The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: coffee & chocolate (Page 1 of 4)

Family travels MMXX

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!

We’re back from our jaunt up to Michigan to visit our middle daughter and son-in-law. In fact, we’ve been there and back since Tuesday*.

But wait – I bet you didn’t even know we were away from our COVID cage nest. Surprise!

After some deliberation, we decided it was a reasonable risk worth pursuing – traveling during a narrow window of reduced regional COVID-19 surges and seasonal transitions**.

We packed up the 2003 Jeep Liberty and drove the 14-16 hrs straight through as we always do because we just like to drive. And because we’re all needy about seeing and being with Family.

Armed with my easy-to-reach ‘COVID’ box filled with sanitizer, wipes, paper towels, half can of precious Lysol Spray, all of our cloth masks plus a 5 pack of disposable gloves and the usual travel food box, duffles, pillows, and blanket, we were set to go. In addition, I carefully packed my Bernina, assorted notions, fabric scraps & batting bits and neatly nested all of that in with everything else.

Hubby secretly recorded us getting ready for our photo pose – notice Jude, the quilt eating kitty, sharing the couch with us

Say what? A sewing machine?

Often when we visit, I pack up Maddy to get a hands-on lesson at Elderly Instruments in Lansing with Neil Woodward but that wasn’t an option this time around due to COVID-19. Instead, I was on a sort of rescue mission – to repair as best as possible the three quilts kitty Jude chewed huge holes into since our last visit.

I’m happy to report that two of those quilts are 100% repaired. The third is ready for handstitching. Michelle is eager to begin repairs once I send her the appropriate fabric in sizes larger than I brought with me.

But of course, this trip was more than the sum of its seams…(groan).

Michelle Lilly Solorio, PhD 2020

We had a delayed in-house (pun intended) Family ‘hooding’ ceremony*** celebration, with Michelle gliding down the stairs of their 100 yr old home (there’s the punny connection) in full PhD regalia to the recorded traditional tune of ‘Pomp & Circumstance’.

We shared time around the Family table, spitting opinions (okay, too graphic for sure) between bites of fantastic food.

Took long walks, a Sunday Drive and spent plenty of time just ‘being’…

…Together…


*We drove off Thursday September 24th and returned on Tuesday September 29th

**Timing is indeed everything as both factors have since dramatically shifted.

***Official University ceremony postponed, now cancelled due to COVID-19.

Pandemic Potpourri #4

As mentioned before: herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality. In other words, this space is reserved for escaping/managing Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!


From bloggers I follow:

laura c's purple orange lily

Laura C’s Purple-Orange Lily.

Nature’s melding of my all-time favorite purple color with an injection of an emerging orange-craziness!

Roseanne's tote bag using my African Fabric scrap block

Roseanne’s finished tote bag.

She did a great job incorporating the scrap block I sent her just for fun & friendship into something functional!


From the kitchen:


And then there’s always ice cream – what’s your favorite?

tillamook ice cream

Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

A huge splurge but really needing a treat in this heat!


He will be the sure foundation for your times.

Isaiah 33:6a


Pandemic Potpourri #1

“I don’t know about you guys, but I could do with getting lost in trivialities. Making small talk with strangers, while waiting for my coffee to be made, about inconsequential things. Nothing of importance that mean everything.”   Andy Murray

Thanks for the inspiration, Andy and welcome all to the first of my new series Pandemic Potpourri. Herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality.
In other words, this space is reserved for escaping Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!

Sign newly planted in the grass across the street from where we live:

Margarita's Curbside SignI’ve been dying to do some baking lately – and took advantage of a straggling cooler day to bake up a batch of my “Laura’s Lovelies” *.  I really wanted to share these with the neighbors, but honestly, if anyone gave us something homemade, would I trust their level of COVID Cleanliness enough to eat them? So, hubby and I ate some of them ate too many of them before I froze the remainder of the batch in packets of 3…guess who gets the second helping?

