Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gentle Gym

I had hip surgery 3 1/2 year ago. When my 6 weeks of PT was almost over, I commented that I should probably join a gym as I had become addicted to the machines. An aide said, “We have a follow-up gym program for $49 a month.” And that was that. I never looked at another gym. 

There are several things I really like about this program. First, I am with my physical therapists so that if I have a question about my hip or an exercise, I can ask and they have a professional, health-wise answer. Secondly, I like being in a gym where the people around me are all about health. We are old and young, athletic and way over weight, male and female. We are all there to heal. I really didn’t want to be around a lot of hard-body folk doing their best to firm up, tone up, and be the best. It is good for people to do that. Bodies need exercise. And I needed a more gentle atmosphere. 

When in San Francisco, I went to the gym in the hotel in the mornings. The first morning there were three of us there. The second morning the place was packed and the first thing I noticed was all the frowns with the creases in the brow. Every body was about serious body business. iPods plugged in, towels around shoulders, jogging or running for all they were worth. They were Serious! 

Where was the spirit part of exercise being about body, mind and spirit? Some were watching the news on the individual televisions at the front of the high tech treadmills. Wow - watching the news really helps those muscles relax and have a productive workout. Occasionally I read a book. Mostly I visit with a friend I have made in the program. And of course I also just walk or ride, stretch and lift looking out the window at the pines ~ and breathe. I am serious about my mornings in the gym. They are important to me. They have gone from hip health to full body health as my cholesterol has clicked into place, my BP lowered, and my weight has dropped. But I am only serious, not brow-furrowed Serious. I like my gentle gym. It works for me. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Antelope Lake

Dean belongs to a fly-fishing club. Great group of people who fish together a lot. 
This Antelope Lake weekend is attended by a lot of spouses who visit, ride bikes,
hike, sit by the bay and read, and of course enjoy all the good food.

Setting up is hot work when it is 96 degrees. Phew. Dean was glad to sit.

The lake is beautiful and those clouds mean cooling showers.

Sunset after the storm

Dean heads out to fish - having no more luck than the other fishers but 
enjoying his solitude and atmosphere.

No bears, but lots and lots of chipmunks who are not the least bit afraid of humans.
Leave no packaged food sitting out - little teeth chew through Zip Locks easily.

Clouds gather on Saturday with thunder and lightning so the guys couldn't fish that afternoon.
Hail and lots of rain sent us to our communal feast early.

This is Trent. My mother's family name was Trent. We think we may be related.
The connection goes back to my great-great grandfather and thanks to a cousin who is
really good at this genealogy stuff, we think we have found it already.

Dean's contribution to the communal feast was fried zucchini. 
Superb as always. A Big Hit!!

Camp dinners need a camp fire ~

~ around which tired fishermen may sit and tell tall tales
of the ones that got away.

Fiction and Reality

When it was originally on between 1999 and 2005, I watched West Wing. I loved it. When I signed on to Netflix two years ago, I found it almost immediately and watched it again. One of the things I liked so much was that Aaron Sorkin, the main writer and creator of the series, took stories from the very recent headlines. 

About a month ago I started watching it again. Today I watched two episodes about the war between Israel and Gaza. Right out of the headlines ~ except they are still today’s headlines and these episodes aired in 2003. I still love the show ~ and sometimes watching it can be very discouraging when reality has not changed since the writing of the fiction. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


We have been without major precipitation of any kind in the Tahoe area for a long time. We have very little snow last winter. No rain this spring. The water table has continued to drop and the lake levels are very low. And then came this last week. 

The rain we had won’t change a lot and at least it was continuous - meaning several hours at a time. After one day of really good rain at our house, we left to camp. There we had two afternoons of mountain thunder storms with lightning and hard fast rain and even some hail one day. We could only hope something similar was happening at home. 

We arrived home in the rain, this time a gentle, steady fall that continued through the night. Wonderful. Again - I doubt seriously that it will change much and water use restrictions will still be in place in California, and it cooled off the world, settled the dust, made garden watering unnecessary for a while, and released teeth that had been set on edge by the heat. Rain is an amazing, necessary commodity for the earth just as water is for the human body. The land has drunk deeply the last few days and we are grateful. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dawn Goddess

As I ate breakfast on my deck this morning I was looking up the hill. Very gently the sun arrived bit by bit in the spaces between the trees. The it touched the pines changing them from dark green to bright almost yellow green. Slowly the grey sky turned blue and Dawn cast her blessing across a waiting world. 

