Friday, November 13, 2009

Rabbit Hash and Back

I needed a break so bad that I was exhausted, one glass of wine made me feel tipsy! We are in Burlington Kentucky for a three-day weekend. I wanted to come to the Cincinnati area because I wanted to hit up Jungle Jims Grocery. So I did my usual research and narrowed it down to the Burlington-Willis B & B and another one in Covington Kentucky, which I did not choose. The north side of Cinci seemed to be more focused on the Kings Island crowd, rather than those that have some esthetic sensibilities.

I made a great choice too! The room is actually a bedroom, bathroom and a parlor type area. Decorated in what I think is early American, but probably more civil war-ish. It is comfortable, warm ad inviting. The inn has been remodeled so that there is the feel of the old, with the comfort and convenience of the new. This morning I had a steam shower. I usually despise showers, but did not want to fill the HUGE bath tub for me alone, so I took a shower, it was heavenly, plenty of hot water, the steamer made it very comfortable and I got hot enough so that I did not freeze to death once my shower was done.

Breakfast was a mix of fruit with granola sprinkled over it, “how odd” I thought; after a couple of bites, “ how wonderful” I thought! I also had juice, coffee and a breakfast pie composed of hash browns, sausage, eggs, and cheese. It was a very satisfying experience. New taste treats are always welcome and in that bowl of fruit was a mulberry, which was my first, and I liked it!

Eventually we ventured out into the world, and we headed for the river, for Rabbit Hash, a little general store from about 1830, which still stands. As we arrived I pulled in between a car and a Harley. Just up the one lane road was a school bus as evidenced by the teenagers sitting on the front porch of the Rabbit Hash General Store. The store was unlike any other I have seen since I was in the old general store in Birdseye Indiana 25 years ago! The kids were loving it, and I chatted briefly with one of the students who turned out to be the teacher! It was an American history class. We did not go on field trips like this back in the dark ages! And what a great piece of Americana it was. There was a group of men playing some sort of horseshoe-boules game with rocks, the kids hanging out, and the mayor or Rabbit Hash, Lucy Lou. Lucy Lou came tearing down the old ferry site towards Jodi, scaring the heck out of her. Lucy Lou just wanted to play; she finally resorted to a plaintive bark not dissimilar to my own Lucy, when she too, wants attention. To Jodi’s surprise I gave in and threw the stick Lucy Lou would bring and drop at my feet. She loved it and was not happy when we had to go. She told us we were welcome to return any time to her fair city! We tried to find the Old Bone Park, but became pleasantly lost and returned to the B&B.

Dinner tonight was at the Tousey House Tavern. Jodi had a house salad of mixed greens accompanied by a cheddar and broccoli soup. I had Chinese slaw, filet and mashed potatoes, with a rather lackluster mushroom red wine sauce to the tune of $2.50. Don’t get me wrong; the rest of the meal was good. My slaw was perfectly sweet/tangy, the rolls was sinful dipped in the plentiful dressing. The filet was tender and cooked to perfection; the sauce was just nothing to write home about. For dessert I had a pumpkin bar accompanied by whipped cream and an apple cider sauce that was a bit tart, but the bar and cream was a great ending. I had a nice glass of Red Rock (07) merlot, good nose, good legs and fabulous on the tongue. I had a glass last night too! It went well with the meat. Our waitress was interesting; she was also a Hoosier, who grumbled in front of us that her room was filling too fast. Poor thing, there were four two tops and an eight to ten top which was empty, so she really had four whole tables. I tried to reassure her that we were on break and not in a hurry, but it did not seem to comfort her. All in all, though it was a satisfying experience and were we to return here we would most likely dine there again.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Just Breathe

This week has stunk so bad that I have a full-blown fever blister! Today is my only day off and (I know poor me) I decided to treat myself, under the premise of “If I don’t take care of myself who will?” Because of experiences both pleasant and not, I have decided to name this the week of just breathing!

The week started out with an e-mail from a wonderful person, from whom I had elicited help, instructing me that all would be well and I should just breathe! I had to smile because my mantra in life is that of Julian of Norwich:

“And all shall be well,

And all shall be well,

And all manner of things shall be well?”

And so I breathed.

The fennel I mentioned in an earlier post that I had found in my garden, had to come into the house this week. It has begun to freeze every night so out I went and trimmed back my roses, brought in a couple of buds and harvested that fennel! Later in the week I went to the window where the rose buds had been placed and they were in bloom with a heavenly fragrance, one I had to just breathe in!

