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Catching up a bit

My weekend began Saturday morning with my usual gathering of cohorts at my favorite Annapolis Starbucks. We talk about current events, recent remarks from various U.S. presidential wannabes, the economy, our global education successes and failures, films (recent and older), and whatever other thought that flies through someone’s head. Then it is out there for all!

Now enjoying the weekend at home, cooking a little, cleaning a little, watching a movie or two via Netflix, and creating a few new things to add color to my world. Here are pictures of some of the recent items I am eager to “play” with:

Wooden and seed beads
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Unakite and red sponge coral
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A few weeks ago I took my first try with making vegan phớ. Not as tasty as I’ve had in a restaurant; didn’t season the broth very well and it didn’t have quite enough flavor. Ah …. but a new culinary quest in my future!
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Like movies?

My camera broke beyond repair this past February. I just purchased another and pictures will soon begin again!

I love movies focusing on food. It seems the movie industry is making more of them. Or at least putting them out there were I can find them.

Recently I watched The Hundred Foot Journey. With Helen Mirren, the French countryside, and Indian food that I have not yet learned how to master in the kitchen. A little bit of possible romance, camera closeups of chefs at work … why even the whisking of eggs in a glass bowl made me swoon. What’s not to love if you like a sweet (and sometimes sad) good story.

And there was Chef. Jon Favreau was great, but I particularly enjoyed seeing Oliver Platt – one of my favorites. And John Leguizamo, whom I believe to be a terrific actor. For me it was a story about a man who appreciated his connection to food, the importance of sharing that connection, and the relationship he builds with his young son.

A few years ago there was Today’s Special. Aasif Mandvi makes me laugh and I love to see the way he takes on a character, but here he also brought more than just laughter. Why was it not released on the big scale? Don’t know. Again, Indian food and the heart of food bringing people together.

For me? Starting a pot of vegan creamy broccoli soup – making the veggie broth with all these goodies. The potatoes easily provide the creamy I adore. And after the creamy base is done, I add more fresh broccoli for the …. well, the fresh morsels of broccoli!
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And one more favorite? Julie & Julia. Yes, I realize this movie came out in 2009, but I’ve seen it three times and am ready for another. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci in the same movie??? OMGosh – such amazing talent!! And if you really enjoy food and the connection it brings to people, the scene where Julia first tastes sole meuniere? I know. Simple and short. But I could feel Julia’s amazement in my heart as she shared her discovery with her husband. Really, it was there 🙂

Organization. Me?

My organizing skills have suffered through the years. Learning new ways, sometime utilizing them, but not very proficiently. Just like a plumber who leaves his own plumbing needs at home untouched, this librarian who loves to alphabetize, complete a lesson plan, edit online cataloging records to make them just right, dig until the right resource is discovered, reconcile my checkbook, and etc, does not seem to have the same discipline when organizing at home! (Or on my personal desk at work, either 😦 )

A few months ago I purchased a shelf and more boxes at IKEA. I assembled the shelf, assembled the boxes (with the help of a neighbor to save time), and organized a bunch of articles I have found through the years and refer to every-once-in-a-while. But did I complete that project? No. There is still so much left to do!

So here are the pictures I took of that particular project a few months back. In the next few months I will complete that project. I say “few months” because I am doing lots of things right now, and chances of me finishing right away are slim. So I’ve set a plan. A goal. But there is always the start….
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And there was help, of course 🙂 ????????????????????????

There were visits with family and friends I do not see very often. Antics of the children that still make me smile. Delicious baked beans and a real homemade Southern banana pudding. Some of the best grits ever eaten. Lasagna without meat but with tender thin slices of eggplant. And one of the best parts? I actually lost two pounds during all of that!!

I learned some information about cameras that may help me in my quest to improve my skills. And there was one particular fantastic conversation involving education, perceptions, news media, legal terms, libertarianism, economics, criminology, and etc. Seven of us coming from different directions and not one harsh word uttered. That conversation was an educational joy for me. The things I learned – as much as I love to talk, I really like the listening, too. As one professor from grad school reminded me once, it is when I listen that I learn.

And there was just some plain fun!

There was the process of coming up with ideas for gifts. My workspace, which includes a cup of delicious homemade vegan vegetable soup on the windowsill. ????????????????????????

So many pretty baubles! What to use next . . . ????????????????????????

These two items were for members of my family. Right now I am working on bracelets for those who want to add a little something extra to their outfit without dangling bracelets that can get in the way. Both of these are easy to put on when there is no one to assist, and they fit close to the wrist. ????????????????????????

And while I work, there should always be supervision peering at me from behind ????????????????????????