Cookies and Clorox

Cookies and CloroxOn our side of the street (across from that Margarita Curbside Sign) there is a fresh produce stand that also sells Christmas trees starting November 10th each year and then bedding plants starting the end of March. Their new stock of Gerbera Daisies caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist…

Gerbera Daisies newly planted on our front porch:Gerbera Daisies on Front Porch

Wishing all of us a great weekend!

 *Thusly named by Amy-next-door, during a ‘circle’ block party in the old neighborhood ~ Lafayette, CO circa 1988

Friendly Faces, Random Ramblings

Friendly faced buttons

Friendly Faces


How’s this for a cutie patootie picture – friendly faces – to greet you during the reading of my latest post?
Don’t know if anyone else noticed, but the little girl in the video featured in the previous post wore some fun glasses…and don’t ya know, but they reminded me of my ‘new’ glasses.
Say what? Do tell, Laura. (Oh, my goodness, those friendly faces also speak…)
Last October, I went to the eye doctor for a new prescription as it’d been almost 4 years since I’d had my eyes examined. While the frames were still functional, I decided to splurge on a new pair and use the almost 15-year-old ones as spares.
You’re nothing if not frugal, lady.
New Glasses

My new purple-y glasses, October 2019


Too true. But to continue…
Almost immediately my gaze fell upon a purple-y pair that weren’t in-your-face purple, but just the right combo of color, design and shape to give a ‘natural face lift’ to this just turned 65-year-old visage.
Shhhh! Now you gone and done it, everyone knows your age.
i-am-what-i-am-and-thats-all-that-i-am Popeye Quote

…and as Popeye says…


“Piffle!” (as Ma used to say)
And: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” (as Popeye says)
Okay, we get it, you feel comfortable in your own skin (no matter its state of sag or wrinkle)…can we just move on?
Sure, but for being ‘friendly faces’ you guys do exude a certain air of edginess. Just sayin’…
Scroll up to early November and that’s when I became obsessed with obtaining my “MERRY COFFEE” special edition free cup from Starbucks (even though I can’t stand their coffee!).
Morning Pages 11/7/2019

Morning Pages 11/7/2019

(Morning Pages transcription)
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
~5:45 AM eastern time
11/07/19

I set myself a goal for this morning and achieved it! Starbucks’ limited offer on a special free Red Cup marking the start of their holiday seasonal menu – The cups go fast & soooo – I decided to get there at store opening – Maybe even be 1st in line!

Well.

There was no line…but I got in at opening & was 1st customer of the day @ 5:03:01 AM! HA!
Walked out with a hot choco, cuppa java & lemon pound cake (for TWL) and My Red Cup!

Purple-y glasses, red cups, lemon yellow pound cake…is there a point to all of this?

You betchya, baby faces!

Merry Coffee cup on Christmas Day 2019

Me, my new glasses and my Merry Coffee Cup on the porch, Christmas Day 2019

Ice Cream and Remembering Dad

So, this evening, after a fine dinner of Lemon Baked Spicy Salmon, rice, beets and peppers, I indulged in the last of the Tillamook Coffee Almond Fudge ice cream.

After my second helping – there was just a little bit left in the carton – I thought at first my prolonged craving was induced by the Chardonnay that accompanied the previously mentioned fine dinner.

But a nagging suspicion that there was more to it than that persisted.

Of course.

Today marks the third anniversary of Dad’s passing.

He loved ice cream.

Stories & family jokes abound about his doling out tiny ‘balls’ of the stuff for others while heaping mounds of frozen lusciousness into his own bowl…

Plus, when he was thrust into the role of widower and had nothing much to eat in the house – he always had a freezer full of ice cream. He prided himself in eating his milk in the morning via a bowl of ice cream for breakfast.

I miss you, Dad.

things I like inspired by harry

Harry’s Guest Post ref: here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzTlB-TjAzM

How’s that for an intro to a text-light post?

