Sunday, October 08, 2017

This was a great week. Two concerts and a lecture.

The Piano Guys were in Portland at the Schnitz on Friday and their concert did not disappoint. Their music is so full and commanding. It fills the hall and fills your soul. Simply breathtaking.

I share this video with you so that you can experience it too. Well sort of. It's better up close and personal. But do have a listen.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores

I discovered this delightful little book at the library the other day. It's even fun how it opens. The cover lifts up and then the pages turn as usual in any book.

Of course, I had to check to see if Powell's was included. It was.

Some of the store names are terrific, such as:
  • Moby Dickens in Taos, New Mexico
  • Giggles in Chennai, India
  • Books of Wonder in New York City
  • Tell a Story in Portugal
But my favorite of all is Weapons of Mass Instruction in Argentina.

Some had interesting signage. I especially liked this one. Wise men fish here.

One of my favorites is a shop in San Francisco called Adobe. It's in the Mission district. It's story: In 2013, the store's rent was set to practically double in the fast gentrifying neighborhood. The artist community that had grown up around Adobe over the decades promptly rallied and once starving, now influential artists like Rebecca Solnit and Chris Johanson took over the store as a collective. 

The most amazing show they ever had was in 2004 when overnight, Chris Cobb rearranged the entire store (20,000 books) in order of color--rainbow hues and then a big black and white section. As an artist, I love this and only wish I could have seen it. And the expressions on peoples faces when they walked in the door.

This little book made me realize what gems bookstores are in our communities. Libraries too for that matter. In the days of Kindle and Amazon delivering to your door in two days, these little guys will struggle to make it. So head to your local book store an make a purchase or two. They are so worth it!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solo 1: Grow an Herb Garden

I love lists, always have and always will. I don't mind if they are mine are someone else's. I have been looking at the list Fifty Things You Can Do by Yourself. Number one is to grow either a vegetable or herb garden. I chose the herb garden because in the Pacific Northwest there lives this creature called a slug who loves the fresh growth of most garden vegetables. It's hard to even get one started without nightly vigilance. On the other hand, my herb garden is on my deck right outside my kitchen door. No slugs there. I love it!
Check this out.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

A most amazing experience

On our recent trip to France, one of the things we attended was the Carrieres de lumieres, which literally means Quarry of lights. The setting is an old quarry where bauxite was mined.
You walk into this huge cavernous space and are first staring at blackness. Then your eyes begin to adjust and OH MY!

This show is set in motion by means of high-performance technology that tailors music and images which completely permeate the the floor and quarry walls. For thirty minutes or so, you are invited to roam freely around the quarry site to try and take it all in.

Every single wall, floor and ceiling pulsed with the glorious paintings of Bosch, Brueghel and Arcimboldo. If that wasn't enough, the art was all set to glorious music such as Carmina Burana, Vivaldi and even Led Zeppelin.
We walked through the quarry trying our best to take it all in. But, it just fills you up. Finally , we sat on a bench and just let the art and music wash over us.
It is an experience I'll never forget. 

I managed to find a u-tube video of a part of this show for your viewing pleasure. This is not to miss. Trust me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Thank You!

Let's not forget what this day signifies.
Thank you to all who serve!

And I'm not talking about serving the brats.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Be In Charge

I am a regular reader of Seth Godin's blog. He writes on a variety of topics and very concisely, which means he gives me some information without wasting my time. I appreciate this.

This is a recent post which struck a chord with me.

When Your Phone Uses You by Seth Godin

Your smartphone has two jobs.
On one hand, it was hired by you to accomplish certain tasks. In the scheme of things, it's a screaming bargain and a miracle.
But most of the time, your phone works for corporations, assorted acquaintances and large social networks. They've hired it to put you to work for them. You're not the customer, you're the product. Your attention and your anxiety is getting sold, cheap.
When your phone grabs your attention, when it makes you feel inadequate, when it pushes you to catch up, to consume and to fret, it's not working for you, is it?
On demand doesn't mean you do things when the device demands.

Having worked for Southwestern Bell, now AT&
;T, for a number of years, I always found it fascinating that the unknown of a ringing phone was always deemed more important than the conversation you were having. I am not sure why? 
And for your viewing pleasure, this is a cactus blooming in the desert. The cactus is probably 7 feet tall and this flower is the size of a water lily flower. It looks like one too! Nature is fascinating!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Reflection and Renewal

MIX is introducing its new body of  work. Our theme is Reflection and Renewal and is informed by the renewal taking place at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Each artists interpreted this theme with two pieces, the first measuring 24 inches square and the second measuring 10x24 inches.

