Truth be told, I haven't really gotten over the breakup of The Civil Wars. I have to eat icecream sometimes when I think about it.
But! I am so pleased "From This Valley" won a Grammy tonight.
My sister and her family have a new Golden Retriever puppy named Sadie. She is a doll.
She came over to visit yesterday, and to meet Daffodil and Violet for the first time.
Violet was genteel and somewhat cautious about the whole thing, but Daffy gave it her whole heart.
I took three little videos. I will not show them to you all at once, but here is Sadie making a new friend during her initial exploration of our house. :)
I use this marinade on chicken pretty often, because I usually have the ingredients on hand, and I love mediterranean flavors. It is in my head now, but I am pretty sure I got the original version from the Barefoot Contessa. I'm not positive, but it seems like something she would like, so let's go with that.
I do remember that the original recipe called for minced rosemary, but I hate biting into rosemary (even a little bit), so I just throw rosemary sprigs in and marinate the chicken long enough (several hours) that the sprigs infuse the olive oil.
about 3 pounds of chicken (I like bone-in chicken breasts because they have good flavor.)
1 T. kosher salt
1/3 c. olive oil
2 t. grated lemon zest
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. minced garlic
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Rinse chicken and place it in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Whisk salt, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper (to taste) in a small measuring cup. Pour the marinade into the Ziploc and throw in the rosemary sprigs. Squish the bag around a few times to get the marinade all over. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight. Squish the bag a few more times while it's marinating, if you think about it.
Just grill or bake your chicken the way you normally would. :)
This chicken is especially yummy with things like couscous, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled red peppers, cold cooked green beans (with a bit of salt and lemon), a nice white bean salad, good pita bread (not dry) and hummus, or anything that makes you think about eating in Italy or Greece. :)
Daffodil has been on a little vacation visiting her Grandma Marilyn down in San Diego. Grandma has a corgi named Ginger. Ginger and Daffodil love each other. Daffy is coming home this Saturday.
When we got our first corgis (Winston and Hyacinth) back in the mid-90s, few Americans we met knew what a corgi was, or had ever even seen one.
They are, of course, the awesome coffee table of dogs: low to the ground, sturdy, and hardworking.
Corgis are herding dogs, who nip at the heels of sheep, cattle, and sometimes humans to get them to go where they want them to go. When we got Daffodil last March, Claire would run screaming down the hallway as Daffodil herded her into her bedroom. (We had to put a stop to that, but it was funny while it lasted.)
I guess the best way to describe Daffodil is to say that she does not suffer from a lack of personality.
Now corgis are all the rage, and to my delight it is much easier to find corgi-themed artwork here, there, and everywhere. My friend Pam even bought me a little leather corgi keychain. Look how cute.
Here is a small sampling of some of the wonderful corgi art currently over at etsy.
But my favorite corgi art is usually right here in my own house. :)
This list has been brought to you courtesy of Lists with Friends 2014, a project some old friends are doing together to document the year in lists. I am the weak link. :)
I rarely make New Year resolutions or promises or goals. I will NEVER be too focused, too driven, or too ambitious. My personality just doesn't lean that way, and never has. I don't want to lead anybody, conquer the world, start a movement, compete for anything, or be famous. Just leave me alone over here while I read this book. Maybe we can go get coffee later.
But I don't really do anything. I mean, my house is usually clean and people are generally fed and clothed, and I'm on a lot of committees and go to a lot of meetings. But I don't set personal, longterm goals and then march toward them in a manner that reflects my agreement with Robert Browning that a man's reach should exceed his grasp.
A couple months ago, while I was teaching a Bible study at church on organization, I decided to cut back on my leisure time. As I read (incidentally, I recommend the books Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung and The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin), I got excited thinking about how much time I would have available if I unplugged and was more efficient with my work around the house.
I made a few false starts, but now I'm in a good routine. I'm not online very much. (Writing my book on my laptop is okay, but I avoid the Internet). I still have Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts, but I just use them in moderation. Television has gone, too. I watch two shows each week. And obviously, I'm not blogging very often anymore.
It's highly unlikely I will ever fall prey to the sin of cutthroat ambition, so I figured I'd make some commitments this year. I believe that with God's grace, I can get some stuff done.