Thursday at a quarterly educational event at work we had a whole hour session on breathing and stress. I think I may have finally found the answer to my unwelcome tears, four breaths in and then four breaths out. It seems to curb the sob rising in my throat. I may owe the instructor, whom I consider a friend, more than he will ever know. Tears have plagued me for years, which come at totally inconvenient times. Maybe now, I am in control, when I mindfully breathe!

When I was in Paris I purchased 2 tins of Fois Gras; Duck and Goose. Today seemed like the day to make the Fois Gras, Fennel and Orange salad we made in our cooking classes in Paris. Homegrown Fennel, Oranges handy and those tins of Fois Gras, I heard that salad calling to me. And it was good, the salad, a warm baguette and a small glass of a nice Cahors (also purchased in Paris), yes, it was good. AND as I was cutting that fennel for the salad, I had to breathe in the fragrance of the fresh fennel, green and anise at once. And it made me think, as I draw in the essence of my creator whether in fear, fragrance, or tears, it seems that we all need to really do is breathe in and out and we can experience joy and peace!

Monday, October 26, 2009

IAFN - Atlanta, Georgia

This week at the Scientific Assembly of the IAFN had been one of learning, hilarity, and poignancy. And of course good food! The course work was good. I attended many lectures that invigorated me and gave me ideas that will stir up the pot on our arrival back home. There were over twenty INSANE here, a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) from INdiana! It was great to have their company here, to wallow in old friendships, to get to know some people better and to see the dedication of this group of nurses from all over the state! After corresponding with one guy from Indiana, for years, but whom I had NEVER met, finally I have a face to put with the name! We all enjoyed the freedom of not being in call, I think. Some enjoyed it ore than others! We laughed (and of course I sniffled too) at our IAFN board and staffers preform the Vagina Monologues. Then there were the tears that nearly fell as an award was bestowed posthumously and it made me think of my friend Joanne WIlson. It made me tear up. I had to think of something other than the fact that the last time I really got to sit and chat with her was at the Assembly in MInneapolis Minnesota. I remember of talking about her decision to step down from her director level job, to be a staff nurse and more present mother. Of her mothers living with them, of her fears and how good it had been. I remember talking about my personal woes of the time and her support.

Joanne was the coordinator at St. Vincent's Center of Hope, she was my mentor and my friend. She was a cheerleader to us, encouraging when we were afraid, always telling us that it would be easy. Often it was not, but she gave us the courage to forge ahead. She always was a never ending bringer of bagels and somewhere we have lost sight of that, a fact that has ( So, I am informed) been detrimental to the attendance of our SART team. She had a smile that was purely Joanne and occasionally I catch a glimpse of it on another face and am reminded of her. I have to confess that I have not removed her for my outlook at work, just for the occasional reminder of seeing her name.

The best food i had on this trip was a place called Wild Fire, while the food was good the wait felt endless on both visits in spite of the reservations! I must admit that the manager tried to alleviate the pain with a cocktail! My special of the day, Beef wellington, was a delight a medium rare filet with a lovely mushroom topping, baked in s puff pastry ensconced in a fabulous sauce, that and a glass of their house wine made me feel lie human again!

The hotel was the Crown Plaza Ravinia and it was a lovely experience, set amidst five acres of woods, there were lovely pathways accompanying creeks, fountains, trees and critters. It was a small breath of peace in the middle of a huge city.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October Roads

Last evening I sat down on my couch to a whiff of a lovely rose scent. I had picked a bouquet and they have lasted almost a week. I wonder if there is any philosophical concept there about the old and longevity and beauty present in this experience! I breathed in their beauteous scent and simply enjoyed it. I got up this morning to let Lucy and Sofi with her tail so long out for their morning ablutions. Lucy had had a sleep over with Sofi and they were both firmly awake! I was greeted at the door by a firm covering of frost on the chaise on my back porch and thought to myself, “those roses in my living room are my last roses of summer!” I am never ready for the cold, nor for winter and yet it comes every year, each year with more rapidity. Once again, Mother Nature is saying “Voila” - here it is again.

Drinking a delicious cup of café-au-lait and reading my morning “Fodor” board, I encountered an entry about an apartment in Paris that was “everything they were looking for”. I followed the link and saw photos of a 2 bedroom, very neutral apartment and I thought to myself “you did not see the apartment I stayed in”. It is beautifully decorated, sports all the creature comforts and it is a very comfortable apartment that is also in a safe part of town! I have not ever seen photos or been in an apartment in Paris as nice as the one I stayed in this past summer and plan on inhabiting again for a week in February! I thank the owner of the Cour Damoye apartment for her hard work, passion and generosity in sharing her space with us travelers. AND it is a heck of a lot more economical that the one the lady showed in her post! True it is a one bedroom and this one had two, but the cost of the apartment was over double as well!

