Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First Photo: Things Changed But They Didn't

Dwija is hosting a linkup over at her blog, House Unseen.  The gist of it is that you should post twelve (or so) photos that highlight your year.   I am not sure that I could come up with that many photos or that few photos to describe my year.

It’s not that I didn't take pictures.  I did.  They are mostly of gardens, trees, and flowers and of the best niece and God-daughter ever, Sara.  I didn't take a lot of other people or events.

I think the First Photo pictures are representative of my 2014.  Things changed but they didn't.

It’s the same tree, taken from the same location, month after month.  But, the seasons changed.  The sky and the weather and the other trees changed.  The tree stands tall and sturdy.  It changes but it doesn't.

That was my year.  Things changed but they didn't.  

We entertained a lot and spent a lot of time with family and with friends.  Some of them we see often and other friendships were long missed and joyfully renewed.

We worked in the gardens and had a harvest to show for the effort we expended.  We also dug out plants that were beaten down by the harsh winter we experienced.

I saw things in myself that I wanted to change, to improve upon.  I started eating better and exercising (at least until I couldn't).  I tried to watch less TV and read more.  And yet there's a lot more to be done.

A lot.

And that's what 2015 is for.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Wonder Doubled: Restoration Work

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

There’s no such thing as a free pair of pants.  Donna came home from shopping with three new pairs of pants for me.  I liked them very much and thanked her for thinking of me.  She grinned and said, “I’m glad you like them.” as she sheepishly held up a broken piece of tail light from our car!  Apparently, an aggressive metal post attacked the rear bumper as Donna was cautiously backing out of a parking spot – the previous day.

 You can read the whole article here.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Joy on a Gray Day

Yesterday has to have been one of the grayest, dreariest days I have seen in a long time.  It was like someone took a can of flat, gray paint and coated the sky in a dismal stainless steel color.  There was no texture, no clouds, nothing to break it up.

So, what's a girl to do?  Go to the park for a walk.  And, apparently someone felt the need to spread a little cheer.  It was much appreciated!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Wonder Doubled: Holy Order

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

A finger painting is taped to a door of the hutch in my home office. Next to my laptop is a small wind-up toy monkey that swings on his knuckles across my desk. A little over two years ago my man-cave resembled a well-ordered English gentleman’s club. Our goddaughter had yet to be born, though! So, my bookshelves were exclusively filled with stodgy political and historical titles. The trinkets on the polished desktop were all in their proper places. And, most importantly, the green shade on my banker’s lamp was tilted just so.

You can read the whole article here.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Soup-er Sunday: Tomato Bisque

My aunt and uncle used to live in western North Carolina.  It is such a beautiful area.  You could see the Appalachian Trail from their front porch.  Except for the almost eleven hour drive, we loved to visit them there. 

On a couple of our trips we went white water rafting on the Nantahala River.  In a guided, eight person raft, it was great fun.  In a double ducky, however, it was downright scary!  Let's just say the ducky trip didn't end quite as well as the guided one.

After we finally dried off, we needed to warm up so we stopped at a local restaurant along the river for lunch.  We ordered the soup of the day to eat with our sandwiches.  I don't have a clue what the sandwiches were, but the soup, a creamy tomato bisque, was so good we each ordered seconds!

When we got home from that trip I quickly got online on began searching for the closest approximation of that soup.  After several iterations, and a few tweaks, this is what I came up with. 

Italian Tomato Bisque
2 pounds Roma Tomatoes                      
1 medium onion -- sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 whole cloves                                     
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh basil -- chopped fine
½ pint half-and-half
1 cup milk
Blanch the tomatoes until skin comes loose, then skin, seed, and chop coarsely.  (When I don't have good, homegrown tomatoes, I cheat here and use a quart of tomato sauce that I canned the previous summer)

Sauté onion in butter a few minutes, then add all ingredients except the milk and cream. Simmer for about 25 minutes, and remove the cloves. Transfer to a blender or food processor, and puree. Add half-and-half, and the milk.  Cook until warmed through.



Monday, December 1, 2014

First Photo - December

The Linden dropped its leaves just a few days after the November photo was taken.  Per usual, they went all at once: attached to the tree when we went to bed one evening, and on the ground the next morning.

November felt like that, everything happening all at once.  The temperature dropped precipitously.  Snow flew fast and furious.  Daylight disappeared giving us drastically shorter days.

It feels like December should be the month to hunker down and just be.  But it won't.  With Advent and Christmas there is going to be a lot of going and doing.  That's probably good, because the weather and light makes me want to hibernate.  I want to eat and sleep and read good books under a blanket next to the fire.  Maybe next month.