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Dec 29, 2011

What Do YOU Love Most About Life?


Some snippets of conversations from the last day going through my head... and then this this morning... causes me to think more, deeper... be inspired.

What do you love most?

Dec 23, 2011

Friday Flowers - Last Minute Stylie


Better picture tomorrow, promise.

Dec 21, 2011

In other news...

That's where my pen went...

Just kidding.  I rocked crayons at age 3.

Word Wednesday : Progress Baby, Progress

I was contemplating taking an internet hiatus next week - from Christmas to New Year's - as sometimes, even though I thoroughly enjoy the communication and sharing and goodness that can happen therein, the process of checking and keeping up can be exhausting to me.  But look!  - it seems I've already taken a snoozer from the ol' blog... lo siento mucho.

The original intent of this blog was to chronicle thoughts, photos, recipes, experiences, artwork that depicted my encounters and re-encounters with things new in my life.  Things I was "green" at, so to speak.  One of the ways I intended to explore my lack of knowledge was in choosing a spice or herb each season to research and cook or bake with.  Blogging is not something I'm yet good (or will ever be good) at keeping up with, but let's take a look at the stats, for fun:

Spring 2011 - Tarragon - one post
Summer 2011 - Cilantro - one post
Fall 2011 - Cinnamon - two posts

Progress baby, progress.

(That's today's word by the way...)


[n. prog-res, -ruhs or, especially Brit.proh-gres; v. pruh-gres]
a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
developmental activity in science, technology, etc., especially with reference to the commercial opportunitiescreated thereby or to the promotion of the material well-being of the public through the goods, techniques, or facilities created
advancement in general
growth or development; continuous improvement

It's a pretty common word.  I often take for granted that it encompasses all movement towards a goal, towards some higher, something better.  My goals often don't get broken down into objectives, into digestible pieces.  Thus, it can get frustrating to not see any "progress"... Plus, I'm a numbers person, whether I like to admit it or not... I keep stats on myself, especially exercise.  Nerd, capital "N".  Point is, let's give ourselves some credit for the movements we do make (no exercise pun intended), however small.  Sometimes it's just a change in thinking that fuels the progress that will no doubt show on the outside - whether in increased grace or decreased waistlines.

Today, on the shortest day of the year, the official start of winter... give yourself some credit for how astounding you are today... and the path of progress you're on.

Dec 7, 2011

Word Wednesday

{rain blues}

I like this word:


in exactly the same words; word for word
corresponding word for word to the original source or text
skilled at recording or noting down speeches, proceedings,etc., with word-for-word accuracy

Origin: 1475–85;  < Medieval Latin verbātim,  equivalent to verb um )word + -ātim  adv. suffix

This evening, I asked a slew of people, via text, to fill in this sentence:

Today was a good day for ______________.

Here, in no particular order, are the answers of my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances from the gym, verbatim:

  • hot cocoa!
  • Buying a Camry!**
  • For sleeping
  • Laying on the couch reading.  Wish I had ;-)
  • Puddle jumping
  • Me.
  • Coworker camaraderie.
  • A beer!
  • Magicians to work their magic and show us how to liberate spirit from matter.
  • Eating soup?
  • Doing anything but CPE.
  • Prepping for the zombie apx*
  • Getting ripped off at a car dealer**
  • A round house kick!
  • Dogs!
  • Sleeping :) I am exhausted
  • Sleeping, but I didn't, or... talking to kids about wanting vs. needing, which I did.
  • Being sick
  • Magazine flipping
*"apx" is apocalypse. I asked.
**these two people went somewhere together, can you tell?

...How about you?

