Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Man's World

Last month I showed you my “woman’s world” collection of representation of women at work from all over the world. 

We can’t leave the guys out, so here is my other shelf representing the world of men.

Yes, ‘men have different rules’… thank goodness!!

The photo is one I took as Himself (far right) and his team mates were coming back from a HALO jump.  They call this their “Right Stuff” picture. 

This is a Native American carving from Alaska.  I believe the body is carved from Alaskan jade, the face is fossilized ivory, the hood is a bit of fur, and the drum is a slice of caribou antler. 

Another Native American piece from Alaska.  This one is carved from a bit of driftwood.

This is a small (very small) Kachina doll.  He is Hopi made but not one of the exquisite ceremonial style. 

The next two clay sculptures are from Mexico.

This sweet little boy with the bird makes me smile…

… as does this mischievous pair with the burro.  One little guy has a cactus spine in his foot. 

These are Maasai items.  They represent the warrior age-set called the Moran.  They are from our visit to Kenya.  We sponsor a Maasai boy thru Compassion International and hope that he will finish school before he takes off for his time as Moran.

On one of our US trips, I surprised Himself with a stop in Dyersville, Iowa at the “Field of Dreams”.  It was a fun stop.  We bought the baseball at one of the gift shops (the baseball field is actually owned by TWO competing families… each with their own gift shop!).  We had a game of catch, which is how it got so scuffed up.  There really is a corn field there and Himself picked up a few kernels lying on the ground in the outfield. 

We’ve had a lot of fun collecting our ladies and gentlemen over our various trips.    

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lemon Goodness

It doesn’t take much to get me to bring a bag of lemons home.  Just sitting in the basket they are wonderful… so bright and fresh looking.

There are so many things that can be done with them.  Did you know you can clean with a lemon? 
It’s true!

But I have other plans for this slice of sunshine.

It’s time to cook!  I’ll be having all sorts of lemon dishes this week… baked lemon chicken, lemon and basil rice, lemon & oil salad dressing…  MMMMmmmm good!

But first, it’s been a long hot day and I need something cool to drink…

… and this is just what I need!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Family Comes To Tennessee!

When I came back from my recent trip to Missouri, I had company with me.  Mom came down to spend a few days, with Dad coming down later in the week.
We made it total “chick time”! 

Starting even as we left for Tennessee, we stopped for lunch at an old family favorite: The Hotel Ste. Genenieve.  On Sundays they serve a “family style” menu.  You choose your meat (Mom had their roast beef which they call ‘kettle beef’ and I had the fried chicken) which comes with mashed potatoes and gravy.  Then everything else is served all-you-can-eat.  The sides are sauer kraut, green beans, their special dressing with rice in it, and liver dumplings.  Those dumplings are THE reason I was there!!!  I took my fried chicken home in a carry-out and had dumplings for my protein.
Other stops on the drive were at the peach orchard I visited in June, a TJ Maxx store, and a frozen yogurt shop.
The next day we just chilled out, visited, and cooked good food. 

On Tuesday we got moving!  A trip to Nashville was in order with shopping and a seafood class at Whole Foods (I’ll blog that later). 

We stayed local on Wednesday with a trip out to “Amish land” to visit shops, a bakery, and farm stands. 

At my favorite farm, we bought some apples that we got to pick ourselves. 

Lunch was at my favorite sushi restaurant.

Dad came down on Thursday so we just did a bit of shopping in the morning.  I grilled for supper… porterhouse steaks and a swordfish steak I picked up at Whole Foods.  None of us had ever had swordfish, so it was fun to try.  Our sides were from the produce stand we visited the day before… green beans, baby potatoes, and absolutely ripe tomatoes. 

Friday we all headed down to Nashville in the late afternoon to have dinner at Caffe Nonna (http://caffenonna.com ).  The restaurant owned by the guest chef at the Italian cooking class Himself and I took this spring.  It was FABULOUS!!!  And it was fun to see Chef Dan again.

All too soon it was Saturday morning and time for my parents to head home. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Shooting Stars and Fireballs!

Wanted to share with you all this opportunity to view a great (possibly) meteor shower.  We’ve gone out to watch this one before and the fireballs are fantastic!  Weather permitting, it is one that is worth trying to see. 

I’m going to be stretched out on my chaise on the deck for this one!

“July 23-30 - Capricornids - From comet Honda-Mrkos-Padjusakova, these are bright yellow meteors with many fireballs!  This is a terrific year for these meteors to be seen and enjoyed, since the moon will be in quarter and gibbous phases and in the sky during evening and until after midnight from July 28-31 for the duration of this activity; the radiant for these meteors is very low in SE sky at dark and south of overhead for mid-northern latitudes by midnight; best chance for the best meteors will be after about 1:30 a.m. local time when the dark side of the earth will be turning directly into the path of the meteor stream.  Even in moonlight this can be a spectacular shower, so this year - with a bright troublesome moonlight in the sky - sleep early and observe late!”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who's That?