I visited my Aunt in Kirkland, Washington about this time of year a few years ago; she took me to breakfast on the way to the train station. The cute little place she took me, NOT a chain, had pumpkin pancakes on their special fall menu; they were wonderfully pumpkiney and served with whipped cream. It was like sinning by dessert for breakfast. I decided that I wanted that experience again and started a recipe search. While I encountered several I have yet to try (that is for later this morning when my overnight guest gets up) I also encountered a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Pasta. Once in my head I wanted it all week long and this past Thursday evening I prepared it to my great oral delight! IT was everything I had hoped and more! A wonderful creamy sauce with sausage, (it recommended Italian turkey sausage and here in my “progressive” corner of Indiana it was not to be found!) full of pumpkin flavor over wheat pasta. It was a singular treat to myself! It was pretty, flavorful and filling, while probably bad a hell for me. But then…….. well I won’t go there. So here is the recipe for the pasta if you try it let me know how you like it. I will admit up front that I did not create this and that I am only sharing it with you. The recipe is from a blog called, in which she also recommends to serve it with apple crisp and artisan bread. I had a “you bake it” baguette from Kroger which makes lovely garlic bread and that was my meal with a glass of white wine from a small little vintner in Sonoma called Imagery. This wine is a nice crisp white that is lovely and accompanies many meals well and lasts longer than most whites in the fridge. That longevity thing is a big plus for me! She suggests an apple crisp, but I am something of an apple crisp snob and I think the recipe my mother used THE BEST!

This weekend is full, Bonfires, birthday celebrations, preparations and more, but I think all roads should all begin with pumpkin pancakes!

Oh Yes, the recipe from Momma Advice:

Follow this link

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12

Today is October 12, 2009.  It is the anniversary of the arrival of the advent of my little brother, it is the birthday of  a student in the SANE class in which I teach.  It is fall, there is no denying it here in the Midwest.  It has become cool; long sleeve weather.  The trees are glorious shades of peachy red or deep maroon/purple.  And those leaves are falling, falling on the ground, into my pond, gutters, or occasionally flying through the air. They lay on the ground, sometimes creating their own little whirling dervishes.  Crunchy, soggy or springy, they scatter or pile up for us humans to step on, maybe shuffle through, leaving the bouquet of fall.  My day today was 0800 to 2200, so I took a quick break to go home and let my little Lucy out to potty and sneak a quick puppy smooch from her.  As I opened the deck door the rose bushes in my back yard beckoned me to visit.  I could not resist their call, and so out I waltzed with Lucy to inspect the determined bushes.  They still display a lovely array of yellow, pink, peach and red.  Further seduced, I went back into the house for a clipper to  bring a few in, just in case there is another frost tonight that will take them all out.  As I  cut, the sublime aroma of a rose wafted up to my nose, calling me to pull it closer and closer until in that moment I was inhaling a little corner of heaven, right there, right then.

Lucy, Grasshoppers and Fennel

Saturday I had a couple of hours on a glorious fall day to do some quick work in my garden.  Out I went to pull out the old vegetables plants in an area that should have had leeks, fennel and lettuce growing and flourishing but which had become overgrown.   SO overgrown, in fact that to my amazement, the cosmos from last hear had sprouted and were growing, probably too late to bloom though.  I was pulling weeds, fast and furiously.  They were sliding out of the recently moistened dirt like I was pulling them out of butter.  Weed pulling does not get much better.  Out came the decapitated broccoli and cabbage, the pepper plants that had a few premature babies, and moribund tomatoes.  Bending, straining and pulling at the weeds and filling the garbage bin, all of a sudden I got to those baby cosmos plants and to my great joy, rather than cosmos, there was the fennel I had planted in June.  The fragrance of anise rose to my nostrils.   Those Leeks, Lettuce and Fennel seeds were sown with great hope of continuing the flavor of my most recent trip to France.  I had lamented to more than one person that none of the seeds I had sown on my return, had “come up”.  Yet here right in front of me, sending their phermones wafting up to my olfactory organ were the winsome lacy fennel plants that I had desired.  Not ready to be enjoyed and maybe destined to go back to the earth intact in their pristine growth.  I delighted in them, breathed them in, and cleared out around them, hoping that they might still grow into a plant that I can enjoy before winter sets in.

