Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hello Darling: Behind the Scenes

Hello Darling
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

To the left below is the image SOOC. It looks a little wan but the subject is beautiful so it's worth trying. Adjusting colors, balance and levels gave me a good starting point.

After experiementing with various filters and action sets and order of layers, I settled on, from bottom of the layers stack to top, Boutwell Magic Glasses by Totally Rad, Boost, Edge Burn, Dim the Lights and Old West by Pioneer Woman. The main effect was to sharpen and intensify the detail and color that was there, to warm the color and to accentuate shadows.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chose What Works

There's a lot of useful info in here in workbook fashion. One absolute takeaway is Appendix 1: Goldman's Plan on a Page should be part of any new project, initiative, or 90 day plan. The framework helps you sort info into Focused Intent, register of issues and concerns to be accounted for and resolved, Pathways to Action, accountability, outcomes, time frames, interdependencies and commitments to ask. Reading this has helped me chunk up two full levels in my Focused Intent.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by thyme2003
It strikes me that leaves in autumn are of course beautiful, but they're really dying. But they're beautiful.

Suppose that aging is like this. Suppose that dying is like this.

It feels to me that with their last breath the leaves take every opportunity to clap in worship...while they're falling off the tree.

What was a canopy while young is now translucent - and we can see through them to the sky.

Le Menu Report

This report is brought to you by.......well, no sponsor:) Just me!

Last week I shared with you what I was going to cook.  This week I'll tell you how it went and tasted.

First, the Duck a la Orange has now been renamed Duck a la Ordeal.  It takes foreeevvver! Particularly on a weeknight when you think to yourself, "This will be easy."  Nope.  Lots of steps that need to be timed just right. And I highly recommend reading ALLLLLL the directions before beginning. I didn't and only belated realized that I need to blanch orange peel BEFORE putting the duck in the oven.  Ah well.  As for taste, the bird itself tastes  It's the sauce that's the secret and boy is it orangey.  It took so long to cook that I had to debone the duck and put it in the freezer for another day.  We'll see how it goes when we thaw it tomorrow night.

NEWS FLASH: We did have the duck the next night and rechristened it "Rubber Duckey".  Do not try at home! Find a nice restaurant that serves this and order it without guilt!

On the other hand, the pork loin glazed with pomegranate and orange was yum! The loin would have been dry without it and the pomegranate lent a nice zing to every bite.  Splurge on a good pinot for this one.  We finally settled on a Cambria that was worth repeating.  The Chalone was not. The loin freezes and reheats well.

Due to business and personal travel, the rest of the menu remains in suspended animation. We did make it to TJ Maxx as promised and the vaunted Le Creuset was in stock at the rumored price but not in the right size.

We'll keep trying:)  You too!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

C Change

There's lots of change management research out there.  Separate from the research, here are 5 things that have helped me make changes over the past few months:
  • Coolness factor 
  • Convenience 
  • Conviction 
  • Consequences 
  • Culture 
Don't know if it works for everybody. But at least they all start with C.

Madeleine's Pins

Read My Pins is a fun book and shows quickly that decoration is not all furbelow and foofaraw.  

When form follows function it amplifies power and meaning.  Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s examples in the area of international diplomacy are priceless.  

Hurrah for pointed decoration!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I read Bananas: How United Fruit Company Shaped the World by Peter Chapman to discover what strategies multinational companies use to grow and how those strategies fail. Here's an interesting list of how tos:

  • Marry into the government.  One of the original founders of UF, Minor Keith, married a daughter of the former president of Costa Rica where he was establishing banana fields as a side business to putting in a railroad for the country.
  •  Invade the country with a company army. Ex. Sam the Banana Man invaded Honduras and overthrew the government.
  •  Control all the resources that others could use to compete with you.  In this case, buying up all the land in South America that would be good for growing bananas.
  • Monopolize infrastructure critical to country growth. In United Fruit's case it was primarily railroads.

UF had the resources that the country lacked such as cash, jobs, know-how. Countries become dependent on large companies. 

This book is particularly interesting given the current focus on globalization. In fact, Chapman compares the current globalisation trend to jungle capitalism practiced by “market states”. He also reveals different governments' motivations for supporting or withdrawing support from United Fruit depending on the tolerance of constituents.  He also shows the link between United Fruits' business in Cuba and the Bay of Pigs invasion.   