I’ve been getting a bit fed up with Facebook ever since it “went public”.  It seems as tho there are glitches and issues all the time now.

But still I was a bit startled when it asked me to “tag” a photo I was uploading.

I took a closer look…  WHAT was that…?

So I opened the photo in question.  It was just the babies waiting to see the penguins. 

Then I saw it…

OH GOOD GRIEF!!  Facebook wanted me to tag a rock!  Can you see the “face” to the left of the arrow? 

Maybe I should have tagged it “Ben Grimm”!  LOL 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Country Black And White

The photo challenge this week was “Black And White”.  I found my inspiration on my birthday trip into the country.  There was lots of black and white to be found!

From this tiny moth hiding on the side of a house…

… to this huge black thundercloud with its sun white shining edges.

There were a lot of black and white Holstein cattle relaxing far…

… and near.

I don’t know what sort of cow this is but my, what big horns she has… and what a cute little baby!

Love that black nose and those black ears!

I saw big farms signs offering many things if you’d just make a short trip down their drive.

And there were little signs too telling exactly what they had picked that morning.  I love how they can add to the sign by simply bolting in a new piece.  So clever!

What a fun challenge this was!  It really made me look around and notice more as I drove along.  And the nice thing about country drives is there is so little traffic you can stop to take a photo or two!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Birthday Fun: A Few Of My Favorite Things

I decided that for my birthday I wanted to do a bunch of my favorite things.  I was up and at it by 6 am.  I had to factor in a stop at the DMV to renew my driver’s license (opps!) but that process went quickly and I am happy with my photo too! 

In the days before I made a list of my favorite things that I could do on Firday.  From that I a plan for how to spend my day. 

Here’s my list and what I did:


I am involved with many different charities trying to influence the world for the better.  The very first thing I did was to get on my laptop and fund into two loans thru Kiva.  I’m still using the capital from my year long investment several years ago. 

On the left is “Sal, age 55, lives in a village about twenty kilometers from Phnom Penh City. She is widowed with three married children: two live separately, and another one still lives in the family's home.   Sal is a rice farmer. She is applying for a loan in the amount of $1,000 to buy seeds, fertilizer and pesticide to maintain her rice farm. She will also use a part of the loan to build a restroom for her family to use.

And on the right is “Saliya is 52 years old; she is a widow and has six children. Saliya does animal husbandry which is the main source of income for her family. She started this business with the purchase of a milk cow. Through her hard work and perseverance Saliya now has four milk cows with calves and 0.43 hectares of land where she cultivates potatoes. Her monthly source of income from the sale of milk and dairy products is 12,000 som (KGS). With a goal to further grow her animal husbandry business Saliya has come to Bai Tushum and Partners for a loan in the amount of 60,000 KGS to buy milk cows. She plans to invest the income from the loan into growing of her business by building a large shed for the cattle.”


The ReStore is one of my favorite “junking” places.  (Himself calls all of my yard sales/charity stores/curb finds my “junking stops”.  However, he does like the stuff I make with my finds!)  I also made a stop at Goodwill.  I’d hoped to do a few yard sales too but the on and off rain canceled most of them.  I did find several things I needed to do or finish some projects so it was a good thing!


I like shopping (mostly looking at) things to decorate or fix up my home.  Some of my favorite places to shop in Clarksville are Home Goods/TJ Maxx, Pier 1, and Lowes.  I made a visit to each one of them on Friday.  Got some good ideas but didn’t find much of anything I wanted to bring home (sadly, the Clarksville TJ Maxx is just a cluttered, pitiful mess).  

Produce Stands and Farmer’s Markets

We live in an area with a fairly large Amish and Mennonite population.  There are a lot of farm produce stands and at the end of this road is one of my favorites.  I have several in a circuit that I will visit when I want fresh produce. 

Eating Out

My breakfast treat of the day was donuts at Shipley’s where I had my favorites – a sugar yeast donut and a chocolate icing cake donut.  They are so good. 

And I ended the day with some sushi for dinner.  My favorite place in town is Fujiyama and they know me well there!  LOL This is the owner Tony finishing my platter (lobster roll and a veggie roll). 


I had to come home for a bit I the middle of the day, and while I was home I cooked up a nice lunch with of some favorites.  I made pan seared scallops, baked sweet potato, asparagus, an artichoke, and a Caprese salad.  The cake I picked up at Publix. 


