Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Follow Spot

You must check out todays post at The Follow Spot. The very naughty, witty Mark has done a post on my beautiful sister Carla and her husband Scott. Oh the snails, oysters and rolls. I can't stop laughing...

A Lovely Day (think Bill Withers)

What a great day. I decided to drive over to Assateague Island which is maybe 20 minutes away. Lisa came with me and as I had dug out my old camera bag with all my Nikon equipment I gave her charge of the newest Nikon and I took the digital and my good old Nikon FM. Sweet. My plan was to do some of the nature trails they have and walk on the beach. It was extremely windy. We saw one of the wild ponies right away as we were driving in.

We start with the "Life of a Marsh" trail.

Low-tide. Not much going on.

We then moved on to "Life of a Forest" trail. Lots of Loblolly pines.

I do love a loblolly pine. I learned about them over and over on a field trip to another local park. All the children take this field trip in the 6th grade. I saw my first real Lady Slipper and learned about hognose snakes on that field trip also. Very informative. The hognose snake, if I remember correctly, isn't dangerous. If you come across one it will first make itself look like a cobra to scare you. (That part I know for a fact is true because we once had a huge one in front of the house. Michael was a little boy and was walking by it w/o seeing it. It immediately reared up and hissed and spread it neck out like a cobra. He came running in the house yelling "Cobra, cobra!" which of course we don't have around here.) If that doesn't work it will vomit (I guess to gross you out?) and if that doesn't work it will play dead.

Back to Assateague. We spotted some more ponies off in the marsh while walking through the "Life of a Forest" trail.

They were too far away to get a good picture with the digital although I think I got a good one w/the other camera. On our way out of the "Forest" the same ponies intersected our path. Delightful.

Lisa and I knew to keep a safe distance. Keyword: WILD. These ponies bite and kick people. The signs are posted everywhere. Yet each year the tourists come and walk right up to the WILD ponies and try to feed and pet. Well, they pay the price my friend. But Lisa and I obey the rules. This did hold us up a little especially when they stopped to get some water.

Whitey didn't want any so he smiled for the camera...

Then Whitey and Brownie had to wait for Spotty... he comes. Git along. Not exactly the angle we were hoping for.

Next up...oceanside. We saw these backpackers laying in the parking lot. All I could figure was the wind, which was blowing sand everywhere, drove them out of the backcountry camping. If you have ever been on a windy beach for any extended amount of time then you could imagine the appeal of a parking lot.

Sure enough the beach was deserted. (My favorite kind of beach.) The wind was blowing so strong I could barely stand still to take a photo.

Scenes like these give me a great sense of calm and inspire me...

I had come to Assateague looking for that calm that comes over me and looking for inspiration and I got both. This painting I did a while back was inspired by Assateague and it's wide-open sea and sky and sand.

And now the money shot...

HE was perfectly posed on the other side of the dune when I came over. Okay one more.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's All Good

Johnny came through with flying colors yesterday. No worries. Such a laid back kid. He is my third child to have braces and in the past the day they get them on is not a good day. While he had them put on I ran out and bought him a surfing magazine and a CD to appease him when he got out. I should have saved my money. He was fine and happy. I tried to get a picture of him w/the braces and he gave me a hard time.

It didn't take too long before I got him...

Which reminded me of another time when I was trying to get a toothless shot. It took me many shots before I got this...

Usually he is very willing to pose...

Here's one of his favorite poses...

It comes up again and again...

He couldn't seem to stop himself this day...

He's been perfecting the pose for many years....

But, as the sign on his door says...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Teapots and Braces

I've been working on nothing but teapots in class. That's how I get it into my head how do a thing. Focus on one thing. These are the first two and I had a lot of help. Last night I started another. Practice, practice.

Long day ahead. Johnny gets braces today. Not fun. He will need a little extra tlc today.

Been keeping up daily w/Michael Yon Online. Thanks to Guyana Gyal for turning me on to that.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Too Busy!

Took advantage of some of the nice weather to get outside and start my gardening. I used to have a huge garden. It was close to 1/2 an acre I would guess. I would spend my whole summer there. I had to let it go. It was too much. It became all work and no joy.

Now my garden is maybe a quarter of the size it used to be. If even that. I grow tomatoes, herbs, peppers, lettuce, strawberries,eggplant, beans and flowers. Much smaller quantities than before. No corn. There is a farm with a roadside stand right down the road so why?

That picture is from last year. I didn't plant anything yet but I did get it cleaned out. I also planted my window boxes.

Finally I got out in that studio. I worked on finishing the exercises from the pastel class. I definitely have a better understanding of the technique but I can't say I like these paintings. I will definitely try using pastels again though.


And another:

Hey, it was the end of the day. It was a very long class I told you. This was the last one I did.
I also managed to do more work on my mosaic which has still got a ways to go before it is finished. I do feel like I accomplished a lot though.

