the treehouse I got a batch of Moroccan Chickpea Stew going, cleaned off a few of the peppers and added them to that along with vege stock, garlic, sweet potato, fire-roasted tomatoes, chickpeas, red bell pepper, lime juice, green curry paste and a can of coconut milk.  While that burbled away I finished cleaning the rest of the peppers, chopped them and stuck them in the freezer, later I'll add them to soups and whatnot.

Then I made an lovely salad of orzo, basil, tomatoes, corn left over from last night's dinner, red onion, balsamic vinegar and some olive oil with various spices.  The crunch of the onion, the sweet corn and the sublime basil smell and taste make this one of my favorite salads.

Meanwhile I'm boiling and peeling peaches and dumped them all into my biggest bowl with a handful of sugar and a dump of lemon juice.  I had an idea to make some little personal pies so I made some pie dough and rolled out little rounds and put them in my favorite Ziploc round plastic containers.  Then I added some more sugar to the peaches along with a bit of flour and poured some in each container, rolled out a top crust, sealed it up and tossed them in the freezer.

For dinner I added some swiss chard and a little kale to my stew and had a bowl of that with the sour dough bread and some orzo/basil salad and a glass of Lucchesi's Sauvignon Blanc which is so crisp and flinty it held up very well to all those veges.

I wanted to try one of my mini peach pies to see if it would work so I let them freeze for a couple hours to set up a little and then made a triple layer aluminum foil mini pan, popped the pie out of it's plastic holder and put it in the foil, baked it for 40 minutes until bubbly.

Holy Cow!  It's great!  Half was just enough for a small dessert and I saved the other half for breakfast.

All in all a good day.  Except for the mess in the kitchen.  I love to cook.  I dislike clean-up. Oh well...

Next project will be a huge pot of Giada's Marinara Sauce.  My freezer is looking pretty good.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jig - Friday

Our little motel and the beach in front of it.
The trip up the mountain is not quite as bad as down, thankfully. What a difference from two days ago when the temps in the valley between Grass Valley and Fort Bragg were 100-108 degrees, today they were in the 80's.  

It was a soul satisfying couple of days.  I love being near water of any sort and the ocean blisses me out.  Strangely it also terrifies me, the thought of boarding a fishing boat and heading out gives me the willies, so I'm content to wiggle my toes in the surf and watch the crashing waves.  

So back to my mountain lair, already planning my next trip.  Stopped at a roadside stand for a big mess of peaches, sweet corn and a melon, more jam tomorrow.


Glass Beach - Thursday

You would think that having a motel room on a public walkway at the beach would make for a noisy night.  Nope.  It closes at 10 pm and with the fog rolling in thick it's pretty cool anyway (50's) so it was a lovely sleep.  We got up early and headed out to Glass Beach and then downtown Fort Bragg.

Sometimes stupid things result in something quite intriguing.  In the 1940's residents turned this area into a public dump and for almost 30 years it conitinued until about 1967 when the dump was closed and relocated elsewhere and much of the obvious junk was removed.  However, the glass has been continuously washed and pounded and now covers whole sections of the beach.  There are still parts of cars imbedded in the rocks and a couple places looked a bit funky and scary but overall the beach is magical.

A close-up of the glass.

We continued walking to downtown and had a nice cup of coffee and a muffin outside a very nice coffeehouse, wish they would have had an outside dog friendly eating place, oh well.  I couldn't resist a couple of flower pics, this white flower smelled so sweet and was almost as big as my hand.
It was a great day!  We rested a bit and then drove over to the dog beach in Noyo Harbor and later went cliff walking.  Later we just sat outside and enjoyed the glitter of the sun on the ocean, at least I did.

Running from the heat - Wednesday

When the temperature reached almost 100 degrees before 10 am I thought and thought and finally said, "F**k it, I'm going to the beach."

The Beachcomber Motel in Fort Bragg had room for me and the boys so we packed up and headed out by noon.  The trip was a relatively easy 200 miles except for final 33 miles of scary, twisty, turny complete with an encounter with a deranged mountain fellow who clearly needed to take his meds.

This made it worth the ride.
The view outside our room and shortly after that we hit the beach:
Play first and then some much needed food.  Silver's on the Wharf in Noyo Harbor allows dogs on their wonderful outside patio.  This line fished King Salmon on a bed of sweet corn was fabulous.
Doesn't get much better than that.  And it's cool and the fog is rolling in and my sweatshirt feels ever so good.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Loving, leaving, grieving, forgiveness, loving again...