Eventually I had to move on and as I continued I discovered a had a partner in my work, no help really, just a casual observer. A lovely olive green guy I quickly and not very creatively named Jiminy.  He was climbing around on the fence  and I took a gratifying few minutes to observe him climbing around on the foliage and wooden fence when al of a sudden I was inspired to fetch my camera and record these moments , Jiminy and the fennel.  He was hard to capture on film, swinging from tiny branch to branch, climbing on all aspects of the fence.  The fennel was a much easier proposition, as I posed beautifully for me there mounted in the dirt, waiting for me to discover it. 

Now that I had my camera in hand I decided it time for a Fall shot of Lucy.  She is not as enraptured by my imprinting her image on film as I.  She did, however, pose nicely for me on the deck rail so that we could have the backdrop of the cambient dogwood tree.  I could tell that she felt that it was a rather risky proposition as she did a good job of posing for me.  Good thing, as not posing would have resulted in a long drop for her.   (Seriously, I was right there with a hand out!)   I captured her feelings so well, a shot of her being coy, gazing off into the distance, a profile and one being, well simply, done. 

Lucy, Grasshoppers and Fennel, yes they all add joy to the simple act of gardening in the cambient season of Fall. Cambient, what is that you ask?  Well, dear readers, it is a word that I think we should all add to our vocabulary, simply  put it means changing and comes from Spanish.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Here I sit, in the company of heroes.  My father had cataract surgery yesterday at our local VA hospital. The surgery seems to have gone well and he had a FU appointment today at 0845. Typically, (though I must admit yesterday went like clockwork) it is now after 1000 and we are waiting for a recheck and I sit among young men in flannel shirts, baggy pants, and baseball caps.  There are sonorous old men in wheel chairs, men who appear to be paralyzed on one side, old men with old women pushing their chairs.  There are middle aged men in crew cuts. Men that are a little frightening, men who have seen or done things of which we do not wish to know, men on the edge.  Men sporting clothing that identifies them as warriors who spent time in Korea, Vietnam, and the middle east. Black. White, men & women, in uniform and out: all here in this chaotic place with an illness or disability after serving our country.

Men and women whose patriotism may be in line with mine, some maybe more nominal, some probably more fanatical.

This place is busy and people are a name AND a number. People throng the hallways. Lines form for each part of the process, something my civilian mind rejects.  The enlightening thing is that my father has always bitterly resented waiting in lines and I never understood this.  Now after shuffling from check in to waiting room, from waiting room  to patient room,  to another waiting room to another patient room, to the travel line to the cashier, to the line to get a number, to the waiting room to wait for the number to be called to go to the desk, back  to the waiting room to look for our name on a board for the pharmacy line so we can get onto another line to wait for someone to come to a window to put the prescription in a door for my father to pick up.

I get it.  I get it well after only two days. But amid all the lines, chaos and waiting I sit  in the company of heroes, yes heroes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peche et Pistache Macarons

I wanted SOMETHING new today.  I thought it would be a cut or color, but after  a snit once because my stylist cut my hair too short for the umpteenth time, I quit going to her for a 2 years.  So now when I ask for her to cut my hair short, she prevaricates, a lot. So she trimmed and highlighted it.  But I had not given up on the new thing.  When I was in Paris, one of the Pierre Herme macarons I had was apricot and pistachio.  I have been thinking about that macaron, a lot.  Several weeks ago I purchased shelled and lightly salted pistachios.  A couple of days ago I broke eggs, separated,  weighed and sifted the almond flour and powdered sugar.  Tonight I did my best to recreate them, but with peaches instead.  I started and then began to wonder if I had any way to make them orange, but I had some yellow food coloring along with red, so I was set.  I cooked, whipped, and mixed, toasted, pureed and cooked some more.  They puffed up just like they are supposed to.  They have lovely dainty little feet, as I am told they are to have.  They are pretty and they taste great.  They may be my favorite macarons yet, they have that sweet salty tension that I like, a lot. All I can say is Pierre Herme you better watch out, because these are good, a lot!  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

At the feet (and paws) of Angels

I sit here, in effect at the feet of some angels, my friends (and I am privileged to call them friends) Denise, and Rhonda. Denise had shared her story at least 20 times for our SANE class.  Twenty times!  She has shared her pain, fear, the horror of her rape, and the aftermath. Twenty times, each time more triumphantly she has shared what she has done with that horrible situation to make her own version of Lemonade.   

As I type Rhonda is talking to a bunch of people, who tend to be pretty resistant to her message.  She is imparting information, tools that the women in this class will absolutely need.  She is talking about knowing yourself, checking in and caring for yourself.  Rhonda is one of the few people I know who listens, REALLY listens.  I guess she should be good at it.   I experience her like one of those big papasan chairs,  you like them when you see them,  know it will be a good experience, and as you sink into her you just enjoy!  That is our Rhonda.  