If you are in Portland, OR consider attending the luncheon and lecture. It will be held at the First United Methodist Church on Jefferson on April 28, 2017.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

New for me: Stuffed Flank Steak

Have you ever just needed to try something new for dinner. I just get so bored with the same old rum-dum. I'm always on the look out at Pinterest for something new and different with mostly things I have on hand. This was last night's fare. I didn't have a meat mallet so I just went with it as it comes. The mallet would have made the meat larger and flatter and easier to roll. But, oh well! It was seriously delicious. And, attractive enough that it could be served for entertaining.Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Bon Appetit!

Stuffed Flank Steak with Spinach and Feta
Stuffed Flank Steak
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: serves many

1/2 of a yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of finely-chopped mushrooms
1 (10 ounce) package of frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and drained)
1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (2- to 2 1/2-pounds) flank steak*
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil
1 cup Beef Broth/Stock
2 to 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon sizes
* Either have your butcher butterfly the flank steak or split the meat down the center so it lays flat and then break down the tough fibers by running it through his meat tenderizer.  You can also tenderize the flank steak with a meat mallet.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute the onions and mushrooms until tender; remove from heat an let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, feta cheese, egg, bread crumbs, red pepper, and onion/mushroom mixture.
  4. Sprinkle the flank steak with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Spread and press the stuffing mixture onto the flank steak to approximately 1/2 to 1 inch from the border, all the way around.
  5. Begin rolling up the flank steak with the edge closest to you and roll away from you (the steak should be rolled parallel to the grain so that once you cut into the steak, you are cutting against the grain).  Once rolled, tie the flank steak roll up with cooking string every 2 inches or so.  Sprinkle the roll with salt and pepper.
  6. In an oven-proof skillet, heat approximately 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium to medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the roll in the pan and sear each side of the roll, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  7. Once the stuffed flank steak roll is seared on all sides, place the skillet with the steak in your preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of the roll) until flank steak is medium rare or until the internal temperature reaches desired temperature on your meat thermometer.   NOTE: This steak is best cooked rare to medium rare.
  8. Rare - 120F 
    Medium Rare - 125F 
    Medium - 130F
  9. Once cooked, remove the stuffed flank steak from the over and place on a separate plate.    Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for approximately 5 minutes before cutting.
  10. While the steak is resting, place the same cooking skillet back on the stove on medium-high heat and add approximately 1 cup of beef broth.  Continue cooking until the broth has reduced by 1/2.  Turn off the heat and allow broth to cool (at least until the bubbling stops). Add tablespoons of butter, one at a time, and stir continuously until each tablespoon of butter is melted before adding more.  Continue to add butter and stir until all the butter is incorporated.
  11. Slice the rested flank steak into individual rolls and place on a serving platter.  Drizzle the rolls with the prepared beef broth sauce and serve. 
  12. Note: I use a tong to hold the flank steak together while slicing. 
  13. Note: There was extra stuffing and I suggest just putting in the roasting pan to cook as it was delish.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

On Choosing joy!

The Happy Hour book Group (yes, we should be taken seriously) chose the book When Breath Becomes Air for the January discussion. It's written by and about Paul Kalanithi, a 36 year old man on the verge of completing ten years of training  in Neurosurgery, when he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

At 36, his life was laid out in front of him, And then this. Did he dare hope for any kind of future. His oncologist offered him hope but encouraged him to consider what was most important to him. He and his wife decided to have a child. He performed surgery until he could no more. He started to write this book.

I was struck with his courage and in spite of this tough diagnosis, his will to move forward,

I shared with my book group the story of Lee.

In 2013, my friend Lee Fowler died from cancer. She was another remarkable person who refused to let cancer dominate any portion of her life. She always said that she was going to live until she died and that is exactly what she did. About three months before she passed away she sent an email to a number of her quilter friends. She wanted to make a pickle dish quilt but didn't think she could get it done on her own. Would any of us be willing to make a few blocks. I'm sure, before the week was out, she had all the blocks she needed to make that quilt. Other friends helped her sew it together and another quilted the top and bound it.

Here are pictures of the quilt, most of the gang and Lee.

Each of us who worked on this quilt was given the opportunity to have it for a month or so. It came with a journal so that we could write our memories of  Lee, Having the quilt gave me a chance to consider what a gift she had given all of us. She pulled people together who cared for her and shared her quilt love and the work brought joy at a time which might other wise have been quite sad. We all pulled together for Lee. And then she gave it back to us for a bit. It is a joyful, sunny quilt.

I am amazed at how people face death. Lee showed us all to choose joy!