Or why am I crying because I can't get the picture to hang straight?

Grief is loss, it's losing something or someone.  Think about it, if we get sick we've lost our independence and our sense of wholeness, we may mourn a breast or our ability to experience life as we've known it and we may face losing our own life.  If we experience a death we've lost connection to that person and their love.  If we divorce we've lost our lover, our friend, our confidant, our history, our financial security, and our reason to bitch.

I don't think you can really know someone until you see them grieve.  Oh, you may think you know them, you have lunch and discuss your various friends, husbands and children.  You laugh at their jokes and cheer their successes and secretly find them a bit needy or annoying or full of themselves.  Then one day you get lucky and find yourself with someone experiencing deepest grief.  Lucky?  I don't mean lucky as if you've won front row seats to a real tear jerker, but lucky in that you are privileged to see a person stripped down to their core.  Here you get a chance to see the real person and to test your mettle in the face of their grief.  Can you stand and let it wash over you without flinching?  Or do you run from it?   What if the person grieving is yourself?

I can't write publicly about my own experience because I still love and respect the man I left.  But somewhere along the line I've decided to love myself more and to wade into my grief and let it wash over me.  I'm grieving for so many things, my old life, my friends, my stuff, my flower gardens and so on.  And while it is difficult to start a new life, it's so much better than being in the same town.

I will honor my grief, knowing that at the bottom of that well is forgiveness and if I am able to forgive then I will be able to move on and to love again, perhaps this time with more wisdom and kindness that I did before.  And I will stand with my grieving friends and thank them for honoring me with their true self.


Out of the closet

I came out of the Blogging closet this morning and I feel all naked but never fear friends, it's just a mental nakedness.

I've been madly sending pics to various people and then feeling bad when I forgot someone so this is much easier.  And my friend AW is my first follower, woot!   Little does she know my evil plan to show such gardens of delight that she will be stricken with an uncontrollable urge to hop on a plane to visit.  Just don't do it until this weekend when it's supposed to cool down.

It was 91 degrees before noon today and keeps getting hotter and hotter.  The dogs are sacked out panting.  Hell, I'm panting but I'll make it.  I have a couple deliveries this week, one tomorrow (Wed) and one installation of DTV on Friday or I would be out of here.  I looked up Fort Bragg, it's only 200 miles west of here and there are pet friendly motels and beaches and water, it's soooo tempting.  I think if the delivery shows up early tomorrow I may just head out of town.

And boy does that thought feel liberating.  I like the idea of just leaving when I want to so extremely wonderful.  When the house sells I'm going to splurge and buy myself something like this:
It's a teardrop trailer.  You can find them here
They custom make them and they are so light you can move it around by hand and even pull it behind a regular car.  So I'll be off to wherever without worrying about finding pet friendly lodging.  Isn't it cool?  There is a bigger one but for some reason the smaller one has a longer sleeping space, perfect for a six footer with two dogs.

Breakfast at the South Pine Cafe this morning with my Dad, sMom and Sister was very nice. It's such a thrill to go have breakfast with my family.  I had the potato pancakes with pesto and a couple of eggs, a blueberry muffin and black, black coffee. My Sister had the Lobster Eggs Benedict with jalapeno hollandaise and avocado and my Dad had his usual South Pine Scramble, a great mess of spinach, red onions, corn salsa, mushrooms and jack cheese with red and green pesto on top.  It was great!

I'm also either working on or thinking about classes at Beads Galore.  I want to come up with designs for classes that are truly mine and showcase some of the skills I know and can teach.  The process is a bit difficult because I have to limit each project to a particular skill set but at the same time leave room for artistic expression for each student.  Next I have to take those pieces in and talk about the materials I need to be available to my students.

Later I want to talk about friends, leavings, grief and forgiveness.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I LOVE it here!

Love, love, love this place.  Got up a little earlier this morning and headed back up to the Independence Trail, this time to head the other way and maybe find some water.

Well, it was a steep .4 mile climb down but we found Jones Bar, which has a lovely bunch of places to explore.

There is a bald eagle sitting on the big rock in the upper middle right.  I've got to figure out how to get to the far side, nice sand there.

The boys found a nice place to cool their feet:

But then we had to climb back up.  While it was pretty steep and I stopped often to catch my breath it was easier going up, less fear of falling.  Of course, four legs do better than two legs.