Quite an enlightening read on strategy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crazy Orchid

Crazy Orchid
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Lately, I've found myself looking at the ground, eyes caught by the textures of pebbles and asphalt in the slanted afternoon sun. Even tiny things like pebbles cast shadows.

Little did I know that this new tendency would be useful as I began to learn to use textures in my photos. Rather than hurry on to my destination, I'm so glad I stopped along the way.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Le Menu

This past week's cooking challenge went pretty well including the Boeuf Bourguignon. This week I'm going to try:

Week of 10/18/09
Pork Loin Glazed with Pomegranate and Orange (Evan 168) with Saintsbury Pinot Noir
Baked Goat Cheese in a Walnut Crust with Greens and Apple (Evan 78) with Ferrari Carano Sauvignon Blanc
Canard à l’Orange (Roast Duck with Orange Sauce, Child 276) with Meridian Gewurztraminer or similar.
Endives à la Flamande (Braised Belgian Endive, Julia Child 493) Since my casserole dish cracked, I need another one before I can cook this. I'll run to TJ Maxx tomorrow where Le Creuset is rumored to be 1/3 the price.

My husband was kind enough to grocery shop for me today so tomorrow, I'll begin!

Untidy Housekeeper

Untidy Housekeeper
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

If the decisions of my life were layed out in spider silk, it might look like this. Untidy, but evidence of some regularity though it's hard to tell what the underlying pattern might be. I saw this one after photographing several other perfectly manicured spherical webs and thought, ah, there's one who colors outside the box!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Which Door? Door #1, #2 or #3?

Which Door? Door #1, #2 or #3?
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

Decisions? Sometimes I don't want options because then I have to make choices. But at the same time, having an abundance of options reflects the character and nature of a generous God.

Which job? If we have more than one choice, especially in this economy, rejoice. Which family should I spend the holidays with? If you have more than one, perhaps it is time to be thankful.

Thankful or no, we still have to make a choice. A co-worker of mine shared this prayer, "God, open doors that only you can open and close doors that only you can close." I like that, because I need help with making wise choices.

Which door do you chose?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

365 is the New 30

GMC Antique
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

Used to be that if you wanted to start a new habit, the common wisdom was you did it for 30 days and then it was yours.

I find that changing. 365 is the new 30.
* In January, I started blogging and I promised myself that if I made it through a whole year of blogging and liked it, then I would continue and upgrade my site / skills and maybe even attend a conference. It's October 13th and I'm still at it.
* In September, I got inspired to cook and promised myself that if I could cook like this for a whole year, then it would be easy to whip something up, a new second nature. I've cooked for 1 month now. It is very slowly getting easier.
* In October, I joined BD 365, a group of 54 Blissfully Domestic photographers who commit to make one photograph a day for a whole year. I'm on Day 15.

Why didn't I just try these things for 30 days? Well, they're each more complex to learn and master than say, picking up the habit of flossing every night. There's more to learn and it takes time to unfold. But I trust that the acquired patina will have a beautiful effect.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blue Sky

Blue Sky
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

All I can say is my God is a provider.

I was exhausted, I work all day, it gets dark early, my house isn't light enough for photos, I don't know how to use flash properly, I figured there was just no way I was going to get a photo today despite my commitment to Project 365, make a photo a day for a year.

There was light on the drive home but no place in the busy traffic to pull over and take a picture of those amazing rays coming out of the cloudy sky.

In the parking lot of Walgreen's, on my way to get bandaids for my post-pre-skin-cancer freeze spots, as I opened my trunk to get my purse which is too small for my giant camera, I looked up....and saw the most beautiful stretches of sky. I went to town.