Is it any wonder that the ancient peoples attributed the attributes of Dawn to female deities.  
Occidental examples of dawn goddesses include the reconstructed Indo-European dawn goddess, see Hausos and her reflections in historical daughter traditions:
In Japan, the non-Indo-Europen dawn goddess Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto (Uzume) is a Shinto spirit with a temperament very similar to Eos.
The above is from Wikipedia. The thoughts about the Goddess of Dawn came to me this morning after spending some time in conversation this week about Mother Nature, The Earth Goddess, and the blessings bestowed on us in the amazing environment in which we live. We are blessed every day by our surroundings and for that blessing, I am very, very grateful. The Spirit of Creation can sometimes be violent and torrential ~ and yet Dawn always comes with the blessing of Hope that today will be better. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Latest Kitchen Gadget

This, my friends, is a Yonana. It is a small appliance made by Dole probably to encourage the sale of bananas (note name) and to bring pleasure to all of us who love frozen desserts and would rather forego the calories. You can find it on line.

If you want your dessert creamy (as in ice cream), you add the banana. If you are happy with 
the flavor of fresh peaches or strawberries, you add frozen peaches or strawberries. 
Seriously, that is all you add, frozen fruit.

The frozen fruit comes out in little ribbons.

You stir it around and Voila! peach sorbet ~ with all the calories of one peach. 
I suppose if you wanted to add sugar to the fruit, you could. You would still 
add So Much Less than you would get in bought ice cream or sorbet.
It comes with a recipe book and has banana creamy desserts, sorbets, and even 
a banan mint chocolate chip possibility.
I'm loving mine and very grateful to my friend who told me about it and then added
mine to her order. Yummy. And all you are eating is fresh fruit. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

A Moment in Time

The lobby of a busy big city hotel can be an amazing study in people watching. I took my Chai Latte Vente and settled down to sip and read. Except I never even opened my book. The lobby looked like a hive of busy insects with all the little black coated folks moving purposefully to and fro. Up the escalator, down the escalator, hardly standing still long enough to make it through the Starbucks line. Many had cell phones to their ears even while carrying on a conversation with a visible person. Many, if not all, carried cases of some kind, most of the size that probably had computer inside. No one strolled. They all moved with great energy and purpose as if the place they were headed was the most important place in the world even it was only the grill upstairs for breakfast. Of course an important meeting would happen once the eggs were ordered.

A dad in a baseball cap and sneakers walked through with his little girl who was about 6 and even she was moving with purpose holding as tightly to her juice as any executive to his coffee. Colors are not in abundance. Almost everyone in the conference is in a black suit of some kind. I am too. Not that I don’t have other clothes with me, it is just that the San Francisco wind is causing outside to be just a tad chilly and my black slacks and jacket are perfect for walking around the city. Unfortunately it makes me look like everyone else, a trait I do not encourage on my person. Anyway - interesting morning watching the world swarm around me. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lunch at Neiman's with Memories

I grew up in Dallas and my mother taught me public manners by taking me to the original Neiman’s downtown for lunch at the Tea Room. Most of my clothes were bought behind the blue door, the entrance to the children’s department. Later I became a Neiman’s bride ~ with everything from dress to portrait to china and silver being from there. I remember when Neiman’s decided to have a store in the suburbs. What consternation! There would be more than One Neiman’s. Oh my. 

So when my neighbor said, have lunch in the Rotunda in Neiman’s I thought, well of course I should. And so I did. 

As I sat down, the five men at the table next to me were talking about mineral rights in Texas. More memories as I remembered so many conversations about those around my dining table. Now Daddy was present as well as Mom. 
View from my table.

Ceiling of the Rotunda.

 Lunch itself began with a wee cup of chicken consume’ and a fresh from the oven warm popover with strawberry butter, compliments of the house.