Then I found the Yuba river is only a quarter down the road and with a bit of rock climbing there is a lot of cool water, sandy bottom to walk on and lots of places for swimming.  Didn't take my phone but we're going back there soon.   Dandy is getting pretty good at swimming, he likes to follow me even if I'm in the water.  Bode likes it more but he's so skinny he looks like he's sinking.

Maybe tomorrow because it's suppose to be 98 and we don't have any a/c.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On jewelry and dogs

I realize I haven't posted many pics of Dandy and Bode.  I just wish I could get pics of them while we play the water every evening about sunset.  They leap and run and growl and have a generally glorious time, you just have to be there.  But here's one of Dandy flying for a frisbee that my son Grant took over the holidays.

I worry about his back but they are both so athletic and fit right now that they like to fly.  Bode's favorite spot is on top of the picnic table outside the kitchen.

I think he likes the view and he usually gets up there by jumping from the small bench seat, he's a goof, love that boy.  His personality is getting more attentive and a couple times he's crawled into my lap when he knows I'm sad.  He'll be a good therapy dog someday too.

I'm feeling like some of my last post was a bit mushy and stupid, oh well.  It's hard to put things into words sometimes, especially matters of the heart.  I'm sort of a Scarlett O'Hara person, never think about anything today that you can put off until tomorrow, but eventually it all catches up to you and then there's hell to pay, for sure.  

Today was a marvelous day.  I went to the GV Grower's Market and bought cilantro, nectarines, strawberries, a sourdough baguette and some great French goat cheese.  I met an a gorgeous, vivacious woman selling wine for Lucchesi Vineyards.   She was out of my favorite Sauvignon Blanc but gave me a coupon for 25% off at the tasting room.  So I toddled off to downtown GV, bought a bottle of wine and several pounds of coffee, what a great shopping trip.  I even went to the library and checked out a few books, superb!  The amazing thing was I bought herbs, fruits, wine, coffee and bread from the people who actually made them!  What a satisfying expedition.

Then I spent the rest of the day making a big mess of heart pendants in various forms and just now took them out of the tumbler, all shiny and needing homes.

And I cleaned house, ew.  Not my favorite thing but important to keep ahead of the dog fur a little bit.  I have to get rugs I can vacuum.  I brought a bunch of rag rugs because I had them but they have to be shaken and beaten and handled in rough and strenuous ways to get them clean, it's hard work.  Then vacuum, dust, scrub bathrooms and mop floors, feels good mentally but the rest of me hurts, oh well.  The two things I can't believe are the dust and the spiders.  No rain here for over a month so a lot of the red dirt is everywhere and long legged daddy type spiders in every corner and windowsill.  At least they are fairly benign, nothing like the  black widow I found in the garage.  That scared me a bit and reminded me I have to be careful here, those are serious spiders, especially for the animals.  I don't think I've ever seen one but when you do you know, they are very black and shiny, fairly large with long legs and the unmistakable red hourglass on the belly.  I squished it with no regret.

Going to the big city shopping tomorrow.  I haven't been in a mall for months and the one in Roseville is very nice, Pottery Barn here I come.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to the Studio

I'm so happy to be getting back into my studio.  I cannot turn on creative so relationship changes and moving across country and setting up a new house and traveling for US Figure Skating have all drained my pool of pretty.

 But it's coming back, yeah!  When I start daydreaming of things I want to make then I know it's time to sit down and get busy.  I'm pretty much settled into my downstairs garden studio.  Yesterday I found a great jewelers bench for sale and now I'll be doing a bit of re-working my space, which may mean I've got a new place to put my rolling mill.

So today I actually photographed, photoshopped and uploaded some new things, how cool is that?

 The weird thing is I'm totally smitten with hearts.  I don't do cute but for some reason they are just calling out to me.  Of course, there was the heart attack last fall and the end of a 31 year relationship so a heart theme isn't too far off the track.  I just keep thinking about hearts: heart attacks and heart health, she's got heart, I left my heart in SF,  hearts desire and hearts afire, bury my heart at wounded knee, the Tom Petty song someone sang for me recently - Walls Fall Down, and my fingers are bending shapes into hearts without me even thinking about it.  I love their little lopsided charm, the way they dangle upside or downside or sideways.

I'm working on healing my broken heart and filling up my reservoir again, so that it's strong and sure and my love can bubble up and overflow and spread around.

In the meantime this is what's coming out of my studio - Earrings

And pendants
It's been fun!  You can find these on my website

And now my boys are sleepy and telling me it's time for bed, good night!


Ok, I'm going to post some pics of my new house and then I'll call myself caught up, sort of.

