My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Teddy Bear Toast

Please bear with me. I stayed up way too late last night so my brain is toast this morning, which may explain why I went bananas playing with my food at breakfast. :-)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mocha!

Our Mocha turned 26 today!!

to sweet Mocha, who will forever be our "little man!"

You can see some of his baby pictures on this post. They grow up so fast! Or do they?… Mocha has always been playfully, mischievously coltish. In fact, on his latest boarding bill that arrived in our mail today, his caretaker wrote, "He's a big goof ball." She doesn't know the half of it! Despite its horrible lighting and composition (being a scanned 35mm photo doesn't do it any favors), this is one of my favorite Mocha pictures, taken one day in the winter of '91 when he decided to pretend he was a unicorn:

Those are big cockleburs tangled in his forelock! (I guess if you don't have access to dreadlocks wax, you make do!*) :-) He did that all by himself, and was so proud. There was no getting them out, either - they were there till spring, when we could work on them for hours with mineral oil, comb and scissors! But that's okay, he was a handsome unicorn. Maybe I should post this greeting for him instead! :-)

*I looked all through that article, and it didn't suggest the cockleburs option once! :-)

Update: After I'd posted this, Mocha requested I pass along this tip and assure you that in his experience, it's excellent advice…

Friday, February 21, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: A Dickens of a Sunset

The sun went down beneath the long dark lines of hill and cloud 
which piled up in the west…; 
the light was all withdrawn…; the birds were silent; 
and the gloom of winter dwelt on everything. 
~Charles Dickens, "Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit"

and have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Skies & Chocolate, My Valentine to You

Happy Friday and Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Goodness, where does the time go? Six weeks since my last post ~ I should be tossed into blogging prison for dereliction of duty (thank goodness there's no such place… is there?) :-) I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to put a blog post together only to stare blankly at my screen for 30 minutes before giving up in disgust. On a good day when my creative juices are flowing (at a glacial pace, but at least not completely stagnant), I may edit and upload some photos. But then all attempts to conjure words to accompany them are a vain and painful struggle, till like some pale, consumptive heroine in a gothic novel, I have to retire to my fainting couch. Ha. I'm PITIFUL!

Since I've enjoyed reading rather than writing, watching movies rather than taking photos, and relaxing rather than… well, pretty much anything else, I'm more certain than ever that this is what winter is for - filling our tanks, taking in inspiration and rest so we can expend our creative and physical energy when spring rolls around. At least that's my theory and I'm stickin' to it! 

But enough of this slothful lethargy - if SkyWatch Friday, a Full Moon, and Valentine's Day aren't enough reasons to get a new post published then I don't know what is. Just don't expect me to get around to updating my blog header till I've had at least several more naps. 

So here are a few lovely skies from January, followed by an extremely chocolatey chocolate recipe. Because if I can't make up for my long, lazy absence with an offering of colorful sunrises, dreamy clouds, a full moon above the tree tops, and above all chocolate - then romance as we know it is dead. ;-)

These first two sunrise shots were taken just a few minutes apart…

We've had a lot of wind this winter, and the only good thing about that is how beautifully it shapes and stirs the clouds...

I'm almost never entirely happy with my moon photos, and this one is no exception. But I do love the color of the moon, the way it illuminated that little whiff of a cloud above it, and the silhouettes of the trees beneath it…

On Valentine's Day and every Friday, skywatchers around the world really put their hearts into their beautiful SkyWatch posts, so go feast your eyes - 

And speaking of feasts, since I know how skywatching can work up an appetite, here's my other Valentine treat to you! 

Our neighbor Carol had us over for a delicious five-course vegan dinner (with a Valentine theme) about three weeks ago, and this was one of the two desserts she served: raw brownies. The recipe calls for making them in a loaf pan (which would definitely make things easier when it comes to frosting them!), but Carol had made them in these adorable little heart shapes, so despite my creative slump I was inspired to get the recipe, buy a silicone mini heart candy mold, and make up a batch for a Valentine's Day post (and for snarfing, of course!) And although it's only come together at the last minute, somehow I've managed to pull it off! Guess I'm not a doomed gothic heroine after all. :-)

Carol sent us home with those two little heart containers filled with dried fruit, 
and these little brownies just happen to fit in them perfectly! 

The only thing I subbed in this recipe was maple syrup instead of agave nectar. Though not low-calorie, for all their rich deliciousness these are surprisingly healthy, filled with fiber (especially in the dates), heart-healthy phytonutrients (in the cocoa powder & cocoa nibs), anti-inflammatory antioxidants (in the walnuts), and are sweetened entirely by dates and just 3 TBSP of maple syrup. Carol has a Vitamix and I'm sure a high-powered blender like that would work a lot better for mixing the batter than my food processor did, but it managed. It was a little messy (processing cocoa powder with dates and walnuts and no liquid does churn up some impressive clouds of brown powder!), but the end results were well worth it! The frosting is divine ~ you'll be fighting with your beloved over who gets to lick the bowl and spatula. These are deeply rich with the wonderful bittersweet taste that only dark chocolate can provide. Just look at this chocolatey bad boy; the Johnny Depp of desserts…

Hey, my blog, my fantasy. :-) 

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day and a great weekend!

Friday, January 3, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Birthday Gifts

Each day comes bearing its gifts.
Untie the ribbons.
~ Ann Ruth Schabacker

How fun that this year my birthday coincides with SkyWatch Friday, something Mother Nature must have realized because after a lot of drab morning skies lately, this was "my" gorgeous birthday sunrise this morning! A lovely gift... 

I didn't intend to post all three of these next photos since they're so similar, but couldn't choose which one(s) to delete! So I'm using my birthday as an excuse to be self-indulgent and keep them all! :-) ...

I didn't even notice it when I took these, but I love how that group of trees seem to be holding up the small cloud!

Untie the ribbons on the gifts of more beautiful skies at...

This is also a perfect time to share my birthday gift from my talented quilting friend Joanne, which I teasingly mentioned in my post about Jo's visit in October, which is when she gave it to me (I love birthdays that are spread out over months like that, lol). 

Some of you may remember this photo I took of a rose last June...

Well, Joanne used that photo in a Thread Painting class she took, and made this wonderful birthday gift of the gorgeous results!

I love all the rich detail...

Even the raindrops showed up on the print!...


The always-wonderful BW took today off (especially nice since his hours at UPS continue to be gruesome) and as I write this he's in the kitchen preparing my favorite birthday cake, Ginger Carrot Cake with Orange Glaze (whose tantalizing photo and recipe link can be found here). After it has baked I plan to clone him and sell the clones on eBay for boatloads of money (lol) and then we plan to take the girls for a good walk before more winter weather hits later today, and then it's off to enjoy lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants (I haven't decided which one yet, the one with the delicious veggie burrito or the one with the delicious veggie fajitas! Tough choice, especially since both restaurants make kickass margaritas!) :-)

Wishing you all a great first Friday of 2014, a Happy New Year (what's left of it, lol), and a fun weekend! 


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  • DEEP SURVIVAL ~ Laurence Gonzales
  • GHOST ~ Alan Lightman
  • LIFE AFTER LIFE ~ Jill McCorkle
  • OVERDIAGNOSED ~ H. Gilbert Welch, MD
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"