Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Accidental Still Life

So inspired by Julia Child's exhuberance for life and love in the movie, Julie and Julia, I headed out to the Sunday Farmer's Market before church this morning. Hair in a clip and the worst of my mascara smudges wiped away, I piled into the car with only a vague notion of what I was going for.

We had eggs already and onions so maybe I was just going for flowers. Twenty minutes and $33 later I emerged with some kind of mushrooms (which I promptly folded into a luscious omlette cooked in butter), 40" long sunflowers, lots of August heirloom tomatoes and salad greens with flowers in them. Told you I was only going for the flowers.

The only problem with these sunflowers is that they are 40" long (did I mention that?) and my tallest vase is, oh, about 15" high and impossibly light to boot. So, while the sunflowers sprawled over both halves of the sink, toes dipped in the left side, busty blossoms hanging over a plate of ripe tomatoes, this deficiency necessitated a trip to Costco to see if they had a suitable vessel.

I found one possibility. When I called my husband to see the distance to the lowest leaf (21" which meant the vase was too tall), he softly asked me, "Can you trim the ends?" Undeterred by sensible reason, I kept looking and he, knowing how I get when I'm on a mission, suggested Tuesday Morning. Bingo for $18.

I haven't got the perfect picture yet BUT am looking forward to working with it until I do. For a fall arrangement, these would look great with Kangaroo Paw blossoms in burgundy. Can't wait until next weekend and all the meals in between!


There may be no such thing as the perfect bag but that doesn't stop me from looking. As you know, I have the perfect camera bag but I didn't have the perfect computer bag....until now. BOOQ bags makes a Mamba backpack that's just perfect for my work mobile computer and, with a quick switch, also perfect for traveling with my personal mobile computer.

The shoulder staps are padded and the material is slick so itwon't snag my silks. The interior is bright red making it easier to find things inside. The computer stays put in a pocket in back. The bag comes with a zippered baglette to tame your computer's cable gear and 2 external zippered pockets for easy access.

Best of all, I can add 2 trade paperbacks for a long airplane ride, find room for lipstick, pillow and eyeshades and still look like a put together organized professional.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pear Persistence

Here's the first Dwarf Bartlett pear grown in my own backyard on an espaliered tree with 4 different varieties grafted onto the trunkette. The taste was an incredible blend of sweet and tangy.

My friend Pam and I managed to stuff this 4' tree in the back of my 2-door Toyota about 2 years ago now. It was a comedy running from one door to the other trying to keep all those branches from being snapped off as we levered the tree between the front seat, the seatbelt and the door frame.

The first 2 years I lost the leaves to fungus and needless to say, had no harvest. This year, I was on top of it with the fungus spray and it made a huge difference. I got 4 buds, 2 Bartlett and 2 Comice and finished the season with 1 Bartlett and 1 Comice pear. Not a huge haul but a big improvement from last year and extra tasty! Those store bought pears don't hold a candle!

Julie & Julia: The Movie: Part 2 The Shoes

At least 2 pairs of shoes in this movie were breathtaking! Julia was 6'2" so some serious heels were in order to get Meryl Streep up to that height.

On the left, some peep toe wedges. Below, the scene in which Julia wears a beautiful pair of patent black shoes with substantial bone colored heels, sadly cut off in this photo. Let me know if you find a better one!

Part 1 - The Love

Julie & Julia: The Movie: Part 1

There's just nothing more attractive about a man than his love for his woman and visa versa. The movie Julie and Julia had this going on in spades both for Paul and Julia (Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep) and Julie and Eric (Amy Adams and Chris Messina).

Particularly for Paul and Julia, that love seemed deep, complex. When a baby carriage roles by and Julia looks wistfully at it for just one moment, Paul puts his arm around her shoulder and pulls her to him and walks them both away. There are no words required to know what's wrong and what's needed. And this theme of attending closely to the other's reaction, and responding appropriately all without words appears consistently throughout the movie.

The scenes that gives us a glimpse of Paul's adoration and support of Julia throughout her cook book project and Julia's support of Paul throughout regular moves with Paul's career do a beautiful job of showing the depth of their commitment to each other over time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Homage to the Diner

I spent a lot of time paying homage to the diner as an institution during my college years. Doc's, Dutch's Steak House, Toc's Coffee House, Livingston's all saw me with my 2" thick textbooks, ordering coffee and steak & eggs for my late night study sessions.

The diner has a particular vibe, there's a there there, much like some people can tell what land a wine is from based on its taste. You know you're in Jersey, New York or Kansas if you see a diner.

The decor is usually 1950's atomic formica table top in white, pink and gray or a slightly variegated brown porch enamel color in a plywood pattern. There's usually a counter with vinyl covered stools, red, blue or brown.

The smell of hash browns (not country fries) wafts heavily through the air. The menu boasts comfort foods: country fried steak, biscuits and gravy, steak and eggs, medium rare, over easy, whole wheat toast and coffee, always lots of coffee.

The atmosphere is casual and the place is open late hours. Everyone from customers to the cook knows the regulars, their cars and names and usual order. People respect privacy and also check up on each other in the case of long absences.

A certain kind of customer/waitress droll dry green-olive humor abounds: Man, shaking pepper on his food, and continues for some time. Waitress, "Why don't you just take the lid off." Man, "I wouldn't get my exercise that way."

The's an institution.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Buns O Wheat!

Mom made some pretty tasty treats including these good sized buns:
I tried Pioneer Woman's Cooler Action Set as advised on her food photography post to help convey just how lovely these creations were:

The image in the back in an old time setting is reminiscent of painter Pieter Bruegel from the 1500s so I tried out PW's Vintage Action set and got this lovely vintage postcard:

But honestly, after all that, the lone bun is still the best!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


My Dad grows great tomatoes! This beautiful red one is a bigun! On the scale, read the white letters...1.25 pds!

In case you missed the lusciousness of this love apple, here's a closeup:

This green one on the vine is already 5 inches across.

And talk about size! Here's Dad's tomato forest with 9 plants of various varieties including Big Boy's, Early Girls, some over 8 feet tall! (Dad hopped in the picture to provide a sense of scale.)

Now that, ladies and gents, is a justly proud grower!

Belated Spring Cleaning Tips

I missed a deep spring cleaning this year but a sparkling clean house makes the dark winter months more cheery so I am trying late summer cleaning instead. Here are 3 tips to check out:

1. The Martha Stewart way to wash feather pillows.

2. Whink, a great rust removal product for stubborn rust spots.

3. If you’ve got stuff that someone would want, you just don’t know who, try Freecycle. You list it, someone “claims it”, you leave it outside your door with their name on it, and it disappears! Key to clutter free plus you get the added buzz of knowing that it’s going to someone who will really use it.

Now, let's get outside and enjoy the remaining summer!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bonham by Betty

You might be thinking Helena Bonham Carter but these Bonham pumps are by Bettye Muller.

I bought these on a recent trip to Kansas, the land of homegrown tomatoes and homeade bread.....the same land that Cessna, Beech, Boeing pioneered.

This red and grey houndstooth pattern in luscious cashmere goes great with a bodyskimming gray sleeveless cashmere and wool blend sheath dress.

After a day of wearing them, I can tell you that the heel is firm and imminently plantable for a stable walk. The platform in front reduces how much of the heel height you actually experience.

Heel hint: To make the wearing of heels a sustainable practice, wear comfy shoes too and from work or your target audience/event/location. It saves wear and tear on your feet and scuff marks on the heels from driving as well as in transit weather exposure.

If you're into shoes try this post: Halo Shoes