I rented this house without seeing it.  I relied on my Sister's good sense and her knowledge of what I would like. She did a great job!  I love the house, it's got high ceilings, a great view, skylights and beams and the light just floods in, perfect for someone who suffers from SAD.  Of course there are trade-offs, the driveway is scary enough I may stay home if the weather gets snowy and the yard isn't much for the dogs, just weeds and red dirt. But they love their pool and playing frisbee up the driveway and we go for lots of walks both in the neighborhood and other cool places.

Here's my view, I love to sit out here in the morning and have breakfast and at night with something cold to drink and a peach or maybe a pluot.

Here's the driveway from hell.  I thought I could rent it out as a ski jumping facility, except you'd land in the neighbors yard, maybe on top of one of their cars, not so friendly.

But I like it fine.  We've been looking for new places to walk besides our favorites in Condon Park and the Empire Mine and the Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley.  Today we tried the Independence Trail above Nevada City which was very nice.  It's handicap accessible so the trail is wide and smooth and the only really scary part was the scaffolding walkways they've built along the cliffs, whew!  I did some walking not looking over the side.  And the rocks, huge big rocks, love them, here's one you have to walk through, quickly without thinking about earthquakes.....
It was a good day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Driving, driving, driving.....

Long slow days but the boys and I are doing great!  I have to stop for gas more frequently and we've fallen into a nice rhythm.  Usually gas stations are lousy places to walk around and check pee mail so I try to stop at a rest stop first, let them do their thing and so when I go for gas next they barely move, it's fascinating how quickly they learn the drill.

Wyoming is starkly beautiful and I got a couple of really good pictures.  We're almost into Utah at this point, climbing up into Park City.

After this it's a bit more severe, like this of the great salt lake in Utah:
This makes me thirsty just looking at it.

My cool little FJ pulled that big heavy trailer all the way to California without any problems, thank goodness.  We got going on our last leg from Winnemucca, Nevada at 6 in the morning and the one car on the road kicked up a rock that put a nice bullseye in my windshield.  So far so good though, no cracks so hopefully it will be fixable without replacing the whole thing.

I'm heading out to Michigan tomorrow morning for a figure skating assignment so more pics when I get back.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Long Road to Home

Obviously the move took all my time and energy for all of July and on into August.  Oh well...

I cannot believe how much time it took to pack.  I was the most ADD packer ever.  The hard part is trying to pack a Fiestaware service for almost fifty (yes, that's 50) into boxes that a human woman can carry down a flight of stairs, into a U-Haul, 1900 miles across the country and then into a pick-up truck that ferried everything up the driveway from hell and on into the treehouse and then upstairs to the main floor.  Whew!  So I'd layer a blanket or two, a layer of newspaper wrapped fiestaware and then I'd run all over the house looking for soft, light things to top off the box.  Which is why the box of bowls was crammed with all the dog toys and most of my clothes ended up on top of fiestaware, which made for some interesting unpacking too.

And then I made the brilliant decision to attend Skate St. Paul for the weekend before I left and did half of building the competition and printed the whole thing.  Sometimes I think I'm wonder woman when I'm really just wondering where my brains are?  So gone til Sunday late, picked up the trailer on Tuesday and packed it all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  Or rather I packed it in the early morning and late at night when it was slightly less than 90 degrees with humidity so bad it felt like swimming, yuck!

Thursday morning I was still packing but I managed to get out of town by noon.  I know, what a joke huh?  But it was the best I could do.  I had to drop a bunch of things off at the local pack and ship place, stuff I had to have but could not find a safe place to pack.  And I was afraid the car would not be able to move the load at that point, really, it was riding low.

Well, my usual 8 hour days turned into 10 hour days simply because you can't go as fast towing a 6x12 foot U-Haul, but we made it to Kearney, NE that night safely and stayed at my favorite, pet friendly Microtel.  You may laugh but finding a decent (not stinky, dirty or expensive) place to stay with pets is hard.  Often they'll not only put you up in a cruddy been smoked in room that hasn't been refurbished for 20 years and then they'll charge you 20 bucks for each pet on top.  This Microtel is the BEST, clean, kind, pet friendly and no extra charges.  I would stay there without my pets and I am a hotel snob.

I did manage to leave the front seat empty and padded it with dog blankets so the boys could take turns sleeping up front.  Dandy liked it best.

Next is day two to Rock Springs, Wyoming; day three to Winnmucca, Nevada and day four over the Donner Summit to Grass Valley, California.