Sunday, December 8, 2013

Season of Miracles, Season of Gratitude

I won't apologize for using a quote from one more talented than I, it captures the spirit of the season impeccably:

It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season -- like all the other seasons -- is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.
Lemony Snicket
The Lump of Coal

There's another one by Charles Dickens, but I can't think of the exact words, and I can't find it right now, so I'll post it when I find it.

This is a reminder to myself to be grateful for each and every little thing in my life, including those that make me unhappy, to remind me of just how happy I can be, and also to be grateful for all the people in my life who teach me so many lessons, and who allow me to be their teacher as well. Honorable mention to my husband and my children and their spouses, without whom I would not be the person I am today. I'm also grateful for my sisters, brothers, and parents (gone but not forgotten), inclusive of those I acquired when I joined a new family 30 years ago; and though many are distant, I am grateful for nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who I hope receive tingling ears whenever I think of them, which I do often.

As you're perusing the pictures accompanying this post, if you look closely, you will see lobster claws on our Christmas tree. This tradition started one Christmas when we were moving the furniture to accommodate the tree, and found a couple of lobster claws the cats had knocked under the sofa, likely subsequent to a summer lobster fest (this doesn't speak well of my housekeeping!!). My very creative cerebral husband put them on the tree and called them "Santa Claws", and we have added more through the years as a special family tradition. I won't tell the story of when he put a lamb in the nativity manger and sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb", I don't want to offend anyone.

My theme song, per usual, for the season is this.





Monday, August 12, 2013

Reflections – in words

I previously posted reflections in pictures, just to get back into the swing of things after having taken some time to attend to life happenings, and now I will try my best to convey some recent events without being boring : )
It all started with a fantastic heat wave in July. The dog days of summer were definitely dog days this summer of 2013. High humidity, high heat, sweat pouring off every part of one’s body with the mere act of stepping out of the front door, hazy, crazy days that should have been practiced as lazy as well; but try to tell that to an older gentleman who was accustomed to doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and with a will that enabled him to walk and drive right up to one week before he passed away to the next phase of life. We imagine he entered his new life with similar energy.

Memories are made in each little moment of each ordinary day. Small gestures of caring given, and acknowledgement of any gesture of caring received, are things that are remembered by those we love, and by those who love us. To pay attention to, and to appreciate, the simple gifts of everyday life, is to find happiness that is lasting and true.

We will always remember that our children came right home to be present during a difficult time, to offer their love and support, and to add to the family memories already banked. We received lots of support from siblings, cousins (honorable mention to MC and JC), and friends. Individual lives are reminders that we are all connected.
When I walk on the weekends, the walk is four miles, two miles longer than the two mile walks I take during the work week. On my weekend walks, the first two miles are a little bit more difficult psychologically. When I turn around to start the return trip, I feel good, I don’t care what happens, I’m through the hard part and now I can just enjoy the scenery, breathe deep, and be alert for any extraordinary things that may cross my path since I don’t feel like I have to pace myself the rest of the way. JS and I just celebrated thirty married years together. If our marriage were to be compared to my four mile walk, we have just completed the first two miles, pacing ourselves, paying attention to raising children, creating time for the extended family, and planning for our future. Now we start the return trip. The next thirty years I envision as a time for enjoying different aspects of the same road, breathing a bit more deeply, taking more time to enjoy our inner lives, and watching the turns the lives of our children take. I am looking forward to the return trip, and I know the metaphor is an oversimplification of life, just chalk it up to poetic license. 

Wishes to you for happiness and wellness coupled with an appreciation for each moment.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Using photos for this blog, will jump back in to writing soon.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Be Back Soon

Life happenings need my attention at present, so will be back as soon as time permits. Wishing all readers happiness and health.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gazpacho and Caprese Salad

One of my favorite summer things to eat is gazpacho; it's easy, healthy, and cool. I recently discovered a great salad idea at a local Italian restaurant too, so I'm including my version of that below, along with the recipe for gazpacho.


3 lbs. tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
bunch of basil or coriander
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil (or more if you desire)
juice of two fresh lemons
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 can V8 tomato juice (optional)
I also like to add curry powder (inspired by my hubby) and hot red pepper flakes, totally optional

Just food process everything except the celery together, the celery is better left in chunks then added to the food processed soup. Adjust ingredients to suit your taste. We also like to throw in avocado chunks to the finished soup. Great accompanied with sprouted bread toast.

Caprese Salad - 1 serving

1 head romaine salad
1 regular or 2 plum tomatoes, nice and ripe
roasted red peppers
fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil
olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a nice Italian dressing

I use one head of salad per serving. Chop up the lettuce, slice the tomatoes then slice them in half, cut enough strips of roasted red pepper to cover the salad plate, cut half a round of fresh mozzarella in to chunks, and chop the basil into easily eaten strips.

Put the salad on a plate, then decorate it with all the other ingredients. Put dressing on to taste.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Some Foods of the Middle East

We like food. We like GOOD food. We feel very fortunate to have discovered in Allentown, PA, a Syrian presence along with ethnic Syrian restaurants rife with absolutely out of this world offerings for the most discerning palate. Take a look at the Damascus Restaurant web site for a sample of what is available, here. If you've never eaten Middle Eastern food, this restaurant is the place to start, it's ALL good! I've taken the liberty of snapping some shots of our latest dining experience at Damascus, and I hope if/when you are ever in the area, you are able to stop in to enjoy same.

Smoked eggplant dip blended with lemon juice, garlic & sesame paste. (rear plate)
Yogurt spread. This is home made yogurt, best I've ever tasted.  (plate in foreground)
I meant to get a shot of the appetizers before we started, forgot, and almost missed even getting these!!!! It is THAT good!!!

 Lovely olives
 Stuffed grape leaves
Chopped parsley, onions and tomatoes mixed with bulgar wheat, oil, lemon juice and spices
 Lovely fresh garden salad with each entre
 Know why this is their slogan? Because it's true!
Lamb Supreme
Cubes of lamb, mushrooms, green peppers, onions cooked with our special spices.
Spears of eggplant topped with chick peas and onions, baked in tomato sauce.

Kafta Kabob
2 skewers of ground beef mixed with parsley & onions and topped with fresh tomatoes and tahini sauce.

Ground chick peas, combined with fresh damascus spices, deep fried & topped with tahini sauce, tomatoes, parsley and lettuce.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Flours for Mother's Day

Being with people who think outside the box is always an adventure. On Mother's Day this year, I came downstairs to a bunch of flours, with a note from son J telling me he wanted to get me a classic Mother's Day gift. Classic it was!! As I looked around, I realized he had cleaned everything up as well, which, for me, was the best gift ever, as we had spent the previous day in NYC, got home late, and the house was a mess.

More treats awaited me...
 Hand mades and licorice drops from T&C

Below are some other flowers I am appreciating, and at the same time wishing I could send their lovely odors through the blog post, there is nothing quite like walking outside and being enveloped in the scent of lilacs and peonies : )