family · Meats · Pickles · Solutions

Taking out frustrations

Cheese mutilationMy mother bought me a book when I was a teenager.  It was her way of talking to me directly about an uncomfortable subject.  She had taught me that in polite conversation, you don’t talk about politics, religion or sex.

The book was not about religion or politics. Continue reading “Taking out frustrations”

Beverages · family · Holiday

New Year’s Tea

New Year's TeaWe passed the Mayan Apocalypse and the Internet is still here, so clearly the Mayans were wrong.  If the Internet ever dies or WordPress goes away, my recipe collection is in serious trouble.

Matt wanted “New Year’s Tea.”  That’s what we called it growing up.  It was originally called Russian Tea, if I’m not mistaken, but we always had it for New Year celebrations, hence the name.

You can cheat and use bottled juices, but I admonish you to try it with the fresh fruit.  It’s always better fresher! Continue reading “New Year’s Tea”

family · Soups

A secret life

Warm steamy comfort in an oversized bowlMy grandfather was an interesting man.  As a child I found his stories tedious because I would rather have been out riding my bike or playing hopscotch, and he tended to drone on and on.  What I did appreciate were all the unique gifts I had from the places he visited.

I had an address book in Arabic from his time in Libya.  It was not very useful as the Arabic alphabet doesn’t have 26 characters, so you couldn’t even assign values straight across.  It was leather bound and had a pen though. I have a camel, also from Libya. It was actually part of a set of three he sent to my mother to make a part of the Christmas story – the camels of the kings of the east. When the daughters left home, she split up the set and we each have one. I suppose a singular carved camel looks odd, but to me it has meaning. Continue reading “A secret life”

Breakfast · family

Go fast!

Snow falls in Utah.  The license plates proudly proclaim it’s the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”  There are times when it is deep enough to form the framework of some memorable “big fish” stories.  I walked the mile and a half to school in snow up to my thighs.  Actually, I really did.

With all this snow?  What do you learn to do?  Ski, of course.  My parents took us to the, for the locals mundane, ski resorts.  You know the ones:  Park City, Alta, Snowbird, etc.  At Alta, our resort of choice once we had completed lessons, I did the bunny hill, advanced to Sugarloaf, and other than once, is the run where I stayed.  Continue reading “Go fast!”

Baking · Birthday · family · God · Holiday

No sugar and other things

I’m listening to the “Guess Who” on my Zune.  Great song – No Sugar Tonight.  My Lent sacrifice was no sugar in my coffee, to remind me of the bitterness of Christ’s suffering.  Interestingly, I’m not panting to start up again.  That’s a good thing.

Yesterday we had James’ surprise birthday party.  The biggest surprise was his birthday occurred a week and a half ago.  It’s really hard not to be surprised when you have no clue it’s coming :).

It’s Easter.  Reading the last Harry Potter again and really looking at how J. K. Rowling manages Harry’s resurrection is bas-ackwards from Easter.  Harry is saved because the bad guy forceably took blood, so Harry is saved by his own blood stored in an evil vessel.  Interesting.

Jesus’ body was broken and then he rose from the tomb.  My traditional Easter lamb cake was an epic fail this year and it has been resurrected as a trifle.  Steve is happy.

Baking · Cookies · Desserts · family

A thousand memories

I received a letter this morning for a recipe and as usual it brings back a flood of memories, so before posting the ingredients and instructions, allow me to to share a lovely piece of my life with you.

They came to church, fresh off of losing their mother through divorce and subsequent disappearance.  They both had coke bottle thick glasses, lovely strawberry hair and a father who was overwhelmed with job, family and sorrow.  Our church service has a section where members can stand and offer praise or ask for prayer.  He stood on Mother’s Day and with his voice shaking, said he didn’t know what to tell his children when they asked him for whom should they be making the Mother’s Day projects at school.  The family easily touched your heart.

I don’t remember how it happened the first time, but the younger girl Arminda came to my house to bake.  And then she came again.  And again and pretty soon it was a regular occurence.  She was so much fun to have around and she really enjoyed the learning and of course the consuming.  Before long she felt right at home.

The day she brought Chelsea (and someone else who escapes me at the moment) over was fabulous.  She walked in with the confidence of someone who “owns” the place.  I let her take over and be the instructor.  She was Queen for a Day, and she was happy. Continue reading “A thousand memories”

family · Holiday


Steve and his brothersYesterday was Father’s Day, at least in the US.  Steve, being British gets 2 days to be recognized for his parental role.  He has one son still in the UK and one who moved to WA who still lives here.

I had invited the local son, Richard to dinner to celebrate Father’s Day; we would be eating at 3.  About 1 yesterday afternoon he sent a text, asking how many people the invitation covered.  Without indicating why, I assumed he was asking if at least one of his two roomates could come as well.   I replied that as steak was on the menu and as I had only purchased three, the answer was … 3.  We had not anticipated a crowd; this was Steve’s Father’s Day meal.

Apparently that offended.  Three o’clock came and went and Steve and I ate a delicious dinner together.  There was no courtesy decline, just an absence. Continue reading “Drama”

family · Holiday · Soups

Everyday soup

We lived in Germany when I was in 7th grade.  It was one of the best years of my life; I would do it again if I could.  There are so many wonderful memories, people and places which I frequently pause to think about.

Yesterday was no exception.  We had finished a run of a month and a half of houseguests, all from the MN office of Steve’s company.  The refrigerator was full of leftovers and we needed to clean it out.  It was time for a faux Everyday Soup.

The story behind Everyday Soup is a skiing vacation we took to Klosters, Switzerland over the German celebration of Pfingsten or Pentecost.  Pfingsten sounds as if it should be a metal — Tungsten, Pfingsten, etc.  With a doff of the cap to Dave Barry, it would not be a good name for a rock band. 

We stayed at a lovely Pension, skiied during the day and ate dinner in the communal dining area at night.  Continue reading “Everyday soup”


Senior Gifts

I was put in charge of the senior choir gifts.  I found what the director wanted and mounted them on cards — presentation is everything, isn’t it?

The quote I decided to use on the cards is from Leopold Stokowski.  It says simply:

A painter paints pictures on canvas. 

Musicians paint their pictures on silence.


Birthday · family

Surprises are the best

James doesn’t celebrate his birthday for another week, but last Thursday we surprised him with dinner and theater with some of his friends.  Best birthday ever, he said.

If you’d like to view the pictures, I put them on my Facebook.  You don’t need an account to view them 😀