Nov 22, 2011

Fall's Research: Cinnamon, Part I

My 9th semester of college (yup, I'm a four and a half year-er) found me without scholarships, and pretty much working full-time without getting paid: student teaching.  I was ever so fortunate to be able to rent an apartment with my dear friend Masumi, right above the apartment of my dear friend Amber.  That fall semester was aplumb with potlucks and artwork and scrimping together leftover laundry money to take advantage of the Stewart's waffle cone sale.  One night, Amber decided to make pies, pumpkin pies, and I remember them being the best pumpkin pies I had ever tasted... could it be because we were all so poor that those joys seemed more potent?  Or is this really the world's best pie recipe?

For this Thanksgiving, I decided to give it a shot, and test that recipe in another physical and fiscal setting.  Feel free to do the same!  (And let me know what you think!)

{Robert Pattinson was here... hahaha, I crack myself up!}

Come to find out, Amber's recipe came straight off the pumpkin can, and that's how I still have it - a scrap of wrapping from around the tin:

{hmm... it's sideways}

*I do believe real pumpkin is better.  I had no access to that tonight though.
**We do not believe in cloves at my house.  
***Clearly, the P. Chop. put this pumpkin on the shelf.  I'm not endorsing their brand.  In fact, I think I used Hannaford... don't tell.

And in case I haven't mentioned it before, the herb/spice I chose to research and bake/cook with for the autumnal season is: CINNAMON.

Look for more to come.  In the mean time, here's a fun factoid from the Whole Foods Encylopedia:
Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of a tree in the laurel family.  Woot woot for my namesake!!

Nov 16, 2011

Word Wednesday: Wednesday the 15th and the Segue Spectacular

Lately, I have found myself glorying in sitting at stop lights.  Well, as much as you can glory when you feel slightly zombie-like.  I often put a lot on my plate, and though I enjoy it, it does wear me out.  So... the stop lights have been nice.  Just sitting.  I will make it a point to do that more often... not in the car.

I have some pictures that will catch you up a bit on where I've been and what I have been doing.  In order to create some kind of flow between them, I decided I would try to point out the segue (sometimes ridonkulously tangental) between them.  Good luck following my train of thought... it seems it derailed a long time ago (:

Also, in the spirit of Word Wednesday, I was about to use the word "segway" to indicate that idea that connects two other ideas together.  Little did I know, this word does not have two meanings.  "Segway" just means this:

{I have no idea who they are}

while "segue" is the word I was looking for:
[sey-gwey, seg-wey]
verb (used without object)
1. to continue at once with the next musical section or composition (often used as a musical direction).
2. to perform in the manner of the preceding section (used as a musical direction).
3. to make a transition from one thing to another smoothly and without interruption.
4. an uninterrupted transition made between one musical section or composition and another.
5. any smooth, uninterrupted transition from one thing to another.
1850–55; < Italian: (there) follows, 3rd person singular present indicative of seguire Latin sequī to follow.

So, without further ado...

Several weeks ago, I bought a bedside lamp.  I consider it very sexy, as lamps go, but I was also excited about the ability to read in bed before sleeping, since I have been getting back into reading (what happened in college? - reading burn-out? I don't know...).  Thus far, this hasn't happened on a regular basis... but the possibility is there.  Excitement.

{attractive wattage}
Do you see that little sheep on my bedside table?  I LOVE sheep.  Cue sheep festival pictures.

{soft soft sheep wool}

In October, my friend Dylan and I traveled to Rhinebeck, New York to the annual Sheep and Wool Festival.  I was overjoyed: a barn full of soft fluffy wool and baaaaaaaaaaas.  Delightful.  I wanted to hug them all (well, maybe not the biters...)

{sheep, Dylan}

{luscious wool}

We had some interesting food en route to and at the festival.  Apple pie and hot apple cider to benefit the town's historical society (I only say this because the very kind woman reminded me eight times) and... spaghetti and meatballs on a stick!  Had I known this was fried, I probably wouldn't have gotten it.  I was picturing some sort of skewer with some meatballs kabob-ed on there and a LOT of spaghetti wrapped tightly around.  No dice.

