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Sunday, November 28, 2010

good stuff

I love the sound of the quiet car in the morning...especially after raucous holiday days with my immediate and extended family that includes long time friends. The belly ache I'm feeling as the train rolls down the track has nothing to do with eating too much food and everything to do with laughing long, hard and often, a couple of times as I rolled on the floor! Don't know about you but I'm stuffed with so much good stuff that a nap is eminent.

Hope you had a festive few days and that as you filled up on all the goodies of the day you also felt the fullness of gratitude for all the good that life has to offer.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the supremes

I can’t count the amount of times I have made Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings by myself. I enjoyed being in the kitchen before sunrise to dress and put the turkey in the oven then begin preparations for the other foods of the feast. There was a rhythm to the ritual, a certain order in which dishes would get made. Moving from one to the next as the aromas began to mix and mingle was joyous. Though I haven’t done it in years, I still know how to do it all from start to finish (except for the sweet potato pies) but like the fact that these days we (meaning me and my sister or friends depending on where I’m having dinner) have divided up the responsibilities.

Following a recipe to the letter never comes into play for me except when I have to bake certain things. I recall the red and white checkered cover of the Better Homes and Garden cook book circa 1960/70 that was in our kitchen when I was younger and if I remember correctly, it was like a notebook so you could add new recipes as you collected them. I don’t know what happened to that treasure. I did write down the ingredients for my favorite thing to make sans the steps to make it because I had made them so often, there was no need to jot down what to do, so bear with my description.

Supreme Biscuits
Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2 C. and ¼ tsp. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
1 stick butter
¾ C. buttermilk

1) In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut butter into small pieces, add to flour mixture and with fingers pinch butter and flour until it’s crumbly (you can also use two knives but I like getting my hands dirty!). Make a well in the center and add milk, stir with a fork until moistened.

2) Turn mixture onto a floured surface and knead four to six times then roll out until at least ½ inch thick (the thicker the dough, the higher they will rise). I flour the edge of a round glass with a mouth opening of about 2 inches to cut the dough. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake until brown, approximately 12 minutes. Makes about a dozen depending on size.

I was curious to know if these biscuits were still included in BH&G’s cookbooks and of course Googled to find their site. To my delight, Biscuits Supreme appeared though the measurements seemed a little different than what I copied years ago. Unless you have your grandma’s recipe, I highly recommend  these. Hot from the oven with butter, their crunchy tops and soft fluffy moist middles will make you want to slap your momma (just a saying for the unfamiliar)! And listen, forget trying to make them more healthy by substituting alternate ingredients, they just won’t be the same.

We all know the drill during the holiday season…eat the things you like in moderation, fold in some exercise and be thankful, grateful as you enjoy. Happy cooking and happy Thanksgiving!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

heavenly haven

Each person comes to a trip with their own personal expectation of what they want to experience. As an artist and a person who engages all senses whenever possible, my desire is to absorb as much as I can no matter where I am knowing that at some point, it will all come out in collage or written form, sometimes both. I also try to set aside time for creativity when I travel. Visiting a gallery to view the works of local artists is my first choice however that’s not always possible. On my past two trips I packed a small kit of collage supplies that fits nicely in either my carry-on or checked bag. As hectic as our tour schedule was in Egypt, spirit compelled me to carve out some time the night before our last full day to climb into bed after a three hour bus ride from Alexandria back to Cairo to make a torn paper collage. My intention was to capture the feel of the country in strips of paper. Just when I thought it was near completion, a female form began to emerge. A goddess was taking shape and much like the very first one I made many years before, I didn’t see her coming. I’m sure she surfaced because I had heard about the goddess Hathar’s temple, wanted to stand before it but did not have the chance since it was not included on our schedule; she actually showed up at various other sites.

Sacramento presented me with such an unexpected natural goddess heaven that I never touched the collage materials in my suitcase. From the moment I stepped into the park across from the hotel, the trees engaged me in a sensual dialogue, their curvaceous forms speaking directly to the primal earth woman in me. I thought about when the creative process surrounding my goddess collages began, how pictures in magazines uncovered breasts, buttocks, the fullness of a belly. The trees seemed to want me to see their proudly displayed naked bosoms, behinds and piercings…

…magnolia bodies of females and males intertwined with one another, one of them unabashedly allowed her lover to touch the ripe spot between her thighs, sprouted red flowering reproductions from the seduction. A voyeur aroused by an orgy at rest, my camera could not be still…

 …I couldn’t get enough of their eroticism risking my safety by venturing back into the park alone on the dark rainy Sunday afternoon to get a glimpse of the trees when they were wet and glistening. Smooth damp dark brown and ebony bark reminds me of skin fresh from the shower…

Though I did not get to a gallery on either of my trips, I did find an antique bracelet on my first day in Luxor at a serious tourist trap, slipped into a small store in Sacramento that from the outside was quite deceiving; it looked like a place with lots of inexpensive touristy items that I almost passed up until I heard myself say to myself, “Don’t judge a book, you have the eye.” Treasure awaited. A weighty ornate and aged African brass bracelet winked at me from beneath a few less attractive meaningless pieces on a table so low to the ground that it almost went unnoticed. On a shelf in a glass enclosed case way in the back of the place stood Goddess Radha who had been there for more than a year I was told so of course, I plucked the bronze and brass beauty from her cabinet to keep close to me once I got home.
I can’t shake the feeling that something is brewing, has been since I was in Egypt. I was wrapped in a heavenly haven of nature’s goddesses for hours…art worn by women who I will never meet adorn my wrist…my physical and spiritual transformation…both Hathar and Radha are associated with beauty and love…I haven’t sat down to the table to see if a goddess wants to make her appearance but someone wants to make my acquaintance, everything in me feels a presence so...