As we began to wrap up class, Denise and I cleaned up the snack area.  We needed to return the coffee pots to the various offices and as we entered the Legacy House Space there was three little angels all thrilled and wiggly just to see us.  Gracie, Sophie and Oliver are all working dogs, they are therapy dogs there in Legacy House.  Gracie has full tenure, but Oliver and Sophie are both still pups and learning the ropes.  All three bring joy in a fluffy bundle.  I wandered home full of gratitude and smiles over those darn cute dogs!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

France to the Hoosier

I worked my tail off today (Don’’t I wish!) to reward myself with a visit to the French Market. A fund raiser for a local school, St. Joan of Arc. I went hoping for a little taste of France and what I got was a Hoosier version of what people here THINK France is like. As far as France was concerned it was a disappointment. On the people watching front, though it was rich. I took in children, bright eyed, rosy cheeked, and dancing, women in shorts, loose tops and hair twisted up. Older women trying to look twenty and fifteen year olds trying to look thirty, skinny women, well fed women, and a few actually attractive ones as well were all there on the stage in front of me. Grizzled old men, fat men, men dressed as gangsters, and men enjoying the women on the stage in front of me were there too. There were booths with french onion soup, wild mushroom crepes, snails, mussels, and Mousse, to name a few. I tries the crepes, they were o.k. not really French. I also asked for a glass of Vouvray, A gray topped dude named Rich poured a Vigoner and when I asked for the Vouvray, he still poured something else, like I did not know the difference. I hope some one treats him that way some time, is is so pleasant to be brushed off in that manner. I sat a while and watched the band that was to start at 1900, tinker with their microphones until about 1930 and when they finally started, then the dancing started. I wanted to get up and dance too, but was alone and would have felt like a geek. Finally it was getting dark and I did not want to walk to the car alone in the dark, so I went for some mousse to round off the evening and THEY WERE OUT! I handed the first person I saw my last 2 tickets (you had to purchase tickets for the food) and walked back to the car. Yep, you can take the Hoosier to France, but you can’t bring France in to the Hoosier!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cinnamon Hamburgers

Today was a great day for me, filled with lecturing about my passion (Forensic Nursing), meetings, and more meetings.  Something in me is stirred by human interactions.  The tossing out of concepts, ideas and feelings; batting it back and forth and finally concluding the interchange.  I came home with my mind racing about plans for handling this issue, how to get newly developed  photos to law enforcement, and all that I wanted to accomplish at home this evening.  In addition I was concerned about Jodi as the mother of a dear friend of hers had died last night. You know, one of those mothers that you claim for your own too. 

We were supposed to have hamburgers last night for dinner and time got away from both of us and it did not happen.  So in an honest effort to not be wasteful I made hamburgers tonight on the grill, intending to have one tonight and one later.  There is a spice mix I love called Joe’s stuff.  I originally purchased some in New Orleans years ago, used it all up and when my friend Amy went I asked her to bring me some back.  She sure did, she brought back the industrial size bottle (about a cup or so) and it has lasted me for a long time. I am a steak tartare fan.  Subsequently I like my meat barely cooked and my favorite way to have a hamburger is very rare liberally laced with Joe’s Stuff. I prepared my burgers, coked them, prepared my bread, good hoosier tomato, lettuce and mayo, placed  the burger on it and sat down to eat.  The first few bites were pretty nondescript. then I began to wonder if the meat was bad, something did not taste or smell right.  But the sell by date was not up yet, and while It did not smell right, it did not taste spoiled, just not ‘right’.  I fussed and stewed and finally looked at the counter, where sat a jar of cinnamon, what I had used to lace my burger tonight, rather than Joe’s stuff!  Needless to day Jodi’s dog, Sophi,  gets the other one!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pondering the Previous

I was in Paris in May.  One day I wandered and eventually stumbled over a passage couveret (covered - the original shopping mall!) and along that passage was a store that dealt in old stamps.  I purchased a bunch of them to use in my card creations.  I think they were 15 / one Euro and I thought that a bargain.  I ported them home and put them in my embellishment drawer, forgotten.  Until today, today, I was looking for just the right thing to finish a card that still needed a little something more and I came across that envelop of old stamps.  While the theme of the card was really France, the stamp from Portugal was the one that matched the color scheme.  As I began to carefully remove the paper from the back of the stamp in order to apply adhesive, I began to ponder.  Who wrote the mail that this was used for, who purchased it, who licked the stamp.  When did this person send this letter, was it a love letter, a bill, or a sad announcement.   Did this person live a happy life, live into old age, were they famous or just an extraordinary human? Was I ever in the same place as the person who purchased this stamp?  All this wondering, pondering, musing over a stamp that cost me a mere 9 cents.