One last thing. Today, April 24th, is the day we commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Let's hope that one day the Turkish Government will also acknowledge it so that it will not be repeated.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Christmas Amaryllis

Just a quick entry. I am finally feeling motivated, no anxious about getting out in the yard. When I picked up the children yesterday I had Lisa (yes I let her drive) take me to the nursery so I could pick out a few things. It turned out to be quite the driving lesson. We were coming up on a veterinary clinic and an escapee (dog) tearing across the 4 lane highway. We were on his far side. 2 cars narrowly missed him and I was yelling for Lisa to slow down. She proceeded to drift into the other lane because she was watching the whole scene. Then I was yelling "don't take your eyes off the road!". It was a good lesson. Of course you have to watch that you're not going to hit the dog (he's made it by the way Carla) but you have to watch the road and the other cars around you. Lord help me. I don't believe I will live through this child getting her license.

I did have this lovely surprise yesterday which perhaps inspired the whole trip to the nursery....

My Christmas Amaryllis which didn't bloom last Christmas has finally decided to grant me the gift of it's beauty and she doesn't seem to be holding anything back. I could have used it in the bleak winter but now is just fine.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lazy Easter Day

We had a very quiet Easter. Nice. John worked in the yard. I read. Johnny left for a little while to play paintball. The only disturbance during the day was when John took Lisa driving. She has her learners permit and we have to take her driving so many hours so she can get her license. I had asked John to put in some time because I despise this so much. I am really terrible about it and feel very tense the whole time. I thought John had much more patience. What was I thinking? When they pulled back in the driveway an hour later I heard all this yelling. I guess John had really been putting Lisa to task and she was at the end of her rope. I've been there. I can relate. He was making her back down our long driveway instead of drive in head first. She just didn't want to do it. John doesn't know when to stop. I tried to mediate but no luck so I went in. 15 minutes after Lisa stomped in and slammed a door they were fine. We all sat down to watch a movie together. It wasn't that good. I fell asleep to be honest. (Dreamer I think it was called.) A few Easters back when we were again alone we watched "Rabbit Proof Fence" which was an excellent movie. After the movie we ATE! We had a nice salad first. My table does look a little sad and empty but it's okay.

and the lasagna which was awesome of course.

I love having a house-full of people but sometimes just my children is very nice. We run around so much in different directions it is rare to spend a day together with no distractions. Of course I only had half my children there but it was still nice.

So now I have to stop procrastinating and go work off all that good food...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Making Traditional Easter Lasagna

Well the time has come. Got out the new pasta machine and started to make the Traditional Easter Lasagna. I know it is not what the normal families are doing on Easter. I think they eat ham or lamb? My mother always made lasagna. It was special because she only really made it once a year. Probably because she made her own noodles and that is a lot of work. Once you have lasagna with homemade noodles, store-bought will never do again. I make it. almost every year. A few years I tried other things but the children were always disappointed that I hadn't made the lasagna. So you see, the tradition continues. This year I tried a few different things. I can't help it. I always have to see if I can make it better. Here is a picture of the ancient lasagna recipe handed down for generations and generations.

Just kidding. It's just my copy of my mothers recipe for the pasta. On the other side is the sauce recipe and filling. You can see it's been used a lot. I should retype it and put it in a page protector don't you think?

Here is Johnny with the pasta machine. The machine allowed us to make really long and really thin noodles. I needed long ones for the new method I was trying.

The machine really does save you a lot of hard work and time. After we had the noodles all made we put some sauce in the bottom of a pan.

Then you lay in the LONG noodles lengthwise and width wise and let the hang way over. This is a new method for me. Then a layer of tiny meatballs, romano and sauce. I am straying from my mother's recipe but that's because I am trying something new. A new twist on an old tradition.

Then a layer of noodles that don't go over the edges followed by a layer of italian sausage, romano and sauce....

Another layer of noodles and then cubed mozzarella and romano and sauce...

Finally the last layer of noodles, a ricotta mixture and sauce...

The final step, and my favorite is pulling all the long hanging-over noodles up and across the top of the lasagna. So orderly. Everything nice and tucked in. I put it in the fridge until I cook it today in the oven. I will but some sauce and mozzarella on the top after it cooks some and let you know how it goes. I hope they will like it.

After I slaved in the kitchen all day yesterday (I also made vanilla cupcakes with a lemon curd filling and strawberry chiffon pie) it was party time! Once again we hooked up with Bill, Debi, Maggie, Jimmy and Paula and Darrell who were visiting from the D.C. area. We had great dinner out and laughed, laughed, laughed. I couldn't seem to get a good shot of us with the mirrors and low lighting. This was the best I could do.

Then Maggie started composing artistic shots while she was waiting for her food.

She was collecting the marlin stirrers? for nichos. Maggie gets these nichos from Mexico and then we paint and fill them. Sometimes. It's fun. Lets see if I have a pic of one...

Okay four...

Free Hit Counters