Already I’m feeling happy…for those of us who derive ‘happy’ vibes from quotes, this one’s for you:

Quote symbolIf chocolate was a sound, it would’ve been Constantine’s voice singing. If singing was a color, it would’ve been the color of that chocolate.

from: ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett

 
So Laura, you may point out, that’s not exactly a list of what you actually like. Well, maybe not, but it leads into liking things that make me happy…right? But for those purists, here’s what I commented on Harry’s Guest Post:

  • I like little boy smells, my baby boy turned daring young man…
  • fun times with my daughter and son-in-law, and
  • a house filled with music.
  • Oh and it goes without saying, ‘the perfect dark roast brew’ and the darkest & smoothest chocolate available to nibble on from time to time.

In these unending tragic times, thanks for prompting us to think on these things, too, L.Marie and Henry.

What are the things you like and/or make you happy? 

PS- can you guess purple makes me happy?!

Sixty Pho’ part one

Got this postcard from our son Joe in the snail mail a few days ago.

Make Pho' Not War

Welcome to the 21st century, Vietnam and Baby Boomers!

 The slogans written on the VW bus are as follows:

  • Make Pho’ Not War
  • Draft Beer, Not boys
  • Peace
  • all we need is peace
  • Love
  • Hoian (Quang Nam Province)
  • War is expensive, Peace is priceless

And the best for last:

  • Vietnam against War (using the V and W in the VW logo)

 
Coming of age during the Vietnam War, the country itself has never held any appeal for me to visit. Dove or Hawk, protester or soldier, the war in Vietnam was complicated. The dread of the draft during wartime isn’t too much understood these days as we have an all-volunteer army which implies a desire to be involved in the military in some form or another during times of war and of peace. Those days, enlisting was an option that meant a guy of draftable age could at least choose a branch of the military in which to serve. Hubby chose the Navy.
As such, while hubby served during the Vietnam War, his assigned job as a naval optical man. He’s very adamant about making the distinction that he’s a Vietnam era Vet, not a Vietnam Veteran in deference to those who did indeed serve their tour of duty in Southeast Asia.
Anyway, I have to admit our son’s month long trip hiking, biking and scootering the entire length of Vietnam starting in the North and ending in the South, opened my eyes to its natural beauty, culture, native coffees & foods, and as a traveler’s destination.
Like many of you, I was first introduced to those fresh Vietnamese Noodle Bowls in the 1990’s and graduated to the more complex flavors of Pho’ in recent years. So now, Joe’s fun postcard entices me further as he wrote on the back –

Move over Pho - here comes Bun Bo Hue!

Move over Pho – here comes Bun Bo Hue!


‘I found a pho-sibling that is equally delicious! Bon Bo has a deeper roast flavor to the broth…other delicious dishes to look out for are Bohn Beo, Bahn Khoai.’
Yum! I’m all in!
Darn – I don’t think those selections are on any menu around here in Florence, SC. I even double checked via google since FloTown has been changing in recent years…to be fair. However, I did find in the google search a single listing of a Vietnamese Restaurant that debuted in 2015 and closed down in the same year.
Just sayin’…I’ll keep a keen eye for these dishes elsewhere.
Meanwhile, as for the use of Pho’ as a word in the blogpost title rather than as the name of a delicious dish – How did you mentally pronounce the word Pho’? Faux or Fuh?
Hint: the correct pronunciation of Pho’ helps one to understand its relationship to the Sixty in the title of this post and will become evident as you continue to read on…next time in part two…

So, how do you pronounce Pho’?