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

fo fall

I love it when the leaves change into their vibrant autumnal finery and want to capture the warmth of their colors to hang onto for as long as possible; I'm not sure why my photographs of trees seem to look like one big blur of saturated color. I've abandoned taking pictures of them this season but on my morning walk, I took to looking into last nights' rain puddles to see what I could see..

When I was in grammar school, I remember an art project that required us to press leaves between two sheets of wax paper then iron it to seal them in. It was nice to collect my favorite ones then preserve them to enjoy over the winter months. To this day, I take time to scour the ground for pretty or unusual fall foliage that has fallen. Last year I collected magnolia leaves based on size, shape and curl, pulled out my acrylic paints and practiced artistic license painting several with mixtures of whatever colors I fancied. I left a few in their natural state covering them with polymer medium (gloss) to keep them from browning or tried to mimic natural coloration by combining paints that came close to matching nature. They actually look quite spectacular; I have given some away as gifts or used them as ornamentation when wrapping a present...

Lately I've been pressing leaves with either interesting color patterns and/or shapes between magazine pages, letting them dry then painting a very thin coat of the polymer on both sides to help them retain as much color as possible, I even brought back a few from Sacramento. I have the feeling they along with lots more I picked up in DC are going to find their way into a goddess collage, I feel her coming so...

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Sunday, November 14, 2010


This past week has presented me with so much to contemplate! Thoughts running every which way, tripping over each other in tangled knots. Unfinished exclamations full of emotion falling flat onto rational jargon as I hit save for composition ahead.

It started with the public unburdening of the unthinkable…

                ...gotta sit with it, run it, sort it, spit it, compose it so…

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

easy sweetie

Prior to all travel, I begin to take an assessment of what’s in the fridge that might spoil if not consumed before departure. Last week, I noticed something wrapped in foil…a little sweet potato I had baked with every intention of eating until I went out to dine instead rested on the top shelf. What to do, what to do I thought as I stood with the door ajar cool air pouring out over my feet. Mouth wrinkled in a perplexed frown, I looked around and there in my fruit bowl on the counter was one lonesome banana. Ah, yes! My palette recollected a recipe I created a few years ago when I had these very two ingredients ready for the spoil; I mashed both to use in a bread pudding which to my delight made it moist and extra tasty. Perhaps I’ll share that recipe another day, but for now here’s what I made for a breakfast that was not only quick & easy but also comforting and satisfying.


1 small baked sweet potato
1 small ripe banana
Ground white pepper
Chopped pecans (optional)

1) I chose to remove the skin of the potato. Slice into thick wedges/strips. Place in your favorite bowl.
2) Slice bananas over the potato.
3) Sprinkle with cinnamon and a little white pepper.
4) Drizzle with honey.
5) My potato had been in the fridge so I popped the dish in the microwave to just warm up…do not let it get hot. If your sweetie is fresh baked, skip this step.
6) Sprinkle with chopped pecans if you desire.

Of course this can be made and eaten for any meal, snack or even a guilt-free dessert. So the next time you’re headed off for a few days, see what you can come up with before you throw out the refrigerated goods. As my mother and grandmother used to say, there are starving children somewhere who would appreciate that food and hard as it was for me to believe back then there is nothing further from the truth!
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Sunday, November 7, 2010


…in the dream I was walking towards a porch furnished with sturdy dark wicker, a fan whirling at slow speed, people I knew or at least felt so familiar with that it felt inviting to sit down with them. Settling into a sumptuous cushioned chair, before me was the most spectacular sunset of blues, violets, yellows and oranges in hues never seen in my waking state. I quickly jumped up excusing myself as I bolted towards wherever I had come from with an urgency that sped my feet while voicing the words, “I must get my camera,” to the unknown. Midway to that place I realized I needed to go back and just enjoy the view. I turned -- it had all vanished. Porch, people and sun were not where they had just been replaced by an entirely new scene. I walked forward in disbelief, kept blinking my eyes hoping that as I drew closer to there, it would miraculously reappear; it did not…

Early on my first morning in Sacramento, the park across the street from the hotel beckoned for me to take my morning walk. I first thought that this city would be hot but found out that it has seasons much like what I was accustomed to on the east coast. I donned the lightweight cashmere sweater I had packed, a cotton scarf casually strewn about my neck and headed out to stroll under the bluest sky accompanied by the most gorgeous autumnal weather. Of course I had camera in tow but, remembering my dream, was careful to absorb moments as they unfolded not only on film but in body. There was so much fascinating plant life to meet…

I got lost with a multi-species family of very tall kinfolk each with their own distinctive personality; though I did not take the formal tree tour, there were over 100 of them to be seen noted by their identification tags…

When I woke up from that dream I had a deeper understanding of staying, living in the moment. Sometimes I will be able to visually record things, other times I will not which keeps me open to note taking in my mind, scribing on my heart, making etchings in my soul. I have stayed quite grounded on this trip, excited to take pictures while at the same time rooted in a stillness that lets me deeply take in the details of all that surrounds me from minute to moment. So on this chilly rainy Sunday, rather than call room service, I threw on some knock-about clothes, grabbed my umbrella, and used that extra hour we got to embody the city as it bathed. It felt good out there as I walked back to the hotel a salted caramel hot chocolate to warm me (OMG…sublime!!!). I did not take the camera but as I sit here typing, Pat Metheny in the background, I’m still tingling from each second of that short journey. And with contentment and certainty I write the words it will be easy to find my way back any time I desire... after all it’s all in me.

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