I brought my camera with me and while I was out in the country I was able to do some shooting.  This hopeful pony was at one of the Amish farms I stopped at. 

Spending Time With Friends

I ended the day enjoying a frozen yogurt with Best Friend and family (the youngest was out doing his own thing and will probably be irritated to hear he missed out on a trip to Berry Bear!).  

It was quite an excellent day… the only reason it wasn’t perfect is that Himself wasn’t here to share it with me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm Singing In The Rain...

What a difference 10 days makes!  Do you remember this photo from my “Summer 2012” post? 

It was taken on the 4th of July before we got the evening rain.  Brown, hard, crunchy.

Here’s the same shot 10 days later… after 6.06 inches of rain!  We have had rain every day since the 7th.  The places that are still brown are where the clover was.  That takes a bit longer to come back. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Fifty Before Fifty List - How I Did and What I Learned

Today is my 50th birthday. 
Two years ago I posted a blog about the 50 things I would like to do before I turned 50… and I did 14 of them. 

Those things I accomplished are: 

Learn to make jewelry chain
Won a photography contest
Wrote a child's book for the babies
Traveled to Shiloh National Battlefield
Raise my own vegetables
Make a compost pile
Come up with my own hamburger
Create my own cheese cake
Create my own pasta salad
Create a signature dish
Came up with my own potato salad recipe
Learned to make sushi
Do an acceptable water color painting
Own a Clan Hanna tartan cape (amended to shawl)

And I am well on my way on these two:

Read the Bible all the way thru 

I bought a “Bible on CD” set and I am listening to it.  I’ve done the entire New Testament and have gone thru most of 1 Chronicles as of last night.  I love having it for my long drives up to Missouri… that’s 4 hours of listening! 

In fact, there have been a whole lot of changes in my relationship with God… in a very good way.

Get organized 

I have made great progress with this one.  Enough that I know it will really and truly happen.  I’m almost done with decluttering and organizing my shed; even as it holds things moved from my hobby room/office as I remodel it.  So I have two “works-in-progress” happening and it all looks a bit chaotic right now.  It’s all good!

Only finishing 14 of 50 could have been a sad thing.  Could have, except for the fact that along the way I learned to finally throw my lists to the wind and accept all the incredible things the Lord has blessed me with.  And those things came to a number far higher than 50! 

Learned to make cheese
Learned to make a blown glass float
Took a series of mixed media classes
Put in a large herb garden
Completely remodeled a room in our house (hall bathroom)
Learned to felt
Learned to make wire wrap jewelry
Learned to make stamped jewelry
Learned to do wheel pottery
Gone to a "sea glass beach"

Became a DOTING Auntie (as opposed to just ‘being an aunt’ which actually would be something my sister did!  I was already an aunt when I wrote my list.  I never dreamed what those two little people would do to me.  Those babies OWN me…and I love it!)

AND I did one thing that I had said in that blog was “Of course there are the ‘dream’ things – travel to Scotland,… I know those are not realistic.”

I went to Scotland!!
And that brought some many experiences I had never dreamed I would do:
Purchased a length of hand-woven Harris Tweed from its weaver
Visited the land of my Scottish ancestors: Colonsay Island and Sorbie Tower, Galloway
Traveled thru the Highlands
Been 'monster hunting' at Loch Ness
Take a falconry course
Handled a Bald Eagle
Have eaten haggis and black pudding.
Have eaten REAL fish & chips.
Photographed a wild Red Stag.
Rode on a steam train.
Rode on a double-decker bus
Rode in an old fashioned 'cabbie' taxi
Slept in a lighthouse
Slept in a castle
Slept in a converted church
Stayed a week in a private beachside cottage
Driven on the 'wrong side of the road'
Walked the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Been on the "Falkirk Wheel"
Had a picnic on a beach
Walked thru ancient standing stones (the Callanish Stones on Lewis)
Eaten at a world famous restaurant (Three Chimneys)

So that is my 50 Before 50 list.  Two-thirds of it never even crossed my mind two years ago.  It’s been a great journey with so much learned.  I’ve learned to learn what to let go and what to keep close to me. 

I’ve learned that you have to realize “Prince Charming” isn’t real but you can still “live happily ever after”.  It’s not a fairy godmother’s magic wand that makes it happen; it is a lot of hard work and commitment… especially when you are tired of working hard and keeping the commitment.

I’ve learned to cut myself a break and realize I don’t have the strength or stamina of my 25 year old self.  But give extra time and a few assisting tools, I can do everything I’ve ever been able to do.  I just have to do it smarter. 

So today I start my ‘Fabulous Fiftieth Year’… and I already know it’s going to be a great one! 

(And there are things on that old list I still want to accomplish!)