Salt Break

Note: Please join me as I take a break from the all-consuming house-selling prep chores.
I’m sitting on the floor, my back against the wall down here in the walkout basement level that leads to the garden of my folks’ house. It is cooler here than any other place even with the AC on throughout the house.
It’s hot, but bearable…knowing these same temps are lingering around Florence, SC (our current place of residence) with the high humidity of the deep South, these Colorado 97 degree days are a piece of cake.
Hmmm, cake? For some reason, my appetite has been wonky – consuming things I don’t normally crave: Potato chips, extra salty fries, dark chocolate salted almond bark – oh yes the chocolate is a common craving for me, but not the desperate need for it to contain salted caramel, sea salted nuts or simply chunks of the rocky salty stuff….a common denominator seems to be emerging here.
Oh, I stay hydrated. In fact I drink water as if it were my own personal national pastime. My family teases me about always having a glass of water close at hand and asking others if they’ve kept up with their own liquid intake needs. I diversify, too, as I treat myself to watery watermelon often.
But this binging on salty and also high caloric food is way out of character for me. Ask any of my newer Southern acquaintances and they’ll tell you it’s odd for me since I dodge most of that part of the country’s traditionally deep fat fried, tongue stingingly salty foods.
So much for the weird…please pass the popcorn – drenched in butter and coated with salt of course.

Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle #3

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him
Psalms 34:8

Inside view of my 'loaded brownies minus one ingredient'

Inside view of my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’


This edition of the Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle answers the question presented in the first VBSC post: What exactly is the missing ingredient in my ‘loaded brownies minus one ingredient’?
In a word: Lavender. In a story?

—Ooo-La-La Lavender Brownies—

was the number one fav vignette of my little list* for 2012. Since then, I figured out the proportions to be 1/8 cup crushed dried lavender buds added to the Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix, using a large egg in the prep. (see recipe here)
Personally, if I eat more than two, I’ve found that they don’t settle so well on my tummy…kind of reminiscent of their alluded to ‘cousin’ edible. Continue reading

Kitty’s Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalms 34:8

Yes, you read that right, this second VBSC post brings Kitty to the table. Her human of choice is writer and yarn (he)artist, L. Marie, a native Chicagoan. She earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to write, submit manuscripts and encourage others pursuing the writer’s path.
Actually, she encourages others, period. Skilled in crochet and knitting, she often yarns-up gifts for those she feels need a little unexpected lift or surprise.
Case in point, a few days ago, I discovered the owl featured in the photos below roosting in our snail mail box. I’m sure Kitty is relieved that she has one less ‘friend’ she’s obliged to share brownies with, but I’m touched at the thoughtfulness of my blogger buddy.
However, ‘owlie’ does not yet have a name…heck, (s)he doesn’t even have a gender designation. Soooo…if any ideas come to mind, please mention suggestions in the comments below along with any other thoughts this post may inspire.  
UPDATE: L. Marie and I have decided that “Owlie” fits him just fine.

Don’t forget to take a peek at L.Marie’s blog and maybe try out the brownie recipe at the end of this, her guest post.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m L. Marie. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. Many thanks to Laura for inviting me to participate in her Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle. And thank you to Heather who wrote the original post that inspired Laura.

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .

Kitty and her friends. Not that she thinks she’s above them. But pictures don’t lie. . . .


Actually, Kitty, who is sitting here staring at me, feels she was the inspiration behind the sharing circle, because she’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Less crime, more altruism—that sort of thing. In fact, she thinks it should be renamed the Kitty and Friends Virtual Brownie Sharing Circle, since she coerced invited two friends to join her in a photo op.
Though she doesn’t consider me a friend (more like a slave, really) she expected me to do all of the brownie baking while she did all of the tasting.
When it comes to brownies, I’m not much of a baker. A year ago, I made a box recipe that was supposed to be kindergarten easy. But the brownies turned out dry and about half the height they were supposed to achieve after baking.
Picture 3

Ginger and her son, Johnny


 
My good friend Ginger makes great brownies. I’ve known Ginger for many years. Not only is a she a great wife, and mother to three offspring (two of whom are in college), she is also an administrative assistant at Covenant Classical School in Naperville, Illinois.
As if her life weren’t busy enough, Ginger also deals with Celiac disease. I’ll let her tell you about that.
 
 
 
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