The cards are thank you cards for the birthday presents, a lot late, but well thought out!  Pay attention you could be on the receiving end of one of these overly considered creations!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Getting There

I have never been the greatest of drivers. Some would not say that I am even competent. My fathers favorite parting words are “Keep your head out of your ___ and remember that you are pushing 4 tons of steel down the road. I occasionally remind him that my car is probably not that heavy anymore. I quite counting my accidents at 21, and that was several years ago. I have had only 2 vehicles that I did not crash. I totaled a sweet little black Honda Del Sol, and my last car was a rockin’ Black PT Cruiser. I have had fantasies of renovating (probably the wrong car word, but hey I am a girl) a old 41 Chevy that my family still owns. It would be safer ride, but imagine the gas mileage! I currently sport a Honda Civic hybrid. The choice was between the Civic and a PT Cruiser convertible. That convertible was sweet, but Jodi was convinced I needed the side airbags. It was a little disconcerting to total another car and I thought maybe I could also decrease my impact on Mother Earth.

It has been a good choice, while everyone else was crying about gas prices I went to the pump about half as much as before. She is not the hottie that my Cruiser was, but she has a nice aqua sheen in the right sunlight.

So today I am at a stop light, the light changes, I am in the process of putting my foot on the gas and someone honks! Not even 3 seconds after the light changed! What inspires that sort of impatience? I can tell you that I bought that car to change my gas usage and an impatient person behaving poorly in line behind me does not change my slow acceleration, as a matter of fact it reminds me that I MUST accelerate slowly to maintain good gas mileage. So if you are in a turn lane behind a irridicent Honda Civic Hybrid and are in a hurry my advice is to be patient, you will get there quicker.

On lighter note I got home in plenty of time to give my stinky little dog Lucy a bath, isn’t she a beauty?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gotta stay out of the Saddle

What a week! I feel like I have forgotten my most important “Paris Lesson”, that of slowing down and REALLY enjoying life. Some of the racing around this week was out of my control, well sort of. One evening I needed to manage a funeral home visit and an awesome lecture on violence against women. The funeral home visit was really nice, it was much more a celebration, rather than sadness and pain. I want my funeral to be a party! Good music, great food and wine. Maybe even a beer or two for those who have never learned to enjoy the complexity of wine.

The lecture was at Marian University, a part of their Global Studies Lecture series. I know as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner just how pervasive the problem violence against women is in our own country. It affects the burgeoning, overcrowded justice system, our over taxed health care system, and decreases the contributions of women in our country and our world. Violence against women cheats us! I also know that there are reports of generations of children in some African countries who are the product of sexual assault, and those reports say that the mothers are not bonding with their children! That terrifies me. If we already have boy soldiers killing and raping, what will become of this generation of unattached children? Will they be capable of even more violence? The lecture outlined briefly the International Violence Against Women bill that is due to he heard in our national legislature. In length we heard about Violence in the Congo, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. One young man asked about the cost to our country if we approve this bill. I want to know the cost to our country if we do not?

Later in the week I had the privilege of attending the third annual Outpouring event. It is a lovely wine tasting event that is a fund raiser for Legacy House. Dates stuffed with almonds then wrapped in bacon, brie baked and then dipped in a brown sugar sauce, crab cakes with aioli , stuffed mushrooms, and chocolate covered strawberries were a few of the oral memories I have from the event. I honestly only had one glass of Malbec as I knew I had to drive home, so I was not able to enjoy the full variety of wines available to be tasted. The music was a divine little jazz trio that I listened to for much of the night. Good friends, good food and drink and great music! Does it get any better? On the serious side though, I send many of my patients to Legacy House I can, with confidence, send my patients there just as I would my mother, best friend or myself if we needed services. I know that they will be treated with compassion and that the people they encounter there understand the issues of violence. AND it is free to the victims of violence that present there! Of course it would be better not to need the services at all!