Only on my way into Walgreen's did I see the guy in the new maroon pickup truck, looking at me strangely, as if I HAD truly totally lost my mind. No matter, I lost it in the right place and for the right reasons. I saw nothin' but blue sky:)

The Sacred Vache

Well, I've done it.  Cooked the vaunted Boeuf Bourguignon, after mostly learning to spell it. I took this dish very seriously and cleared all the decks in preparation:

Then, I made sure the recipe was easy to get to:

And got out a few supplies including some coffee to power me through:

It was at this point that I discovered a new requirement for my eventually remodeled kitchen.  The light must enable 50mm photos @ 1/50 @ f2.5.  The best I could do was 1/8.  I think retractable light boxes in the ceiling would work nicely.  Annie Liebowitz would be jealous:)

I'll spare you much of the interim work (which would have been blurry anyway) but suffice it to say, don't try to do this one after work on a week night.  It takes TOOO long. I started farmers market and grocery shopping at 9am (having been to the butcher the day before) and, with two one hour breaks, finished cooking at 5:00pm. Here's the finished good:

My only recommendations are:

  • remember to cut up the bacon into little strips (I forgot) 
  • most bacon these days doesn't have a rind so don't worry about cutting it off
  • invest in a better Pinot Noir/Burgundy drinking wine than this one (lowest price point at Costco and an import). Tomorrow, with leftovers we'll try a local at the same price point and see if we get more for our money.  
  • don't use Pyrex! When I moved my Pyrex casserole from the hot burner on the stove to the unused but not cold nor cool side, it cracked!!!!!  If this had happened at the beginning of the day, I would have been surprised but serene.  It happened at the end of the day, all the leftovers were in there and my response was not so laissez faire. Down with Pyrex! I need foolproof cookware, not things that require pampering. When does Le Creuset go on sale?

Happy cooking!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crazy Kitchen

Crazy Kitchen
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

Last week's menu didn't go too badly so I'm giving this a try the 3rd week in a row. Here's le menu for this week:

*Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence (Julia Child 257) served with Sofia Coppola Rosé
*Boeuf Bourguignon (Julia Child 315) served with a Burgundy
**With Oignon Glacés à Brun (Brown-braised Onions, Julia Child 483)
**With Champignons Sautés au Beurre (Sautéed Mushrooms, Julia Child 513)
*Risotto (Leftovers from last week! Julia Child 532)
*Pommes de Terre Sautées (Leftovers from last week! Julia Child 526)
*Endives à la Flamande (Braised Belgian Endive, Julia Child 493)

I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Le Menu Report

Earlier this week, I shared with you le menu I was planning to cook this week. While the braised endives are still not cooked, and the chicken for the 2nd chicken dish spoiled in the fridge, I completed all the rest.

The Orange Ginger Chicken from Evan Goldstein's Perfect Pairings was a hit. My only advice is to use fresh ginger in the marinade, not ground dried ginger.

The Moroccan Lamb Tagine was not such a hit. It was too sweet for my husband and I found that there are people who don't like lamb. I liked it and plan to freeze it for those evenings when I'm home alone for dinner. The Viogniers were a perfect match.

For the risotto, I used the sauce left over from the Casserole Roasted Chicken with Tarragon  from last week which gave it a definite flavor. When I finally do get around to the Chicken Sauteed with Herbes de Provence I'll have to remember to use the leftover sauce for risotto.

The real highlight for me was the Pommes de Terre Sautees or sauteed whole new potatoes.  My French friend, she likes these slightly burned, so I let them.  They were fabulous and flavorful and not oily or greasy.

So, I'm debating now whether, in addition to the missed Chicken Sauteed with Herbes de Provence to also tackle Boeuf Borgignon....haven't decided when to take on that sacred cow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parking Garage Cross

Parking Garage Cross
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

The textures got me. On my way back to my car on the ground floor of the parking garage, the many shiny silver eyehooks vs the stubbly beard of the cement wall, the many narrow black cords and the thick wide wall and surprisingly thin floor startled me out of my hurry. I put my bags down and to the amazement of 3 people sitting in cars or walking to one, I shot.

It wasn't until I got home and started playing with the image that I realized, while it was the light effects that hooked me, there was more going on, that this was about structure and foundations.

Turning it into black and white revealed the cross.