{yum and not-so-yum}
Speaking of yum... don't you just love fall colors?  Especially the varied oranges of... pumpkins!!
{my sister, my feet... with pumpkins - the one with the combover became my carving project}
My sister and I traveled to Massachusetts to stay with some college friends of mine, and have a very pumpkin-y weekend.

Their friends' little boy Jacen, who just turned one, got to meet a calf - he's a friendly little fellow.

{cow kisses}

Here's a shot of my winky finished pumpkin:
{all a-glow}

Annnnddd... glow rhymes with snow!  Which we got a lot of right around Halloween!
{snow gnome}

Segue skillz.  Word.

More soon with recipes!

Nov 11, 2011

Make a wish.

11:11am, 11/11/11!

I am such a dork.

Nov 4, 2011

Friday Flowers

This is a retrospective in past Friday Flower posts that were meant to be put up, oh... weeks and weeks ago... regardless, happy Friday to you!

The top two, cat included, belong to my neighbors, for whom I was house- and cat-sitting... the hydrangeas' lively pink and dying brown looked well together...

The morning glory also belongs to said neighbor.  It was raining one morning after cat-duty (sometimes doody... blegh), and I was late to work so I could capture the petals and drops.  I'd venture to say it was worth it.

Two points to whoever can identify the red flowers in the lower right.  Really, two points, as I have no clue...

Oct 27, 2011

Well, well...

...it's snowing.

I am so thankful at this little moment for my desk that has an outside-view of the first coming down!

...and my chai tea.

...and my health.

...and all of the lovely people I have the fortune of knowing and being friends and family with.

...and, okay... this could get long...

What are you thankful for at *this very moment*?

Oct 18, 2011

Sep 30, 2011

Friday Flowers.

I love fall.  And its colors.  And its flowers.  Like these:


They were purchased in anticipation of my mom's surprise 60th birthday party on Sunday.  She doesn't know that yet, but she's enjoying them nonetheless.  Double awesome.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Sep 25, 2011

Sunday...Wherein I Love Me Some Rice Pudding...

Fall's spice/herb to study is... cinnamon.  That's right, folks.  It's inordinately predictable, but I don't care.  And so, to start off the cinnamon study... I used something that wasn't cinnamon.  Okay - so maybe that's a bit like art class where you draw the negative space around an object in order to draw the object itself (it could seem backwards to some), but it worked today.  

One thing I am not great at in cooking and baking is knowing what spices and herbs, even what ingredients in general can be grouped together.  Case in point, I love rice pudding.  This has not always been the case, but lately I've been a RP fanatic.  And I know that rice pudding is good buds with cinnamon.  HOWEVER, today I made Coconut Rice Pudding, and while I was in the last fews minutes of simmering, a phone call from a friend led to the suggestion that the cinnamon likely wouldn't pair well with the coconut, and that I use cardamom instead, as both cardamom and coconut were used in Indian and Eastern cooking.  Now, we don't have fresh cardamom here - in fact, ours is likely at least ten years old.  My dear grandma gave us that little vial years and years ago.  She has since passed away but I was glad for the excuse to unearth it and look at her handwriting again, and think of how she'd feel receiving my excited phone call about using it in the recipe today.  (:

{RP and Grandma's cardamom}

If you're raring for some RP, and you REALLY like coconut, here you go:

Coconut Rice Pudding
3 cans coconut milk, 14 oz each (I like rice pudding thicker, so I'll probably go less on this next time)
1/2 cup sugar (increase slightly if your coconut is unsweetened)
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened)
2/3 cup rice (I used white, but will try brown with an increased cooking time next)
3/4 tsp salt
dash of vanilla extract

Combine everything except the vanilla in a large saucepan.  Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and then simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the rice is cooked and the pudding is thick, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Serve however you like - cold or hot!  (And the cardamom works well!)  Enjoy!

Sep 22, 2011


Well, folks, I missed this week's "Word Wednesday"... but if I had posted, the word would have been "aspire"...