For me it was then followed by lobster bisque,

crab and shrimp louie salad 

and a bittersweet chocolate pot au creme.
Every bite was delicious and this dessert was Heaven. I was tempted by the chocolate chip cookie which arrives in a jewel box with recipe ~ there is a lot of history around that cookie. And I lived through it so decided on the pot au creme instead and was glad I did.
I wore the little orchid until I reached the first corner leaving the store and a gust of wind whipped it away. It was a nice addition to my black and white for a while. 
I wandered through the jewelry department on my way out. I had looked at clothes on my way in. All in all, a delightful trip down memory lane even though the store was in a different city and a different time.

Dinner at Bourbon Steakhouse

My San Francisco trip is going to be recorded in food. We have eaten and eaten some more. Of course the guys are on their feet all day and walking to and from meetings. I have been indulging in the fitness center and swimming pool as well as walking around San Francisco so we are ready when dinner time rolls around. 

Dinner at the Bourbon Steakhouse began not with bread but with three kinds of flavored french fries, hot and crisp, served with three dipping sauces.

My corn chowder came with a lovely pile of vegetables and crabmeat in the bowl with the soup poured over it from a beautiful pitcher. 

Beet salad

Shrimp Cocktail



My shrimp louie and avocado. Sides included broccoli and cheese, creamed spinach and "mashed" potatoes - in quotes because it was more like puree. Every bite delicious.

For dessert, I had to be presented with the pastry cart. I chose a mint "Oreo" (house made of course), a dark chocolate bark, almond macaroon, and a dark chocolate "s'more" (see bottom shelf). She even brought out the flame and heated and melted the marshmallow top. 

Beignets with dipping sauce. Good but not NOLA beignets which set my standard.

Dean as usual wanted his vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce ~ dark chocolate, delicious! He had his own little pitcher from which to pour. 
Excellent meal. Terrific service. And the business conversation didn't start until well into dessert so we arrived back at the hotel after 11:30. Tired but full and happy. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Cop Knows HIs Beat

After going to the bank (some time even in San Francisco one has to be prosaic), I came out wondering where I might have lunch. Who knows the streets of his town better than a cop? So I stopped by the one outside the bank and asked where I might get a nice soup and salad lunch. He and his buddy (a guy in a Chicago sweatshirt to whom he was talking) both say together, “Boudin’s”. They gave me directions, assured me the little bakery had delicious soups and salads and off I went. 

Sure enough there it was, tucked in a busy block, a few tables outside, long and narrow inside, and a tiny little counter ~ and the most delicious cheese and broccoli soup and Caesar salad with a crusty sourdough roll. I would have been very happy to use up all my calories for the day in that one little spot. The cookies and other dessert goodies looked lovely. I was happy with my soup and salad though. Yummy. If you want to know where to eat in a big city, ask the cop on the beat. He knows.  

San Francisco Italian

It was a lovely evening with Tom, Aaron, Ben, Dean and me - you have to admit the odds were good in my favor. We went to Pizzia’s for dinner - small, loud, lively, and Wonderful Italian food. Veal Scallopini was the best ever!! We couldn’t hear a word anyone said and we talked anyway, practically yelling. Delightful. 

The whole evening was Such fun - even Not getting to attend the cocktail party: they were Very strict so when only Dean and Aaron could attend because they were the only ones who had signed up for the afternoon session, I sat in the lobby with Ben until Tom arrived. Then we all went to dinner at Pizzia’s - what a fun place. 

I was way overdressed for the place, and I matched the guys and of course my black suit and black & white shirt and scarf go anywhere. When you have fun and are willing to express your pleasure to the wait staff, you fit right in. Everyone in the front of the restaurant did everything from taking orders to setting tables, clearing tables, stacking clean dishes which were handed out from the kitchen across the counter by the chef. Even the “man in the suit” carried dishes when the rush came. And the little (and she was short) lady who might have been his wife or sister was everywhere at once from the kitchen pouring drinks to seating people to taking orders. It was an amazing, delightful place. And the staff was family ~ if not by blood by energy and fun and ability to make art out of chaos.

Oh - and we all got handshakes and hugs as we left. :D :D That was a first for me.