Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Smaller World

As I've mentioned before, this blogging thing really does make the world seem smaller.  I commiserate with blog friends in the UK, France, and Austria about the dreary weather and am cheered by the sight of spring blooms in Turkey. But now, news of an earthquake in Chile has me concerned about two blog acquaintances. 

Maria Cecilia  of the beautiful blog  Casa Dulce Hogar (the roses below are hers) lives near Santiago and tends what must be one of the most romantic gardens ever. I slip over there for refreshment on these bleak wintry days.  She hasn't posted recently -- on vacation for all of February, she said.  Santiago was well beyond the epicenter of the quake but even so, sustained considerable damage.

I'll be glad when Maria Cecilia posts again.

UPDATE!! Maria Cecilia has just posted to say that she and her family are fine. She asks for prayers for her countrymen who have lost loved ones and homes.

A more recent blog acquaintance is Pamela of Vanellus Chilensis and  Recorriendo la Patagonia.  She, too, is in Chile -- and, if I read the Spanish correctly, she's okay. 

But my point is this: a year ago, I would have heard about an earthquake in Chile and thought oh, how dreadful and moved on.  Natural disaster is everywhere. But now, I'm worried about people I've actually communicated with.

Do you suppose, in time, as the blogosphere expands, we really will begin to feel like everyone is our neighbor?  That no man is an island?  That we're all in this together and what affects one will eventually affect all?

It would be nice to think that blogging could put an end to war -- but man's ability to make war on his neighbors is well documented.  Still ... it's a thought.

And Patagonia seems closer than ever.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sepia Saturday -Two Pictures

For my first excursion into Sepia Saturday, I'm recycling a post I did back in August of '08 about my maternal grandparents -- Victor Huborn and Ruby. Click on the link to see other great old pictures and the stories behind them.

1914 ~ Troy, Alabama

Riding in a rented buggy along a country road,
She smiles out at her unknown future,
Crisp in a dress of pale blue linen,
A dark-haired girl with flowers at her waist.

Stiff and correct in Sunday suit,
Her sweetheart wears a somber face
His new straw hat
Tilts at a jaunty courting angle.

Governor, the cynical livery hack,
Has seen it all; he poses for posterity;
As an unseen chaperon
Records the fleeting moment.kip to main | skip to sidebar

1973 ~ Tampa, Florida

Still side by side  they sit--  their life buttressed by
One daughter, two grandchildren,
Three great-grandchildren --
A stealthy progression of years and generations
Has somehow come to pass.

Stone-deaf in the now,
The old lady hears the voice
Somewhere deep inside,
The dark-haired girl is whispering:
Still here.
'She had the prettiest little ankles,'
The old man says.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Update - Drip, Drip, Drop!

(Biggify this last picture to see the impact crater of the drop!)

Oops! It Did It Again!

Snow on the porch . . .
Snow on the trees . . .
Turkeys in the snow . . .

Up to their turkey knees.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ah, If Only . . .

I got this great card from my friend Josie -- whose daughter Gretchen just happens to be the talent behind  Roger That -- a source for delightfully silly, occasionally rude, often irreverent, and hopelessly weird greeting cards.

Maybe I'll send it to my editor as a suggested marketing plan . . . 

And now for something less silly. Over at HERE, WHERE I AM - a  blog by NC's past poet laureate -- Kay has been kind enough to post one of my efforts. Slip on over, have a look around, and enjoy one of the top thirty poetry blogs.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thai Green Curry and Panna Cotta

Justin and Claui cooked an amazing meal for my birthday dinner. They had made this Thai Green Curry for us back in January and I had immediately requested it for my birthday. 

There's not a recipe, as such but the essentials for this very large amount (it fed five of us with leftovers for probably five more) are 6 oz. (1 and 1/2 cans) of Maesri brand green curry paste and a 19 oz. can of Mae Ploy coconut milk -- both available at most Asian markets.

The various ingredients - red and yellow peppers, garlic and onions, chopped eggplant, boneless chicken breasts -- were sauteed in  separate batches and each seasoned to taste with the curry paste, some coconut milk, and a little chicken broth.

The sauteed elements were combined and the tiny corn on the cobs added along with more of the curry, coconut milk and broth. The snow peas went in last just to barely heat. They should remain crisp.
The whole glorious mess was served over basmati rice. There were condiments -- toasted almond slivers, lime slices, hot peppers in vinegar, chopped cilantro, and crispy fried chopped garlic.  On the side there was also a simple carrot/red cabbage slaw, seasoned with lime juice and hot sauce.

Yes, we like our food hot and spicy -- and after all there was plenty of champagne to cool us off.

For dessert Claui made a delectable panna cotta (From Ina Garten -- and there's a real recipe --just click the link.)  Cool and smooth and vanilla-y with a drift of lemon zest and a surround of strawberries blessed by a touch of sugar and basalmic vinegar. The perfect complement to the flavors of the curry.

How good was it? So good that we gobbled it up before I thought to take a picture -- this was taken from the recipe site. 

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Lucky Son of a Bitch

 Here's a short piece inspired by the photo below -- another writing prompt from Magpie Tales -- which you can visit to see how others responded. If you're so inclined, think about signing on for the next one!

"Oh, come on with me, Travis, honey. It'll be fun and maybe we'll get to be on TV."

Loreen  reached over and trailed a suggestive hand down his chest. "Travis, honey, pleease . . . . I'll say thank you real good when we get home . . . You know . . ."

Travis considered, watching the throng of people pouring into the Civic Center. The big sign on the marquee said "Antiques Road Show ~ Last Day!" 