I could make a long long list of the things I aspire to, but maybe that's for another post.  

{lunchtime reading}

Currently, I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I can relate to the quote she mentions from Yeats: "Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth.  We are happy when we are growing."  This ties in to the idea of "arrival fallacy", described by Tal Ben-Shahar as "the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you'll be happy".  I've heard the "journey, not the destination" idea so much, you'd think I get it... but it's one more thing I aspire to.  I don't know how many moments I have left, and I want to relish each one, keep the right spirit in each one... and grow along the way.

For your viewing (hopefully) pleasure, here are pictures from my adventures since Labor Day:

{lovely village cafe a la Amelie}

{whole food at whole foods}

{burnt sugar ice cream, chocolate chai ice cream beneath}

Note: Mt. Tom's in Easthampton is my favorite ice cream store ever.  I went there three days in a row.  Good thing I don't live closer as an intervention would then need to be staged...

{summer love}

{cat-in-law nose}


{vermont at 57 mph}

{friday night supper at stone soup with jill and kate}

{last week's friday flowers!}

{of the intervale community farm}
{procrastinated wedding project}

Note: I did finish... 8 minutes before we left for the wedding.

{fancy kate in front of the ethan allen III}

Third level: our wedding party.
Second level: another wedding party.
Deck: pirates.  Not kidding.

{wedding fun}

Today is the last day of summer.  My original intention for this blog was to research an herb or spice each season, draw it, grow it (if possible), cook and/or bake with it - generally make friends with it.

Cilantro was my summer herb of choice.  We are not friends.  This is due to a total lack of effort on my part.  Cilantro grew away in my garden, (in the metaphorical sense - cilantro was on the stoop, leeeeeannnnin' on the doorbell), but I turned a deaf ear.  As was the case with spring's tarragon, here I am, on the last day of the season, ruefully writing that I didn't fill the place I aspired to as herb researcher extraordinaire.  

Right now, the fall doesn't look half as busy as the summer was.  That can change quickly.  But, for now, I'm looking forward to growth. (:

Sep 9, 2011

Friday Flowers

I had to look at the label to find out these are - waxflowers!  Indeed, they look like flowers that would be easy to create out of wax, given you had experience in that area.  Wikipedia, giver of answers to my mindless internet searches, says that the "wax" name likely comes from the way the leaves feel.  I can't exactly vouch for that as the "leaves" are thin little pokers.  I'm enjoying the summer-to-fall transition colors though...

{Chamelaucium uncinatum}

{close-up, at work}

Enjoy your weekend!

Sep 6, 2011

I Put the PUNK in Punctuality...

Punctuality has never been my forte.  But my lateness in posting my "chal-lenge" response is bordering on embarrassing.  Without further ado...

{cupcakes, finished} 

Since the chal-lenge was pre-Freedom convention, and I had a couple of stops planned on the way, the lucky recipients were: my dear friends Audrey and Belva (whom I know through meeting) and Michael and Sam (whom I know through gardens and clown noses in West Virginia and Superhero Training Academy thereafter) ...and then hapless folks in the women's dorm at Freedom as I tried to pawn off the rest before they went bad (they don't skimp on the butter in buttercream frosting...).

{at the house of my friend sam, who owns this curious squirrel-go-round} 

I would love to expound on the merits of these fine people (I truly do not know how I am so blessed to know so many wonderful people, yourselves included...), but I am an old 28-yearer and I am itching to go to bed, so pictures of goofiness will have to do...

 {staged cupcake awe}

{staged cupcake feeding delight}

Summer happenings have been plen.ti.ful. here lately, including:

 {loveliness bought from a local stand}

{light on dark leaves} 


{bumper crop of 'matos, cukes and bikinis this year} 

{this lovely woman's birthday}

{sightseeing & hiking in thacher park} 

More from Labor Day weekend later kids - I'm whooped.