And last evening I had the privilege of attending yet another lovely evening listening to the voice of Carrie Newcomer. She played in an exquisite nature park on the grounds of DePauw University. Set in the midst of limestone walls, birch trees haloed by the sun, and rolling green grass. She sang to us with a huge slab of limestone as her stage. Children ran, played and danced to her music. Her lovely, funny, hopeful music that is frequently my part of my morning routine. We took lawn chairs, a picnic basket and enjoyed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tea and Friends

Go in on Sunday, stay late on Tuesday, go home early on Thursday; being salaried can be a big drain, and a big pleasure.  Today I took off at noon to meet my best bud.   We met at a great little place in downtown Indy called the Tea Cozy.  We entered off of Market St. west of the circle, into an oasis of green accented with some black. It reminded me of the store, Darjeeling, where I purchased a lovely soutien gorge (Bra) in Paris.     There was not an available table on our arrival so we waited in a charming area filled with couches, hassocks, hats, hatboxes and china.  We both ended up eating a delectable sandwich with Turkey and Swiss on a croissant WITH apple butter.  It was a perfect blend of the sweet and savory!  We also had a cup of the standard tortellini and spinach soup!  Tasty.  For dessert I had the Sticky Toffee pudding, which I had to tell our waitress, was better than what I had in London last June!  All in all, this entire place is a little sweet little retreat in the middle of downtown Indy.  Next on our schedule is a trip back for a real afternoon tea!  Sounds like a trip after work one day soon to me!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Small Things

After working late last night in a productive frenzy, I got out of an all day training early today!  It is hot and humid in a way that I have only experienced in Indiana and during my sojourn in St. Louis.  I quickly let Lucy out to do her stuff and raced with her back into the cool house.  How grateful I am on days like today for the luxury of air conditioning!  As I was shutting the sliding door though, I noticed through the glass the loveliest huge bees feeding in my garden, they are feasting as I did last weekend at Devour Downtown. Sliding in and out of the fuchsia coronets  of my flowers as they experience their progressive dinner, they buzz and hum.  What a joy to see them enjoying their feast with the same pleasure I felt last weekend as I dinned with friends.   How quickly amazement creeps up on one, the small blessings of life.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Devour Downtown, One inch of Grass and a New Cousin

This week has certainly been a full one!  I have seen a present day Hatfield and McCoy feud in my very own family, gained a new cousin and behaved in a most hedonistic fashion.

First things first.  My brother and his neighbor are in a feud, over one inch of grass.  Can you believe it, one inch of grass!  It seems that my brother was “helping” his neighbor by cutting the grass onto his property, and the neighbor did not like the level of my brother’s lawn mower.  And the merde hit the fan when my sweet niece, who would have been about 12 or 13 at the time mowed and the neighbor I shall call “Elmer” allegedly got in my bothers face about it.  So my brother just quit mowing the grass on that side of his yard.  This summer “Elmer” spent the time and money on a 50-60 foot 6 foot fence.  Which he place exactly 4 inched on his side of the property.  Tuesday I was at my brothers fixing a pizza and spending some quality time with my niece (one of my favorite pastimes) and my brother said “ I am going to go see if that weed eater works, I have been tinkering on it.”  I heard it start to hum and thought happily, “it’s working.”  He came in a little while later and said “ the oddest thing happened, it sounded like someone was throwing rocks at the other side of the fence out there while I was trimming.”  I was joyfully placing mushrooms, sausage and mozzarella on the pizza when “Elmer came to my brothers back door pounding and saying “you get out here”, I finished and went out to see what was brewing.  There was “Elmer” demonstrating how he had placed his fence 4 inches on the other side of the property line and how my brother had trespassed onto his property, this tirade while standing firmly on my brother’s property!  My initial reaction was to get tickled, as it was ludicrous and then to think what an ass.  So amusingly enough I send my 45 year old brother to the house and tried to reason with the gentleman, indicating that he had really set my brother up to fail with this one if he didn’t was him weed eating there.  He had to tell me his whole side of the sordid story.  And I shared with him my philosophy about how it would be a pretty worthless argument on his deathbed and didn’t he think maybe relationships were more important than one inch of grass, because that is what this argument is really about, one inch of grass.  Utterly Amazing

Then the same day I get a call from my mother at work asking me what I was doing. 

“Well, I am working Mother,” I said. 
She replied, make sure you call me later; I have something really important to tell you.

“You can’t do that, what is going on?”

“It seems that this lady contacted your Uncle on Face Book and he told her that he did not need any more friends, so after a couple of tries (HE says he was not very nice to her) she contacted your cousin with the same last name.  He asked her to prove her allegations that she is related to us.  So she did.  Sending a birth certificate, an adoption form and a brief rundown of the events of her life.  My mother showed me the birth certificate and said, “that is my sisters signature, I am totally sure, I would know it anywhere.”  It seems I have a cousin 2 years older than I.  This is amazing, joyful and exciting to me.