1. Finish my Lucy novel.
2. Reach a goal weight of 135 pounds with healthy living and exercise.
3. Give my girlfriends here in San Gabriel good (thoughtful, personal) birthday presents.
4. Learn how to use my DSLR in modes other than "Auto".
5. Go to my mom's house and write down all my favorite recipes of hers.
6. Memorize the book of Colossians.
7. Make peach icecream.
8. Teach Claire how to embroider.
9. Learn how to crochet.
10. Learn how to make crème brûlée.
(I recognize numbers 5, 7, and 10 may be incompatible with number 2, but we'll cross that bridge when we blow it up, as the saying goes.)
This list has been brought to you courtesy of Lists with Friends 2014, a project some old friends are doing together to document the year in lists. I am the weak link. :)
"...when we got to "Son of God, Love's Pure light" I happened to look at Imogene and I almost dropped my hymn book on a baby angel. Everyone had been waiting all this time for the Herdmans to do something unexpected. And sure enough, that was what happened. Imogene Herdman was crying. In the candlelight her face was all shiny with tears and she didn't even bother to wipe them away. She just sat there--awful old Imogene--in her crookedy veil, crying and crying and crying. Well. It was the best Christmas pageant we ever had."
(Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
"…Christmas evoked in me that response with makes me continue to struggle to understand, with the mind in the heart, the love of God for his creation, a love which expressed itself in the Incarnation. That tiny, helpless baby whose birth we honor contained the Power behind the universe, helpless, at the mercy of its own creation. Cribb’d, cabined, and confined within the contours of a human infant. The infinite defined by the finite? The Creator of all life thirsty and abandoned? Why would he do such a thing? Aren’t there easier and better ways for God to redeem his fallen creatures?"
(Madeleine L'Engle, The Irrational Season)
"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God."
(C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
(Jesus, John 10:10)
My cousin Jane and her husband are expecting a baby boy, and my cousin Sam made a little video about a surprise nursery makeover he and my aunt and her husband and my uncle did for them. :)
I am loving the book Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung. I recommend it.
Chapter 6 is called "A Cruel Kindergarchy—You Need to Stop Freaking Out about Your Kids." :)
The last chapter, called "Embracing the Burdens of Busyness—You Suffer More Because You Don’t Expect to Suffer at All" has probably been the most convicting for me, and I think is the most unique content in the book.
This is a little video (from last spring; the video is from last year) about our church friend, Moe. Moe is in my Sunday school class, and his story is good to hear.
The man with the distinguished white beard :) who is having coffee with Moe is our friend Rich. Rich is a partner at the law firm where my husband works. (Rich's wife is my best friend, Pam.) They and some other families in my church shared their love of Jesus with Moe, who now shares it with other people.
The man in the video who baptizes Moe is my brother-in-law, Steve, who is also the pastor of our church.
So with no further introduction of various people :), here is Moe and some of his story. I hope it is a blessing to you.
This summer I found this salad on Pinterest, and thought it just sounded delicious. I've made it twice since, and wow, it IS so delicious!
Do you remember the salad bar at Sizzler when you were little...the one with pepperoni pizza and chocolate pudding? It's that kind of "salad." Lots of goodies in it.
I made it exactly as Jessica, the delicious recipe creator (it looks like she has a cookbook coming out in 2014) says, except that I just eyeballed the amounts of chicken and blueberries, and threw in a whole bunch of both. :)
Summertime Grilled Corn, Chicken + Blueberry Chopped Salad
with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
2 1/1 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 ears grilled corn, cut off the cob
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2/3 cup blueberries
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 grilled chicken breast, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
tortilla chips for serving
In a large bowl, mix together lettuce, corn, chicken, avocado, blueberries, tomatoes, bacon and feta.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper then toss thoroughly.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, olive oil and vinegar.
Pour over salad, then toss once more.
Serve with tortillas chips.
The school year is in full swing. Claire is in fifth grade (!!!) and loving it. Bob flew up to Oakland this morning and back this evening on business, and will fly up to San Francisco one morning next week and back again that same day. (He does this regularly.) I've already had a few school board meetings and a finance committee meeting. The church ladies started our eight-week Bible study this Thursday (we're going through The Organized Heart by Staci Eastin), and back-to-school night is this Monday.
It's all good, but it's busy.
So time to look at more vacation pictures from Cornwall in June. Ahh. :)
Bob and Claire spent an afternoon learning to surf.
It was tough work.
This is the Screech Owl Sanctuary in St. Columb. The Sanctuary helped the folks who made the film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole animate the owls realistically.