He sighed deeply. If he just stayed in the pickup in the parking lot, she wouldn't say nothing but like as not she'd cut him off for a week or more.

"Okay, I'll do 'er but it's a waste of time. I'll tell you now, Sugar, that stupid doll ain't gone be worth more than a couple of bucks. Fact."

That got Loreen riled.  He had to hold back from laughing as she swole up all huffy and snapped out, "You think you know so much. You wanna make a bet?"

She didn't even wait for him to answer but plowed right ahead, the words just sputtering. 

"How about this? If my doll's not worth more than fifty dollars, then I'll buy you that big screen TV you been carrying on about -- right out of my own savings. And I'll go you one better, Mr. Smart Ass; if she's worth more than fifty, I'll still buy you that TV. . . But,  for every dollar over fifty that they say she's worth, that's one whole day that I get to pick what we watch."

"Deal," Travis said, grinning to himself. He'd been dreading the fight it was going to take to get that TV he wanted so bad. And here it was, falling into his lap.  Looked like this was his lucky day after all.

They climbed out of the pickup, Loreen carrying the big bag with her special treasure -- the Barbie Doll in its original box.

As they made their way to the entrance of the Civic Center, Travis  stopped. "You go on ahead, babe; I gotta have a smoke first" and he headed over to the side where there was a convenient wall to lean on. 

Pulling out a Marlboro -- Loreen was after him to switch to those cheap generic cigarettes but she could kiss his ass -- he put it to his lips and clicked his Bic.

Piece of crap. Probably been through the wash one too many times. Travis slapped his pockets but it wasn't no good --no matches. 

Then he saw it. Proof that he was still a lucky son of a bitch. Right there on the wall beside him was a box of matches. Hotel Something or other -- weird looking black-tipped matches but the first one fired right up and he sucked in the smoke greedily. 

Five minutes later he was in the crowded hallway trying to figure out where Loreen might have gone. The place was like an anthill a kid had kicked --  people swarming every whichaway, each one carrying some kind of treasure.

"Through that door and to the right." It was a geeky-looking guy standing next to him with a couple of big scrapbook-looking things in his arms.

Travis frowned.

"That's where the philumeny experts are," the geek explained. "I couldn't help noticing your matchbox . . ." 

He nodded toward Travis's hand which still held his lucky find. "I collect covers myself, but sometimes those foreign matchboxes bring amazing prices. Good luck with it!"

Luck . . . well, what the hell, thought Travis and went through the door and to the right.

It was another geeky guy he finally talked to and he was sorry that Loreen wasn't around because while he was in line, the TV cameras had started rolling.

Just like he'd seen watching the show at home, there was lots of fancy talk -- how long had he had the matchbox (he said a friend had given it to him,) any idea of its worth (he could be honest here and say none at all.)

"Well," said Geek number 2,  setting the matchbox on a black cloth and looking at it like it was some kind of big ass diamond, "it's a very special matchbox, even though it's not an antique. But the Trans-Canada Swapfest is coming up in May and there are several collectors who would be very interested in a Hotel Forum ~ Bratislava."

The Geek, who was wearing white gloves, for crissakes, very gently pulled open the box of matches and delicately spilled them onto the cloth. His finger quivered above the matches and his lips moved.

" . . .  twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine . . ."

His brow furrowed and he counted again.

The Geek sighed. "Unfortunately, collectors demand a complete box.  If all thirty matches had been here, I believe that, at auction, the box could have fetched two to three thousand dollars. As it is, however . . ." he shrugged. " Worthless  . . . just not your lucky day, I'm afraid."

 Above the sound of many voices, Travis could hear Loreen's shriek of delight all the way across the vast hall

"Five thousand dollars! For my Barbie? Really?"

Five thousand. Minus fifty and that made four thousand, nine hundred and fifty days when she held the remote -- four thousand, nine hundred and fifty days of movies about women talking about their problems and handsome vampires talking about theirs. It meant hot and cold running Oprah and Martha . . . shows about fixing up a house and shows about kids and more shows about women, talking about their problems . . .

"Sir? Sir? . . . are you all right? "

The floor rose to meet him and the babble of voices grew farther and farther away. All the light in the room seemed to gather into a ball of fire which flared up briefly then diminished to a single pinprick which pulsed . . . and fluttered . . . and went out . . .

"Somebody call 911! . . . Sir? Sir? . . ." 

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Birthday

"....and of my threescore years and ten,
Sixty-six will not come again . . ."  
The stunned looking two year old at the head of the table is me, celebrating, if that's the word, my second birthday back in 1945.
My, how time flies when you're having fun!

Back in high school, a friend of mine (Sheila King Sanford -where are you?) wrote the following verse:

Three score years and ten,
The allotted span for men.
Early go or lately stay,
On my tombstone will it say
2012 or 2010?

At the time, 2010 didn't even seem like a real date -- more the stuff of science fiction. But here it is.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sweet Sunshine

After Wednesday's snow, we woke to a welcome smudge of sun  in a cloudy sky . . .
and by afternoon the south-facing slopes were cleared of white  . . .
 unlike the north-facing . . .

Beneath the melting snow, a crumpled pansy bides its time.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rice Field Art - A Snow-Free Post

A ferocious Sengoku warrior gallops across a rice paddy in  Inkadate, Japan.

This is how it begins -- lots of people planting selected varieties of rice in a carefully planned pattern.

And it begins to grow...

and grow ...


filling in the blanks ...

till the picture emerges!


At field level, it's not so clear -- viewers must ascend a tower for the full effect.

All done with these different rice varieties!

Thanks to Amelia for sending these pictures and to John for finding the link for more info.

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