So I have celebrated!  In Indianapolis each summer and winter there is an event called Devour Downtown.  I have managed so far to indulge in Salmon at Palomino with my boss, Goat Cheese Ravioli at Scholars Inn with my ex, and Filet with Béarnaise at Morton’s with a friend from work.  The whipped cream was going to see Julie Julia last night.  I loved it, maybe almost as much as Momma Mia and Something’s Gotta Give.  That is saying a lot!  I liked the pure unadulterated joy in the relationships of both heroines, I liked the food and lastly I thoroughly loved the scenes of Paris.  It is an owner!

I wonder what next week could do to top this one!  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


When I first saw the apple and the little “roundy round thingy” (which I was told later was a timer) I was not particularly alarmed, however after forcing the thing off and booting it up, forcing it off and booting it off a couple more times, I became panicked.  Trying to stay calm I looked up the number for support, dialed, punched in numbers, selected options until I finally got a living person to help me.  That person was gracious but of no real assistance other than to prepare me for the worst and tell met that I had to take my beloved computer to the Apple store for a visit to the Genius Bar.  

My initial reaction was darn, I can’t get on the internet now, but it did not take long to begin to consider all I stood to loose if the hard drive was not recoverable.  I had backed up my data prior to going to Paris.  What writing would be on my external hard drive?  I had been prolific in Paris and I knew that would be all gone.  Thank God that I had not done any real work on my book.  Something I had been nearly embarrassed over.  All the writing I did for the blog, the new blog and some from last semester would be gone.  There was no way to know, so I busied myself feeling nauseated over it.  And then there were the photos, most I still had on the memory card.  The first day or so, however, I had hit that convenient option to delete the photos on the card, that was before I thought it through.  The first two days worth of photographs were potentially gone too.  The day I went to St. Denis, gone as well.  I felt rather numb, like a cut the first few seconds after the incision, then my heart began to throb.

My mind raced then to the recipes, the ones from class, the ones Pino, my instructor sent me for a birthday present, the ones I had researched for Macarons, the ones I had gleaned from other sources!  Also all gone. Now I felt a sinking feeling, the one one gets when there is no hope.

Oh, and my homework from class, the journaling that I had drug to WWFAC and forced my poor writing buddies to endure.  This too was gone.  I was panicked, as if I had done something wrong or I was given news that I had a serious illness.  All this over a computer, that, I had failed to back up.. Data, bits of magnetic informations, that was precious to me, images, thoughts, ideas. All gone.

Jodi was particularly helpful, “ did you have it backed up?  I gave you that extra hard drive, where was it.  I  would have thought you would have learned you lesson after locking up your thumb-drive”. Fat lot of consolation I was going to get there.

I left work early the next day to take her, yes her, to the Apple store where a very nice person named Molly tried valiantly to resuscitate her, to no avail.  She gave me the look I have seen colleagues give patients when they had to be told that they had a fracture or were going to need surgery.  That look of, “this is going to be painful, but I have to do it to fix you”.  How many times have I delivered that message and accompanying look myself?  Molly said that she was gong to have to erase my hard drive to restore the computer at all.  Gone with one keystroke, Memories, writing and food yet to be, music I would long to hear, applications I use.  Pieces of my own creativity that I took for granted, that I did not cherish to back up with regularity,  All gone. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Little Acts of Kindness

I pulled over, put on my flashers and grabbed my camera to catch a quick photo of this ducky family.  The little stinkers did not maintain their perfect little trail across the street and by the time I go to them they were already in the grass.  There is something about that little trail of ducklings following their momma that always catches my heart.  I got my photos, returned to my car and as I was putting on my seat belt to leave, when a kind woman stopped to ask if I was o.k.  My heart was touched twice on my way to work that morning!

I spent another lovely day yesterday cooking for dinner guests.  We started with a toasted goat cheese, pear and walnut salad.  The salad was followed by chicken with a lemon caper sauce, mashed celery & potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  For dessert I made Crème Brule with raspberries, and my guests brought what they called “ cherry cake” which is a glorified Clafouti, AND they brought real whipped cream.  Seriously, does life get any better than two desserts?  They don’t drink and rather than flowers or bottle of wine, they brought a more precious gift. vegetables from the garden!  I can’t wait to see what delectable delights I can create with them!


clafoutis |klaˈfoōtē|

noun ( pl. same)

a tart made of fruit, typically cherries, baked in a sweet batter.

ORIGIN French, from dialect clafir ‘to stuff.’

American Oxford Dictionary