You'll recognize Port Isaac if you're a Doc Martin fan, because it's Portwenn. They weren't filming the day we visited, but they had been working on Series 6 a couple weeks before. I think Series 6 is airing this month in the UK. :)
I did not know what to expect from a real town that is also a fictional town, but it was absolutely lovely in every way.
Can you spot Doc Martin's house? Look for the gray brick and the orange-y trim around the windows.
Here's the school where Louisa teaches...only it's actually an inn now. But it was the real schoolhouse at some point. (That's Russ walking in front of it.)
Do you see Doc Martin's house now? :)
Here's Bob and Russ ordering a pint in the pub at lunchtime.
Here 'tis, close up. The dog didn't knock me over. :)
Do you remember Bert Large's restaurant on the terrace? This is it.
Russ was explaining something to Claire. They get along great.
Here's the other side of Louisa's school.
I didn't want to leave. But I'm glad we did, because if we hadn't, we would have missed Tintagel.
Geoffrey of Monmouth was the first guy to write down the legendary stories of King Arthur, and he placed most of the important events (as well as the related story of Tristan and Isolde) at sites in North Cornwall.
According to legend, Merlin disguised Uther Pendragon as Gorlois so that Uther could enter Tintagel and father King Arthur with Igraine, who of course thought Uther was her husband Gorlois since he looked like him.
Tintagel is also the setting for some of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King.
It's a hike up, but worth it, like everything in Cornwall is worth it. The views are breathtaking.
They found a naked child upon the sands
Of dark Tintagil by the Cornish sea;
And that was Arthur; and they fostered him
Till he by miracle was approven King...
Artist Molly Crabapple has illustrated excerpts from one of Susan Cain's talks (to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce), and this is that video. :) It is short and sweet and I enjoyed it.
If you are not familiar with Susan Cain, she wrote a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. In Quiet, she explains and then questions America's "Extrovert Ideal" and our cultural bias against introverts, and really knocks over the stereotype of "introvert as unfortunate". It was an encouraging and interesting read, and I took much away from it.
She is also known for the excellent TED talk she gave, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
Cornwall suits me well, and I was very sad to leave.
I'm still sad.
But it makes me happy to talk about it and share it with you. :)
Last year just Claire and I were in Cornwall, and we were only there a few days, but this year Bob could come, too, and we stayed for ten whole days. And now he is hooked, too! I am telling you, there is something very addictive about Cornwall.
This is a Clootie tree. You sometimes find Clootie trees next to wells or springs in Celtic areas.
(Cornwall is a county in England, but more apropos to their identity is that they are one of the six Celtic nations. The other five are Brittany, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, and Wales.)
A "clootie" is a strip of cloth. The belief was that you'd bring your sick child to the well, and tie a strip of cloth that had been dunked in the Clootie well onto the tree. When the cloth had decomposed, the child would be healed.
But some of the things hanging on this Clootie tree were plastic, so that kid is not going to be better for a long time.
This is Lanyon Quoit. It is older than the pyramids, and like most megalithic structures, nobody is exactly sure how it was made or what it was used for.
Unlike most places, Cornwall does not keep you at a distance from its megaliths. You can walk right up and touch them and climb on them, and have a nice little visit with the cows, too.
Cornwall was the world's major tin producer from around 2150 BC until the last mine closed in 1998.
Well Cornish lads are fishermen
and Cornish lads are miners too.
But when the fish and tin are gone,
what are the Cornish boys to do?
One smart Cornish lad we know started a fantastic tour company called Western Discoveries, which is how we have gotten to see all this cool stuff for two summers in a row now. We highly recommend Russ if you ever find yourself on the Penwith peninsula. He gives superb tours, and is a very thoughtful and nice person.
The deepest shaft in this mine is 250 fathoms (one fathom=six feet) under the ocean. I kind of have a mini panic attack thinking about that.
We stayed in St Ives again, at Little Leaf again, in room 3 again. :) We love Little Leaf! Danny and Lee are so warm and friendly and fun, and you can't beat the hilltop location because you wake up each morning and go out front and look down at the harbor.
It's a climb at the end of the day to get back up to Little Leaf, but then you feel it was okay that you had all those cream teas. We will always stay there, as long as they'll have us. :)
I hit the Cath Kidston sale. :) Whoo hoo.
This restaurant was new to us ... Alfresco. The food was delicious and the service was delightful. I don't eat seafood, but somehow Claire loves it (like her dad) and got the scallops.