What, in life, if I took out the things that arrest my gate, hold my cheeks and fasten my gaze, would metamorphose this way?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pillar Point

Pillar Point
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

There are days I feel like this boat looks...beached, useless, on edge, left behind, forsaken, forlorn, in need of Botox, Restylane and a paint job. But somehow, what I hear right now is a melodic melange of partial verses:

  • The Lord has promised good to me...
  • I will never leave you nor forsake you...
  • I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you...
  • Plans for a hope and a future...
  • Yeah tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me...
  • The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...
  • Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age
  • Crowned with: He makes all things beautiful in its time ( Ecclesiastes 3:11)

When? There's a whole lot of waiting for the Lord in Psalms:

  • Wait for the Lord; be strong, take heart, wait for the Lord (Ps 27:14)
  • We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and shield (Ps 33:20)
  • Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Ps 37:7)
  • Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it. (Ps 37:34)
  • I wait for you, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God. (Ps 38:15)
  • My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning (Ps 130:6)

Sometimes I don't think waiting any longer is possible....but I'm finding that waiting is not wasted. It builds strength and endurance, a deferral to see something greater than your own desires come to pass, a yearning that grows into clarity.

The Lord has promised good to me. I will wait.

Holder of Light

Ipomoea: Holder of Light
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Ipomoea Purpurea - aka bindweed, moon flower, or in this case, catcher of light.

The base of the vase holds a pool of warm afternoon fall sunlight for all to see.

Usually it's the petals that strike me, the flower itself from the face, the incredible epidermal qualities, the symmetry and muted coloring around the throat of the trumpet.

But in this case, it was what the flower held, not what it was. And how it held it, transparently for all to see.

Reminds me of how Moses' face must have glowed after he talked to God.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Le Menu

Despite or perhaps because of last week's cooking education, I decided I'm game for more. Le menu for this week (after a short break with banana bread from a box with a real banana added in):

* Ginger and Orange Chicken (Perfect Pairings 123) served with Pepperwood Viognier
* Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Raisins, Almonds & Honey (Perfect Pairings 130) served with Yalumba Viognier
* Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence (Julia Child 257) served with Sofia Coppola Rosé
* Risotto (Julia Child 532)
* Pommes de Terre Sautées (Julia Child 526)
* Endives à la Flamande (Braised Belgian Endive, Julia Child 493)

The first one I have already cooked Sunday night. We enjoyed it with the FIFTH and last night of garlic mashed potatoes. The chicken was really good and will make good lunches. 

For the 2nd, I love it when I don't realize a marinade is required until I begin to cook.  Then I have to wait best case 2 hours, worst case, overnight:) This one is keeping me up late!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

4 Ways on Sunday

Young, exuberant, bold

No longer young, but not yet old, muted, structure revealed

Old, faded, patina front and center, tentative or tender

A memory, uncertain

Yet, all 4 are the same
Lysanthus and

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Coquilles St Jacques

Coquilles St Jacques
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

Proof that I've been inspired by Julie and Julia and by Julia Child......Coquilles St Jacques cooked by myself and served correctly on scallop shells!

Here's le menu from last week. I cooked 4 things from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
  1. Haricots Verts à l’Anglaise (Buttered Green Beans, Julia Child 444)
  2. Purée de Pommes de Terre à L’Ail (Garlic mashed potatoes, Julia Child, 520)
  3. Poulet Poêlé à L’Estragon (Casserole roasted chicken with Tarragon, Julia Child 249)
  4. Coquilles St. Jacques à la Parisienne (Scallops & mushrooms in white wine sauce, Julia Child 216)
Definitely a few missteps (like 4 DAYS of garlic mashed potatoes) and definitely time consuming (about an hour and a half a night for 3 nights) but an interesting week none the less!

For more on Julia:
5 Secrets from the Julia Child School of Management
5 More Secrets from the JCSM
Julie and Julia: Part 1 The Movie
Julie and Julia: Part 2 The Shoes

Clearly, I've lost my mind the last 3 months!

You Brought the Sunshine!

You Brought the Sunshine!
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
This lovely sunflower reminds me of a great song by The Clark Sisters, 1988 also sung by Out of Eden...

You brought the sunshine {You brought the sunshine}
In my life {Threw out the lifeline}
Threw out the lifeline (You brought the sunshine)
To save my life {Threw out the lifeline}

Since then I have known Christ
There has been such a change in my life (Uh-huh)

You made my day, You came my way
You heard me every, every time I pray
You gave me peace, You gave me grace
You put a smile upon my face

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Interior View

An Interior View
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

The Portland Street of Dreams loft tour, a bedroom sanctuary, a lamp shade lit white hot not by electricity but by the sun, the quality of light, arresting.

The translucent glass base both transparent and solid beneath this crown of glory.

A light to read by...and one to be read by.