On my way back to Annapolis, I stopped in Richmond to visit a dear childhood friend, and we walked around Carytown and enjoyed a delicious vegan Indian meal and delightful conversation. Susan is a very accomplished counselor with her own practice, and I loved the time we spent together. She also drove me to 43rd Street Gallery”, owned by Robin Cage, a very talented artist and also from my hometown area. I bought a few pieces of her pottery, and when I returned home I made cauliflower soup and enjoyed it from one of her beautiful cups. [OMGosh! Please excuse the background of this first picture] ????????????????????????????????????????????????

A new day and year

2015, What will it bring for each of us? What will we make of it? How will we proceed?

I will reflect on the past and hopefully learn from mistakes made. One thing I want to learn is how to work my dang camera! I do not know how to focus nor adjust for lighting. I will learn soon. Promise! In the meantime, however, please bear with me. I really want to concentrate on today and what is ahead! But before moving ahead too far, let me share with you a little about the past few weeks.

Christmas celebrations, of course. Delicious food (some not so vegan but never straying from vegetarian!) prepared by family and friends. And yes, I prepared a bit myself! But there was also preparing for the celebrations, so here are a few pictures:

Working on an idea . . . . . ????????????????????????

Two bracelets created and given as gifts. I like these tiny adornments that can be worn alone, with a watch, or layered with other bracelets 9two????????????????????????

And this particular gift is a little dressier than the others, but sometimes to brighten a day, dressy can be just plain fun! ???????????????????????? ????????????????????????

Crocheting wire is a new love of mine right now (an remember, focus of the camera will be a new love soon!)
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Now let me show you a few things about my tiny little tree that I like. Music. What is life without music?!? ????????????????????????

And the top of the tree is usually reserved for Angels and stars, so I added several stars 🙂 ????????????????????????

And well, you know me and Starbucks! I now most often go to the Harbour Center Starbucks, and even though this pic is not the clearest (you should see all the ones I deleted!!), it gives a true sense of the peace and quiet there. Serenity except for the usual shenanigans of the baristas behind the counter – which I always enjoy 🙂 Just to the right of the Starbucks logo is a lovely fireplace. And what you cannot see are several folks in front of the fireplace, sitting in comfy chairs, starting their busy day with fascinating and rather intellectual conversations. I’m really liking this place . . . . ????????????????????????

A weekend at home

Wonderful day at home! Started a little later than usual, meaning the kitty and I stayed in bed longer. He purred, I snoozed.

Read a bit. Wrote a bit. Made vegan gluten-free creamy broccoli soup, learned (first time ever!) how to make a crochet slip stitch (Thank you Youtube!), and worked toward completing a few pieces of jewelry. Here are a few pictures so I can remember this day!

First, There was soup: I placed veggie broth, onion, celery, zucchini, one large yellow Yukon potato, and toasted garlic in the pot, ????????????????????????

Just fresh ingredients today. After cooking for about 20 minutes, I add broccoli – doesn’t take long for the florets to cook????????????????????????

Now ready to scoop into the blender where I add salt, black pepper, hot red pepper, a little turbinado sugar, and Earth Balance “butter”????????????????????????

After blending, return mixture to the pot where I add more broccoli and will cook just about another 5 minutes. This last broccoli should be simply warmed through.????????????????????????

Awww ….. melt a small dab of Earth Balance in the center. Perfect!????????????????????????

Practicing the slip stitch for use in the future, so I’m still just looping and pulling my Kansas State University purple yarn. Over and over and over …..
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Two bracelets that can each be worn alone or together as a pair. Those are simply stop beads at the end to keep it together until I add the clasps.
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And that is it for today!

First, I’ve had many delicious vegan meals these past six months, but haven’t taken many pictures. These first two pics were taken in Philadelphia, when I treated myself in between meetings and discussion groups at the American Library Association’s MidWinter meeting in January. The first picture is taken in a small Indian Restaurant offering a scrumptious buffet.
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This second photo shows my delicious warm hoagie with roasted squash, eggplant, greens, onions, and etc. Topped with crispy fried onions and a balsamic glaze. And yep! Tater tots. Now who doesn’t love a freshly fried tater tot?? I was really dragging this day and carried it back to the apartment a bunch of us were sharing and sat there all by myself. It was quiet and the meal fantastic!
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Of course, there were also some tasty meals at home, too. One morning there was Engine 2 cereal topped with my own slices of banana, freshly toasted almonds, raisins, and topped with almond milk. Lots of protein to start my day
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Then here is one of my staples – one of my favorite comfort foods. Creamed potatoes (veggie broth, almond milk, with just a little Earth Balance Buttery Spread). Topped with lightly sautéed vegetables of choice – this time zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and green peas.
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And one of my new favorites – selection of veggies sautéed in a little olive or veggie oil, salt, pepper, and lots of garlic! I also add a little Earth Balance for a touch of butter flavor. This time there are carrots, green pepper, onion, and fresh from the garden zucchini and yellow squash.
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Just trying to stay healthy and tastily well fed!