Here are our other favorite restaurants in St Ives:
St Andrews St Bistro
Martin, the owner, is delightful, and his daughter who waits on the tables is charming. Everything we have eaten there is delicious. Make a reservation.
Harbour Fish and Chips
I love this place. We have eaten here our first night in St Ives two years in a row. :) They open the doors up to the harbour, and if you can get a table by the window, it just feels so relaxed and good to eat and look out.
The Balancing Eel
THIS is where the best fish and chips in St Ives are. :) But get your order to go.
The Cornish Deli
This place is tiny and fantastic. We have eaten here for lunch a couple times, but you could go every day of vacation and have something really interesting each day. (They also have summer dinner hours starting in July.) Yummy traditional and newly envisioned Cornish food choices. Bob had a game burger that had all kinds of different game meat in it. (I'll have to ask him what all was in it. I can't remember.) It's also a good place to buy food souvenirs, like Smuggler's tea. :) There are only a couple tables, so make a reservation.
I'm doing summer book club at my house again, and I chose Rebecca for our first book, because I knew we'd be in Cornwall and I thought it would be fun to read while I was there.
So I was so excited to accidentally stumble upon this house in St Ives. I didn't know she had vacationed there!
I made the book club girls look at some of my vacation pictures. I know. How rude.
"Kernow" is Cornish for "Cornwall". The Cornish flag (which is not oval and doesn't have "Kernow" written on it ... this is a car sticker) is called "Saint Piran's Flag." Saint Piran was the patron saint of tin miners.
The flag is supposed to represent veins of tin inside the dark rock.
If you go to Cornwall, you have to try a saffron bun. How did Cornwall get saffron, you may wonder?
Some people think the Phoenicians traded it for tin in Cornwall long before the Romans ever set foot in Britain.
This is Barnoon cemetery in St Ives. It was beautiful and interesting.
I would like to be buried there.
Read the inscriptions on the stones if you're able.
I talked about Men an Tol last summer.
Here's Mousehole. ("Mowzzle")
Do you know the story of The Mousehole Cat? (There is also a DVD, which Claire and I both liked. It is very sweet. I think we will try to watch it every year. It's available on Amazon as an instant watch.)
I love the reminders everywhere in Cornwall that you are never farther than sixteen miles from the sea. :)
And I love how so many of the houses have names instead of numbers.
I'll post some more pictures later.
I keep meaning to tell you that several weeks ago, I did, finally, paint our living room. :) I ended up choosing Benjamin Moore Gray Lake, which I learned about and loved in these sunroom makeover posts at The Lettered Cottage blog.
I LOVE it! Which is very unusual for me on the first color try. It is very peaceful and calm, and depending on the light in the room it looks gray or blue. I don't think I expected myself to ever paint anything gray, or for gray to feel fresh, but somehow it does. I just love it. I think I will do the dining room later this summer.
I used Benjamin Moore Aura (their top-quality) paint, which I had never done before, because it is $60.00 a gallon (!!!) and that just seemed nutters.
However, the guy at the store talked me into it (I know), but it only took two coats (one gallon) to completely cover the bright yellow, and I mean not a hint of yellow was showing through. I've never used a paint quite like that before, with such good coverage. (I'm not doing an ad for Benjamin Moore. I'm just telling you, it was great.)
When I just painted Claire's room last week, I was painting over the exact same yellow (Melted Butter by Behr), and I thought, "Well, I'll save some money in here and just use Behr Premium Plus (which is Behr's top-quality paint but is only $32.00 per gallon), but that took three coats of paint to cover (four or five using the brush in the corners), and I had to buy a second gallon, so my cost was $63.00.
So! I think I will use Aura from now on whenever possible, because two coats makes painting very fast and almost pleasant.
I will take some real photos of the living room later with my real camera, but for now here is a fake photo from the fake camera on my phone. :)
Claire's room has evolved over the years as she's grown. It is always a compromise between her love of extremely important treasures, and my love of tidiness. :) (Cubbies have been helpful.)
ps The new paint color is a very pale, watery blue called Breakwater White (Behr). It looks grayer in these photos than it actually is.
Claire gets out of school on June 13. I really cannot believe fourth grade is almost over. I was just getting the hang of it!
Olive the Cello has held up well this year so far. She's actually a half-cello. If Claire keeps eating Cheerios for breakfast and growing like a weed, I think she will move up to a three-quarters size this autumn. We shall see.
Today was the end-of-the-year strings concert. We've come a long way, baby. :)